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Patti Smith has earned her place in the pantheon of rock icons by blending three-chord rock with evocative poetry for three decades. Her performance persona has always been more punk than poetess. When she first began her musical career, she differed from the mellow female singer-songwriters of the 70s, such as Carly Simon and Carole King, because her music and moods were more confrontational than confessional. After putting out such groundbreaking albums as Ethiopia and Easter, she settled down into retired married life with husband Fred "Sonic" Smith of the rock band MC5.

As a woman who spat in the face of the "pretty" image female singers of her day were supposed to uphold, it's no surprise to see that Smith's Mars  is right on top of her Sun in self-possessed Capricorn. The Sun is sometimes associated with the archetype of the father, and Capricorn is the sign that is most traditionally associated with fatherhood/maleness (in opposition  to Cancer, representing motherhood/femininity). Mars is the planet that is associated with sexuality, and traditionally, male sexuality. No wonder Arista Records' Clive Davis was horrified by the "too masculine" Smith, dressed in a man's tie with no makeup, in the classic Mapplethorpe photographed cover of Horses.

The Loud, Clear Voice of Gung Ho

Since her husband Fred (immortilized in the beautiful song, "Frederick") died of heart failure in 1994, Smith has already put out one comeback album. On Gone Again she sang with old pals John Cale (one of the founders of The Velvet Underground) and Tom Verlaine, along with new pal Jeff Buckley (who died of an accidental drowing shortly after recording with Smith in the summer of '95).

But this year's Gung Ho has been roundly praised by critics and fans alike as the true comeback album. Issues of war, consumerism and patriotism are explored on the album, in songs like "Gung Ho" and "New Party." Smith draws comparisons between selling stocks, selling one's body and selling out on the single "Glitter in Their Eyes," warning that "your body's a commodity."

These themes reflect the strong Scorpio influence in Smith's chart. Scorpio is the sign associated with sexuality, other people's money/joint resources and brutal truth. Smith has Venus (planet of art and love) conjunct her Jupiter (good fortune, excess) in the dark, mysterious sign. As always, speaking the truth is a double-edged sword for the rock priestess. She gets her message across, but is forced to remain firmly on the sidelines of the music business, while commerical commodities like Britney Spears and Celine Dion sell millions of records, thanks to millions and millions of dollars in industry support.

Smith, of course, is very much the baby boomer, and in true Capricorn fashion, continues to learn new lessons from her formative adult years (the 70s) slowly. (The symbol of Capricorn is the goat: slowly climbing the hill). On the title track of her album she revisits the fading but still volatile landscape of the Vietnam era:

Awake my little one
The seed of revolution
Sewn in the sleeve
Of cloth humbly worn
Where others are adorned.

In "New Party," Smith's in-your-face brand of politics, characterized by her unsubtle but completely sincere Mercury in Sagittarius, shines though:

You say hey
The state of the union
Is fine fine fine
I got the feeling that you're lying lying lying.

The album ends on an ominous yet optimistic cry for another revolution:

Give me one more turn of the wheel
One more revolution
One more turn of the wheel.

What's Next for the Rock Icon?

Rumor has it a film about Smith's life is being planned. With significant Gemini (sign of the writer) influence in her chart, perhaps she'll have a hand in scripting it. Smith is the co-writer (with former lover Sam Shepherd) of the play Cowboy Mouth, and did begin the makings of a novel when she "retired" back in the 80s.

Whatever others make of her life, it is likely that she will do some phenomenal writing during 2000-2001 as lucky Jupiter crosses two key Gemini elements in her chart. The expansive planet first hits her North Node (destiny in this life) in September, 2000, and then her Uranus (planet of change and revolution) in May, 2001. Perhaps she will finish a "great American novel" that changes the world in the revolutionary way only a true punk can.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jill Dearman is the author of the gay best sellers Queer Astrology For Men and Queer Astrology For Women (St. Martins Griffin/1999). She has been professionally practicing astrology for twelve years and currently writes horoscopes for the national magazines Twist and Girlfriends as well as numerous papers syndicated via Q Syndicate. She has written about subjects from astrology to literature to film and theater in Mademoiselle, Publishers Weekly and HX. An excerpt from her upcoming novel, The Great Bravura, was featured in Best Lesbian Erotica 2000(Cleis Press). She also writes and produces films. The Village Voice called Dearman a "risk surfing playwright" whose work "shocks and rocks." She is a 1999/2000 artist in residence at HERE in New York City.

Jill is also the author of LoveCycles, an email-delivered guide to love and relationships based on individual birth data, available in the Shop@StarIQ.

Visit the author's website.

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For more information about Jill Dearman, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Jill Dearman:

  • Brendan Fraser: More Than Just a Pretty Face   4/27/2001
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar: Every Girl's Heroine   4/25/2001
  • Geoffrey Rush: The Moody Marquis   3/23/2001
  • Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt: Still Peaking   1/30/2001
  • Kate Winslet's Passionate Choices   12/29/2000
  • Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria: What Does This Woman Want?   12/5/2000
  • Bounce Star Ben Affleck: The Ball is in His Court   12/1/2000
  • Charlie's Angels: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu   11/25/2000
  • Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger: Dr. Seuss Meets Nurse Betty   11/17/2000
  • The Bedroom Astrologer 11-15-00   11/15/2000
  • Dylan on Dylan   11/10/2000
  • Bono's Return to Roots of Rock   11/4/2000
  • The Bedroom Astrologer 11-1-00   11/1/2000
  • Geena Davis and Bette Midler: Big Stars on the Small Screen   10/27/2000
  • Janet Jackson's Down-to-Earth Planets   10/21/2000
  • Gloria Steinem: Happy At Last   10/14/2000
  • The Strange Musical Path of Bjork   9/26/2000
  • Picture Perfect Couple: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston   9/15/2000
  • Harrison and Michelle: A Return to Classic Hollywood   9/8/2000
  • Drew Barrymore: Happily Ever After At Last?   9/1/2000
  • Meg Ryan in the Middle   8/18/2000
  • Mark Wahlberg: Marky Mark is Back   8/12/2000
  • The Return of Cat Stevens   8/4/2000
  • Lou Reed and The Smashing Pumpkins: Piscean Themes   7/29/2000
  • Rupert Everett: The Ultimate Gemini   7/7/2000
  • Angelina and Billy Bob: Hollywood's Mod, Odd Couple   6/30/2000
  • The Virgin Suicides: New Hollywood Meets Old Hollywood   6/2/2000
  • Opposites Attract On Screen   5/26/2000
  • Beatty and Bening's New Baby   5/19/2000
  • Aquarian Psycho   5/12/2000
  • Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez   5/5/2000
  • Chloe Sevigny's Scorpionic Exploration of Sexuality   3/25/2000
  • Water Signs Rule the Cider House   3/23/2000
  • These Men are from Venus   3/10/2000
  • The Tangled Web of Ripley   3/2/2000
  • Aries Grrrl Warriors: Where Will They Go From Here?   2/18/2000

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