By Kathy Biehl
Gene Roddenberry’s vision for Star Trek and humanity has endured for nearly 50 years. The reason why is, appropriately, in the stars.
Roddenberry’s birth chart contains all the ingredients for the appeal and relevance of his creation. Star Trek’s themes and characters jump right out of the chart. It connects directly to each of the five TV series. It also links to the revolutionary fervor of the 1960s — and of our current times.
Start With the Chart
Five conjunctions in Roddenberry’s chart set up the themes that have defined Star Trek and have evolved and endured.
1:35 AM August 19, 1921
Data from AstroDataBank, AA Rodden rating
All charts generated using Kepler by Cosmic Patterns Software
The foundation of the chart and his life is a close conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Virgo in the fourth house of home and security. That alone contains the seed of his vision: a logical, orderly philosophy and system of tribal rules and conventions. We are family, but we’re going to be intellectual and well-reasoned about it. It’s a beneficent, nonemotional view of humanity’s potential, to improve, to evolve beyond racism and, to some extent, species-ism, and to exist within healthy, individual intactness and boundaries. Stark, simple and as minimalist as the decor of any private quarters on the starship, the conjunction is the genesis of Spock and the Vulcans, Data, the Q, Voyager’s holographic doctor and the Borg’s drive to perfection. And it encapsulates the prime directive of noninterference with the right of alien civilizations to self-determination.
Inextricably Connected, Yet With Breathing Room
These themes also arise, with different colors, from the Moon/Uranus conjunction in Pisces in the ninth house of life philosophy, foreign cultures and the media. That pairing embodies a visceral, nonrational experience of oneness with a progressive, future-oriented, radical perspective. In this world view, the sea of life teems with quirky, brilliant, weird, alien, emotionally distant, technologically inclined or even outright technologically based individuals and cultures, which are intrinsically connected yet give each other breathing room.
Emotional distance or detachment comes naturally (Exhibit A: Kirk’s love-’em-and-leave-’em school of romance). Norms are tilted on emotional security, nurturing, love and women: Food comes from a replicator. Parent and child serve on the same ship without their behavior hinting at the relationship. Love is possible that exists without possessing, that persists without rancor after a couple parts (as with Riker and Troi), that is for the beloved’s essence, and not dependent on the physical form. (That last possibility was the theme of a haunting episode of the Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Host,” about Dr. Crusher’s love affair with a member of a race that lives inside humanoids. Replacement of the host after an accident has no effect on the being’s feelings for Crusher — but she, as a human, has not evolved to the point of getting past the new host’s female gender.)
Moon/Uranus in Pisces has an instinctive comfort with liberated, self-sufficient and ground-breaking women, as well as ones who connect without words and without possessing. Think Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols, the sole black member of a cast of Caucasians (and one Asian), who also — how Uranian — participated in television’s first interracial kiss. Think, too, of Counselor Troi and the Betazoid race of empaths to which she belongs, and the all-knowing listener Guinan, whose powers of perception extend across timelines.
Women are capable of a lot more, though, and Moon/Uranus has a collaborator that deepens and darkens the plot. That pair trines the Pluto/Venus conjunction that sits on Roddenberry’s ascendant. Women are powerful, commanding and magnetic; women are survivors; women can bring both life and death. This describes the eerily beautiful queen of the Borg, whose assimilation of captives takes them from autonomous being to part of a collective brain — a Plutonian metamorphosis if there ever were one.
The trining conjunctions play out in Star Fleet, too, though that took a while. Decades, to be exact. Roddenberry’s attitude was so forward-thinking that he envisioned a woman at the helm, but the TV execs of the mid-1960s did not agree. (Instead of playing the captain, his wife Majel Barrett appeared in small roles and also supplied — shades of Moon/Uranus — the voice of the computer). Roddenberry did not get his way for 30 years, until Capt. Kathryn Janeway took command of the bridge of Voyager, the fourth series in the franchise. Her character plays out other, somber aspects of the Pluto/Venus potential, too. The first episode of that series cuts her off from her fiance and her beloved dog when the ship is catapulted and stranded 70,000 light years away from its base.
But wait! There’s more. (What a rich chart!) The Pluto/Venus conjunction translates directly into blood-thirsty enemies with the power and drive to annihilate, and who come back again and again and again — Klingons (who morphed, how Plutonian, into allies), Romulans, Cardassians and the Borg.
The Pluto/Venus conjunction also reveals deeply rooted impulses and values that underlie the rationality of Jupiter/Saturn. Attachment to family, tribe and tradition is laced with the imperative, conscious and otherwise, to transform all of the above — and to bring secrets and unpleasantness to light in the process. This conjunction and all of the characteristics that spin out from it define Roddenberry. His identity involved that compulsion to transform his people, and the conjunction insured that compulsion, and his vision, would renew and remake itself again and again. The aspect outfitted him to interact with enormous power and wealth. And, since the two money planets are involved, it promised wealth for him, too.
A Flair For the Dramatic
That money-making potential also appears in Roddenberry’s second-house Mars/Neptune conjunction in Leo. Mars in Leo expresses itself dramatically and flamboyantly; the company of master illusionist Neptune makes that flashiness translate naturally onto the screen. The second house shows what this masterful showman valued: fieriness, grand gestures, claiming center stage, tinging actions with mystery, glamour, magic and a higher, even spiritual perspective. His Sun/Mercury conjunction in Leo, in the third house of communication, continues the expressiveness, the larger-than-life stature, perhaps with a swagger or boastfulness. Sound like Kirk, anyone?
Mars and the Sun contain the characteristics of not just a leader, but a commander, the position that is the central character in all the series. (Okay; Deep Space Nine is debatable.) And not just a commander, but a risk-taker, adventurer and explorer of the final frontier, shown by those two conjunctions trining Chiron and the South Node in Aries in the 10th. Roddenberry’s career and public role pivoted on mastering his own independence, impulsiveness, aggression and bravado. (I repeat: sound like Kirk, anyone?) The South Node shows those traits as instinctive behavior and his automatic reaction under pressure. In the 10th, though, they have a public impact. Perhaps this conjunction expresses our heritage of exploration and tempers the passion in a way that keeps it alive and exciting and fits it for ordinary life.
Star Trek’s maiden voyage captured the social vision of Roddenberry’s chart. Using the TV series’ premiere date of September 8, 1966 gives the series five planets in Virgo, with Mercury, the Sun, Pluto and Uranus conjunct Roddenberry’s fourth house Jupiter/Saturn (and sextiling his first house Venus). Communicating that vision was the show’s very mission, which was also bound up with astrological signature of the times. Uranus and Pluto were conjunct from 1965-68, birthing the revolutionary atmosphere we associate with the late 60s: flower power, psychedelic rock and drugs, violence in the streets, assassinations, political and anti-war protests, sits in and other blows against the establishment.
Center: Gene Roddenberry’s natal chart
Outer: Star Trek premiere September 8, 1966
Star Trek spoke to the times and modeled an alternative, neater, cleaner, calmer, more evolved path for humans. Kirk took center stage playing out Roddenberry’s Leo and Aries conjunctions with unapologetic, over-the-top fervor. Spock and Dr. McCoy offered two expressions of Jupiter/Saturn in Virgo, one the embodiment of reason, the other the big-hearted healer. (McCoy indulged in his share of histrionics, too.) The international — nay, intergalatic — crew embodied Moon/Uranus in the ninth. The show’s Saturn/Chiron conjunction in Pisces, falling in Roddenberry’s 10th house, presaged initial obstacles (the show ran for only years) but ultimately staying power in the public consciousness.
What sealed that staying power, though, was the Uranus/Pluto signature of the late 60s locking in with Roddenberry’s Jupiter/Saturn vision. The vibe of the time fused with Star Trek’s vision of the future and insured it would return and reinvent itself again and again and again.
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
While the first series implanted Roddenberry’s vision into our consciousness, the second took the vision and catapulted it to bold new horizons. Action planet Mars was on that defining Jupiter/Saturn conjunction (and directly atop Saturn) when Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) premiered on September 28, 1987. Driving and perfecting that vision was TNG’s mission — and with this earth sign Mars, TNG proved to be the longest running of the series, lasting seven years. Its Pluto trines Roddenberry’s Uranus, unleashing a powerful (and addictive) flow for his futuristic vision. Carrying that vision to the screen and, paradoxically, making it concrete is the planet that sits between them, Neptune in Capricorn on the cusp of his seventh house of partners.
Center: Roddenberry’s natal chart
Outer: TNG premiere September 28, 1987
TNG’s core was a stellium in Sagittarius of Saturn, Moon and Uranus — respect and adherence to laws, diversity and exploration — falling in Roddenberry’s sixth house of service and making an adjustment aspect to his Venus. The adjustments were many, and most proved ultimately more than palatable to audiences.
What was adjusted? Kirk’s impulsiveness and hotheadedness gave way to a calm, wise, stentorian commander (played, appropriately for that Pluto/Venus, by Cancerian Patrick Stewart). This captain works with a fiery Number One, Mr. Riker (played by Jonathan Frakes, a late Leo like Roddenberry), who in the early seasons carried on Kirk’s tradition of womanizing. Mr. Spock’s Vulcan logic, which had counterbalanced the outbursts of Kirk and McCoy, now took the form of an android, Commander Data (played by Aquarian Brent Spiner.) Klingons evolved to such Federation allies that Worf served as the ship’s security officer (played by Michael Dorn, whose Sagittarius Sun conjoins the show’s stellium).
The casts’ links to Roddenberry’s chart is surely part of the show’s success, and it carries through to the actresses: Marina Sirtis as empath Deanna Troi, whose early degree Aries Sun trines Roddenberry’s Mars, and Gates McFadden as the ship’s doctor, a late degree Pisces whose Suns oppose the defining Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. Scorpio Whoopi Goldberg expressing the Plutonian tint to that Cancerian Venus; late-degree Leo Diana Muldaur briefly portrayed the less than popular Dr. Pulaski.
The woman were not merely mouthpieces for Roddenberry, but also part of the show’s enormous appeal to the masses. Note TNG’s Venus (sextile that lovely Sag stellium) moving toward a conjunction with Roddenberry’s north node. No wonder TNG was the highest rated of all the Star Trek series.
DEEP SPACE NINE
Deep Space Nine, premiering on January 3, 1993, also has a close Mars contact to Roddenberry’s chart — and the nature of this defines the difference between this show and its predecessors. DS9 had Mars in Cancer near the midpoint of Roddenberry’s Pluto/Venus conjunction. The show’s mission, drive and agenda were in the sign of home, advancing themes of tribal connections, loss, desire and wealth.
Center: Roddenberry’s natal chart
Outer: Deep Space Nine premiere January 3, 1993
Key characteristics of this show played out that Cancer Mars conjunct Pluto/Venus. Unlike the other Star Trek series, this one was set on a space station instead of a constantly traveling star ship. Wars figured prominently in the story lines, which were darker than in either of its predecessors. The money-obsessed, misogynist race known as Ferengi evolved from the occasional comic relief they provided on TNG to recurring characters. The thematic and atmospheric shifts are also shown by the show’s Venus in Aquarius opposing Roddenberry’ Sun — putting this show’s value system at cross purposes to Roddenberry’s definition. (He did not create DS9, which came into being shortly before his death.)
Like the previous two shows, this one had its own tight but distinctive link to Roddenberry’s Jupiter/Saturn vision. DS9 has progressive Uranus conjunct illusionist Neptune in Capricorn, trining that Jupiter/Saturn signature and falling in Roddenberry’s partnership house. It carried on his vision with a slant, adding its own quirks and twists, such as the science officer Jadzia, a female Trill who is joined symbiotically with a long-lived being called Dax.
DS9 didn’t bring the archetypes of Roddenberry’s chart to life in the way that the first two shows do. Two of the main cast members do have links to Roddenberry’s chart. Avery Brooks, portraying Commanding Officer Benjamin Sisko, is a Libra whose Sun conjoins Roddenberry’s North Node. First Officer Kira Nery is played by Nana Visitor, whose Leo Sun conjoins Roddenberry’s Mars. Many of the other major recurring actors, however, lack this commonality, which is, again, fitting for how far afield this show went from Roddenberry’s concept. Still, DS9 proved to be the second-longest of the series, lasting six and a half years — a testimony to that close Mars contact.
The fourth series in the Star Trek franchise fulfilled one aspect of Roddenberry’s vision while taking the concept into vastly different territory. His concept for a female captain found form at last three and a half years after his death, when Voyager premiered on January 16, 1995.
Center: Roddenberry’s natal chart
Outer: Voyager premiere January 16, 1995
At least four aspects between the charts explain why his wish came true then. One is the conjunction between the show’s Saturn and Roddenberry’s Uranus, a link that spells placing a structure on a radical innovation. Others involve the show’s Venus in Sagittarius. Not only is it inconjunct Roddenberry’s Venus, an aspect requiring an adjustment, it also squares his Uranus, an aspect that demands action. Interestingly, these two aspects are repeated in the synastry with actress Kate Mulgrew, who portrayed Capt. Janeway. Her 7 degree Taurus Sun is inconjunct Voyager’s Pluto/Jupiter/Venus stellium in Sagittarius, and squares Roddenberry’s Mars in Leo. Her Sun also sextiles the signatures for Roddenberry’s experience of women, that first house Pluto/Venus conjunction and ninth house Moon/Uranus conjunction Astrologically, the time was right, and so was her casting.
Just as important is the contact Voyager’s chart makes to Roddenberry’s Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, trining it with a Capricorn Neptune/Uranus/Sun stellium. With the Sun participating in this aspect, Voyager’s very purpose was bringing a new interpretation (Uranus) of the vision to the screen (Neptune). Part of that newness was technological; Voyager was the first Star Trek series to use computer-generated imagery instead of models for exterior shots.
Like DS9, Voyager explored the darker possibilities of our future in space. This show embraced them (and Roddenberry’s Pluto/Venus) from the first episode, with a freak energy wave (Uranus in Pisces, anyone?) propelling the ship impossibly far from home. The show also reversed the role of logical, technological beings, in a twist on the previous expression of Roddenberry’s Moon/Uranus conjunction. During Voyager’s six years on the air, two Uranian characters evolved into a more human, emotional and creative experience of life: the ship’s holographic doctor, who discovered the joys of music, and the liberated Borg drone Seven of Nine.
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE
Center: Roddenberry’s natal chart
Outer: Enterprise premiere September 26, 2001
The final series in the TV franchise took the motto “To boldly go where no man has gone before” and ran with it. Premiering on September 26, 2001, Enterprise (the “Star Trek” and colon were added after the second season) sent humans further into space than ever before, and pitted them against an enemy, the Xindi, determined to annihilate them. That last aspect smacks of Roddenberry’s Pluto/Venus conjunction, and no surprise that the show’s one major contact to his chart is Jupiter conjunct exactly that. The Sun of the lead actor (Scott Bakula, playing Jonathan Archer) does conjoin Roddenberry’s Libra North Node, but otherwise Enterprise lacks the network of aspects that led to the other shows so effectively playing out the creator’s personal inner dynamics.
Enterprise’s relationship to Roddenberry’s Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, which every other show dramatically expressed, is distant at best: Saturn in Gemini, falling in his 12th house of self-undoing, squares the definitive conjunction with a seven-degree orb. What a formula for a damper. No surprise that Enterprise did not pull in the ratings and ended up, like the first series, being cancelled in production.
A Vision With Relevance Today
The end of new TV series has not dimmed the appeal of Roddenberry’s vision. It is still very much relevant to our current turbulent times, and so is the first series’ interpretation of it. Uranus and Pluto have moved from the conjunction that defined the late 60s (and bound the show to Roddenberry’s view) to the testing and birthing imperative of their current square, which is playing out from 2012-2015. The possibilities of evolution and revolution, imprinted with clean, orderly, mankind-perfecting logic by Roddenberry’s Jupiter/Saturn, are now messy, terrifying, and destructive, ripping apart the foundations of our lives, institutions and systems and opening us to radically different ways of being. How remarkable and astrologically appropriate that the film being released in the midst of this upheaval bears the title Star Trek Into Darkness (release date: May 16, 2013) — and involves internal terror and a weapon of mass destruction.
Transits to Roddenberry’s chart show that all is not lost; Hope does exist within Pandora’s Box. The cosmic illusionist and the healer, Neptune and Chiron, are currently traveling over Roddenberry’s Moon/Uranus conjunction. Wounds and illusion of separation are finding healing. Other ways are becoming possible of relating, of connecting, of sharing emotions and nurturing, of being together without being enmeshed, of coexisting with the feminine. We are not alone, perhaps not even in the galaxy, a possibility that citizen-prompted hearings are currently exploring — and would it really be a coincidence if evidence of that were to come forward while Roddenberry’s Moon/Uranus are being activated? It would be another dream come true for him.
© Kathy Biehl 2013. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission. Karma, ya know.