Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Life according to Keefe

I am currently producing this year’s issue of Astrobabble, the first in a new cycle where I rehash the astrological signs and planets in my revered and unparalleled style (yeah, right). Anyway, I decided to revisit all things (some things) Sagittarius since I had covered the sign in one of the earlier issues about a million years ago (yeah, right) and felt it needed refreshing, given the current Saturn-Sagittarius cycle.

To get motivated, I began the year with the challenging goal of ploughing through Keith Richards’ autobiography Life - which is the size of a house brick - before my birthday in July. It was effortless. What an engaging tale! At over six hundred pages, this epic work captures the Sagittarian spirit of ‘the journey’ through the well-worn themes of rock n roll, illicit drug taking, and intrepid travel. What elevates this story above the usual rock star dross is Keefe’s unique and unfettered voice, and his profound insight. For the Centaur, the real sport of life is to make ‘the journey’ stimulating, varied, and as expansive as possible. The goal is insignificant. This has been the undisputed path for Keith Richards since the mid-1950s (when he discovered rock n roll), leading to the formation of the Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger in 1962. What followed was a smorgasbord of life experiences spanning decades that would leave more sober astrological signs breathless.

You could argue that it’s difficult to dislike Keefe the man, even if you’re not a fan of the Rolling Stones’ music. While Mick Jagger has the air of a manipulative prima donna, by contrast, Keith appears accessible and genial (Sun in Sagittarius / Moon and Jupiter on Midheaven / Moon sextile Venus). A stellium of planets in the tenth house (Chiron, Moon, and Jupiter) is indicative of popularity and success on a large scale. Shrugging off the clich├ęd junkie image is a challenge (Scorpio rising / Pluto as chart ruler semi-squaring Saturn in opposition to the Sun / Chiron square Sun), however, the public graciously forgives Keith for his shortcomings and recognises him as one of the ultimate rock star icons (Uranus square Moon on Midheaven / chart ruler Pluto conjunct node in Leo).

A strict Virgo Moon on the Midheaven reflects the need to perfect his craft (blues guitar) with discipline. The Virgo Moon individual finds it difficult to express feelings and can be out of touch with their emotional side altogether if the Moon isn’t supported by meaningful factors in the birth chart. One of the more surprising revelations in Life is Keith’s inherent shyness with women. He claims that when it comes to approaching the opposite sex, he holds back (Moon in Virgo square Mars in Gemini) and waits for the object of his desire to make the first move. An eighth house Saturn in opposition to his Sun indicates his insecurity in intimate situations and the fear of being swamped by feelings that his Virgo Moon works hard at controlling. As a young single guy, Keith struggled with pick-up lines and had a preoccupation with finding the right line or one that hadn’t been used before.

‘I just never had that thing with women … “hey, baby” is just not my come-on’

The life of the mind is important to Sagittarius and Virgo. Both signs travel on a mental level. Intellectuals of the zodiac, they devour books and absorb all forms of knowledge. Another unexpected admission is that Keith is an avid reader who takes pride in developing libraries inside his homes in West Sussex, England and Weston, Connecticut. It's alleged that he attempted to classify his collection using the Dewey Decimal classification system but found it too overwhelming. Moon in Virgo, indeed!

'When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully - the church (Sagittarius) ... and the public library (Virgo) ... the public library is a great equaliser'
On writing, Keefe at seventy-one shows no signs of slowing down. He says that he is still partial to beginning the day by smoking a joint. With the imminent release of his new solo album Crosseyed Heart next month, fellow Sagittarian Tom Waits has penned a interminable poem to celebrate the Rolling Stones guitarist’s legendary status. Part homage to Keith’s questionable physical attributes such as pissing blue urine and smelling like a campfire, the following lines are endearing:
Hands like a woodworker
Arms like a swabby
A back like a soldier
A mind like a detective
Shoulders like a boxer
A voice like a choirboy
And a country-western face

Keith Richards is testament to the Sagittarian adage that if you create your own luck, the road can go on forever. Read more in the new issue of Astrobabble, available at the Manly Zine Fair in September.