Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019)

My project is an effort to avert the critical gaze from the racial object to the racial subject; from the described and imagined to the describers and imaginers; from the serving to the served”

~ Toni Morrison

We have lost a colossus of the literary world this week, but one whose imprint is etched in the hearts of many.  When I was a student at University in the late 1960s, black fiction was defined by the work of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Langston Hughes.  There was a gaping space for the emotional expression of the black female writer, and that groundbreaking role was taken up by Toni Morrison, who published her first book in 1970 (The Bluest Eye) and whose most famous work was published in 1987 (Beloved).  In giving a voice to the voiceless, she also ignited the inner writer for many black Americans.  Her death at this time reminds us that in this era of increasing racism everywhere, and the current aspirations of white supremacists, we still have a long way to go.

Birth Chart

With 6 of her 10 planets in Cardinal signs, Toni was a leader and pioneer, and her Sun in Aquarius was that of a groundbreaker (one who sees the future, sees what needs to be done, and acts).  Her Sun squared the Ascendant, from 10th House, suggesting success through a Creative career.  Her Moon in Pisces brought the fertile imagination of her novels, and the emotional intelligence for which she was esteemed.  For all the dark themes in her novels, her Moon trine exactly Jupiter describes a very positive emotional make up, one that was needed to look into the face of the tragedies she saw and wrote about, and hint at possible redemption.  The depth of her imagination was increased by a trine to her Moon from Pluto, and a sextile from Chiron.  She knew how to put the reader through an emotional wringer, and then deposit them on a stable landscape to continue their journey.  With Mercury sextile Uranus, she positively courted controversy, fearlessly.  Her Mercury (writing) was conjunct her Midheaven (Careerpoint) in Aquarius in her 9th House of Publishing.  In relationships, she was a realist (Venus conjunct Saturn in Capricorn).  But she also wrote about the supernatural (Venus in 8th House) and ghastly tragedy (Venus square Uranus and opposite Pluto; Saturn exactly opposite Pluto).  Finally, she could sometimes resolve her relational themes through magical outcomes (Venus trine Chiron).  Mars in her 3rd House implies a prolific writing output, and conjunct the I.C. point in Leo in that House means she was rooted in a tremendous drive to creativity.  Her ruling planet Uranus was conjunct North Node in Aries in the 11th House, pointing to a life purpose of changing society.


“The conceptual connection is the search for the beloved – the part of the self that is you, and loves you, and is always there for you.”  ~ Toni Morrison, writing about her trilogy.

She published her most well known book “Beloved” in 1987, a harrowing tale about an African American enslaved woman who was forced to kill her daughter, and whose daughter returns to her as a ghost.  This book is in many ways the lynchpin of her career, and was made into a film.

The transits at the time it was published show up key themes in her chart:  Jupiter was sextile her natal Sun in Aquarius (a high point of success) in the 10th House (a fulfilment of her highest potential careerwise).  Jupiter (expansion) was squaring her natal Mars in Cancer in her 3rd House (representing her writing output).  Neptune was trine her natal Neptune, a time when she was spiritually poised, balanced and inwardly at peace with herself.


Another groundbreaking Aquarian, Oprah Winfrey, was to play an important role in her success and the dissemination of her work.  Not only did Toni appear three times on Oprah’s show, but Oprah fought tirelessly for ten years to get the film “Beloved” to the silver screen.  Then she founded her Book Club in 1996 with a publication of Morrison’s (The Song of Solomon), the Book Club itself becoming a huge, enduring and influential success.  Toni Morrison’s life impacted Oprah’s too, with Oprah casting herself in the lead role of the film “Beloved”, and finding inspiration and motivation for projects related to Toni’s work.

In their synastry, Morrison’s Neptune was square Oprah Moon (firing the imagination), Morrison’s North Node was sextile Oprah Jupiter (a mutually nourishing karmic reward) and Morrison’s Sun was sextile Oprah’s Ascendant in Sagittarius, on Oprah’s 3rd House cusp (the Book Club).

Maya Angelou, whose seminal work “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was published in 1969, was also a champion of Toni Morrison’s work.  By 1988 it had become clear that in a glaring omission Morrison’s work had not been appropriately honoured, and together with other black writers and critics Maya Angelou gave her name to a statement in the New York Times on 24th January 1988.  This also was a significant time astrologically in relation to Toni’s chart.

Uranus (sudden success) was sextile exactly Toni’s natal Sun in Aquarius in 10th House.  Pluto was sextile her natal Venus in Capricorn in 8th House (a deep recognition), and notably the North Node from Pisces (at 25 degrees) lay on her 11th House cusp sextile exactly her Ascendant, bestowing a karmic due.  Angelou’s North Node (agent of karma) was exactly sextile Morrison’s Uranus (her ruling planet).

Toni Morrison was eventually awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, making her the first black woman to win it.  Groundbreaking transits impact her chart at that time, such as Uranus on her Saturn and opposing her Pluto; she will have had the maturity to deal with the enormity of it.


Morrison divorced her husband in 1964, and brought up two sons.  It was in this period that she began to write seriously: “It was though I had nothing left but my imagination. I had no will, no judgment, no perspective, no power, no authority, no self; just this brutal sense of irony, melancholy and a trembling respect for words. I wrote like someone with a dirty habit. Secretly. Compulsively. Slyly.”

One of her sons, Slade, wrote children’s books with her, but died of pancreatic cancer in 2010 (when Saturn was on her natal South Node in Libra).  She was nearly 80 by then, and had stalled in the writing of her current novel.  She later wrote:  “I stopped writing until I began to think, He would be really put out if he thought that he had caused me to stop. ‘Please, Mom, I’m dead, could you keep going …?'”  She subsequently finished the novel “Home” and published it in 2012.   Her last and eleventh novel “God Help the Child” was published in 2015.   She died early this week aged 88, of complications from pneumonia.

“In order to be as free as I possibly can, in my own imagination, I can’t take positions that are closed. Everything I’ve ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it, to open doors, sometimes, not even closing the book — leaving the endings open for reinterpretation, revisitation, a little ambiguity.”

~ Toni Morrison


Today, Jupiter pirouettes into Direct motion around lunchtime.  That might bring a breath of fresh air to your day’s plans, peppering them with promise.  You might have planned a quiet Sunday, after the gales of the last few days (in the U.K.) combined with the breakdown of the national grid and rail and air troubles.  But something may lift you, and point the way to your next direction.  In the words of Alice Bailey (the seed thought for Sagittarius): “I see the goal.  I reach that goal and then I see another”.  You at least get to the stage of seeing the goal, or resuming an earlier goal.

In the early evening, Mercury (now Direct) returns to Leo which livens communication and debate and applying the mind to summer hedonism.  Enjoy this trend, which lasts until 29th August.

So today, it is up the ladder, and tomorrow (Monday 12th) it is down the snake, for Uranus is Stationary prior to turning retrograde.  Uranus of course is the trickster, so whichever way you go may not be according to plan. Plan for the unexpected, if you can.  You may see some goalposts moving.

In the nicest aspect of the week, Venus conjoins with the Sun on Wednesday (14th) at 21 degrees Leo.  That is the day to make a diary appointment which you hope will go smoothly and make the best of a meeting.  If you are an artist or a musician, it is the day you can produce your best creative output or performance.  There’s a lot of love to be had on Wednesday.

The Moon is at the Full on Thursday (15th) at 22 degrees of Aquarius.  This may produce monthly tension, or a stand off between the individual and the group.  But resolutions can be found.

The Sun aligns that day with the fixed star Deneb Algedi in Capricorn, and “Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld offers the following resonances:

“This binary can enhance the ability to work with patterns and cycles that are related to practical environments.  This can strengthen the ability to make predictions based on past performance.  Some aspects of the underlying cycles may become clearer for individuals when they work with this star.  This is a way of predicting the future based on a careful study of patterns and how they move through various cycles.  The individuals who work with this are Astrologers, Economists, and Historians.  After they have observed and worked with most of the information available and understood these cycles, they may become very quiet and enter a state of emptiness.  This emptiness often becomes filled with new ideas and better intuition as to the correct course of events.”

Last of the aspects this week is Uranus square Mercury which occurs on Friday (16th) in the late afternoon in the U.K.  Be prepared for the continued theme of the Trickster energy, disrupted trains and computers needing attention.  Use your intuition to be one step ahead – the Universe may be trying to show you new pathways, and possible new perspectives.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – Up the ladder
  • Tomorrow – Look at loopholes
  • Wednesday – A lot of Love
  • Thursday – Emotional tension, pay attention to patterns and cycles
  • Friday – Looking at things differently