I became interested in Bob Brown astrological profile during the eventful 2010 Australian Federal Elections, when Labor Julia Gillard won to form a minority government and the Greens our guy was leading acquired a more prominent voice in our political debate.
If interested you can find my full astrological coverage of the 2010 election and other Oz political events HERE.
In my eyes Bob Brown’s Birth Chart portrays faithfully his character and destiny, more obviously perhaps than many other Charts of famous people I have studied. Observing Astrology at work in such an amazing way is always very rewarding.
Born when the Moon was transiting Gemini Bob Brown was actually a twin, with sister Jan.
I begin listing the the salient aspects of this Natal Chart:
- Sun in Cardinal Earthy Capricorn, in the IX House.
- Moon in Gemini in the Second House.
- Taurus Ascendant, with Ruling Planet Venus in Aquarius in the Tenth House.
- Major aspects: Sun opposition Saturn, both square Neptune and Chiron.
- Moon conjunct Uranus, both trine Neptune and the Mid-Heaven.
- Mercury conjunct Mars in Sagittarius square Jupiter in Virgo.
- Jupiter in Virgo conjunct Chiron in Libra.
- Chiron also conjunct Neptune in Libra.
- Pluto is angular in the Fourth House and Venus is angular in the Tenth House.
- The aspects he shares with his generation (born 1944) are: Uranus in Gemini trine Neptune in Libra and sextile Pluto in Leo, Neptune and Pluto being also sextile to each other.
Here is his Birth Chart and Data, click the images to view them in full screen
The Sun-Saturn-Neptune configuration
In Brown’s biography by James Norman we learn that he received a very conventional upbringing in a rather conservative rural family with a tradition in the police force (his dad was a cop and so have been, at different times, two brothers, his twin sister and four uncles!). The conservative and rather restrictive family life is well described by the Capricorn Sun in opposition to Saturn in Cancer, the latter always manifesting as deep disquiet in early upbringing, when one is not given the right kind of nurture or may be forced to repress his true feelings because they are not considered ‘proper’.
As James Norman states in his biographical account of Bob Brown, ‘Gentle Revolutionary’: “His family environment wasn’t an easy one for a youth battling the realization of his homosexuality. For the next few years he bottled up his personal crisis, at one point, putting himself through painful aversion therapy. ‘My hands were wired to an electric shock machine. Each male on the screen was followed by a shock. The occasional female was followed by the relief of no shock at all … Inside I was dying away’ …”
As a child and young adult he apparently suffered severe bouts of depression, with occasional thoughts of suicide. Not a surprise with such an opposition complicated by a Sun-Saturn square to Neptune, the latter adding a sense of dissatisfaction with a purely materialistic life, and a confused sense of identity, due to his need to belong (Saturn in Cancer) and to rely on family and society’s traditions (Capricorn) and his sense of being ‘different’, because of his radical views and particularly his sexuality (see Venus in Aquarius and Moon conjunct Uranus in Gemini). Such a T square could affect very much the person’s self-esteem (Sun) and make him into a bit of a serious and, at times, negative thinker (Saturn in the Mercurial III House and Neptune in the self-critical VI House). He admitted to have been, quote: “…a bit of a deep thinker all the way through…. I think I could have been quite difficult to fathom as a youngster, this kid who didn’t talk about himself very much.”
On the other hand any contact Sun-Saturn guarantees that there will be, more or less conscious, a driving ambition that could lead the person far, especially in this case when Cardinal, ambitious and goal-oriented Signs are involved (Capricorn and Cancer).
Bob Brown was a brilliant student (Sun in the IX House and Saturn in the III House, both sectors having to do with learning). The Sun in the IX House of higher learning and philosophy promises success in these areas and also a conscious sense of one’s own destiny, of being on a quest (the ancient used to call the IX House the House of God). Many of his followers consider Bob Brown a sort of environmental guru. he gained this reputation in 1982/83 when he succeeded to motivate Tasmanians to put up a fight in order to save the Franklin River wilderness from a huge hydroelectric project. This Sun House position also inclines one to long distance travel and Bob Brown has traveled extensively, even working and living abroad at periods, creating international links with Green reformers all over the world. This is also the House of publishing and Bob Brown has had many books published since ‘Wild Rivers’ in 1983.
Saturn in the III House of basic learning made him a hard-working and dedicated student, always striving to do better. He became perhaps an over-achiever in order to compensate for his personal feelings of inadequacy (Sun opposition Saturn square Neptune) and a sense of alienation from his family (Moon conjunct Uranus).
Both Sun and Saturn, on opposite sides of the wheel, are 90 degrees away from Neptune in Libra. These types of aspects are more often than not sign that an inner conflict is raging between differing sides of the personality. In this case Sun and Saturn incline him toward a practical, realistic, no-nonsense outlook, heavily conditioned by his early environment (it is often a lifetime task for a Capricorn Sun person to outgrow these), while their squares to Neptune stand for another, very different side, often at great odds with the previous one. Neptune embodies our spiritual ideals and the human capacity to commune with the divine. This is the planet of compassion and of the merging of the individual personality with the soul of the world. Now this need for inclusiveness is very much at odds with Capricorn’s pragmatic views and its need to make a practical impact on his environment.
The Neptune person is a dreamer, a poet, a mystic, often ineffectual in things pertaining to the ‘real’ world (in his biography we find that he was considered, quote: ‘the family dreamer, spending hours wandering the paddocks and the bush surrounding the family home‘)’. At the same time the Capricorn person is a natural achiever and fundamentally a staunch realist. He seems to have managed to solve the tension created by these different needs and drives, by blending his environmental ideals (which are basically religious and missionary in nature) with his strong drive to make them into viable possibilities (Earth Sign and Saturn prominent), certainly with the help of courageous and rebellious Mercury conjunct Mars in fiery Sagittarius and the eccentric Gemini Moon conjunct Uranus.
The Sign placement (Libra), House position (cusp of VI House) and major aspects of Neptune (square Sun-Saturn, trine Moon-Uranus and Mid-Heaven) speak clearly of his need for a job that can fulfill his ideals and spiritual leanings (VI House), giving them a practical outlet (Sun in Capricorn, Saturn in Cancer) and also bringing out the less conventional aspects of his personality (Moon-Uranus conjunct in Gemini).
The Moon conjunct Uranus in Gemini and the Ruling Planet Venus in Aquarius
Apart from the eccentric and potentially alienating effect of the Gemini Moon conjunct Uranus from his conservative roots there is another significant placement in his Birth Chart that also shows similar characteristics, thus confirming and also reinforcing the Moon-Uranus’ effect. This is the placement of his Birth Chart’s Ruling Planet Venus (= Ruler of the Ascendant in Taurus) in the eccentric Sign of Aquarius and in the very prominent Tenth House of worldly accomplishments and career.
The position of Venus, the feminine archetype, at the very top of his Birth Chart, shows Bob Brown’s success with women and his own emphasized feminine side. The fact that Venus was transiting Aquarius at the time shows also his love of knowledge, his friendliness and tolerance, also his idealism when it comes to relationships and need to be rather independent from his partner, a degree of intellectual stimulation necessary to arouse his interest in anyone. Detachment from his own and other people’s feelings should be apparent despite his Taurus rising strong desire for emotional stability and intense but secretive feeling-nature. Aquarius needs to make a contribution to his/her community, to address wrongs and promote a fairer and more democratic and tolerant society. I feel that Bob Brown pretty well embodies these principles in his career in the environmental movement and politics.
The Moon in Gemini, a double Sign, certainly fits a twin birth and also a divided personality: on one side the heavy Earth of the Capricorn Sun and Taurus Ascendant and, on the other, the Airy, light and versatile Airy Moon, rendered more unconventional by the conjunction to Uranus, the planet of geniuses, rebels and odd balls. A difficult combination but also one that can create the sort of all round personality that I see in Bob Brown: the pragmatism and ambition of Capricorn tempered by Gemini-Uranus-Aquarius’ openness to new ideas and propensity toward alternative political views and life styles. The dominance of the Earth Signs, in particular Capricorn, makes him particularly fit to become part of the establishment (his political career), while the emphasis on Air Signs and Uranus contributes something different, more modern and exciting. that resonates well with the whole New Age-Aquarian movement. A visual proof of this can be found in the beautiful Grand Trine in Air Signs, connecting the Gemini Moon-Uranus to his Libra Part of Fortune-Chiron-Pallas-Neptune-Vesta and his Mid-heaven in Aquarius, a very idealistic and spiritual configuration.
Taurus Ascendant and Venus Ruling Planet in Aquarius and the Tenth House
Taurus is on the Ascendant in Bob Brown’s Birth Chart, confirming the importance of the Earth Signs in his psychological makeup. The key word for Capricorn, his Sun Sign, is ‘Ambition’ while the key word for his Rising Sign is ‘Security’.
Taurus is one of the four Fixed Signs forming the Angular Cross in his Horoscope (the Signs where the Horizon and Meridian axis fall at the time of birth). This Fixed Cross shows great determination and even stubbornness, with the will power to carry on his Capricorn plans despite great opposition and dangerous and cunning enemies (Scorpio on the Descendant). Taurus is an affectionate Sign, sensual and needy of physical and emotional support in order to build trust in life. The Ruling Planet Venus in the somewhat frosty Sign of Aquarius helps Taurus to be less personal, less secretive, more able to distance himself from his own feelings. Because of this and the presence of Pluto on the Midnight point (IC) Bob Brown may be often unable to sound his own depth, tending to rationalize his deepest feelings and needs in order to cope with them.
Mercury conjunct Mars in Sagittarius and the Eighth House
Mercury Mutual Reception and square to Jupiter in Virgo
Another facet of Brown’s complex personality is the fiery conjunction of Mercury to Mars in the bold and adventurous Sign of Sagittarius. This has a lot to do with his militancy and courageous stand for the environment, and his love of the outdoors that brought him to the fated visit to the Tasmanian wilderness that literally changed his life in 1972. Together with the Airy Grand trine described above this could make Brown at times more optimistic than he should be, also changeable and somewhat unreliable (Sun in Capricorn and Taurus Rising permitting!). To confirm this Mars and Mercury are found at cross purpose to Jupiter in Earthy Virgo, showing his propensity to over-reach at times or speculate excessively, occasionally getting into trouble with the law and showing an innate distrust of authority. In 1982, just prior to becoming the first Green in the Tasmanian Parliament, he was arrested and imprisoned for 19 days for organizing the blockade of the hydro-electric work on the Franklin River.
Sagittarius Mercury is traditionally associated with preachers and people who share a sense of destiny, who feel they are on a quest of sort and like to think they live by higher principles, either philosophical or religious. . With Mars also close to Mercury in Sagittarius the militant aspect becomes more prominent, making him into a bit of a passionate missionary of his ‘creed’ and a visionary, with eyes looking into future possibilities (Sagittarius, Aquarius) while he is still conscious of the conservative past that has provided him a solid foundation in life, no matter how much he may have emotionally divorced himself from it.
The Sagittarius Mercury happens to be not only in square to Virgo Jupiter but in Mutual Reception to Jupiter as .well. What this means? Well the square, as described above, is a challenging aspect, confronting the individual with two different approaches that seem to deny each other. The Mutual Reception (Mercury and Jupiter placed in each other Signs) will help to smooth the excesses of the square, finding creative way to deal with the contrasting tendencies.
Brown’s philosophy of life will always seek practical fulfillment (Virgo Jupiter), with an innate sense of duty and desire to be of practical service to others and not just a mouthpiece for lofty but unattainable ideals.
A biographical summary from wikipedia
In 1968 Bob Brown graduated in Medicine, at the University of Sydney. After troubled periods as a GP in Canberra, London and Sydney, Brown fled to Tasmania to take up a medical job. He fell in thrall to the dramatic landscape, and joined a months-long and fruitless hunt for a thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), last seen alive in the ’30s. His life took on an ascetic cast. But in 1976 came the journey that was to remake him in every way – a rafting trip down the Franklin River in the heart of Tasmania’s untamed South West, which was then threatened by plans to dam it. In 1983, writing from Hobart’s Risdon Jail where he had been sent briefly for his part in an anti-dams protest, Brown wrote: “I am not a conventionally religious man, but in the wilderness I have come closest to finding myself and knowing the universe and accepting God – by which I mean accepting all that I don’t know.” “There’s a tension between him wanting the fantasy of a quieter, reflective life, writing philosophy, and this need to be involved and have his life affirmed in this bigger way.
Bob Brown has been a life-long activist. In 1986 he was shot at and assaulted during protests against logging at Tasmania’s Farmhouse Creek. He was arrested and jailed twice in 1995 for demonstrating peacefully to protect Tasmania’s Tarkine Wilderness from road building and logging.
In 1990 Bob Brown established the Australian Bush Heritage Fund to buy land for conservation. His books include Lake Pedder, Wild Rivers, Tarkine Trails, The Greens, The Valley of the Giants, Tasmania’s Recherche Bay and Memo for a Saner World.
Bob Brown was a driving force in forming the Australian Greens in 1992. He has travelled extensively, fostering Green politics and forming close links with Greens in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.
In 1989 the size of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area was doubled to 1.4 million hectares, when the Douglas-Apsley National Park was created. Bob Brown also supported tough fiscal measures to recover from the debts of the previous Liberal regime.
He resigned from the State Parliament in 1993 and Christine Milne took over as leader of the Tasmanian Greens. In 1996 Bob was elected to the Australian Senate, where some of the bills he has introduced include constitutional reform, forest protection, blocking radioactive waste dumping, banning mandatory sentencing of Aboriginal children and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.He enjoys photography, bushwalking, poetry, and philosophy.
Brown was particularly vocal in his opposition to Australian participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and became recognised as a leading voice for the anti-war/peace movement. When President Bush visited Canberra on 23 October 2003, Brown and fellow Senator Kerry Nettle interjected during his address to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament. The National Party leader, John Anderson, derides the Greens as “extremists” and “watermelons ” (green on the outside, red on the inside). The Liberal senator George Brandis refers to them as a sinister force.
Bob Brown and friends, a fit image for a Venus in Aquarius man, and a Capricorn Sun leader.