By the mid-Sixties, The Beatles and the Beach Boys loomed large in pop music, one the leader of the British Invasion, the other the epitome of California’s surfing culture. Ironically, each band was also the other’s inspiration. Like so many other musicians, the Beach Boys were in awe of The Beatles’ songwriting, and the Beatles were no less impressed with The Beach Boys’ accomplishments in the recording studio. Paul McCartney admitted that The Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds, was the primary inspiration for The Beatles’ subsequent Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Brian Wilson is often cited as a musical and recording genius. Perhaps no one has said the same of Paul McCartney, and yet no one could deny his enormous talent, both as a songwriter and musician. The remarkable thing about these two world-class icons of Sixties pop music is that they were born a mere two days apart – Paul McCartney on June 18th, Brian Wilson on June 20th of 1942.
Paul McCartney has a Class 2 Kala Sarpa, in which category the planets do not occupy the same signs as the nodes, but are spread among the five intervening houses, albeit with one or more of those houses left empty. Only 2% of horoscopes exhibit this pattern.
His nodal axis is aligned through the 12th/6th house axis. On the face of it, this implies a strong sex drive, since the 12th house reflects pleasures of the bed, as opposed to neglecting 6th houses issues such as service to others. But aside from Rahu’s 12th house placement here suggesting an international career, the deeper import of any Kala Sarpa lies in the disposition of the planets that modulate its output, which are themselves “powered up” by the energy it confers on the horoscope.
Rahu is neither associated with nor aspected by any planet. But its rashi dispositor the Sun occupies the 10th house with digbala, and is eminently stabilized by its natural friend Jupiter. The Sun in the 10th is a signature of command and control, and McCartney was indisputably the Beatles’ organizer. He was also arguably the more creative of the songwriting partnership with John Lennon, and was a versatile musician who could play virtually any instrument – bass, guitar, piano, drums.
Ketu is associated with no planet, but aspected by three, most notably Saturn which is also its rashi dispositor. Saturn forms two Raja yogas with Mercury in the 9th, which thus implies luck in life, and certainly reflects the monetary benefits of music publishing which earned him and Lennon millions.
Kala Sarpa is reputed to magnify whatever is exaggerated in the horoscope. In McCartney’s case, three planets qualify for amplification – the Moon because it’s dark, Mars because it’s debilitated, and Mercury because it’s retrograde. As noted already, Mercury forms two Raja yogas with Saturn. And as a strong well-placed lagnesh, Mercury grants the power to elevate the stature of the individual. For bonus points, note that Mercury is also McCartney’s 10th lord of career, so its elevation and participation in powerful yogas helps to confirm the assessment.
The Moon/Mars pair is a more complicated matter. On the face of it, they form Chandra-Mangala yoga, the most basic of wealth yogas, so labeled because the pairing implies activity, energy and passion, all of which can translate into productivity. In the 11th house, it implies group enterprise. Although Mars is debilitated, it enjoys some mitigation via Neecha Bhanga for three reasons:
- it’s associated with its dispositor the Moon,
- Jupiter, the planet that would be exalted in Cancer where Mars is debilitated, occupies a kendra, and
- Saturn, the lord of Capricorn where Mars would be exalted, aspects Mars.
McCartney was born in Mercury dasha, Rahu bhukti, and thus the Kala Sarpa pattern was enlivened from birth.
Brian Wilson has a Class 4 Kala Sarpa, in which category one or more planets occupy the same signs as the nodes, and one or more planets lies beyond the nodal axis without leaving that sign. Only 6.5% of all horoscopes have this pattern.
His nodal axis is aligned through the 4th/10th house axis, which creates a strong nesting instinct. In one of his songs he famously sang, “There’s a place where I can go and tell my troubles to – in my room, in my room…”
But again, the more significant ramifications of a Kala Sarpa hinge on the planets empowered by it. In Wilson’s case, Rahu is associated with the Moon, which attains digbala in the 4th house. And although this can provoke a strong imagination, it also poses a problem for mental stability. The 4th house is associated with the manas, the unconscious mind governing perceptions, emotions and psychological response. With Rahu in the 4th, the manas is disturbed, and the person becomes subject to distorted perceptions, troubled emotions, and weird reactions to normal life.
Since the Moon is also the karaka (significator) for the manas, this spells double trouble, because in Wilson’s chart Rahu deranges both the bhava (house) and the karaka for the mind. Wilson spent most of his adult life struggling with anxiety and depression, dependent on mood-altering prescription drugs, and/or in therapy costing $20,000 a month.
For comparison and contrast, consider the 4th house, 4th lord and Moon in Paul McCartney’s horoscope, the status of which help us assess his manas. His 4th house is unoccupied, aspected only by the Sun and its ruler Jupiter. His 4th lord Jupiter is in a positive house, associated only with the Sun. His Moon is dark but in its own sign (thus, mixed), while Saturn’s aspect upon it is the sole negative influence. Thus, no cause for worry whatsoever.
Back to Wilson’s chart, Rahu is disposed by the Sun in the 2nd house, where it literally gives “voice” in the form of both lyrical/musical composition and its delivery via the famed Beach Boy vocal harmonies. As in McCartney’s chart, Wilson’s Ketu is also aspected by debilitated Mars, combust Jupiter, and its dispositor Saturn. Of these three, Saturn becomes the primary “client” for whom Ketu plays a proxy role.
In any horoscope with a Venus-ruled ascendant, Saturn is yogakaraka, with potential to form auspicious yogas. Here, as lord of the 10th, it combines with Mercury, lord of the 5th, to form a Dharma-Karma Adhipati yoga. The two also form Dhana yoga, wherein Saturn acts as 9th lord of good fortune, and Mercury is the 2nd lord of money. Both Raja and Dhana yogas are robust because Mercury enjoys double strength – retrograde, and with digbala in the lagna.
As for Wilson’s debilitated Mars, it too enjoys mitigation through Neecha Bhanga, for even more reasons than McCartney’s:
- The Moon, which is Mars’s dispositor, occupies a kendra,
- Saturn, the lord of Mars’s exaltation sign, occupies a kendra,
- Saturn also occupies a kendra from the Moon,
- Saturn also aspects Mars,
- The Moon and Saturn, being Mars’s dispositor and lord of Mars’s exalted sign, respectively, are in mutual kendras.
Thus, Mars becomes a relatively robust force in Wilson’s chart, despite its being in the 3rd house where it invokes karako bhavo nashto, ie, the “spoilage” of sibling relations. Thanks to the multiple forms of Neecha Bhanga that apply in his case, Wilson was actually able to build and maintain a productive collaboration with his two younger brothers, Dennis and Carl. Nonetheless, sorrows prevailed. The brothers argued frequently over the direction their music took over the years. And the middle brother, Dennis Wilson, was the black sheep of the family, married four times, in and out of rehab for substance abuse, and ultimately drowned under the influence.
Wilson was born in Venus dasha, Rahu bhukti, whereby the minor period immediately activated the Kala Sarpa pattern, just as in McCartney’s case.
Aside from their musical genius, both artists enjoyed several other similarities in life, although for sometimes different reasons. Both played bass guitar in the live performances of their respective bands, although clearly McCartney was the more accomplished player, often cited among rock’s most influential bassists. And yet both knew their way around a keyboard which they often used for composing songs. In addition, McCartney was an accomplished balladeer on acoustic guitar, an excellent lead guitarist in the studio, and could also play drums.
In McCartney’s chart, his debilitated Mars is the 3rd lord of artistic prowess. In Wilson’s chart, his debilitated Mars occupies the 3rd house. Thanks to Neecha Bhanga in both their charts, they applied considerable energy to the mastery of their instruments.
Both had musical fathers. McCartney’s was a trumpet player and pianist who led a jazz band in the 1920s, who kept an upright piano at home, and encouraged Paul to take piano lessons. Wilson’s was a minor musician and songwriter who encouraged his kids to play music, and on his 16th birthday gave Brian a tape recorder, allowing him to experiment with recording songs.
In McCartney’s chart, the Mercury/Saturn pair form two Raja yogas in the 9th house. In Wilson’s chart, Saturn is lord of the 9th, and the Mercury/Saturn pair form Raja and Dhana yoga in the lagna.
Both men had marital ups and downs. McCartney’s first wife died of breast cancer; his second marriage ended acrimoniously after just four years; his third marriage is ongoing. Wilson’s first marriage lasted 15 years. Despite interference from his therapist, he got married a second time to a woman who became his business manager.
In McCartney’s chart, his 7th house is dual-sign Pisces, its lord Jupiter moderately combust in dual-sign Gemini, while karaka Venus occupies the 8th house. In Wilson’s chart, 7th lord Mars is debilitated in the 3rd, while both house and lord are aspected by Saturn; karaka Venus occupies the 12th.
Both had kids who pursued artistic careers. McCartney’s daughter Stella became a fashion designer; Wilson’s two daughters Carnie and Wendy formed the pop group Wilson Phillips. McCartney’s 5th lord Saturn forms two Raja yogas with Mercury in the 9th; Wilson’s 5th lord Mercury forms Raja and Dhana yogas with Saturn in the lagna.
Both had important people in their lives who also shared the Kala Sarpa pattern. For Paul McCartney, one was fellow Beatle and drummer Ringo Starr, while the other was George Martin, the fabled recording engineer who helped the Beatles realize their musical visions. For Brian Wilson, one was fellow Beach Boy and younger brother Dennis who drowned at age 39, while the other was daughter Carnie Wilson who enjoyed success in the pop group Wilson Phillips but later struggled with obesity.
To recap, Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson, both hugely influential in modern pop music, were born less than 48 hours apart. In sharing the Kala Sarpa configuration, they also lived up to its promise for rule-breaking innovation. Aside from their songwriting, they explored the potentials of recording technology, something ruled by Rahu. In experimenting with the same things – playing segments slower/faster/backwards, creating repetitive loops, cutting and pasting snippets of music into the overall mix, over-dubbing multiple vocal and instrumental tracks – in some notable instances they created a symphonic tour de force, such as A Day in the Life and Good Vibrations.
For a discussion of key features regarding the charts of Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson, follow this link to YouTube and subscribe to my channel.
Alan Annand studied with Hart de Fouw, and is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology. He’s also a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, and the author of several books.
Kala Sarpa is a first-of-its-kind reference book on a unique pattern in jyotish that is not discussed in shastra yet is part of India’s rich oral tradition.
Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. His Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume written for western astrologers, covering planetary exchange as seen through the lens of traditional astrology. Likewise, his book The Draconic Bowl is a reference text for western astrologers for whom the extensive delineations of the nodes by house position and planetary influence will provide a wealth of information.
His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”
Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com