Planetary receptions in the natal chart tell us about a person’s inner workings: what motivates them, their likes and dislikes, their inner harmonies and discords. Tensions are inevitable because we are human. Although these tensions cause us difficulties, they also serve as fuel for the creative fire.
Such was my thought when I first looked at the chart of singer-guitarist Phil Everly, of Everly Brothers fame, after his death in January 2014. Even a brief study of his nativity reveals some of the tensions that must have contributed to his own creative process.
Here is his chart:
Let’s look first at the Sun, not because it is the Sun, per se, but because it is on the verge of changing sign. It's at 29 degrees of Capricorn, about to enter its detriment. When the Sun loses dignity, it loses some of its ability to do the things it naturally does well--‘Sun stuff’ (as my teacher would say). The Sun is, of course, a primary symbol of ‘Me’ and also of ‘Me as Man’ for any male. Because the ability to do Sun stuff will soon diminish, there’s the desire to do it now, before time runs out. At the same time, the Sun wants to linger here, sensing that the road ahead is a rougher one. It's as if the Sun is saying, “Wait, not yet!” Note that these two ideas may seem contradictory at first, but they’re not.
Now let’s look at the Moon. The Moon is in rough shape already, being in detriment and combust. It applies immediately to sextile Mars, which takes it into its fall. Ouch! The Moon is phlegmatic by phase, wanting to feel, and melancholic by sign, wanting to have and hold. That sounds like a recipe for singing about loss and longing to me.
Next let’s examine Lord 1 and Lord 7 together to get a sense of how ‘Me’ and ‘You’ will get along, generally. We can do this with any nativity to understand the issues that will arise in relationships.
Lord 1, Mercury, is in Capricorn: it loves Saturn (and ‘Saturn stuff’). Because the Moon and the Sun are also in Capricorn, Saturn stuff is really important to Mr Everly—a big priority. At the same time, being in Capricorn, he hates, or is disappointed in, Lord 7, Jupiter (and Jupiter stuff).
What does Lord 7 love? Jupiter has major dignity and sits inside its own house. It loves itself! Jupiter is in the detriment of Mercury. This is automatic given its placement near the Descendant, so we can’t read anything into this. But Jupiter is also in the fall of Mercury, which is not automatic. So we have this mutual antagonism and/or disappointment between ‘Me’—as Lord 1 and the Sun and the Moon—and ‘You’, Jupiter. That’s some significant tension!
Is there anything that Mercury and Jupiter both care about that could help bridge this tension? Mercury adores Mars stuff (Mars is exalted in Capricorn). Jupiter adores Venus stuff (Venus is exalted in Pisces). But Mercury likes Venus stuff pretty well, too, being in Venus’ triplicity of earth. And Jupiter likes Mars stuff pretty well, being in Mars’ triplicity of water. This is common ground to work from.
We can also look at Jupiter in another way, as an aspect of Mr Everly himself. Jupiter has major dignity sitting on the Descendant in the ‘border control’ position. This shows us that outwardly he was ‘Mr Jupiter’--likely kind, generous, and optimistic. And this would be the case no matter what he felt inside, because Jupiter is the part of him that other people experienced.
Mr Everly also has a strongly dignified Mars sitting right on the IC, showing something brave and ardent at his core. He must have been a force to be reckoned with when Mars was activated!
There is, of course, much more. Here are some of the other testimonies I would look at more closely with further study: Venus rules the Midheaven and is in mutual reception with Lord 7, Jupiter, facilitating things with Jupiter. Fortuna, better understood as the Part of Hunger, is on Alphard, a fixed star signifying lustful desires, squaring both the Midheaven (on Algol) and Mars at the IC. Fortuna (being in Leo) hates that same Saturn stuff that other parts of him love. And so on.
All grist for the mill.
Here are two good articles I found while preparing this post, discussing Phil Everly's life and work:
Both of the images below are in the public domain (from Wikipedia). Phil is on the left in each photo, with brother Don on the right.