I was having a conversation with a Capricorn friend about Jean-Michel Basquiat. He was a Capricorn as well, so I started talking about his artwork and creative expression. I don’t have a birth time for him, so I’m focusing on planetary aspects (not houses) I created his natal chart on the right. The inner ring is his natal chart and the outer ring are the transits that were taking place when he died at the age of 27 on August 12, 1988.
There is no time of death, but his girlfriend at the time mentioned how Jean-Michel would sleep all day and she became worried when he didn’t come down by mid-afternoon. I chose the time above because transiting Vx (Vertex) was in Pisces right on his natal Moon. The Vertex is not a celestial body. It’s a mathematical point that often points to fated events that are beyond our control.
The one thing that stood out for me when I was looking at his chart and transits, was the Arabian part of fortune. Also known as Arabic parts or lots, the part of fortune is a mathematical calculation. The part of fortune is calculated by Ascendant+Moon-Sun/+ Sun. Like it’s name, the part of fortune points to just that: Fortunate events and gifts. In 1968, Jean-Michel was hit by a car when transiting part of fortune was in Aquarius conjunct his Venus. Venus astrologically is linked to creative/artistic expression and aesthetics. Jean-Michel’s mother bought him an anatomy book while he recovered from multiple injuries. The accident was in fact fortunate for him, because it played a major role in his creative outlook.
Jean-Michel’s moon was in creative and sensitive Pisces. The moon symbolizes the mother archetype, childhood and nurturing. Those with Pisces moon tend to have mother’s who are fragile, creative and victims in some way. Jean-Michel’s mother was institutionalized in 1970 when he was 11 years old. Earth and water are strong in his chart, giving him great artistic vision (water) and the discipline (Earth) to bring creative ideas to fruition. His natal Neptune in dark/sexual Scorpio was Square Venus, Trine Mars and Sextile Pluto. His dark images (Pluto) often had spiritual (Neptune) undertones in them. Symbols such as skulls, crowns and halos were prominent in his work.
His Sun and Moon were in the early degrees of Capricorn/Pisces. Signs in early degrees are often impulsive and an almost obsessive need to forge ahead and move onto the next thing. Cardinal energy is very strong in his chart. Cardinal signs (he has four planets in cardinal signs) are known for being initiators and at 15 he ran away from home and was eventually banned from the household. I find that Capricorns are often like little adults in a child’s body when they’re young. The father figure archetype in the home is often overbearing and the home environment in general is heavy and oppressive in some way. Jean-Michel’s work had a very grave/dark serious tone to it and this probably stemmed from his inner life. His artwork was truly an avant-garde healing tool (Chiron in Aquarius)
His natal Neptune while connected to artistic expression, spirituality and higher consciousness, is also linked to drugs and escapism. In 1997 his depression and drug use increased. While depression impacts all of us at one point in our lives, I find Capricorns in particular struggle with emotional “heaviness.” Jean-Michel’s Jupiter, Saturn and the asteroid Juno were all in Capricorn. His Pisces moon opposed his Pluto/Uranus conjunction. This points to intense, powerful moods that are often overwhelming. At the time of his death, transiting Pluto (Death/transformation) was in Scorpio conjunct his natal Neptune (drugs) Transiting Neptune was also conjunct his Sun as well as transiting North Node in Pisces on his natal Moon. The North Node points to what we struggle with in terms of ones soul-purpose; add Pisces to the mix and struggles surrounding dependence/addiction may arise.
With his Moon in Pisces (like Michael Jackson) he may have had issues with boundaries and surrounding himself with the wrong people.
He left behind 917 drawings, 25 sketchbooks, 85 prints and 171 paintings.