Alex Miller, Asteroid Files

Sappho in the Charts of Lesbians and Lyricists

by Alex Miller on August 1, 2013

Asteroid Sappho in the Charts of Lesbians and Poets

The term “lesbian” was coined by psychologists in the late 19th century to refer to female homosexuals, as was “Sapphic”, though lesbian could be both a noun and an adjective, whereas Sapphic is only a modifier. But where do the terms come from?

From Sappho of Lesbos, a female poet of ancient Greece who was the first, and essentially the only, writer to extol the pleasures of girl/girl romance, until the 20th century. Sappho lived in the 7th and 6th centuries BC, was born on the isle of Lesbos (hence “Lesbian”), and gained such a reputation for the beauty of her poetry that her fame has endured undimmed to the present day, despite the fact that only fragments of her work have survived. While Sappho wrote love paeans to members of both sexes, it is her works about female inamoratas that have made the most impression. Sappho’s artistry was so admired that she was sometimes referred to as “the Tenth Muse,” referring to the divine sisters who prompt men to excel in their creative efforts.

The asteroid Sappho (#80) was the first to be named for an actual personage in the ancient world, and not a Greek or Roman mythic character. Discovered 2 May 1864 by Norman Pogson at the Madras Observatory in India, Sappho is a Main Belt asteroid, somewhat larger than the norm, with an orbital period of roughly three and a half years.
Sappho’s astrological glyph is a twined version of two Venus glyphs, to denote her importance in delineating lesbian and gay issues generally. And, as one might suspect, asteroid Sappho does appear prominently in the natal charts of noted lesbian women, particularly when aspected to the Sun (self-identity), Venus (intimacy and romance) or Mars (sexual attraction). She is also active in her traditional vocation of poesy, when aspected to the Sun, Mercury (writing), Saturn (career) or Neptune (poetry generally).

Gertrude Stein—Sappho opposing Sun

Gertrude Stein—Sappho opposing Sun

Expatriate American writer Gertrude Stein is perhaps best remembered for her sexuality and her quotation, “a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” During her lifetime, she garnered international attention from her extensive private collection of modern art and her unconventional relationship with Alice B. Toklas, with whom she cohabited for almost 40 years. An intimate of Ernest Hemingway, Stein spent most of her life in Paris and the south of France, where she coined the terminology “lost generation” for those coming of age between the two World Wars. Several of her works contain lesbian themes, including “Things As They Are” (completed in 1903 but only published posthumously in 1950) and “Tender Buttons” (1914), but it was her essay “Miss Furr and Miss Skeene” which made the most impact. First published in “Vanity Fair” magazine in 1922, this is among the earliest lesbian coming-out stories, and may be the first printed use of the newly-coined slang term “gay” for homosexuals, a word Stein uses more than a hundred times in the essay. Born 3 February 1874, Stein’s natal Sappho at 23 Libra broadly opposes the 14 Aries Sun and is inconjunct Mars at 25 Pisces.

As with male homosexuals, the social stigma of a gay lifestyle was such in the early years of the 20th century that many lesbian entertainers and celebrities kept their sexuality secret. It was not until the gay rights movements of the late 1960s that well-known lesbians began to be open about their orientation. Two pioneers in this process were tennis greats Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, both of whom formally came out in 1981.

Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King, Sappho semisextile Sun

Billie Jean King, winner of 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, was an early advocate against sexism in sports as well as a vocal supporter of women’s reproductive rights. Her personal life first made controversy in 1972 when she revealed in a Ms. Magazine interview that she had had an abortion the year before. King was married at the time, but had recognized her attraction to women in the mid-‘60s, and did not feel the marriage was stable enough to bring a child into the world. That same year she began an affair with her secretary, Marilyn Barnett, but King did not come out publically until forced to do so a decade later by Barnett’s palimony suit. Born 22 November 1943, King’s natal Sappho at 0 Scorpio is semisextile her Sun at 29 Scorpio and sesquiquadrate Mars at 17 Gemini.

Martina Navratilova’s coming out was much more voluntary. Born in Czechoslovakia, Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles (a world record) and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, and was a World No.1. She came out in 1981 shortly after becoming a US citizen, while she was involved with author Rita Mae Brown. Born 18 October 1956, Navratilova’s natal Sappho at 25 Leo is exactly sextile her Sun at 25 Libra.

kd lang

k.d. lang, natal Sappho trining Sun

Three popular singers who came out in the ‘90s are k.d. lang, Melissa Etheridge and Amy Ray. Canadian songstress k.d.lang is the winner of four Grammy awards whose most popular single, “Constant Craving”, peaked at #38 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1992. Lang came out that year in an interview with The Advocate magazine. Born 2 November 1961, lang’s natal Sappho at 27 Scorpio conjoins Mars at 21 Scorpio.

Melissa Etheridge is a two-time Grammy winner with 27 million albums sold worldwide, and an Academy Award for Best Original Song (for “I Need To Wake Up” from the 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”). Her most popular hits include “Come To My Window” and “I’m the Only One”. Etheridge first came out publically in 1993 at the Triangle Ball, a gay and lesbian celebration of Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. Born 29 May 1961, Etheridge’s natal Sappho at 10 Libra trines her 7 Gemini Sun and is sextile to Mars at 12 Leo.

Amy Ray forms half of the folk duo “Indigo Girls”, with high school friend Emily Saliers (also lesbian, although the two are not involved); together the duo have released a dozen albums. Ray, whose two sisters are also lesbian, came out before her professional premiere, and with Saliers is a strong supporter of gay rights, performing often at AIDS benefits. Born 12 April 1964, Ray’s natal Sappho at 28 Leo is trine her Sun at 22 Aries and sesquiquadrate Mars at 10 Aries.

Actresses can have an even harder time assimilating into mainstream venues after coming out, as their heterosexual roles can be seen as inauthentic. Meredith Baxter is best known for her portrayal of the mother in the popular ‘80s sitcom “Family Ties”, starring Michael J. Fox. Though married three times and the mother of 5 children, Baxter now identifies as gay, officially coming out in 2009 on the “Today” show. Born 21 June 1947, Baxter’s natal Sappho at 4 Libra is squared her Sun at 29 Gemini and trine Venus at 9 Gemini.

Emmy, Tony and Grammy winner Cynthia Nixon is best known for her work on the wildly popular HBO series, “Sex in the City” (1998-2004). Previously involved for fifteen years with an English professor with whom she had two children, Nixon began an affair with current fiancée, activist Christine Marinoni in 2003. Nixon resists labeling her sexuality, defining herself currently as “a woman in love with another woman.” Born 9 April 1966, Nixon’s natal Sappho at 13 Aries conjoins both her 19 Aries Sun and Mars at 23 Aries.

Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch, Sappho square Sun, trine Venus

Jane Lynch, star of the popular TV series “Glee”, is an Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner with a varied acting history. A break-out role as a butch lesbian dog trainer in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary “Best In Show” in 2000 led to continuing work in his ensemble casts and recurring roles in popular TV shows such as “Two and a Half Men”, “The L Word” and “Criminal Minds”. Lynch is openly lesbian, and was marred in 2010 to clinical psychologist Dr. Lara Embry. Lynch’s natal Sappho at 16 Leo conjoins Mars at 17 Leo.
Actress Sara Gilbert is best known as Darlene on one of TV’s most successful sitcoms ever, “Roseanne” (1988-1997); the show won 4 Emmys and was Nielsen rated #1. Gilbert has been in a relationship with Allison Adler since 2002, with Adler giving birth to a son in 2004 and Gilbert giving birth to a daughter in 2007. Gilbert did not formally come out as lesbian until 2010. Born 29 January 1975, Gilbert’s natal Sappho at 2 Scorpio squares the Sun at 8 Aquarius, is trine Venus at 29 Aquarius, and sextile Mars at 5 Capricorn.

Degeneres and Rossi

Degeneres and Rossi, Sapphos conjunct

Perhaps the most well-known lesbian couple is comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actress Portia de Rossi, married in August 2008. De Rossi, a featured player in the cast of the popular TV series “Ally McBeal”, was formerly married, to documentary film maker Mel Metcalfe, a bid to gain the Australian-born actress a green card. They divorced in 1999, and de Rossi began a relationship with singer Francesca Gregorini, Ringo Starr’s stepdaughter. In 2004 she began dating Ellen DeGeneres, and officially came out in magazine interviews the following year. DeGeneres, a stand-up comic who had progressed to a popular TV series, had been out since 1997, and was previously involved with actresses Anne Heche, who went on to marry a cameraman, and Alexandra Hedison, with whom she split in 2004. De Rossi (born 31 January 1973) and DeGeneres (born 26 January 1958) share very similar chart placements. Their Sapphos are conjunct, de Rossi’s at 5 Sagittarius and DeGeneres’ at 0 Sagittarius, from where they sextile their Suns, at 11 and 6 Aquarius respectively. They also have Mars conjunct each others’, at 21 and 24 Sagittarius.

Lily Tomlin and Wanda Sykes are two other successful lesbian comedians. Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner Lily Tomlin became an icon of American comedy through such venues as “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” and movie roles including “9 to 5″ (1980), “All of Me” (1984), “Big Business” (1988) and “the Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” (1991), the last a one-woman show written with her life partner, Jane Wagner. Tomlin met Wagner in 1971, and the two have been inseparable for 40 years; Tomlin was never secretive about her sexuality, referencing Wagner as her partner in interviews, but did not officially come out publically until 2001. Born 1 September 1929, Tomlin’s natal Sappho at 29 Leo broadly conjoins the Sun at 8 Virgo and Venus at 6 Virgo, and is inconjunct Mars at 24 Capricorn.

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes, Sappho trine Venus and opposing Mars

Stand-up comic and actress Wanda Sykes is best known for her work on the TV series “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, but spent 15 years building up her career in stand-up and various supporting roles in films. In “Curb” she plays herself, and is very frank about her lesbianism. In May 2009, Sykes hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner with President Obama and the Washington Press Corps, becoming both the first African American woman and first openly gay entertainer to do so. Sykes was married to record producer Dave Hall in the ‘90s, but the couple divorced and Sykes entered a same-sex marriage in October 2008, officially coming out a month later. Sykes and her wife Alex have twins, a boy and a girl born in April 2009. Born 7 March 1964, Sykes’ natal Sappho at 4 Virgo is trine Venus at 29 Aries and opposed Mars at 12 Pisces.

Three out-of-the-box examples of famous lesbians with prominent Sappho placements are Aileen Wuornos, Suze Orman and Rachel Maddow. Aileen Wuornos was a Florida prostitute and serial killer, charged with killing 7 clients and convicted of six murders. Wuornos was married young, to a man almost 50 years her senior, but they were divorced just nine weeks after their wedding. Wuornos’ sexual interactions with men were primarily business, and she spent several years living with a lesbian lover, Tyria Moore, who was later instrumental in getting her to confess. Wuornos claimed self defense, that the men she killed had attempted to rape her, but she was convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection, performed in 2002. Charlize Theron won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Wuornos in the 2003 film “Monster”. Born 29 February 1956, Wuornos’ natal Sappho at 4 Taurus is sextile the Sun at 9 Pisces and trine Mars at 0 Capricorn.

TV financial adviser and author Suze Orman began her career with Merrill Lynch, later becoming vice president of investments for Prudential Bache Securities before forming her own investment company, The Suze Orman Financial Group, in 1987. In 2007 she began hosting “Can I Afford It?”, an interactive TV show offering financial advice, and her first appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, where she became a frequent guest, came in 2008. She also writes a financial advice column for “O”, Winfrey’s magazine. Orman has written nine New York Times bestsellers, and written, co-produced and hosted seven PBS specials based on her books. In 2007, she formally came out in an interview in The New York Times Magazine and in 2010 married Kathy Travis, a co-producer on CNBC’s “The Suze Orman Show”, in South Africa. Born 5 June 1951, Orman’s natal Sappho at 1 Sagittarius is trine Venus at 28 Cancer and opposed Mars at 10 Gemini.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow, Sappho conjunct Mars and Venus

TV news commentator Rachel Maddow is the first openly gay woman to host her own prime time show on a cable news network. MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” premiered in September 2008. Maddow got her start in radio on a morning show in Massachusetts, but garnered a national following in 2004 when she joined the Air America network, the progressive response to conservative talk radio. By 2005 she had become a frequent contributor to MSNBC, and began guest hosting for Keith Olbermann on his popular “Countdown” show in the spring of 2008. That September she began following him nightly on her own show, doubling MSNBC’s audience share for that hour within a month. She has been with her partner, artist Susan Mikula, since 1999. Born 1 April 1973, Maddow’s natal Sappho at 13 Aries conjoins both the Sun and Venus at 11 and 9 Aries, and is quintile Mars at 3 Aquarius.

Asteroid Sappho has not been neglectful of her ancient namesake’s profession, either, appearing prominently in the charts of famed poets through the centuries. From English Romantic poets William Blake and Percy Shelley through American icons Sylvia Plath and Maya Angelou, we see Sappho’s footprints, in metered measure.

Many poets have Sappho combined with Mercury, a natural combination for a writer, or Saturn, defining them as poets by profession. Among the former are William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Keats, from the early stages of the English Romantic movement, idealizing nature and emotion, which flourished from the mid-1700s through the late 1800s and was a reaction to the scientific, fact-based approach of the Enlightenment.

William Blake

William Blake, Sappho in Grand Trine with Mercury and Saturn

William Blake’s fame as an artist perhaps eclipsed his poetry during his lifetime, but he is best remembered today for his poems, including “Jerusalem”, “Songs of Innocence”, “The Tiger”, and “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” No grade school poetry recitation is complete without the first stanza of “The Tiger”: “Tyger, Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” Born 28 November 1757, Blake’s natal Sappho at 1 Gemini is opposed Mercury at 26 Scorpio and the Sun at 6 Sagittarius. William Wordsworth is the author of such popular favorites as “Tintern Abbey”, “My Heart Leaps Up” and “Ode To Duty”, but his best-known work is “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud”, more commonly referred to as “Daffodils”, with the oft-quoted lines, “I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils”. Wordsworth’s (born 7 April 1770) natal Sappho at 27 Scorpio forms a Grand Trine with Mercury at 24 Pisces and Saturn at 25 Cancer.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge made a dramatic impact on both his contemporaries and future generations with his lengthy lyric poems, among them “Christabel”, “Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The Gothic-themed “Christabel” was significant as one of the first literary attempts to portray vampirism, though the term itself had not yet been invented, and “The Ancient Mariner” has given us the image of an albatross about one’s neck as a metaphor for past actions hindering success, as well as the oft-used (and usually misquoted) phrases “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” and “a sadder and a wiser man.” Born 21 October 1772, Coleridge’s natal Sappho at 18 Virgo is a quadruple threat, with an exact semisextile to Mercury at 18 Libra, conjunct both Saturn and Neptune at 9 and 17 Virgo, and semisquare the Sun at 29 Libra. John Keats is the author of “Hyperion”, “Endymion” and “Ode To a Nightingale”, perhaps his most famous work; his poetry was not enthusiastically received during his lifetime, but he has become among the most beloved, popular and most-analyzed English poets of any era. Keats’ (born 31 October 1795) natal Sappho at 23 Pisces is trine Mercury at 0 Sagittarius and sesquiquadrate a Sun/Neptune conjunction at 8 and 6 Scorpio.

Lord Byron

Lord Byron, Sappho sextile Saturn, semisextile Sun

Close contemporaries of Keats’ were his friends Percy Bysshe Shelley and George Gordon, Lord Byron, who with Keats formed a sort of poets’ triumvirate in the second generation of English Romantic poets. Shelley is noted for such contributions as “To a Skylark”, “Ode to the West Wind”, “Prometheus Unbound” and “Adonais”, written as an elegy for Keats; his second wife Mary Godwin was the author of “Frankenstein”. Byron was justly famed in his lifetime both for his poetry and the tempestuousness of his private life. His bisexuality and allegations of incest scandalized English society, forcing him to spend much of his time abroad, frequently in the company of the Shelleys. Byron’s most famous works include “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”, “The Giaour”, “Don Juan” and “She Walks in Beauty”, which yields among the most famous lines ever penned: “She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies, And all that’s best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes”. Shelley (born 4 August 1792) and Byron (born 22 January 1788) share aspects from natal Sappho to both Saturn and the Sun; Shelley’s Sappho at 15 Gemini is semisquare Saturn at 2 Taurus and sextile the 12 Leo Sun; Byron’s natal Sappho at 2 Capricorn is sextile Saturn at 27 Aquarius and semisextile the Sun at 1 Aquarius.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns, Sappho inconjunct Saturn, trine Sun

Also sporting Sappho with the Sun and Saturn is Scottish poet Robert Burns, widely regarded by his countrymen as the national poet of Scotland. A cultural icon, Burns portrayed the Scotland of his day with simplicity and sincerity, sometimes with fondness and at others with sarcasm, but always memorably, and always in the somewhat impenetrable Scots dialect of his time. He wrote more than 500 poems and songs, among the most enduring of which are “Tam O’Shanter”, “John Barleycorn”, “Auld Lang Syne” and “Coming Through the Rye”. Born 25 January 1759, Burns’ natal Sappho at 4 Libra is inconjunct Saturn at 2 Pisces and exactly trine the Sun at 4 Aquarius.

Perhaps the most famous married poet couple were Robert Browning and his wife Elizabeth Barrett, among the foremost poets of the Victorian era, along with Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The Brownings spent virtually all of their married life in Italy, a more congenial climate for Elizabeth’s health, but continued to impact their native land with such works as “Paracelsus”, “Pippa Passes” and “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” (from him); and “The Battle of Marathon”, “The Seraphim” and “Sonnets from the Portuguese” (from her). Elizabeth (born 6 March 1806) conforms to the model of Sappho with Sun and Saturn, having the asteroid natally at 25 Pisces, inconjunct Saturn at 27 Libra and conjoined the Sun broadly at 15 Pisces. Robert inaugurates a new model, of Sappho with both Mercury and Saturn. Born 7 May 1812, his natal Sappho at 1 Capricorn conjoins Saturn at 7 Capricorn and is exactly sesquiquadrate Mercury at 16 Taurus.


Tennyson, Sappho square Mercury and in conjunct Saturn

Tennyson and Longfellow share this Sappho/Mercury/Saturn combination. Tennyson was Poet Laureate of Britain during much of Victoria’s reign, and produced such memorable works as “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, “Tears, Idle Tears”, “The Lady of Shalott” and “The Idylls of the King”. His words live on in common conversation with the quotes “Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die” and “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Born 6 August 1809, Tennyson’s natal Sappho at 23 Aries is squared Mercury at 25 Cancer and inconjunct Saturn at 27 Scorpio.

Longfellow was among the best-known American poets of his day, with such popular and enduring successes as “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Courtship of Miles Standish”, which cemented early American tradition into almost sacred legend. Phrases originating in Longfellow which continue in common parlance include “into each life some rain must fall” and “ships that pass in the night.” Born 27 February 1827, Longfellow’s natal Sappho at 10 Cancer forms a Grand Trine with a Sun/Mercury conjunction at 8 and 9 Pisces and Saturn at 10 Scorpio.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman, Sappho inconjunct Sun, trine Mercury, squared Saturn

Longfellow’s compatriot and contemporary was Walt Whitman, perhaps the premiere American poet of his, or any, generation. Whitman’s impact on his genre was immense; sometimes referred to as the “father of free verse,” Whitman’s style bridged transcendentalism and realism, and his work was very controversial in its time for what was considered its overt sexual themes, which many characterized as homosexual or bisexual in nature. “Leaves of Grass”, first published in 1855 but added to until Whitman’s death in 1892, was his masterwork, including “Song of Myself” and “I Sing the Body Electric.” “O Captain! My Captain!”, written as an elegy after Lincoln’s assassination, was among the most popular of his poems during his lifetime. Born 31 May 1819, Whitman’s natal Sappho at 7 Capricorn is inconjunct the Sun at 9 Gemini, trine Mercury at 14 Taurus, squared Saturn at 29 Pisces, and broadly conjunct Neptune at 27 Sagittarius, making it a leading factor of the horoscope.

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, Sappho inconjunct Sun, trine Neptune

Emily Dickinson made very little poetic impact during her life, with barely a dozen of her more than 1800 poems published before her death. Reclusive and solitary, Dickinson wrote short, often untitled works, centering on themes of death and immortality, often of a sentimental nature. Her complete and unedited works were not available until 1955, almost 70 years after her death. Much of her posthumous reputation evolved from the growing feminist and suffragist movements, which sought to glorify Dickinson as the epitome of female American writers. Among her more familiar lines are “Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality” and “It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.” Born 10 December 1830, Dickinson’s natal Sappho at 15 Taurus is inconjunct the Sun at 17 Sagittarius and trine Neptune at 21 Capricorn.

Influential early 20th century American poets include Carl Sandburg and T.S. Eliot, both of whom had prominent Sappho placements in the birth chart. Sandburg won two Pulitzer Prizes for poetry, and much of his work centered on life in Chicago and Illinois generally, where he spent most of his life. He was also a prose author, and won a third Pulitzer for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps his most famous poem is “Fog”, containing the oft-quoted line, “The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.” Born 6 January 1878, Sandburg’s natal Sappho at 23 Scorpio is sextile Mercury at 25 Capricorn and trine Saturn at 15 Pisces.

T. S Eliot has been ranked as the most important English-language poet of the 20th century, a master of the modernist style and a Nobel laureate for Literature in 1948. Famous works include “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, “The Hollow Men” and “The Waste Land”, his masterwork, which begins with Eliot’s most-remembered line, “April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, Stirring dull roots with spring rain.” Born 26 September 1888, Eliot’s natal Sappho at 14 Scorpio is squared Saturn at 16 Leo and semisquare the Sun at 3 Libra.

Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg, Sappho sextile Saturn, semisextile Neptune

Allen Ginsberg was the leading voice of the Beat Generation, the post-war writers and artists who were among the first to decry the militarism and consumerism of the US, and began the process of drug experimentation and sexual freedom which grew into the full-blown anti-establishment movements of the ‘60s. One of the earliest writers to speak openly about his homosexuality, Ginsberg’s work often focused on the importance of erotic experience and the spiritual quest; a practicing Buddhist, Ginsberg bent or shattered every convention he could find, even listing his lifelong partner Peter Orlovsky as his spouse in his “Who’s Who?” entry. His most famous poem is “Howl”, which begins with the line, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,” and deals frankly with Ginsberg’s sexual relationships with men. Brought to national attention by an obscenity trial in 1957, Ginsberg was acquitted, but continued to push the boundaries on gay rights. Born 3 June 1926, Ginsberg’s natal Sappho at 22 Virgo is sextile Saturn at 21 Scorpio and semisextile Neptune at 22 Leo.

Sylvia Plath may be better known for her prose writing, including “The Bell Jar”, her semi-autobiographical novel, but she began her poetry writing career at the age of eight in Massachusetts. Plath popularized the emerging genre of confessional poetry, and was the first poet to receive a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, after her suicide in 1963, for “The Collected Poems”. “The Colossus” and “Ariel” are among her more famous works. Born 27 October 1932, Plath’s natal Sappho at 19 Virgo is semisquare the Sun at 3 Scorpio, sextile Mercury at 21 Scorpio, broadly trine Saturn at 28 Capricorn and broadly conjunct Neptune at 9 Virgo.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, Sappho semisquare Mercury

Maya Angelou is among the most prolific Black American poets, with a series of six autobiographical volumes of poetry based in her early life experience, including the most famous, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. Angelou was also active in the Civil Rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and has recited poems at the inaugurations of two US presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She has won three Grammys, and been nominated for a Tony and Pulitzer. Born 4 April 1928, Angelou’s natal Sappho at 7 Taurus is semisquare Mercury at 20 Pisces and sesquiquadrate Saturn at 19 Sagittarius.

Asteroid Sappho is perhaps the most influential of the solar system bodies named for actual individuals, cutting a wide swath across sexuality and artistry throughout the ages. In the birth chart, she can indicate sexual preference, but also a capacity for poetic expression or artistic interests in general, and a willingness to embrace what others reject.

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carol August 13, 2013 at 6:12 am

Hmmm. Sappho at 5 Aquarius, sextile natal Merc in Aries, trine (nearly exact) natal Venus in Gemini. Hmmmm…..

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