At the start of this year I met comedian and actor Billy Connolly very briefly at Heathrow Airport. I remember it being a freezing day in London and I remarked that if it was cold in London, the it must have been like the arctic circle in Scotland where Billy had just flown from. He looked at me disdainfully and quick as a flash in his broad Glaswegian accent he growled “How dare you!!”. I had just insulted his beloved Scottish nation and he didn’t want me to get away with it. Everyone around us laughed hysterically. Had he known I was also an Astrologer too, he would probably ripped me to pieces even more, but I wouldn’t have minded. A brief moment of banter with one of the funniest men alive. I was very much saddened today to hear that Billy has had a very recent operation for prostrate cancer, and he also has the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Through Astro Databank I do have Billy birth details. He was born on 24th November 1942 in Glasgow, Scotland at 10:30am and is a Sun sign Sagittarian with a quick witted Gemini Moon and a fair and balanced Libran Ascendant. On Billy’s chart there is a noticeable lack of earth signs which I find fascinating knowing his style of a comic. When we lack an element in our charts we try to make up for it in the best way we can. A lack of earth can see a fixation on material assets and possessions and/or physical things like one’s body and sexuality. If you have ever seen Billy’s act, then you will know that these latter two areas of life especially sexuality and bodily functions play a huge role in the stand up comedy that he concentrates on.
You can easily see the main focus of this chart, a huge set of oppositions between Sun, Venus and Mercury in Scorpio/Sagittarius over to the Moon, Saturn and Uranus in Gemini. Billy was always going to be rather outspoken with a quindecile between Sun and Moon. The Gemini Moon needs and loves to communicate and Sagittarians tend to be very straight and direct in the way they look at life, they are jovial and fun and they can cause trouble especially when young, Sagittarians love taking risks. They also love to have their opinions respected and with Billy this need to express his views about the quirks of life as he saw it became his day to day job. This Sagittarian has never been afraid of offending people and using close to the mark humour and language in order to get his point across, and if you know any Sagittarians in your life, then you know this trait to be true to form. With Uranus opposed to the Sagittarian Sun and Mercury in conjunction then this characteristic is very much strengthened and enhanced even more.
Let’s focus on that opposition. Sun and Venus in Sagittarius opposed to Uranus indicates Billy to be a real risk taker, willing to shock to get his point across. It also shows a real independence of spirit and a desire to be supremely unique too not only in what you say, in how you act but also in how you look too. That Venus opposite Uranus craves emotional excitement and Billy would be attracted to creative and unusual people throughout his life. Uranus opposed to Mercury in Scorpio shows a very sharp and incisive brain but also one which is dark and instinctive, this opposition compared with the Sagittarian and Gemini influence which is light and funny shows to me a very brave and cutting sense of humour that is tinged with deep emotion. Where does that emotion come from? I think it comes from his childhood and a very tough upbringing.
The Sun (father) opposite to Saturn and Uranus and the Moon (mother) conjunct to both these planets (both retrograde in Billy’s) indicates a very strict and unloving set of parents. Billy’s mother abandoned him when he was just 4 years of age and worse still he was abused by his father on a regular basis. Both Saturn and Uranus in conjunction sit in his hidden 8th house, a place of sex and brutality, obsession and of secrets. If ever on an Astrology chart you want to find the a house of unspeakable horror and depravity, then the 8th is the place to find these things. You can see the unpredictable and harsh nature of the father through the Sun Saturn Uranus opposition and with Venus (through Taurus) also opposed by these planets ruling his 8th house, then you can see another link to hidden abuse. Notice also the wedge pattern on the chart focusing in on Pluto in the 10th, another wedge to Neptune in the 12th house of suffering and a square focusing in on Chiron, the wounded healer. This opposition provided Billy with suffering and hidden hurt behind the scenes (Neptune in 12th), his father’s abuse was sexual in nature (Pluto) and caused him a permanent scar (Chiron).
Out of tough experiences in life especially early on often come wonderful people. When Billy left school, he initially worked as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, shown by Pluto the planet of heavy industry sitting in his 10th house of career, making a sextile over to Saturn, the planet of ambition and work. He felt however a need to entertain and this permanent bonhomie in his character can be seen through the lovely trine from Sun Venus and Mercury, a very creative and fun conjunction up to a 10th house Jupiter. Pluto makes a trine down to his Sun and Venus providing not only a need to be someone of note, but also needing to have personal control in social situations. In stand-up comedy and in performing in general, you do have this control and are the focus for the whole audience, fulfilling this requirement.
That Jupiter in the house of work would eventually gain him a fine international reputation and the position of the 9th house Moon also suggested that he would work abroad away from his natal Scotland and that he would love travel and coming into contact with different peoples, cultures and beliefs. A love of music encouraged him to start folk singing, no doubt this talent he had came from the wedge focused on Neptune. Mercury and Venus sextile to Neptune can show a musical ear and Uranus provided and unusual twist, he shifted from folk to starting to write and perform comical musical songs which eventually lead to him beginning a career in stand up comedy. Remember that Neptune also rules film and TV and as he got older, Billy has turned his hand more and more to do feature films and TV series.
Mars sits in Billy’s 2nd house in Scorpio and this combination tends to hold back any aggressive side of one’s character although anyone who crosses Billy will eventually find out to their cost, as there is a quiet, determined and manipulative side to one’s character with this planet in Scorpio. There is a secretive side to this man as well as an iron will, made much stronger through a very determined square to Pluto. With Mars ruling his 7th house of permanent relationships, you could be sure that at least one would be hugely transformational for him and he did have to start again after the divorce of his first wife Iris. He is currently married to comedienne, Pamela Stephenson who is also a psychologist.
Billy’s health issues come as Saturn and the Nodal Axis make a double square to his natal Pluto, the planet ruling the sexual organs and thus the prostrate. At the same time transiting Neptune, ruling his 6th house of health and illness is making a square to the Sun Venus Uranus opposition on his chart. Venus in particular sitting natally at 3:07 Sagittarius is under attack right now from Neptune which is moving retrograde at 3:25 Pisces making an almost exact square. Neptune of course sits natally in Billy’s 12th house of suffering and hospitals and Venus not only affect his 8th house as previously mentioned but also his 1st house through Libra, ruling his whole being and self. Is Neptune here bringing the onset of Parkinson’s?
In the past week transiting Mars was in conjunction with natal Pluto and is now square to his natal Mars activating the square between these two planets. Mars transits can often indicate surgery when other transits are indicating weakness or illness, and this has been the case in regard to it’s connection to Pluto this time. Transiting Pluto is right now at the point of a transiting Yod, making nasty adjusting aspects to his natal Pluto and Saturn activating the sextile between them. With the career focused 10th house and the planet of work both targeted here, this may be a time when Billy has to change his life priorities.
My brief meeting with Billy will always stay in my memory, I hope that the operation was successful, I truly wish him well and I hope that he can get back to health before too long.