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Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band

Captain Beefheart      vocals               15/1/41                capricorn sun/ leo moon
metal year/dragon year/ox month      elements---->    metal/wood/water/metal
John French                 drums               29/9/48                 libra sun/ leo moon
earth year/rat year/dog month             elements---->    earth/water/metal
Jeff Cotton                     guitar               31/5/40                 gemini sun/ aries moon
metal year/dragon year/horse month  elements--->   metal/wood/fire
Jerry Handley               bass                   9/2/46                 aqurs sun/tau or gem moon
fire year/dog year/tiger month              elements-----> fire/metal/wood
Alex St Clair Snouffer  guitar               14/9/41                virgo sun/ gem or can mn
metal year/snake year/dog month      elements----->  metal/fire/metal

Although the band are synonymous with the genius of Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart
himself,it was in fact Alex St Clair Snouffer who formed the band in 1964,recruiting Don owing
to his harp playing and blues vocals. Jerry Handley on bass and Doug Moon on guitar.Vic
Mortensen came in on drums but was drafted the following year. Doug Blakely replaced him
and it was this line-up which recorded "Diddy Wah Diddy"in march 66.By the time of "Safe As
Milk"in mid-67, John French had taken over on drums and Don Van Vliet had assumed
leadership of the band.Halfway through recording , Doug left due to Don's demanding nature.
Ry Cooder had been included to add his distinctive guitar but he didn't take up the option to
stay and was replaced by Jeff Cotton.This completed the line-up for the purposes of this page
and though not the classic "Troutmask" line-up,it was a seminal one which also recorded
"Strictly Personal"in the spring of 68.This was also the line-up which first toured the UK.
Alex and Jerry quit in mid-68 and future line-ups are beyond the confines of this page.

We start with Don Van Vliet,hereafter to be known as Captain Beefheart.
He has no planets in water or air signs. Apart from his leo moon and saggitarius mars,all his planets are in earth signs.Rather than say he is down to earth as a person one might say up to earth, for here's a man with an infinity to earth itself. Someone who understood the meaning of yin and yang.Ecology always close to his heart.As a sculptor and painter, he would work with materials in the truest sense as opposed to the financial or possessions sense.If we see his capricorn-side as pro- active practical and determined and his taurus-side as true to one's values and enduring , with the warmth and affection that taurus is capable of,then we get a very positive picture of a man, much admired by his close associates and much revered by fellow artists such as Kate Bush and PJ Harvey to name but a few.However
it should also be said that he wasn't the easiest person to work with as some of his fellow band members would testify to.
We are fortunate to have a copy of his birth certificate which sheds revealing light on this extra-ordinary man.In fact,moonlight because he has cancer rising ! Sadly such important information is not available for many of the artists included in this website..To know that someone with 7 planets in earth has a cancer ascendent is of immense significance.It means that the moon becomes his chart ruler and must be considered very carefully.A cancer ascendent would give Beefheart a sensitive, protective nature,feeling situations before embarking upon them.He would be receptive to the vibes of his environment and his actions indirect and subtle.A more sentimental person than one normally associated with three personal capricorn planets.But cancer rising can also be moody and changeable and adverse
to being criticised.
His moon is in leo giving him a positive,outgoing emotional view of life.Ostentation and self-
dependency would be expected with a deep involvement in every project. At home one would expect style and luxury.To a moon leo,the home is an outer display of self.That he lived in a mobile home by the Mojave desert might seem odd therefore.But his definition of home comforts was different to others.To be able to open his door and converse with a gila monster
or to feed sugar to wandering ants was his way of connecting with his environment.
With a libra cusp over the 4th house, these principles would be enhanced further.He would
need harmony and balance there for his own peace of mind and emotional security.This would include the right sort of people.With his moon's north node there we return to that libran requirement of his nodal path to be co-operative and giving, rather abrasive or single-minded.
To meet people half-way rather than follow the aries south node towards uncompromising individuality at the expense of companionship and relationships.Though with gemini cusping his 12th,he would need quality time alone with his thoughts to pursue his creativity.
The north node's position in the 4th indicates the path to be at home or within oneself,one's roots rather than the big,wide world or the general public.Its unaspected too which can result
in an all or nothing effect or a continual pull from the aries south node's desire for independence and pioneering.Integrating the node into his life would be hard therefore but in his wonderful relationship with Jan,his wife,perhaps he found the best of both nodes.
His moon itself is in his 2nd house,leo cusped,suggesting domestic security and stability are important to him as well as financial independence .Self-worth and self-image would be important to him too,expressed in the proud but dignified leo way.It's conjunction with  vesta,the asteroid associated with devotion and health,is almost exact and whilst the moon can be powerful and positive in its feelings in leo,vesta finds difficulty in directing the creative energies of leo into devotional goals.The special moment of intensity which comes naturally to scorpio,is harder to find in leo which seeks the sun constantly.However this blending of moon and vesta here in the 2nd, suggests that Beefheart cares deeply about values and personal freedom as well as resources.His choice of home was more important to him than to most.
Venus,the natural ruler of the 2nd, sends a trine from the 6th giving Beefheart an optimistic,
warm nature as well as the gift of the artist.In capricorn , venus is not at its most free and giving but will add good sense and faithfulness to the already loyal leo moon.It also trines his taurean jupiter giving him sincerity and honesty with ethics important to him.Eccentric he may have been but never vulgar and at heart optimistic and able to inspire others and give generously.In his 6th house,venus suggests artistic expression and a deep feeling for his work but it is also squaring his midheaven up in aries.Though driven by mars, those with aries
on the 10th often have to overcome inhibitions before they make it to the public stage.Venus in capricorn has some difficulty with  emotional expression and this is also indicated by this square to the midheaven with  relationships less harmonious than he would like.To those executives in the music industry,he was a difficult man to relate to but to the journalist or interviewer,he was warmth and affability personified.The libra north node and need to cultivate this side of his personality is forever at odds with the aries south node side of him that goes it alone.His later and commercially more successful paintings often depicted the isolated figure
at odds with his environment.This was not true of Beefheart as the ecologist but as the social
Which brings us to the 7th house of partnerships and relationships where we we find his sun in conjunction with mercury.Its important to note that his moon is inconjunct to both his sun and mercury which means that they have little in common and different agendas.This would cause unusual thoughts and feelings, with his emotions in dischord with his will and reasoning.The mentality of capricorn at odds with the leo moon's passions.Achieving balance and harmony would be a constant objective for Beefheart with the pull of the aries node often stronger than the libran one.
With his sun and mercury in the 7th, marital or business relationships are of prime importance and frustrations arise if such a person doesn't have the control he needs and desires.With capricorn the cusp of the 7th and the sign of his venus,as well as sun and mercury,we see one of the problems he encountered early in his career where recording and
production control were out of his hands.The disatisfaction he felt towards record companies
is clearly apparent.Good position as it is for his career in the public eye,it took some time for him to be truly satisfied with events and feel that he was calling the shots rather than being led.He would feel an innate ability to bring others together as he showed in the way he organised and even re-named his musicians.It his sun here which is the most aspected rather than his moon,which as his chart ruler gives him an introspective edge, despite its leo traits
Sun aspects are varied with its mercury conjunction the strongest giving him  mental strength and energy in abundance.Their trine to neptune in the 3rd, shows Beefheart's instinctive understanding and perception of things at the deepest level with possible psychic abilities.
He'd become easily bored with things he considered obvious,drifting into his own world at times.His capricorn sun would be more imaginative than usual,setting its own pace and being
more tolerant than it usually is.The trine with uranus in the 11th[its natural house even if taurus is not a sign it favours] would add to these qualities making him original and open-minded with a genuine awareness and understanding of others.Very much in keeping with that libra north node again.A natural leader with a grasp of life's broader spectrum.The
opposition with chiron,particularly close in the case of mercury, is an interesting one.Chiron
in cancer shows the way Beefheart cares for all people who he involves himself with,seeing them as extended family members and emotional involvement would be strong.The opposition with sun/mercury shows his commitment to the betterment of humanity and being in his 1st house his resolve in this would be unbending.But always he would be himself first,
never compromising that individuality we have come to admire him for.

With saturn being the ruler of his active capricorn-side,its position in the fixed sign of taurus and on the cusp of the 10th/11th houses[both of which it traditionally rules]is significant.Again we see someone who stands by their beliefs in a determined,single-minded way. Responsibilities to both his vocation and society would be paramount with the probability of
periods of isolation from his contemporaries,again bringing the needs of his libra north node into play.The close conjunction with jupiter confirms the seriousness of life for him with
disappointments many in the pursuit of his ideals.But taurus would give him the sustaining,
persevering patience required to get there in the end.

Finally we come to mars and pluto who form a trine but not a particularly close one.Pluto is the powerful leo one situated in the heart of his 1st house, giving him that magnetic personality and non-conformist approach to life.Being in his 1st, he'd identify closely with it.It trines his midheaven exactly making him the progressive,self-improving man of vision he was with the ability to make a completely new start if necessary.The square with jupiter accentuates the rebel in him and this might border on fanaticism.In Beefheart's case this might be more  his being a law unto himself rather than any mis-use of others or resources.It might even be fairer to say that to Beefheart,it was society as a whole which was "far out" rather than him.I have to agree with him on that one.But he was as aware as any of the
difficulty that people had with his music and philosophy.Without actually compromising, he did attempt to be more accessible,"human" as he put it."I realised that I had to give them
something to hang their hat on".There's that libran node again.

With saturn also squaring, it can  be said that here is one incompromising individual who at times is his own worst enemy.An example of this was when he missed the oppurtunity to meet the composer Stravinsky because he chose not to be distracted from his Troutmask Replica recording sessions.He has since expressed much regret over this.But saturn can be an unbending taskmaster.
With uranus,neptune and pluto all retrograde,the unconventional,rebel-side of Beefheart is further accentuated and compromise unlikely in him as well as a certain distrust of the world.
At least of corporate society and people content to pander to it's restraints.Some musicians
with neptune in retrograde might use drugs as a form of escapism but not the captain.His way was to distance himself from society,creating his own cocoon from which he would periodically emerge trasplendent as a butterfly.Even in interviews,he would often be elliptical
or perhaps use words as he would a paintbrush to the ultimate frustration of those seeking the real captain...but then this was the real captain.Not so much distanced in some vague,
neptunian world but alive in the natural world of dolphins and sunsets.Very much a virgoan neptune in the widest sense.
The song "Trust Us",my personal favourite,sends a utopian  message, despite the realities of life,"You gotta trust us/ Before you turn to dust"."You gotta look within/You gotta feel to reveal/You gotta hear without fear". At heart,the good captain was always positive and trust as a virtue was something he had much experience of.

I'd like to bring into play now a minor aspect i haven't used much on this website so far,
the semi-sextile which serves as a lesson to learn,carrying with it karmic undertones. With his moon ruling his chart but making few close major aspects to planets,it's interesting to note a close semi-sextile to neptune and to chiron.With his moon being 2nd house, the semi-sextile's natural inclination towards values and resources comes to the fore here with a 1st house cancerian chiron's  need for one's individuality to be valued and nurtured.Beefheart was known  to have tremendous respect and empathy for women's issues,befitting a cancer ascendent,and in this semi-sextile we see a very cancerian tone arousing deep emotions within him and protective instincts.It is earth's natural resources that concern Beefheart here
including mankind's and in particular appreciation,not abuse, of a woman's."The magic is in you" could be his epitaph.
A leo moon needs to love and be loved and Beefheart found that bliss in his marriage in 1970 which inspired and mellowed his music of that period Chiron's need for emotional bonding through the semi-sextile with the moon was realised. The moon's semi-sextile with neptune in the 3rd provides the opportunity for spiritual growth as well as the suggestion of some kind of karmic reconciliation to be made with his dealings with everyday life and people Echoes,again,of the purpose of the libra north,compromise and mediation
His chiron/neptune sextile suggests discovery of the wonders of life,the utopia,perhaps as seen through children's eyes rather than cloudiness.He certainly saw things as they could be
and attempted to do this with his musicians as well as his music.He took them painstakingly through every note and chord of a song,drawing shape pictures along the way and giving each
band member a new name! Teacher,healer,even a mother earth figure in their lives.

Finally we come to mars,the projection of self and how we assert ourselves.Beefheart embodies the very personification of the saggitarian mars, spontaneous,optimistic,idealistic,
philosophic, crusading,restless and .....invincible.Fanatical or eccentric some may have seen him as but Beefheart was captain of another ship than H.M.S  20th Century Society.He embraced all ages,all times.As he said,he doesn't believe in insanity as such, ,just varying degrees of disconnection.Human politics was not his game but rather the brighter sunshine of life on earth.He felt women understood him better than men and he sure loved women with all the passion and loyalty of a moon leo rather than a saggitarian mars.Woman was something to revere and respect,not to be trifled or sported with.After all,cancer ruled his chart.With his mars in the 5th, he was the romantic he indeed describe himself as and the child within him was always alive and vibrant.He would have made rather a good teacher to the child who wanted to discover the wonders of the universe...somewhere over the rainbow.

Few if any of the various incarnations of The Magic Band ever returned for a second stint with
the captain.One who did was "Safe As Milk" drummer John Stephen French.Whatever our
Don put in the milk[and it wasn't acid] Drumbo,as he was re-named, came back for more,
supplying the heartbeat or not as the case may be.He is therefore worthy of such astrological
study as is possible and particularly in terms of his relationship with his guide and mentor.
He was one of the bemused band members who arrived at London Airport in 1968 ,apparently
on another plane of existence to the world-wise customs officials who knew a band of undesirables when they saw them.
The most striking thing about John, in relation to Beefheart was his libra sun.The very
quality that the captain's north node was beseaching him to develop.Close association with
John would do his karmic destiny no harm at all.Being a leo moon as well,they would have
a connecting passion about their feelings and emotions.John would feel where Beefheart's
sensitivities and affections were coming from.Being of the neptune in libran generation too,
he would add more air and lightness to the scenario.The conjunction between sun and neptune is nearly 6 degrees in orb but intuition and musical inspiration are likely to be amongst his virtues with a lack of self-confidence his main failing.The sun in libra is prone to
self-doubts when its desire to express itself through liaisons with others fails.To John
working in partnership would be an important part of  finding the balance and harmony that
libra needs.Whatever else may show in his chart,co-operation and fairplay will be important.
Apart from his saturn in virgo,bringing a sensible approach to business and health as well as good work ethics, John was lacking earth planets which we know Beefheart had seven of.But fire and water he has in abundance in his personal planets.

As well as moon in leo, John had venus there.Being a drummer in a rock band would have appealed to his sense of the dramatic and his showman instincts.A whole-hearted attitude to love,he would have shared Beefhearts romanticism here and his loyalty to the partner.
Like Beefheart, his venus has a trine from jupiter but much closer in orb so he should have an
benevolent,optimistic air about him with a poise and sincerity that makes him good company
to be with.With jupiter being in its ruling sign of saggitarius this should be particularly so. He
would have been in his element here travelling with Beefheart on his enlightening journey.
We can't be sure of venus' other aspects but there is a widish square to mars which might strain relations with women but unlikely to cause the problems that a closer orb might.
Its his 4 planets in water signs which sets him apart from Beefheart.Mercury there in scorpio
gives him a probing mind with excellent insight.He would have great awareness and perception of what was required of the magic band by its leader.There might also be a tendency for him to speak his mind , especially if he had any doubts about where their music was heading.Quite apart from Beefheart's objectives,he would have his own firmly in mind.
Mercury's trine with uranus further accentuates his intuitive ability and humaniarian/ progressive ideas would be uppermost in his thoughts.Cancer's charitable side blending with uranus originality here would make John just the kind of person for Beefheart to work with.
Mercury also harmonises with saturn to form a sextile showing that John is likely to be well
informed and self-disciplined.Again auguring well for his association with the captain and with the ability to take on board his concepts of music and subsequent philosophy of life.

His mars is also in scorpio,traditionally its ruler and this strong placement gives John a
powerful presence and efficiency.Loyal to close friends but quick to remonstrate with people
who he disagrees with.He would be well able to take control of a situation if necessary and
would certainly be someone to reckon with.The square with pluto adds to his forcefulness and in some people it can ammount to recklessness even.Scorpio and leo are dynamic energies
and John would need to have a measure of control and independence in his work.The sexual
drive would also be very strong with this aspect as well as  the mars placement.Beefheart had
an intense drummer on his hands.
He also has his chiron in scorpio which emphasises John's need to feel in control of relationships or at least not to be controlled.This is an issue he may feel particularly sensitive about,establishing independence in situations.He would also see sexual liaisons in the same light.The innovatory nature of the band's work would provide an opportunity to transform his
musical outlook and embrace the new.The challenge to venus in leo suggests a questioning of values particularly in sexual matters leading to restlessness as he tries to satisfy his emotional needs.Again the search for identity and expression,gender or otherwise,may be an issue.The mars conjunction is not close but the need for deeper experiences and to realise creative potentials needs to be met.
Despite the scorpio element of his chart, his ultimate path in life may be taurean in nature on account of his north node pointing that way.There can be a tendency where someone has a big scorpio input to have a secretive side to the personality which can be off-putting to others
who would find a more straightforward approach easier to deal with.If this was in any way so with John,then the Taurus north node in him would call for him to concern himself less with
control issues and deep,emotional concerns and more with Life's touchable things and aesthetic pleasures.A return to the land or indeed earth itself.An element lacking in his chart but a subject on which Captain Beefheart can give more than a few illustrations concerning.

If we put John's planets in Beefheart's houses,we find pluto,saturn and venus concentrated in
his 2nd house where resides his leo moon.The conjunction with John's venus would mean a
certain empathy between them with each encouraging the other in the affectionate leo way with similar values and emotions.A business association often results from  venus being in a colleague's 2nd house and Beefheart believed in shared resources,as with his music "copyright of the wotld".John's virgoan saturn here may at times seem fault-finding to Beefheart's emotional side and he may feel restricted in some way with John here.Pluto is out
of range of the moon but might have the effect here of encouraging or even driving Beefheart on to make more of a go of the band.John may well have been ambitious in his own right to see the band do well.His mercury is sextiling the Beefheart moon,showing he's in tune with him and his ideas.Perhaps he wants the very best for the band,in a pro-active way rather than just be a cog in the wheel.
His sun in  plays a key role in the relationship situated at the very heart of Beefheart's chart in the 4th.Interaction at a deep level and of significant impact.Beefheart only has his north node here but its conjunction so closely with John's sun is perhaps the bond that brought them together more than once in their careers.Beefheart would have admired the libran qualities in John.With the sextile between his mars and John's sun, mutual stimulation and a common goal would exist with John at ease with Beefheart's saggitarian intiatives in life and music.
Similarly he would be in accord with Beefheart's desire to transform music in the way that he did with his sun in sextile to the captain's 1st house pluto.Only its square to Beefheart's venus shows any discord here and that only minor.More a slight clash between Beefheart's
earthy-ness[John lacks this element] and John's air[which beefheart lacks]
John also has his mercury here and some of his  scorpio insights might have an effect on the captain's thinking though with pluto squaring it might be vice-versa.Either way it should be a
beneficial,stimulating exchange.John's neptune is also there but without any major aspects.
Beefheart may find a certain spiritual,idealistic quality in John that appeals to his own way of
seeing the world.
His powerful mars adds impact to Beefhearts 5th house of self-expression and creativity. John was probably just the sort of dynamic,charismatic person that the captain needed in his
work and his mars here trining that cancer ascendent very closely confirms this.Good motivation on both sides working towards similar goals.John's scorpio edge to his mars will energise and bring out the best in the emotions and sensitivities of the Beefheart ascendent.
Finally John's jupiter would be a positive,benevolent influence in Beefheart's 6th house of work
with its saggitarius cusp,jupiter's ruling sign.It augured well for an excellent working relationship.

Another pioneer of The Magic Band, who appeared on the Safe As Milk,Mirror Man,Strictly Personal and Troutmask albums was guitarist Jeff Cotton who became "Antennae Jimmy Semens".Like John French , Jeff brought an air sign into Captain Beefheart's magical world.
His gemini sun would have brought plenty of mental energy and resourcefulness to the band
providing the sort of interaction that Beefheart's libran north node would have approved of.
Its sextile to his aries moon shows a harmonious integration between two lively,restless
components within him.The aries moon can be impulsive and undisciplined and this  side of Jeff would have had its moments within the group, not always heeding the capricornian advice or intensions of the captain.As a guitarist,one might expect versatility and constant motion with the potential for taking the lead and doing thinhs his own way.I doubt there was ever a dull moment around Jeff.
With mercury also in gemini, its natural sign ,we have a very quick-minded person indeed and when his guitar wasn't talking,he would be.He might suffer from stress or nervous tension but he sure would keep the band on its toes,physically and mentally.However his mercury receives a close square from his neptune in virgo which would hinder his more logical thinking
and either or both absent-mindedness and escapism could get the better of him.In virgo
Neptune can cause emotion to get the better of logic and his strong mercury mentality is at odds with this  situation.Jeff might find his imagination gets the better of him at times and he might be subject to some difficult soul-searching .By contrast ,Beefheart had his mercury and neptune in harmony.
Both Jeff's venus and mars are in cancer, a particularly difficult placement for mars which finds it hard to assert itself forcefully,prefering to suppress emotions.More than likely,he would have felt protective towards the rest of the band and a loyal member.Where Beefheart might be adventurous and French assertive in their actions, Jeff would be more cautious,
though his aries moon would temper this somewhat and challenge such an approach.With
venus in cancer, Jeff would need security and stability in romantic situations.He might expect too much from one person and be easily hurt if things go wrong.Aries as a moonsign can be
impulsive and how close in orb the square with venus  is  would influence the extent of this challenge.Jeff might be apprehensive about forming close ties where emotional
commitments are concerned.The actual venus/mars blend in him suggests he would live life to the full and artistic accomplishment is more than likely.But the cancer  sensitive influence
makes hurts and disappointments a factor here and passion and impulsion are aided and abetted by the aries moon.His gemini energies may scatter these emotions.
Jeff's planets are all in "young" signs suggesting much to learn in life[though he was the oldest member of the band] and another early sign taurus also features strongly in his chart.We've seen his water/fire and air side,taurus represents his more fixed,stable qualities.
He shares jupiter,saturn and uranus in taurus with Beefheart himself,so in the inter-personal side of life they will share common ground.Taurus is similar to cancer in their shared aims for
security with taurus seeking stability and going about it in a conservative way.The value of the
earth itself and its resources,which we see in Beefheart, should also be part of Jeff's philosophy.In his case,considering his personal planets, it may be a lesson to learn with time


Jeff's cluster of planets appear mostly in Beefheart's 11th and 12th houses.With a taurus cusp to his 11th, the captain would value close,warm friendships and see them as important part of his progress.However with his own uranus there, this is not easily achieved and what friends he has would tend to be free-thinking too.Jeff,having his gemini sun there would help
to explain the longevity of their association together,particularly given the constant changes
[uranus again] in Beefheart's musical line-ups.Clearly Beefheart valued Jeff as friend and
colleague and felt he could depend on him.His mars is opposed by  Jeff's sun which would
would cause tension and though their interaction would be dynamic,the gemini fluctuations could distract mars from its purpose and clashes would result.With the fixed,solid taurus influence of the 11th, the spontaneous gemini sun would never feel truly at ease
Jeff's own uranus is also here[in its natural house], therefore a certain unpredictability, but it trines Beefheart's sun,so that he would spark Beefheart's interests and be stimulating company,even magnetically so.It's square to Beefheart's moon would show the other side of the coin with irritations caused and it might seem to the captain that Jeff wasn't always sensitive to his feelings.Mixed blessings but never dull.He also has juno there and that means strong commitment to the cause.Saturn,on the 11th/10th cusp, might limit their association in some ways but then no more than Beefheart's own saturn would. Clearly there was a bond between the captain and his guitarist but it would be a fluctuating relationship that
neither could ever be sure of.Stimulating and irritating at the same time.
Beefheart's gemini-cusped 12th house finds Jeff's personal planets mercury,venus and mars
expressing themselves there.This indicates a kind of karmic bond between them with an abilty to reach other on a subconcious level.Jeff may be aware of certain vunerabilities in Beefheart and might offer advice or support.He might consider him eccentric but there is likely to be genuine interest and a degree of empathy.As earlier stated,Beefheart writes and thinks best when alone rather than in collaboration but this need of his is not all-consuming because he has no planets in the 12th.None of  Jeff's planets here make close aspects to Beefheart's with his mars in sextile to saturn the nearest in orb.Beefheart's would appreciate Jeff's sensitive,cancerian initiatives in projects and his own nurturing tendencies would warm to Jeff's venusian desires in cancer to be genuinely concerned over a friend's welfare.

Jeff's moon in Beefheart's 10th suggests he understands what Beefheart is trying to achieve
vocationally and would lend emotional support,albeit of the rather enthusiastic but impulsive aries flavour.There would be times perhaps when Jeff might help propel the great man forward.
Aspect -wise we cannot be sure of other factors here because Jeff's time of birth is not known.His jupiter is also in the 10th but being a taurus one[as is Beefheart's] in what is a lively aries-cusped house, the influence or effect is uncertain.It carries the natal square with pluto so one hopes no exploitation was present on jeff's part.Neither planets are close to
Beefheart's midheaven.

Jerry Handley was the original bass player and featured on Safe As Milk only.Not having
his successor,Rockette Morton's[Mark Boston] date of birth at hand,it's Jerry who makes it onto this page.Yet another air sign....was Captain Beefheart collecting them? This time an
aquarius to complete the full air set.With 6 planets in the very sign that Beefheart lacked
natally, Jerry had by far the biggest complement of air in the band,with a further 6 amongst other planetery bodies and points.His moon might be in gemini, adding to the list but it could equally be taurus,depending on his hour of birth.
Qualities expected in Jerry,therefore,would be objectivity and detachment,particularly given
his personal planets in aquarius.Group-orientated rather than the individual with good
communication skills.His comparative lack of earth might suggest that for all the discussion,
it might be others who actually complete the work.Aquarius as a sign is humanitarian and
forward-thinking.With mercury alongside his sun here,forming a stellium with venus, these traits would be even more so.Jerry would be original and inventive in his thinking,if at times eccentric or erratic.He'd also stick to his views and ideals and not be one for turning.Venus
in this sign would mean Jerry is a dependable friend though keeping a certain detachment. In
romantic terms he might be considered somewhat umemotional.His main desire,here is  freedom for the individual and unconventionality often goes with this. He would certainly be up
for the type of band he was in and tolerant of the captain's visions and own eccentricities.
His mars,like Jeff Cotton's, is in cancer but in his case not conjunct venus but saturn instead.
Saturn's position in cancer has the ability to urge his air-side to see his ideas and plans through to completion.Mars is less straightforward than usual in cancer and the emotional level is high.A marked contrast to his air planets.Jerry would derive inner strength from this aspect, well able to take the lead in crises but needing to avoid any of cancer's inhibitions or pent-up feelings that might lead to a sudden release of anger.Saturn's inconjunction to his
aquarian planets would need watching too.Cancer finds aquarius's detachment and lack of emotion so foreign to its own nature and vice-versa.Two very different sides of Jerry's character.
His jupiter in libra would give him a sense of justice and high moral principles.He would be co-operative and respond well to people with similar idealistic views.This would fit in with his
aquarian nature.Trining his gemini node, interaction with others is important to him but there may be a tendancy for him to be too idealistic and not face the issues of everyday life.Perhaps being in a band did not satisfy other objectives in his life.With 5 retrograde planets,unlike Jeff and John who had none, he had a more introspective nature with the need
to go over things more than the average person would.
His aquarius stellium is in Beefheart's 8th house and as earlier seen, Jerry would share some of his unconventional views on spirituality, resources and the deeper relationships.He would make his presence felt, possible even being critical of Beefheart in some way but there should be a basis for a good business and working relationship if any emotional frictions
resulting are ironed out.Jerry's stellium squaring Beefheart's uranus doesn't bode well because Jerry might be seen as trying to impose an unwanted  influence on proceedings and their association,as indeed it was, is unlikely to last.Rather heated debates may have arisen
with the bassist considered demanding and unco-operative.Jerry himself may have decided that the captain was just too  eccentric,despite the initial idealistic attraction.Uranus in taurus tends to stick to its own innovative ways.
Another,though less discordant, problem between them would have been Jerry's libran jupiter being squared by Beefheart's capricorn sun and mercury.The captain,though admiring many of Jerry's qualities may consider him unreliable and not able to deliver what he hoped he would. Ultimately their aspirations didn't quite match up.
Similarly Beefheart's cancer ascendent finds Jerry's mars and saturn on either side of it.
Despite some advantages, Beefheart is more likely to feel that freedom of his under threat
again and that Jerry is competing with his own aims and objectives.They both had a more
retrospective outlook on life than the other band members.

Finally we come to Alex St Clair Snouffer,guitarist on Safe As Milk but who later rejoined
for The Spotlight Kid.Not an air sign but with mercury and venus in libra, fulfilled the air
requirements as we've come to know them.His virgo sun traits of meticulousness and dedication to one's work would be influenced by libra's ability to see both sides of a question
and its indecisiveness.With venus also in libra, Alex is more likely to see the joys in partnerships rather than seeing the faults in others.His virgo side might make him something of a worrier over minute details or health issues whereas his libra nature would be more concerned over getting the balance right in his life.
His sun's square to jupiter suggests over-indugence and over-confidence,Jupiter in gemini
tends to expand the mind and scatter the interests, with virgo having difficulty keeping up with it all.He could be something of an extremist and health[close to virgo's heart] might suffer.
His sun is conjunct with neptune giving him great insight and imagination,excellent for a
musician but with the jupiter square, his lack of moderation might be an issue again.The virgo
setting for this conjunction would make him more methodical and practical than otherwise
would be the case.A lack of confidence despite the square to jupiter.His north node is also  conjunct the sun,so logic and organisation rather than neptune's intuition are his ultimate
goals to strive for.
His aries mars would normally give him a forceful manner,ready to take the initiative but its
retrograde state would cause him to hold back in anger sometimes rather than than release
his feelings naturally.His taurean saturn is also retrograde and he may be long-suffering or
over-patient.A kind of self-imposed control may restrict his progress but as with his mars
energy ,there would be a dogged determination about him.A guitarist who may fluctuate between excesses and the finer control.

His sun/neptune conjunction is in Beefheart's 3rd house,trining his sun/mercury in capricorn
This shows harmony and empathy between them with perhaps a telepathic understanding.
They should share basic earth values in everyday affairs with mutual intellectual interests and excellent lines of communication.A positive exchange of ideas with each finding the other interesting.Beefheart's uranus completes this grand earth trine between them.Alex's own
uranis returns the compliment to Beefhearts sun.
However confict in Beefheart's 4th house where Alex's libran venus challenges the very core of the captain.It is squared by his sun/mercury conjunction in the 7th indicating that Beefheart is not impressed by whay he may see as frivolousness in Alex in the way he
conducts himself in relationships.Perhaps Alex expressed his romantic libran nature too
freely for the capricorn side of Beefheart as well as his cancer nature.His own romantic nature as shown by his leo moon had no such problems with Alex here being in sextile to venus but
would have been less than happy with the square to Alex's saturn! A very stressful aspect for
Beefheart who would have felt Alex to lack sensitivity of feelings here.Nearly as unsettling
would have been the moon's square to uranus,equally dampening to Beefheart's leo feelings.
Alex's mars is also squared by the capricorn sun which is an altogether more difficult aspect.
This conflict between them is much more likely to have damaged their relationship and
ultimately made their working relationship untennable.Coming as it does in Beefheart's 10th house, the impact would have been particularly great.Neither a capricorn sun or an aries mars
are likely to compromise differences.Beefheart might have considered Alex as being too
assertive or even aggressive[the retrograde nature of mars not helping] whilst Alex might have
seen Beefheart as too dictatorial.Considered with Beefheart's moon squares from Alex's saturn/uranus conjunction,such surefire conflict would have undermined the grand trine between them and demonstrated how suns in virgo and capricorn do not necessarily find true
compatability.Alex did of course return to the fold leter in 1972.

What emerges from Beefheart's interaction with the 4 Magic Band members looked at, is that
his compatability with John French and Jeff Cotton was more positive than with Jerry Handley
and Alex Snouffer.It was the former duo who stayed longer with him and formed part of the
classic Magic Band line-up.


Don Van Vliet's capricorn sun progressed to aquarius when he was 4 years old which would
explain his futuristic and revolutionary outlook on life and music.He would retain his capricorn
virtues of responsibility and prudence but the aquarius progression to some extent explains
his eccentricity and social consciousness.His mercury also progressed to aquarius at a similar time so these aquarius concepts would be firmly installed with his capricorn values.
The latter would remain particularly strong with venus not progressing until he was 22.
January 23rd 1975 saw his sun progress to pisces.The period during which the sun progresses in adult life can be monumental, causing a major re-evaluation of our lives and values.He'd already seen  his saturn return on 6/6/71, another time of self-evaluation and coming just a year after his marriage to Jan.Subsequent albums revealed a more mellow and
"commercial" Beefheart.Come 1975 and his pisces progression, he was beginning to disperse his musical creativity and to concentrate on the painter and sculptor within.After
"Bluejeans and Moonbeams", he was absent from the music scene until 1978 and despite sporadic albums,by 1982 his music career was over and he would revert back to Don Van Vliet,now a successful painter.Also co-inciding with his half-uranus return.Change!
Come 2005 and his aries progression who knows.

John French's sun progressed to scorpio in june 1972 .In scorpio,relationships began in libra are developed and become more intense.After leaving in 1970,he rejoined in 1972 for "Clear Spot" but then left again the same year before "The Spotlight Kid".He rejoined in 1978 but left again soon after that.His saturn return in 1978 would have been a critical period in terms of self-evaluation and saw the end of his time with the band.His next sun progression will be
coming up for him in april 2002 when saggitarius should see him expand his horizons.

Jeff Cotton's sun progressed to cancer in october 1960.With mercury already progressed to cancer and venus and mars still there in their natal positions,his progressed chart showed
his personal planets in this water sign whilst his interpersonal and outer planets remained in
their natal earth signs.During 1967,when he joined the band,he was undergoing his progressed moon return,so his aries moon was fired up and ready to sail with the good captain.His mercury had just progressed to leo so creativity and optimism was in the air.
May 1970 saw his saturn return and the re-evaluation of life.The previous year he had left the band,never to return.

Jerry Handley was just 9 years old when his aquarius sun took on the pisces progression.His
mercury and venus had already paved the way for the other-worldly neptunian approach to life.
Aquarius is to do with the social conscience and this world,pisces is concerned with the sub-
conscious and other realms.By the time he joined The Magic Band,these piscean traits would have had time to establish themselves.July 1985 saw his progressed sun move to aries
which would give his life a new kick-start.New frontiers for the aquarian to explore.

Alex St Clair Snouffer was nearly 9 years old when his virgo sun progressed to libra.This would have asked of his basic virgo nature to consider a better balance in his life between
working for people and with people.His mercury remained in libra too until his early teens when his thought processes took on the scorpio decisiveness.Venus was already there since
his first year.So when he joined The Magic Band, there was a libra edge to his virgo sun.
Interesting that his saturn return was midway through 1971 and the following year he rejoined
Beefheart,briefly, after a 4 year absence for "The Spotlight Kid".
September 1980 saw his progressed sun arrive in scorpio, joining his mercury there.Scorpio
would now take virgo's eye for detail into more penetrating areas of life.