If you take almost any subject under the Sun and ask an expert how they feel about the popular media presentation of it, you will meet with almost universal disdain.
Not that Capricorn Research considers himself an expert on astrology, but 35 years of in depth research qualifies me to view the obsession with prediction and characterisation based solely on Sun signs with borderline contempt. Despite the fact that as I have the Sun, Moon, Ascendant and Mercury in the same sign, I am one of the few people to whom it might be applicable, I find this approach to the subject to be so reductive that it should not be allowed to use the good name of Astrology.
Call me an out of touch Capricorn dinosaur if you like, but I believe that media Sun sign horoscope columns have no connection to the real thing. Sadly we live in a world where astrologers are only going to be able to make a decent living from the subject by sinking to these levels. But that doesn’t make it right or honourable.
So nothing gives me so much pleasure than to write articles about individuals whose lives confound the common interpretation of their Sun signs. Someone whose achievements certainly fit this template was Paul Edward Anderson.
Anderson was an American weightlifter, Olympic gold medalist, World Champion and two time National Champion in Olympic weightlifting who played a big part in the manifestation of powerlifting as a competitive sport.
At the height of the Cold War, Anderson traveled to the Soviet Union, where weightlifting was a popular sport, for an international weightlifting competition. The commentary was “The Russians snickered as Anderson gripped the bar which was set at 402.5 pounds, an unheard-of lift. But their snickers quickly changed to awe and all-out cheers as up went the bar and Anderson lifted the heaviest weight overhead of any human in history.”
In June 1957, there is an informal record of Anderson performing a Backlift of a weight of 6,270 lb. It is still listed as the greatest weight ever lifted by a human being.
Paul Anderson could be considered to be the strongest man in recorded history for his mostly unequaled feats of strength.
But if we were asked to guess his Sun sign, its unlikely that one person in a thousand would get it right.
Anderson was a Sun and Ascendant Libra, probably the very last sign that we would associate with such feats. Its certainly not something that we would expect to read in his horoscope column. We associate Libras with being gentle souls whose weightlifting skills would be limited to picking up their favourite fashion magazine once they have negotiated the difficult task of deciding which one it was.
So where did this prodigious physical strength come from. The Moon is in Taurus which might be a bit of an indicator, but its still the Moon.
Mars is in Leo but it lacks major aspects to any other planets.
But this is where the answer to so many of astrology’s questions are found – in the aspects.
Capricorn Research has long recognised that the principle thing that connects human behaviour to planetary movements is not the sign that they are in but the angles that they make to each other.
Anderson’s Libra Sun forms part of a Grand Cross in opposition to Uranus, square to Pluto and Saturn. These three are by common consent the toughest of all the planets.
The Grand Cross itself is an aspect of such stress and tension that only the hardiest of souls are able to handle it. Dealing with the pressures of such an aspect would break many people but its continual challenges force its owners to dig very deep inside themselves to come up with reserves of strength that enable them to cope.
The Grand Cross is certainly an aspect of great power, stamina and endurance. It does not make life easy however, but then anyone who has attempted powerlifting would not have been looking for easy.
Paul Anderson’s Taurus Moon makes less significant aspects to all of the members of the Grand Cross, but this undoubtedly helps. Its placing in the 8th house adds to his capacity to find inner resources of strength that are not available to all and sundry.
This significance of this placing is reinforced by the fact that his greatest weight lifting achievements all came between 1955 and 57 while Pluto was transiting square to his Moon.
In fact Pluto’s next transit to Anderson’s Moon was in 1994 when he died of kidney disease. The kidneys are a part of the body ruled by Libra.
In fact when it comes to it, the one thing that a weightlifter needs besides incredible strength is good balance so maybe the horoscope columnists were right after all.
The very next time I read a column which says under Libra ‘ You have exceptional balance which will come in very handy for your weightlifting exploits but you will probably die of kidney disease ‘, I will take all my negative aspersions back.