Prince’s passing has become my preoccupation. Purple synchronicity is omnipresent. Everything is purple. Everything is Prince.
It’s been a year of death. People who are dying are so much younger than we think they should be. Life proves that we each have different expiration dates (we must have), and we are not in control, which makes the case for living life well and fully today all the more compelling for each of us.
Did he die too soon? Prince had Gemini on the cusp of his eighth house of death; Gemini is an air sign that rules the lungs and respiration, fitting for an airborne virus (death by flu hypothesis). It’s a sign of youth- so maybe, maybe not. Gemini is a sign associated with more questions than answers.
Did Prince achieve what he set out to do in this lifetime? Did he evolve and learn from the pitfalls he’d faced in the past? At face value this is a question that you don’t need to be an astrologer to answer– after all just look at his life and legacy. Prince’s life appears to be an example of a life well-lived, and not just by worldly, but as we’ve been learning, by spiritual, standards as well. However, I can imagine him arriving in heaven, celebrating like it’s 1999, then sitting down in the Akashic library and taking a good hard look at the pages of his life. After all, who among us really knows the answer to this question — that is, besides Prince Roger Nelson?
I love mystery and that’s why I love exploring the nodal story. In Evolutionary Astrology, we look at the chart behind the chart, noting the karmic tendencies of the past and growth curves for this lifetime, using the nodal axis. We can paint a picture of a character, a drama, and can get a pretty good idea of what seeks resolution this time around. A good place to put my purple obsession…
The South Node: Who Were You In a Former Life?
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner
“Musicians inherited this system, so that’s how most musicians work, how we get the music to the people. But it used to be the tradition to have slaves on the plantation. Don’t mean it’s right!” – Prince
Who was Prince in a prior life? With the South Node at 29 Aries in the sixth house, he was “Mars” – fiery, feisty, sexy and passionate, a fighter/warrior of some sort. His Mars, also in Aries, is in the fifth house of performance, self-expression and risk-taking and we might speculate that he was a performer in the past, too, since the house of the SN and its ruler describes the circumstances he was operating under. Mars and the fifth house both share similar several common grounds: sex, freedom and love of risk. He’s a fiery, sexy performer, and he’s inclined to take risks. We always frame the SN a little negatively because it represents a gift we overused, or that we got wrong in some way. Negatively, Mars can be selfish and arrogant, “my way or the highway”, especially when its freedom is compromised.
Prince was operating in the context of a hierarchal system (sixth house SN), perhaps under weighty duties and responsibilities, and dealing with issues of being under another’s thumb. What an interesting contrast to the picture of the fiery, confident individual we’ve painted! Imagine this martial character having to answer to another – a Prince who defers to a King.
In traditional astrology, the sixth house is the house of slavery and servants (when interpreting the south node story, a situation that presented problems, dark medieval descriptions always work well). In that light, isn’t it interesting that Prince, during the time when he and Warner Bros. were fighting over his record contract, made public appearances with the word “slave” written on his cheek?. If he were my client, I might float the story that he was a slave in a former life as that would help him to connect to those feelings of oppression of yesterday, today. Prince knew, deep down, what it meant to be oppressed.
What did Prince want, what motivated him? SN in Aries: individuality, a need for pioneering self-expression and entrepreneurialism. He wanted to be free to artistically and sexually express himself (fifth house) in a passionate, direct, and fiery way with no concern for what other people think or want of him. Can you see the conflict and tension here? How easy is it to be your own man/woman while constantly having to answer to others?
Venus in Taurus makes an out of sign conjunction to his SN, which adds another detail- Prince was both martial and venusian. What does it mean to be venusian? In a former lifetime, he was devastatingly seductive and charming and this was certainly the case today; Prince could seduce anyone. He would’ve had to deal with people in a graceful way, so he’d be a negotiator, which modifies all that Aries/Mars energy. With all the artistry significators, and the fact that Taurus rules the throat we might assume he was a singer then, too. Now, without all the Mars/Aries influence we might read Prince as a female in a former lifetime but that’s not what we are seeing here. We are seeing someone who is governed by both fiery, masculine energy -and- receptive, others-oriented feminine energy. The gender-bending rumors that followed him into this lifetime spoke to this split or integration of his feminine and masculine functions. In an early interview he confessed to Oprah that he had transgender multiple personalities, how fitting for a Gemini Sun. Of course he couldn’t choose an orientation because both planets are in their rulership, indicating great strength!
A character sketch of Prince in a former life: a seductive, gender-fluid, fiery, passionate, freedom-loving performing artist who could be selfish, arrogant and was in an oppressive hierarchal relationship under powerful others. And because karma repeats, we see that this is who he was in this life, too.
The Storyline: The Drama Unfolds
How long till my soul gets it right? – Gallileo, The Indigo Girls
So what’s unfinished in this story, to the point that he’s repeating it today? What challenges did he face? Where did it all blow up, make problems? His nodal structure connects with 4 planets via hard aspects, and 3 soft. That’s more than half the planets in his chart. When so many planets connect to the nodal axis the current life themes are inextricably linked to past ones.
Uranus in Leo in the ninth house squares him (again, he is described as the sixth house node, Mars, and Venus, respectively). Squares afflict, that’s what they do; they are vexing, make life hard and difficult for us. As a negative person, Uranus is surprising, unpredictable and unreliable. As a negative situation, Uranus is an unexpected development, trauma, chaos. In royal Leo, this person was negatively motivated by: pride, ego, temptations of power and status, a need for attention and approval. This Uranian figure/situation operated in the context of: strong beliefs, morality, dogmatism, culture shock (ninth house). Given who he is/was, it’s easy to imagine a religious/moral zealot attacking his performance/art for being too sexual or sensual. A royal went on a moral tangent, creating trauma and drama for him. Sounds like: Tipper Gore’s political campaign that targeted Prince’s music, specifically, Darling Nikki (“I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating to a magazine…”), as sexually explicit and unsuitable for children.
As an artist born with Venus square Uranus, Prince would have creative and artistic ideas that are progressive and utterly out of step with the status quo, but because of the nodal tie-in, this wasn’t his first dog and pony show. He would once again go up against powerful forces of self-interest and dogma. This would feel limiting and frustrating for him (square). He must work through that square, in order to claim the promise of his north node.
Neptune in Scorpio and Jupiter in Libra both oppose the south node. Whereas squares are something we maybe could’ve gotten a handle on in the past had we changed our strategy, oppositions represent an impossible situation/person who utterly blocked him. Squares say, “vexing, problematic, but with work and effort you can turn it around.” Oppositions connected to the SN say, “the plane crashed, the boat sank, there was nothing you could do.”
Prince’s “brick wall of reality”, or coffin nail so to speak, was characterized by a Neptune situation/person and a Jupiter one. Again, we have permission to think negatively: Neptune is confusing, self-deceptive, glamorous, hyper-sensitive. This person/situation was motivated by Scorpio energies: wounded-ness, addiction, deception or misplaced loyalties. This situation/person operated in the context of a (negative) twelfth house: diseases of wasting, illness, addiction, hiding, confinement and the ultimate loss of everything.
Neptune in Scorpio describes something or someone that opposed him with devastating consequences. We could speculate addiction, or a crazy person or chaotic situation that got out of control, and led to ruin, “loss of everything.” But Neptune was was a force external to him -it opposed him. Prince saw Neptune as inimical to himself. What might that mean? Physical pain is indicated by the sixth house south node rulership of the fifth house Aries Mars making a tight quincunx to the tenth house Pluto. Imagine being in so much pain that despite your religious and moral feelings about drug use, you had to take drugs to do your job. Let’s bring in some reality, because we can. We know that he had a rigorous performance schedule, it’s reported he was extremely health conscious, abstained from alcohol and had an anti-drug policy for all his employees; if he knew they were using, they were fired. It’s highly unlikely that Prince wanted to use drugs, but he felt it was something he couldn’t get around. Of course, we know he could have gotten treatment, or quit performing, but within the realm of this story it would feel as if he had no way out. With fourth house Pisces Moon trine Neptune, comfort is also within easy (trine) reach, and we have found out that he did a good job of hiding this problem. If he were in our astrological office, we’d talk about this.
Jupiter in Libra opposes Prince (SN). As a person Jupiter has high status; as a situation, it is overindulgence and excess. As a person this suggests a need for people-pleasing and social status; as a situation, a desire for relaxation and harmony. Both/either lead to a catastrophic and ruinous situation (twelfth house). Imagine someone seduced by the proximity of being friends with the famous Prince supplying him with the painkillers that ended his life. Imagine being surrounded by friends, not knowing if they liked you for you, or for your fame, status, money (Neptune in Scorpio, too).
I once heard the singer and author, Jewel, say that if you want to work on your stuff, get famous. Fame magnifies your weaknesses. If you’re insecure, fame amplifies that. If you have any tendency for power mongering, fame magnifies that. If you’re prone to escapism and addiction at all, fame offers you plenty of drugs and drink. Imagine having the freedom to have your every desire met, and without having some sort of spiritual GPS, what that could do to your soul.
The North Node: The Karmic Medicine
“The epiphany is where you see God, where you live at the level humanity is. You don’t let money, fame, the illusion rule you.” – Prince
Now, we re-enter the story through the north node. It’s like a cosmic re-frame, saying, there’s more to work on, here. Maybe you attracted negative situations and people, unconsciously, but now it’s time to integrate those energies in a new way. This time, reach for the highest expression and see things change.
In our hypothetical astrological consult, talking to Prince, we’ve addressed his need to separate from anything or anyone who stifles his freedom. We already noted that in the past, his art was out of step with the times, and this created discord. We’d also already warned him about the disastrous dangers of drug use and fame, though we’ll go deeper into that in this second round, as we focus on the opportunity for psychological integration.
Libra North Node in the twelfth house is guiding North Star in this life. An image for this is the relationship/creative artist who surrenders ego for higher truths. He’s working toward a lifetime where his life and art is no longer purely preoccupied by freedom of expression and self-interest (Aries SN) but creative collaboration and spiritual consciousness. Now he could let go, and commune with the Gods and Goddesses. Let’s include creative practice as spiritual practice. I heard a monk once say, ultimately there’s no difference between creativity and spirituality. We would talk about music, beauty and making art as a spiritual experience. With Venus in Taurus residing in the sixth house, he was a master craftsperson, a hard worker who constantly refined his art. This gift is still here. Yet in this life he must liberate the realm of work and service into spiritual calling. A twelfth house north node seeks a consciousness that everything is connected, and that separation of any form is a lie. This spiritual thrust need not be separate from his animal-sexual magnetism. He did this: Prince merged the sacred with the profane in ways no other artist has.
Spirituality, service and giving back (twelfth house) would play a key role in his lifetime. The anonymous philanthropy that has come to light since his death fits perfectly with this signature. He made a number of major anonymous donations to social causes. I love the story of the house call he made as a Jehovah’s Witness. When someone recognized him and asked his name, he simply answered, and went on spreading the good word. With selfless action, the egoism of the Aries South Node is worked free.
Prince needed to be famous! Jupiter is conjunct the north node, a signature that it’s time to go big and take leaps of faith. People with this chart signature, if they reach for it, are destined for big success. Read as an opposition to the SN, success opposed and eluded him in a former life. Maybe he was too controversial. Maybe he got into hot water, erotically, sexually, artistically. But this lifetime is about entering into a faith-based contract with Success, to trust that his big risks are going to pay off. His success is also tied into the lives of others- Libra. Collaborations would be beneficial. Former lives were spent as a “slave”, in in-equal relationship, but entering into equal relationships that have a foundation of reciprocity and mutual respect at core would be healing. Instead of being the outsider, though his artistic work pays homage to that, he could create a twelfth house sanctuary for himself, and for other artists. He did that in his creative sanctuary, Paisley Park, collaborating, experimenting with everyone who dropped by. Prince may’ve been a slave-prince in a former life, but he needed to be King in this one.He was under another’s more powerful thumb, and denied that formerly. So he took the name of royalty.
We’d also go back and revisit the idea that fame would expose any weak area in his soul that needed work. He’d have friends, possibly in high places, who want to be liked and earn his favor, so would do anything for him, and this would be a problem. Prince was seductive; everyone, man or woman, wanted him. He could have anything and anyone he wanted. The world was his oyster. What could possibly go wrong (I’m joking, of course)? His strong spirituality would be key to navigating the challenges he faced.
I love this frank account of his experience as an artist and person. In his induction speech for the R&R Hall of Fame, Prince said: “When I first started out in this industry, I was most concerned with freedom…freedom to produce, to play all the instruments on my records, to say anything I wanted to. After much negotiation, WB Records granted me the freedom and I appreciate that. Without any real spiritual mentors, other than artists I admired, I embarked on a journey more fascinating than I ever imagined. But a word to the wise: without spiritual mentoring, too much freedom can lead to the soul’s decay. And a word to the young artist: a real friend and mentor is not on your payroll. A real friend and mentor cares for your soul as much as they do your own. This world and its wicked system will become harder and harder to deal with without a real friend and mentor…”
Did Prince fulfill the promise of his natal chart? While the question of his death still remains open, his birth chart, his work and spiritual ethics are consistent with one whose drug use was not recreational, but got out of control. He was honest at the end about it, but a day too late; reports say he had reached out to a pain clinic, and the doctor flew in on the morning of his death. From talking with people who have been in the music business, constant performance is a taxing and grueling endeavor for the body. So many artists have faced addiction for chronic physical or emotional pain, a side effect of a demanding job that exalts super-humanity. We tend to see celebrities as Gods. They are not Gods, they are human. While I can speculate, judging by the success of his life, that his consciousness took a few great leaps forward in this lifetime, only His soul knows the answer to that.
This exercise helped me make peace with Prince’s passing. My only lingering question is: Where does one go after living a lifetime as Prince? What’s the next lifetime for the man who touched earth and sky with his music, and the lives of millions? Only the Purple Guy in the sky knows …
P.S.- Yes, I do nodal readings: You can purchase yours right here. Choose “Single Session”.
Reference: birth chart from Astrodatabank, rated AA for accuracy, and dozens of interviews and videos from the web.