Miles Davis and Mercury: “Sometimes you have to play a long time to play like yourself.”

My other half is a huge jazz fan.  In the new house we’ve had to have shelving built to house the cd collection and then there’s the vinyl…  I’d like to operate a one in, one out system, but not sure how successful I’ll be.  I like some of it, but a lot I can take or leave.  In fact some of the more ‘out there’ stuff leaves me feeling quite anxious!  When will the tune start I naively ask?!?  I know, I’m a philistine, but I do find the characters interesting.  So many of the jazz musicians seem so fascinatingly enigmatic and simply to personify cool.  As my education on these mysterious individuals continues, as with so many things, my response is to take a peek at their birth charts and investigate the astrology attached to the events of their lives.Miles_Davis

In my limited experience of jazz, no one seems to do cool better than Miles Davis.  And what a fascinating chart; there is so much that could be said and quotes from Davis himself(as well as his music)  illustrate it so beautifully. MilesFor those who don’t know, ie myself a few years ago, Davis was a ground breaking musician and is considered one of the most influential in the 20th century, in any genre.  He pushed the boundaries of jazz and is described as one of the great innovators; look at that Jupiter in the 10th with Aquarius on the MC and Pluto on the North Node in the second house, it’s why he was here.

“It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”

Then we have Venus in detriment at the bends squaring Pluto and trining Neptune, so there’s potentially a whole post on relationships, trust and values!!

“If you sacrifice your art because of some woman, or some man, or for some color, or for some wealth, you can’t be trusted.”

The bit I actually wanted to highlight is part of that fixed grand cross between Moon, Saturn, Mercury, Neptune and Jupiter.Grandcross

The fixed nature of this configuration gives a lovely illustration of why he was so prolific.  All that determination and methodical approach really brought him results.  Clearly there’s some crunchy stuff and it caused him problems too; Moon in fall for starters tightly conjunct Saturn, not easy at all.  His battles with addiction are pretty clear in the chart as well, but I wanted to look at that Mercury.

“It’s always been a gift with me, hearing music the way I do. I don’t know where it comes from, it’s just there and I don’t question it.”

Mercury in Taurus in the deep 12th house, so one might expect him to struggle with his thinking and communication, especially with the connections to Neptune and Saturn.  Music clearly is an excellent outlet for this type of placement, connecting with the ‘other’ and the unseen in order to put your message out there.  But one of the things that people recognise as being particularly distinctive about Miles Davis is his voice; that raspy, hoarseness that you sometimes have to really concentrate on to even hear, let alone understand.

The other evening I was sitting watching TV after a hard day of decorating and gardening.  My partner tells me that he’d just found a rare video with a recording of an interview with Miles Davis before he spoke in that raspy way.   Have a quick listen to the beginning and then run forward to his ‘before’ voice.

I was surprised as (not having given it that much thought) I’d always assumed that this was how he had always spoken, or something he had developed to add to his “prince of darkness” image.  It was explained to me that in October 1955 Davis had an operation to remove polyps from his larynx.  He was told not to speak for ten days but during that time got into an argument (who with depends on who you read, but possibly a record company owner) and raised his voice to the point that it was damaged irreparably.  Ooo, thinks me, wonder what the astrology was for that?!?

Of course it was Saturn opposite that Mercury.  It was his Saturn return year, so the old man of astrology was pinging off everything in that Grand Cross at different points.  He gets the first hit to the Mercury when he has the operation and then another two follow at the beginning of 1956, presumably as he discovers that his voice will never be the same again.  I thought it was a really interesting, literal expression of a transit to a twelfth house planet.  For the rest of his life speaking always sounds like a struggle, but in some ways it doesn’t matter because it isn’t his main means of communication anyway.  He’s channelling the invisible through his music, using his intuition and seeing where experimentation takes him.  He’s got plenty to say, but doesn’t need to speak in order to say it.  One final quote from Miles, which sums up twelfth house communication perfectly,

“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”