Little Richard (I got this picture from the site
of one of his fans at littlerichard.com, who states "if
you are Little Richard and going to sue my ass, drop
me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org first and
you can have the domain name.”
Return to Home Page, Links to More Papers
Richard Wayne Penniman, known as “Little Richard,” an American recording artist, was born in Macon, Georgia, the third of 12 children. Some of you may remember his outrageous costumes, his flashing eyes, his frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals with songs like "Tutti Frutti", "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly." Along with Elvis Presley, he blew the lid off the sedate, post-war Fifties. His performances were mobbed; his racially divided audiences no longer divided by the end of the performance. He became wealthy and famous.
In late 1957 while on tour in Australia, Penniman suddenly quit Rock and Roll and signed up for Bible school, a second calling which also first surfaced in childhood. He was to go back and forth between the mores of his religion and those of rock and roll several more times in his lifetime until, as he stated, he was able to “merge his faith with his music.”
He never, however, merged his faith with his homosexuality. His biography by Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard, is sometimes in the voice of Little Richard. He is sexually frank without being salacious. He was, he stated, bisexual, but started out homosexual, having his first experience while still a boy. Through "living in Christ," eventually he affirmed his interpretation of the biblical injunction against men lying with men, and rejected his homosexuality. According to Penniman, he was a woman. His God said, No, you are a man. Eventually his God won.
Every one does not interpret the bible the same. One recent book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire, by Jennifer Wright Knust, baptist minister and university professor, provides a refreshing exploration of Old and New Testament passages about homosexuality, desire, and relationship. Here is Google Books review: Book Review of Unprotected Texts.
In this paper we want to examine Penniman’s astrology for:
This paper does not promote or declare “natural” either homosexuality or heterosexuality. We just want to look at Penniman’s astrology for his life experience to see if it makes sense of HIS choices.. We, that is I, and you if you read further, understand there is a difference between "belief" something is or is not natural, and "belief" something is or is not represented astrologically, and actually "looking" to see what exists. And that there is often a conflict between believing and looking, and often such conflicts occur on both sides of any issue.
Please note that Penniman’s data was given a “C” rating by Lois Rodden and staff. His birth date is definite, but the time, from his mother, was given as “in the afternoon.” That was rectified by Amanda Bagley (I do not know her) and entered into Astrodatabank as 2:50 p.m. EST (see Data Acknowledgments below for full acknowledgment), for Macon, Georgia. I started with that time and examined a number of events in Penniman’s life to see if they fit his chart. Besides those shown below in this paper, we had the date of his father’s death. His mother’s death was only given as shortly before the publication of his book, which occurred in 1984. I used May 1, 1984, with the result that the rectified chart could still be correct, but August 1 looked better in some ways. This latter event was just an attempt to see if the rectified chart could fall within an acceptable range for so important a death, and it did. That gave a total of six events: mother’s death, father’s death, met Lee Angel (Audrey Robinson), returned to bisexuality and drugs, inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and quit Rock and Roll to go to bible college. The astrologer who taught me rectification techniques required that three events work with the given time, so six is well over the mark. In addition to events, the “fit” of his chart for certain things would not allow a much different time and still work. Some of those are: his bisexual significator, his mercury/venus conjunct Asc in his 10th chart signifying his singing, and the co-influence of his golden benefic (the one containing his moon and jupiter in Leo) to both the 9th house and B MC. The latter requires that his b jupiter in Leo rule both his MC and 9th house, so they both have to have Sagittarius on the cusp.
The Wikipedia biography contains much more on Richard Penniman than that written above: Wikipedia Biography of Richard Penniman
Before we can look at Penniman’s astrology, we need some acquaintance with this particular astrological method.
This Astrological Method
This astrological method is not the traditional one. Indeed, it not traditional, period. True, it uses sidereal astrology, the predominant (traditional) astrology of the East. It also uses the Egyptian harmonic. Both are quite old. But, this method started with me in 1983. Its working rules were not inherited. They were uncovered gradually through years of research. As they were uncovered, a system which at first seemed too complex became almost too simple. Here are those rules: Chart Rules
Those interested in reading something about my take on the difference between sidereal (“Eastern”) and tropical (“Western”) astrology, particularly the practical impact, can read: The Sidereal and Tropical Zodiacs: A Discussion
The Home Page also contains information about this particular astrological approach. The background for its discovery, as well as an explanation of the Egyptian harmonic, are found in the paper on method: About This Method
It is possible to read this paper without consulting any of those papers. The general understanding necessary to facilitate same are:
This approach uses both a birth and conception chart and they share the same axis. That means birth houses will overlap different houses of the conception chart. These are called house overlaps. Like paths, house overlaps play an important part in this astrology. Throughout this paper I use the convention when writing about house overlaps of putting the birth house first, then the conception house. So, for instance, a “5th/1st” overlap refers to an overlap of birth 5th house with conception 1st house in that order. A “9th/3rd” overlap has birth 9th house overlapping conception 3rd house. Birth house/conception house in that order.
Birth planets (including their harmonics) rule only birth houses. Conception planets (including their harmonics) rule only conception houses.
Only conjunctions, applying and separating squares, and oppositions are used. Planets so related to each other are referred to as “in the same set.” A set, then, is two or more planets (or an Angle) connected to each other through conjunction, square, and opposition within the defined orbs (2nd paragraph below). The set is more active if it contains a light, and less active without one. Learning to look in terms of “crosses” can be helpful in rapidly finding planets that are in the same set.
”Lights” include suns, moons, and moons nodes. When mercury rules an Angle, especially if it rules two Angles (Gemini and Virgo), it functions both as a light and a planet. For instance, when mercury rules B MC and B Asc and is in the same set with mars and saturn, that constitutes a lighted (by mercury) mars/saturn set with forefront influence (the two Angles). MC and Asc act similar to lights in the sense they enliven and empower the expression of any planet they are touching, but they are not really lights, and their orb is smaller than regular lights.
All planets in a set are lighted, then, when the set includes any of the following: an Angle, sun, moon, or moon’s node, and mercury when it rules at least one Angle.
Orbs for planets in sets with lights is 5°; without lights, about 2°. Orb for MC/planet or Asc/planet is 2°. Orb for progressed planet-to-Angle or vice versa is 1° and increases ½° - ¾° when a light is involved. If I could be certain each time of birth was absolutely correct, orbs could be established definitively because they are empirically derived.
In the paper on gurus I introduce the concept of path when speaking about an astrological set. Planets in a set, the houses they are in, and houses ruled by them describe an astrological path. If, for instance, planets in a set rule 4th, 5th and 9th houses, then the 4th, 5th, and 9th houses are inextricably connected to each other. Energy of learning as well as failure, determined by planets in the set, flows among those three houses. That connection between planets and houses is called their path. As can be seen, paths have profound implications.
Although the harmonic used for each chart is always 2 greater than the number of the chart, for ease in reading I have adopted the convention of writing the harmonic number the same as the chart number. For instance, “b12 mars” represents the harmonic of birth mars for the 12th chart (but the harmonic used to find b12 mars is the 14th).
In abbreviating, I use “b” for birth, “c” for conception, “p” for progressed, and “t” for transiting. A number following them, e.g., “3” or “7,” shows the harmonic chart we are examining. For instance, “b7 pluto” represents the harmonic of birth pluto for the 7th chart. “Pc3 mars” is the harmonic of progressed conception mars for the 3rd chart.
This method uses a solar return that occurs every 40 degrees (exactly) after birth up to death, with nine returns occurring annually.
Now we can look at Little Richard’s astrology, starting with his shell chart, the chart that contains both conception and birth planets, but no harmonics.
Penniman’s B MC at 23 Sagittarius 02 is in the same set with c uranus, ruler of c 3rd house, at 23 Pisces 06 (in 12th/4th houses), declaring him an innovator (uranus/3rd/Angular) and freedom-loving man, sometimes too freedom-loving (uranus/12th/Pisces/Angular). Its influence to his 3rd house makes it even stronger than if it ruled a different house, because much of our life proceeds through our mind’s obvious and less-than-obvious choices.
Penniman demonstrated his individuality as symbolized by Angular uranus throughout his life in his singing style, his dress, and his choices. He performed for black and white audiences, and refused to be caught up in struggles which separated them. For much of his life, his sexual behavior caused him trouble. First, with his father, who for many years considered him “half a son.” But also, when he returned to music after first leaving it in 1957, when he was trying to rebuild his career and finances. Then, it was Southern, black churches (ministers) who spoke against him and his music because of his sexual preferences.
Success in Anything
Unusual success in all areas of life occur through the auspices of the greater and lesser benefics, jupiter and venus. In a set with a light and influencing an Angle through rulers, they are called “golden benefics.” Other house influences, as well as the chart they occur in, describe the areas and talents needed to achieve success.
The venus and jupiter in a golden benefics are either conjunct or square, but not opposition. At least, when opposition they fight each other rather than cooperate for the "great good" they can produce together. When on an Angle, "Angle" can substitute for "light" but with a smaller orb of only 2°. Golden benefics are not truly golden unless they also influence an Angle, either being on it or influencing it through a ruler. When they do, they operate to produce luck and success throughout life in the areas and charts they influence.
Penniman’s Success in Career, Wealth, and Spirituality
Penniman, like two other remarkably talented and successful black individuals—Tiger Woods (he will be back on top) and Josephine Baker—has two golden benefics in his 10th chart career and social standing But that has nothing to do with being black, it has to do with phenomenal success regardless of race, creed, or calling.
Set (1) above shows sun/moon/mercury/venus/jupiter. C sun rules c 9th house, and co-rules (14 of 17°) c 8th house. C moon co-rules (30 of 39°) c 8th house. B10 venus rules b 7th house. B10 mercury rules b 3rd and 4th houses. B jupiter rules b 9th and B MC. I did not include C Asc in the set though technically it belongs—I just don’t like to include an Angle in a set in which both lights are at least three degrees below the Angle.
So, Set (1) shows a golden benefic with influence to both B MC (career) and b 9th house (religion, higher mind). The conjunction of mercury and venus to the Ascendant suggests “beautiful or harmonious (venus) voice (mercury)” through speech, singing, poetry, being heard.
It is always good, too, when the ruler of the 3rd house is included in the benefic, because it shows the actual mental interest in the area represented. The planets in Leo suggest great (jupiter) skill and flamboyance in drama, acting, and performing (Leo). Influence to b 2nd house suggests income is positively correlated with success.
Ultimately, in judging finances, we also have to consult 2nd and 8th charts as well as planets in 2nd houses. Penniman has his b and c saturns saturns in c 2nd house, suggesting modest means if not outright poverty. Mahatma Gandhi, who out-and-out elected for poverty, also had his non-harmonic saturns in a 2nd house. But Penniman’s 2nd and 8th charts each show venus in Pisces, one of them ruler of b 2nd house, in a close set with his C MC at 8 Virgo 41. (B2 venus, ruler of b 2nd house, is at 8 Pisces 04 c8 venus, 8 Pisces 59.) These suggest Penniman was “owed” (venus is exalted in Pisces) money from previous incarnations (hidden/Pisces). He had wealth, he just did not try to hold on to it any more than Gandhi did.
Set (2), comprised of mercury/venus/jupiter/pluto, shows a second 10th chart golden benefic. It is weaker than Set (1) because of the opposition of venus to jupiter (and also, because it lacks the fire of the planets in Leo in Set ). Venus and jupiter work best for success when they are conjunct. The light in the set is c10 mercury because it rules C MC. When mercury rules an Angle it acts like a light and has an orb of 5° just like the other lights.
Penniman’s Strongest Spiritual Chart
In his 3rd chart Penniman has b3 venus at 23 Leo 12. It combines with the non-harmonic planets (moon, jupiter) of Set (1) above to yield a conjunction of moon, venus, and jupiter in Leo with influence to B MC and b 9th house. In spite of the fact this it occurs in his 3rd chart, the influence of the set to the 9th house (and an Angle) redirects Penniman’s ordinary mind (3rd chart) to 9th house matters (golden benefic/9th/spirituality). It also shows an extremely positive, buoyant, enormously creative, aspiring individual.
We know sets in the 3rd chart can redirect, for instance, ordinary mind to higher mind because we have seen it in several other charts. The 3rd chart is the main spiritual chart for the Indian gurus Osho and Chariji. Here are links to papers including those charts: Paper on Osho, Paper on Gurus (Chariji is found through a link at the bottom of the paper.)
Golden benefics with reference to Angles, 4th, 5th, and 9th houses occur in charts of spiritual leaders of all religions, mostly in 7th and 9th charts, but also in others, including the 3rd and 10th. Whichever chart it occurs in, it is the planets (golden benefic) and house influence (path) that make the set spiritually influential. Here is the link to another paper on spiritual achievement: Paper on Catholic Saints.
As far as I can see, the 5th part shows a strong, “blessed” sexuality, which, combined with the 9th, shows a capacity to sublimate it. A 4th/Angle influence shows the individual is known (Angle) as spiritually elevated at the end of his life (4th). Penniman’s set influences B MC and b 9th house and shows 5th influence through the golden benefic in Leo. It lacks 4th influence. We aren’t going to know about Penniman’s spiritual elevation at the end of his life, but he will. It’s a private matter.
On October 12, 1957, when Penniman suddenly quit Rock N’ Roll and became a born again Christian minister, he had the following set in his 9th chart:
|Set (3)||pb9 jupiter||22 Sagittarius 48||ruler of B MC and b 9th house|
|B MC||23 Sagittarius 02|
|pc9 venus||24 Sagittarius 44|
|pb9 jupiter||22 Sagittarius 48||ruler of B MC and b 9th house|
|c uranus||23 Pisces 06||ruler of c 3rd house|
|pc mercury||23 Pisces 16||ruler of C MC, also a light with 5° orb|
Set (3) shows the benefics in Sagittarius conjunct B MC. Influence to a 9th house is through both the sign and jupiter’s rulership of b 9th house.
The significator for homosexuality (based on examination of over 70 charts and growing) has two parts:
The planets/path of Part I is: Angle/light/mars/neptune/5th/(7th). Spelled out, it means the individual has a set with light/mars/neptune which includes planets which influences at least an Angle, 5th, and often (the parentheses) 7th houses.
Part II is expressed as mars/Desc or “Angle/mars/5th/ or 7th,” with the sun sometimes substituting for mars. Mars on the Descendant, regardless of rulership, is the simplest expression of Part II. Mars in a 5th or 7th house and made Angular by any one of the four Angles (larger, 4° orb for un-rectified charts) is another way. Mars anywheree in the chart, influencing 5th or 7th houses, and made Angular by any one of the Angles also works.
Second parts of significators must occur either in the COG chart, the 5th , or the 7th chart (either of the latter two can also be the COG chart).
Neither part of the significator by itself functions to produce homosexual preferences. The first part of the significator describes the sexuality of the individual—here, highly charged. The second part of the significator directs the individual’s attention to male (mars or sun) partners (5th or 7th). The mars/(sun) must be on an Angle. What is on Angles, for all of us, forcefully commands our attention.
The significator for bisexuality, also a Part II significator, can occur in any chart with any form of sexuality, even blocked. When it does, it is makes choice consciously available and takes precedence over all other forms of sexuality. Other factors in the chart, however, may eventually swing the individual toward same- or other-sex lifestyles exclusively.
The significator for bisexuality is written mercury/Desc or Angle/mercury/5th/7th/8th: either mercury is on a Descendant, or it is in the 5th or 7th house and made Angular by one of the four Angles, or it is anywhere in the chart, Angular, and influencing a 5th, 7th , or 8th house. Again, mercury must be Angular. ( I do not know why the bisexual significator includes the 8th house while the Part II homosexual one does not.)
Why mercury? Historically, mercury (Hermes) has a certain place in astrology and mythology. We have, for instance, the following excerpted from http://thezodiac.com:
“To medieval alchemists Mercury was the metal symbolizing duality…Mercury was the metal uniting all the opposites…Whenever things seem fixed, rigid, 'stuck,' Hermes introduces fluidity, motion, new beginning—as well as the confusion which inevitably precedes new beginnings."
Mercury/5th and /7th has many other interpretations, depending on the chart it falls in. It occurs on Angles and in sets with benefics for childbirth in both 5th and 7th charts. It also occurs emphasized, as Gemini or mercury/5th, in charts of pederasts. In the latter case, however, other things in their charts point to the damaged sexual maturity which prevents adult sexual expression and shunts sexual energy toward less threatening people. An example of the latter occurs in the chart of Richard Allen Davis, who murdered Polly Klaas: Paper on Abducted and Murdered Children.
Penniman’s Homosexual, Bisexual, and Orgy Significators
On a physiological level, mars/neptune also plays a part in describing immune dysfunctions and reactions. It just happens, too, to be the essential part of the Part I significator for homosexuality. (It also functions in female sexuality toward the men in their lives) Coupled with saturn and a 4th house influence, it spells out siege conditions at the end of life. Thus, the high correlation between homosexual males and death from AIDS.
Combine the mars/neptune with the benefics venus and jupiter and it symbolizes sex as a benevolent, open-ended “high.” In charts which allow long-term partnerships, it then suggests strong, loving relationships. In charts which do not, it suggests sexual addiction in an effort to hold on to the high.
Let’s look first at Penniman’s Part I homosexual set. It occurs in all charts:
|Set (4)||b mars||15 Leo 57||ruler of B Asc|
|b neptune||16 Leo 22|
|b SN||18 Leo 43|
|b mercury||17 Scorpio 00|
|b sun||19 Scorpio 42||c0-ruler (21 of 33°) of b 5th house|
Set (4) contains no benefics. In his 1st chart this set acquires c1 saturn at 18 Taurus 24 and c1 mars at 14 Leo 24. With all those planets in Leo in c 5th house with influence to two Angles (both mars rule an Angle), Penniman’s boyhood experience (1st chart) of his homosexuality is not surprising.
Penniman’s bisexual significator, a Part II significator, occurs in his 7th hart:
|Set (5)||c7 mercury||0 Aries 34||ruler of c 8th, co-ruler (27 of 33°) c 7th houses|
|B Asc||3 Aries 13|
Note I did not show his Part II significator for homosexuality. It does not exist. It doesn’t matter because his bisexual one includes homosexual.
In 1966-67 Penniman reversed his lifestyle again, going from being an evangelist to participating again in orgies, bisexuality, and some drugs. The following all-charts set sheds some light on this part of his behavior:
|Set (6)||b moon||0 Pisces 12||ruler of b 5th, co-ruler (18 of 25°) b 4th house|
|c NN||2 Pisces 27|
Set (6) falls in 12th/3rd houses. The 3rd house part shows some psychic ability (when in the 7th chart, usually), but since Penniman’s does not influence an Angle, we do not know about it.
The 5th house part shows an astrological directive which motivates (NN) behavior in the direction of involuntary (lunar consciousness) sexual (5th) indiscriminateness and suffering (Pisces). Eventually it will result in some aspect of spiritual growth (NN).
We can learn more from Set (7). In his 5th chart it looks this way:
|Set (7)||b moon||0 Pisces 12||ruler of b 5th, co-ruler (18 of 25°) b 4th house|
|b moon||0 Pisces 12||ruler of b 5th, co-ruler (18 of 25°) b 4th house|
|b5 uranus||1 Virgo 06||ruler of b 12th house|
|c SN||2 Virgo 27|
|c5 mars||3 Virgo 35||ruler of C Asc and c 5th house|
Now the set has influence to both 5th houses and an Angle, making it forefront and powerful. The conjunction of mars and uranus to the South Node in Virgo (in 6th/9th houses) suggest a past life (SN) tendency to diffidence (uranus) and fastidiousness (Virgo). His Pisces moon would not allow that to continue this life time, dragging his consciousness toward feeling—the experience of life as life in no matter what form—and away from fastidiousness. A good result from this kind of conflict can occur over time. The individual’s consciousness becomes fixed in the center, between the nodes. There it experiences freedom from identification with the duality of the opposing nodes. (Find that Center for all 360° of the zodiac and one is Home free.)
This set also suggests something about his (apparent in his biography, but not exactly totally spelled out) preference for masturbation while watching others. Sex is too messy.
It may also end up being the set that spares him death from AIDS.
In “1966-1967” (I used 7/1/1966) when he returned to orgies, his progressed c sun was at 13 Pisces 58 in a late conjunction with c7 mars, ruler of c Asc and c 5th house, at 13 Pisces 11. Progressed c mars, ruler of C Asc and c 5th house, was at 1 Pisces 49, conjunct that moon conjunct NN in Pisces discussed above. Mars is very poorly placed in Pisces, where it is bound, undone, or scattered, destroying initiative. But, it was on his NN, so that suffering had some purpose. Hopefully, and likely, he has found that Center.
According to his Wikipedia biography (January, 2011) “Penniman has remained single for many years, is deeply spiritual, and now lives in Tennessee. In recent years, he has been in the company of his girlfriend from the mid-1950s, Audrey Robinson.”
And, I surmise (and can only surmise), like many (but definitely not all) known gurus and saints, has found sublimation (5th/9th golden benefic) his best option because it is difficult (impossible?) for him to be overtly sexual without simultaneosly expressing that NN in Pisces conjunction moon.
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