Andy Warhol Chart Interpretation

by Kerry Shamblin

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Andrew Warhola
August 6, 1928
Time: 06:30AM
Pittsburgh, PA, USA,_Andy

Andy Warhol was a pivotal force in creating the “pop art” movement. Living from 1928 – 1987, he made an impact in the art world through exploring the relationship between art, celebrity culture and advertising. Eccentric, prolific, influential, successful and pioneering are all great keywords to describe Warhol, born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, PA to Slovakian immigrant parents.

Andy Warhol's birth chart is a fascinating study of jyotish principles. Cancer ascendant with Sun within one degree of the ascendant degree in the nakshatra Aslesha: this alone indicates the potential for a powerful personality with the tendency to stir things up through their personal expression. Ruled by the Moon, the sign of Cancer gives great sensitivity and receptivity, as well as the potential for popularity that stems from the ability to relate to others. Powerful planets for Kataka lagna (Cancer ascendant) are Moon, Mars (raja yoga karaka) and Jupiter (lord of 9th house), and we will see that these three planets are well-situated to maximize the effects of Warhol's powerful ascendant.

Moon, ascendant lord and atmakaraka (soul indicator) for this chart is powerfully situated in the 9th house in Pisces. This Moon as lord of the 1st house in the 9th house creates a raja yoga by the rule of an angle lord being placed in a trine. This gives extreme power to the Moon and explains Warhol's role in defining the pop art culture. The Moon is an indicator of nourishment, food, home and mother in itself and being placed at 20º Pisces puts this Moon in the nakshatra Revati, the 27th and final lunar mansion.

The Moon is supported by sunapha yoga given by Jupiter, which occurs when a planet other than the Sun, Rahu or Ketu is located in the 2nd house from the Moon. The planet forming this yoga grounds the mind and gives context to the experiences that life brings. The Moon is considered stronger when it has the influence of other planets because as the planet of the mind and consciousness, it performs more optimally when it has connections with other planets. Jupiter in the role of sunapha yoga for the Moon gives a positive reaction to life's experiences and provides the native with a sense of faith. Jupiter is strong in this chart, giving raja yoga as lord of a trine placed in an angle. As ruler of the 9th house, Jupiter therefore may have given Warhol a sense of divine support throughout his life and provided quite a bit of positive support to his strong but sensitive Moon.

Revati thereby becomes the janma nakshatra (birth star) for Andy Warhol. Revati is ruled by the deity Pushan, the Nourisher. Who doesn't think of a can of Campbell's tomato soup when calling Andy Warhol to mind? Campbell's tomato soup became the icon for the icon, so to speak, and was literally at the time an instant connection to food, comfort, home and the culture of his homeland, the US. The Moon is free of negative aspects and can therefore function beautifully for this chart.

Because the dasha planet of Revati is Mercury, and because the degree of the Moon was toward the beginning of Revati, Warhol began his life toward the beginning of the Mercury Mahadasha (major period.) Exploration of the birth and early life of a native comes through study of the ascendant, which happens to also contain Mercury at 10º Cancer, in the nakshatra of Pushya. Mercury for a Cancer rising rules two challenging houses, the 12th and the 3rd.

Some of the things that Wikipedia offers about Warhol's childhood include an early showing of artistic talent, but also some health related issues. His Mercury dasha ran through 1940, until about age 11.5. In third grade, Warhol suffered from chorea, a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary movement of the extremities. He became hypochondriac as a child and had fear of doctors and hospitals. Often bedridden, he bonded with his mother at the expense of becoming an outcast among his peers and spent his time drawing, listening to radio and collecting photos of celebrities. A documentary about Andy also mentions that he suffered from three nervous breakdowns at age 8, 9 and 10. Warhol later described this period of time as pivotal in his development of skills, personality and preferences.

Mercury as ruler of the 12th house placed in the 1st house could show nervousness around institutions such as hospitals or schools, with a preference toward relating to the mother and home life. Mercury as ruler of the 3rd can show skill with the hands that could be applied toward drawing, as in Warhol's case. The combination of Mercury and Moon influence that comes through in a couple of different ways, first Mercury's placement in the Moon's sign and second, the Moon's placement in a Mercury nakshatra, shows the fascination with celebrities and radio, both things being karakatwas (things indicated) by both the Moon and Mercury. Another karakatwa of Moon and Mercury is advertising, which eventually became an inspiration for some of Andy's artistic expression.

So while the Mercury mahadasha may have created challenging and socially uncomfortable situations for Andy Warhol as a child, it also was the foundation for him “finding himself” and setting his feet on a path of self-expression that is nearly unparalleled in modern American artistic culture.

Following the Mercury period comes the seven year Ketu mahadasha, for Warhol from age 11.5 to age 18.5. He began attending free art classes at the Carnegie Art Museum on Saturdays at the beginning of this period. He graduated from high school in 1945 at age 16 and then attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (later to become Carnegie Mellon University), earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design in 1949, toward the beginning of the twenty year Venus mahadasha. We can imagine that the Ketu dasha gave Andy Warhol intense focus on his studies based on Ketu's nature of granting intensity and focus and its position in the 5th house, which is associated with study and intellectual development. Ketu and Saturn are conjunct within five degrees in Mars' water sign Scorpio, giving even more weight, seriousness and depth to this combination and possibly to this period of time in Andy's life, though little is written of it aside from the fact that he may have been an undiagnosed dyslexic, which could have added further challenge to the schooling process and been a possible factor in this choice to pursue graphic arts.

Andy Warhol's emergence as a successful artist occurred during his Venus mahadasha, which ran from 1947-1967, from age 18.5 to 38.5. During the outset of this period, Venus major/Venus minor, from 1947-1950, Warhol received his degree, moved to New York and began a career in magazine illustration and advertising. He became known for whimsical ink drawings of shoe advertisements and was hired by RCA Records to design album covers and promotional materials.

Venus is located in the 2nd house of finances and resources in the sign of Leo. The ruler of Leo, Sun, is located in the ascendant, indicating that self-expression, an indication of the Sun, is truly Andy Warhol's greatest resource. Venus in Leo also shows someone who could act as an artist in the spotlight. Indeed, Warhol's self-expression was not limited to art, but extended to film making, fashion, performance art, theater, publishing and photography. The creative nature of Venus located in the self-expressive sign of Leo flourished during the Venus mahadasha and continued until his death in 1987.

Venus also rules relationship, and his role as a leader in the art world, but also as a leader who heavily collaborated with other artists, is also expressed through Venus in Leo. Venus for Cancer rising is ruler of the 11th house of gain and work with groups as well as the 4th house of home and mother. This shows both his collaborative style and also his mother's role in encouraging and supporting his early artistic efforts. In one interview, Warhol says (during his later years) that the people he works with call him “Granny,” possibly an indication that he himself had some mothering tendencies within his peer group.

Venus receives aspects from Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in this chart. This combination of influences on Venus indicate good support of Warhol's artistic career. Jupiter, a force of expansion and lord of the auspicious 9th house is located in Mars' fire sign Aries in the 10th house of career. Mars is located in Venus' earth sign, Taurus, in the 11th house of gain. Saturn is located in Mars' water sign, Scorpio, in the 5th house of creative issue. While Jupiter and Mars contribute to the passion and prolific body of work, Saturn offers a certain sparseness of style that is nonetheless drawing on deep themes.

Mars and Saturn are also opposite to one another and conjunct the nodal axis, Rahu and Ketu. Mars with Rahu is a fiery and explosive combination that suggests an almost audacious approach to art while Saturn with Ketu offers a quiet, reserved, poetic depth that speaks volumes with very few words or gestures. Warhol successfully balanced and leveraged all of these influences on his creative expression to the maximum potential. His natural tendency to perceive the gulf that lay between the “real” and the “created” transformed into a wordless statement that effortlessly obliterated the gulf and united the two.

Saturn also gives raja yoga as lord of the 7th house located in the 5th. This is perhaps an indication of Warhol's homosexual orientation. Saturn is a gender-neutral planet as lord of the house of partnership and is located in the 5th house, another relationship house that points more toward relationships of equality rather than the traditional 7th house type of marriage between a man and a woman that is based on the prospects of progeny. The 5th house is the house of creative issue, including children, and Saturn's presence there is known to deny or delay children. The combination of Saturn and Ketu further points toward a more spiritual or monk-like approach to creative issue, indicating Warhol's choice to pursue an artistic career rather than a family life.

Following the Venus mahadasha is the six year Sun mahadasha, which because of the relationship between the Sun and Venus in his chart, became an extension, with some differences, of the Venus period. The Leo nature of the Sun supported by the very strong Moon-ruled Ascendant made Warhol very popular and acclaimed during this time. His artwork became more entrepreneurial during this time, bringing him higher earnings from his paintings as well as many commissions from famous people.

One interesting incident that occurred during Warhol's Sun period was an attempt on his life on June 3, 1968. A disgruntled woman who was a marginal member of Warhol's “Factory” scene shot Warhol and his companion. Warhol was seriously wounded and barely survived. This attack happened during Sun/Rahu/Jupiter period. The Sun put him in the spotlight, Rahu attacked, and Jupiter protected his life. Rahu and Saturn were conjunct and transiting his natal Moon, while the Moon was transiting Leo at the time of the attack.

The Moon mahadasha ran for Warhol from 1973-1983 and it was during this time that he enjoyed a re-emergence of critical and financial success. He did get some criticism for being only a “business artist” but many now view his superficiality and commerciality as “a brilliant mirror of our times.” Warhol did remain an iconic figure throughout this period as well as through the end of his life.

The Mars mahadasha follows Moon and began in 1983. During this period, his works became more religious in nature. He was a very religious person who was raised in the Catholic tradition and continued in that tradition through his life, but was very private and quiet about it.

Mars is a raja yoga karaka for Cancer rising as ruler of the 5th and 10th houses and is well-placed in the 11th house with Rahu in Taurus. This shows someone who could gain fame (Rahu) and income (11th house) from work (Mars) in the art field (Venus.) During the two years before his death, Warhol pioneered with computer-generated art made with Amiga computers released in 1984. Computers are a modern karakatwa of the planet Mars.

Due to his paranoia of doctors and hospitals, Warhol delayed seeking medical help for gall bladder issues during this time. He finally underwent routine gall bladder surgery and then died in his sleep from post-operative cardiac arrhythmia on February 22, 1987. This occurred during his Mars/Mercury/Mars period. Mars and Mercury are maraka (death-inflicting) planets from Warhol's Moon, the strongest planet of his chart, as lords of the 2nd and 7th houses from the Moon.

It is not difficult to perceive through the lens of jyotish why Andy Warhol emerged as one of the most iconic and commercially successful artists of his time, whose legacy lives on.