The Zodiac Dispatch: Activism on the court

An illustration of a basketball player in space

For the next instalment of her bimonthly column, astrologer and Berlin member Clarisse Monahan explains how basketball player LeBron James’ birth chart aligns with his activism

By Clarisse Monahan    Illustration by Daiana Ruiz    Monday 28 September, 2020    Short read

This week, I watched basketball megastar LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers move ever closer to a coveted championship. What was most striking about the game, however, wasn’t the action on the floor, so much as the way the NBA has embraced Black Lives Matter in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. The courts and jerseys were emblazoned with BLM logos and slogans for social justice and equality. Compared to the conservative NFL, the US’s American football league, this all seemed almost revolutionary.
 
With that in mind, I’ve decided to look more closely at James’ birth chart. Our main focus here: the astro-politics of a single date, 23 March 2012, during which the juggernaut hoopster began a consequential planetary conjunction involving Pluto and his Sun in the Seventh House of Justice. That’s a mouthful of astro-jargon, so let’s clarify some key concepts now.  
 
Our Sun is related to self, identity, and ego. It is at the centre of the birth chart and is quite figuratively where you shine. James was born with his Sun in Capricorn, which tends toward a calm, stoic, business-as-usual energy. Capricorns are also ‘all business’, meaning that they lean towards commercial interests, rather than social ones. 

If our Sun in a given sign depicts a general sense of identity, Pluto disrupts that. Pluto is a transformational energy and power. It is slow-moving and dark, digging deep into whatever it contacts and unearthing hidden resources inside us. 

Due to Pluto’s slow orbit (it takes almost 250 years), many people don’t experience the powerful Pluto/ Sun conjunction, which is characterised by a massive shift in identity and the way we are perceived. But on 23 March 2012, just as Pluto aligned with his Sun, James posed, at his request, for a pre-game photograph with his Miami Heat teammates in matching hooded sweatshirts pulled low to shroud their faces. This now iconic gesture was meant to protest the death of Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager who had recently been fatally shot by George Zimmerman. 

The political nature of the photo was unprecedented in James’ ‘business as usual’ Capricorn career, which up until then pretty much revolved around basketball. But if we think of Pluto as a kind of cosmic bulldozer, we can imagine it breaking ground on his Sun/ Self this day, bringing up a deeper version of his identity so far unseen by the world. And when we consider that this conjunction was occurring in the Seventh House of Justice, ruled by Libra, the astrological valences of this moment become even more pertinent.

The photo of James honouring Martin’s life and protesting his death was taken eight years ago. Given the current reckoning in America, expect more moments of James and others like him calling for justice, which (like Pluto) moves, sadly, very slowly.
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