Professional boxing has never appealed to me. I don’t like fighting as it is. But there was something special about Muhammad Ali, something inherently different about this man who converted to Islam in 1964. Like Yusuf Islam, the former Cat Stevens, Muhammad Ali had rejected his birth name, saying Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was a slave name. This man I never knew beyond what I saw in the media changed my opinion about him. Not a little. By light years!
I quickly decided on first observations back then, this was a cocky, pompous, too full-of-himself blowhard. Sportscasters and writers saw him as brash, bombastic and polarizing, so I certainly was in good company! But I watched the evolution of this individual just as every sports writer in the world did when he captured title after title–losing only 5 fights–and the evolution was nothing short of impressive. Muhammad Ali was a man of conviction and strong moral fiber. That goes far with me.
He knew his direction, and he wasn’t afraid to stand firm to those values. The Washington Post said he was “ultimately a global ambassador for cross-cultural understanding,” and that certainly showed in his once having written a six-figure check to “save a Jewish old age home from” (CNN) closure in New York City.
Acts like these–the conscientious objector status despite a potential prison sentence hanging over his head, and his ability to bestow compassion, charity and kindness to people he might never have had any other knowledge of save for his having known of their plight–made him the kind of person who people from all walks of life held as a positive role model. CBS News surely saw his Leo rising in their description of Ali as “never humble, always bold in style and substance…” He had all of that and more! I’ll quote one more critically important observation CBS’s writers noted because it’s so much a part of what we had grown to expect from him. “Never one to keep his opinions quiet, Ali spoke out during the current presidential campaign against Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.”
This all-time great athlete, a recognition CNN mentioned tonight, had an even split between the Eastern and Western hemispheres with a 4th quadrant and an above-the-horizon dominance. But while he had that Leo rising, his 10th house Saturn squared his Ascendant while his 9th house Mars squared his 12th house Pluto.
Normally I might not mention it in this way, but his Midheaven sits a mere 7.5 minutes from the precise midpoint of his Mars and Saturn! For me, such a placement speaks of his having taken his public role with his career very seriously, and he wasn’t going to go down in any fight without giving it every bit he had, and he proved it in his TKO win against Joe Frazier at the “Thrilla in Manila” match. On winning, Ali said, “It’s the closest I’ve come to death.”
Yet even with that Mars-Pluto fixed square, the heartbeat of his chart was completely focused. His Venus-Uranus mutual reception as the heartbeat and his fixed earth signature bestowed him with the determination we saw as a “force to be reckoned with,” as the saying goes. All he did, all he said, everything that moved him in life was driven by the will to be different, unique, principled, and humanitarian.
As I listened to the news and their assessment of his abilities as a fighter, I looked at his chart, not surprised that his first trainer called Ali a “natural” since the natal chart shows a very prominent Grand Trine in Earth from his 6th house Sun in Capricorn to his 10th house Uranus in Taurus, to his Neptune in Virgo in the 2nd.
Neptune may seem like an odd placement to some who consider creativity and imagination so very important. Neptune in an Earth sign in his work would almost seem incongruent but I’d say it’s very well placed. Neptune is the modern ruler of Pisces, the natural zodiac’s 12th house of spirituality, fears, and even family skeletons. But the 2nd house is home to our value systems, and certainly his was quite firmly embedded in his spirituality and ideals. In contrast to Neptune’s placement in Virgo, an Earth sign, Mercury is placed in Aquarius.
Muhammad Ali was innovative and creative, totally unexpected in his ability to put off opponents even before they got in the ring, and he used poetry to do so. While his poems may not ever have earned him awards, it was just creative enough–perhaps the first of the rap era–to catch opponents and the rest of the world off-guard. Even though he couldn’t read–not even the Qu’ran–he worked to get the poetry committed to memory by copying the texts and memorizing them.
Now most of my readers know I don’t usually work with the Centaurs, especially in my use of the undecaquartisextile patterns. But the chart without the Centaurs offers only two undecaquartisextiles (UQSXT) in a somewhat amusing way at least for me. The Sun and Venus form a 37-minute partile quindecile, certainly not qualified in any way for a semisextile.
But Venus does form a 58-minute partile semisextile to Pallas at 19 Capricorn 42 (I’d already created the chart for upload, and it’s after 5 am, so please forgive my not returning to the chart to amend it now.). This sextile creates a lovely Blooming UQSXT to Pluto from Pallas with a 7-minute orb, and from Venus with a 51-minute orb. The Sun also creates a single UQSXT to Chiron, bringing to mind that charismatic sizzle in performance for which he was so well known!
Muhammad Ali stood up for his beliefs. Even when he was on the rise in his career, first as Cassius Clay and then barely in the champ’s shoes, he had converted to Islam. Soon after, his conscientious objector status and the threat of being sent to prison loomed over him. Nevertheless, he stood firm even after being stripped of his heavyweight title. He also stood firm after being refused service at a soda fountain, an incident that may have attained legendary status when he threw, it was said, his Olympic Gold Medal into the Ohio River. He stubbornly adhered to his beliefs in a nation that didn’t initially understand that refusal to go to war until the Vietnam Era.. And then he became “the greatest” when he stood firmly against the opinions of so many Americans who didn’t understand.
From around the age of 12, Ali moved into training and fighting after a US$60 new bike had been stolen from him. So furious, the young boy wanted to fight the thief, and a local cop began to train him from then on. “He’s a natural,” the man said. I’m only mentioning this otherwise small interlude in Ali’s life so you can see the passion he displayed in his determinaton to live life truly his way. In those very early years in Kentucky, he was named Golden Glove champion six times!
And by the end of his career, he had only lost five fights as compared to the 56 titles he’d won. Awarding Ali the 2005 US Presidential Medal of Freedom, then-President George W. Bush said, “When you say, ‘The Greatest of All Time’ is in the room, everyone knows who you mean. It’s quite a claim to make — but as Muhammad Ali once said, ‘It’s not bragging if you can back it up.’ And this man backed it up.”
CNN noted how his “pointed poetry and speedy footwork” could mesmerize opponents, that he was “funny and witty.” One person in looking back at Ali’s life said, “He spoke for himself and took control of his own image.” While he retained command over his life to the end even in the midst of this wretched disease he endured for so many years, he left a mark on everyone including many of his opponents.
“God came for his champion. So long, great one,” said Mike Tyson.
Surely there will be many other astrologers writing about his death, as well they should. He became one of the most beloved athletes in the world, crossing all racial, ethnic and religious barriers to win the hearts of his most vociferous opponents and me, certainly a nobody to him. As Manny Pacquiao said, “We lost a giant today. Mankind benefited from his humanity.” That was obvious to me tonight when a friend born in the mid-80s reached out to tell me as I had begun to work on this article: “Muhammad Ali is dead!” I wonder whether she knew of him as a fighter–or as the great humanitarian he had been…
Muhammad Ali made an impact in many of our lives even if we weren’t consciously aware of the role he played. George Foreman (“Thrilla in Manila”) said, “A part of me slipped away. The greatest piece,” while Aamir Khan said, “RIP, the greatest of all time.”
Suggesting that we not mourn him, promoter Don King said, “Let us celebrate his life,” and of course he was right. I suspect it’s what Ali would have wanted too. As for me, rest assured, through the years, Muhammad Ali not only garnered my respect and attention, he forced me to admit he most definitely was one of the greats–if not the greatest!
Farewell, Muhammad Ali. Wherever you are now, I hope you’ll continue to do what you did best in the ring: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” You’ll be missed.