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Karen's Pisces Sun progressed to Aries when she was 18 years old. About this time she had started dieting, determined to lose her chubby teenage look.The oncoming thrust of Aries took decisive action as so often it does when it awakens the fish from its slumbers.Her moon, too was progressed to Aries and had been there since April 66. If ever a person was to feel Aries' imperative for action, it was Karen at this time.She and Richard had formed their first band in 65 and recorded some songs on the Magic Lamp label.The ensuing singles failed to make impact the following year.
They won a Battle of The Bands in 66, earning them a recording deal with RCA on 13/5/66 as the Richard Carpenter Trio but this was to be a frustrating experience due to their recordings not being released.They formed Spectrum in 67 and eventually The Carpenters.The progressed Moon seems to have paved the way for her Sun progression in 27/8/68.Her Sun conjuncting her Moon in acceptable orb throughout 66 making it a milestone year indeed.
Uranus, the great planet of change, was very active in Karen's life.Natally, it conjuncts her ascendent and being a first house planet, it will influence her greatly.In terms of progression, her Uranus moves into her 12th house soon after birth and remained there throughout her life.Her subconscious mind affected by Uranus erratic behaviour and the need for change.The urge to be free, at times inhibited in this most solitary of houses.Consequently, her way of expressing it might involve unusual methods such as her slimming imperative.The progressed Moon squares Uranus in her seminal musical year of 1966, reaching its zenith in May at the time of the RCA deal.This would be, and was, a time of intense nervous energy and ups and downs.Success followed by frusration and disappointment.This square is repeated just before her marriage on 31/8/80.The desire to change her life was also frought with the tensions this aspect brings.Health is greatly at risk during its height.Within weeks,the marriage was failing.Her Neptune was also opposed by her progressed Sun and Mercury.Phobias and neurotic tendencies were dangers for Karen at what should have been such a happy time.She,allegedly started taking ipecac soon afterwards.
The progressed Sun also squares Uranus during that formative Fire Horse Year of 66, reaching its peak in the Autumn of 69.Once again whirlwinds of change and tension could be expected and indeed it was for Karen, as The Carpenters released their first album in November, having signed to A & M in the April. After years of frustration, the breakthrough was at hand.
By 1975, with her progressed Mercury and Mars also having squared Uranus, along with the Sun, plus her Moon conjunction with Uranus in late 73, Karen had experienced an astrological roller-coaster. Quite apart from the physical one from endless touring.
In December her Retrograde Mars, progressed into Virgo from Libra. Its square to Uranus, still active, is critical enough in itself, with the dangers of accidents and rash behaviour.But with the sign change too, the effects are likely to continue long after.Virgo's effect on Karen's Mars could be to want to put health matters in order.A general disatisfaction with life can occur.
The fact that this Uranus activity centres on her 12th house makes the impact and stress on Karen even more pronounced.The house of seclusion and the subconscious.
Her Venus and Pluto are in opposition during the 66 to 72 period, which in Karen's case perhaps meant an intense love affair with the music! Plenty of obstacles too along the way.
Her Progressed Moon return took place on 6/8/77. She was now suffering the severest effects of her anorexia and the effect of the Moon return would be to seriously review all things in her life.With Pluto also being conjuncted, emotional blockages set in and poor Karen would find self-evaluation very difficult.Leo emotions can be powerful and subjective, stubbornly failing to see what is obvious to others.
Her Saturn Return in September 1979 would be a major time for a self-assessment of her life.The year had started with Richard facing up to his own addiction by admitting himself into hospital. Karen finally took the opportunity to work on her ill-fated solo album. Her marriage a year later was perhaps another of her Saturn initiatives, including temporarily addressing her anorexia problem.Her progressed Moon also conjuncted Saturn for most of the year which can be depressing and is not the best time for projects.

It should be stated that there were many positive progressed aspects throughout the time period being covered here but I've tried to concentrate on the challenges, given the circumstances of Karen's life.Nor should it be thought that planetery happenings rule our lives.They don't. However they do reveal trends and patterns in our lives which we are at liberty to take on board. Except in exceptional circumstances, we are the masters of our own destinies.The soul may have a particular agenda for us, which might seem to some of us as if we were born under a bad star. But personal growth and contentment in life often comes from understanding who we are. Astrology seeks to enlighten us not to control or confuse our lives.
With the dominance of her Sun and the Moon natally,their progression relationship also becomes significant.Unconnected at her birth, they conjunct late 65 and through much of 66 a pointing to a milestone period in Karen's life, providing the impetus and spark that would set her on her way.Very much The Carpenters' formative year which saw Karen the drummer become Karen the angelic vocalist.
The Sun/Moon relationship has become sextile by early 71 and the early promise develops both for Karen and the band. However, squares follow sextiles, and this becomes exact during mid-74 when the pressures have started to show on Karen. Vitality and health tends to suffer during this phase and the gruelling schedule of touring and recording proved too much .Career disappointments also tend to come with this phase of the Sun/Moon Progression.The trine that follows, which was exact at the end of October 76, may have come too late.The damage had been done.The opposition phase wasn't exact till May 81 but would be similar in effect to the square, except that the dischord might be less acute.The opposition is right on the 4th house/10th house angle and the dilemna of personal needs versus public duty is right on the line for Karen.To move forward and leave the past behind is one of the challenges here.The opportunity to overcome the forces ravaging her. May was always a critical time in Karen's natal chart when the Pallas T-Square is activated by the Transiting Sun.By 1981,Chiron had become crucially involved too and the need to heal wounds was never greater.
The opposition phase continued into 1982, the year when Karen went to her New York therupy to try to overcome her anorexia.By the end of the year, it was hoped she was on the way to recovery,though there were those,including Richard, who felt things were still not right. Her cardiac arrest on 4/2/83 meant that we will never know.
The transits of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune in her 6th house have already been looked at earlier but Transiting Saturn had entered her 5th house in October 82 .This long-term transit can restrict our expression of creativity and happiness and with Jupiter and Mercury moving to the 6th the next month, a testing end to an important year. Finally,Mercury was just about to enter her 8th house,within hours of her death.It had previously been there over Christmas into the New Year,before turning retrograde on 12th night and going back into her 7th on the 20th January.In the 8th, thoughts are turned to the very deepest of truths and issues.From the 6th to the 28th January, Karen's thoughts and actions, like most of ours, during Mercury's retrograde period, would not have been at their clearest or most functional.
However, it was the culmination of many things in her life,over a long period, which brought about Karen's heart failure and no single event.The transit picture of that fateful day does not come within the sphere of this writing.Earth had lost its sweetest nightingale and Heaven had welcomed back an angel.

Richard's Libra Sun progressed to Scorpio on 26/7/55. He already had Mercury,Venus,Mars and Jupiter in this deepest of signs,though Venus had progressed to Saggitarius the year after his birth. His Libran interest in relationships would be developed and directed to deeper aspects of relating which would include music.He took up classical piano at this young age and had the intense drive to succeed in his chosen field that is one of Scorpio's hallmarks.
Like Karen, 1966 was a seminal year for him too with his Progressed Moon entering Pisces in May, the month of the RCA contract. Pisces adds imagination and feeling to his natal, thinking-orientated Gemini Moon and receptivity is heightened. For the next two and a half years, Richard would develop the sound of his band from its "garage" roots to the ethereal sound that was The Carpenters.The Progressed Moon Cycle is an interesting way of studying the pattern of our lives and in Richard's case, it is particularly revealing.By late 68, the Aries progression of his Moon would urge him forward,seeking recognition and achievement! This would be accomplished in 69, signing with Herb Alpert's to A & M records.
The Taurus progression in Sep 70 marks a period of emotional and artistic fulfillment, as Richard enjoys the success of having at last made it.As 1972 ends, his Moon has re-entered its natal position of Gemini and a  more restless,up and down phase can be expected. In1973 he broke his right leg and left wrist in a motorcycle accident but also remained active releasing "Now and Then". Tours and awards kept them busy.
Richard's Progressed Moon Return took place on 20/2/74 when personal growth and self-development issues come to the fore..He realised his dream of playing with The Boston Pops Orchestra in June,toured Japan to phenomenal acclaim,performed at the White House  and shared a house with Karen. Moving away from home for the first time would have been an important experience for him.He also consulted an eye doctor.It's important to also note that his natal conjunction with Uranus is also re-formed with this progression.Richard would feel dynamic and inspired for the months to follow. His Moon progressed to Cancer on Oct 5 which would see an altogether different phase in his Progressed Moon Cycle. With the Uranus contact having now waned, he would tune in to life at a deeper emotional level, particularly his own psyche as well as those dearest to him.1975 would be a year of immense turmoil in his life with Karen's problems coming to light and his own beginning."The problem is we were growing professionally during the years most people were concentrating on being a person" By 76 he was hooked on the sleeping pill Quaalude.
His Leo Moon Progression came in Nov 76.Leo brings loyalty and affection but also self-indulgence and grandeur. Richard's Quaalude addiction continued without seemingly being addressed.Leo is notorious at ignoring health issues. His collection of vintage cars was expanding in true Leo style and 1977 was a year full of professional achievement.However his Moon's square with his progressed Sun during the summer of 78 was there to test his outer and inner self .Perhaps the final wake-up call to reality and vitality.   
With the progression to Virgo on New Years Day 1979, D-Day arrived. Virgo is very concerned about health and sure enough Richard admitted himself into a clinic in January to finally resolve his addiction.A particularly auspicious Moon Progression in the cycle.Virgo is also a critical and discerning sign and Karen was devastated by his apparent insensitivity to her solo album. "Made In America" was recorded during this period when serious attention is given to Work as well as Health..
His next 2 Moon Progressions were in the relationship-orientated signs of Libra and Scorpio. Karen had unsuccessfully married in 1980 but Richard had remained single. His Moon progression to Scorpio on 16/9/83 would have intensified his feelings regarding relationships and life.The shattering death of Karen in February inevitably left their scars  but Scorpio so heightens the emotions that Richard  would have searched his soul trying to unravel life's mysteries and agonies. At this moment in his life,Richard had all personal planets except for Mars(scorpio natally) progressed to Scorpio plus Jupiter still there too. Scorpio seeks the meaning of existence. Richard married his cousin Mary on the 19th May 1984 and during the next few years had several children. He discovered the other side to life which had previously alluded him.The Saggitarius Progression, with the desire to expand to new horizons, saw the recording of his 1st solo album.
His Progressed Sun and Moon conjunct in Saggitarius from Feb through to June 86. Richard would be motivated by this and single-minded about his future goals.This adds resolve to his natal Sun/Moon trine.This period also ties in with his  Second Sun Progression on 13/6/86.Whereas Scorpio expands within, searching our darkest corners, Saggitarius fires its arrows far and wide.After its voyage of personal issues in Scorpio, the psyche turns to the broader scope of life.Ten years emerge between his 2 solo albums during which time he could expand in other fields, musically and otherwise.

Of all Richard's progressed planets, perhaps Venus is the most intriguing.Natally it is not retrograde but on 17/3/59, it started a retrograde motion that remained until 30/5/2000, taking it back into Scorpio on 2/12/70 after spending the 60s in Saggitarius. Venus retrograde indicates relationship issues to be addressed with love difficult to express. Romantic inhibitions may have been felt by Richard during the 70s when Venus went back into Scorpio.In this sign, any suppressions of love would be deeply felt. Scorpio needs and desires a soulmate.The Carpenters' work schedule didn't help."Several years went by and we lost contact with any personal life."
His Saturn Return was on 7/8/76.This usually heralds a self-review of one's life so far.It seems that Richard chose to address the professional aspects of his life rather than the escalating Quaalude addiction problems.1976-77 saw The Carpenters recover from their 1975 exhaustion and involve themselves in many projects.The impetus of his Progressed Sun trine Moon (his most comforting natal aspect) earlier in 76 may have sparked this feeling of well-being that took him into his Saturn Return and more personal matters were shelved.With Uranus conjuncting his natal Mercury too, for much of 77, his thinking is ignited by the Uranian call to action. Saturn was transiting his ultra-personal 12th and 1st houses during this period and squared his natal Mercury and Midheaven in 77 for 4 months.There were still important issues to be addressed in his life that weighed heavily on his mind. Uranus conjuncting his natal Mars for most of 78 may have been one of the factors which forced the addiction issue.Uranus can help us see things as they really are and demand we change.Richard now realised, more clearly,the dangers of not taking the appropriate action.Its transit of his 4th house would initiate a complete change in Richard's perception.
The effect of Neptune moving into his 5th house at the beginning of 78 meant a shift from past and home associations to the wider pursuits of Leo's house. A kind of cloud would be lifted and true romance would follow in the 80s as Neptune sailed into the heart of his 5th. On his wedding day in 1984, not only was Neptune in his 5th but Jupiter,bringer of joy, had chosen that house for its yearly transit ! The Progressed Sun ( with Mercury in close conjunction) shone well on that day for Richard.  It  had been conjuncting both his Natal Venus and his Progressed Venus during the 80s, bringing love and romance into his life.The transitting Sun,not to be outshone, was opposing natal Venus the very day of his wedding, so feelings of love and sexual energy would have been at their highest.
Throughout everything, Richard has continued to be responsible for music of the very highest quality.In 1994, bands ranging from Sonic Youth to the Cranberries, got together to release their own tribute to this remarkable duo, "If I Were A Carpenter".Jeff McDonald of Redd Kross summed it up.The Carpenters produced " perfect pop songs ".Indeed they did. Karen and Richard had the rare ability to reach the hearts of the most sophisticated audience yet equally appeal to the public at large.This is the legacy of The Carpenters.


Many of the songs they sang reflected things they deeply felt and were hauntingly autobiographical.The following two, in particular, seem to encapsulate everything that made them touch the hearts of so many.Their songs were more than just pop songs.There's something of us all in these lyrics and knowing what we know now of their lives, the words strike the very deepest chords of our hearts.


I'll say goodbye to love
No one ever cared if I should live or die
Time and time again the chance for love has passed me by
And all I know of love is how to live without it
I just can't seem to find it
So I've made my mind up
I must live my life alone
So I've made my mind up
I must live my life alone
And though it's not the easy way
I guess I've always know
I'd say goodbye to love
There are no tomorrows for this heart of mine
Surely time will lose these bitter memories
And I'll find that there is someone to believe in
And to live for something I could live for
All the years of useless search
Have finally reached an end
Loneliness and empty days will be my only friend
From this day love is forgotten
I'll go on as best I can
What lies in the future is a mystery to us all
No one can predict the wheel of fortune as it falls
There may come a time when I will see that I've been wrong
But for now this is my song
And it's goodbye to love
I'll say goodbye to love

There was a man
A lonely man
Who lost his love
Through his indifference
A heart that cared
That went unshared
Until it died
Within his silence
And solitaire's the only game in town
And every road that takes him
Takes him down
And by himself it's easy to pretend
He'll never love again
And keeping to himself
He plays the game
Without her love
It always ends the same
While life goes on around him everywhere
He's playing solitaire
A little hope
Goes up in smoke
Just how it goes
Goes without saying
There was a man
A lonely man
Who would command
The hand he's playing

Part 1           On to Abba