Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Astrology of Gary Gygax (Part 2)

[continued from here]

Anyway, the following might be wildly off (I never knew Mr. Gygax after all, and he’s not around for me to question the accuracy of my interpretation) so take it with a grain of salt:

PLUTO (still a planet for an astrologer’s purpose) is a transcendental planet that represents one’s karmic evolution…it’s placement by HOUSE shows where we have deep emotional attachments…and where we need to evolve. For me, it’s one of the best methods of narrowing down a person’s birth time, based on the Dharma of their life. Gandhi, for example had a fairly obvious Pluto in the 11th House (traditional House of Aquarius, iconoclasm, and fighting for equality, and the individuation of humans). Based on Gary’s life and that last quote, I would place his Pluto in the 5th House.

While Mr. Gygax was a writer, and a publisher, and a business man…as well as a husband, father, grandfather, Christian, and probably a lot of other things…what he wanted to be remembered for was as guy who “really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and fun pastimes with others.” The 5th House, which resonates to the sign of Leo, is the House that represents game playing (sports, cards, gambling) as well as sharing creativity (it also represents children, the spawning of one’s creativity). It would appear Gary had a pretty deep attachment to his creative process…the worlds he created, the words he wrote, the legacy he made, and the children he sired…and this would all point to a Pluto in the 5th House. 5th House Pluto individuals are sometimes seen as being immature or refusing to “grow up,” and often they tend to relate better to children than adults. This “young at heart” interpretation could certainly be applied to Gary Gygax…I don’t think he went to all those conventions just to sell product or power-trip over lesser individuals.

Not that he didn’t want to make money. By placing Pluto in the 5th House, we end up throwing Saturn into the 2nd House. Like Pluto, Saturn is a trans-personal planet…one that takes so long to travel through signs (it is “generational”) that the placement by House is more useful to an astrologer. SATURN represents our “duty” in life. It’s the thing we’d rather not do…it’s the item on our plate that we least want to eat, even though it’s “good for us.” It’s the thing we feel COMPELLED to do…it’s the big burden (like the world on Atlas’s shoulders) that we’re always carrying around. Pluto is also something that we need to carry around with us, but our job is to evolve with it (and we will, one way or another!). Saturn doesn’t evolve…it’s just something we eventually master.

A 2nd House Saturn would traditionally indicate that the realm of finances, or “personal resources,” was Gary’s Saturn to carry. This doesn’t just mean he was “worried about making money” (though that might have been part of it). It meant that his karmic burden was managing What He Had: his talents, his health, and yes, his income or revenue stream. I recall reading some on-line interview of his where he decried the fact that he’d prefer to just write and play for fun, but that his writing was money and his time needed to be spent doing that. Practical? Sure…we all have areas of our life in which we are practical and diligent (and those of us with more Capricorn influence have more). But Saturn is a Bitch, man…and I’m not surprised to see it in the 2nd house for Gary.

I, too, have a prominent 5th house (though not like Mr. Gygax…mine is something I have to do or I get angry/upset (Mars), while his is ALSO his way of being (Sun)). But people with prominent 5th houses have another general pitfall/weakness I didn’t mention earlier: gambling. Speculation. Squandering resources on games of chance (remember that idea, “oh I am the Sun?” It’s a bit of this over-confidence). Fortunately, I have a Capricorn 2nd house…I don’t like to lose money which keeps my gambling pretty low scale. Gary’s 2nd house Saturn would have a similar mitigating effect (though having the 2nd house ruled by fiery Aries, he might still make an impetuous decision or two regarding his resources that his 2nd house Saturn would deeply regret later).

Let’s see; what else can we say about this placement:

Well, we have some non-planet, significant points we could talk about. The pars fortuna (Part of Fortune) is where one could traditionally be expected to “hit the jackpot.” Gary’s is in the Aquarius in the 12th house, meaning a field that’s cutting edge and eclectic while being imaginary and escapist. Or prisons…I suppose he could have made a killing installing televisions in jail cells instead of chaining kids to kitchen tables rolling strange dice, but I prefer the road he took. The dispositor (“ruler”) of the pars fortuna is Uranus in the 3rd House…indicating he’s probably going to make money in the “fantasy realm” through communication (i.e. writing, doing stand-up presentations).

With this particular placement we have a North Node/South Node axis along the 9th/3rd House. The South Node has been linked to Karma and the North Node to Dharma and they work like this: the South Node is the area that you are already talented/good at but that gives you little-no lasting fulfillment…the North Node is the area that you (at first) can’t imagine yourself doing but, once you learn it, is oh-so-much-more satisfying. Gary’s South in 3rd indicates he’s already good at reading/writing and speaking…the North in 9th indicates a need to disperse and distribute those ideas to the world (publishing). It can also mean a need to not just collate and collect, but to codify and intuit…create paradigms. Having the asteroid Vesta up there (the only asteroid I look at), means that being A Law Giver is not just what he must learn…it is a capital-S Sacred Duty.

The 9th House is the House of Law and judges…a good placement of both Vesta and the North Node for one of the first Dungeon Masters (at least if DM = judge/referee; world builder or power trippers would want to look at 5th, 8th, and 10th House locations).

Gary’s Ascendant (what is called “the Rising Sign”) is also based on time of birth, and in this case not having known the man makes it harder to pin down, as just a few minutes means the difference between being a Pisces-Rising or an Aquarius-Rising…even after nailing down Pluto, Saturn, and the Nodes. Our Rising Sign is how we appear to the world…it is the first impression we make. To borrow a term from Vampire the Masquerade (sorry), if the Sun sign is our Nature, the Ascendant sign is our Demeanor. Just judging by the Hawaiian shirt in that photo, I would say Gary was an Aquarius rising (the crazed professor look)…but Pisces-risings tend to “blend in” with their surroundings (actually, “melt-in” would be the better term) and maybe this is just typical “convention-wear. “

In some ways, though, the actual Rising Sign is less important with this particular time-placement as the planet Jupiter sits directly on Gary’s Ascending horizon…either just before or just after. A planet that is conjunct a person’s Rising sign kind of takes over and colors it…as if the sign the planet represents was the Rising sign. Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, and it tends to be expansive, confident, and magnanimous, as well as an expressive, often intuitive communicator (though one that can be honest to a fault as well). The Sun-Mars conjunction might not keep the individual from looking bad (despite still being “likeable”) for particular foot-in-mouth moments. And I’d expect a tongue-lashing to be fairly loud and long from an individual with this placement.

Interestingly, Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Pisces (prior to the discovery of Neptune). And if Pisces is the ruler of role-playing games, it’s only fitting that Gary Gygax shows up as “Mr. Imagination” (and if his Ascendant IS Pisces, with that conjunct Jupiter he’d be Mr. Double-Imagination).

I should note also that the placement of Jupiter is where we feel most expansive, confident, and lucky. It’s our “right-brain/artistic” side as well, and its placement shows where we receive intuitive flashes. Gary’s Jupiter is in the sign of Pisces…that is one super-imaginative guy! If it is also in the 12th House (traditional House of Pisces) based on time of birth, that’s kind of like saying the guy feels at his best when doing imaginative things in an imaginary world. It would appear Mr. Gygax found a good niche for his brain, as he might have spent a lot of time day-dreaming in a more staid profession.

Of course, with a lot of this placement planet-sign-house placement could easily have indicated a person with a spiritual/religious calling. Though with the North Node in the 9th (instead of the South) he’d probably have to make up his own denomination. And that Mars conjunct the Sun in Leo? That’s a guy with a warrior’s spirit and a Big Fat Ego.

[again, no disrespect intended…these are base tendencies…we all have Free Will to behave as we choose]

Let’s see…talked about the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, Nodes, Rising…hmm, Mercury in Virgo, possibly in the 6th (the House of Virgo). A Virgo Mercury would indicate an intelligent mind and a critical thinker/writer (in every sense of the term “critical”), as well as a clinical one. The 6th House tends to be how we work best…the 2nd House tends to be how we make money. Any planets in the former indicate that work, doing work is an important part of our psyche. Any planets in the latter tend to indicate we WILL make money, somehow at some point. The 10th House though (the 3rd and final “Earth House”) indicates what our reputation is and what our legacy will be.

If my timing is accurate, Gary’s Mid-Heaven (the sign on the cusp of his 10th House) would be Sagittarius: Gary will be remembered as a publisher, as a judge, as a Law Giver (or “rule giver”)…as the Pope or “head cleric” of his own role-playing religion. No planets in the 10th House though…those titles weren’t important to him. He’s got the legacy, but the thing he wanted remembered was that he “really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge.” Well, that latter does feed into the Vesta/North Node 9th house, so I guess his legacy was at least complimentary with what he found important.

Last couple things: Mars and Venus.

Mars is our ego drive. It is what gives us energy. When we “do” our Mars, we gain energy. When we are prevented from doing our Mars, we lose energy. We also get frustrated and angry. Mars in Leo in the 5th House (House of Leo) with the dispositor Sun in Leo (also possibly in the 5th House) conjunct the Sun in Leo? This is a guy that needed to shine. The more he found ways to shine, to show his creativity (through gaming through publishing his ideas) the more “juice” he got. This guy was practically a Zero-Point energy battery…once he got started. Of course, stifling that energy (cutting off his publishing legs for example) could possibly cause a terrible break-down or a lot of depressed, low energy, self-pity. If Gary had ever come to me for astrological advice regarding depression it would have been the simplest of simple to counsel him: Go out and game. Write something cool and share it with someone. That’s all you’d have to do to jumpstart the battery.

Venus is our feelings and our essential needs. Not our emotions (the story we tell ourselves about our feelings)…that’s the Moon. “Essential needs” are just that: essential. Where our Venus is indicates the things we absolutely will do…even if doing so is self-destructive. We WILL find a way to meet our essential needs, one way or another.

Gary’s Venus is in Virgo, perhaps in the 7th House (Libra) disposited by Mercury in Virgo, perhaps in the 6th House (the House of Virgo). Gary’s essential need is to be a craftsman, one who deals in the minutia of things, hopefully in service of his fellow humans. His need involved communicating, quite possibly writing, and yes critiquing and criticizing. Of course, there’s always the possibility of being hyper-critical…especially of others, and quite possibly of significant others and partners. The important advice here (were he to ask it) would be to find a balance, making sure his analysis contains constructive points…and that there is such a thing as too much minutia. At some point one has to come to the realization that the journey is one of constant refinement, not “perfecting.” This could apply to many, many issues.

Of course, with Uranus trine that Venus, his analysis and critique is going to receive epiphany “bolts from the blue;” just hope those thunderbolts he throws don’t cause too much upset! At least the Neptune conjunct the Venus softens it…I hope, hope, hope…

Okay, okay...I realize Mr. Gygax is no longer with us (we miss you, sir!), so offering advice is a fruitless endeavor. This was a fun exercise (if a little long), and something I’ve been meaning to do since last July. In the end, though, much of what I’ve written here has to be taken with a large helping of salt as it is mostly dependent on a hypothetical time of birth. Hell, maybe his Pluto was in the 10th House and he REALLY did want to be master of all he surveyed! Boy, would THAT change my interpretation!

Till later folks…
; )


  1. An interesting take, not too far off in many matters. I used to cast charts myself for many years (natal, not progressed), nut no longer. Guessing at his tob is problematical. It might be on the net as others have done his chart.

    Now, A challenge if you feel up to it, try my chart in relation to his, keeping in mind these things:

    1) I met him and his family when 13 years of age
    2) I was quickly adopted into the extended family and considered a brother by the children. I ate with them, attended their religion and went through their pain and sorrows and joy.
    4) EGG groomed me from a very early age as a sort of apprentice, though I had no clue then.

    That should do.

    Birth: Elkhorn WI (hospital closest to Lake Geneva)
    Date: 9.23.1955
    Time: 12:16 pm

    If you're not up to it, I will understand. I might be somewhat enlightening, who knows?--RJK

  2. @ RJK: I can hardly refuse, though "compatibility" reports aren't my forte (my last one was given at my friends' wedding reception - at their request - a couple years back). Let me see what I can do.
    : )

  3. Good show. I will be awaiting it when you finish. As for compatibility, that wasn't really the issue, just what light might be shed by my comparing the two-- should have stated that more clearly. Thanks! :)