Peter Fonda (1940 – 2019)

“Head out on the highway

Looking for adventure

In whatever comes our way

…Born to be wild”

~ Steppenwolf, theme song for Easy Rider

Going back to the 1960s today, in tribute to Peter Fonda, who died this week.  He is bound to the iconic role he played in “Easy Rider”, a film which he produced, wrote the screenplay for, and starred in.

Birth Chart

Peter Fonda had 0 Air planets in his chart, so he lived on instinct, but his I.Q. was over 160.  His Sun was exactly on the Midheaven in Pisces, reflecting the hedonism and enjoyment of life which summed up his personality.  It also represents the all-encompassing role of the film director (Sun/Midheaven/Pisces), a path he pursued.  His Sun was exactly sextile Mars, reflecting a strong male energy.  Interestingly, his sister Jane also had the Sun exactly sextile Mars in her chart, so it is obviously a family astrological signature, but expressed differently: she played some raunchy roles in her career.  She is depicted in his chart as linked with his sense of early security, by the Moon (female) conjunct the I.C. in the 3rd House of Siblings.  His mental brilliance shows up in his chart as Mercury exactly sextile Uranus.  But he was also a dreamer, with Mercury opposing Neptune.  Mars square Pluto saw him flirting with danger at some points in his life (he accidentally shot himself aged 11, with Mars opposite his Neptune, and Pluto square his Uranus).

Art imitates Life: Easy Rider

Peter Fonda became a (self-proclaimed) poster boy for the Counterculture of the late 1960s, although his film did point out the downside of the lifestyle.

Ed Vulliamy writes in the Observer today:

“high up the iconic images of the 1960s, that of Peter Fonda in floral shirt and outrageous sideburns, riding free on his Harley, to a soundtrack of Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild”

The career ambition and drive of Mars exactly sextile his Sun/Midheaven in Pisces ensured that he fulfilled his ambition and crystallized that Archetype fairly early in his career. The film was directed by his co-star Dennis Hopper, and was released on 14th July 1969, on a New Moon in Cancer.  Easy riding Mars was trine Peter’s Pluto in Leo in his 2nd House of Finance and Uranus sextile his Pluto at the time, establishing his material wealth.

I am always fascinated by the way in which a film star or actor can be defined by a role or persona which actually strongly reflects their chart, and Peter Fonda is a textbook case. The Sun/Midheaven in Pisces speaks of the Hedonist Archetype; the Sun exactly sextile Mars is the image of the Biker (he rode a Harley Davidson in Easy Rider), a role which he had established before that film:

He said in 2007:

I ride an MV Agusta.  This is an Italian racing motorcycle.  It forces focus.  You have to be focussed and in my life, in this business, focus is hard to find sometimes.  so I need to force focus and that’s great.  The bike takes you on a free road.”

His Ascendant is in Gemini, which represents the Open Road.  His Sun in Pisces represents the dropout, drug fuelled counterculture of his time.

He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film.

Companions on the Road

The male bonding with the characters played by Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider were essential to his archetype.  The making of the film was very much a collaboration between himself and Dennis Hopper.

Dennis Hopper

The success of their partnership is shown by Hopper’s Jupiter sextile Peter’s North Node, an indication of a collaboration resulting from a good karmic connection from previous lives.  Hopper’s Saturn conjunct Peter’s Mercury gave Peter the impetus to knuckle down and focus, and Peter’s Jupiter trine Hopper’s Ascendant gave the latter the enthusiasm and luck to follow his dream.

Dennis Hopper’s transits at the time the film was released included Neptune opposite his natal Sun (a dream which came true).  Neptune (the medium of film) also trined his natal Pluto and sextiled his natal Midheaven (establishing a film career).  And Pluto squared his natal Jupiter, the wielding of Power.

Jack Nicholson

In the film, Jack Nicholson played a jailbird who travelled with them a short while before coming to a sticky end.  Peter’s connection with Jack Nicholson was more gritty: Jack’s Mars squared closely Peter’s Sun, urging the dare devil in him.  Peter’s Saturn squared Jack’s wild Jupiter/Pluto opposition, trying to if anything temper and steady Jack’s excesses and shape them into something they could use.  Their Mercuries however were exactly sextile, so mentally they were on the same page.

The success of Easy Rider was a high for Nicholson, too (he was nominated for best supporting actor): Jupiter was on his Moon, bringing him luck; Neptune was sextile his natal Jupiter (screen success); and like Hopper he had Neptune trine his natal Pluto (profound psycho-spiritual changes).

Acting Dynasty

Peter was part of an acting dynasty, together with his father Henry Fonda, his sister Jane Fonda, and his daughter Bridget Fonda.

Jane Fonda

I once had a close encounter with Jane Fonda (about 5 inches) in Waterstone’s Cambridge at her book signing, after a lengthy queue.  Her autobiography was a good, honest read.  But this was over a decade ago, so I rescued it from the back room and blew the dust off yesterday.  He did write his own autobiography “Don’t Tell Dad” in 1998, but hers has been useful in the making of this blog.

In her tribute to Peter, Jane described him as her “sweethearted younger brother”.  In her autobiography she describes him thus:

“Peter is all deep sweetness, kind and sensitive to his core.  he would never intentionally harm anything or anyone.  In fact, he once argued with me that vegetables had souls (it was the sixties).”

In other words, the classic Pisces ideal (the other side of Pisces from the drug-taking dropout portrayed in Easy Rider).

She has also mentioned that he was “the talker of the family” [Ascendant in Gemini].

It was their karma to share a childhood (Peter’s North Node sextile exactly Jane’s Moon); Peter’s Ascendant was square exactly Jane’s Saturn (she was the elder); and her late Sagittarian Sun was on his Ascendant (good companions).  They needed each other, for their father was very detached, and their mother suffered from mental illness and committed suicide when Peter was 10 years old.

Henry Fonda

As mentioned, Peter’s relationship with his father was distant at best, and Henry was often harsh towards him.  Problem areas in their synastry included a double whammy of Peter’s Mercury square Henry’s Pluto and vice versa (mental challenges).  Henry’s Saturn was potentially squashing, sitting on Peter’s aspiring Sun/Midheaven, but Peter fought for his freedom of expression.

Jane wrote in her autobiography, about their relationship:

“I marvelled at the extent to which he would, in the face of Dad’s anger, remain himself, exposing his heart, challenging Dad: ‘See me for who I am.  I will not change in order to make you comfortable’ ”

Ulee’s Gold

In his later years, he became an outspoken (Mercury sextile Uranus) environmentalist and critic of Donald Trump.  But he notably triumphed in another film Ulee’s Gold in 1997.  For his performance in this film, he won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.  His character Ulee Jackson, that of a widowed beekeeper, was very different from the role he played in Easy Rider.  In this film, he tries to save his son from the world of drug abuse, and the film (spoiler alert) even has a happy ending…

The astrological picture for Peter when this film was released included Jupiter trine exactly his North Node (a karmic reward), and Pluto square exactly his natal Sun/Mercury, implying it was hard won.

According to Jane “he went out laughing”.  Jupiter was trine his natal Venus, and that Sun on the Midheaven was shining brightly.

Bibliography: “My Life So Far” by Jane Fonda


My Picture

After 13 years (the website was set up in January 2006), I have finally changed the photograph on the About Me page (about time, too!)  Hubby has just confessed, after all this time, that it looked “a bit severe”.  I was working at the Quiet Office at the time, and there was a photographic studio a few doors down.  I went in there with 3 different items of jewellery, and asked for a variety of shots.  After taking the photographs, the chap asked “So what sort of website are you setting up? Jewellery?”  “No, Astrology” I replied.  He looked rather disappointed, and nearly dropped his tripod.

So this new photo has 13 years of extra wrinkles, but was taken with some lovely friends recently at Supersonic Sound Pod, and I hope is more friendly.



The main feature of this week is that three planets leave Leo and enter Virgo, so gradually we’ll be making the most of our holidays and bit by bit knuckling down to some advance work in preparation for our Autumn schedules (hubby and I have enrolled on a year long Philosophy course, so I have heavily invested in the cartoon-like Graphic series of Philosophy books for dummies, to give myself a sporting chance.)

The planetary migrations started this morning with Mars entering Virgo, a conscientious statement of intent if there ever was one.  Mars has been making hay in Leo since 1st July, encouraging us to play.  Together with Jupiter (they trined), it was responsible for the hottest day in the U.K. on 26th July, so it did deliver the goods.  Entering Virgo, it starts to clean and clear the working space in preparation for some real work to be done.  Mars in Virgo spells efficiency, but it also represents economy of effort and energy, organizing ourselves to best effect.  Any ardent de-clutterers out there, should be in their element.

Tomorrow (Monday 19th) Jupiter is semi-sextile Saturn, so adjustments are being made in order to re-calibrate, re-organize and move some office furniture.  You may be trying to reconcile two very different strands of your life and psyche.

Venus enters Virgo on Wednesday (21st), which is the second Ingress.  Having possibly laid the foundation for future work on Sunday, we now become choosy about the aesthetics.  We pay attention to the detail of the decoration (of the office, say), and we are discriminating about the company we keep (if we subscribe to such a philosophy).  We choose the catering (in a healthful, Virgoan or Vegan way), and we tailor our practices following Greta Thunberg’s ecological climate emergency advice (if we are not Arron Banks, Donald Trump or even Julia Hartley-Brewer).  Come on, we all want to be her.  Venus stays in Virgo until 14th September.

As if to help us in this endeavour, Mercury also trines Jupiter on that day.  This is a mentally cheerful vibe, and one that takes in a great deal of information and covers a lot of ground travelwise.  It is favourable for academic enterprises (I might tackle Descartes’ Meditations that day), communication, foreign travel, and good news generally.  It helps the teaching profession and educational policies, and fosters dialogues between nations.

The Sun enters Virgo (the third Ingress) on Friday (23rd).  Mars and Venus have paved the way, in their own ways, but the main player the Sun looks for more of a fanfare.  In the Virgoan office however, the atmosphere is more modest, the staff just get on with their work, and may not turn a hair at his entry.  But his will be a silent power, a quiet force adding to building towards the season of industry.  The Sun in Virgo will aid a sense of focus and purpose, and bring people together in common objectives.

Come the weekend, on Saturday (24th) there is more opportunity to let your hair down, with a conjunction between Venus and Mars.  They have been toiling in Virgo since the beginning of the week, and have earned some fun and joy (they do like to hang out together!).  Intense friendship, and even flirtatiousness, may be on the cards.  Eat, drink and be merry, for on Monday the daily grind awaits.

Next Week Ahead from Monday 26th August

There is no planetary aspect next Sunday, and I am away that day, so my next blog will be written and appear on Monday, 26th August.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – Prep
  • Tomorrow – Adjustments
  • Wednesday – Aesthetics; Education; mental frolics
  • Friday – More knuckling down
  • Saturday – Party time