Thursday, 14 May 2009

Kurt Cobain: Terminal Figurehead

Sorry for the delay. Dental surgery and the advent of my mid-life crisis interfered for awhile.

Now. The late Kurt Cobain is something of a demigod to many of my generation (and others). The eruption of Nirvana and grunge in the very late 80s/early 90s shook up the music world. "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Kurt's anthem to a disenchanted generation, is, in my opinion, a brilliant piece of musicianship, even now, a decade and a half later.

Kurt committed suicide on or somewhere around April 5, 1994, after a long struggle with depression and heroin addiction. Looking at photos of him, or reading old interviews, you can see that he was a highly sensitive individual, almost delicate. He was also very, very pretty. Let's look at his chart. Out of the four musicians I'll be looking at, Kurt's is the only one with an accurate birth time (Rodden 'A' rating), which makes things easier!

The first thing I said when I saw his chart was, "Holy Smoke!". Intense and emotional, Kurt never had an easy path, and with a chart like this it was clear he had a hard row to hoe. His chart is completely dominated by Water signs, indicating a deep, almost painful sensitivity. Four planets (plus wounding Chiron) in Pisces, all opposed by Pluto/Uranus straddling his Ascendant, suggest that his entire life was filled with struggles between his own independence and Will, and other people's influences.

That Uranus/Pluto conjunction on his Ascendant would likely give him a 'difficult' personality: independent, perhaps cantankerous at times. He was diagnosed as being hyperactive as a kid. Uranian-influenced people are perpetually misunderstood; their live-wire energy is often too much for other people to handle. What this kid needed was stability and grounding and lots and lots of love. What he apparently got was Ritalin and sedatives to calm him down and help him sleep. Great parenting, that. God bless the Baby Boomer generation and Dr. Benjamin Spock.

He has a Grand Water Trine, and a kite formation, all linking together his emotionality and ability to translate feeling into music. He has a Venus/Neptune trine; easily the mark of an artist. In all four charts I look at, Neptune makes a connection with either the Moon or Venus: the musician's mark.

Interestingly, for all Cobain's sensitivity, his is not a 'weak' chart. His Moon is in domicile in Cancer, in an angular house, showing how important his relationship with his mother was, or should have been. Jupiter is in its exaltation in Cancer. Mars is in Scorpio, its own domicile; and it's interesting to note that Kurt was a bit obsessed with guns, a Mars-ruled thing. Venus is exalted in Pisces: a true romantic, but see that Chiron sits right next to Venus, in the house of marriage? It all opposes that Pluto/Uranus vibe, and we know now as we knew then that Courtney Love, bless her, was a train-wreck of a wife in a train-wreck of a marriage. Courtney's Sun AND Moon are in Cancer, so in theory they were a perfect pair. In reality, with an opposition like that in his chart, Kurt was never going to find relationships easy; either he would play 'the bad guy', or he'd find someone to do it for him.

I was looking for some clue as to the drug addiction: usually a hard Neptune aspect is a good indication of a proclivity toward drug use. What I do see is a very (very) wide square between the Sun and Neptune; and Neptune is in the 3rd, so his thinking patterns may have been erratic. They were certainly creative! Mars makes a hard aspect to Jupiter, indicating a tendency toward excess, or not knowing quite when to stop. I suspect if it hadn't been heroin that got to him, he would have found excess in some other way; some other way to medicate away the intensity of his chart.

We know that Kurt came from a broken home. His parents divorced when he was seven or eight, then he was farmed off to his grandparents for awhile (Jupiter in Cancer in the 11th). He noted in several different interviews that he never felt loved or 'safe' again. We know he struggled with depression, and as one article put it, he made a lot of bad choices. He took himself out of rehab; he kept going back to his druggie friends; he liked playing with guns. There was an element of self-destruction in him that he seemed determined to play out; and Uranus on the Ascendant, especially with Pluto, shows someone with a proclivity for playing Russian roulette.

The overwhelming influence of water in his chart suggests he found it very difficult to be anything but subjective; with only his Ascendant and the two generational planets in an earth sign, mutable Virgo, there was little there to ground him, or help him to be more detached, or to provide him with boundaries. His suicide note speaks of empathy for other's suffering, and his own mental and emotional overwhelm, and the burden of guilt he felt for being made to somehow represent the cultural zeitgeist of our generation. He simply didn't feel he was up to it. And in the end, he wasn't. Rest in peace, Kurt.