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"If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

With those words, uttered at the climax of Star Wars, Obi Wan Kenobi lowered his light saber and dissolved into the Force.

On August 5, Sir Alec Guinness, the British actor who became a new age icon as a result of his role as the Jedi master in George Lucas' Star Wars saga, passed away in the King Edward VII Hospital, south of London. Interestingly, at the time of his demise, transiting Pluto, the planet of transformations, and ruler of his Eighth House of death, was in an exact sextile aspect with his Uranus, indicating that the end came quickly and perhaps easily. Pluto also made a trine (120 degree) aspect to his Sun, indicating that when the final moment came it was probably peaceful and in the nature of a release.

Sir Alec was born with the Moon in the cerebral, verbal sign of Gemini, a powerful indicator that he was a man with fluency of language, and the ability to use words powerfully, as he did during a lifetime spent on stage and before movie cameras. The Gemini Moon is also an indicator of intelligence and literacy, and may account for why, in real life, Guinness detested his role in Star Wars.

Sad as it may be for Star Wars fans, in recent years Guinness had few kind words for the Star Wars phenomenon and his part in it. Nevertheless, a glance at Sir Alec's chart shows that despite his own personal viewpoint on the subject, he was destined to become best remembered and best loved as the hooded Jedi master of the Force.

The Self-Effacing Sir Alec

Alec Guinness' Aries Sun is located in the Twelfth House of his chart—the house of behind-the-scenes activities. Even though he had won an Academy Award for his role in Bridge Over the River Kwai, performed Shakespeare on the London stage and become a pop culture hero, Sir Alec was a humble, unassuming individual, prone to downplaying even his best accomplishments.

This self-effacing attitude is often found with people born with the Sun in the Twelfth House. His Sun is joined there in the Twelfth by Mercury in Pisces—the planet of thinking and communications in the sign of self-sacrifice and imagination. Individuals with planets here are reluctant to boast or seek credit for what they do. Other factors in his chart, such as Neptune in his Fifth House of acting ability, gave him the drive to become an actor. But his core self (Sun) and the way he thought (Mercury) shied away from fame and notoriety.

A Blank Slate

"I always thought of myself—not my personal self, but my professional self—as a kind of blank," Guinness once said. "I try to get inside a character and project him—one of my private rules of thumb is that I have not got a character until I have mastered exactly how he walks."

Guinness's ability to become other characters is another trait of the Twelfth House planets. Aspects of personality (the planets) located in the Twelfth House are rather amorphous and it is as easy for them to pretend to be one thing as it is another. Linked to this is the chameleon-like Gemini Moon, which is a master of mimicry. Gemini Moon people can sometimes find it difficult to simply be themselves—the mannerisms and traits of stronger personalities often rub off on them.

In Guinness's case he put that part of his psychological makeup to good use. In Kind Hearts and Coronets, one of the earliest films to gain him recognition, Guinness played eight characters, all of them members of an eccentric English family.

Guinness' performance as Colonel Nicholson in Bridge Over the River Kwai was another tour de force, a nearly seamless performance. Rent the home video and watch as Sir Alec doesn't just play the English colonel obsessed with building a bridge, but actually becomes him in every subtle detail. Playing the role of a by-the-book English army officer may have been easy for Guinness, with his Sun in Aries, the sign of the soldier.

But true to form, he was characteristically humble about the Oscar he won for Kwai, saying, "I don't look back on it as a great performance."

A Reluctant Hero

In recent years, Guinness publicly denounced his role as Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars series. "I shrivel up every time someone mentions Star Wars to me," he said in 1997. In an interview given that year, he said it was he who suggested to George Lucas that Obi Wan should die at the end of the first film. He said he convinced Lucas it would add something to the film if he were to appear as a ghost, but he said actually he was tired of the "mumbo jumbo" concocted by Lucas and just "wanted to get out of saying those awful lines." This serious attitude probably stems from the conjunction of his intellectual Gemini Moon with Pluto, the astrological lord of the underworld, which might have made him more at home playing Hamlet or Macbeth than a character in a space opera.

Nevertheless, Alec Guinness' horoscope clearly shows that despite his protestations, he was destined to become a pop culture hero, if not an actual icon of the new age.

In the Eleventh House of Sir Alec's chart, sitting high in the horoscope, the planets Jupiter and Uranus appear joined together in the sign of Aquarius. Jupiter is the priest, the philosopher, the spiritual guru, the very archetype of the Obi Wan Kenobi character. In Aquarius, the religion or philosophy Jupiter teaches is a new age creed—a belief in the brotherhood of man, the equality of all beings as emanations of a mysterious Force.

Joined to Jupiter is Uranus, the ruling planet of Aquarius. Uranus is known as the liberator, the awakener. In the film, it is through Obi Wan that the teachings of the Force are revived and taught to Luke Skywalker, leading to the eventual destruction of the Empire, led by the half-human, half-machine Darth Vader. The image of Sir Alec as Obi Wan, a real life English knight, in the role of a knight of a cinematic spiritual brotherhood, is a lasting one.

In the coming years, Neptune in Aquarius will transit over the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Alec Guinness’ chart. Neptune represents the energy that creates images, builds icons and raises mundane things to a higher level. Now that time and fate have struck Sir Alec down, with Neptune's passage, it is possible that his image as the warrior/priest in a galaxy far, far away, may become more powerful than we can possibly imagine.



John M. Whalen is freelance writer, astrologer, and editor of a business publication based in Washington, D.C. He writes about film, TV, music and travel for various magazines and newspapers. He contributed a chapter on the life and films of director Sam Peckinpah to the new book, The Astrology of Film: The Interface of Movies, Myth, and Archetype.

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For more information about John Whalen, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by John Whalen:

  • Astro-Zen   3/10/2012
  • Astro-Zen   9/10/2004
  • Polarized Politics   8/20/2004
  • Saturn and the Vanquishing of Illusion   11/3/2003
  • The Grand Illusion   1/9/2003
  • Two Degrees of Scorpio   10/10/2002
  • Venus Elements   2/14/2002
  • Timothy McVeigh: The Day of Judgment   5/9/2001
  • Kevin Spacey: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma   4/9/2001
  • Keanu Reeves' Excellent Adventure   3/8/2001
  • Steven Soderbergh: Putting the Cuffs on Oscar   3/5/2001
  • The Christmas Eclipse: Bringing Your Heart's Desire   12/25/2000
  • Robert DeNiro: Master of Form and Essence   11/18/2000
  • Sylvester Stallone: A Fallen Star, Rising Again?   10/28/2000
  • Yasser, Ehud, Can We Talk?   8/31/2000
  • Human Genetics: O Brave New World!   8/16/2000
  • Survivor: Candid Camera Runs Amok   7/8/2000
  • Samuel L. Jackson: Shaft for the New Millennium   7/1/2000
  • Jackie Chan: Fearless Aries with the Comic Touch   6/23/2000

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