Why use different approaches in astrology ?

The case of Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s lead singer: insight from Chinese Astrology (BaZi) and why use complementary astrological frameworks.

The case of Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s lead singer.


In case you are unacquainted with Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s lead singer, then you are lucky and I envy you, simply because you will have the unique joy that comes with experiencing for the first time songs that will probably touch your soul, delivered by what is widely considered one of the very best rock bands of all time.

It is widely accepted that Thom, as Radiohead’s frontman and lead singer for more than 20 years, has been monumental to Radiohead’s worldwide success, to say the least. Yet intriguingly, if you were to anonymously show his birth data to an astrologer that uses modern Western astrology (see figure 1), « potential for greatness » might not be the first trait that comes to mind. Indeed, assessing planetary condition, the Sun, Saturn and Venus are in fall, and Jupiter in exile, according to the modern Western tropical zodiac, a set of conditions generally associated with being under-valued, at odd and estranged, especially at the beginning of one’s life…. An intriguing diagnosis that contrasts heavily with Thom’s early achievements.   

Sure, upon further digging into his chart, one might notice signs of public fame, such as a full moon conjunct the descendant (as well as potentiality for inner emotional hardship such as depression with Saturn retro conjunct moon) and remarkable aspect patterns (yod, fan structure, …) that are aligned with both to the ascendant-descendant and nodal axis that might nuance or overcome the above mentioned planetary conditions, yet my personal feeling is that most modern western astrologers won’t immediately raise an amazed eyebrow looking at Thom’s chart. 

Such eyebrows, however, may be raised aplenty amongst Chinese astrologers that use BaZi (one of the two main approaches of Chinese astrology alongside Zi Wei Dou Shu). Why so ? A glance at the pillars of year, month and day will instantly reveal a seasonal combination: all the seasonal signs of Autumn are present, in order (figure 2, orange box), denoting an extremely strong metal element (metal being the Chinese element corresponding to the Autumn season). Moreover, the day pillar is a Fui Kong pillar (figure 2, green box), aka chief pillar characteristic of leadership ability provided some condition that are quite met in Thom’s chart, as to top it all, the self is also of the metal element. Bottom line: Thom’s BaZi chart is that of an extremely strong leader encompassing the energy of Autumn to its fullest. 

Why do such discrepancies exist between the delineations of modern Western and Chinese astrology for Thom, you may ask. The complex answer to this question, which is far beyond the scope of this article, will be given thoroughly in my upcoming studies and courses. My point here is to highlight the importance and the richness of learning several astrology systems, as sometimes one system performs better than the other depending on what we are looking at. It also challenges any curious astrologer to question and research areas in astrology that need improvements or reassessments. But for now, let’s just appreciate the power of Autumn to its fullest potential.

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