David Bowie Rise to Fame Part 2: 1969, 1972 and 1973
In 1969 David Bowie produced his stage persona Major Tom in the hit record ‘Space Oddity’ which was followed by another stage persona Ziggy Stardust (1972-1973) which enabled Bowie to achieve world-wide fame through his innovative approach to song writing, composing and performing (BBC, 2019). This article will discuss the crucial secondary directions that can be matched to Bowie’s persona transformations and the impact this had on his personality and his world-wide success. Finally, I will discuss the significance of his secondary directions when he started his artistic journey in 1962.
Space Oddity (1969)
Bowie said that the character Major Tom and the track ‘Space Oddity’ was inspired by watching Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). ‘Space Oddity’ was Bowie’s first recording success and major turning point in his musical career and life.
Major Secondary Directions (1969)
The progressed Sun in Aquarius (1st House) squares converse Midheaven in Scorpio, indicating personal (Sun Progressed in 1st house) and professional success (converse Midheaven) and further challenges lie ahead that need to be overcome (Square). This progression marks Bowie’s first hit and a turning point in his artistic and professional life.
Natal Jupiter in Scorpio (9th house) is in a trine to the progressed Ascendant in Pisces, indicating personal success, recognition and achievement through writing and publishing (natal Jupiter in 9th house). This progression would have increased Bowie’s confidence and would have benefited from advice and support from influential people in the music industry.
Mercury-Midheaven Conjunction (Applying)
The converse Mercury was applying a conjunction to the natal Midheaven in Sagittarius. His song writing, composing and creative ideas would be of great significance in the music business, especially when you consider Gemini 5th house ruler and natal Midheaven in Sagittarius, indicating his creative ideas would achieve world-wide recognition.
The progressed Sun in Aquarius (1st house) trine to Neptune in Libra (8th house) and square his converse Midheaven in Scorpio (as mentioned previously). The Sun-Neptune progression is the strongest planetary progression during the year because both planets form a square aspect in his natal chart. This means the Sun-Neptune progression is an extension of the natal Sun-Mars conjunction in Capricorn (12th house) squaring Neptune in Libra (8th House). When talking about ‘Space Oddity’ and the persona Major Tom Bowie in the BBC documentary he describes the nature of the natal and progressed aspect (Sun-Neptune). David Bowie said:
‘I related it to myself a lot more than anything I’d written up until then…There was something about it that touched areas of my fears about my own insecurities socially and maybe emotionally [Sun-Mars, 12th house Square Neptune, 8th house]. This feeling of isolation [natal Sun in 12th house] that I had ever since I was a kid was really starting to manifest itself’ (progressed Sun 1st house trine Neptune 8th). The isolation of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) made it very obvious. ‘I really felt a sense of how you could write as an isolationist… I thought well, gee I am Major Tom, here I am in my own cosmic space…’ (Sun in 12th house square Neptune 8th house).
The progressed Sun trine Neptune indicates the realisation (Sun moving from 12th house to 1st house) of his dreams (Neptune). This planetary aspect often occurs when people become famous, especially when supported by other angular secondary directions. This planetary combination also is indicative of a highly creative period in his life and financial success in the arts (Neptune in Libra 8th house).
The converse Sun in Sagittarius was conjunct progressed Venus (11th house), indicating a very happy period in his life, achieving recognition in the arts, professional and financial success. This could have marked the time of a significant personal relationship and much happiness. During this progression David Bowie won The Ivor Novello Award (song writing and composing) for the single ‘Space Oddity’. The award is presented by the British Academy of songwriters, composers and authors (Sagittarius Midheaven and 11th house cusp). Although planets in Leo and 5th house reveal our talents and creativity the 11th house demonstrates how we express our talents to the outside world and through groups/societies (The Ivor Novello Award).
With Venus conjunct the Midheaven (Sagittarius) in the natal chart we would expect Venus interplanetary aspects to support Bowie’s significant success in the arts. Arguably one of the planetary aspects that is often shown in charts of successful people in the arts is Venus-Jupiter, especially the conjunction or trine. Bowie had converse Venus conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio (9th House) and natal Jupiter in Scorpio (9th house) trine to the progressed Ascendant in Pisces. Jupiter rules the 10th house and 11th house (Sagittarius Midheaven), providing additional astrological evidence to support Bowie’s personal success.
However, Bowie would have still felt some feelings of frustration due to progressed Mars in Aquarius (1st house) in opposition to Saturn in Leo (7th house) even though it also describes his determination and tenacity to succeed.
Worldwide Fame and Success 1972-1973
Although ‘Space Oddity’ was a great success the follow-up Album Man of Words/Man of Music (1969) initially failed, but in 1972 it was successfully re-released titled ‘Space Oddity’. By 1972 David Bowie created his next alter ego ‘Ziggy Stardust’ influenced by glam rock and the exploration of sexuality taboos (Sun-Mars conjunction in Capricorn 12th square Neptune in Libra, 8th house). ‘Ziggy Stardust’ transformed Bowie’s musical career. On January 29th, 1972 Bowie started his first world-wide tour ‘Ziggy Stardust’ which included 183 performances, ending on 3rd July1973. Bowie’s song writing genius was also demonstrated when writing the lyrics to Starman in fifteen minutes! Which was released in February 1972. The ‘Ziggy Stardust’ Album in the UK was released on 16 June 1972. It was during 1972 and 1973 when David Bowie gained worldwide recognition for his song writing and being a musician, singer, performer and taking an innovative approach to music.
The most significant secondary directions (progressed and converse) during 1972 and their implications are as follows:
What is surprising is that Bowie did not have many secondary directions during this year. However, his only solar progression, progressed Sun in Aquarius (1st house) in opposition to Pluto in Leo (7th house), indicates his change (Pluto) of self-identity (Sun) and emergence of a new stage persona ‘Ziggy Stardust’. This very intense and transformation also indicates his obsession with his persona ‘Ziggy Stardust’ (Pluto 7th house). The embodiment of ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and obsession with this persona can also be attributed to his natal Sun-Mars conjunction in Capricorn (12th House) square Neptune in Libra (8th House). Bowie said "[Ziggy] wouldn't leave me alone for years. That was when it all started to go sour... My whole personality was affected. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity."
Financially this would have been his most successful year since he first started his musical career in 1962. Interestingly Bowie had converse Venus conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio (9th house), which was active when he formed his first band 10 years earlier at the age of 15. This progression also demonstrates his popularity and artistic success.
Progressed Mercury in Aquarius (1st House) trine to Uranus in Gemini (natal Uranus conjunct 5th cusp), indicating sudden flashes of inspiration, innovative ideas, approach to song writing and inventing personas, which was quite revolutionary at the time. This progression also indicates the speed he wrote the lyrics for Starman in 15 minutes!
However, his world-wide tour was very demanding indicated by converse Saturn in Leo (7th house) square converse Midheaven (Scorpio) and converse Mars in Sagittarius (11th house) square to progressed Ascendant in Pisces, indicating extensive long-distance travel which would have been physically exhausting.
Additionally, his progressed Ascendant and Midheaven were changing signs (Ascendant changed from Pisces to Aries and Midheaven from Sagittarius to Capricorn) during 1972 making it an important transition in his personal and professional life.
When we look at secondary directions for 1973 Bowie still has progressed Sun in Aquarius (1st House) in opposition to Pluto in Leo (7th house). This progression not only indicates his obsession with his persona ‘Ziggy Stardust’ but also marked the end of ‘Ziggy Stardust’. Bowie said Ziggy needed to die (Pluto 7th house). However, this later gave birth to his next persona ‘Aladdin Sane’. This Sun-Pluto progression also demonstrate his memorising effect on his fans, fame and controversial performances that included him expressing taboo sexual experiences on stage. There is no doubt that this opposition produced intense creative performances and the ability for Bowie to become fully immersed into his stage personas.
Another secondary direction that was marking another turning point in his career was applying converse Sun in Sagittarius (10th house) in opposition to natal Uranus in Gemini (4th House). Indicating many long-distance journeys during his world-wide tour to 183 venues and living in many different locations around the world. This is further supported by converse Mercury in Sagittarius (9th house) trine to progressed Ascendant in Aries. The Sun-Uranus Opposition would have also marked an important shift in his songwriting and music, continuing his innovative approach with the persona ‘Aladdin Sane’. Bowie certainly would have felt under extreme pressure of a hectic schedule and having to adapt to new experiences (Sagittarius-Gemini polarity and Uranus in Gemini).
Progressed Mars in Aquarius (1st house) squares converse Midheaven in Scorpio demonstrating the energy he put into his performances and hectic schedule. Progressed Mars in Aquarius (1st house) was also making an opposition to Saturn in Leo (7th house), so it is very likely he would have pushed himself to the edge of physical exhaustion (progressed Mars 1st house).
What is most interesting is that Bowie had converse Venus conjunct converse Jupiter in Scorpio (9th House), which was operative since 1962, the beginning of his journey to fame. Progressed Venus also makes a conjunction to converse Mars in Sagittarius (10th house). This again supports converse Venus conjunction with converse Jupiter, indicating success in the arts, also adding charisma to his musical performances and attracting a massive fan base.
However, what is interesting about the years 1969, 1972 and 1973 most astrologers would expect solar directions in aspect to the angles (Ascendant and Midheaven), e.g. natal, progressed and converse during the years he become famous 1972-73. However, as this article proves that did not occur. Instead it adds evidence to Ronald Davidson’s theory that the success of a new enterprise is determined by secondary directions at the time of its inception or is just or more important than during the fruition of success.
As discussed in the previous article David Bowie’s Rise to Fame Part 1: The Beginning 1962 Bowie’s astrological chart revealed significant solar and interplanetary progressions to the Ascendant and Midheaven (natal, progressed and converse). In particular, the progressed Sun conjunct progressed Mercury and natal Ascendant in Aquarius and converse Jupiter conjunct converse midheaven in Scorpio (9th house). Jupiter is ruler of the natal midheaven (Sagittarius). This converse direction indicates professional success though transformation (Scorpio) and broadening experience (Jupiter) through professional challenges (Midheaven). This is supported by converse Venus conjunct natal Jupiter in Scorpio indicating success in the arts and financial abundance. These two progressions also demonstrate the support from influential people in the music industry and record labels. Therefore we can conclude that Ronald Davidson’s theory of delayed success appears to be correct in the case of David Bowie.