Guitar Astrology For Greta Thunberg

Essay by 5-Track

Listen along here to a guitar interpretation of Greta Thunberg’s astrology chart, followed (at about two minutes) by a guitar interpretation of the position of the stars at the time I wrote this, evening of September 11 2019.

Hi!

Tonight, I’ve decided to toy with some practical “musical astrology”.[1]

I’ve been seeing Greta Thunberg in the news & I think she’s awesome. Amazing person, amazing story. Amazing smile. The picture with Jane Goodall made me cry.

Mostly I’m seeing the same few talking points being restated. I won’t recap them here except to say I support her mission/s & I wish her luck.

In looking at Greta’s chart — & in studiously comparing it to other graphics available online in an attempt to make sense out of it, because I am still very slow at this — I see that her sun & moon are both in Capricorn, & her rising sign is Taurus.

For me, Capricorn is an F# & Taurus is A#. When played together they give us a major 3rd in the key of Capricorn. (This is probably transferable to any key you like. I just happen to start with Aries = A & then work my way around. So the weirdnesses of F# in particular are most likely not relevant here!)

A major 3rd is usually considered to be a very positive-sounding interval, & I would also call it a strong- or bold-sounding interval. These seem to be accurate descriptors of Greta as well: strong, bold, & positive.

I rarely go this deep, but I really should: Greta’s inner planets, Mercury Mars & Venus, give us a further F# (Mercury in Capricorn) but also two Es (Mars & Venus in Scorpio).

I am taking the position that since these planets have shorter orbits, thus a higher frequency, the notes which they represent should appear in an upper octave, while the notes represented by the outer planets, with their larger orbits & thus longer wavelengths, should be represented by lower octaves.

F# & E are a major 2nd apart from each other. This can be dissonant, depending on context, but that is not always a bad thing! It can be jarring, or mesmerizing, or tense, or just — there.

In this case, since I am reading Greta’s chart in the key of F# Capricorn, the high F# & E seem to me to represent a dominant 7 chord, such as one hears at the beginning of The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There”. The dominant 7 is a common sound in “blues”[2] inflected music. For a sense of it, check out the guitar on records like Muddy Waters’ “Rolling Stone” or “Hoochie Coochie Man” or Muddy’s version of “Smokestack Lightning”. Chester Arthur Howlin Wolf Burnett’s version either.

Swampy guitar styles come to mind as well, like “Suzie Q”, Dale Hawkins extremely swingin version or the one by Creedence Clearwater Revival — actually a bunch of Creedence Clearwater Revival has prominent dominant 7 riffs, especially “Born On The Bayou”. Neil Young’s version of “Farmer John” & Nirvana’s “Serve The Servants” also feature great crunchy dominant 7 riffs.

What does a dominant 7 “mean”?

It can be a tense interval but also the sound of a joyous release. Sometimes it’s percussive, like when it’s used in horn charts or stabbing rhythm guitar chords. Other times it’s that itch you can’t scratch but you don’t wanna anyway cos it feels so good. (It’s very possibly my favorite chord. I have one in my own chart as well, in the key of my moon sign, Taurus!) In America it has been associated with, &/or resonated with, groups unwelcome in the dominant culture, & thus can have overtones of darkness or sadness; tho to the outsider listening in, it can be a very cleansing sound — & this dominant 7, as pointed out above, is on top of a major 3rd, not a minor chord of any kind, giving it a positive & energetic vibration. A dominant 7 can also be a clearing sound, one that goes sprang & chases the bummer energy right out of the room!

That dominant 7 chord in F# major so far looks like this:

F# – A# – E

Moving on to the low notes! Jupiter Saturn Neptune Uranus Pluto.

These planets, as I understand it, tend to describe generations. Especially Pluto & Neptune. Pluto changes signs every 10-20 years, & Neptune every 14. Uranus changes signs every 7 years, Saturn every 2.5, Jupiter once a year — so these do not describe entire generations quite, but do address many folks.

I am choosing to interpret these planets as bass notes, the tones which set the context for the larger picture. On the one hand, they change our meaning entirely. On the other hand, they do so for everyone born over a sizable stretch of time & are thus (it seems to me) not so much personal as environmental. Ideally, Pluto & Neptune should maybe be represented by subsonics, felt more as pressure waves than heard as notes.

The notes we receive down below are:

Jupiter in Leo – C#
Saturn in Gemini – B
Neptune in Aquarius – G
Uranus in Aquarius – G
Pluto in Sagittarius – F

I’m going to take these as being in the key of G, partly because there are two Gs & partly because those two Gs emanate from the lowest-pitched ‘official’ planets. I will never disregard Pluto (never forget!) but in this instance its advice seems to be outweighed. It does, however, provide us with another dominant 7 relation, between F & G, Pluto vs Uranus & Neptune. I don’t see this one as a chord, more like a riff. Think “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin or “In From The Storm” by Jimi Hendrix. (Technically, as above, the interval between F & G is a major 2nd; it becomes a dominant 7 when we place it in the key of G.) “My Generation” by The Who moves between two chords with this relationship. & the first notes in the riff for “No Fun”, by The Stooges”, feature this interval as well.

The next two notes, B & C#, Saturn & Jupiter, also have a major-second relationship. & C# is the flat-5 for G — think “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath! All together these four notes spell out some dark & angular heaviness.

There has not been a lot of outer planet action in 2019. Uranus entered Taurus (A#) back in March (right around my birthday!), otherwise very quiet. Possibly worthy of note that Greta has some A# in her chart?

G & B, meanwhile have a major 3rd relationship, pitched one-half-step (& a few octaves down) from Greta’s F# & A#. It could be said that Greta’s major 3rd reflects her times (the times of her birth, anyway), while being also very much at odds with them. It could also be said that her major chord, one-half-step lower in key than that of her era, offers a metaphorical major-7 — typically a positive & harmonious thing — to the entire solar system! [2019-09-15 — This was indeed the case, I feel, when I improvised on the guitar using these notes, see 1st 2 minutes of audio file above… The contrast was surprisingly uplifting for the angularity of the notes & intervals involved!]

Ceres & Lilith are asteroids. Ceres is named for the mother of Persephone, who journeys to Hades each year, & Lilith for Adam’s 1st wife (oh ENOUGH with the Greeks & the bible already! Tho, Lilith is a badass). Lilith moves from sign to sign every 9 months; I have been unable just now to determine how often Ceres does this.

Ceres at the time of Greta’s birth was in Aries, A, while Lilith was in A# Taurus; a minor 3rd under ‘journey to hell’, then, & a major 3rd under ‘woman not to be messed with’. Sounds right! & keep in mind, minor 3rds may represent sadness much of the time, but they can also be a beautiful & healing sound.

Chiron, which spends ‘several’ years in each sign, is a comet representing, so I have read, the ‘wounded healer’ — which is in Greta’s sun-sign key of F#. This seems apt.

Chiron & Lilith are in tune with the rest of Greta’s chart; Ceres’ minor 3rd on the other hand allows perhaps a darker context for Greta’s F#/E dominant 7. Proper “blues” intonation would not settle exactly on either a major or a minor 3rd, but would express itself somewhere in between as needs fit, allowing for both joy & sadness, perhaps for the release of sadness by way of joy. Having both notes in her chart hopefully allows Greta that freedom of expression.

BY THE WAY: at this time, evening of 2019-09-11 in Seattle, Washington, USA, Earth, the planets are in the following positions:

  • Mercury – in Virgo – D (to Libra, D#, on Saturday September 14 2019)
  • Venus – in Virgo – D (to Libra, D#, on Saturday September 14 2019)
  • Mars – in Virgo – D (to Libra, D#, on Thursday October 3 2019)
  • Jupiter – in Sagittarius – F (to Capricorn, F#, on Monday December 2nd 2019)
  • Saturn – in Capricorn – F# (currently retrograde, goes direct in F# on Tuesday September 17 2019)
  • Uranus – in Taurus – A# (currently retrograde, goes direct in A# on Thursday January 9 2020)
  • Neptune – in Pisces – G# (currently retrograde, goes direct in G# on Tuesday November 26 2019)
  • Pluto – in Capricorn – F# (currently retrograde, goes direct in F# on Tuesday October 1st 2019)
  • Chiron – in Aries – A (currently retrograde, goes direct in A on Wednesday December 11 2019)

Altogether this gives us, I feel, either a dark & crawly riff in D, or an ambiguous minor 6 with chromatic bass accompaniment in F#. There may be a way to make some positive sense out of it, but it would take a little work. Describes the cultural moment quite well I would say.

As the inner planets & Jupiter move up a half step over the coming months, the prevailing tonalities become more major as that minor 6 represented by D becomes a major 6 represented by D#. Is it too much to hope for some good news???

How does Greta fit into this? She’s in F#, & like the prevailing tonalities her chart contains both major & minor thirds. In fact, her chart & the prevailing chart contain many of the same notes. So she is, perhaps, resonating with the times. This much we knew… But somehow I find it comforting to see it written, or hear it singing, in the stars.

Greta’s tones:

sun – Capricorn – F#
moon – Capricorn – F#
rising/ascendant – Taurus – A#

mercury – Capricorn (retrograde) – F#
mars – Scorpio – E
venus – Scorpio – E

jupiter – Leo – C#
saturn – Gemini – B
neptune – Aquarius – G
uranus – Aquarius – G
pluto – Sagittarius – F

chiron – Capricorn – F#
ceres – Aries – A
lilith – Taurus – A#

bonus ramble:
north node – Gemini – B
south node – Sagittarius – F

I barely understand these, but together with the rest of Greta’s chart they show a dominant-7 chord in the key of, weirdly, C# — B is the dominant 7, F is the major 3rd. This spells out a V chord, a dominant, to our key of F#. Very harmonious, the ultimate turnaround. If the advice I am quickly locating, that we wish to grow away from our south node but toward our north node, is accurate, then Greta is advised to grow away from the salty dominant 7 in her V chord & towards the harmonious major 3rd, which is also a harmonious major 7 in her key of F#, as opposed to the dominant 7 (E) we first encountered. The two together could be a bit crunchy…

Stretching things a bit but resonating more with the subsonics, we could also interpret the north/south nodes in the key of G. In G, Gemini B represents the major 3rd & F represents the dominant 7. In this instance she is advised to move away from the harmonious B & towards the bold but salty dominant 7… just the inverse of what we saw above, but in the key of our tonic G rather than that of a related chord such as the dominant V. Sounds more like a turning through the space of consciousness, a sentient rotation, a personal revolution (one more turn of the wheel!), than a major change in approach or perspective.

NOTES
______________________________

[1] I am NOT an astrologer. I barely know enough about it to make the slightest sense out of a chart… What I CAN do, is translate one into musical notes & musical relationships, then study those relationships. I apologize in advance for any grievous astrological errors. I have attempted to stick to music & keep out of the cosmic fast lane.

Most of the information in this article came from here.  This article, in the absence of other info, assumes Greta was born at noon, which is unlikely… but no more so than any other randomly assumed time. I believe the only thing that changes if she were born at some other time of day is her rising sign, in which case the lovely major 3rd discussed above becomes merely an accent implied by Lilith. Rising sign changes every 2 hours (!) so it could be pretty much anything…

[2] Why is “blues” in quotes? Honestly I would give a history of the genre every time I mention it, if I could… But dig, you know, I just can’t do that! So blues is in quotes to demonstrate its status as a known unknowable, something like Pirsig’s “quality” in that the closer you look, the less you can see it… but you know it when you feel it.

Vernon Reid put it like this on Twitter last week:

“Somewhere between Being & Nothingness. Art & Entertainment. Somewhere past Crowd pandering, Head Cutting, & licks you’ve practiced. Between the Heart & Mind (both in the Brain-don’t Tell nobody). Somewhere between caring very much, & not giving a fuck. That’s where IT lives.”

Compare & contrast to Robert M. Pirsig on “quality”, from Zen & the etc:

“… you know what it is, yet you don’t know what it is. But that’s self-contradictory. But some things are better than others, that is, they have more quality. But when you try to say what the quality is, apart from the things that have it, it all goes poof! There’s nothing to talk about. But if you can’t say what Quality is, how do you know what it is, or how do you know that it even exists? If no one knows what it is, then for all practical purposes it doesn’t exist at all. But for all practical purposes it really does exist.”

Photo by zlicious

About the Author

Imagine an unclaimed suitcase on Schrodinger’s luggage carousel, circling endlessly in the flickering fluorescent twilight of an airport that might exist in any of an infinite number of instances in any of an infinite number of dimensions in any of an infinite number of universes. If you could find said suitcase and look inside, you might perceive one possible interpretation of the being that is 5-Track. Or you might not. It all depends, doesn’t it?

Photo by zlicious

About the Author

Imagine an unclaimed suitcase on Schrodinger’s luggage carousel, circling endlessly in the flickering fluorescent twilight of an airport that might exist in any of an infinite number of instances in any of an infinite number of dimensions in any of an infinite number of universes. If you could find said suitcase and look inside, you might perceive one possible interpretation of the being that is 5-Track. Or you might not. It all depends, doesn’t it?

READ MORE MUSIC(K) POSTS

Guitar Astrology For Greta Thunberg

5-Track performs and discusses guitar interpretations of both Greta Thunberg’s astrology chart and the position of the stars at the time that he composed this essay: September 11, 2019.

A Symphony Of The Mind

"We are all in transition, at every moment. Part of the artist-'shaman'-musician’s job is to help us through this endless series of transformations. To use our non-binary mindsets to help our materialist friends acclimate to the idea that 'the journey is home'."

Things To Do When You Pick Up A Guitar

"Look around at the people in front of you, if any, or the animals, plants, air molecules. Try to get a feel for them without passing judgement or drawing any major conclusions."

Astrology For Guitar

"One day in Los Angeles (February 3rd 2014 from the looks of things) it occurred to me to assign a note to each of the 12 Western astrological signs."

Remember To Breathe

"In the late 1990s I started having mini-meltdowns inside my head as I played: whether this or that was the right note to play next, whether everyone in the room hated the note I was playing now & thus perhaps hated me by extension."