Marvin Gaye – huge talent, double sorrow

Marvin Gaye fans have sad memories of their idol around April 1st which was the day he was shot by his father forty years ago and a day before his 45th birthday. He was one of the lead stars of the Motown group in the the 1960’s and 1970s and an influential force in the music scene. His greatest duets were with Tammi Terrell, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Your Precious Love,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.

 He was born 2 April 1939 Washington, DC at noon (from memory) with an abusive ordained minister father from a conservative Christian sect, who had himself grown up in an abusive home, who gave him daily beatings.

  Musical success in the late 1970s was interrupted by a messy divorce, drug problems and challenges from the IRS over his tax affairs. He disappeared off to Europe with tales of his cocaine addiction and erratic behaviour circulating. Inexplicably he returned to live with his parents which sent him unsurprisingly into a suicidal depression and quarrels with his father. His father shot and killed him the day before his 45th birthday. Gay Snr was initially charged with first-degree murder, but the charges were reduced to voluntary manslaughter following a diagnosis of a brain tumor, leading to a suspended six-year sentence and probation.

  Marvin Gaye was a Sun, Mercury, Saturn in pro-active Aries with his Sun in a volatile square to Mars in Capricorn. He had Jupiter in musical Pisces opposition Neptune Moon in Virgo and a Scorpio North Node.

  When he was killed both transiting Pluto and tr Saturn were moving through his 4th house of family/father as he tried – and failed – to come to terms with his brutal childhood. His Progressed Moon was moving to oppose his 4th house Scorpio North Node and his Progressed Mars was approaching the opposition to his Pluto. Oddly enough tr Jupiter was almost exactly square his Sun.

 Marvin Gay Snr, 1 October 1914, Kentucky, was a Sun Libra in an adventurous trine to Uranus Jupiter in Aquarius. But what blighted his life and personality was Mars in Scorpio trine Saturn Pluto conjunct in Cancer with his Mars square Uranus opposition Neptune – violent, ruthless, vengeful, fanatical.  To a degree excused by his own savage childhood but not a man in control of his baser urges.

  When he shot his son in the middle of a quarrel tr Pluto was exactly conjunct his Mars with tr Mercury in opposition.

 Gay Snr’s grudge-bearing Mars in Scorpio was conjunct his son’s 4th house Scorpio North Node which figures. And his unyielding Saturn Pluto in Cancer opposed his son’s Mars so they would trigger each other’s anger.

 Marvin Gaye’s creative 5th and 7th harmonic were marked and his 7th often found with musical artists and addictions had a gritty Mars Saturn Uranus link. His ‘victim’ 12th was also starkly aspected. His breakthrough-genius 13H, leaving-a-legacy 17H and global-influencer 22H gave him a lasting reputation.

 Intergenerational trauma and the damage it wreaks!

39 thoughts on “Marvin Gaye – huge talent, double sorrow

  1. El Aznar: I’ve read that the physical characteristics of an Aquarius-ascendant native include an aquiline nose, a tall, thin body, broad shoulders, beautiful bone structure and shapely legs. I have what might be called a “pert” nose and zero facial bone structure–apple cheeks. I’m only 5’4″, slender with fairly broad shoulders and, pardon my vanity, rather shapely legs. So I guess I have a few supposed Aquarius-ascendant physical traits….but mostly not. I don’t put a lot of stock in the purported physical traits of zodiac signs. It’s all about heredity.

  2. Re your post yesterday Catherine I don’t know what makes the difference in approach but I think Pluto might also be significant. We’ve discussed Pluto ( in the 8th) in this forum before. Pluto is also the planet of regeneration but self awareness means delving deep into the psyche which Mars in Scorpio is able to do and being strong enough to deal with the intense feelings which might erupt.. For example perhaps, if we enjoy revenge what were we experiencing in the past when we felt really helpless? If other planets are strong/supportive or more philosophical I think that helps. How about Saturn in Libra, North node in Aquarius, Jupiter in Aries, moon/ ascendant Sagittarius? Marjorie, however is the expert here.

    • Thanks, Trish. It may be important which houses are especially strong too as some may be more stabilising / philosophical than others. I’m at a loss really. I know people with an “ easy” birthchart who are actually quite unpleasant. Perhaps it’s simply a case of the grit that makes the pearl, or as some astrologers believe an “ old soul” who has the maturity to find its best self.

    • Catherine, It is tricky to discuss someone else’s chart on an open forum. But a few thoughts.
      I once knew someone who had all trines and sextiles, supposedly easy, and they were not just unpleasant but had a really nasty streak.
      At the other end – a client once came who had a starkly difficult chart with heavy Pluto and I was not looking forward to doing a consultation with those kind of defences. But she turned out to be delightful – because she had done intense, painful and long therapy and was insightful about herself.
      When you say some people buck the trend in terms of their chart what exactly does that mean? Many/most people never live out the full potential of their chart. Those from difficult childhoods who learnt to put up a false persona to keep the peace – what I call feeding sweeties to the dragon – bury their anger, aggression, need for vengeance since it was not safe to own it or act it out. That does not mean they buck the trend, just that a good deal of them stays buried. It may be easier to continue that in adult life than retrace steps back to the early damage to own the outrage and anger that was a legitimate response to ill-treatment of whatever variety – not necessarily abuse, just an environment that did not allow them to express themselves honestly.
      Yes some people have a curiosity to find out what went on and fix the problem but many don’t. They find it easier to sugar-coat the past, remember their childhood as idyllic, play happy families in adult life and Pollyanna their way through.

      • Thanks for this, Marjorie- a very generous and insightful post. I have to admit to feeling very uncomfortable with quick, ” thumbnail” astrological descriptions and am always intrigued by people who find the best in their charts, often with some dreadful aspects to contend with.

      • The other thought with a difficult chart is to find the right context to operate in.
        If you are hyper-active, overflowing with initiative and a sprinter not a marathon runner, don’t get stuck in a job/lifestyle that is unchanging – you’ll act out and be a chaos causer. Find an environment that plays to your strengths and what some might regard as faults in other contexts will become your special talent.
        On the other hand if you are like Queen Eliz 11 and all Fixed signs then find a lifestyle where you plough the same furrow endlessly.
        If you grew up in an abusive, scary home you will be adept at coping in crisis situations – and not so great in absolutely normal ones.
        I remember a child patient of psychiatrist Bruno Bettelheim’s who was violent and disruptive and ended up working successfully on a New York trading floor. Bettelheim said he regretted he had not sorted him enough for him to find a ‘nice’ job. I reckon the guy knew he operated best on a high adrenaline rush and in an aggressive environment. He had picked the job that suited his quirks.

  3. El Aznar: Generally, Aquarians are known to be cerebral and emotionally detached. Can also be stubborn—it’s a fixed sign after all.

    • Yes.

      I was looking in particular of there were any telltale signs someone is an Aquarius ascendant.

      E. g. the eagle nose is a Capricorn rising trait. Take a look at Emmanuel Macron.

      Oprah is a Sagittarius, known to have issues with body mass.

      Leo you can probably recognize by very noticeable hair.

      And so on.

      Of course, this all depends on multiple things.

  4. Delia: Great post. I’m sure you’re well aware of the saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” And I’m sure you excel at serving up cold dishes! While I don’t have Mars in Scorpio, I can relate. I’m a quadruple Aries (sun, mars, moon, mercury), but a fair amount of Neptune energy waters down some of that Aries fire….and also tends to conceal the real me. Not exactly what I appear to be. Plus I have Venus in Pisces, plus (and this is huge) I have Jupiter trine Venus–I can lay on the sugar….not one of my best qualities, but there it is……and one more reason people often mistake me for being ultra sweet (if they only knew!). I have been wronged many times professionally, as in backstabbing, etc. When I was younger my hair-trigger Aries temper was my natural reaction to such betrayals. Alas, I don’t have the cunning of a Mars in Scorpio native. Wish I’d had some of that energy–I’m sure it’s extremely effective. Over the years I’ve learned to deal with vengeful feelings by keeping one thing in mind: Life happens to EVERYONE. I let nature take its course. My past enemies will experience setbacks, pain, all manner of problems just like everyone else. That knowledge is my revenge. In fact, I recently heard that an old adversary was fired from two lofty positions he held, all but destroying his reputation. I like what Larry C. says about “taking the high road and walking away…..karma provides much better payback.” So true. It helps that I have aquarius rising–I’m great at detachment. Plus, Aries people don’t typically hold grudges and methodically plan revenge. We move on.

    • Funnily, what got my attention most is your Aquarius ascendant. Tell me: what do you ascribe to it? What are some recognizable traits of these natives?

  5. No doubting Marvin Gaye was very talented, but he went down in my estimation big time when it came out he was a wife beater and as I work in domestic violence that is a huge NO-NO

  6. Well I have Mars in Scorpio. and I am vengeful. I am on the surface sweet looking and innocent even in my senior years..I. have never been sweet and innocent. Mars in Scorpio people can sabotage as revenge and no one will know they did it hence the Mars is not seen in some people, as people commented here.. It is an energy that plans often long term. So when revenge is taken, no one except the Mars in Scorpio person and the other person, remembers why..the other person always knows… Slights, bad behaviour, hypocrisy are not easily forgiven. On the plus side I believe it makes us excellent judges of character and highly intuitive about future..there has to be a plus side right? David Burns song Psycho Killer reminds me of the mentality of a Mars in Scorpio person when angry.

    • Hi Delia A plus is that Mars in Scorpio also gives a very strong willpower. We can be aware of our destructive tendencies but we don’t have to act on them. In my opinion we can choose heaven, or hell….

    • Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Capricorn here. Though Mars is conjunct Neptune. Behind all the softness, I’m pretty hardcore. I’ll forgive but I won’t forget.

      • Sun/Saturn and (I believe) Merc in Scorp. I take the high road and walk away. Life is simpler. I do not brag about taking revenge. Life is too short for bloody, painful pursuits. Karma provides much better payback.

  7. David Ritz’s definitive book on Marvin,
    “Divided Life”makes for heartbreaking reading.

    His father Marvin Snr was also a cross-
    dresser, and a direct result Marvin added an “e” to his surname to avoid the connotations of his father’s errant behaviour. Despite his image, Marvin also suffered from terrible stage fright.

    There was always a core of deep sorrow in his music especially on tracks “Abraham, Martin And John”, “What’s Going On?” and all of “Here, My Dear”, his overlooked post divorce album.

    It is been recently announced there are over sixty unreleased tracks by him, so his legacy will still continue.

    A very gifted talent who was eventually destroyed by the all too human emotions of envy and jealousy.

    • ‘What’s Going On’ is one of my favourite albums of all time. I always loved his music even as a child. His Moon/Neptune is exactly on my Venus and his Venus is exactly trine my Moon – no wonder it had the power to sooth the sadness of my lonely childhood.

      • One of the best albums of all time too! I think his Venus in Pisces really shines through. Also, this news about the cache of costumes, notebooks, and music in Belgium coincides with the approaching Aries Solar Eclipse on his Saturn – representing father, history, karma and so on.
        He had huge charisma – when I was young (!) I was lucky enough to see him performing, not that long before he was killed. Mesmerising.

        Thank you Marjorie.

  8. Thank you Marjorie! Just 2 weeks ago, I ordered a greatest hits CD and have been listening to him so much lately. In the picture above, you can see pain in his eyes. Such a loss and tragedy.

  9. Poor bloke, if that birth time is correct then how awful to be a deeply sensitive Cancer rising with a vicious, violent father. I also have the same ascendant, with a 12th house Cancer moon. And had a vicious, violent mother. I’m still in the process of peeling myself off the floor.

    I remember when his father shot him. I think he was deeply resentful and jealous of Marvin’s success. Some parents are so damaged, they are like demons.

  10. Thanks for this! I’m interested in your characterisation of “ grudge bearing “ mars in Scorpio. I can see how this would be, especially trine Pluto. However, I have a close friend with a similar aspect – specifically Pluto in Scorpio in the seventh trine Mars exactly at the IC opposite Neptune exactly at the MC. I’ve never been able to spot this in her – she is a people person, works with children and disadvantaged families, and forgets slights from other people very easily – her husband even finds this annoying at times! She is close with her parents and wider family. Are some people just better at coping with difficult aspects? Or turn them round to access the best/ positive traits? She does have Jupiter on her ascendant trine Saturn / Uranus in the ninth.

    • Short hand descriptions can cut out nuances and not make it obvious there is a spectrum of meaning. However having said that – Mars in Scorpio will be lurking in their somewhere in her shadow. She almost certainly learned to bury assertiveness/anger in childhood with an angry and dominating 4th house Mars trine Pluto which would suggest a father figure was scary.
      She probably projects out her Mars in Scorpio and Pluto to others, possibly a partner, but it will come out somewhere either now or in time ahead.
      Covering over the intensity of a caged Mars in Scorpio with Neptunian compassion will only work for so long. Sure there is a positive side to Mars in Scorpio but it is intense and ultra-determined.
      Some people get by with a coping mechanism of a Pollyanna smile and ignoring unpleasantness and you can’t push them into facing reality. In my advancing years I have learnt to accept that for some people the way they live is the best they can do – and knowing the astrology would upset their house of cards. So leave well alone.
      But since you know the astrology, watch and wait – and it will creep out somewhere at some time.

      • Thank you! I know all the family well – she’s a childhood friend- and the scary parent was probably the mother. Her Jupiter is very obvious in her personality – everyone is drawn to her and I think this helps. You are right about scaring people with astrology, they get mesmerised by the bad and can’t see that there is good you can use to help you out. I will watch and wait as you say.

    • Catherine – doesn’t your friend have Mars in Cancer? That’s a much more passive-aggressive energy than mars in Scorpio.

      With a mars in Cancer you might never see it turn up other than oversalting the food, ‘forgetting’ to wash hubby’s shirt the day before it’s needed, doing some vacuuming just when the waited for TV programme come son. A couple of occasions I’ve known passive-aggressive people to overorder at a restaurant so the bill is bigger – even though they were splitting it evenly!!

      • Thanks for this! I’m going to have to double check her birth time because she is up front but diplomatic in a way I’m always looking for people who buck the trend. I hate to think of astrology as so proscriptive that we can’t escape. Or maybe birthchart aspects can simply show events or atmospheres that shape us. Any thoughts anyone?

        • Me and a family member were born days apart from charts of murders featured in this blog. Other than house and moon and ascendent differences, there wasn’t really much difference in the chart. I do admit I am a mess but still I didn’t go down that route even though it was period of stress. Now looking back, I don’t even remember what cause the stress. Of course circumstances were different as I am not in the USA with its liberal gun laws.

          • Just my point, Callie, thank you! Trish ( above comment) makes a similar point. I’d love to know what makes the difference in approach. Lunar nodes signifying which lessons to learn? Jupiter giving you loads of moral support? A steadying Saturn? Or all three……..

  11. I never knew this. I haven’t read his biography at all, I think. Shocking, to put it mildly.

    I entered to see if there is anything that could be tied to “Sexual Healing”, and maybe that’s Pluto (sexual) in Cancer (sign of nurturing and perhaps thus healing as well). And all on the ascendant, so highly visible, immediately noticeable.

    Mars (male sexual energy) in the 6th house (health, healing) could also be it.

    • Venus (lessening of the blow, mildness, care, tenderness) in the 8th (sex) could be it too. So quite a few signs, I’d say.

        • I think both you and I fell into that trap I often see in others, but here totally forgot to check, that perhaps this is just a noon chart – we might have no time of birth. But good catch.

          • El Aznar, Astrotheme and Astro-seek have his birth at Noon, 11.58 to be precise so the chart above, though 2 minutes out has the correct houses.

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