Farewell, Christopher Lee

Please note: In 2015, long after I wrote this article, my understandings of the quindecile, a 24° aspect, were born out of the new–mathematically accurate–name for the 165° aspect, now called undecaquartisextile. Please read about the Undecaquartisextile as its related aspect patterns which can be found in the Pluto – Full On series. You’ll find the Pluto – Full On series under the subcategory of Undecaquartisextile, located in the Feature Articles tab. Thanks for your patience with the modification of the name.

The horror flicks of my childhood were really devoted to the art of visual horror–the creation of Frankenstein in a lab, the zombies, the humans grown in pods (remember that one?), and the vampire films, the latter of which have seen a revival over the last five years or so. But if it weren’t for Count Dracula, played by none other than 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 Christopher Lee, perhaps even today’s moviegoers might have missed out on thrills and chills that kept them riveted in their seats whether or not they chewed their nails.

Now I never became a fan of today’s blood and guts horror films, but those foreboding Transylvanian castles with the black and white old versions that flashed on the TV screen late on Saturday nights had the ability to grip me without actually terrorizing me. I’ll pass on today’s horror flicks. You can have them, but I was a Christopher Lee fan! Between him and Peter Lorre, oh they were terrifying just to look at–even if I didn’t buy into the plot enough to have me screaming as I slept that night. I wouldn’t have watched those movies if they had been able to do so.

But I’ll admit while these movies with clanking chains and slowly creaking doors–and don’t forget the cobwebs–kept me in my seat, they never held me like the one that could draw me in with a downright good story, the kind that had me so enveloped I never wanted the movie or even the book to end. For me, I suppose the difference between the two was the sense of camp in that early horror flick: you knew it wasn’t possible in the exaggerated form presented. It wasn’t because those old flicks were shot in black and white. The effect might have been less dramatic for me if Lee’s old Dracula films had been in color.

Christopher Lee and Peter Lorre were on my favorite actors list. They kept me tied to my seat, loving every semi-scared moment without taking me out of my safety zone. Peter Lorre died on March 23, 1964, a long time ago. I think of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and immediately see Lorre as only he could so well.

Christopher Lee died on June 7 at the ripe old age of 93 after a well-rounded movie career that not only encompassed his roles as Dracula from black and white to color, but also his appearances in movies we’ve all known and loved–James Bond, Willy Wonka, Fu Manchu, Sleepy Hollow, Star Wars, and in the “Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. On the other hand, Aaron Gregg’s Washington Post article on Lee’s death, mentioned a quote from the New York Times in which filmmaker George Lucas once noted, “Christopher has a certain persona. You wouldn’t cast him in a remake of ‘Father Knows Best.’ He’s formidable.”

Christopher Lee, famous for villainous roles, dies at 93  

Christopher Lee - natalA nearly perfected series of angles sit in the first degree of the chart with the Ascendant (ASC) at 00 Libra 17, and the Midheaven (MC) at 00 Cancer 23. I don’t see the natal chart showing up very often like that, so it caught my eye beyond the usual focus for emphasis and balance. But Saturn makes a 33-minute partile conjunction to the ASC and a 27-minute partile square to the MC as well as a tight, but not partile square to a stellium of Mercury in Gemini and both Venus and Pluto in Cancer with Venus acting as the bridge.

Both his Ascendant and Saturn fall in the first degree of Libra, pointing to the Sabian Symbol of Libra 1, “A BUTTERFLY PRESERVED AND MADE PERFECT WITH A DART THROUGH IT.” Now while that may not seem relevant to his life, it seems extraordinarily on point for me. We can take note of how perfectly Lee had developed his character as Dracula, just as he did each role he developed. In this sense, it was an art that was preserved and made perfect, never aging, never dying, and this may well be true with Christopher Lee and how he worked throughout his career.

I’m most intrigued with the simply uncanny dynamics of the chart at the time of his death in comparison to the natal. The Eastern above-the-horizon interplay offers a shared 3rd and 4th quadrant emphasis without pointing to one over the other. The single heartbeat of Lee’s chart falls on Mercury.

Lee’s natal chart presents three undecaquartisextiles–with his ninth house Sun in Gemini and tenth house Pluto in Cancer forming undecaquartisextiles to third house Mars in Sagittarius and with the first house Saturn-ASC conjunction and sixth house Uranus in Pisces. These aspects alone combined to make him the consummate performer. He was able to brainstorm and solve problems although he probably lacked the ability to put his ideas into action without being guided along the way. On the other hand, he was likely to be able to throw himself into a role and own the part like no one else could. Even if you didn’t recognize his face or couldn’t link his name to that face, you knew who he was when you saw him in one of his famous roles. After all, he owned his role as Dracula just as he did Saruman in “Lord of the Rings.”

But then there was Christopher Lee’s other life, the one that took him far from the silver screen to what Rolling Stone called his “secret life” in heavy metal! As secret as it was perhaps during his lifetime, the media gave this side ample play in the media with news of his death:

Christopher Lee: The Actor’s Secret Life in Heavy Metal

Sir Christopher Lee, Legendary Actor and Heavy Metal Performer, Dead at 93

We often think of people retiring in their 60s. Yet Lee remained active his whole life, well into his senior years. In fact, he released his first heavy metal album at the age of 91! Lee apparently fell in love with this genre of music as far back as the 1970s when he was captivated by the sounds of Black Sabbath. But he and guitarist Tony Iommi shared a mutual respect. While Lee called Iommi “the father of metal,” Iommi credited Lee with where it began–his Dracula roles in addition to the other horror flicks in which he appeared. Rolling Stone wrote, “Lee’s first musical contribution to the genre didn’t come until 2005 when the actor provided guest narration on Rhapsody of Fire’s single “The Magic of the Wizard’s Dream.” That was not his only heavy metal performance.

The Bloody Verdict of Verden

If the age in which he began this musical career surprises you, then perhaps you haven’t yet noticed his natal Uranus in square to both his Sun and his Moon, a wide but obviously relevant conjunction in Gemini. One cannot deny that Uranus is squaring each; but if you don’t see the conjunction without Uranus, you may want to consider it through this planet of the unexpected as the unifying factor. Lee was the master of surprise, you see. He managed to make at least the attempt to go out, in fact, with the same stunning impact he liked to give us during his life.

Christopher Lee natal inside, Death outsideTake note of the incredible timing reflected between his natal chart and the chart for the time of his death (noted by AstroDataBank in his biography). From the nodal return (tightly conjunct the MC in the chart for the time of death) to the transiting Sun’s conjunction to his natal Moon and the transit of Mercury Retrograde from his natal Moon–where the retrograde had started in May–to his natal Sun where it stationed yesterday here on the East coast of the USA when it shifted back to direct, the time he moved on was as if he had selected it for himself. (And he might well have!) Transiting Mercury was still well within orb of oppositing transiting Saturn retrograde at 00 Sagittarius 30 (with Saturn in a 20-minute partile sextile to his natal Saturn) in square to transiting Neptune in his sixth at 9 Pisces 49. Frankly, at the rate he was going, he could have begun to study astrology next! Neptune was heading straight for a conjunction to his natal Uranus.

The transiting Moon was making a 5-minute partile trine to his natal Moon, but while Uranus catches the eye, transiting Uranus passed over his natal Chiron during the period he probably had started working on the heavy metal album he had released two years ago. In July 2013, transiting Uranus shifted to retrograde motion at 12 Aries. Just 4° from the conjunction to natal Chiron, this Uranus to Chiron conjunction brings to mind the phrase I associate with David Cochrane‘s words, “charisma and sizzle in performances.” Transiting Pluto was in his fourth house in an approaching square to natal Chiron.

Transiting Mars was in the midst of a 4° 40’ approaching opposition to natal Mars at the time Christopher Lee had died. Regardless of any speculation we can make about what he could have done next here on earth, I have no doubt he has plans for his next role on the other side of the door!

Farewell and RIP Christopher Lee! You will not soon be forgotten.

Namaste, I love you.

©2015 Michelle Young