A star chart
On April 29, 2022 (that’s today!), my dad would have been 80 years old (b. April 29, 1942; d. Dec. 21, 2017).
If he were alive, indeed, we’d celebrate. On his 75th birthday, he threw himself a party at the Greens Restaurant in San Francisco — he knew it was his last one and invited everyone he knew. He died that winter after a long run with cancer and treatments.
If you don’t know the background, my father was well known (in medical and education circles) as a highly creative, prominent engineer and anesthesiologist who introduced several devices to modern medicine, like the pulse oximeter. Where did his unique form of genius come from? DNA and timing helped, but his star burned brightly in myriad ways that bespeak gifts (and bedevilments) from the gods.
To join this question with a growing interest (astrology), I am offering a detailed reading of his birth chart to celebrate his 80th birthday. Though it’s my first time writing up a chart analysis like this — it’s not like going in cold on a stranger’s chart.
Even if you have just a little understanding of aspects and planets and houses, maybe you’ll find the chart interesting — and how the signatures of the planetary energies expressed themselves in my dad. I have used his birth time from his 1942 birth certificate.
To me, there are so many striking elements to this chart. Let’s start with happy basics:
He was Sun in Taurus, Cancer Ascendant, and Moon in Libra. It’s a good-natured trio (with additional good-natured aspects to follow below.) As would bespeak his Taurean/Cancerian loves of security and hearth, I can attest he liked his comforts and coziness — my dad always had a belly and round face with jowls; he wore chambray shirts and wool sweaters; he smelled like Bay Rum; he loved to sit with tea by the fire; he enjoyed comfort foods like oatmeal cookies and split pea soup. To know him (at least at the mid-distance) was to know his warmth, humor, and charisma — and get wrapped up in his sense of safety and diplomacy. He knew all the answers; he would instinctively always offer to help if he could (in fact, to his detriment). In his memorial, I was struck that everyone who shared about him (dozens!) felt that they had a best friend in him, a friendship formed over fine wine, and someone who could fundamentally solve almost any problem. With my own Moon in Cancer and Sun in Scorpio, our father-daughter relationship — particularly in my earliest years — was filled with natural affinity at an elemental level.
His Sun the Tenth House (career, acclaim) and the stellium of planets in the 11th (the collective greater good, humanitarian concerns) all convey the “fame” that came his way in his lifetime through his pioneering work with medical devices at scale. Most notable is the Saturn-Uranus-Mercury conjunction on the 11th house and connotes to me the mad genius/scientist/entrepreneur in him (science and structure= Saturn; genius, innovation=Uranus and highly mental, communicative=Mercury).
With an exact trine between Cancer Ascendant and Venus in Pisces in the 9th House (higher education, higher thought), it’s no surprise he was a man with an MS, two PhDs, an MD, and an MBA — his outstanding education (and genius) was always associated with him. He then spent his later life dedicated to the ideals of early education when he was not working on medicine and science (see also his North Node in the 3rd house, the house of elementary learning.) Also, each of his life partners were highly educated or involved in education to some degree. And to my sisters and me, our higher education was paramount in his eyes as the mark of his Cancer care-taking. (And we are a well-educated bunch!)
Another exact trine between Jupiter (expansion) (11th/12th) and his Libra Moon (emotional life) (4th House of home and property) underscores his success with building on historical land/houses. He made or rebuilt at least four different homes from the ground up in his lifetime, often sparing no expense with the craftsmanship and beautiful details (so very Libra). His love of homes didn’t end there — through his generosity he also helped many around him find and buy homes. Ultimately, his property was also a great undoing — his beloved home in Woodside sold in distress; a Victorian house in San Francisco nearly led to bankruptcy in a remodel; several other properties were lost in murky relationship situations.
All this was made possible by the fact that he also made some significant money in his lifetime (I attribute it to a highly-aspected Venus + 10th house sun) through his entrepreneurship. Again, the financial success was also a downfall in many ways (Venus square Mars and Jupiter in the 12th house — the house of undoing). He was born poor — made millions, gave away millions, used millions on projects (he had no boundaries on money - a Venus in Pisces trait) — and unfortunately, he ultimately died with financial stress hanging over him.
I want to linger for a moment on what feels to me as the key signature of his chart, which is Chiron conjunct Pluto in the First House (self, identity, personhood). Between Chiron (the wounded healer) and Pluto (intensity, power) — it seems he was destined to be a powerful “healer” (physician) in his lifetime. Pluto also squares his Sun in the 10th and sextiles the 11th house’s “mad scientist” conjunction creating a powerful dialogue between his personal identity and his professional impact.
These threads manifested as an intense pursuit to heal the world through better medicine+engineering in its highest form. However, I suspect, too it reflects the fierce wounds in his identity stemming from his parents’ alcoholic neglect of him (and his brother) that left painful psychic wounds, which he battled right to the end of his life. My overall reading here of these 1st House planets and aspects is connected to his career/fame as a physician + inventor in a dramatic life story of needing to heal others to heal himself at a subconscious level. (Literally, pop psychology!)
Are these my words and interpretation? Yes, of course. And easy for me to layer my views as a daughter into a story that feels familiar to me.
But I do believe, in the end, it’s a chart of a visionary who left the world a better place than he found it. I was tickled that a few weeks ago a new news article popped up in my feed about yet another innovative medical device and his legacy. While he is gone from this body on this planet, his impact continues to live.
Happy 80th birthday!