THE NEW TIMES HOLLER! ASTROLOGICAL MUSINGS ON JEANNE LEE'S 70th BIRTHDAY
Jeanne Lee, a great innovative vocalist, humanist, a kind soul who inspired many vocalists and others, would have celebrated her 70th birthday on January 29, 2009. Here is an astrological tribute to her.
January 23, 2009
Special for THE NEW TIMES HOLLER! By Amir Bey
When describing Jeanne Lee to someone who never met her, the first words that come to my mind are Kind, Sensitive, Gentle. After studying her chart, I’d add the phrase “Grace under pressure”. Her Grand Earth Trine including Moon in Taurus, Mercury in Capricorn, and Neptune in Virgo, is one of the sources of the gentle, earthy stability that I felt in her presence. However, there are many dynamic yet stressful aspects, forces that combined with her calm and persevering nature that she shaped (as they shaped her?) bringing us this humanistic pearl of improvisation and leadership in music.
Jeanne’s dynamic stresses: Sun Square Uranus: a pronounced and energetic individuality; Uranus conjoining Moon and South Node in Taurus: gave intuition, yet tested her resolve; Moon widely opposite Mars: keen passions often at odds; Pluto opposite Mercury: another indication of intuition, gave insights that bore deeply into what they were aimed at; Saturn conjoining Ascendant as it squares the Midheaven: early awkwardness that gained self-confidence, determination and poise over time; Venus squared by Neptune and inconjunct Moon: such sensitivity required an artistic and spiritual outlet; the 165 degree aspects between Jupiter and Neptune, Mars and Uranus, and Venus and Chiron can mean experiences that ruptured ties she had with some people, but led her on a unique path. The Grand Earth Trine that gave her stability with a little stubbornness had better been there!
Her chart’s pattern: It’s somewhere between a Splash and a Splay. Splash is when the planets are spread out so much that there can’t be more than one conjunction. In Jeanne’s case it’s her Moon and Uranus in Taurus, which combines the fluidity of the Moon and the electric charge of Uranus in the most solid of signs. Quicksilver meets rest and comfort? Taurus rules the throat; Uranus/Moon gave it luminosity and sparkle but those glows were filtered in emerald earthiness. Back to patterns: Splay is the pattern that doesn’t fit the pattern definition; hers is almost one but not quite. With Jeanne, there are too many spaces between some planets for her to have a true Splash, or a Locomotive, not enough to make a Funnel, so I’m thinking Splay, although her Southern Hemisphere (the upper) is Splashy. So she’s a Splay; meaning she could be anything, but whatever she chose, with all that Earth, solidly so.
There’s so much Fire and Earth for this Aquarian. Her Sun is the only planet in an Air sign, and Jupiter was in her only Water sign, Pisces in the 12th House. She had four planets in Earth, four in Fire, Ascendant Fire, Midheaven Earth. Ground Breaking: Fire and Earth spells building, and constructiveness. Even air-dynamic, celestial Uranus, Aquarius’s ruler, is Earthly.
Earthy Saturn in Fiery Aries: It was rising, conjunct the Rising Sign, and rules the Midheaven. Some key words: structure; discipline; wisdom; reticence; definitive. Yet in blazing Aries there’s some tussling going on. Its ruler Mars in Sagittarius is sesquisquare to it, that’s the 135 degree angle, which is about tension and building, and especially both in Fire signs, with Mars is in the 8th House, relentless as it smolders there.
A Grand Trine is a configuration of self containment. While it shows where a natural talent or an area of ease may exist, that potential may lie dormant, so it needs something to either aid it to move or aggravate it, causing stimulation. Jeanne’s elevated Venus in Sagittarius in the 9th House aspected all three of her Grand Earth Trine planets: it squared Neptune in Virgo in the 6th House; was inconjunct her Taurean Moon and semi-sextiled her Mercury in Capricorn in the 10th. None of those are “easy” aspects, and her art was not “soft” or merely harmonious, and its 9th House and Sagittarian sojourn was imbued with a philosophical, even moral light. Her Earth was touched by the grace of Venus: she made poetry out of the mundane. At the Union Square Station at the Downtown Lexington Ave Local there used to be a recorded announcement, “Please stand back from the moving platform as the trains enter and leave the station.” Jeanne transcended that phrase into poetry and song, taking it from a chant to a whisper. Her Pluto in Leo conjunct the 5th House, while not in aspect to the other Grand Trine planets, opposed her Mercury. Some keywords for this combination are: powerful statements; repressed expression; coercive speech; piercing insights; dismantling of preconceptions; transformative perceptions; evolving viewpoint; muted communication; and subconscious allusions are some possible manifestations. A person with Mercury opposite Pluto develops multi faceted ways to communicate beyond words, or invests multiple meanings in words and sounds, able to conjure feelings and images through powerful yet subtle suggestion.
Finally, her Jupiter in Pisces in the 12th House, by not receiving “major” aspects (sextile, square, trine, opposition and conjunction) had a strong influence that may have not been easily recognized by her at first –which is the nature of a unaspected planet. Jupiter is an expansive and worldly planet, of success, prominence, and long distance traveling, says she was a traveler of her inner mind, an explorer of the great expanse of the unconscious universe. Her prominence was broad and intangible. It was hidden in some degree from her, yet urging her on, demanding that she break barriers and go beyond the limitations of expectation.
© Amir Bey, 2009
JEANNE LEE in New York, 1992
All photos (c) Amir Bey, 1992
JEANNE LEE in a solo performance with Watler C. Jackson's X-Ponent, an installation for Malcolm X, 1992, Amir Bey, curator
JEANNE LEE singing solo in X-Ponent installation by Walter C. Jackson, 1992, at Bronx River and Gallery, Amir Bey curator