Back in 1976 when I was only eleven years old Punk Rock surfaced as a recognisable music genre and one of its defining moments was the first recognised punk single, but as with any musical starting-point it was really just a merging of previous styles in many ways although Punk certainly seemed new and was emerging out of nothing that had gone before; anyway today it is pretty uncontested that The Damned’s ‘New Rose’ 45 RPM is seen as that record, why? because it beat the Sex Pistols ‘Anarchy in the UK’ into the charts by two weeks, although ‘Anarchy’ as a record became the more ‘popular’ record, as did the Sex Pistols themselves for their rather brief ‘stint’ as the top Punk band.
Anyway ‘New Rose’ was recorded on September 17th in the afternoon, in London and it had The Beatles B side of ‘Help’ on the flipside, I have a copy, although i didn’t buy it at the time, it was published [out on sale] on October 22nd 1976, and it was recorded by Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Rat Scabies, and Brian James [who wrote the music riff] and more importantly to some or all of the words, and it is said to be either about a new love in his life or the love of ‘Punk’ being the ‘new rose’ in town, but as he doesn’t say, or wants to say, we’ll probably never know.
Astrologically its published/out date is only one day before the October 23rd solar eclipse which when set for/in London gives a 13 Libra ascendant and some interesting chart positions; and now we are going to look at London as the European Punk capital and New York as its American equivalent, and this eclipse as the Punk Rock eclipse.
The eclipse has a lot of first house planets in London, so it is fair to say London was the most ‘living’ place for ‘Punk’ on the whole planet especially in 1976/77, but can we find The Damned and The Sex Pistols in this chart? tough job you may think, but let’s try.
So, where do you find ‘music’ in a chart, Venus yes, and the fifth house for ‘creatives’ and the seventh for people who band together, i can’t think of any other main significator’s. Venus is in Sagittarius in the chart and that may seem strange as it is not a typical hide-out for the musical, but you’ve got to remember ‘punk’ wasn’t seen as ‘real’ music by so many ‘muso’s’ back then, it was just a noisy overload and thought to be just crap lyrics, but far from it, as they were often ‘socially-aware’ lyrics of the Jupiter ruled Sagittarian type. This wasn’t cosy pop, where Venus in Taurus or Cancer would be more apt perhaps.
Now let us look at the name the ‘Damned’, the eclipse took place at 29 56 Libra in the Venusian ‘musical’ sign, but the very last vestiges of it, almost like saying this is the last outpouring of music, and bad music at that, [it certainly was thought of as so at the time]. But the eclipse so close to Scorpio, it could be said it was looking Scorpio [in the eye] and as we know the Moon in Scorpio is in its fall and that’s not an overly positive thing to help produce something, [like life’s-reflection is working against you] so why not call yourself the Damned, and especially as they had some dark gothic tunes, and they even had one-song called ‘I Fall’ which in a way was about to happen to the eclipse ‘Moon’ going into Scorpio. But the eclipse is in Libra, and we must be ‘fair’ astrologically so let’s look at some other possibilities for why Punk had its rise when it did other than this.
Let us look at the fifth house ruler of the eclipse chart Saturn, [as it is the creative mantra for musicians and people out looking for fun] it is not good ‘essentially’ being in ‘Leo’, it would like to be sunny and bright but it is being pulled down somewhat and has to deal with some darker matters, and surely if punk ‘dealt’ with anything it was ‘social’ inequalities, [all is lost/no future] and the like, and could you be ‘said’ to be the ‘Damned’ if things didn’t or weren’t going your way; a planet in its detriment can be said to be in hardship and not thought of that highly, although like any ‘planet’ in its detriment people will say of it, and did ‘say’, you ‘can do better’ than that [and many Punks were capable of so much more] but so many didn’t ‘want to’ pull themselves up because there was so little to aspire to, or so they thought back-then. And in 1976 the Punk’s were often thought of as the lowest ‘creatures’ who subsequently went-out looking for a good time in the midst of a battle with boredom and not wanting to be drones to/of the things that had gone by in previous generations, [but as i said] so many were worth so much more than this and it was this music which helped them become someone, but back then to be ‘someone’ meant they were wildly working-up a mane of hair and the ‘mane of hair’ is very Leonine and then despite having virtually nothing in their pockets they could and did go-on to become their own ‘star/s’ for the day/night and that is very much the way to react to Saturn in Leo with a safety-pin and plastic bag. Sure, it was much more than that but for many fans of the music in the wider UK they lived for the music nights and did what they had to do to be a PUNK in the meantime, whether that meant a full or part-time existence as a Punk-Rocker.
The chart also has Mars in Scorpio, and if Punk has anything remarkable about it, it is the fierce ‘energy’ that guitars and microphones could produce, and coupled with snarling vocal lines it is a perfect astrological indicator of Mars in Scorpio coupled with Saturn in Leo, [the roar], and with Venus in Sagittarius the compassionate questions were asked about where ‘life’ is/was going?
Now, take the name the Sex Pistols, again Sex is very much Scorpio and along with Mars the Gun, [or Pistol] we have/get a perfect Punk name. And like the ‘Damned’ and others we tend to get all expressions of this eclipse’s total-force, and i could quote some more Punk band names, but you get the idea.
But why this eclipse? and why London and New York as its urban hot-spots. I suppose Astro-mapping can help us decipher that a little. But London was already a musical hot spot and New York was just degenerate enough with many half-crazy delinquents ready to rock to bring it into being, and the rest of Europe and the World just didn’t have that/this urban music sensibility i suppose, although many a good band had Devon or North Eastern English ‘roots’ to give an example, but to be fair in 2016 you’ll find Punk bands in every country, but back then in 1976 my county 100 miles from London had few if any Punks, but it soon grew.
Let us now look closer at the eclipse, it didn’t happen over London or New York but this was where it had its most powerful out-pouring, why? because we had many first house planets in the chart set for London and New York has the planet Saturn on the Ascendant for the eclipse time 6:11 AM, Note: it doesn’t matter where you place an eclipse [location] as the ‘eclipse’ is a world event and the date/time provides the ‘places’ where the planets fall, so, between New York and Washington DC we have the curved Saturn on the ASC line, and it passes close to Trenton, New Jersey, which was said to be one of the toughest/hardest crowds in the punk world, with many fights in the ‘scene’ there too. We also know that one of the singers out of the band ‘Black Flag’ was from DC and Black is Saturn’s colour and a flag is an outpouring of [look at me, i am here] = Leo, Bad Brains another band were from DC and the Ascendant is the head ‘area’ and Blondie were from New York and it was dyed blond after the singer ‘front woman’ Saturn’ black turned blond Leo. And you could probably find other Punk band correspondences too, straight-edge punk is a DC thing. And if you look at Saturn’s local space lines it comes close to San Francisco another early Punk hot-spot [beginning place], with the Dead [Saturn] Kennedy’s a rather older more professional-type of Punk playing [or let us say more ‘mature’ playing] going-on.
It is also interesting to note that Saturn as Lord of this eclipse shows in his angular ‘located’ position that only New York was the accepted starting place of Punk, [and as the angles of an eclipse ‘nail it into the earth] and New York is a clearly a contender for ‘its birthplace’ as Saturn sits on the Ascendant there because in London it is in the 11th house, and the only other places for a real birth place have to be Saturn on the MC and that is in Europe, it goes through Istanbul and that was no great Punk hotspot in 1976, but of course in the last 20 years of Punk if we look north of ‘that’ into Eastern Europe where Punk is loved and [venerated] we see this Saturn’s eclipse influence continuing.
It is weird the mapping of planets onto the World map, but it can be so informative too, Saturn on the IC only in Alaska, well it might as well have not been there in ’76 because the 4th is it most hidden place, but an angle is it, so today, i don’t know about how Punk is felt there but it is probably still in the underground. Note: [to re-cap] many say London was its birthplace but this eclipse [on its own] suggests New York has more ‘claim’ but this is only one eclipse and there was another in early 1976, anyway we continue and will not touch that ‘one’ here.
Also there has to be population centres for things to happen, New York had Saturn on the Asc, so why didn’t London have it on the MC, i suppose it is simple geography, if New York is where it emerged then by land mass ‘alone’ and also by simple country/city placement ‘London’ couldn’t have Saturn on the MC, [it felt like it did though], and with it in the 11th house perhaps it is for a good reason that the Punk’s who started all the bands were usually ‘friends’ or known compatriots of each-other even though they might not of liked their bandmates or the other bands much if truth is to be believed?, and there is even the ‘story’ of the Sex Pistols playing in Manchester and everyone in the audience [all known to each other slightly] going-off to become the next Punk type bands in England, a local fraternity of Punks you might say, or just some local somewhat bored losers looking for a future, whatever really, that is how Punk worked.
William Lily a 17th century astrologer has rules for judging solar eclipses; if in your location [here London] the eclipse is above the horizon take the planet ruling with most dignities at 29 56 Libra, well it would be Saturn as it is ‘Exaltation’ and day-triplicity ruler, but in London it falls under the earth or night-time, but i think as it is a solar eclipse [Sun conjunct Moon] then it doesn’t matter whether it is above the horizon or not, and only in a lunar eclipse where either Luminary is above or below the horizon, it being the oppositional aspect, do we consider this factor and take the most dignities of the one above the horizon. But if i am wrong about this i am sorry, but that is how i understand the traditional rules just now, and how i gave Saturn as Punk’s planet.
Back to the Damned now, you mustn’t forget the players and the energy they brought to the music Brian James was said by Captain Sensible to have brought amazing crazy energy and it is his Mars in Aries no doubt, the Captain himself has Mars in Capricorn. Dave Vanian [the singer] has Neptune almost exactly on the eclipse with it sextiling Pluto at 29 50 Leo, apt for the singer/frontman. Rat Scabies born July 30th 1955 has Mars and Jupiter in 10/12 degrees of Leo close to the Saturn of 15 Leo in the eclipse and without his drum intro ‘New Rose’ might have sounded quite different, ‘no aircraft engines’ about to take-off’.
And if you look closely at the Damned’s members you see that in their previous day jobs they were very Saturnine, Dave Vanian was a grave-digger, the Captain a toilet cleaner, human waste – to a shine a very Saturn in Leo thing to do and Rat Scabies a floor- [Saturn] polisher [Leo].
The words of this song are almost prophetical, in it says ‘i mustn’t stop to mess around/ or it’ll be too late and with the eclipse at 29 56 Libra he wasn’t joking, Punk’s time was ‘now’, and many music people hoped it would be a flash-in-the-pan thing and that it would go away as quickly as it had arrived because it was upsetting the ‘normal’ musical output, but it was just out of sight to most people, like Jimi Hendrix said; Saturn – out of sight, not in most people’s musical range, now or ever.
I just want to add in here that if you take this London eclipse and put directional houses on the local space chart the 3rd house line runs so close to Cromer [from where this piece is written] it is almost like I had to be here to write it. although that is just a weird coincidence i’m sure and not even worth adding-in here.
Other notes: eclipses in Libra are said to ‘provoke the youth to wantonness and punk was the ultimate youth movement in which anything went. I couldn’t check-out the last decon of Libra but perhaps that has more pertinent information, i just don’t know.
The name the Damned is of course a ‘slur’, meaning the one’s who are cursed, but Damn is also an expression of being damned ‘good’ and in punk circles these musicians could play, although to look at them you wouldn’t think so. The truth seems to be that Brian James christened the group the Damned after a 1969 movie of the same name. It was also a name said to be descriptive of the band’s hapless state of affairs at the time, and seems right for many a band starting out, especially Punk bands.
The Damned’s first proper gig was on 6th July 1976 supporting the Sex Pistols in London’s 100 club
The Damned also played in France at the Mont de Marsan Punk festival with the Sex Pistols in the early years, it is south of Bordeaux near to Spain and the Local space lines from London see the 10th house line ‘there’ and it was an early promotional place for Punk aptly.
They also had a memorable night at the Drill Hall Lincoln, England in the middle of June 1977 when some football hooligans wanted to fight them and where the stage was stormed after a group of men said let’s get the Damned, but why there? astrologically it makes little sense, the local space 4th house line runs close to Lincoln, so did they think if we end The Damned we will end Punk, maybe.
More general information now…
The dictionary definition of Punk is… and what ‘better’ explanation for a person symbolised by Saturn in its detriment, [is a person of poor or bad in condition, quality, etc] , or even a male homosexual [which many punk’s were, or didn’t mind acknowledging when so many wouldn’t], or more readily in the beginning of the punk movement, a young hoodlum, as many were or wanted to be.
The Saints from Australia were the only other ‘pioneers’ who were directly affected by this eclipses angularity with Saturn off the Perth coastline, and this line goes up to Southern Japan, where they took on the ‘fashion’ of Punk, but albeit many years later.
It is also obvious that Venus isn’t the eclipse ruler and Saturn in detriment is far more suited to Punk in this eclipse chart, even its recognised ‘King’ Johnny Rotten has a Saturnine name of a ‘decayed’ piece of ‘person’.
That’s the story really, but i want to make a quick aside on the remaining 0 04 minutes of Libra left at the eclipse, there is a punk song called ‘4 minute warning’ but it is not about the eclipse, but it could be ‘said’ to be, if you have my imagination, it is actually the four minutes from warning to attack and death and at 29 56 Libra it could be said the ‘attack’ happened here and ‘death’ was 4 minutes later at/in Scorpio, but i am only having a laugh here, please, it was a stupid aside from my own decayed brain.
But all said these young seditionaries’ took that ‘moment’ and ran with it like they were ‘kids’ stealing ‘candy’ from the shop and going on to sell it to other kids through a main shop, [record shops], and for all the initial Punk ‘worthlessness’, for millions ‘today of still not fully grown-up kids it is their music of choice and a style which they don’t forget whether they were fully into it or for a while, but for many it has been ‘all their life’ and it still continues, will it die? or is fast-paced Rock music now just an accepted ‘norm’, i think we all know the answer to that, because times have moved-on and Punk has morphed.
In the/this eclipse chart it is obvious to see why only a few planets are ‘used’ to describe ‘Punk’s’ moment of birth,; but ‘lest we forget’ it is all the other factors/planets [combined] in various formations that describe the ‘world’ of 1976, because with Saturn in Leo it was the ‘dearth’ [lack of] fun in a nation, who thought Morecombe and Wise was the only real entertainment worth watching on TV in ‘what’ was the then a very economically depressed country of Britain until Punk came along stuck-up its two-fingered salute to it all and snapped them out of their stupor and shook them up… … even if it was only by being outraged by swearing on television and then thinking this is bad and it will go away or indeed let us make it go away or let’s forget it and move-on, the usual British thinking, you know. It was kind of destroyed in the early days by nay-sayers, but it is still loved by thousands/millions who thought it worth much more than that.
So, it just leaves me to say ‘Viva Punk’, and it has lasted well, very well.