Swimming With Style

photo still from ABCTV. Credit unknown.

This post comes with a long post and heavy astro content ahead warning…

I’m one of those strange people who doesn’t get that turned on by celebrity.

I don’t care who’s shagging who, I don’t care who’s breaking up with who, I don’t care whose carrying which handbag, whose clothes they’re wearing and how quickly they lost their baby weight. I don’t care.

I do, however, care about the human side. I care about the art and I care about the achievement. I care about the factors that have helped all of these things happen.

I’m grateful to celebrity for one other thing- examination of celebrity birth charts is invaluable in looking at those aspects which make or break a person and to see real-life transits in action.

Being an Aussie, I’m naturally interested in the charts of Aussies who’ve made it big. So today I bring you the chart of one of my favourite Aussie swimmers. It’s his 30th birthday today.

I’ve admired Ian Thorpe for years. Firstly there’s his swimming ability- truly inspirational to watch at the height of his powers.

Then there’s the way he’s conducted he’s conducted himself in public life- with absolute Libran grace.

Anyways, if we look at his chart, the first thing we notice about it is its shape.

With all of his planets contained within just 115 degrees (spanning from the Moon at 29 Leo to Neptune at 24 Sagittarius), Ian Thorpe has a bundle shaped chart. If we include Chiron, it resembles a bucket, with Chiron, the wounded healer, as the handle. More on this shortly, however for now, this chart shape means that he will have a tendency to focus heavily on one part of his life. In this case, it’s swimming.

The problem with all of this intense focus is that you limit yourself (consciously or unconsciously) to areas where you are strong and ignore or disregard the other parts of life. Although highly motivated, there may also be a sense that something is missing. I would suspect that this is what prompted Ian to announce early retirement from swimming in 2006, and what prompted him to re-enter the sport in 2011.

With all of his planets located in the Northern Hemisphere of his chart, Thorpies’ life is one that will be lived under the public eye.

The next thing to take notice of is the concentration of planets in Libra.

Partnerships and the opinion of other people is extremely important to Ian. Any type of discord or imbalances in his life will completely upset his equilibrium.

A Capricorn Rising with Saturn, his chart ruler, (in Libra) exalted in the 10th house and conjunct the Sun and Pluto, this is a man who understands the importance of hard work and who not only needs to achieve, but, with the Moon in Leo, needs to be seen to achieve. Respect is a deal breaker.

This is also a man who understands business- and that has certainly been prove over the years as he has deftly managed sponsorships and other business deals.

So what happens when a man like this is thrust into public life at the tender age of 14, an age when most kids his age are struggling with school and hormones?

The foundations for Ian’s swimming success were laid during the years when Saturn was transiting the bottom of his chart- the handle of the “bucket”- opposing his Libra planets and squaring his Ascendant. At the same time, Jupiter was transiting his Ascendant.

That year, Ian Thorpe was the youngest ever male selected to represent Australia in the pool.

In January 1998, Ian Thorpe won the 400m freestyle at the Perth World Championships- becoming the youngest ever male world champion. All of us who watched that swim knew we were seeing the start of something special.

Saturn was opposite Venus (the ruler of his career zone), Jupiter was trine his Sun, and the Sun and Mercury had just crossed his Ascendant. The message went out to the swimming world.

Saturn transits through Gemini (trining his Libra planets) coincided with the greatest of his successes in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the World Championships the following year.

Things began unravelling in the lead up to the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Jupiter and Mars were both transiting his 7th house and arguments and an ultimate split with his coach ensued.

Saturn was transiting his 6th house and Thorpe was beginning to complain that the fun and enjoyment had gone from his swimming. Injuries were to plague him for the next couple of years.

In November 2006 Ian Thorpe announced his retirement citing disillusionment and difficulties with motivation. Saturn was tracking through his 8th house and approaching his Moon. The pressure was immense- even for those incredible shoulders.

At the beginning of 2011, as Saturn was transiting the top of his chart and conjunct the first of his Libra planets (Venus, the ruler of his career zone), Ian Thorpe announced a comeback. This also coincided with the beginning of his Saturn return. It was time to get real- about everything.

And it was all done in full view of the public eye.

As Saturn completed the retrograde portion of his Saturn Return, Thorpe failed in his bid for selection in the 2012 Olympic team.

That journey was documented by a film crew– and was, in retrospect, heart breaking to view. I can only imagine how hard it was for someone with his pride and sense of achievement to watch.

Now, as Saturn has entered Scorpio and continues to transit his 10th house, he is telling the world about his struggle with depression over the years. He’s getting real (Saturn) about the dark stuff that has been hidden (Scorpio). I admire him for this.

I also admire his style- both in the pool and out of it.

An ambassador for Armani, Thorpe has also been involved in fashion design over the years and, in true Libra style, has always presented a well put together image for the media.

The thing I’ve found most interesting about this exercise is that Ians’ greatest achievements came when Saturn was forming difficult aspects to his personal planets. For someone with very few tough aspects natally, the challenge offered by a transiting square or opposition provided the impetus to move forward. You see this a lot with people whose charts are full of sextiles and trines- they need something to push them out of their comfort zone and into the potential of their chart.

Which also leads me to another point for those still scared of difficult Saturn transits- an awful lot can be achieved under them…if you’re prepared to put the training in. Sometimes is the “easy” ones that we really need to be careful not to under-estimate.