The Astrology of Profession
In the first post of this series, I explained an ancient technique for finding the significator of the profession in the birth chart. I will apply the technique in this series of articles, so please first get acquainted with it by reading the initial article. Now, let’s explore the astrology of profession in the chart of Trent Reznor, and how it relates to the music of Nine Inch Nails.
Trent Reznor is a musician, primarily involved with vocals and electronic composition. Lately, he has been involved with major film soundtracks, including that for “The Social Network” and the “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”.
A brief biography for Trent Reznor can be found on Wikipedia. His chart is given a Rodden Rating of A on Astro-Databank (note: Astrodatabank’s biography of him has some factual inaccuracies). His chart is pictured below (CTRL-Click to open an expanded version in a new tab).
Thinking in Terms of Planets
As an artist, we can expect Venus to play a major role in matters of profession. Vocals, as well as composition, are areas of music particularly pertinent to Mercury due to Mercury’s associations to verbalizing and intellectualism, respectively. Mercury also pertains to technology which plays a strong role in his music. His particular style is characteristically dark, with strong themes of pain, oppression, death, and control – things typical of the domain of Saturn. The style is also aggressive and industrial, things associated with Mars.
Finding the Professional Indicators
Before analyzing the profesional indicators, let’s briefly review the technique. The technique involves finding planets with more pertinence or “testimony” regarding “actions”, which involves the Mars, Venus, Mercury, the 10th place, and the Lights. We also look at general indications of planetary strength. The factors and basics are from Hellenistic and Persian astrology.
Relevance to Actions
No planets in the 10th or its “stakes”. In terms of the 2nd and 6th, Venus and Jupiter are most pertinent, as they’re in the 6th. Mercury and the Sun are relevant by this factor because they are in the 5th. Therefore, of the three planets of action, we look to Venus and Mercury.
The ruler of the 10th place is Venus, which is also a triplicity ruler of the Ascendant. The only planet with a stronger relationship to both the 1st and 10th is Saturn. Jupiter is the bound ruler of the Ascendant (and Mars is the bound ruler of the MC). Mercury does not have rulership at the Ascendant but is the first triplicity lord of the 10th. Therefore, between Venus and Mercury, Venus has more important forms of rulership at the 10th place and the Ascendant.
Phasis and the Lights:
No planets are in phasis. Venus is nearly so, as she is moving out from the beams. Mars is the bound ruler of the sect light.
Venus has the most relevance to actions. Mercury is also significant. Note that Venus is in the place of the Lot of Fortune and Mercury rules the place, providing lesser indications. Jupiter, the Sun, and Saturn may also relate to the profession, though they are not among the three planets of actions.
Mercury is conjunct an angle within 3*, so I consider it advancing in the strongest sense. All of the planets, aside from the Moon, are advancing, but the Sun is the next most advancing behind Mercury.
Relationships to Lights:
There are no planets in phasis. The Moon is applying to Mercury and had separated from Saturn. Mercury is assembled with the Sun. Saturn and Mars are the only planets regarded by both Lights. Therefore, Mercury has the strongest relationship with the lights.
There are no stations.
Mercury is by far the most prominent planet. The Sun and Saturn also have prominence. Therefore, we expect Mercurial significations to crop up strongly in all areas of life. Mercury signifies rationality, intellect. technology, complexity, vocalization, language, and all forms of exchange.
Synthesizing Venus and Mercury
Venus is the planet with the most testimony regarding this matter but Mercury is the strongest planet of the chart and has some testimony with regards to actions. Therefore, we take both Mercury and Venus. Venus is viewed more in terms of the types of actions the native would like to be involved in as a calling due to her greater overall relevance. However, Mercury is the type of skill development that tends to dominate and get the most attention due to his generally powerful and pervasive influence in the life. We expect a desire for artistic work with a strong intellectual, technological, and/or verbal component (in this case, all three).
That Venus is in a house of Mercury (Gemini) and Mercury in a house of Venus (Taurus) further stresses the mutuality of both, rather than them being totally separate skill sets. In fact, Mercury is in the term of Venus also, and is in the 5th house, the Joy of Venus. The 5th house pertains to children as well as other forms of creative output (performance, works). It is as if these planets keep evoking each other and looking for new ways to serve each other.
Venus in Depth
Further delineation of Venus finds that she is in the domicile of Mercury. She is naturally fortunate as she’s a benefic and she’s in sect. Her fortune is enhanced by her assembly with Jupiter, location in Jupiter’s term, and the regard of the sect light, the Moon. However, she is also in the 6th, dominated by Saturn and square to Mars, so she is strongly connected with malefic themes.
The themes which Venus connects with are the most prominent themes of Nine Inch Nail’s music. The strong associations of Venus with Mercury pertain to lyrics, vocals, programming, and a rational orientation. Venus is in an air and human sign, Gemini, so music (air art) and technology are fitting. The duality of the sign indicates an orientation toward playing two roles (singer, programmer/instrumentalist). The themes of the music relate strongly to her place and aspects, from her location in the 6th place, a bad place associated with slaves, accidents, and disease, to her associations with dark Saturn and violent Mars.
Saturn and the Self
Venus is colored by Saturn, lord of death, darkness, loss, and oppression, and Saturn has a strong association with the character and identity of Reznor. Saturn rules Capricorn, the 1st place of the self, so the planet of doubt, dread, death, and darkness makes its mark on Trent’s appearance and self-identification. An out of sect Saturn is particularly malefic. Venus is dominated by Saturn (right-side square) so themes of constriction, abuse, and bondage connected with sex and beauty are symbolized.
While an aside, it is interesting that Saturn is in the third place of siblings. When Reznor’s parents divorced he went to live with his grandparents and was separated from his sister who lived with their mother. The Moon (mother) in the 12th house of oppression dominates Saturn and the third house of siblings. Much more could be said about Saturn and the self but the focus of this article is on professional matters.
Mars in the House of God
Saturn, the ruler of the self, is strongly opposed by Mars in the 9th house of God, and both are in the stakes of Venus. The symbolism is of a violent God (Mars in the 9th) oppressing one who is despairing, doubtful, and downtrodden (Saturn as lord of the 1st). However, there is also a strong identification with Mars, as Mars is the exalted ruler of Capricorn and a triplicity ruler. The Saturn-Mars configuration connects strongly with the self and with Venus, so we see its autobiographical role in the art. The struggle with truth, doubt, and the trespasses of religion are frequent themes in the music of Nine Inch Nails.
Mercury in Depth
Mercury is in the domicile, term, triplicity, and Joy of Venus. Therefore, Mercury (communication, intellect, reason) is strongly directed to the arts (Venus). Matters associated with a Mercury have a strong and pervasive effect on the life. Mercury is determined most directly to creative works (5th place, Joy of Venus). Saturn overcomes Mercury by sextile and is assembled with the Sun, so there is both a sense of strong duty and discipline associated with Mercury and of publicity and achievement. The 9th place of God is ruled by Mercury, so there is a rational and utilitarian outlook on higher truth.
Birth of Nine Inch Nails
Pretty Hate Machine was released in October 1989 and was Reznor’s first album as Nine Inch Nails. Reznor was 24 years old. Therefore, in terms of annual profections, the album was released during a 1st house year, with Capricorn, and its ruler Saturn active. It was a pivotal year in terms of defining his identity as Nine Inch Nails.
As the cycle of Jupiter is 12 years and that of Venus is 8 years, both Jupiter and Venus are activated at 24 years (see planetary years). Additionally, both were undergoing their returns at his solar return for the year. In fact, the solar return for 1989 had Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury all together in Gemini. This highlighted the year as one in which their combined significations would come together. Additionally, Saturn was transiting through Capricorn, the first house, further highlighting the year as key to the Saturnine aspect of the identity. There was even a Mars-Saturn opposition at the time, mirroring that theme in his chart.
1987-1992: Nine Inch Nails is Born
The primary directions of the Ascendant are very interesting for the period. We see his musical path become more defined in later 1987 and early 1988 when Venus aspects the directed Ascendant. The first Nine Inch Nails album is recorded in 1988, and re-recorded in 1989, and released in 1989. Broken is also recorded in early 1992. For the recording of both of these pivotal albums, the directed Ascendant was in the bound of Venus in Aquarius. In other words, the distributor, the planet that is most strongly activated in terms of life events, is Venus, his primary lord of actions.
Late 1992-1997: Peak Success
Interestingly, the peak success in his career came from late 1992 to 1997, with release of Broken (1992) and the Downward Spiral (1994). This was a period in which Jupiter was the distributor. Jupiter is conjunct Venus in his natal chart signifying fortunate circumstances related to Venus.
I hope you enjoyed this brief look at the professional indicators in the chart of Trent Reznor. In future articles in this series, we will continue to explore matters of profession in the astrological chart.
Note: This article was significantly expanded and revised in April 2018.
Featured image of Trent Reznor (cropped) by Rob Sheridan (Trent Reznor, February, 2008 (Press Photo)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons