This letter-to-the-editor originally appeared in American Astrology Magazine in 1994
The birthdata of O. J. Simpson are a matter of record. His horoscope was published in 1976 in Contemporary Sidereal Horoscopes by Janice Mackey et al. Simpson's former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered on June 12, 1994. Simpson was accused of both murders. Both victims were stabbed multiple times; Nicole's head was almost completely severed from her body. Simpson was later acquitted of murder, which was widely viewed as a gross miscarriage of justice. Simpson's life since 1994 has gone steadily downhill; he was even incarcerated for several years for theft. His once successful career and reputation have been completely destroyed.
Chief among the indications of celebrity in the chart is Regulus (alpha Leonis, the brightest star in Leo) near the ascendant, although it actually rose in mundo at San Francisco, the birthplace, at 8:29 AM, twenty-one minutes after the birth. In William Lilly's Anima Astrologiae, (1) he quoted Guido Bonatti, the most celebrated western astrologer of the thirteenth century, who described the influence of Regulus:
"That thou see in Diurnal Nativities, whether Cor Leonis be in the ascendant, that is to say in the Oriental Line or above it one degree or below it three degrees; or whether it be in the tenth in like degrees, without the Conjunction or Aspect of any of the Fortunes; for this alone signifies that the Native shall be a person of great note and power, too much exalted, and attain to high preferment and honors, although descended from the meanest parents....yet still whatever of all this happens, it signifies that the Native shall die an unhappy death; or at least that all his honours, greatness and power, shall at last suffer an eclipse, and set in a cloud." (2)
Simpson has Regulus more than five degrees below the ascendant at San Francisco; therefore his celebrity in football was local until he attended the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, which is far enough south of San Francisco (34°N05' versus 37°N47') that his radix equated there puts Regulus within 2 and 1/2° of his Los Angeles ascendant. Accordingly, O.J. Simpson won the Heisman trophy at USC as the nation's outstanding football player of 1968.
His renown initially came through athletics due to the position of Mars, his most elevated planet, in the tenth house. That natal Mars is mundane square natal Pluto in the closest aspect in the chart: if Mars had been exactly rising at the moment of birth, the midheaven would have held 21h 07m 12s, while twenty-one seconds of sidereal time before that, Pluto would have transited the lower ￼meridian with 9h 06m 51s (i.e., when 9h 06m 51s is in the I.C., 21h 06m 51s is in the M.C.). A mundo square, i.e. two planets simultaneously angular, is operative whether the planets that form it are in the angles at the time of birth or not. Pluto makes extreme whatever it touches for good or ill; with Mars it is generally symbolic of martial prowess and inordinate aggressiveness which often manifests via association with the military, the police or criminal activity. At Los Angeles, the same Mars-Pluto mundo square is operative almost as closely but on different angles. There, his natal Pluto sets in mundo as Mars transits the I.C. within 1/4° of the precise to-the-second contact. At San Francisco, Mars and Pluto are 1/10° from exact.
While millions of people are born with Regulus rising, many fewer have Mars at the same time elevated over all other bodies and so closely configured with Pluto; and fewer still have the beta star in Perseus, called Algol or Medusa's head, precisely on the cusp of their tenth houses. The right ascension of Mr. Simpson's natal M.C. is 3h 05m 22s. The apparent right ascension of Algol (3) for July 1947 was 3h 04m 43s; in other words Algol is dead angular, thirty-nine seconds of sidereal time from the M.C. (equivalent to less than 1/6° in longitude). It is important to look for stars according to their right ascension values because, unless they have little or no celestial latitude, they will not rise, culminate or set with their longitude values. In other words, unless a body is right on the ecliptic, its longitude value alone is practically worthless without its celestial latitude or right ascension and declination coordinates. In a grid system of coordinates it is necessary to have an X and a Y coordinate to define a point. The constellation Perseus is so far off the ecliptic that Algol even in temperate (terrestrial) latitudes, rises, culminates and sets with different zodiacal constellations on each angle, so its longitude alone is only a vague clue about its true position; moreover, it becomes circumpolar at just under 50° north (terrestrial) latitude in the modern era. Vivian Robson (1890-1942) who was one of the finest astrologers of his day, described Algol thusly:
Algol is from Ra's al Ghul, the Demon's Head, other names in frequent use being Caput Algol, and Caput Medusae. It was known as Lilith by the Hebrews, after the nocturnal vampire said to be Adam's first wife; and Tseih She, Piled-up corpses by the Chinese...It causes misfortune, violence, decapitation, hanging, electrocution and mob violence, and gives a dogged and violent nature that causes death to the native or others. It is the most evil star in the heavens...If culminating. Murder, sudden death, beheading, prone to murder and mischief...With Mars or if Mars be elevated above the luminaries when Algol is angular, the native will be a murderer who will come to an untimely end. (4)
Because this writer has observed many people live through Regulus on the superior angles of their horoscopes without adverse effect, and the great majority of them are Americans living in parallels through the 30's and low 40's, it appears that Regulus gets its bad reputation from its mundo square relationship with Algol which is much stronger through European parallels. Bonatti wrote his Liber Astronomicus more than 700 years ago at Forli, Italy (44°N13') where Algol currently culminates 12 minutes before Regulus rises which is a 3 degree orb. In the modern era, the mundane square between Algol and Regulus is exact at 50°N25' so that most of Europe gets a heavy dose of the two in tandem. Bonatti didn't have much of a local tradition to draw upon either, to separate their intrinsic natures, since Ptolemy's Almagest was not even translated into Latin until 1160. (5)
When Regulus culminates in the mid-heaven through European parallels, the alpha star in Libra, the south scale known as Zubenelgenubi, rises in mundo with it. The mundane square between them is exact at 49°N30'. Robson has this to say about the South Scale: "It causes malevolence, obstruction, an unforgiving character, violence, disease, crime, disgrace, and danger of poison." (6) There is no mundane square between Zubenelgenubi and Regulus at San Francisco (37°N47'). At that parallel they rise and culminate 27 minutes apart, too loose to be effective; they are even farther apart at Los Angeles. At San Francisco, Simpson's natal Jupiter rose only 11 minutes before Regulus was in the M.C., close enough to be helpful. More to the point, Simpson's natal Jupiter, the most angular planet in the chart on the I.C., is slightly more than 1/2° in right ascension (RA) from the precise opposition to Algol, the star that dominates the chart. This may easily be construed as extraordinarily lucky for someone accused of capital crimes that relate to Algol's reputation.
Since Regulus' influence has apparently been intermingled with those of Algol and Zubenelgenubi, with which it is configured closely on superior angles through the high 40's and ￼low 50's of north latitude, its influence at lower latitudes where it acts generally without such deleterious effects, bears watching. Algol's reputation continues unmodified. It is even more important to look at a horoscope in several coordinate systems: celestial latitude and longitude, right ascension and declination and altitude and azimuth; just looking at longitude alone is like seeing the world as flat.
© Kenneth Bowser, 1994. All rights reserved
1. A collection of some of the astrological aphorisms of Guido Bonatti and Jerome Cardan compiled by Lilly.
2. Guido Bonatti, "The One Hundred Forty Six Considerations of the Famous Astrologer Guido Bonatus," trans. Henry Coley, ed. William Lilly in Anima Astrologiae (London: William Lilly, 1676); quoted in The Astrologer's Guide (London: George Redway, 1886; reprint, Washington D.C.: American Federation of Astrologers, 1970), 55-56.
3. Nautical Almanac Office, United States Naval Observatory, The American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac for the year 1947 (Washington D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1945), 275.
4. Vivian E. Robson, The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, 2nd ed. (New York: Samuel Weiser Inc., 1972), 124.
5. Paul L. Butzer, "Mathematics In West And East From The Fifth To Tenth Centuries: An Overview," in Science in Western and Eastern Civilization in Carolingian Times, ed. Paul L. Butzer and Dietrich Lohrman (Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 1993), 445.
6. Robson, Fixed Stars, 205.
The positions for the stars mentioned from The 1947 American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac:
α Leonis: RA 10h 05m 33s; Dec. +12°45'08".
α Librae: RA 14h 47m 58s; Dec. -15°49'31".
It is important to remember that the longitude position of a star is misleading if the star is far removed from the ecliptic. Perseus is not an ecliptic constellation. It is far north of the ecliptic and Algol, the beta star in Perseus, has more than 22 degrees of north celestial latitude. Its sidereal position in terms of celestial longitude is 1° Taurus (which is 25° Taurus in terms of tropical reckoning for Simpson's 1947 birth), but it culminates with 24° Aries in terms of sidereal reckoning (which is 18° Taurus in terms of tropical reckoning). A body is not in the mid-heaven unless and until its right ascension is equal to the right ascension of the mid-heaven of the horoscope. Its celestial longitude is altogether irrelevant with respect to its true position in the sky vis-a-vis the meridian. This is not a tropical-sidereal issue nor contested by astronomers or professional astrologers.