Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Chart of HAIR ~ Why We Should Care

The American Tribal Love Rock Musical

© 2010 by Joyce Mason

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius!

—From Hair by Gerome Ragni and James Rado

Have you noticed? The peace sign is back—and not just on The Radical Virgo logo. The peace sign celebrated its 50th anniversary and Chiron Return in 2008, the same year as the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. The psychedelic movement has weathered its midlife transits!

That’s not all. October 17 is the 43rd anniversary of Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical. After attending a local production in Sacramento of Hair three years ago, just as I was working on a book about my own experiences during the tribal love rock era, I felt compelled to write an astrology article about the musical. I’ve been cobbling together this article, off and on, ever since.

In a larger context, there is a huge synchronicity in the maturation of the peace symbol and these events. History has repeated itself. Dissention against an unpopular war, the topic of Hair, drew the same placards and picketers in recent years to my city. The protestors flashed the two-fingered peace sign to onlookers as they did in 1967, the year in which this musical debuted. Rebellion was the fabric of my own coming of age in the ‘60s at the University of Wisconsin, the “Berkeley of the Midwest.”

Much has been written about the Pluto/Uranus conjunction in Virgo in the late 1960s. I want to write about what happened when people started singing about its themes. During my two hours at Hair, living astrological symbols flashed in front of me in the characters and action. The overall astro-awakening made up for the technical inaccuracies in the lyrics of The Age of Aquarius. While the Moon in the 7th House and Jupiter aligned with Mars are unlikely signatures of the turning of a new astrological Age, by seeding awareness of its “coming,” Hair is profoundly significant as a cultural and astrological icon.

The first time I saw Hair was in 1970 in Chicago. I was 23. The most recent time on the other side of the country, I was 59 rounding 60. In fact, the original Broadway production, which rocked much more than the sensibilities of the day with its four-letter words and nude scene onstage, is of great currency. Not only have we had recent unpopular wars, but the baby boomers, who flocked to the performances and played the grooves out of their vinyl LPs of the music, are undergoing another rite of passage. In the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, it was the transition to young adulthood. Now baby boomers are in transition to elderhood. Some of us are already collecting Social Security; others aren’t far behind. Hair has something to tell us as our generation’s theme song—even as many of us lose our “long, beautiful hair.” Hair is an astrological awareness vehicle, even an instruction booklet. And let’s not forget Biblical Samson and the pairing of hair and power as a metaphor. Our hair may fall, but our memory of Hair the musical, and all it stood for, lives on in all its power and glory.

One last note before I launch into the chart. Why is music so important? In one way, the answer’s obvious. Music is rich with images of its day—cultural history in song. But there’s an even more important reason. As a chronic sufferer from earworms, those songs that get stuck in your mind and won’t stop singing themselves, I finally did a little research to find out how songs “bore” into the brain. The answer explains the potency of a cultural icon that’s musical.

I have been bewildered for years by how the most innocuous word or experience could trigger the full memory of a carpet company’s commercial I first heard when I was five years old. Or for Hair, Godspell, Tommy, or Jesus Christ Superstar: How can I still remember the lyrics of an entire rock opera at a time when I’m sometimes starting to forget what I ate for breakfast yesterday? The answer is simple. Rhyming song lyrics act as mnemonic devices, formulas or rhymes that assist memory. They tap into the power of rhyme, which imbeds itself and becomes unforgettable. The lyrics of most songs rhyme.

Rhyme is a fierce teaching tool. The Hair musical is upfront about its astrological orientation with The Age of Aquarius as its opening and closing number. Hair turned on an entire generation to astrology and planted the seeds for astrological awareness to continue growing.

The chart I use for Hair is the first Broadway performance on October 17, 1967 at the Public Theatre. A review in the New York Times mentions the 8:30 PM start time and gave the musical its first mention in print. That moment represents the birth of Hair in our consciousness.

Click chart to enlarge

Peace Will Rule the Planet

Hair has a Mercury-ruled chart with Gemini rising. I think that shows how the music “spoke” to so many people at the time. But I want to go straight to Mars in its position at the Galactic Center (GC) at 26 Sagittarius. (The Galactic Center was actually discovered in the late 1960s.) Mars, the God of War, got a lot of attention in this era. Then there’s the Martian connection with sexuality, action (activism), and trailblazing. Mars sits at the focal point of a T-Square in this chart, squaring off with Pluto/Uranus on one side (sexual rebellion) and Chiron on the other (wounding, healing, and wholeness). Mars also completes a Grand Fire Trine with Moon/North Node and Jupiter. Mars is the centerpiece in this chart, the T-square pointing to action in the 7th House of relationships, cooperation, and justice.

Some astrologers consider the GC the second most important point in any personal chart, next to the Sun. Focal in the chart of Hair, the GC points us beyond a planetary perspective to a galactic one. No wonder this musical carried to the cultural consciousness the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” a galactic event. Hair set the alarm clock, even if no one was sure just when it would go off and the dawn would arrive.

The galactic perspective reminds me of the distant, big picture that our first astronauts would get, less than two years after Hair’s debut. What a sight they were soon to behold, coming and going from their first Moonwalk on July 20, 1969. We can’t see what we’re too close to—or what we’re too much a part of. Once we can get a distant perspective, we can see the beauty of our Earth and the interconnection of everything on it. If you can see that from the Moon, imagine the view from the middle of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Mars, the God of War, is transformed by that Grand Triangle of Fire. The fire trine represents expansion (Jupiter) through doing what’s new and what’s now (North Node and Moon in Aries), sparking a bonfire that ultimately tempers Mars with a passion for peace. While squaring Pluto/Uranus speaks to a period where war and sexuality created social tensions, ultimately, the sexual aspect of Mars, too, would burn itself out from a blaze to something smoldering and somewhat tamer. Sexuality would never again be as repressed as in the Victorian era—nor is it likely to be taken as casually as it was in the ‘60s.

With Uranus and Chiron tightly square (minutes) to Mars in the “T”, these things were inevitable: sudden, radical, and ultimately healing and integrating changes. The songs carried the seed energy. If you literally knew the score then, chances are, you “know the score” on these topics now. This is especially true if you can still sing the tunes near-perfectly. Imagine those messages working in your mind all these years. You may not remember the names of some of the characters, but you’ll probably never forget the messages in the songs they sang. I would be hard put, personally, to say how deeply those songs changed me, because so much of Hair lives in my subconscious. I do know from the way the music keeps playing in my head; the impacts were profound.

I suspect Hair influenced me to become an astrologer. My natal Uranus-Sun square resonated to it! I knew next to nothing about astrology back then, but within two years of the opening of Hair, I was throwing zodiac-themed costume parties. You can see me “in the day” in my Virgo get-up on the left of the Radical Virgo masthead. Even people who knew little about astrology learned that the Age of Aquarius had something to do with “harmony and understanding … sympathy and trust... no more falsehoods… and the mind’s true liberation.”

I’ve never met an astrologer who believes that relatively frequent occurrences like a Jupiter/Mars alignment, much less the Moon in the 7th House (of what chart?), would have anything to do with the momentous turning of a new astrological Age. (The recent ingress of Uranus to the 0 Aries point earlier this year is a better candidate.) [1] Yet, the writers of Hair had an intuitive hit. Mars and Jupiter were temporarily aligned by trine at the debut of this amazing musical. Jupiter, the great teacher with his global perspective, was in harmony with Mars aligned near the center of the galaxy, making the curriculum of this cultural university in song “bigger than the sky.”

If Hair ignited a mass cultural awareness of the of the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” the Jupiter aligned with Mars words were accurate to the role the musical played, even if it wasn’t predictive of the arrival time of the Age of Aquarius. Hair was a time capsule that carried an entire cultural shift within its haunting yet, at the same time, upbeat music.

There is much “teacher” symbolism in the focal Mars T-Square of this chart. Mars is in the sign of Sag and higher education. Sagittarius learns through interactions and experiences with “foreigners” (the Vietnam War). Chiron, the planet, was named after the mythological teacher who helped heroes find and hone their true vocations, developing their unique talents that others would rely on in crisis. Heroes save the day, and by mentoring their special skills, Chiron made sure that those abilities were available to his tribe (society). In this chart, Chiron is putting pressure (square) on the Mars in Sag teacher to find balance and educate though high principles in trying times.

Just like college, Hair “graduated” many individuals in its baby boomer audience from the naïveté of their Happy Days childhoods to a more sobering reality. Many of them went to the other extreme as rebellious, counterculture twenty-somethings. A good many of those emotionally hybrid baby boomers (Chiron!), who were raised conservative and came of age as bleeding heart liberals, are only now finding and integrating the lessons of those contrasting times in their youth. They are becoming “cool sages.”


Hair’s four planets in the 4th House suggest this musical had a large impact on the collective consciousness. Here is where the Pluto/Uranus conjunction resides—the aspect that defined the baby boomer generation arguably as much as those born under it by coinciding with its coming of age. Venus and Jupiter join Pluto/Uranus, doing work of the heart and educating the masses in a very Jupiter in Leo way with this dramatic yet life-affirming musical as a generational calling card. Astrologer Eleanor Buckwalter writes that “patriotism is a fourth house matter” and that the 4th represents “the tribe.” Hair helped bring to public awareness the idea that true patriotism isn’t necessarily defined by the military or powers that be. For some people, burning a flag could be just as patriotic as saluting it. Hair provided my first aha that questioning what my country does might be more loyal, caring, and patriotic than blind allegiance to it.

Let the Sun Shine In

The chart of the musical has Sun in Libra in the Fifth, inviting us to partner and shine our love in a circle that’s a living peace sign. Libra Sun in the 5th is an invitation to balance our self-centered Aries Moon feelings (Moon opposite Sun) by being ourselves (fifth) in a way that encompasses our concern for others (7th House Mars, 11th House Moon, Saturn and North Node.) Together we could join our individuality toward new creative expressions of all kinds. During this time, the subject of birth and creativity was expanded to include creations other than children. For the first time, to be single and childless was no longer “weird”—or to be single with a child. These options simply became other relationship choices. Libra Sun likes many choices and has a hard time making just one. Variety is the spice of life and giving birth/rebirth to ourselves became the work of the only generation with “baby” in its name, the one born with Pluto in Leo, a symbol of fiery regeneration.

The Work of the Love Generation Rocks On

I have such a deep affinity to Hair, I wanted to share my thoughts, get your feelings about its influence—and celebrate its Solar Return with you. This article doesn’t begin to say all that could be said about this chart and Hair. I’d love your ideas, so please comment!

While this is more intuitive than astrological, I feel that the work of the Love Generation Hair represents has only just begun, as its original audience takes its rightful place in society as tribal elders. This is an indigenous concept that needs reclaiming. The way modern society treats seniors, overall, is shameful and needs radical reorientation if we are to become whole as a people.

"The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members."

~ Author uncertain, sometimes attributed to Mohandas Gandhi

In my own life, I see amazing integration occurring of everything I have learned up to this point from living through times that are so “strange” in spots, someone landing here from another planet might think we were making up the stories behind our history. My highest values still involve peace, harmony, understanding, freedom of self-expression (“the mind’s true liberation—Aquarius!”) and the power of the media of all kinds, especially entertainment, to help us find who we are.

I can’t close without mentioning what’s perhaps my favorite song in the entire show, the one where the earworm bored in and planted a taproot. That’s Frank Mills. One reviewer felt that the song doesn’t really fit in with the other songs in the show, which, on the surface, is true. Crissy sings about meeting Frank, falling for him, losing his address, and wanting him back. One of my favorite lines, which embodies my feelings about being a suburban young American who espoused hippie values is, “I love him but it embarrasses me to walk down the street with him.” Frank looks like a Hell’s Angel. The song is a sweet, melodic ballad with the final heartstrings punch line, “Tell him Angela and I don’t want the two dollars back—just him.”

I think this song says what the ‘60s were all about—an openness to encounter, experience, and perhaps even love people very different from ourselves. By extension, we’re offered the possibility of making peace with those opposites and diversities inside us. This part is very Chiron in Pisces, the cycle we are in the process of repeating that played out last in the ‘60s. [2] My own inner integration involves my Doris Day/Ding Dong School childhood coming to terms with my college days where I couldn’t leave home for the tear gas and protestors surrounding my apartment building.

Crissy loved Frank for who he was, not for what he could give her or repay her.

If that isn’t the Age of Aquarius, I don’t know what is.


Photo Credit: Senior Man Making Peace Sign © Scott Griessel


[1] To get a sense of just how much disagreement there is on the arrival time, read the Overview in The Age of Aquarius in this Wikipedia article that cites research by astrologer Nicholas Campion.

[2] Chiron entered Pisces on April 20, 2010 but is currently retrograde in Aquarius until late January 2011 when it returns to Pisces to complete a nine-year transit of the sign.


Buckwalter, Eleanor, The Fourth House

Hair the Musical Official Website

Hewitt, Paul O., The Galactic Center

Libra Rising, The Galactic Center


Don't forget the Chiron Poetry Reading Conference Call on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm PDT. Click here for all the details and to sign up!


Anonymous said...

Hi Joyce! Great article! I've never seen Hair on stage, but remember well the movie version. I was 17 in 1979 and loved musicals, so this was perfect when it finally showed in my corner of the world. I knew the score by heart once, not so much anymore. Your article reminded me of just how much more there is to this musical (even though it differ from the stage version).

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Natalie! Thanks for your comment. If you ever get a chance to see the play, I can't recommend it enough! I saw the movie recently for the first time, and I actually didn't care for it by comparison. Some of the songs were omitted, including "Frank Mills," my fave! The movie felt depressing to me. (The play does not include the death of one of the characters and comes off feeling like a celebration of life despite the war theme.) What made Hair so exciting in its day was its groundbreaking shock and awe value. The cast came decked out in full hippie regalia walking in on the arms of people's seats, descending from ropes on the ceiling, and dazzling everyone! Then there was the language and nudity. If you ever see the play, I'd love to hear your reaction to them side by side. So glad you enjoyed the article.

kristy said...

I recently was challenged to think about the role of music and drama in our lives. It definitely has a TIMELESS quality to it; a play or song can be played over and over again and not lose its relevance if it really touches the psyche.

Then, it helps us transcend what we see day-by-day... I think about how my musical heroes as a teen got me into daydreaming about their mysterious lands (hahaha, England!). It definitely made me think about the bigger picture.

Hmmm, this must be the 'brief' description of why Neptune is attributed to music and creativity... Music and creativity helps us get to a higher conscious state (or, alternative reality). When you wrote about the musical Hair, I think you were right on the nail with describing one cosmic manifestation of Neptune!

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks for your comment, Kristy. There was definitely a shift in our thinking toward oneness and the healing of duality, all expressed in the 6th house conjunction of Mercury and Neptune trine Chiron in the chart of HAIR (sextile Pluto/Uranus). The outer planets were all alive, well, and nudging us toward major evolution! I appreciate what you're saying about music. No wonder it's called "the universal language."