With the massive Last Dance documentary airing throughout the month of Taurus for the aptly named Bulls, the timing seems appropriate for an in-depth astrological analysis of Michael Jordan. Jordan’s impact on our culture is undeniable and it would be hard to discuss anything from the 90’s without addressing the influence he had on this decade. While his legacy is so ubiquitous that it is challenging to come up with something that hasn’t already been written, there doesn’t appear to be much astrological analysis on him. This is surprising and as a Chicago native, I’m happy to let his birth chart speak for itself. Hopefully, the insights will match up closely to his reputation.[i]
Air Jordan, His Airness
Normally, any astrological analysis should begin with a review of the ascendant, but Jordan’s widely used nicknames (above) can’t be ignored and their correlation with his Aquarian Sun is unmistakable. The Sun represents the core of an individual. Their life force, essence, ego. And, of the three signs within the air elemental triplicity, Aquarius represents the fixed quality or nature of the element. As such, it tends to concretize and make solid or permanent the things associated with it.
Additionally, Jordan’s Sun is in opposition to the Uranus and placed within the 9th house. With Uranus’ archetypal association with innovation and ground breaking achievements, its opposition to Jordan’s Sun is a major indicator of Jordan’s need to be different, unique and define himself in ways that no other athlete had done.
The 9th house represents (among other things) long journeys. This is one reason why Jordan became famous for jumping from the free throw line to dunk a basketball. From the context of the sport of basketball, jumping from this distance is considered a “long journey”. Just the physical mechanics alone make it appear that Jordan had taken flight. By accomplishing this feat, he achieved more than just instant basketball superstar status. He achieved a significant milestone of self-actualization and realization. From that moment, Michael Jordan was renamed according to this fixed elemental quality associated with his core persona: namely, Air.[ii]
Returning to Jordan’s ascendant, the most immediately noticeable characteristic is its tight conjunction to the fixed star, Sirius, at 13 degrees Cancer. From an astrological perspective, Sirius is one of the most powerful fixed stars in the sky. According to the astrologer, Bernadette Brady, Sirius
…is a marker of great deeds. It indicates that the mundane may become sacred, that the small action of the individual has a large effort on the collective. The individual, however, may be sacrificed to this collective expression, or may gain fame and glory. It is a blast of energy that can burn your fingers or help you achieve levels that seem impossible.[iii]
Jordan was and is an icon, so the correlation of this symbolic manifestation shouldn’t surprise anyone when considering that the ascendant represents an individual’s immediate identity or first impression. Across the world, he is one of the most widely recognized athletes whose fame and notoriety rival and eclipse most world leaders. At the height of his popularity, every and any small action or behavior was scrutinized by everyone. Jordan’s accomplishments made him the embodiment of Sirius’ expression.
But, it should also be noted that this power was amplified by the ruler of his ascendant, the Moon. Jordan’s Moon is also conjunct the Royal fixed star, Antares. Antares is one of the more widely known stars and also very powerful. Brady observed,
…Antares offers great success, worldly or otherwise…by going through a cleansing life-and-death experience can cause a person to seek this intensity…but only through continually putting your efforts to the test and honing them through the fires of experience.[iv]
Antares wasn’t the only factor contributing to Jordan’s emotional intensity. Pluto, the planetary body most commonly associated with intensity, was the other factor because of its tight square aspect to the Moon. Also, with Pluto’s placement within the 3rd house of communication, this intensity manifested in Jordan’s reputation for trash talk and ruthlessness in competition. Many players, even those with close ties to Jordan, have often referred to him as an assassin.
With Sirius rising, Jordan has a need for his image to be recognized as a winner and an icon, but his vehicle for bringing this about is an emotional drive to continually push himself. The Moon’s placement within the 6th house of daily work reflects Jordan’s tireless work ethic in pursuit of these goals.
Together, Sirius and Antares influence represent Jordan’s competitive fire, intensity and obsession. No matter the cost, Jordan must win and his team mates and competitors often attested that practice and competition with him felt like a life and death grudge match. All of this is the epitome of the Sirius – Antares dynamic fused together with the ruthless nature of Pluto.
Jordan’s Sirius rising is an apt segue into another major dynamic in the chart echoing his status as a sports icon and idol, namely the t-square configuration involving Neptune, Mars and Saturn. T-squares are major configurations of energy, their presence powerful enough to drive an individual’s overall direction and focus. Here, Neptune is the planetary body at the apex of this configuration and under a tremendous degree of pressure to harness the energies at odds with each other (Mars and Saturn opposition) and synergize their efforts towards the goal represented by its placement and dynamics.
But what was this goal? There probably isn’t much debate that in many ways Jordan transcended being just a human being. He became an icon. A symbol. A role model. This is the realm of Neptune. Its association with the things that people worship or idealize along with its placement in the 5th house of sports and recreation make it fairly obvious what was the driving force of Jordan’s energies – to become a god[v] in the area of sports.
Additionally, aspects between Mars and Neptune are astrological signatures for individuals who idolize heroes and Mars’ position within the sign of Leo amplifies this as it is the sign quality most known for thriving on being recognized, appreciated and applauded.[vi] The retrograde nature of both planetary bodies reflects how this need was internalized. Also, Mars’ archetypal function of drive and assertiveness in opposition to Saturn’s function of discipline and structure highlight yet another astrological signature, goal oriented hard work. This polarity more explicitly mirrors the dynamics from Jordan’s rising sign and ruler (Moon) not only through their symbolic symmetry, but also through the literal connection of the Moon’s supportive aspects (trine, sextile) to both sides of the polarity. Jordan has a deeply ingrained understanding that in order to become a legend who would be idolized he had to find balance between exerting energy in a disciplined manner. Simply stated, he would have to put in the work. Fortunately, this work and focus would be rewarded because of Jordan’s natural talent.
Talent and Artistry
Jordan’s elegance and ability on the court are legend. His aerial acrobatics, gymnastic spins, quick turns and lightning quick, fluid movement around defenders (on the ground or in air) have at times made him seem like a ballet player on the court. Many people have been quoted saying that watching him play is like “poetry in motion”. This talent can be traced back to Venus’ sextile aspect to Neptune. With Venus representing art and Neptune representing imagination and creativity, all aspects (especially soft) between the two often manifest as an innate understanding in how to create art. These types of individuals tend to have a particular elegance about them. With Venus ruling the 5th house of sports, this elegance manifested in how he played the game. It was his natural talent and ability. But, all of this would be irrelevant if the most significant component was missing, his ability to win.
The trine aspect from Jupiter to Neptune represents how Jordan’s victories amplified his mythology. Jupiter’s primary archetypal function is expansion and tends to increase whatever it touches. Here, it is placed on the cusp of the 10th house (midheaven – MC) of career and reputation. With angular houses (1, 4, 7, 10) being the most visible of a chart, Jupiter’s here is to assist with bringing victories. With its position in Pisces, the sign of its rulership, Jupiter was strong and effective in this endeavor. Its trine to Neptune reflects how these victories dovetailed, supported and enhanced Jordan’s status as a sports icon.
As a strict, demanding authoritarian taskmaster, Jordan was the on court leader of this team. These traits have never been questioned and, at times, were so extreme that many teammates viewed his leadership to be borderline tyrannical. [vii] This tight control is every bit the expression of Saturn. For Jordan’s chart, Saturn is not only positioned within the sign of its rulership (Aquarius), but also intimately connected to Jordan’s powerful t-square while also positioned at the midpoints of Sun – Mercury and Jupiter – Venus. In other words, one of strongest planetary bodies[viii] (Jupiter was the other) is connected to just about every other facet of his chart. Therefore, leadership and control were the linchpins and center tying together all the other talents and dynamics.
The Chicago Bulls
Despite all of Jordan’s intangible talents and assets, he needed a team that would be the most conducive of his abilities. The Bulls’ chart (untimed) offers many positive intersections and the bi-wheel chart below provides a visual of the relationship. The Bulls are on the outer wheel, while Jordan is in the inner wheel.
The volume of contacts between these two charts can be overwhelming, so by order of significance, I have identified and delineated the strongest points of synastry.
- The Bulls’ Saturn conjunct Jordan’s Jupiter and trine Jordan’s Neptune
Jupiter – Saturn conjunctions are historically recognized as astrological signatures for success with organizations and businesses. Saturn is also the planetary body most closely associated with large organizations, so its alignment with Jordan’s strongest planetary body is a powerful statement reflecting the fusion and synergy between their organizational structure and Jordan’s ability to bring about wins.[ix] As noted above, Jordan’s ability to win was a major contributor to his over legacy and is reflected in Jupiter’s trine to Neptune. The Bulls brought the organizational infrastructure to support these efforts and were the vehicle to realize Jordan’s transition into myth. This was an extremely beneficial combination/relationship.
- Jordan’s Saturn conjunct the midpoint of the Bulls’ Venus & Mars
Venus – Mars conjunctions are also an historic astrological signature, that of art and beneficial relationships. Fittingly, the Bulls’ conjunction in the sign of Aquarius foreshadowed their contribution to the sport of basketball by introducing Air Jordan to the rest of the world. Specifically, it showcases their love of his leadership (Jordan’s Saturn).
- Jordan’s Neptune conjunct the midpoint of the Bull’s Mercury & Uranus-Pluto conjunction
Jordan’s legacy would become the myth (Neptune) communicated (Mercury) most powerfully by the Bulls that would trigger a revolution (Uranus – Pluto) both within the team, organization and rest of the sport.
- The Bulls’ Sun conjunct Jordan’s South Node
The South Node tends to absorb whatever it touches. In relationships, when one individual’s (or entity’s) Sun is conjunct the other’s South Node, the first individual/entity tends to “give away” their identity or existence for living in the shadow of the other. Prior to Jordan’s arrival, the Bulls were a failing franchise and the laughing stock of the NBA. After his arrival, it became apparent that they were mostly an extension of his greatness. It was almost impossible to think of them without first thinking of their star. In fact, twenty years after his departure, the Bulls’ legacy continues to be defined by Jordan’s impact on their organization.
- Jordan’s Sun conjunct the midpoint of the Bulls’ Saturn & Venus
In a way, this strengthens the delineation from the 2nd dynamic above. If the Bulls’ Mars – Venus conjunction in Aquarius isn’t strong enough to foreshadow the oncoming of their Aquarian avatar, then this midpoint picture definitely helps to make the point explicit. Jordan’s energy and ego (Sun) were the center of what the Bull’s organization (Saturn) loved (Venus).
- Jordan’s Jupiter opposite the Bulls’ Pluto-Uranus conjunction
Simply stated, Jordan’s ability to win (Jupiter) completely revolutionized (Uranus – Pluto) the Bulls. They were completely transformed (Pluto) after he left.
- Jordan’s Venus partile conjunct the Bulls’ Mercury
Partile conjunctions denote that the orb (variance) is less than one degree. As a result, these aspects are usually very tight and the tighter an aspect the more active the manifestation. This dynamic strengthens the 3rd dynamic above due to the Bulls’ Mercury involvement with Jordan’s Neptune midpoint. Basically, Jordan’s on court elegance and grace (Venus) was part of that delineation.
- Jordan’s Venus partile sextile the Bulls’ Saturn
Again, this dynamic strengthens the 7th and 3rd dynamics.
All of these connections make a powerful statement for the Bulls’ involvement in fostering Jordan’s success and legacy and Jordan’s involvement in transforming the Bulls’ into one of the leading franchises in the NBA. They needed each other.
While the comparison of the charts from Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls reveals why they were the perfect fit for his energies, we must also look at why basketball was the perfect sport for him as well. The bi-wheel below with my following breakdown of the most significant contacts between charts of Jordan and the NBA.[x]
- The NBA’s Sun – Pluto conjunction is also conjunct Jordan’s Mars and square Jordan’s Neptune
This particular conjunction from the NBA’s chart is fitting because it happens to be in the sign of Leo. In other words, the life force of this sport is driven by intense super stars who will become idols of their fans and have a transformative influence upon them. Yes, all sports have their superstars, but basketball tends to shine forth this dynamic a bit more powerfully. Unfortunately, this has also manifested in some of the strongest ego battles in the sports world.[xi] All of this is a reflection of that core Leo conjunction. The fact that this dynamic was intertwined with Jordan’s powerful t-square shows that he would become emblematic of this drive. He became the sports’ flagship superstar.
- The NBA’s Moon conjunct Jordan’s Moon.
In any astrological relationship synastry analysis, Moon conjunctions are among some of the strongest contacts available. It reflects that both entities are on the same page emotionally. This is huge because most relationships struggle when the individuals feel differently about things. Here, Jordan’s emotionally competitive nature was shared and also dovetailed with their core life force (Sun – Pluto). Because this particular conjunction was also tied into Jordan’s t-square (trine/sextile Jordan’s Mars – Saturn opposition), it is yet another statement that the core (Sun, Moon) of this sport revolved around Jordan’s icon status (Neptune).
- The NBA’s Pluto quincunx Jordan’s Jupiter & Venus
This particular dynamic forms a YOD configuration (aka finger of god) with the NBA’s Pluto at the apex. Within the astrological community, YOD’s tend to carry an overly mystical quality, but they can be delineated quite simply. Jordan’s winning nature (Jupiter) and on court artistry (Venus) required a slight adjustment (quincunx) from the NBA in order to transform (Pluto) the sport. Obviously, they adjusted to him.
- The NBA’s Neptune trine & sextile Jordan’s Mars – Saturn opposition
Like the first two, this is another dynamic that supports Jordan’s Neptune t-square. While the NBA’s Moon aspected Jordan’s t-square from one side, its Neptune aspected it from the other. The best interpretation of this relationship is that the NBA helped mythologize (Neptune) Jordan’s drive for greatness (Jordan Leo Mars) balanced (opposition) by his strong leadership (Saturn).
- The NBA’s Saturn – Venus conjunction in trine aspect to Jordan’s Venus
Saturn’s involvement may be a bit questionable as the orb of aspect is a bit wide, but probably needs to be included because of its conjunction to the NBA’s Venus. Overall, this dynamic may be a bit minor, but reflects the NBA’s respect for Jordan’s talent.
The American ethos is that of the “land of opportunity.” It promotes the belief that if anyone works hard enough then they can be anyone or achieve anything they want. Yet, no matter how hard anyone works it is highly improbable that they will become as successful in basketball as Michael Jordan. In fact, it is highly improbable that anyone will achieve an equivalent degree of success in any of their uniquely chosen paths, period. This doesn’t mean that Jordan is less deserving of his legacy. His chart and corresponding manifestation are a work of art and deserving of appreciation, but it is important that this admiration doesn’t expand into an assumption that all can achieve the same degree of success. It can’t be overstated that the rarity of his combination of connections and relationships (all highly effective in their own right) practically destined him for greatness.
Destiny and fate are big (and controversial) words and their inclusion is intentional. Yes, Jordan worked and drove himself hard, but this tireless work ethic and relentless drive are also explicitly reflected and represented in abnormally strong dynamics within his chart. Given their inherent existence, it is logical to question whether he could operate in any other way. Additionally, these dynamics were also heavily supported by the charts of the team he played for and the sport he played within. To what extent did these dynamics translate into success?[xii] This overarching, internal synergy must be recognized for not only in yielding success, but also in immortalizing his existence.
It is an axiom that it is much easier to make quick judgments based upon visible, surface results than it is to judge the less visible, mitigating circumstances that may be impacting the outcomes. Astrology takes the complexity of this evaluation one step further by including internal dynamics. Therefore, if we’re willing admit or accept the influence of inherent, mitigating dynamics for Michael Jordan, would it also be safe to assume that the reverse may apply as well? Is it possible that an individual can possess a chart with such an inherent degree of challenge or contradiction that even “Michael Jordan” levels of effort will not yield an expected degree of success?[xiii]
Astrology has been a fantastic tool for self-discovery and enlightenment, but considering the current state of society it begs the question as to whether an expanded sense of empathy should be the strongest benefit. More than any other problem, the growing lack of empathy[xiv], motivated by greed and exacerbated by a lack of awareness of our inherent natures has created a perfect storm of confusion that touches just about every facet of life.
Again, none of this is to suggest that we are mindless automatons or zombies, but to instead challenge our thinking to equally consider both components (volition and inherency) when weighing the outcome of the equation. While free will tends to be vocalized the strongest (even among astrologers), it is just as significant to ask exactly what must be overcome, maximized or leveraged. In doing so, we expand our degree of empathy by understanding what each individual uniquely needs in order to become successful. If nothing else, this may be the most powerful message of Jordan’s transformative Scorpio Neptune t-square.
[i] Disclaimer: In order to maximize the resonance of this delineation, details of Jordan’s private life (including the death of his father) will be excluded. The focus here is on the strongest, most visible parts of his personality made him famous.
[ii] It may be questioned why no other Aquarian Sun has been renamed similarly and the answer to that would be that no other Aquarian has in their chart was Michael possesses. As a result, the power in his chart brought to life the archetypal quality of his Sun.
[iii] Bernadette Brady, Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars, (Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1998), 85.
[iv] IBID, 287-288.
[v] Jordan has been quoted as referring to himself as “Black Jesus”.
[vi] Mars is also the co-ruler of the 5th house, further strengthening the direction of this t-square.
[vii] There was even a book written about Jordan’s authoritarian style. It was appropriately titled, “The Jordan Rules.”
[viii] By strength, we are referring to a planetary body’s ability to express its core archetypal dynamics. Sign position is one of the most significant methods for evaluating this strength.
[ix] And this conjunction was further enhanced by the Bulls’ Jupiter in trine aspect to Jordan’s Saturn.
[x] The ABA league was founded on June 6, 1946, but was changed to the NBA on August 3, 1949. The date and location of the name change was used for the chart here. The chart is untimed.
[xi] The “athlete prima donna” archetype originated in basketball.
[xii] It can’t be ignored that Jordan failed in baseball and did not achieve anywhere near the level of success playing basketball for other teams.
[xiii] I’m fully aware that this argument will be fiercely challenged as it runs contrary to many of the ideas and beliefs in the west (especially the US). I would caution those from reading too much into this or jumping too far ahead of what’s being suggested.
[xiv] Of course, no one would be willing to admit to admit that they lack empathy, which is why disregarding the less visible factors or dynamics contributing to outcomes allows the individual to feel justified in judging others. Simply stated, “it’s all your fault.”