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At 180 miles per hour, the tiniest miscalculation can mean the difference between life and death, between triumph and heartbreaking tragedy. Sadly, that’s how we lost the most beloved and most feared driver in Nascar, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. “The Intimidator” died as he lived at Daytona. Determined to fend off Sterling Marlin’s advance and seal a brilliant win-place-show finish for his team, Earnhardt lost control of his famous black Chevy for one fleeting fraction of a second, hitting the wall on the final turn. He was killed immediately on impact.

Auto racing is dangerous, period. That they don’t suffer fatalities in every race is a credit to the skill of both the drivers and the safety engineers. These guys are good, very good. They know exactly how much is at stake and they love what they do. Dale Earnhardt drove with a skill and precision unparalleled in the field, but even the best make mistakes, especially when driving under particularly difficult astrological influences.

Some astrological transits can actually increase concentration and perception, while others, for instance stressful aspects from Neptune, can temporarily scatter the wits, resulting in lapses of judgment.

At the time of the crash, Earnhardt was experiencing a difficult Neptune transit that may very well have triggered his deadly miscalculation. The same Neptune influence has also, in death, lifted him to legendary status, both as a hero for the common man and a tragic symbol of loss.

A Hard-Working Entertainer

Astrology Horoscope: Dale EarnhardtA Taurus, born on April 29, 1951, at 1:07 pm EST in Cabarrus, North Carolina, Earnhardt could serve as a textbook example of that strong-willed, down-to-earth sign. The salt of the earth himself, Earnhardt had the Sun, Mercury and Mars in Taurus, clustered high in the sky near his Taurus Midheaven. The Midheaven is the doorway to the “career house” in the birth chart. Earnhardt’s gritty mystique and utter unpretentiousness endeared him to anybody who ever had to earn it the hard way. In a sport that caters to a vast blue-collar fan base, Earnhardt was a constant: a hard-working driver who never got above his raising.

A dynamic entertainer and a leader in his field, Earnhardt was born with the sign Leo rising on the Ascendant. The Ascendant is the point on the eastern horizon when we are born, and it shows how others perceive us. The planet associated with the sign that is found at the Ascendant is said to “rule” or “take care of” the chart. Consequently, Earhardt’s Sun, the ruler of Leo, also serves as the ruler of his chart. This puts a special emphasis on the Sun’s influence throughout his life.

The Accident and Neptune

Unfortunately, it was his proud Taurus Sun that was under stress from Neptune at the time of the accident. Although Earnhardt was pronounced dead at Halifax Hospital on February 18, 2001 at 5:16 pm EST, the crash occurred approximately one hour earlier, as transiting Neptune was crossing the current Descendant (in the chart for the time of the accident, not in Earnhardt’s birth chart).

The Descendant is opposite the Ascendant, on the western horizon. Planets close to the Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven and Imum Colei, also known as the four angles, figure prominently in a chart. The most angular (closest to an angle) transiting planet at the time of the accident was Neptune, and its influence was magnified and hard to miss. At 7 degrees Aquarius, Neptune was closing in on a difficult 90-degree square aspect to Earnhardt’s Sun at 8 degrees Taurus. The square aspect puts two planetary forces at odds with each other, creating a dynamic tension that often manifests as obstacles or difficulties.

The influence of Neptune tends to diffuse, rather than concentrate, to confuse rather than clarify. It’s a spacey planet, blurring the boundaries and clouding the senses. It’s also a profoundly spiritual planet, over-activating the unconscious mind, and inspiring legends and poetry of an almost painful beauty. In Earnhardt’s one untimely maneuver, a legend was born that will haunt us with anguished fascination as his sad and beautiful story is told and retold.

Life Lessons from Saturn?

But why did he have to die? Earnhardt had suffered and survived worse accidents before. Earlier in the same race, a horrific eighteen-car pileup resulted in nothing more than a concussion! Not one to presume to have all the answers, I can offer an astrological explanation of the timing, which, while incommensurate with the depth and gravity of this kind of question, can at least help us to place the event within its chronological context.

When we arrive at the subject of timing, of endings, limits and the hardest lessons we must endure, we have entered the realm of the planet Saturn, the ultimate disciplinarian and timekeeper. The developmental tasks that Saturn lays before us demand our utmost in maturity and self-control. Saturn is rarely, if ever, easy, but if we embrace, rather than avoid, the challenges, Saturn can bring more lasting rewards than any other influence.

From December 24, 2000 until February 25, 2001, transiting Saturn could be found at 24 degrees of Taurus, in a difficult 90-degree square aspect to both Earnhardt’s Leo Ascendant and his Aquarius Moon. Saturn spent such a long time on that particular degree because it made a station there, appearing to slow down to a standstill and change directions from retrograde (backward) motion to direct (forward) motion. A long, slow station like that places an extreme emphasis on that particular degree area. In retrospect, it would appear that the combination of stresses on both his Ascendant, and his Ascendant ruler (the Sun) marked the end of Earnhardt’s road.

Earnhardt’s death, like his remarkable life, was a public event, affecting us even more in his passing than he had in a lifetime of winning. Perhaps in time, his death could spur improvements in Nascar that could save the lives of future drivers; drivers forever inspired by his memory who would gladly risk it all to live life as well as he did.



Courtney Roberts, M.A.,is a writer, teacher, and consultant, originally from Miami, FL. Her work reflects a unique perspective: a real passion for the 'big picture' that combines cosmology, religious studies and history with a lifetime of observing the dynamic interaction of spirit and cosmos.

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For more information about Courtney Roberts Conrad, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Courtney Roberts Conrad:

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