Kirk Douglas (1916 -2020)

Actor Kirk Douglas, who died this week at the grand old age of 103, is being hailed as one of the last stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  With his strikingly chiselled features, dimpled chin and piercing eyes, he put in some mesmerizing performances, in an output of more than 80 films throughout his life.

Birth Chart

Kirk was born on a Full Moon in Gemini, and Full Moon people arouse strong feelings in others.  His Sun was in swashbuckling Sagittarius, and some of his more prominent roles were in that vein.  The Sun was exactly sextile Uranus, and that made him a true individual – he certainly identified as an individual, and a loner.  His Ascendant was in Aquarius, intensifying the individuality, with Uranus in the 1st House.  He had an expansive mind, with Mercury in Sagittarius exactly trine Jupiter, which may have given him the ability to take on such a range of different roles.  His Venus square Uranus could be connected with his legendary unfaithfulness (there were a few mysterious scandals, too, with Neptune in his 7th House of close relationships).  Saturn too was exactly on his Descendant, indicating a fundamental difficulty in relationship.  Mars opposite Pluto by 2 degrees accounts for his well known temper (“I was born aggressive, and I guess I’ll die aggressive.”) and also his distinction of playing out gruesome deaths in his films.  Neptune conjunct his Part of Fortune indicates joy through the art of film.  And the Midheaven sextile his North Node in Capricorn in 12th House, meant that his conventional career meshed harmoniously with his karmic mission.

Life and Career

Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch, to Jewish parents who had immigrated from Belarus.  He later chose the name Kirk because he liked the hard, jagged sound of the letter “K”.  He had an impoverished childhood, which spurred his determination and ambition (Mars in Capricorn).  With Jupiter (multiples) in the 3rd House of Siblings, he grew up with six sisters.

He was given his first big break in “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” in 1946 with Barbara Stanwyck.  He was recommended for the role by his long term friend Lauren Bacall (a fellow acting student), who reportedly had a crush on him.  He later acted with her in “Young Man with a Horn”.

In “Champion” (1949), he played a selfish boxer, and earned his first Academy Award nomination for best actor, his performance being labelled “alarmingly authentic”.  He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Vincent van Gogh in “Lust for Life” (1956).  His resemblance to Vincent van Gogh in that film was uncanny, and his performance impassioned, accurately portraying the inner turmoil of the artist genius.  He was very mentally attuned to his subject, with his Mercury exactly trine that of van Gogh.  The Guardian obituary by David Thomson evaluates the film thus: “The passion of that film has not dated, in part because Minnelli trusted the paintings, the European locations and the importance of the painter’s relationship with his younger brother, Theo.  Douglas was superb and tragic in the role.”

On 22nd March 1958 he might have nearly died in the plane crash which killed Michael Todd.  He was invited to take a lift in the private plane, and his wife objected.  Among the transits for that day were some involving Neptune, which is often seen in cases of a “near miss” (representing intervention from other dimensions):  Mars was opposite exactly his natal Neptune, and Neptune was exactly square his natal Neptune.  That he could have embarked on a fated flight is seen with Saturn transiting his natal Mercury (flight).  But  Neptune trine his natal Pluto, and Saturn trine his natal Jupiter, might have been saving factors.  He later survived a helicopter crash in which others were killed (transiting Saturn on his 0 degree Aquarius Ascendant).

Perhaps the film he is most remembered for is “Spartacus” (1960), where he led a slave rebellion.  His bare-chested figure remains an iconic image.  He was very much involved in the production of the film, identifying with the role (“I come from a race of slaves”), but did not gain an Oscar for his efforts.

In 1963 he appeared on Broadway in the play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, taken from the book by Ken Kesey, for which he had bought the rights.  He very much wanted to play the part in a film, and tried for some time to bring this about.  In the end, he handed the project to his son Michael Douglas, who produced the award-winning film of that title in 1976 starring Jack Nicholson.

Michael Douglas

His son Michael is physically almost a chip off the perfectly chiselled old block.  Kirk  was married twice, first to actress Diana Dill, and then to producer Anne Buydens.  Michael and his brother Joel were products of  the first marriage.  Peter and Eric were sons from his second marriage, but Eric died in 2004.

In the synastry between father and son (who did not always see eye to eye) there is quite a mixture of ease and difficulty: Kirk’s Venus was on Michael’s Ascendant (a loving bond), Kirk’s Pluto was opposite Michael’s Moon (stormy emotions); there was a double whammy (always powerful in synastry) of sextiles between their Venuses and their Mercuries (good for communication); Kirk’s Sun was sextile Michael’s Mars (they fed each other’s concept of masculinity), their Neptunes were exactly sextile (a spiritual unity at a deeper level), and Kirk’s Pluto square Michael’s Neptune (their major psychological challenge).

Burt Lancaster

He was teamed up in seven films with Burt Lancaster, a Scorpio with a swashbuckling Sagittarian Ascendant.  That they were karmic brothers-in-arms shows up in their synastry as Burt’s Mars on Kirk’s South Node.

Lauren Bacall

There was undoubted chemistry between Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall, and a karmic link (she was a major influence of the course of his life).  However, he did not feel as strongly that they were meant to be together (and she found the love of her life in Humphrey Bogart).   Her Mercury was sextile his Venus (good communication and friendship), her Mars was sextile his Jupiter (she was able to give him a push in the right direction), but their Saturns were square (one factor in the relationship not working out intimately) and her Uranus was square his Moon (some emotional distance).


Kirk suffered a stroke on 28th January 1996, and his speech was severely impaired.  He had a lot going on in terms of transits at that time, including Mars transiting his natal Uranus in Aquarius in 1st House (an explosive event), Uranus on his Ascendant in Aquarius (an unexpected event) and Saturn on his natal Chiron (difficult health crisis).  Two months later, he gained an honorary Oscar, and turned up to make a speech to the best of his ability.  His death this week was by natural causes.


There is merely one aspect this week, which is highly unusual.  It is the Full Moon in Leo (an opposition with the Sun in Aquarius), and it has already happened (at 7.33 a.m. today).  Moon in Leo can be dramatic, and bring about power struggles.  But Leo is creative, and can write its own screenplay, especially if working in a balanced way within a group.  It has been quite a turbulent morning in terms of the gales lashing the British Isles (storm Ciara), and the declaration that the Coronavirus crisis is now possibly deemed a pandemic and already outstripping the 2003 Sars outbreak in seriousness and casualties.  There usually is a crest of emotion at the peak of the Full Moon.  So this Full Moon may leave you with material to ponder…

It is over to the Fixed Stars to provide  some input for the rest of the week.

Fixed Stars

The first star to be aligned with our Sun this week is Nashira, in the goat’s tail of Capricorn, tomorrow (Monday 10th).  According to: “Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld”:

“Some of the effects from this star are a bit subtle and muted because the civilization there has had some direct influence over Earth in the past and of late has pulled back and reduced some of this influence.  At the present time this star is good to utilize when you wish to have the ability to see the whole picture of what is happening on Earth: politically, economically, and geophysically.  This is very difficult to create with only the mental body.  The emotional body alone is also insufficient.  This star will encourage  in a gentle way the combination of faculties needed for this larger perspective.”

There are two stars on Wednesday (12th) which we may connect with.  The first is Sadalsud , the beta star in the constellation of Aquarius.  “Starlight Elixirs” provides the following information:

“This star elixir is valuable in increasing the female part of the understanding of the interaction amongst all men and women in a way which there is a certain peacefulness found.  There can be a way in which the male mind can open to the female aspects of that person and in this way relate better to women.  Women are able to better express the very nature of what it means to be a woman and share this.  There is a greater acceptance of the balancing of both male and female aspects and communicating that merging in an evolved manner.”

The other star highlighted on that day is Deneb Algedi in the constellation of Capricorn.  What we learn about this from “Starlight Elixirs” is:

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.”

Bernadette Brady in her book of the “Fixed Stars” says of Deneb Algedi: “If this star is going to be used in astrology, then the symbol of the law giving,  justice-oriented god trying to civilize his people is probably the best tool for approaching it, since this would reflect its long history.  This is the star of a person who is a benefic ruler, one who is trying to use wisdom and knowledge to protect and help the people around them.”  If you come across this phenomenon in the news, then you will know the star to thank.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – emotional high tides
  • Tomorrow – the global picture
  • Wednesday – balancing the inner male and female; working with cycles and patterns; looking for spiritual wisdom in our political rulers