Neil Diamond

” ‘I am’… I said, To no one there
And no one heard at all, Not even the chair”

 ~ Neil Diamond


On Tuesday this week (23rd) Neil Diamond made a two-fold announcement: that he was retiring, and that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I have to say I was extremely sad to hear that news, both on  his behalf at facing this challenging disease, but also as he has been my favourite male singer since my teens, it is sobering to think that there is no possibility I will ever see him in concert (one of the first albums I bought was “Neil Diamond Live at the Troubadour”, 1970). I can’t explain why he has had this appeal for me, but there is something about his energy and vitality which gives me strength.

Birth Chart

Neil Diamond has the Sun in Aquarius, a very individualistic sign, and 6 (over half) of his planets in the Fixed signs, making him strong willed.  For whatever reasons, he has had three marriages, and maybe that combination makes compromise in close relationships difficult.  Aquarians have to be true to themselves.  One of my early favourite songs of his (and one of his own favourites) was “Solitary Man” (1966), containing a theme of loneliness that pervades his work:

“…until I can find me, The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am, A solitary man”

He has a challenging T-square in  his chart, involving his Sun.  The Sun opposes a conjunction of Pluto/Chiron (itself a challenge), squaring a conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn (another very challenging feature).

Songwriting is highlighted in his chart  in different ways, and he has been most prolific:  Venus is in his 3rd House of songwriting, and Mercury is exactly sextile Mars (a prolific penmanship). He has stated that he has a love-hate relationship with songwriting.  Sweet Caroline was written in an hour, whereas “I am I said” (probably my favourite song) took four months:

“L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is “lay back”
Palm trees grow and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin’ about
Making my way back

Well I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays,
I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home,
But it ain’t mine no more”

(pardon me the indulgence)

However, performing has by his own account given him most pleasure, and it is highlighted in his chart in two ways: the Sun (Performer) from Aquarius in 4th House trine exactly North Node in Libra in 12th House – a karmic mission as performer.  And Pluto in Leo (performance) sextile closely North Node:

“Performing, on the other hand, is the most joyful and happiest thing I do. The bigger the audience the more anticipation, the more excitement.”

One of his most memorable performances, which gave rise to an album, was on 24th August 1972, when his ruling planet Uranus was crossing his Ascendant (in Libra, the sign of the Singer).

And as for that indefinable quality which makes him so popular, I would pinpoint two features of his chart: Moon exactly trine Jupiter (an emotionally buoyant, feelgood factor), and Mars in Sagittarius, which as I tried to describe last week when it was ushered in, is a life-affirming energy and sense of vitality.

Mercury sextile exactly Mars

I think Mercury sextile Mars is a key component of his astrological make-up.  As already mentioned it helps to make him a prolific writer.  But it also relates to a high school activity of his: fencing.  I associate a positive connection of Mercury-Mars with this sport.  He later won a fencing scholarship which he took up at New York University, so it was an outstanding talent of his.

It may also relate to his Parkinson’s diagnosis.  In August 2012, I took a look at Parkinson’s in relation to some of its prominent sufferers of the day:  Muhammed Ali, Michael J. Fox and Bob Hoskins.

I wrote: “What I would look for in trying to find an astrological signature for the disease is problematic placements or aspects to Mercury or possibly Uranus, plus extreme agitation from Mars in the chart which over-activates the nerves.  Mars might also be involved as the ruler of Aries, which represents the head and the brain.  Also relevant are the transits at the time of the onset of symptoms or diagnosis, i.e. what outer planets may have been exerting pressure or stress on key points in the birth chart of the sufferer.”

Since then, we have had other high profile sufferers such as Billy Connolly and Robin Williams (and I have been diligently keeping up my researches).  But Neil Diamond’s Mercury exactly sextile Mars, while a positive force leading to a prodigious creative output, may have put some stress on his nervous system.

Elton John

Coincidentally, Elton John also announced his retirement this same week, on Thursday (25th).  His reasons were to spend more time with his children, but he also stated that he would continue touring for three more years, to soften the blow to his fans.  His mother died in November (transiting Neptune from Pisces in his 7th House of Close Relationships sextile exactly his natal Moon = mother).  This may have set off his thinking.  What has triggered this week’s announcement though would be transiting Saturn from Capricorn in his 5th House of Children squaring his natal Sun in Aries in 8th House of Mortality, an occasion for serious thinking about one’s life.  He has an important time coming around 10th May this year, with transiting Uranus trine his natal Ascendant and moving from his 8th House to his 9th House of touring foreign lands.

He expressed gratitude to Neil Diamond:  “I would like to pay my respects to him,” John said. “He introduced me off his own back at the Troubadour [in Hollywood] because he loved my record. He was a huge star then, and he’s a huge star now. And I know that he’s said he’s not going to tour anymore because he has Parkinson’s. I’m going to contact to him personally, but I would like to say publicly that I love him and I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me along the way.”

Going Forward

Thankfully, this is not an obituary.  But I am missing him already…

I hope the disease shows some mercy for him; it seems that some high profile sufferers have fared better and longer than others.  His current transits include Pluto on his I.C. in Capricorn in 4th House of Home (a more fundamental approach to his life) and Jupiter trine his natal Midheaven (in his case, freeing himself from an aspect of his career).  His stated aim is to “continue his writing, recording and development of new projects.”

“You are the sun, I am the moon
You are the words, I am the tune”

~ Neil Diamond


We start today with a square between Mercury and Uranus, where words can get twisted and communications may shock or at the very least surprise.  Controversy is the name of the game, whether intended or otherwise.  Technological and travel glitches are possible, too.

But also today, Mercury sextiles Chiron, and there may be a satisfactory outcome in the arena of communication.  For example, something you might have been told was impossible finds a way through, and a problem may turn up with a solution.  This may be particularly true for health conditions.

Tomorrow (Monday, 29th) Venus conjuncts the South Node, and there is a focus on love and relationship in a karmic context.  For example, you may find answers to current relationship issues in looking back at relationships in your past, which includes your past lives.

There’s a significant Full Moon at 11 degrees Leo on Wednesday (31st).  It’s not just any old Full Moon; it’s also a Blue Moon, an Eclipse, a Supermoon and a Blood Moon.  For Moon enthusiasts and specialists, it is a veritable Moonfest.  Placed in Leo, it is about holding your own individuality, self-expression, creativity and power, within the collective group (as represented by its opposition with the Sun in Aquarius).  I look forward to hearing your individual impressions.  Here at Lightpod, we shall be concentrating on healing that day, and anticipate that it will be a memorable session.

On the same day, Mercury enters Aquarius.  This will accentuate the pull of the collective and social experience, especially on the mental level (e.g. you may be bombarded by messages on social media).  The volume of communication may suddenly be turned up, though you may internally be more focussed on the emotional level.  It is important to be centred and listen both within and outside yourself, before making a judgement or adding to the chatter.  For the duration of Mercury in Aquarius (up to 18th February), communication will be more zippy than during its time in Capricorn, and more telepathic potentially.

Saturday (3rd February) brings an exciting sextile between Mercury and Mars.  If your productivity has slowed down at all recently, this sextile may give you the boost you need.  If you have been reading my appreciation of Neil Diamond, it is one of the keys to success in his birth chart, producing quick mental reactions and prolific writing.  It could also help you with clearing clutter, and the mental acuity needed for that. It is also helpful for speaking your truth without being hurtful.

Later the same day, the Sun conjuncts the South Node:

The Sun transiting the North Node shines a light on to the past, so that is both the past in your present life and also your past lives.  It can bring forward the talents you developed, but also enable you to release habits you no longer need.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – words can get twisted, and then smoothed out again
  • Tomorrow – karmic relationships
  • Wednesday – emotion at full flood but also a change in mental focus
  • Saturday – nippy communications; light on karma