Around the World and Back Again: Steve Irwin
February 22, 2019 marked what would have been the 57th birthday of one of the most beloved international figures of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, wild life conservationalist and enthusiast, Steve Irwin. There are very few people who have successfully withstood public and historical scrutiny. Steve Irwin was one of those rare people. When PETA, the ever inflammatory personality disorder masquerading as an animal rights group took to the interwebs to denounce Steve on the anniversary of his birth, they were summarily and correctly dismissed. The modern age suffers from a distinct lack of heroes. Messing with Steve is like messing with Mr. Rogers or Bob Ross or my Momma. Don’t go there unless you want to fight millions and millions of people (Or in the case of my Momma, you will be fighting me, Ms. Moon in Aries, which will be like provoking the fury of one million people. I wouldn’t do it. You have been warned, fool.)
As an astrologer, I love it when an astrological chart so clearly and poignantly (and painfully) paints the portrait that was or is a particular individual. Steve’s chart could belong to no one other than him. Before I dive headlong into my analysis, I want to point out a couple of unique features in Steve’s chart. For one thing, Steve was a citizen of Australia and his chart contains heavy links to the nation of Australia. Steve’s Saturn conjuncts Australia’s Sun, Australia’s Saturn is also in Aquarius, and both Steve and the Australian national chart feature Moon in Virgo and Venus in Pisces. From an American standpoint, Steve embodied Australian-ness: he was open, fun, passionate and a little crazy in all the ways you would enjoy. He was also the penultimate champion of Australian wildlife. We all know that Australia was God’s zoologic testing ground, so championing a whole bunch of scary and quixotic creatures was no small feat. Steve didn’t spend much time wrestling fluffy bunnies after all.
Another unique area of discussion was the overall timing of Steve’s birth. On February 5, 1962, all seven classical planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn or Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus Mercury and Moon if you are trying to memorize the Chaldean Order of Planets for a certification lesson) were aligned in the sign of Aquarius, the Water Bearer. As an aside for another discussion, the occurrence of this alignment may be why people erroneously associate the 1960s with the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. We can know that we have not entered the Age of Aquarius because when we align our tropical zodiac wheel against the sidereal zodiac, we find that they are roughly 24 degrees apart. Simply put, we are sitting at approximately 6 degrees Pisces and continuing to tick back. Better tropical astrologers than I will ever be have explained the differences between the two zodiacs, why they are both legitimate, and why tropical may be more appropriate for our various quests as earthlings (think the “unchanging” cycles of our orbit around our star and the progression of the resulting seasons on this planet), so I won’t reinvent the wheel here.
I will say that this grouping of planets in Aquarius sets the tone for times ahead. We have only witnessed the grouping of all classic heavenly bodies in one sign during the course of this Biblical generation (70 years) twice: in 1962 and in May 2000, when all the same planets joined together in Taurus. If you were circumnavigating the astrology community sphere in 2000, you know how big of a deal the Great Taurus Conjunction was. When I see people ohh and ahh over various mundane planetary configuration, I think to myself, “dude, do you even mega-conjunct?” or “are there 10000 astronomical bodies occupying one sign right now?” Back all the way up with your Jupiter conjunct Saturn conjunct Pluto nonsense.
So, what does that mean for Steve? For one thing, as Steve very much represented or embodied the nation of Australia, he also embodied the time period he was born in and the time period in which he lived. He was an animal preservationalist and advocate way before it was cool. He was the ultimate crocodile hipster and he was more authentic and awesome than a hipster ever could be. In that sense, he also embodies a mini-Aquarius era; he was a true humanitarian for animals and he was not overly driven by was reputation or social standing. He may have had his zoo or his nation in mind when promoting his advocacy, but he would have likely been working at his zoo and wrangling crocodiles even if a camera never filmed him. Additionally, he has a legacy which extends beyond his life and progeny.
So enough broad stokes about Steve, his country or the time period in which he lived except for this: the May 2000 Taurus conjunction lacked an important element which the 1962 Aquarius conjunction contained (and I am not talking about the difference between a time period being driven by a domicile-ruling malefic Saturn in Aquarius versus a domicile-ruling benefic Venus in Taurus). The Aquarian conjunction of 1962 occurred during eclipse season, so in essence, we see a perfect confluence of astrological events.
What I am leading to with this post is a focus on lunar nodes and eclipses. Eclipses have always been in vogue, as they are difficult to miss. Even if an eclipse manifests over the Arctic Ocean, which few living souls are likely to see live, we are still hyper-aware of it. With respect to nodes: in truthfulness to my status as a intermediate/nearly advanced western astrology practitioner, I will confess that my knowledge of how lunar nodes function is elementary at best. Vedic (Hindu, sidereal astrologers) have devoted more of their attention to this phenomena over the course of ages. In my own personal observation and practice, I see enormous relevance and emphasis on nodal action particularly as it relates to solar and lunar eclipses, more so than any other time.
A quick and dirty way you can tell if the chart you are examining falls during an eclipse season is this: if the North or South Node falls close to the Sun, you are in eclipse season. You don’t have to be in the same sign, but if the Node is close to the Sun even in an adjacent sign, you are in eclipse season. A jump over to timeanddate.com will confirm this for you. A total solar eclipse occurred in 1962 in conjunction with the Great Aquarius Conjunction in February 4/5 (gasp, wow, yeah, fucking big deal) and a lunar eclipse occurred on February 19th, a couple of days before Steve Irwin was born. For further emphasis, the Great Taurus Conjunction did not transpire anywhere near eclipse season. (I am finding eclipse season charts all over the place of people or events which are shocking and unique. Ted Bundy was born within 24 hours of a solar eclipse in Sagittarius in 1946 (among other amazing astronomical findings). The Chernobyl nuclear Disaster of 1986 occurred within hours of a lunar eclipse involving the Scorpio/Taurus. More on those charts later and soon, as in next on the docket soon.)
On a more personal note, Steve was born with Ascendant in Capricorn. In modern terms, Sun sign placements are king: Steve was born with Sun in Pisces. As difficult as it may be to reconcile Steve with unassuming, gentle Pisces, it is even more difficult to reconcile him with stern, melancholic, foreboding Capricorn. The ascendant represents the absolute front-door to the soul in classical astrology. In the case of Steve, classical astrology is not wrong, but Aquarius overrides and overshadows Capricorn: Steve retained four Aquarian planets from the 1962 conjunction: Saturn, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter. These four planets dictate the affairs of 8 out of 12 houses in Steve’s chart and represent a true modern stellium (a grouping of three or more planets in one sign, minus the Sun and Moon.) Capricorn does not see Aquarius, because they are adjacent signs, but his aversion to Aquarius is ameliorated, because Capricorn and Aquarius share a ruling planet: Saturn.
Steve’s Capricornian Ascendant tells us quite a bit about him beyond the obvious. Saturn is the domicile ruler of Capricorn and Mars is the exalted ruler. Both are in Aquarius. We see how Aquarius Saturn manifested in Steve’s basic personality, and we see why that did not necessarily clash with Capricorn. When we move past that, we discover more about the Steve we all knew and loved. Moon in Virgo is the triplicity ruler of Capricorn at night (Steve was born at night). The Moon is the sect ruler of a night chart and she is placed in the 9th house, but she is advancing and culminating, ie she is approaching the MC, the highest point of the chart, and one of four chart angles. Steve was a highly lunar individual. He was charismatic and engaging as a person who loved, served and nurtured other living things. His Moon was approaching the MC, so he made his living being a lunar person. Virgo enjoys the same night-time triplicity ruler as Capricorn, both being of the Earth element, so the Moon enjoys her own dignity in Virgo. She is comfortable there and functions well. Steve was successful in matters of career and public image. The MC was in the 9th whole sign house, so Steve’s career was as much of a spiritual calling as a professional one. Moon in Virgo ruled the 7th house of partnerships and marriage. Steve enjoyed a long-term, stable, loving marriage with this wife, Terri, who is a Sun sign Cancerian, and who remains loyal to him in death.
The another night-time sect ruler of Steve’s ascendant in Capricorn is Venus in Pisces. Venus loves being in Pisces; she is exalted here. An aside about Venus in Pisces: one of the best books on basic modern astrology I have found was written was by Debbie Kemptom-Smith, called Secrets from a Stagazer’s Notebook. Debbie’s book had all the class and sass of any Linda Goodman book, and Debbie was likewise an Aries (with an Aries Moon.) The chief difference between her book and Linda’s was that you could leave her book with the ability to perform basic chart delineation. Debbie was an astrologer we lost in 2018, but conducted her practice rather quietly in comparison to Rob Schmidt and Donna Van Toen. Debbie published her book in 1982 and low-key predicted the AIDS crisis with her description of Pluto in Scorpio. As it relates to the topic at hand, Debbie also said (and I am paraphrasing) that the Venus in Pisces native will love you unconditionally even if you look like an iguana. Venus in Pisces perceives value beyond what is obviously beautiful and sees to the core of what is truly beautiful. Debbie did not write that with Steve in mind, but what better way to describe a man who taught us to see beauty in ugly animals? Steve’s Venus is similarly in the cadent third house, but directly conjunct the IC, the angle opposing the MC. Steve incorporated these two opposing signs rather seamlessly in his life, connecting and maximizing issues of love through service. Venus ruled his 5th and 10th houses. Steve left behind two accomplished and creative children and Steve enjoyed tremendous success in his chosen profession, 5th and 10th house affair respectively.
The participating triplicity ruler for Capricorn ascendant is Mars. Mars exerts added influence over Steve’s personality, as both exalted ruler and triplicity ruler. Steve was, more than anything, a man of action and adventure. He was fearless when dealing with dangerous and venomous creatures, and rather unphased if they bit him or lashed out at him. Mars rules the 4th house of home and ancestry. The 12th parts of the Sun and Saturn are there. Steve was born into the world of animal conservation: both of his parents worked in that field and opened the family zoo in 1970. Everything in Steve’s life directly relates to this legacy: his career, his marriage, his fame and his death. Mars gives way to a powerful Saturn in Aquarius, as do all his other Aquarian planets, because it is in an earlier degree than the others. Saturn was set to rise first out of this grouping first.
Jupiter is the face or decan ruler of the first 10 degrees of Capricorn. Jupiter is not highly active in comparison to the most of the other planets in being placed in the 2nd house with three other planets that share this house and come before him. Jupiter also rules the cadent 12th and 3rd houses, also houses of even less activity. I will point out that the 12th part for Steve’s Jupiter is in Scorpio, which is the domicile of Steve’s 11th house. Steve enjoyed an unprecedented amount of passionate love and loyalty from his broader network of friends and associates, including his fans. Steve was filming an educational segment about sting-rays for his daughter when he died unexpectedly from a sting ray barb. To my knowledge, no one in possession of those films ever released them to the public, which is an astounding act of love and loyalty in a world so devoid of it.
I am detailing the portions of dignity here a bit out-of-order here, because we are beginning to move away from Steve as a man and closer to issues surrounding his death. Steve’s bound ruler was Mercury in Aquarius, the third Aquarian planet called to describe affairs related to the ascendant. Mercury ruled the 6th and 9th houses and the MC in Steve’s chart. Besides the nurturing aspect of Moon on the MC, Mercury ruled Virgo on the MC highlights the role of instructor and communicator and in Steve’s case, television commentator. Mercury gifts Steve abundantly, but there is a dark side to Mercury here, as it is besieged between Saturn and Mars, two malefics. Mercury is beseiged by being so closely conjoined to these badies, and fulfills the classic definition of besiegement, by creating no aspects to any other planets while moving from the conjunction of Saturn to the conjunction with Mars.
Mercury rules the 6th house of health. As far as I know, Steve was a healthy man until his sudden passing. Mercury in a fixed sign promotes a state of being for a long time, so a fixed sign ruling health matters will either indicate long-term, overall wellness or chronic illness depending on the person. Mercury was bolstered by Saturn in Aquarius, whose function was optimal. On an unseen level, Mercury rules Pluto in Virgo. It is folly in my opinion to ignore the outers, and I apply them as fixed stars when I examine them in a chart. An outer planet would therefore have to make a partile conjunction to another planet or an angle to be considered active. Pluto sits directly on the MC. Pluto is the most culminating astrological body in Steve’s chart. Steve’s death can be related to Mercury ruled Pluto and it was a public event. Modern astrologers tend to look at Pluto as a higher octave of Mars, but I would actually tie Pluto closer to Mercury. Pluto is amoral and removed. He is as far from the Sun as Mercury is close. He is actually a binary dwarf planetary system, which pays direct symbolic homage to Mercury.
The one classic planet that does not govern any affairs of the ascendant is the Sun. The Sun sits in the cadent 3rd house, and is moving away from the IC. The Sun is out sect and peregrine. He does describe the affairs related to the Leo 8th house, the “do nothing” house of death. The Sun also does not see any of the Aquarian planets, because they are adjacent to him. There are no factors alleviating his aversion to those planets or them to him. He does communicate with Venus by sharing a house with her and it interacts with the Ascendant. The Moon in Virgo is moving away from an opposition with the Sun, where she was blighted by him during a penumbral lunar eclipse. ultimately, the Sun does not really do much for Steve except cause trouble and provide him with inadequate protection with reference to the 8th house. The Sun can’t do anything to protect Steve from his dance with fateful Saturn.
One thing I alluded to earlier, but conspicuously left out of this reading to this point is the positions of the lunar nodes. The lunar nodes represent the two points where the Moon crosses over the ecliptic, which is the Sun’s revolutionary path. The North Node signifies the point where the Moon crosses over the ecliptic line and enters the northern hemisphere. The South Node signifies the opposite. Eclipses occur when the luminaries align closely with the Nodes. Steve Irwin was born just after an eclipse cycle in 1962. The North Node was at 18 degrees Leo, in Steve’s 8th house and the South Node was contained between Mars and Jupiter in the Aquarian 2nd house. Being in the 7th house from the 2nd, where much of Steve’s life projects from, the North Node is an open enemy to all of Steve’s planet in Aquarius. Western astrologers do not consider Nodes to be active bodies which cast rays, but Vedic astrologers treat the Nodes as actual planets. With this in mind, the North Node is able to perform directly against Saturn, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter here, but he requires some assistance, which he does receive,
On the day of Steve’s untimely, shocking passing, Saturn was in Leo at 18 degrees, directly transiting the natal North Node and opposing all of Steve’s Aquarian planets. Steve had experienced a previous Saturn half return during the 1970s, specifically during the Summer of 1977. I would be interested to read a real biography of Steve to discover how that time period unfolded for him. The information on Wikipedia is pretty sketch. I will say that Saturn did not directly conjoin Steve’s North Node during eclipse season in 1977, but it did in 2006. Steve was born 3 days after a lunar eclipse and he died four days before a lunar eclipse. On the day of his death, Sun in Virgo was opposing Uranus in Pisces, both of which straddled Steve’s MC/IC axis. The Moon would enter Pisces several days later. It would be almost impossible not to view the activities of the Nodes and their relation to the luminaries are being highly reflective of the timing of Steve Irwin’s death.
There are a number of different predictive techniques one can employ to study the progression of a person’s life and there are specific techniques one can investigate as it relates to the death of a native. I am not going to describe them now, because this has already turned out to be an epic journey. When I had it in my mind to study Steve’s chart, I actually thought this would be more of a mini-reading. The more I looked at Steve’s chart the more it really bloomed like a rose. Studying the chart of a such a fascinating, giving and engaging human being is hardly a trial, but I commend you if you made it to the end of this reading. The study of death in astrology as it relates to questions like, “when will I die” or “how will I die?” is highly controversial. A modern astrologer would tell you it can’t be done. Sometimes, I think we get “can I” mixed up with “should I”. “Can I” is an objective question. “Should I” is subjective. There are times when knowing trigger points in a natal chart or its progression can be valuable, although I am not certain one could avoid one’s fate even when armed with certain knowledge. One of the most Piscean things about Steve was that he expressed to his wife that he did not think he would have a long life. In this 21st century pursuit of relentless, intoxicating, blinding positivity, we ignore darker themes at our own peril and are ill-equipped to deal with pain, death and tragedy when it arises. Ignoring issues like death only serve to cause us more suffering, although I do think the issue should be addressed sensitively and gently. I hope I have done that here.