Aries is symbolized by the ram, an aggressive beast who confronts rivals by charging at them directly. Sagittarius, sitting 120 degrees away from Aries, is symbolized by the wild haired centaur-archer armed with a quiver full of flaming arrows ready to be fired off at distant targets. Combine the Sun (identity) in the sign of courage (Aries) with the Moon (emotional needs) in the sign of wide ranging crusades (Sagittarius) and the result is going to feel like a high-speed trip down some highly dangerous roads. Competitive and combative, enterprising and entrepreneurial, this pairing is the daredevil visionary of the zodiac who isn’t going to wait around for anybody or anything before setting off on an adventure. Linda Goodman hints at just how dangerous an Aries/Sagittarius adventure can be, “When these two signs join the trip may be noisy but never dull. They’ll energetically defend against any baddies who threaten them.” (Source)
Battles with baddies, bullies, and bad intentioned people whether on the streets, in business, or from the government are a life long theme for many Aries/Sagittarius individuals. Of the 144 Sun/Moon pairings this is one of the most likely to go against, over, or above the law in order to speak its truth. Wilhelm Reich, the controversial psychoanalyst whose publications were burned by the U.S. government, is an Aries/Sagittarius. (Chart) So too is Bob Woodward, the journalist who blew the doors off the Watergate scandal. (Chart) Woodward’s crusade against the mafioso tactics of the Nixon administration was the subject of the 1976 film All the President’s Men in which he was portrayed by actor Robert Redford:
As far as “blowing the doors off things”, well sometimes it’s the Aries/Sag who is defending against the bad guys while acting like one himself. You see, astrology is a study of oppositions and paradoxes. The paradox for Aries/Sagittarius is that its enormous courage can be matched by its tendency for violence, its aptitude for free enterprise by its propensity for fanaticism. To illustrate: Monticello based tobacco mogul Thomas Jefferson is an Aries Sun, Sagittarius Moon. (Chart) So too is Compton, California based rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight. (Chart) Jefferson, as you probably know, is the big scary red headed white man who founded the United States. Knight is the big scary bald headed black man who founded Death Row Records, a company that was to the world of 1990s music what the United States was to the world of 1790s politics.
Thomas Jefferson is a white member of the founding generation respected by many while Suge Knight is a black member of the gangster rap generation feared by many but the two men have more in common than their demographic profiles might suggest. Jefferson, for instance, is known for the quote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with blood . . .” – a philosophy that bears more than a few resemblances to the blood soaked approach upon which Death Row was founded. Astrologer Jefferson Anderson describes the Aries/Sagittarius high-impact modus operandi as follows:
An Aries/Sagittarius who has found his or mission can be a model of unwavering dedication. Courage, persona magnetism, and high intelligence combine to make you a brilliant leader when it comes to the management and execution of original ideas. (Source)
Jefferson’s unwavering dedication and brilliant leadership in declaring independence from British domination is one of the most well documented chapters in history. Obviously, Knight’s professional and social ecosystems were very different than Jefferson’s but if starting a black-owned label that would make hundreds of millions of dollars from music so profoundly unsettling to the white power establishment it would draw heat from Bob Dole, Bill Bennett, Dan Quayle, Joe Biden, and multiple federal agencies doesn’t count as “leadership in the execution of an original idea” I’m not sure what does.
Grant Lewi writes of the Aries/Sagittarius leadership style:
Your are in many ways a pioneer, a fighter, a doer, a pleader of new doctrines and lost causes . . . You might be the man who said “Let me write the songs (or the editorials) of the nations, and I care not who makes its laws (or leads its armies)” (Source)
Jefferson didn’t write songs or editorials but he was the primary architect of the declaration of independence, a document that served as a defacto anthem for a nation built on a set of radically pioneering political doctrines. In its own way, Death Row Records did something similar. However unconventional the company’s tactics, it did manage to provide a platform for a radically pioneering type of music that voiced (pleaded?) the experiences of persons whose cause(s) are so close to invisible they’re assumed to be lost. Reviewing the company’s iconic debut album The Chronic, Jordan Richardrson writes “More than just the introduction of classic beats, the album summarizes a way of life that is all too real for many young men and women on our streets.” (Source)
Suzi and Charles Harvey tell us that at its best this pairing excels at “motivating others to action [and] arousing public interest in moral and social causes.” (Source) At its worst, however, this pairing will live out its life as a “war of all against all”, a phrase originally coined by 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes himself an Aries Sun, Sagittarius Moon. (Chart) Hobbes is best known for the book Leviathan in which he argued the only way to prevent perpetual war is for people to submit to an all powerful sovereign who will enforce order by any means necessary, including war. Between the philosophy he advocates and the violent art he commissioned for the book’s cover you could make a case that Thomas Hobbes was as much a “gangster rapper” as anybody signed to the Death Row label back in the 1990s:
According to Xenon Pictures’ 2001 documentary Welcome to Death Row, the workplace environment at Death Row was about as Leviathan-esque as can be imagined. Music journalist Chris Campion writes, “The rise and fall of Death Row and its CEO, Marion “Suge” Knight, makes The Godfather look like a bedtime story.” (Source) One former employee recalls a Hobbesian office culture where “brothers were coming through windows, coming through doors, you never knew what to expect” while a PBS Frontline article on Death Row lists “pistol whippings, ass-kickings, and beatdowns” as the primary tools used to manage human resource issues during Knight’s tenure as CEO. (Source) Astrologer Grant Lewi does warn the Aries/Sagittarius individual, “You have terrific force of expression, maybe too forceful.” (Source) Rapper Rob Van Winkle, best known as “Vanilla Ice”, recalls an early run-in with the Aries/Sag capacity for “terrific force of expression” at 12:00 of this interview:
Keep in mind that the use of such “terrifically forceful” practices is not exactly unheard of in the music business. In the documentary The Secret History of Rock and Roll, rapper Coolio points out that “record companies used to hire hit men and put them on the payroll”. (Source) If you think about it from that perspective, a Sun/Moon pairing as openly aggressive as Aries/Sag is probably well suited for executive work in an arena as ruthless as the recording industry.
Speaking of Leviathan-esque environments, Godfather tactics and the use of excessive force, Thomas Jefferson wasn’t exactly an angel himself. According to a 2003 NY Times article “The Monster at Monticello” and a 2010 Smithsonian Magazine article “The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson”, it seems he conducted himself more like a brutal gangster than the benevolent patriarch portrayed in history books. Among other things, Jefferson advocated the forceful assimilation and/or extermination of Native American tribes, a genocidal stance that makes the Godfather tactics at Death Row seem tame by comparison. Of course Jefferson is one of the founding fathers so we give him a pass for matters as ethically problematic as anything articulated on a gangster rap album.
According to the PBS article, “Death Row came into being under cloudy circumstances that may have included $1.5 million in seed money from the flamboyant drug-dealer Michael Harris . . .” (Source) Without dismissing the seriousness of those allegations, we all know Thomas Jefferson’s free market brainchild the United States was underwritten by methods of capital accumulation vastly more sinister than the distribution of illegal drugs.
Interesting side note: it was Michael Harris who also put up almost $500,000 to finance the 1988 Broadway play Checkmates that was a young Denzel Washington’s first big break:
The biographies of both Knight and Jefferson bear more than a passing resemblance to that of Caracalla, one of the most notorious Roman emperors and himself an Aries Sun, Sagittarius Moon. (Chart) On the upside Caracalla granted Roman citizenship to all freemen throughout the Roman Empire, commissioned massive public works projects, and dramatically raised the pay and treatment of Rome’s citizen-soldiers. On the downside his attitude towards Germanic tribes neighboring Rome was as homicidal as Thomas Jefferson’s was to Native American tribes neighboring the American colonies. He also managed to get caught up in a blood soaked feud with his brother that divided along East/West lines in a manner reminiscent of the violent East Coast/West Coast feud that plagued gangster rap during the 1990s.
Suge Knight isn’t the only Aries/Sag music mogul while Thomas Jefferson isn’t the only Aries/Sag who founded a nation. Afrika Bambaataa (born Kevin Sullivan) is an Aries Sun, Sagittarius Moon whose done both. (Chart) A legendary DJ who founded the music-and-culture oriented Universal Zulu Nation in the 1970s, Bambaataa is member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a visiting scholar at Cornell. (Source)
Bambaataa has traveled far and ride to spread the gospel of hip hop but even his legendary career seems almost pedestrian when compared to the travels of Robert Smalls, a Civil War era escaped slave who is also an Aries Sun, Sagittarius Moon. (Chart) If the rise and fall of Death Row reads like a chapter out of The Godfather, Smalls’ biography reads like a combination of the Tupacalypse Now album, Django Unchained, and The Hunt for Red October all rolled into one. On May 13th, 1862 Smalls commandeered a cargo ship full of slaves and ran it through a blockade of Confederate Navy ships to freedom. The ship also contained Confederate code books holding the 1860s equivalent of top secret computer files which Smalls managed to decipher on his own. (Source) When Smalls’ wife asked him what would happen if he was captured he replied, “I’ll be shot.” In other words, he was prepared to end up on the Civil War version of “death row” if it meant a chance at freedom. Following the war he would become one of the most influential politicians in the South. He also ended up wealthy enough that he eventually purchased the home of his former master.
Bob Woodward’s crusade on behalf of the rule of law took down Richard Nixon, the most criminal-minded of the U.S. presidents. Smalls’ crusade on behalf of emancipation earned him a one-on-one meeting with Abraham Lincoln, the most justice-minded of the U.S. presidents. That Aries/Sagittarians like Woodward and Smalls would succeed at such daring operations makes perfect sense. Of the 144 Sun/Moon pairings, this is the one most likely to risk a life and death ride down road less traveled.
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Copyright Matthew David Savinar, 2013
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