Prince Part 1: Life
Prince should require no introduction. He began his 40 year recording career by signing a contract with Warner Bros. at the young age of 18. For his debut, he played all 27 instruments on the record. His second album, Prince, released when he was only 20, went platinum. Prince’s discography is eclectic and innovative, while his persona has always been both bold and elusive.
His sudden death on April 21st, 2016 (at age 57) came as a shock to his millions of fans. He died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a prescription opioid pain reliever. Apparently, Prince had been struggling with opioid addiction for some time prior to the event.
In this article, I’ll be looking at a character and profession in his natal chart. I’ll also take a look at a few notable moments of his career. In the next article, Part 2, I’ll be analyzing the time of his death in terms of the symbolism of traditional predictive astrology.
Prince’s Birth Chart
Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958 at 6:17 pm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. His birth data has a Rodden Rating of AA (from birth record). He was born as 16 Scorpio was rising, the Sun was at 16 Gemini, and the Moon was at 1 Pisces.
Venus as Prince’s Professional Significator
Prince has Venus in Taurus as his professional significator. As discussed in the articles on the astrology of profession, this is because Venus is in a stake and has some rulership at the first house (first triplicity lord). Mars (in VI) is also relevant for professional matters as he is in an eligible place, rules the Ascendant, and rules the bound and decan of the MC. However, note that the twelfth-part of Venus is also in X confirming her greater importance for characterizing the profession. Also noteworthy is that the twelfth-part of the Ascendant is in Taurus, Venus’s home which she occupies. I’ve discussed the use of the twelfth-parts in profession in a prior article.
Some Notes on Character
Four particular traits help characterize Prince. First, he had a strong alignment with art and love in all its forms, from sex and fashion to the highest spiritual love of humanity. Second, he was a extremely private and elusive. Third, Prince was not afraid to stir the pot and provoke strong reactions. Fourth, he was very controlling when it came to his image and artistry.
The Loving Prince
While Prince was born during the day, all his diurnal planets are in dark houses (those that don’t aspect the Ascendant). Only Venus and the Moon are not in dark houses. Venus is particularly prominent in his chart. She is the only angular planet, she is the first triplicity ruler of the Ascendant (Scorpio), and she has her twelfth-part in the 10th house conjunct the Lot of Fortune. Venus is also in her own house (Taurus) in the 7th house of marriage and partnership. Prince’s twelfth-part Ascendant is also in Taurus with Venus. Therefore, Venus, goddess of art, beauty, sex, and love is the most personally prominent planet in Prince’s chart.
Prince was also born with the Moon strongly advancing toward the IC in Pisces. Pisces is the house of Jupiter and kingdom of Venus. The Moon is also in the bound of Venus. This prominent Moon shows a focus on the subjective, emotional, humane, wild, and idiosyncratic (Moon) while reinforcing the stress on the arts, creativity, and femininity. The sign Pisces evokes the intersection of spirituality (Jupiter) and beauty (Venus). The 5th house orients it toward creative fruits. Additionally, the Moon rules the 9th house of God and travel. This connects this prominent advancing Moon with a lot of international activity as well as personal religious orientation. There are also connections between Mercury (bound lord of the Ascendant; ruler of sect light) and the 9th house.
A Few Striking Lots
One of the more striking features of Prince’s chart is that the Sun is conjunct the Lot of Love in the same degree (partile). The Lot of Love concerns relationship, alliances, and coming together in general. Coming together in alliance to take a stand for love and our humanity was a common theme in Prince’s work.
Additionally, the Moon is in partile conjunction with Prince’s Lot of Spirit, while Venus is in close conjunction with the Lot of Fortune. The Lot of Spirit pertains to mentality, social life, and goals while the Lot of Fortune pertains to health, personal life, and material circumstances. We see Prince materially seeped in the world of Venus in Taurus and mentally seeped in the world of the Moon in Pisces, while shining a spotlight (the Sun) on a dualistic Gemini Love.
The Private Prince
Prince was notably one of the most private celebrities. His 1st house of character is Scorpio, a sign not known for its openness. This nocturnal sign ruled by Mars tends toward introversion and peevishness, though other factors can overcome this such as a prominent Sun or Ascendant Lord. However, in Prince’s chart the Sun is in a dark house (the 8th) and the Ascendant lord, Mars, is also hiding away in a dark house (the 6th). In fact, 5 of the 7 classical planets in Prince’s chart are hidden away in dark houses. Prince would like to keep most aspects of his life hidden from view.
I have already noted that Venus and the Moon are exceptions to this. Venus particularly stands out due to her connection with his career and his character. Prince would like us to know the role of Venus in his life, and maybe the Moon, but the rest is off limits.
The fact that Mars is the domicile lord of the Ascendant and is itself in one of its own signs adds a bit of combativeness to this need for privacy. Prince didn’t just need privacy but prying or meddling in his affairs was likely to provoke some anger.
The Controversial Prince
Prince stirred up his fair share of controversy. Whether it was shaking up sexual norms, battling his record company, or defending his religious beliefs, Prince was not afraid of a fight. I think this trait is also reflective of his Mars ruled 1st house. However, it is additionally reflective of the prominence of out of sect planets in Prince’s chart. As we saw in the movie Purple Rain, Prince was not above playing a rather unsavory character, seething with jealousy and mistreating his girlfriend. The prominence of out of sect planets, including the all-important Venus, lends a sense of the revenge of the rejected or the return of the outcast mistreated by the establishment. Prince was unbelievably successful from a young age, but would continue to cast himself as the misfit and the underdog.
The Controlling Prince
The control that Prince exerted over his name and image are in the same vein as the last two traits. They follow largely from his focus on privacy and his casting himself as subject to the exploits of the establishment.
Prince’s Ascendant is a fixed sign and his Venus is also positioned in a fixed sign. While not necessarily rigid or stubborn generally, Prince was likely to be quite rigid and stubborn in relation to his works and relationships Venus, 7th, 10th) and his image (1st house). His Mars in the 6th house made him a highly productive work horse behind the scenes, but when it came to the image and the name (1st house) it had to be protected.
Prince often saw himself as enslaved by his record company that “owned” his image and his name. This seemed to provoke a lot of animosity and ire in him. It is so vividly symbolized by his Scorpio 1st house, ruled by a Mars in the 6th house. The 1st house pertains to the image and the name. Mars adds warlike combativeness to the topic. Mars is in the 6th house of work and slaves which does not directly see the 1st house, adding a sense of disjointedness. A laboring away for a name and an image that one does not fully own. This theme would resurface at multiple points in Prince’s career.
A Few Notable Years
While this article is focused on the timing of Prince’s death, it is also presents a good opportunity to explore the timing of a few particularly notable years in his career.
Age 18 – Venus 7th House Activation
First, Prince is reported (here and here) to have signed his first record contract at age 18. 18 is very significant as it represents the annual profection to the 7th house. In Prince’s natal chart, the 7th house is ruled by and occupied by Venus. I have already noted that Venus, the planet which most pertains to the arts, is the career significator. Venus has her twelfth-part in the 10th house of actions and occupation.
Notable in the solar return for the year was the occurrence of Jupiter (fortune) and Mercury (contracts) in the house of the year (Taurus) with natal Venus. Additionally, return Venus was conjunct the Sun (authority, power, recognition).
Age 24 – Superstardom – 1999
It was not until the release of Prince’s 5th album, 1999, that he entered the US top ten and really became a superstar.
The album was released in October of 1982 when Prince was 24 years old. 24 is notable as a profection back to the 1st house (Scorpio), as well as an activation of the Moon (25th year) by planetary years.
The solar return for the year is complex. It sees Venus in return in Taurus and Jupiter in Scorpio (house of the year), while the Moon is in the 2nd house of money (Sagittarius). Prince’s Sun (fame) is propelled to the top of the chart with the Moon Full at the root, while the Ascendant of the return is Virgo, the 11th house of friends (fame, popularity). The lord of the year shows demands as it is with Saturn (burden), but also tying into natal Jupiter (natal occupant of Libra; money) and Venus (arts), the ruler of the house.
When we consider the distributors of the Ascendant and the sect light, we find that Prince’s mid-twenties as a whole were indicated to be quite fortunate. The Ascendant was directing through the Jupiter bound of Sagittarius from when Prince was age 17.5 to almost age 33. The sect light, the Sun, was directing through the Venus bound of Cancer (which Venus herself casts rays into) from age 22.5 to about age 28.5.
Age 26 – Purple Rain
Shortly after Prince’s 26th birthday (in June and July of 1984) he released the album, then the film, Purple Rain. The profection was to the third house, Capricorn, as sign ruled by Saturn and not typically associated with fortunate happenings. However, as luck would have it, Jupiter was transiting in Capricorn (in the Jupiter bound of the sign) at the time of the solar return. This return also saw another Venus-Sun conjunction prominent on an angle.
Saturn, on the other hand, was conjunct Mars in the return in Scorpio, Prince’s 1st house of character and identity. The image did much for characterizing how Prince would be perceived by the public. Prince actually presented himself as a somewhat fragile, somewhat cruel, and always controversial figure. This image was in line with Saturn and Mars, both retrograde, in Scorpio in the return. The figure is that of an artist damaged by an alcoholic father (Saturn in water), mistreating his adoring girlfriend (Mars in water), and seething with jealousy over his rivalry with another musician (Scorpio).
The movie was the most risky proposition of Prince’s career. Its soundtrack album was his magnum opus.
Age 34 – Birth of the Symbol
Prince had a career full of rocky relations with his record companies and contractual spite. His 14th album, released in fall of 1992 bore a symbol on it which he termed the Love Symbol. The album would end up being his most commercially successful since Purple Rain.
Due to increasing issues with his record company, Warner Bros., he changed his name to the same symbol in 1993. He claimed that he was a slave to Warner Bros. who owned his name “Prince”.
Prince was 34, so it was another profection to his 11th house of friends, networking, and fame. Fittingly, Prince’s 11th house, Virgo, is ruled by Mercury (duality, symbolism). The solar return was marked by a Moon-Jupiter conjunction in Virgo. Solar return Mercury was at 24 Gemini, the position of the twelfth-part of his natal Jupiter. All in all, following on the heels of a hit record, this publicity stunt of symbolism was very successful in generating quite a bit of publicity.
While one could easily go on to look at many more notable years in Prince’s life and career, I have to leave it here for now. Prince’s chart shows the activity of a prominent and powerful, but out of sect Venus. Prince always made art and celebrated love on his own terms. This many with Scorpio rising and Gemini Sun ever remained an enigma in the public eye. Secretive and at times even a little peevish, Prince was a working man behind the scenes and meticulously original in all his artistic undertakings.
In the next article, we’ll take an in depth look at the timing of his unexpected sudden death at age 57 in 2016.