The Passing of a Hero, World Champion Muhammad Ali

by Marilyn J. Muir, LPMAFA

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This last weekend the world lost a legendary sportsman, three-time Heavyweight Boxing World Champion Muhammad Ali. His is an amazing life story. He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky in humble but ordinary circumstances. At twelve, he had his bicycle stolen and learned to box in order to exact revenge on the thief. He learned quickly, winning several national amateur championships by 1960, when he graduated from high school. From there, at age eighteen he went to the 1960 Rome, Italy Summer Olympics, winning gold in the light-heavyweight division by defeating a three-time European champion. He turned professional and moved into the spotlight through his boxing successes, his fighting style and his charismatic and flamboyant showmanship. He defeated World Champion Sonny Liston to take the championship and immediately converted to the religion of Islam. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali. By March, 1967 Ali had a 28-0 win record and was World Champion, all at 25 years old. That is when the fun began.

Ali refused his military draft call based on his Muslim beliefs. He was denounced in Congress as a draft-dodger and lost his championship status, facing enormous legal battles. For the following three years, Ali spoke to colleges and the media defending his beliefs and his choices. In 1970 his boxing license was restored. The following year the U.S. Supreme Court vacated his conviction for draft evasion.

His comeback was hard-fought and in 1974 he won the title from World Champion George Foreman – that made two championships. His third world title was wrested from World Champion Leon Spinks who had earlier defeated Ali. He was celebrated throughout the world, welcomed in the White House, and was the ultimate celebrity. He announced his retirement but fought after that. His health and condition were deteriorating as Parkinson’s Syndrome took over his body. He went on to be a hero for the U.S. through diplomacy and hostage negotiations. He was a true champion to the end, which came on June 3, 2016 at 9:10 PM MST in Scottsdale, Arizona. As I write this, the funeral and celebration of his life is pending. He may be physically gone, but his name, his work and his memory live on; he was a true hero. 

Astrologically there is way too much for a single article. I am not a sports fan so I will leave that part of the examination of his life to those more qualified. This article is about the end of his life. My daughter mentioned his illness in the early evening of June 3rd, so I automatically checked the Rodden database for his chart, rated AA: January 17, 1942 at 6:35 PM CST in Louisville, Kentucky. I set the natal, progressed and diurnal for that day and quickly determined that he would probably not make it through his illness. Around that time, he apparently passed away. The Miami Marlins announced his passing during their EST game. I recognize a hero when I see one. I honor him.

He was a Capricorn Sun with Leo rising with the Sun trine his Saturn/Uranus conjunction in the 10th. He certainly was determined, principled, flamboyant, a role player, capable of unusual style, gymnastics and behavior. That Sun was also in a wide, out of sign but applying opposition to Pluto both square Mars in Taurus. Can you say relentless! But I am examining his death, and that should be represented by his natal 8th house: cusp, ruler(s) and occupants. 12 Pisces 06 on the cusp, South Node 14 Pisces 16R, ruler Jupiter is square that cusp and Node from 11 Gemini 57R in the 10th, co-ruler Neptune 29 Virgo 48R, completing the Grand Earth Trine: Sun/Saturn/Uranus/Neptune.  We should also watch the 4th (end of life) cusps.

Progressions kept Uranus/Saturn/Neptune closely trine that natal Sun throughout his life. The Sun itself moved on, but Venus 26 Aquarius 15 moved into the square of both natal and progressed Saturn/Uranus, which occupies the progressed 8th house for his death. Neptune now occupies the progressed 12th. Additionally, the progressed Mars/Jupiter conjunction is also in the progressed 8th house. That is way too much 8th/12th house activity for me; the universe seems to be operating on overwhelm. Mars is 15 Gemini 32 within a half a degree of Jupiter and they are on the square to that natal death house signature. The Nodes have moved backwards a degree by progression, still intimately involved in the T-square. It was the diurnal chart that completed the 8th house issue of finality.

The diurnal method I use is to simply change the birth date to whatever date I am examining and to leave the rest of the birth information untouched. That makes the daily transits expressly personal and provides a midheaven and ascendant, which are not usually available for transit charts. The natal T-square involving the 8th cusp, south node and Jupiter was first triggered by the progressed Mars/Jupiter and nodes; that is the broad stroke for timing. The range of degrees is from 11:57 to 14:16 mutable natally and 13:13 to 16:09 by progression as given. The diurnals went into overtime triggering that overloaded progressed 8th house, the natal 8th house, and his angular natal Jupiter in the 10th.

Diurnal Ascendant 9 Sagittarius 10 filled in the missing leg to form a Grand Mutable Cross, that Ascendant moving inexorably towards diurnal Saturn in the 1st at 13 Sagittarius 04R. They were both opposite diurnal Venus / Sun at 13/14 Gemini. All were squaring diurnal Jupiter 14 Virgo 13 and the North Node 17 Virgo 41R plus Neptune 12 Pisces 01. Seven positions from the diurnal joined the natal and the progressed… and even the World Champion who had battled Parkinson’s, battle fatigue from a brutal sport, and the natural effects of aging succumbed to the avalanche of difficult aspects and energies at the age of 74.

Obviously, there are other aspects and patterns from the charts, but I think this shows the major activations. I cast the event chart for his death, but I do not think I learned much more from it other than transiting Uranus at 23 Aries 18 is conjunct his event end of life 4th cusp, opposed his progressed Moon at 23 Libra 48, both squared his progressed end of life 4th cusp of 21 Capricorn 21 and opposite midheaven of fame (in this case posthumous).

If you are a serious student of astrology and the timing of events in a person’s life, this is a perfect example on which to practice. The whole of Ali’s life can be examined from the public record given on the world’s largest library, the internet! There is so much more than I could describe in this brief article, enough that this could become an astrological workbook if you choose to do the work.

Source: Rodden database

Published on AFA Today’s Astrologer Aug 2016 vol 78#8, republished with slight editing.

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