Revisiting Muhammad Ali now that I’ve read more about his life, what is striking is how universally loved and admired he was despite his flaws. Top-class sportsmen tend to be deified and expected to be transcendent human beings, until such time as they start losing and turn out to be less than divine. As he disintegrated into Parkinson’s syndrome caused by years of taking punches, he seemed to become even more of an icon, his earlier transgressions airbrushed out.
There’s no doubt in his earlier years he was abusively unpleasant to Joe Frazier, Floyd Patterson and others before fights; he was vehemently against mixed marriages given his vocal dislike of the ‘white man’, the latter admittedly for good reason; and was a serial adulterer.
But he hit the zeitgeist at the right time in the 1960s in the midst of the civil rights and Vietnam War turmoil, when television was beginning to make its mark and stood up for his right to be himself and take charge of his own destiny, no matter the cost.
Hugh McIlvanney wrote in the Sunday Times: ‘His appeal owed at least as much to the effect of a beautiful and magnetising physical presence and an essentially unsophisticated but uniquely captivating personality.’
‘Ali was never remotely convincing as a hater and his admirers didn’t feel they were being naive in claiming to recognise, beyond what they saw as outrageous role-playing, the lovable core of an intrinsically good man.’ ‘He could be genuinely witty and his best comedic rifts were extraordinarily, lyrically, imaginative.’
Additional thoughts to the previous post. His three planets in Aquarius – Moon Mercury Venus would lend him a quirky humour. Initially it had a sledgehammer punch with Mercury widely opposition Pluto square Mars, with the rougher edges smoothed out by the trine to Jupiter and no doubt by maturity. Though Frazier never forgave him for his insults. Venus in the 7th gave him great charm.
There’s a sense of tremendous control and endurance in his chart with that Earth Grand Trine, onto a Kite focal point Pluto, which would stand him in good stead through tough years of training and fighting. As would those seven Fixed planets.
Fixed planets by their nature have an acquisitive streak, as does an Earth Grand Trine. It’s arguable his fighting on, against medical advice that he was heading for irreversible brain damage, was the downside of his striving and indeed his stubbornness. He couldn’t stop. Even in latter years when he wasn’t running his own affairs, he was wheeled out as a kind of brand commodity as a symbol of goodwill.
His Neptune is well aspected in his chart, trine his Sun and Saturn Uranus and sextile his Pluto and he undoubtedly was a force for good, coming to represent the embodiment of self-determination, which encouraged and motivated others.
Apart from his fight wins, the two key moments in his life were his refusal to serve in Vietnam when tr Neptune was opposing his Saturn Uranus (and thus shaking his Grand Trine). And his Solar Arc Neptune was moving to square his Sun.
The second was the moment when he shakily lit the Olympic flame in Atlanta in 1996 and all his past controversial behaviour was forgiven. That was when tr Neptune was conjunct his Sun (and rippling round the Grand Trine again) and his Solar Arc Pluto was conjunct his Neptune.
So Neptune softened down what is potentially quite a hard chart, bringing his healing energy to the fore, boosted by the tremendous strength which underpinned his personality.
Born around the same time as him were: Rene Angelil, the husband/manager of Celine Dion, born the day before. And singing star and actor Michael Crawford born two days after. Stephen Hawking, the physicist with motor neurone disease, was born a week earlier.