Aretha Franklin (1942 – 2018)

“Her voice could scald or soothe, singing with equal intimacy and intensity to her God or a faithless lover”

~ Richard Williams, The Guardian

Aretha Franklin died on Thursday this week, two days before Kofi Annan (see earlier blog).  She has, with the golden strength of her voice, been described as the Queen of Soul, and her music has been meaningful to many lives.  Glowing tributes have been pouring in from Presidents (Obama, Clinton) and musicians (Tom Jones, Carole King), and it is clear that she holds a prominent place in the hearts of many.  In her politics, she was a Democrat, and she performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration.  She performed with many other artists in musical collaborations, and her last appearance was last November (2017) at a benefit concert on behalf of  the Elton John AIDS Foundation.  She was born in Memphis, but is most closely associated with Detroit.

Birth Chart

Aretha has three conjunctions in her birth chart.  The first, Mars conjunct Jupiter, combines energy and enthusiasm in spades.  This, together with her Scorpio Ascendant, breathes so much life into her singing.

Her other two conjunctions are not so easy.  Second up, is Chiron conjunct Pluto, which can bring dark and challenging experiences in life, though it is a conjunction common to those born in her year of 1942, in the middle of World War II.

Thirdly her Saturn was conjunct Uranus, another of those difficult conjunctions in those war years.  This can bring personal earthquakes.  Her mother died when she was only  9 years old, when Pluto was opposing her natal Venus in 4th House.  When barely into her teens, she had two sons.   She certainly had a turbulent and stormy love life, with her marriage to Ted White in particular subjecting her to abuse.

Like Kofi Annan, she had the Sun in Aries.  As we know her birth time, we can see that it is placed in the 5th House of Performance.  It is also powerfully trined with her Chiron/Pluto conjunction, adding a transformative quality to her performance.

She had a great deal of mental energy, with her Mercury in Pisces closely square to the Mars/Jupiter conjunction.

Family Connections

Both Aretha’s parents were musical.  Her father Clarence (“the man with the million dollar voice”) was an itinerant preacher and singer, and her mother was a piano player and singer.  She came through a background of gospel and church music, which she infused later into her pop ballads.

Her father was a friend of Martin Luther King, and she herself was close to him.  The chart connections between the three are close and karmic, suggesting perhaps that they may have been from the same soul group.  Aretha’s own influence, channelling her soul into songs which influenced millions, demanding respect for women’s rights, and supporting the cause of human rights and freedom for black people, created a considerable impact and legacy in a different way from Martin Luther King.

Father and daughter had a spiritual link, with their Neptunes exactly sextile, and his Uranus was trine her Mars, offering telepathy and electricity to her energies in their relationship.  Her father had a dynamic mental interaction with Martin Luther King, with his Uranus on King’s Mercury.  Even more profoundly, his Pluto sextiled Martin Luther King’s Jupiter/Neptune trine (which represented the essence of his spirituality).  Aretha went on tour with Martin Luther King when she was 16.  Her Moon was conjunct his Pluto, and her Sun was conjunct his Uranus (both very dynamic connections).  Her Uranus was exactly conjunct with King’s North Node, and his Venus closely conjunct her South Node, which were karmic.  She sang at his funeral.


She found success in her singing career when she changed her label to Atlantic Records.  In January 1967 she recorded the poignant “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).  In April of the same year, she made a revolutionary recording of RESPECT by Otis Redding, which is possibly her most popular song, and certainly meaningful in the civil rights and feminism movements.  My own favourite is “Say a Little Prayer”, which I bought just before starting University in 1968, and so has special emotional associations for me.


She seems to have had a long running battle with pancreatic cancer, which considering when it was first rumoured (2011) she seems to have managed to cope with very well, continuing to perform until recently.  Pancreatic cancer was given as the cause of her final illness.  At the end, she was surrounded by those she loved, and had been visited by Stevie Wonder and Jesse Jackson. Another outstanding life, well lived.


Mercury went Direct this morning.  Can you tell?  I am hoping that this is a turning point, because we’ve had an extremely difficult week on our local railway line, between Norfolk and London.  So, good communications to you, until the next time Mercury goes retrograde.

More good news: Jupiter trines Neptune today, a magical unicorn type of energy, for those who like that.  It is a great aspect, and a rare one, for aligning spirituality with religion and for the good of all.  Martin Luther King had this trine in his birth chart, as has been mentioned earlier.  Make the most of the sacredness of this aspect today, and if you miss it today it will still be around to some extent, gradually fading over the week.

On Thursday (23rd) the Sun enters Virgo, which marks a new sense of purpose, after the enjoyment of the holiday season.  There is a renewed work ethic, new ideas for improving health and working conditions.  A new resolve to institute health and fitness regimes, and work rotas and practices.

The Sun trines Uranus on Saturday (25th), so if you missed out on the bounty of Jupiter trine Neptune at the beginning of the week, latecomers to the blog may be able to capitalize on  the inventiveness and creativity that is the potential of Sun trine Uranus.  Social projects and science initiatives benefit from this trine.  There could be an electrical excitement in the air.

Late in the evening, the Sun trines Saturn, so we have on the day an Earth Grand Trine, which is most constructive.  The Sun brings together the solid qualities and achievements of Saturn, and the innovative achievements of Uranus.  So you may be able to combine the old and the new in ways that are satisfying to all on that day.

I will be away on Sunday (26th) and will post the week’s aspects the following Monday (27th).  Therefore, I will just mention Sunday’s main events, beginning with a Full Moon in Pisces.  This is the most emotional of the Full Moons of the year, but also the most spiritual, in that we come to the end of a spiritual cycle.  It is also the most compassionate, and ecological disasters are still evoking are emotions.  At the Pisces Full Moon last year, we had just heard about floods in Texas and India.  This year we have recently had the Genoa bridge collapse, and floods in Kerala (India again). Rescues are ongoing for both at this time.  The Pisces Full Moon reminds us that we are all One.

Also on Sunday, Venus will be square Pluto, a difficult aspect psychologically and emotionally.  Soul-searching, letting go and forgiveness work under this challenge.  Heart to hearts also work.  In a relationship, you may feel that you want to stop communicating altogether.  If so, the communication will go underground, or wait for a more suitable time to tackle difficult issues.  Just as we are all One, so are relationships Eternal.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – communications a go go; the spiritual harmonizes with the religious
  • Thursday – a refreshing of work themes
  • Saturday – sparkling newness and reverence for the old
  • Sunday (26th) – the deepest compassion, and deep relationship issues