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Astrology, Amy Winehouse and  the '27 Club'

Amy WinehouseThe recent death of Amy Winehouse has spurred renewed interest in the “27 Club,” famous musicians who died when they were 27. The 27 Club had its origins in the death of Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, all of whom died between 1969 and 1971. More recently Kurt Cobain and now Winehouse have been added to the group.

The astrological significance of age 27 lies in the fact that it is one year short of what we call the first Saturn Return. This is the return of transiting Saturn (Saturn in the sky now) to the place it occupied on the day of a person’s birth. This occurs around age 28 and represents the period when a person fully accepts the role of an adult in his or her social structure. This transition typically manifests in a significant event in the person’s life. This may be marriage, the birth of a child, completion of your education or apprenticeship, your first “serious” job or a promotion to a position of authority. Whatever form it takes, it is a time to accept responsibility and recognize that your actions impact many people other than yourself. Your bad behavior can no longer be excused because you’re “just a kid.”

What we know about the lifestyle of the members in the 27 Club, of course, in no way corresponds with any of these Saturn attributes. By the time they died all of these people had already spent many years abusing alcohol and drugs. They were either on a blind search for sensation or so wrapped up in their own angst that their excesses seemed justified. Certainly, they had friends and lovers. Certainly, they were capable of affection, loyalty and many other positive emotions, but the big lessons of self-control, responsibility and behaving like an adult were still a year away.

Obviously, this awareness compounds the tragedy that the death of Winehouse and the others represents. We have to wonder, “If they could have only survived another year or so, would it have all been different?”  We can’t help but think how much more these amazingly talented people might have accomplished if they had stuck around long enough to experience their Saturn Return and learn the lesson it teaches.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that not everyone learns their Saturn lessons. As I point out in my book, "Saturn Cycles: Mapping the Changes in Your Life," Saturn transits always present us with a choice or a challenge. No one or nothing can force us to make the right choice or take up the challenge. It’s our decision, our responsibility. We might like to imagine that all of these remarkable people would have made the right choice at age 28, but we can’t assume that they would have.

A detailed investigation into the astrological factors related to the deaths of the members of the 27 Club would take much more time and many more pages than we have here. Though there are striking similarities between several of these charts, each is unique as each of these individuals was unique. Their deaths are no less unique. In the end, the common factor that links all of these deaths is the purely non-astrological fact that there is a limit to how much dumb, self-destructive behavior the physical body will tolerate. When you reach that limit, at any age, the result is painfully predictable.

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