Unpacking My Library: On The Road

Monday March 19th 2012
This cover was designed by Len Deighton
in the late 50s.

If Jack Kerouac had not drunk himself to death at the age of 47, he would have turned 90 on March 12 this year. He was in many ways the perfect Pisces author – a drunken, dreaming mystic visionary who seemed to just spew out his work in a torrent of words.

With Sun, Uranus, and Venus in Pisces caught on an interesting inconjunct  from Pisces’ rulers Jupiter and Neptune, that’s really no surprise.

Kerouac wrote his novel On The Road in April 1951 at the age of 29 during in the final months before his first Saturn Return. The book was autobiography vaguely disguised as fiction – a distillation of the road trips of his twenties, during which he’d kept notebooks and journals.


He’d tried to write about this time a few years previously but he wasn’t satisfied. Then, that April, it all just flowed out in one long wave over three short weeks. He wrote it on something he called the scroll, long sheets of tracing paper taped together into a single huge artefact.

On The Road doesn’t really have a plot. He said himself: “It’s about two Catholic boys looking for God.” And it takes them all across America, back and forth from coast to coast through bars and Big Sur, the embraces of various woman, drugs, drunkeness and, mostly, jazz. Like Pisces, it is boundless.

Jack, before the drink got him

The Gauquelin’s in their seminal astrological study found that Moon near the Ascendant or Midheaven had a close correlation with writers’ charts. Kerouac’s is dead on the ascendant with this birth time (Rodden Rating B). And his talent was truly precocious (youthful with Moon Rising).

Already at 19, he wrote like this in his diary, “Either I am loathsome to others, I have decided, or else I shall be a beacon of rich warm light, spreading good and plenty, making things prosper, being a cosmic architect, conquering the world and being respected, myself grinning surreptitiously. Either that, Sirs, or I shall be the most loathsome, useless, and parasitical (on myself) creature in the world. I shall be a denizen of the Underground, or a successful man of the world. There shall be no compromise!!! I mean it.”

And he turned out to do just that of course – he was loathed and loved. His mystic Pisces Sun in the seventh goes head to head with his critical, analytical Moon. Although his writing flowed as if it was channelled from heaven once he got started, he was always practicing, always working on it, always reading great works. So his writing is a result of critical analysis (Virgo) and inspiration (Pisces).

On The Road in particular of all his books changed a generation. It was published in 1957 and sent a siren call: pack your bags, go look for America, find yourselves, there is more to life than owning stuff. That last thought in particular is something we might all ponder in these times of hyper-consumerism.

This was the book that every hippie carried in her backpack to Kathmandu or Haight Ashbury. It was a book that anticipated and formed the social revolution of the 1960s. That Virgo-Pisces axis that you can see in Kerouac’s natal chart was especially important in that decade – as Pluto and Uranus conjuncted in Virgo and opposed Saturn in Pisces for the mid-part of the 60s. His Sun, Moon and change planet Uranus keyed right in to the flower power generation.

Here are just a few points in his chart in his own words from On The Road. I’m sure you can find many more because it seems to me Kerouac spoke his chart very clearly through this book.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” 
Uranus on the descendant

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
Mars in Sagittarius on the IC (home) squaring the Moon

“Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk — real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.”

Talking sex: Uranus opp Moon. Intellect is nurturing and stimulates the earthy appetite of that Virgo Moon.
Life is holy: Sun in Pisces, Neptune in the 11th, sextile Jupiter and both inconjunct the Sun forming a wide Yod

“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”

Pisces Sun in the 7th (you are just a reflection)

“…all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?”

Uranus in Pisces on the Descendant.

And what is so interesting here is that Mercury, the communicator, whom we associate with writing, is unaspected. It floats there in avant-garde Aquarius, alone and powerful. Some astrologers say that the unspected  planets are super-powerful because they are free.

I read this book a long time ago, when I was the age that Jack was when he had all those crazy experiences, which is when, of course, we should read it.  My copy is very well-thumbed, and I think now, when I ponder Pisces-soul or Sagittarius IC, of On The Road.

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  1. Charlotte says:

    I just want to let you know I’m enjoying this series and I’ve picked up everything you’ve recommended so far. Looks like me and Jack had some things in common: the Pisces Sun opposing a Virgo moon on the ascendent, Sadge Mars on the IC. This made me think of Kurt Cobain’s chart, another artist with a siren song for a generation.

  2. Christina says:

    Who was also fell into the Big Sleep early thanks to an addiction to mind-althering substances….

  3. Anonymous says:

    A movie of On the Road is coming out this fall with the square hitting his nodes & Pluto. I think the trailer looks beautiful. They use the same roman candle quote you do but they’ve altered it.

  4. Just catching up, I don’t know how I missed all this before, but what a fascinating article. Of course, poor Jack detested the hippies who loved him, being a deeply conservative and fiercely patriotic man who was pro the Vietnam war.

  5. […] Unpacking My Library: On The Road […]

  6. M says:

    Jazz didnt really figure THAT heavily into the book and the message was not about not owning things IMO. Jazz was a symptom of the times. He wasnt obsessed with it. And he sure wanted to own things. And to provide for his mother.
    His book The Town and the City is better than OTR and reflects his personality even more I think.