Muhammed Ali (1942 – 2016)

“I am the greatest.  I said that even before I knew I was.”

Boxer Muhammed Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, passed away on Friday evening, from respiratory complications while in hospital on life support.  He was 74.  He ensured his place in the history of professional heavyweight boxing.  But he was a larger than life character, not least in his own estimation, and earned worldwide admiration inside and outside the boxing ring.

His Birth Chart

Some of the strength of Ali comes from a legendary 7 (of 10) planets in Fixed signs: no one is going to deflect him from his course! [Quote: “The will must be stronger than the skill”].  He also has 5 (half) his planets in Earth signs, which is also a great strength.  He has 0 planets in Water, so may not be deflected by emotion.

His Sun was in Capricorn, a strong sign; he managed to live with Parkinson’s Disease for 32 years, a condition which has had many demoralized very quickly, but he bore it with dignity and always managed a humorous quip when in public.  The Pugilist in him comes from a square of Mars to his natal Sun, real fighting spirit, square closely Pluto (violence).  His talent for fighting was further enhanced by a trine to his Mars from the Part of Fortune.

He also had a strong Grand Trine, composed of his Sun in Capricorn, Saturn/Uranus in Taurus, and Neptune in Virgo.  The Saturn/Uranus strength could be devastating to an opponent.  The Sun in his chart was exactly trine his Uranus, so he was very independent and relied on the power of Surprise over his opponents.

His verbal prowess came from Mercury closely conjunct Moon (imaginative language: “The man who has no imagination has no wings”) and Venus (poetic prose) in Aquarius (thought ahead of his time).  The Moon was exactly trine his Jupiter, so his emotions were extremely positive, and he kept himself buoyant by expressing those thoughts about himself: “It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief.  And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

His Midheaven (careerpoint) was in Taurus (which is associated with boxing) square exactly the Moon in Aquarius.  Mercury too was square his Midheaven.  Chiron was exactly square his Midheaven, too.  On a personal level, he will have had a lot invested in his career, but there was an enforced career break along the way.

Uranus trine his Neptune gave him a higher tactical intelligence; he could see complexities and nuances that perhaps his opponents could not, and devise strategies accordingly (such as wearing them out).

The showman in him came from Leo rising, with Chiron and Pluto also in Leo (in 12th House).


At the age of 18 he made his professional debut, on October 29th 1960, and won against Tunney Hunsaker.  Mars was sextile his natal North Node in his 1st House in Virgo, and Jupiter was square his natal Neptune.

His breakthrough came at the age of 22 when he took the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston.  That this was a major watershed in his life is shown by his Progressed Sun  reaching his natal Descendant at the time.

Sonny Liston

The result of his match against Sonny Liston was a major upset in the boxing world.  Cassius Clay as he then was, became the youngest boxer to defeat a reigning heavyweight champion.

Sonny Liston, who was nicknamed “The Big Bear” had Mars conjunct Uranus and Mercury in Aries, and Sun conjunct Chiron in Taurus.  His Mars was exactly square Muhammed’s Sun in Capricorn, and at the time of the fight, Neptune was exactly opposing Sonny’s Neptune, throwing him into confusion.

Muhammed Ali had already established a verbal sparring technique of psychologically taunting his opponents ahead of a match.  For Liston, he had the words: “Liston even smells like a bear. After I beat him I’m going to donate him to the zoo.”

After the match Muhammed Ali declared: “Eat your words!” He added, “I am the greatest! I shook up the world. I’m the prettiest thing that ever lived.”

He had written a poem, stating:

“Who on Earth thought, when they came to the fight,

That they would witness the launching of a human satellite.

Hence the crowd did not dream, when they laid down their money,

That they would see a total eclipse of Sonny.”

At the time of this triumph, Jupiter was exactly trine Clay’s Ascendant, Mars was sextile his Mars, and Pluto was trine his Midheaven.

Boxing was a very high profile sport in the 1960s possibly because of Cassius Clay, and it seemed to me, as a 14-year old in 1964 a barbaric way of expending energy in a leisure pursuit.  I was told wrestling was more humane, as it was more controlled by certain conventions, but I never watched any wrestling.  Cassius Clay was mesmerizing and charismatic, whatever you thought of his choice of profession.  I was to have more admiration for his character as time went on.

I also felt sorry for his opponents, who he would inevitably label as “ugly” while holding up his own “beauty”.  For a teenager, this was very conflicting and shocking.  But his self-esteem was to be applauded, even if it did transcend all boundaries of arrogance and megalomania. He was the first American I remember to have expressed Black Pride, and that was heartwarming to hear, and of great service to many.

Conscientious Objector

How often it seems that warriors turn peacemakers.  Mohammed Ali (as he then became) refused to fight in Vietnam for reasons that he had “no quarrel with them Vietcong.”

Mars was opposite his natal Mars, and Uranus was trine his natal Saturn.  His boxing licence was revoked.

This was quite a sacrifice for Muhammed Ali in the prime of his boxing career, and he was not allowed to fight for nearly four years, from early 1967 to late 1970.  He started to fight again around the time of his Saturn Return in 10th House of Career.  Transiting Neptune was also sextile his natal Sun, and Pluto trine his natal Uranus.

Joe Frazier

His next major opponent was Joe Frazier, their first fight taking place in 1971, a match which Ali lost.  Joe Frazier had a natal conjunction of Pluto and the North Node (a karmic mission to embody the Shadow).  His natal Mars was exactly sextile Ali’s Pluto, his Saturn trine Ali’s Venus and his Uranus sextile Ali’s Pluto, which are strong connections.  Ali went on to win the second and third matches against Frazier, and considered him a fine opponent.  Frazier felt that the verbal sparring was unfair.

George Foreman

George Foreman was Ali’s next opponent, their first meeting being in October 1974, with Neptune square Foreman’s Ascendant.  He admitted that Ali “outthought me and outfought me.”  While Sonny Liston was a Taurean (a traditional sign for a boxer), Muhammed Ali (17th January), Joe Frazier (12th January) and George Foreman (10th January) were all Capricornian.  That’s one for the stats!  Foreman’s Mars was exactly opposite Muhammed’s Pluto, and Foreman’s Jupiter was exactly trine Muhammed’s Midheaven.  These two factors would give Ali a natural advantage.  The South Node on Ali’s Jupiter may have conferred an extra karmic advantage.


On July 27, 1979, Ali announced his retirement from boxing, but this was to be shortlived as he was enticed back into the ring, with poor results. He was beginning to display the beginnings of Parkinson’s Disease, very likely from head injuries related to boxing, though he is quoted as denying it.  Saturn was square his Jupiter in Gemini in 10th House.  He was formally diagnosed with the syndrome in 1984.

Parkinson’s Syndrome

In a blog of  August 2012 I analysed his condition thus:

” For Muhammed Ali, one of the most relevant features in his birthchart might be Uranus exactly trine with his Sun.  Although this is a favourable aspect, and accounts for his brilliance, there may have been a degree of strain to his nervous system involved.  His Uranus in turn is stressed by a conjunction with Saturn.  Mars squares his natal Pluto by 1 degree, which describes the violence of his profession, but also the strain on the physical body.  It has been thought that his Parkinson’s was caused by repeated trauma to the head during his boxing career.  He also has Pluto conjunct Chiron (extreme suffering) in the 12th House of chronic conditions.  Also causing difficulty would be Saturn exactly square his Venus.  For the planet I associate with the nervous system, Mercury, there is a trine with Jupiter (he has a way with words) but a close opposition with Chiron (the wounded healer).  A connection between Mercury and Chiron often disrupts the nervous system.

At the time of his diagnosis in 1984 he was undergoing his Uranus Opposition, and Uranus may be a key planet in relation to this disease.  Also in that year Neptune was squaring his natal Neptune, an aspect which may bring confusion and illness.”


Strong aspects to his Jupiter (two trines and a sextile) testify to his strong religious convictions, and strong aspects to his Neptune (two trines) show the strength of his spirituality.

Muhammed Ali always portrayed Islam as peaceful.  He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975, under his mentor Elijah Muhammed, who led the Nation of Islam movement.  Elijah Muhammed had a natal conjunction of Mercury conjunct Jupiter in Virgo, which may have given him mental positivity.  He also had Uranus conjunct Saturn, like Muhammed Ali, in Scorpio, opposite his conjunction, but with Uranus exactly opposite, offering a unique perspective for Ali, almost a telepathic link.  His Jupiter was trine Ali’s Uranus, and his Saturn/Uranus was exactly sextile Ali’s Sun.  At the time of this conversion, Ali’s Progressed Sun entered Pisces.

Later in life, he converted to Universal Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, as a follower of Inayat Khan.  Although Khan had died before Ali was born, there was a great affinity in their charts.  Their Marses were in trine, Khan’s Uranus was conjunct Ali’s North Node in Virgo, firing his karmic path, and  Khan’s Pluto was exactly trine Ali’s natal Neptune in Virgo, initiating his mystical power.  At the time of this conversion, Ali’s Progressed Sun entered the sign of Aries.

Boxer turned Peacemaker

Notably, Ali intervened in the Gulf War in 1991, in visiting Saddam Hussein to try to sway him in the matter of the release of American hostages.

Later, in 2002, he travelled to Afghanistan as the “U.N. Messenger of peace” guesting as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. in Kabul.

Marriage and Children

Muhammed Ali had Venus in 7th House of Marriage, with the sign of Aquarius on the cusp.  He had four marriages.  Sagittarius was on the cusp of his 5th House of Children, which was empty, but its ruler Jupiter was exactly trine Moon (depicting his 7 daughters).  He also had two sons.

His third wife was Veronica Porsche, whose Sun was in his 5th House of children, and their second daughter Laila Ali followed her father into the boxing profession.  Laila is also a Capricorn (30th December), with an exact trine between Chiron and Saturn, exactly bisected by Jupiter forming two sextiles.  She has Mercury, Venus and Sun in his 5th House of Children, and herself has two children (his grandchildren).

Ali’s Mars (fighting spirit) is trine Laila’s Venus and Moon, his Neptune squares her Jupiter (she is not religious), his North Node is exactly sextile her Uranus and his Nodal Axis exactly square her Neptune.  So they have quite a karmic bond, based on inspiration and empathy.

His fourth marriage was on 19th November 1986, to “Lonnie” Williams, with whom he has an adopted son.

Archetypes and Animal Totems

“I’m a poet, I’m a prophet, I’m the resurrector, I’m the savior of the boxing world. If it wasn’t for me, the game would be dead.”

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”


Ali looked increasingly frail in recent years, and his aspects on Friday evening were mixed.  Mars was sextile his natal Sun, Saturn was sextile his natal Moon/Mercury, Neptune was square his Jupiter as he crossed the veil, Mars opposed his Uranus at his shock departure, and Chiron was sextile his Uranus which may depict a merciful end, to a true individual.

“I’m the champion.  There’ll never be one like me”


We have the tail end of the Grand Cross early in the week, and the gentler manifestations of it.  Today begins with a square between Venus square Jupiter, perhaps gauche socially but fairly harmless.  Then a New Moon at 14 degrees Gemini enables a new start in mental projects and ideas.  All forms of communication benefit, so even small talk can have its place.  Today’s words may remain in your mind…

Tomorrow the Sun conjuncts Venus – what’s not to love?  All forms of Love are favoured, as well as the enjoyment of cultural activities such as painting and listening to music.  Some musical greats have passed away this year (e.g. Dave Swarbrick on Friday), so dust down your vinyls, play and reminisce…

On Tuesday (7th) Venus squares the Nodal Axis, and a re-examination of karmic relationships may come up for you, especially in regard to groups.  Look at past patterns, and past-life patterns and causes.

The Sun then goes on to square the Nodal Axis, so an examination of power is also required, perhaps in relation to groups or subsequent to a realization about relationships.  You may take both squares together.

On Wednesday (8th) Mercury sextiles Chiron, ideal for bringing conventional and unconventional medicine together, in the pursuit of Health.  A good time for the use of affirmations, speech or counselling on the healing path.

Thursday (9th) brings a constructive trine to the North Node from Pluto, so you can resolve deep karmic issues, and come to some worthwhile conclusions about relationships, patterns and power.

By tea-time that day (cue scones and cream) Mercury opposes Mars, so caution is needed while travelling and in speech (cutting speech could have consequences).  Best eat the scones in silence and a sense of quiet communion, and check health and safety. Geminis and Virgos especially incident-prone, and Arians could be irritable.

Despite a slightly frazzled ending to the week, it’s a lot more mellow than last week, which was full on in the eye of the Grand Cross.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – social silliness, and a new start in communication
  • Tomorrow – love
  • Tuesday – karmic
  • Wednesday – healing
  • Thursday – profoundly constructive, then slightly frazzled