Updated: Oct 9, 2020
*Trigger warning for sexual assault, assault of minors, sexual violence*
For a little inspiration this Aries season, we’re going to write about the chart of Dr. Maya Angelou, a civil rights activist, poet, and memoirist. Over the course of her life, Dr. Angelou worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement, published over a dozen books, worked as a journalist in Egypt and Ghana while the African Continent was moving through decolonization, and lectured at universities across the world. Suffice to say, Dr. Angelou lived a tremendously full life, paving the way through her art and activism for the black community to access liberation and representative literature.
When we look at Dr. Angelou’s chart, there are many, many signatures that indicate long-term and sustained success. The first among these is the simple fact that she is an Aries: the sign of the sun’s exaltation, Aries is an energy that endows individuals with the tenacity, self-confidence, and courage necessary to be a fearless self-advocate. The sun in her chart is even stronger because it is located in the ninth house of publishing, long-distance travel, higher learning, belief, and spirituality. In this house, the sun is imbued with an extra potent dose of faith, and a powerful sense of purpose. We can see how over the course of Dr. Angelou’s life, the many varied roles she took on were in alignment with her values and beliefs. Whether it was her job as the first black woman streetcar driver in San Francisco at age sixteen, or her dedication to covering the liberation of African peoples as a journalist later in life, Dr. Angelou dedicated herself to acts in service of freedom for the oppressed. Leo is her rising sign, which makes the sun in Aries her ascendant ruler. This is a tremendous signature for success as well.
What’s more, Dr. Angelou has the moon in Libra, and, because her sun sign is Aries, we can recognize that she was born under a full moon since Aries and Libra are opposite signs. The full moon often signifies a life lived on the public stage, or, at the very least, some recognition for one’s life’s work. The moon falls in Angelou’s third house of communication, daily rituals, and siblings; just as the ninth house is the house of the sun’s joy, the third house is the house of the moon’s joy. Having both luminaries (the sun and the moon) in their favorite parts of the chart is yet another indication of Dr. Angelou’s noteworthy accomplishments. Indeed, both the ninth and the third houses have to do with writing.
Finally, one of the more challenging but still very challenging aspects in Dr. Angelou’s chart is her Venus and Mercury conjunction in the poetic sign Pisces, in the eighth house. In this sign, Venus is exalted and yet Mercury is in detriment, which gives this area of the chart a lot of potential to be both challenging and healing. The eighth house is a place of suffering, mental anguish, death and near-death experiences. At the age of eight, Dr. Angelou was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend, who, though convicted, was only sent to jail for a day but who was murdered when he got out, likely by Dr. Angelou’s uncles. Dr. Angelou had told her brother about the assault, and she imagined that in doing so she caused her rapist’s death. She was so afraid of the power of her words that she didn’t speak for the next five years, and family members attribute this time as the one in which she developed a love for reading that would inspire her own work later on. Of course, this in no way justifies or makes right her experience of rape at a young age; but it is through this extreme signature in the eighth house that we can understand how her art stems from a place of pain. Once Dr. Angelou had broken her silence, she was dedicated to telling her whole truth through her literature and activism. In keeping with this, the late poet is famous for saying,“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”