John Hurt (1940 – 2017)

Actor John Hurt died on Friday, he of that beautiful, craggy, vulnerable face which never failed to move me. As an Aquarian, I always felt he had an aura of untouchability too.  His birth chart is very indicative of that exquisite combination of sensitivity and detachment.

Birth Chart

His Sun was at 1 degree Aquarius, the essence of the trailblazer and the groundbreaker, ahead of his time in the roles he undertook.  But Pluto was exactly opposite the Sun in his chart – not an easy life, and he didn’t take on easy roles either.  With Chiron and Pluto in the 12th House of Unconscious, he used the power of his unconscious as a resource to convey the subtlety of his roles.

He had his Ascendant in Leo, which is an actor’s sign, and though he did not meet with encouragement by those around him early in life, he knew that acting was the profession he wanted to pursue.  Uranus was square his Ascendant, giving rise to an unusual appearance.

His Moon was in Cancer, and he was undoubtedly in touch with his feminine side, a quality which was accompanied by the gentleness of Moon trine Venus.

His South Node was exactly conjunct Saturn at the Midheaven in Aries in 9th House and square his Mercury: he applied his intelligence to difficult roles, probably informed by experiences in difficult past lives which he was able to draw upon.  Saturn conjunct his Midheaven as his acting persona, saw him portraying lonely individuals with difficult lives often at odds with society.

But I feel the true genius of his sensitivity is depicted  by Mercury trine Neptune exactly in  his chart – and in at least one case he was able to channel his historical subject.

Richard Rich

In 1966, from school in St. Albans, we went for an outing to the cinema to see the film “A Man for All Seasons”, in which he played the part of the unscrupulous Richard Rich.  As a teenager, I was instantly mesmerized by him, and the event sealed his status in my mind as one of my favourite actors, as he is still to this day.

Comic actor David Schneider has paid tribute to him, saying: “Sad re John Hurt.  I was in a film with him, and he was so mesmerizing I kept forgetting to act and just watched him.  A genius and a lovely man.”  I totally relate to that.

Quentin Crisp

In 1975, John Hurt appeared on our television screens portraying Quentin Crisp in “The Naked Civil Servant”.  The title of this film refers to his earlier days as a life model for art students, and as a family we took a particular interest in Quentin Crisp as my sister, again when we were in St. Albans, sketched the naked civil servant himself during A Level classes.

John Hurt’s performance was sensitive and memorable in capturing the nuances of Quentin Crisp’s character and body language.  He brought out the wonderful personality of his subject, winning a nation’s sympathy.  This did much to raise awareness of homophobia and the plight of the homosexual in society in earlier decades of the 20th Century, in one of John Hurt’s groundbreaking roles.

Quentin Crisp lived to aged 90, and his synastry with John Hurt was very connected: most notably, John Hurt’s Sun was on Quentin Crisp’s Moon, John Hurt Jupiter conjunct Quentin Crisp Saturn (the ability to lift Quentin’s burden), Hurt’s Saturn sextile Quentin’s North Node (bringing a commitment to assisting Quentin’s karmic mission).

Joseph Merrick

In 1980 John Hurt played John Merrick, in the film “The Elephant Man”.  John Merrick was born in Leicester in the 19th Century, and suffered from an unknown complaint which involved growths to his skin, of such severity that his head in particular ballooned in size.  John Hurt wore a prosthetic head throughout the performance, but always made you aware of the human inside. In Merrick’s life, he was both rescued and exploited as a circus act.

Much of the subtlety of this performance rested on the use of John Hurt’s voice, as Peter Bradshaw of the Observer describes:

“…His quaveringly sensitive, refined, yet defiantly insistent voice – ‘Everyone has been very kind…!’ – became much imitated, much parodied.

The synastry between Merrick and Hurt is rather beautiful:  Their Marses were conjunct in Aries, to one degree.  John Hurt’s Mars (Warrior) was trine exactly Joseph Merrick’s Sun. Joseph Merrick’s Mars was exactly trine John Hurt’s Ascendant.  Joseph Merrick’s Jupiter was trine exactly John Hurt’s Mercury.  But the real piece de resistance is a double whammy of each of  their Neptunes being conjunct the other’s Jupiters: almost a mystical merging.  In this role, there was a real possibility that John Hurt’s exact Mercury-Neptune trine came into play in its potential for channelling.

This role too was groundbreaking in arousing sympathy and understanding for an isolated individual.

Other Roles

His career spanned 6 decades, and exhibited great variety and versatility. Peter Bradshaw, Film Critic in the Observer, prizes his role in “Scandal”, about the Profumo affair, above all others.  One role which brought him to the attention of younger viewers was as wand maker Mr. Ollivander in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, and author J.K. Rowling was among those paying tribute to a “beloved” actor.


John Hurt’s relationships may have  been characterized by his Sun Sign Aquarius, appearing on the cusp of his  7th House of Close Relationships and Marriage, in that he was married four times.  Venus in Pisces appears later in the 7th House, and trine his Moon, showing a sensitive rapport with women.

His longest relationship, which lasted 15 years, was with Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot, who died on 26 January 1983 in a horse riding accident.  They had planned to marry (Jupiter was square his natal Venus in 7th House at the time) but the relationship was cut short (Saturn was trine his natal Venus).

He married Joan Dalton on 24 January 1990, and they had two sons together, Alexander (born 5th February 1990) and Nick (born 6th February 1993), both Aquarians.

He lived with his fourth wife Anwen Rees-Meyers in Cromer, Norfolk, where he died. She has said:

“John was the most sublime of actors and the most gentlemanly of gentleman with the greatest of hearts and the most generosity of spirit.  He touched all our lives with joy and magic and it will  be a strange world without him.”

Carried on Acting

John was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015 and declared he would carry on working, which he did.  From diagnosis in June of that year (when Pluto was opposite his natal Chiron), he announced he was in remission in October of that year.

At his death, he had a very dignified set of transits: Saturn trine his Saturn, Saturn trine his  Midheaven, and Pluto trine his Uranus.

The gift he leaves to the filmgoing public is his current role in the acclaimed film “Jackie” with Natalie Portman, where he plays father confessor to the widowed Jackie Kennedy.

Peter Bradshaw describes him eloquently in this role:

“He is gaunt, lined, ascetic, a face redolent of wisdom leavened with a touch of kindly and sympathetic wit.”

He will also be seen in a 2017 film as Neville Chamberlain, so he leaves us with more to look forward to.


Competition Still Open

My very first blog was written on 30th January 2007, so this blog is approaching its 10th birthday!  The website was set up one year before that.  Thank you to anyone who has read my blog over the years.

So to celebrate this occasion, I have been setting a competition, for which the closing date will be 30th January 2017, which is tomorrow.

All you have to do to enter is to post under comments either your favourite out of all my blogs in the last 10 years, and the reasons why, or an idea for a future blog.  I will repost the competition next week, in case you need time to think about it.

There will be three prizes:

1st prize – a full astrological analysis, including a year ahead, for yourself or someone of your choice, worth £35

Two runner up prizes of a Year Ahead, worth £17.50

I will close the competition tomorrow at 5 pm, and post the results under comments on 31st January (Tuesday) and again in next week’s blog.

For those who have the stamina, I have earlier posted a history of the blog.  I know not everyone is a fan of history, but there may be some who are prepared to indulge me.



Tonight we have Mercury conjunct Pluto, which may bring on a taste for the dramatic.  Donald Trump may continue to enrage us with his words and actions…Thought and speech will be serious and profound in nature, and their consequences are likely to be notable.

The next aspect of the week occurs on Wednesday (1st), when Mercury squares Uranus.  Like the conjunction of Mercury and Pluto, this is also mentally challenging.  Mercury conjunct Pluto can challenge health, but with Mercury and Uranus there is more nervous exhaustion involved, so take care of yourselves in the earlier part of the week, get plenty of rest, good quality nutrition and catch up on your sleep, so that you can deal with any stresses with a clear and rested mind.  Uranus square Mercury also courts controversy, so you may find yourself speaking out on subjects that matter to you: you may not be able to contain yourself in that way.

Fortunately, improvement is on the way because on Wednesday there is also a sextile between Mercury and Chiron, so there may be medicinal help available, whether conventional or alternative, or both together.  For example, if you thought you were unable to obtain an appointment with a practitioner, a cancellation may make one available at the last minute.

Thursday (2nd) brings a square between Mercury and Jupiter, which although not great, is easier to deal with than the earlier aspects of the week.  Mercury square Jupiter is mentally adventurous, may overload or overstretch with information or travel, and there may be a tendency to overdo things.  But it is much more mentally buoyant than Mercury conjunct Pluto or Mercury square Uranus, and Mercury square Jupiter describes the Explorer Archetype which may be triggered if this is one of your natal Archetypes.  Notice the great connectivity of Mercury this week: that means Geminis and Virgos will have a lot to do!

Venus enters Aries on Friday (3rd), territory where the planet of peace is not so much at home.  But her motto might be “Who Dares Wins”, and she may feel more gutsy.  So Venus-ruled Taureans and Librans in particular may step out and boldly go out of their comfort zone.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – profound thought
  • Wednesday – nervous energy, but some healing available
  • Thursday – adventurous
  • Friday – less timid