Sidney Poitier (1927 – 2022)

“I was a pretty good actor and I believed in brotherhood. I hated racism and segregation. And I was a symbol against those things.”

~ Sidney Poitier

The iconic actor Sidney Poitier died on Friday this week, at the age of 94.  It seems astonishing to think that in the 1950s and 1960s he was virtually the sole black actor in a white film world.  Nowadays we have the likes of Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Idris Elba, but in those days we only had Sidney Poitier.  That is such a historic role for one man to play.

Birth Chart

With over half his planets (6) in the Water element, he was able to convey simmering emotion.  The Sun in his chart was in Pisces, together with Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and Uranus.  Pisces is one of the two acting signs, conveying the sensitivity for subtle character roles; the other is Leo, conveying drama and performance.  Pisces is also a sign which can indicate great Soul evolution, and all the evidence points to this in his character, not least for the responsibility of providing a role model for his race, up to and including the  heyday of the American Civil Rights Movement (1954 – 1968).  In this, he needed the sextile between his Sun and Mars (the Warrior Archetype), though he carried his warriorship in the subtle and gentle mode of an evolved Piscean.  He was helped by a natal conjunction of the Sun and Jupiter, a predisposition to positivity.  At the same time, he experienced, and could portray, hardship, with the Sun square Saturn, giving him the strength of forbearance.  His Sun in Pisces opposed Neptune – providing an ocean of sensitivity, emotion and talent.  The acting profession is suggested by a trine between his Sun (acting and directing) and his Midheaven (careerpoint) and the North Node (karmic mission).  The Midheaven and North Node in his chart are united in a conjunction, so they are in sync, and in addition, the Midheaven is exactly conjunct his 10th House career cusp in the Equal House system.  His Ascendant and Moon were in the sign of Libra – his arresting good looks, and grace were very much in evidence from this sign.  But they also depicted his role as Ambassador to Japan, a Libran role.  Going with those Libran traits, Venus conjunct Uranus showed great personal magnetism.  Mercury trine Pluto marked him out as a deep thinker, and together with Pluto’s position in his 10th House of Career this meant that he was very deliberate about the roles he chose, being aware at that time that he needed to provide a positive role model for a man of his race.  Pluto conjunct the Midheaven described very well his role.  Jupiter trine Pluto brought great personal power, and Jupiter trine the Midheaven/North Node brought a successful career with many opportunities.

Life and Career

Sidney was two months premature when he was born, and nearly died.  Moon square Pluto, in his natal chart, is an indication of this, though of course not necessarily in any chart (it can indicate neonatal difficulties of other kinds). He was born in Miami of a Bahamian family, and moved to New York at the age of 16, where he joined the American Negro Theatre in Harlem, and acted as understudy for Harry Belafonte.  Unable to sing, in the manner of the stereotype, he took to acting, and his first film was The Blackboard Jungle (1955).

In 1956 he worked with director William Wellman on Good-bye, My Lady.  Poitier admired Wellman’s humanity and sensitivity.  Wellman was also a Piscean, with his North Node conjunct Poitier’s Sun/Jupiter in that sensitive sign, indicating a karmic link.  Kindred spirits…

1958 saw him play an escaped convict with Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones, a wonderful story where hatred turns to love.  He won an Academy Award in 1964 for Lilies of the Field, a film where his character plays a handyman helping a group of nuns.


The year 1967 was a turning point for Sidney Poitier, but also in the outside world.  Astrologically, the groundbreaking conjunction of Uranus and Pluto was still active. To Sir with Love, set in a tough inner city school and starring Lulu, was released in the US in June of that year, with Pluto opposite his Mercury (intense work). In that month, Jupiter was trine his natal Sun in Pisces in 5th House of Creativity and Performance, denoting great success.  With Pluto still opposing Sidney’s Mercury (depth of thought) the film In the Heat of the Night, a powerful film. was released in August, where Poitier played Virgil Tibbs, a police officer investigating a murder in the deep South, co-starring with Rod Steiger.  In October, To Sir with Love was released in the U.K., with Mars on his South Node, Saturn trine his natal Saturn, Neptune trine his Venus (the Love!), and most notably his Uranus Opposition, signifying the assertion of his Inner Rebel, living life on his own terms.  Lulu had a hit with the title song, with the transiting North Node trine her Jupiter (karmic rewards).  In December, the third film was released, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, with Mars sextile his natal Saturn in Sagittarius in 2nd House, Uranus trine his natal Mars in Taurus in 8th House (an exciting challenge), Neptune square his natal Neptune in Leo in 11th House (a sea change in his spirituality, with Neptune being his ruling planet) and notably Pluto opposite his natal Venus, being an agent for challenging social mores.  In that film Poitier played a young doctor in a relationship with a white woman, with Spencer Tracy (in his last film) and Katherine Hepburn playing the parents of the young woman.  The depiction of interracial marriage was groundbreaking for its time, with it being illegal for such marriages in 17 States of America, until 12th June 1967.

Turning Point

In some ways, at this point in his life, with Uranus opposing its natal position, and Pluto opposing his Mercury, he could be seen to be a victim of his own success.  His dilemma was that his roles all depicted “perfect men”.  He did not want to damage the image of the black man, but in doing so it was claimed that he was too good to be true, and that resulted in a backlash. He worried that he was being used as a token black actor.  He was criticized for not being confrontational enough.  He couldn’t win!  He thought deeply about this, in his Mercury trine Pluto way, and thereafter steered himself towards directing roles, in order to have more control over his image and career, and to give himself the chance of more varied roles.

He set about this new strand of his career (with natally the Sun trine his Midheaven/North Node depicting a capacity for directing), with The Western Buck and the Preacher in which he himself starred, as well as Harry Belafonte.  Harry Belafonte was born close in time to Sidney Poitier: they may well have been karmically linked, as they came into incarnation so closely: Sidney on 20th February 1927 and Harry 1st March 1927, both Piscean and  both with Sun conjunct Jupiter in Pisces.  Harry’s “Oh Island in the Sun” is a very Piscean song!  It is tempting to believe that they came in as a vanguard for their cause.  Both worked with Martin Luther King in his powerful marches and speechmaking days.  Sidney’s Nodal Axis is exactly square Harry’s Venus, a sign of possible karmic involvement, and their Ascendants are exactly trine.  Poitier’s most successful film as director was Stir Crazy in 1980, starring Gene Wilder.  Poitier subsequently starred in To Sir with Love II in 1996, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who also died this week, on 6th January, the day before Sidney.  Bogdanovich was a Leo, the most common sign for a film director.  In 2002, Sidney received the Honorary Academy Award for his contribution to U.S. cinema.  At the award ceremony, Denzel paid tribute to Poitier as his role model – by that time, so many black actors would have been able to relate to his sentiments and sense of gratitude.


Sidney married twice, his second marriage lasting from 1976 until his death.  His second wife Joanna Shimkus was a Scorpio, and one of his daughters actress Sydney Poitier was also a Scorpio, a sign often very compatible with Pisces. He also had a long standing relationship with Diahann Carroll, another Water sign Cancer, who was linked with David Frost after her relationship with Sidney ended.  Sidney had 6 children, and 8 grandchildren, plus 3 great-grandchildren.  In 2019, the Bahamas were hit by Hurricane Dorian, and with Saturn opposing his natal Pluto and Neptune on his Mercury, there were 23 of Poitier’s family missing.


At his passing, Jupiter was exactly transiting his Sun, often indicating a happy release in an elderly person.

It was clear that he was an advanced soul.  Adjectives which have been used to describe Sidney Poitier include dignity and grace, grandeur and poise, warmth, depth and stature; vocal precision, physical power, and gentleness.

I hope I have done justice to this icon.

“We all have different selves: There is a public self, a private self, and a core self. We all know the public self – it’s how we put our best foot forward, smiling and behaving.  But the private self is a more fundamental self, and that is where we find our frailties, our fears. It’s like a clearinghouse where our demons are safe…Then there’s the core self, which is our pure instinct. That’s where all our goodness and capacity for kindness lives…Our best comes from there, and we know how courageous and honorable we are. The core self is who we are.”

~ Sidney Poitier, from “The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography”


Advance warning:  the week ends with Mercury turning retrograde, so use this week to catch up on all Mercury-related tasks such as documentation, travel and communication.

In the first hour of today (in the U.K.) the Sun was conjunct Venus, which brings harmony to proceedings.  If you are an artist or a musician, it is a day you when you can produce your best creative output or performance.

Mercury also sextiles Chiron today.  This bodes well for health related issues, and problem-solving.  It is helpful for developing your Inner Healer, whatever your sign.  Alternative healing works well with conventional medicine.

In the early hours of Tuesday (11th) the Sun sextiles inspirational Neptune.  The saying goes that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but the Sun sextile Neptune gives you the best chance of creating beauty and inspiration in your life.  If spiritual harmony and creativity are some of the goals and aspirations you have for the start of the year, you can safely cultivate them on Tuesday.

Begin such enterprises early on Tuesday, for by the evening the picture may be more confusing, with a square between Mars and Neptune.  Mars likes to act unimpeded, but Neptune forces it to be more sensitive, and possibly also more spiritualized.  Energies may be frittered, and water currents could be flowing in unhelpful directions, e.g. leaks.  Generally under such an aspect, meditation can be helpful, and particularly those which combine physical movement with a stilling of the mind, such as Tai Chi.

Friday (14th) as already mentioned, is that well known turning point Mercury Retrograde, which takes place in Aquarius.  It will not go direct until 4th February.  Be clear in your communications between these two dates, in order to avoid misunderstandings and loopholes.  Although technology can go awry, it can be a good period to upgrade such devices.  You may have developed your own strategies, according to past experiences.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – harmony and healing
  • Tuesday – creating beauty; managing confusion
  • Friday – communication glitches