Avant-garde Musician Lou Reed Dead at 71

On Sunday, 27 October 2013, Rolling Stone reported that “Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today on Long Island. … With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry.”

Reed was the leader of The Velvet Underground and the composer of “Walk on the Wild Side.”  Adjectives used to describe his music include: avant-garde, inventive, thorny, restless, mercurial, unpredictable, bare-bones, progressive, groundbreaking, dark, stark, aggressive, alienating, bantering, paradoxical, and so on.  The New York Times headline read: “Outsider Whose Dark, Lyrical Vision Helped Shape Rock ‘n’ Roll.”  These descriptions carry strong astrological resonances of Aquarius and Uranus.  I would expect these factors to be prominent in his chart.

Mr. Reed’s death may have been related to his liver transplant in May of this year.  In the 1970s he was known for his bisexuality and excessive drug use.  According to the NY Times , his music dealt with themes of “love, sexual deviance, alienation, addiction, joy and spiritual transfiguration.”  He is reported to have received electro-convulsive therapy (ECT or ‘shock treatments’) in 1956 — allegedly his parents’ attempt to rid him of his bisexuality.

Lou Reed was born on 02 March 1942 in Brooklyn, NY, time unknown.  Here is a Noon chart with solar sign houses.

Lou Reed, 2 March 1942, time unknown, 12 Noon, solar sign houses.

Lou Reed, 2 March 1942, time unknown, 12 Noon, solar sign houses.

As expected, Lou Reed has his innermost planets, Mercury and Venus, in avant-garde, inventive Aquarius.  Mercury is a symbol for our way of thinking and communicating.  Venus represents love and affections, and is closely related to music and artistic expression.  The opposition of Pluto to these inner planets intensifies, and perhaps erotizes, their impact.  The opposition by Chiron (the ‘wounded healer’) adds unresolved personal hurts to the mix.  With Venus as the planet that most closely precedes the widest open space in the chart, Reed “leads” with his Venus in Aquarius (avant-garde music and unique way of expressing affection).

Reed has a powerful Saturn/Uranus/Mars conjunction in late Taurus, disposed by Venus in Aquarius, with Saturn disposing his Mercury and Venus in Aquarius.  This triple conjunction in Taurus trines transcendental Neptune in Virgo.  Neptune is a planet also closely associated with music and drug use.

His Pisces Sun rules his solar sign 6th house of illness and squares his Jupiter in in Gemini.  Jupiter rules the liver, so we might expect health problems related to his liver.

By mundane primary direction, ASC-ruler Jupiter is moving toward Uranus (the planet of electric shock).  This conjunction perfects in mid-1956 around the time Mr. Reed suffered his electro-convulsive treatments to his brain in an alleged effort to straighten out his sexual orientation.  Most likely his natal Mars/Uranus conjunction symbolizes ECT (electrical energy applied to the head, symbolized by Mars).  With natal Neptune trine his Uranus, he made use of this difficult experience to write his song 1974 song, “Kill Your Sons.”  With primary directed Jupiter conjoining Uranus in Taurus in 1956, it is not surprising that Reed commented on his throat (ruled by Taurus) when he recounted his ECT in 1966:

“They put the thing down your throat so you don’t swallow your tongue, and they put electrodes on your head.  That’s what was recommended in Rockland State Hospital to discourage homosexual feelings.  The effect is that you lose your memory and become a vegetable.  You can’t read a book because you get to page 17 and have to go right back to page one again.”  —Lou Reed quoted in Please Kill Me (1996)

It is amazing how astrological symbolism plays out in a chart and in people’s lives.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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