Legend - Jerry Garcia
Garcia’s Sun/Mercury in Leo, melded with the transformational planet of veils, invisibility and mystery, Pluto, probably dictated his fashion tastes more than any other consideration. I mention this only because of #31 on the list of "You Know You’re A Deadhead When…": ‘31. Your stock portfolio includes 50 shares of the HANES BLACK T-shirt division’. These three heavenly bodies tend to provide a cover of camouflage similar to the kind authored by Mother Nature in some of Her finest art forms. In his trademark black T-shirt Garcia masked an incredible light so he could move among the masses with ease at a natural shoulder to shoulder level.
The fine art of invisibility is often misunderstood by the neophyte - it is simply the ability to move within a crowd (space) unseen. There are several references to this skill in the New Testament, the most profound recorded re Palm Sunday, and the manner in which Christ evaded the mob trying to crown Him King. Since invisibility is an acquired status (see the Germanic Hiding Cape, The Helmet of Minerva, Harry Potter, and code books of the CIA) there have been some murmurings about Garcia’s interest in the paranormal (haunted house, etc.). Actually there are only thin lines, in some places, between reality and illusion - from the subjective point of view, naturally. The three types of psycho-kinetic energies combined to form an effective illusion in Garcia’s map are more the showman, healthy skeptic, and astute observer. Garcia could never settle on an answer in cement and be content to "leave it at that". He loved asking questions too much. And his left brain could never be gentled into submission, (there was no "off switch" to it) a basic requirement for serious pursuit in the mystic arts. His guitar was his trusty "magic wand", not to part the waters, rather as apt representation of ‘the walking staff’ and standard we all wish for, ideally to steady us as we advance en route to our goals. Circumspection and care to stay to one’s own true path in life (‘rta’, Sanskrit, ‘the right way’) are only an effective tracking key delivered compliments of Oversoul (echoes of Ken Kesey: "Stay In Your Own Movie" and Joseph Campbell: "Follow Your Bliss!:").
With all his egoless offering of time and talent, Garcia was not without those telltale traces of the great storyteller (Leo, the stage) bonded with his dedicated audience. Even before the curtain went up, Garcia would hold court in The Green Room backstage, surrounded by his inner circle and scores of adoring fans. He was truly a throw back to the ancient hierophants who interpreted the mystery drama for the multitude. This Leo tendency to assume the position of authority, dignity, and vibrant popularity is so repetitious in Garcia’s lifestyle, it is frequently difficult to draw a line between reality and the drama of being a player of one of the most successful live performance bands of all time. Garcia turns it around by saying,
"Actually, I’ve always thought that we were like a public works, really a utility as much as anything else. That’s the way it feels, and for a lot of people, it’s therapeutic to have a real good time once in a while. I know it is for me, definitely, and that’s what we do as far as I’m concerned, really, and being able to direct that in some way or another is awfully nice. I remember one time a long time ago - Ken Kesey and Wavy Gravy were involved with it too, I guess not coincidentally - we played someplace funny, like Cincinnati, at a university there, and they had Kesey speaking there, and the Hog Farm was there also, and this was in ’69 , maybe ’68. We went there and played and the people got off on it, just enormously, and we left town, but the Hog Farmers stayed behind, and the day after the concert they got on the local FM radio station – back in those days, they had loose, free-form radio – and they said, there’s this vacant lot—there was this lot in the black section of town that had old tires and bedsprings and junk and garbage and all kinds of shit—and they said, "Let’s clean up this lot." And they got people to stop there, sort of steaming on the energy of the concert from the night before, kind of continuing that feeling."
"At the end of the day, when those ladies came home from their jobs over on the white side of town there was a park there. It’s like taking the energy of that high—Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farmers have such grace in doing things like that – and to me, that’s always been a great service model, you know, how can you turn this into something, how can you take it another step, without it turning into some kind of willful mind manipulation? And that was one of the times that happened, really spontaneously. It was just great, and we got such lovely feedback from it. But for me, its always been this model of, if you get the right elements going there and people who are clear about that good energy, there’s definitely stuff that you can make happen that turns out good, and everybody feels good about it."
With the Solar to Mercury/Pluto power to reverse one’s fate and fortune comes the responsibility to invest the energy as a viable component from within the tool chest - the physical power reserves themselves. To accomplish this a Heart of Gold is required. This is one of those secrets Garcia kept locked and hidden from view. Until people really uncover the hidden itinerary he traveled through life, its quite impossible to gauge the importance of his presence or any program he supported.
The pioneering history of Jerry Garcia's family gave him zeal and imagination developed from grass roots folk into ‘new era’ psychedelic consciousness. He knew how to roll with the punches. His responsibility level inferred by Saturn in Gemini sextile his Moon, illustrates higher octave presence of mind, willingness to work hard, and ability to inspire friends with confidence. Saturn establishes annual cycles of action.The Moon balances the account month by month. Garcia would advance a long and short view of things and construct patterns of activity both effective and easy. All these he set to Saturn or Lunar timing.
Garcia held firm to a real-life foundation in relationships, philosophy, and business. If anything got itself tied into knots, Garcia could take the drama in stride - part of his ‘business as usual’ attitude, never missing a beat.
Once I asked why he didn’t cancel one of the band’s ‘disastrous gigs’ when he heard about Jefferson Airplane going through a terrible bust two weeks earlier in the place they were booked to stay. Garcia just laid it out as rough road that goes with the territory. The band has no control over any schedules, he said. If it pertains to the tour, including bookings hotels, rides to and from, speed traps, or venues. He explained bands on tour consequently deal with incriminating ‘evidence’ already waiting for them - each according to their kind.
Garcia calls his 15th birthday the ‘historic date’ when he got his first electric guitar; he left the ‘straight’ world treadmill, entered the Army two years later and switched to acoustic. Guitar Player Magazine (9/91) refers to this new phase in musical development. "Most of his nine-month enlistment was spent woodshedding the fingerstyles of Mississippi John Hurt and Elizabeth Cotton. After his discharge, he played a few acoustic gigs with Robert Hunter and then fell hard for the 5-string banjo, developing serious frailing and Scruggs-style chops over the next four years while passing through a series of folk and bluegrass bands. And though he flirted briefly with the acoustic with Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions in 1964, Garcia considered himself a banjo player until he started playing a Guild Starfire when the Warlocks were formed in early ’65. By year’s end… following the Acid Test as the Grateful Dead, Garcia’s electrically charged psychedelic wanderings had become part of an era’s soundtrack."
At this juncture, progressed Venus closed on her sojourn through the sign of clan and nest of origin (Moonchild, or Cancer). She advanced into the first decan of Leo, the constellation CRATER, a furnace or cup of fire pouring out over the Earth ~~ images clearly laced with alchemical double entendre. Garcia's Social Urge (Venus) animated from this zodiacal degree, drew pleasure in performing to an extended rock an roll family partaking at a larger table, sharing within social communities structured with love as the foundation of all achievement. This is the decanate of Rulership and it catches on like the wildfire of the Ancient Greeks' 'agape' (love feast). America's youth were awakening to civil rights issues, the peace movement, women's lib, black power, and freedom of speech (as an endangered species). Garcia shed his early 60s role as teacher/music man of the San Francisco Bay Area. With this new Leo Stellium configuration, his relationship template absorbed the desire to shoulder Herculean labors and fostered the widening responsibility base paced at round the clock rock and roll performances.
In 1966 The Grateful Dead performed at the 3 day Trips Festival to 10,000 people. Leo brother Ken Kesey, Aquarian Wizard Neal Cassady and The Merry Pranksters were testing their resources. The event opened up new horizons for Garcia, introducing him to the world at large. His Moon was influenced by Aquarius then, keying in perfect timing and reactions that are neither too swift nor too slow. This sign balances out the Leo attitude so Garcia was unconventional yet compelling. Allen Ginsberg, Big Brother and The Holding Company and a mass of local talent helped set the stage for the Human-Be-In, held a year later in Golden Gate Park. The foundation was laid for the extraordinary Summer of Love.
At the same time, during 1966, The Grateful Dead jammed in LA recording sessions to produce, 'Anthem of the Sun'. Constanten contributed piano and electronics work. His inside track from these collaborations:
"... simply a case of musicians of like mind pursuing paths of interest to them. Back up on the street level after some sessions at Columbus Recorders in San Francisco, Jerry turned to me and said, 'I think we can use you.' Jerry Garcia is one of the remarkable men of our times. So inventive, so assured, so alert, so amazingly aware in and out of musical contexts. He takes the responsibility personally, that the music should unfold interestingly." (Tom Constanten, BETWEEN ROCK & HARD PLACES, A Musical Autobiodyssey). Personal reflections and musings about back pages, including The Monterey Pop Festival, The Tribal Stomp and especially The Summer of Love, are available from publications like RELIX, THE GOLDEN ROAD, and 'The Oracle', Haight-Ashbury's evolution in print.
Sun in Leo, the Winged Lion - ruler: The Sun
The lion and all members of the feline family, Apollo or Hercules
Day of the week: Sunday
Angelic Intelligence: St. Michael - Fixed Fire Kerub [Winged Lion of St. Mark]
The sign esoterically signifies the solar seed.
Anciently, Leo is linked with the Sphinx [summer solstice in Leo]; Sekhmet, one of two lion rulers of the desert is a goddess of the healing arts [medicine], similar to the MASH surgeons during war; in western mythology, Leo is linked with the Nemean Lion of Argolis which possessed an impenetrable hide and was strangled by Hercules in the fulfillment of the first of his Twelve Labours.
Reflex action: Aquarius, the Cup Bearer or Old Water Bearer
Tarot Trump: Trump V, The Hierophant, The Pope, Jupiter
House System: The Guest Room
Metal: Gold, Alchemical Gold – Power Gemstones
Leo governs the following places: jungles, forests, parks, forts, palaces, place of pomp and circumstance, government buildings, fireplaces, smelters, chemical laboratories, distilleries, glass factories and places where explosives are manufactured; amusement parks, festivals, the circus, puppet shows, bakeries, and ‘the royal treatment’.
Emotional characteristics: faithful, rich in emotional life, affectionate, idealistic, proud, empathic, sympathetic, merciful, chivalrous, domestic, foreseeing.
Mental characteristics: commanding, generous, ambitious, self-sacrificing,, optimistic, opposed to secrecy, fixed in opinion yet magnanimous.
Spiritual keywords: the lilfe principle, the will to illumine, the faith which is sufficient, the will to rule.
Physical anatomy: heart, main arteries, spinal column, with its marrow, especially dorsal region, and spinal cord.
Zodiacal Physiology: distribution and interchange, quickening, heart vitality, and vitality especially connected with the blood [Jupiter is associated with purity of the blood].
During December of 1969, Garcia's Lunar Return (psyche and emotional rebirth), brought about his inner world paradigm renewal while The Grateful Dead started down their next yellow brick road. The Dead released two albums for Warner Brothers, 'Aoxomoxoa' (Rick Griffin cover) and an excellent double album, 'LIVE Dead' recorded on tour, featuring, ‘Love Light’.
The band members packed up their 710 Ashbury home and front office, to go across the Golden Gate. Their spacious Victorian, just up from Haight-Ashbury central, is a San Francisco landmark, a pre-quake Cranston-Keenan building . The band boxed the house up over time and eventually moved all to Marin, where they slowly recovered from the ill-fated Altamont concert with the Stones. During that phase, the group attempted to initiate their own San Francisco concert hall on Market Street, The Carousel Ballroom, and they made a go of it for a while. It was in 1970 however as changes began for Garcia, that Saturn’s mantle settled on his shoulders and his Saturn Return began to hold his attention firmly.