Alzheimer’s Champion

Glen Campbell. I know a lot of younger people don’t know this guy, but now is the chance to learn some small bit about someone who proves we can rise above hard times. He’s interesting not only for his music, but also for a life story that is astonishing. As a young boy in Arkansas he had picked cotton for about a dollar a day. By the age of twenty-seven he had played on over 500 studio recordings with dozens of artists including Ray Charles, Sinatra, Elvis, Merle Haggard, Doris Day, Phil Spector, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and the list goes on.

I imagine his daily work with other musicians was just as exciting for him as a rocketing career is for others. He played guitar with the Beach Boys on Pet Sounds, and also toured Asia with Ricky Nelson that same year. Then he made some number one hits, and he went from humble songs around the campfire to The Rhinestone Cowboy.

The planets in his chart really show his ability to overcome adversity. Jupiter in its own sign in the second house is joined by the north node which means there would be resources at the person’s disposal and those benefits would always come around whether wise decisions were made or not. Constant striving for more and better resources (North Node) would meet with success (Jupiter).

His TV show, The Goodtime Hour, started in 1969. It ran for nearly four years, hosting stars like Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, and Willie Nelson. Two writers for the show were Rob Reiner and Steve Martin.

Glen played bass guitar, mandolin, bagpipes, banjo, some fiddle and drums, and he had a lead guitar ability that few can match. He never learned to read music, but over time he would release 64 albums. All this despite years of addiction to drugs and alcohol. Later in life he joined the Messianic Jews in Phoenix and he credited them (and his wife) with keeping him alive and well.

With only 1 planet in an air sign (and that being Chiron) he demonstrates how lack of air quality can become an issue in the person’s life. At 20 months he actually drowned and was basically dead for about twenty minutes. I’ve seen other situations where the lack of air signs in the chart will point to direct implications for problems related to breathing and the ability to process air. A person with only one water sign, alternately, would have a pronounced difficulty being able to go with the flow.

So with this lack of air signage, it also means he didn’t use his intellect to make career accomplishments. His Mercury is impacted by Mars, Saturn, Chiron and Neptune. Instead, he drew on the Earth-based powers that his planetary arrangement offered him. What a testament to using your strengths! Five planets in Taurus makes anyone a bit stubborn, but the benefits are amazing, especially when one of them is the Moon, in its exalted position. And the Moon line in his astrocartography runs right near Nashville. The Sun line runs fairly close to Los Angeles where he first became a session musician.

That Moon aspects his Ascendant degree, and it was probably the big influencer in his life, especially later on. It also aspects the midheaven which is conjunct Regulus, the Royal Star of power and long term achievements. Now we see the indicators of very clear job benefits in both the daily work arena (6th house stellium) and the overall 10th house of career.

The Moon is also conjunct the fixed star Algol, or Beta Persei and sometimes called El Ghoul, the star which is located in the head of Medusa within the constellation Perseus. This can mean that sometime in the life the person might “lose their head,” and Campbell did suffer from Alzheimer’s. Algol is not real close to the ecliptic and some people never see results related to this nefarious star, so I don’t want to scare anyone into thinking they’re about to encounter tragedy. But it’s a good opportunity to look at the symbolism. At worst it’s poison, extreme danger, even death, and at best it’s turmoil of the head. Perhaps the obvious question is, will you yourself turn into stone or will you turn other people into stone? It’s good to keep in mind that in the original African tale of Medusa, her curse is lifted and she returns to her social circle without anyone losing their head at all.

I think the image to consider is the hair as a nest of snakes. So the person might periodically experience more than their fair share of disorder of the head, or even disrray or pandemonium of a kind. For Glen, the Moon is with Algol and the Moon is the indicator for the mind, as well as for the home. If a person has Venus with Algol, I’d expect the snakes would show up as antagonism or danger related to romance, artwork, or sisters, or any of the other Venus areas, but mainly in their thinking and mental stress around such areas, as the symbolism is about the top of the head.

Astrologically, Campbell certainly had an intellect that was often under attack because of those hard aspects to Mercury. It’s not surprising one of his biggest hits is called “Gentle on my Mind.” He said he was really drawn to that title phrase in John Hartford’s song. But because he has an exalted Moon with a strong Jupiter influence, he had great family support (especially from children) and was still touring even when he began to have difficulty with everyday tasks. The guitar skills never went away because they didn’t come from his head, they came from somewhere closer to the Earth. The Moon is that deeper mind that draws from the environment and the soil, and can give a person those musical emotions that can speak to all of us.

If you haven’t seen “I’ll Be Me,” you might do yourself the favor of watching this great film that shows Glen in his later years performing for fans and making people smile even though he was starting to lose some of his higher faculties. But it didn’t matter. He was quite possibly even more inspiring than ever and could still reach people’s hearts. We are lucky those performances were filmed. It’s a treasure.

So, the chart. Truly a “star-spangled rodeo.” Yes, his 6th house is full of planetary energy that made his daily work blessed. And in a way it may have served him better than his tenth house, which holds Neptune; the possibility of an idealistic career that could be marked with wandering and confusion and forever putting others first (despite the strong help from the Jupiter aspect). The downside may show up in the opposite house, the 4th, and home life might not be marked with the same selflessness.

However, Saturn also aspects Neptune in the tenth and we’ve often heard that the Saturn-Neptune connection is the recipe for a musician. Saturn brings structure to the dreamy ideals of Neptune’s feelings, melody and expression and this Saturn is in Pisces, which again means he would draw on the unseen realms rather than the intellectual plane. Pisces seems to offer peace of mind in addition to suffering; two qualities that are cousin to each other.

Without knowing Glen, I can only guess at his style in the studio, and I would say that he was probably a real spirited presence and he may have been known for helping people feel positive about the work they were doing; a fluid, peaceful expert at putting people at ease, despite a Taurus Mars making him occasionally cantankerous. I wonder if that’s true. Humor was certainly with him always.

My experience has been that the planets don’t usually foreshadow the kind of fame Glen Campbell knew throughout his life, but I must admit he has a Pluto/Moon/Jupiter connection that is pretty rare. But I’m sure some random cowpunchers we’ve never heard of had this same arrangement, too. They sang around a lesser known campfire, without the radio play, or the rhinestones.