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Astrology at Work: Andy Gets ShotWarholAImage

1968 was a violent year for the United States. Both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were gunned down. But there was another assassination attempt in 1968 that has been mostly forgotten. On June 3, 1968 an ultra-radical feminist named Valerie Solanas shot and almost killed the noted Pop artist, Andy Warhol.

Obviously, the attack on Warhol had none of the political relevance of the assassinations of King and Kennedy. In fact, what precipitated the shooting was ridiculously trivial. Despite her blatant mistrust of men, Solanas had taken to hanging around in Warhol’s famous Factory, which at the time was a meeting place for all sorts of non-conformists, freaks and aspiring artists and actors. She had appeared in one of Warhol’s casually put together films, and sent his some scripts to review. Warhol, who was famously disorganized about that sort thing, had lost the scripts, and that was why Solanas decided to murder him.

We have a complete horoscope for Solanas and it reveals a striking potential for violence. (Click on Valerie Solanas to see the chart.) She has the Sun and Mercury in Aries conjunct her Aries Ascendant.  That’s a lot of fiery, ready-shoot-aim, Aries for one person. On top of this, her Mars is conjunct Uranus in her First House, indicating an explosive temper and what psychologists call “poor behavioral controls.”

The birth time we have for Andy Warhol has never been confirmed by an official record or secondary testimony. However, since astrology was freely discussed within his milieu during the 60s I think it might at least be close to correct. (Click on Andy Warhol to see the horoscope.) It places Neptune in his First house in a nearly exact square to his Mars. Neptune in the First has a lot to do with creativity, but the close square to Mars also hints at violence.

Another quality we expect from Neptune is passivity. Even though many people looked upon him as a leader (as they would since he had the Sun and Ascendant in Leo), Warhol always seemed to be unsure of his direction, as if he was just riding the flow of his life. That’s very typical of Neptune in the First house. Another attribute of this placement is a high tolerance for confusion and porous boundaries, the kind of porous boundaries that allowed Valerie Solanas to walk into his studio with two guns in her pockets.

At the time of the shooting transiting Jupiter was aligned with Neptune in Warhol’s First house and square his Mars. Jupiter expands, and in this case it expanded the violent potential hidden within Warhol’s Mars to Neptune square. At the same time, the transiting Sun was opposed to Warhol’s natal Saturn. He was being judged.  Warhol might have complained that the judge in this case was deranged, and his punishment for not keeping better records was overly harsh, but Saturn accepts no appeals.

Fortunately for Warhol, Solanas was a lousy shot. She fired several rounds in the studio, seriously injuring Warhol and two of his assistants, but everyone survived. However, Warhol left the hospital a changed man. Now that he recognized the violent potential of the Mars to Neptune aspect in his horoscope, the artist had his Factory reconfigured to increase security and he began cutting ties with the seamier and more Neptunian types in his entourage. After the shooting, Warhol devoted more attention to the rich and the famous, people who habitually traveled with body guards and favored tight boundaries.


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