Chuck Feeney, the multi-billionaire who gave away the vast majority to charity, anonymously for the most part, and ended his days living in a rented flat in San Francisco, poses an intriguing astrological question.
Born on 23 April 1931 a few weeks after Rupert Murdoch he shared several similar indicators on his chart of determined confidence and luck from Jupiter Pluto in Cancer, toughness from Pluto opposition Saturn and an innovative drive from a focal point Uranus. Plus a leadership Aries North Node. Both made a stash of money. But Murdoch used his trail-blazing influencer streak in a self-serving way while Feeney seemed almost completely self-less.
What is all the more extraordinary was that Feeney was a Sun Taurus, normally an acquisitive sign and had Mars in Leo, again typically flamboyant and attention-seeking.
His 9th harmonic which is not only good at attracting money but can also, when on positive track, be humanitarian was his strongest – with a charitable Sun Neptune in a wish-for-a-better-society opposition to Saturn square Mercury. Plus an inspirational Grand Trine.
Warren Buffett, called him “my hero, and he should be everybody’s hero”. And Feeney said his generosity sprang from deep misgivings, bordering on guilt, about how much he had amassed and whether he deserved it. That may be the result of a Jesuit upbringing.
He made his fortune as a co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers Group, the travel retailer of luxury products based in Hong Kong. And gave away more than $8 billion in secret, choosing to be anonymous. He subscribed to Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic strategy of providing “the ladders upon which the aspiring can rise”, such as universities and libraries.
Many who were in receipt of his generosity never knew where the money came from. He was tolerant of others who preferred buying yachts but he said “think about giving it away while you are alive, because you’ll get a lot more satisfaction than if you wait until you’re dead.”
He was initially sympathetic to the IRA cause, until the 1987 Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing, which killed 11, which horrified him. “Maybe I was naive at that stage,” he said, “but I took the view that this is not the way Irish people react, by blowing up kids at commemoration events.” He subsequently gave money to both sides — Sinn Fein and the Ulster Defence Association — on condition they worked with President Clinton to broker peace. Feeney also gave $1 billion to Irish education.
A small ray of hope and decency in a rotten world as he dies aged 92.
ADD ON: Another wealthy philanthropist who wanted to die poor was Chester Carlson, 8 February 1906, who became rich from photocopiers using his patented invention. He gave away a good deal of his money to Zen Buddhism and Paranormal research before he died in 1968.
He was a Sun Venus in Aquarius with Mercury also in scientific Aquarius opposition a ‘leadership’ North Node in Leo and a Leo Moon. His Sun Venus and NN were square a confident acquisitive Jupiter in Taurus and trine/sextile Pluto. And he had a go-getting, pro-active Mars in Aries square Neptune opposition Uranus. Last but not least he had a wish-for-a-better-society Saturn trine Neptune.
His get-it-together 5th harmonic was notable linking Saturn to Neptune with a boost from Pluto. As was his spiritual 7H; legacy-leaving 17H and global renown 22h. What runs through several are Jupiter Neptune connections which can be charitable in inclination. Many were hard-edged and tough-minded, perhaps a reminder of his childhood with poor, sick parents where he became the principal breadwinner while still a teenager.