[Note: I could never have written this article without having studied with my incredible Vedic Astrology Guru Hart deFouw. I would also like to thank the creators of AstroDatabank for their efforts, along with the late great Lois Rodden, in providing astrologers with the well-researched birth data of famous people.]
Last night I watched the excellent HBO documentary about Gloria Steinem called Gloria: In Her Own Words, and thought that it would be an interesting project to prepare an article examining her chart and seeing how it fit her life. This process would both illuminate methods of chart analysis, and see how well a chart can reflect a life.
[Note: After a very brief examination of her chart, it became obvious that her chart was an excellent reflection of her life. I created the list of themes to be explored before I examined her chart in depth, i.e. before I found the yogas and most of the other factors. Such is my trust that the relevant factors would be present.]
I will focus on specific areas of her life, and explore the astrological factors that signify them.
Success and Fame
Let's start by working to discover why Gloria Steinem became world famous. In Vedic astrology, when a planet or pair of planets forms positive Yogas, they raise the person's life above the norm.
Therefore, we would expect Gloria Steinem to have a chart replete in major yogas. Looking at her chart, below:
We see these yogas:
Raja Yoga: The 5th lord Saturn (with strength by being in its own sign) with the 9th lord Mercury (strong due to being Vargottama)
Raja Yoga: The 4th lord Saturn (with strength by being in its own sign) with the 9th lord Mercury (strong due to being Vargottama)
Raja Yoga: The 1st lord Venus (strong due to directional strength in the 4th house) mutually aspecting the 10th lord the Moon (which is strong by being in its own sign)
The involvement of the First Lord (oneself) with the Tenth Lord (one's career) in a powerful Raja Yoga with one of the yoga-forming planets occupying the 10th house is the primary indicator of a noteworthy career and public success. [Yogas manifest through the themes of the house(s) occupied by the yoga-forming planets.]
Raja Yoga: Ketu (strong because of directional strength) in the 10th house aspected by the 1st lord Venus creates a Nodal Raja Yoga.
It is very rare to see a chart where all of the planets forming Raja Yogas are strong, and this set of powerful positive yogas is augmented by another major yoga formed in the Bhava Chart:
Yogas that involve house placement (but not house rulership) should be reckoned by the Bhava chart. In Gloria Steinem's Bhava Chart, her Saturn is in its own sign in the 4th house, creating a Sasa Maha Purusha Yoga.
This is an extraordinary set of major yogas, and excellent indicators her life of success and fame.
Profound Influence on Society
In one of Hart's workshops, he gave us Bob Dylan's chart and sub-charts and asked the group what made Mr.Dylan so extraordinary. I was the only student fortunate enough to find the answer: that some of Dylan's planets had exceptional strength in many of the sub-charts.
This strength is called Dasa VargaJa Bala (Dasa=ten, VargaJa=sub-charts, Bala=strength) because we look at ten charts to see if any planet is strong in many of them. The charts are the D-1, D-2, D-3, D-7, D-9, D-12, D-16, D-30, and D-60.
Gloria Steinem has Saturn strong in seven of the charts, which is very uncommon, and makes her Sasa Maha Purusha Yoga truly phenomenal in effect.
In my table of the Lord of the First House in each house, which you can see by clicking here, I point out the Lord of the First House in the Fourth House is often a signifier of beauty, as well as a healthy libido, both of which were evident in Gloria Steinem.
The presence of Rahu close to her 1st Lord Venus in the 4th house magnified her sexual passion, as did the "passion combination" of the Moon and Venus mutually interacting, with one of them lord of a Dusthana (Venus is the 8th lord). [Note: My forthcoming article "The Problem with Passion" which tells how to assess passion from a birth chart, will be published on the saptarishisastrology.com website.]
Gloria Steinem had many serial relationships, and talked about her sexuality in the documentary.
One of the most profound indicators of relationship separations is the presence of the lord of the 7th house in the 6th house. The 6th house is a dusthana, which can indicate problems for the partner and/or for the relationship, but in addition, the 6th house is the 12th house from the 7th, and therefore indicates the loss of relationship (when the 7th lord is in that house).
The 7th lord's weakness (it's combust) reinforces this theme of relationship endings. [In fact, it is very fortunate that her 7th lord is aspected by a doubly-strong benefic Jupiter because that enabled her to actually be in and stay in partnerships.]
One of the most important Nakshatra's in a person's life is the Nakshatra occupied by the Lord of the First House. In Gloria Steinem's chart, the lord of the 1st house, Venus (who is also the significator of relationship), is in the Nakshatra called Dhanishta, which has as one of its significations problems in marriage.
In order to assess a person's ability to commit to a relationship, we can examine aspects to the 7th house itself. The only planet aspecting the 7th house is Saturn, a planet known to be a loner, and very disinclined to relationship. A modern interpretation of this is that Gloria Steinem would need "roomy relationships" where she could come-and-go as she pleased.
Gloria Steinem has had many relationships, and all but one ended without a marriage (in one case, she had gotten a marriage license, a blood test, and a ring, but still didn't go through with it). Tragically, the man she finally did marry died after only three years (again, the planet representing the spouse in the 6th house of illness).
Why did Gloria Steinem finally marry? Marriage was delayed because Saturn is the only planet that aspects the 7th house, and as the Western astrological proverb goes, "Saturn delays but does not deny."
When Gloria Steinem ran the dasa of the lord of the 7th house, Mars, which was a time period where marriage is more likely, she was able to get married, because in her Navamsa chart -- the divisional chart that indicates marriage -- Mars is both strong (in its own sign) , and well-placed.
In Gloria Steinem's birth chart, her 5th house is occupied by two "napumsaka" planets (both Saturn and Mercury are seen as neuter and can deny children when occupying the 5th house). This made it highly unlikely that she would give birth to children.
The presence of the significator of children (Jupiter) in the house of loss (12th house) explains why her only pregnancy ended in abortion.
Relocation and Travel
If we turn to the Bhava Chart again, Saturn's very strength in the 4th house had the effect of destabilizing her home life, and her parents moved many times while she was young, and in adulthood she traveled a great deal.
The Raja Yogas created by Mercury, both the 9th and 12th lord (travel houses), indicate that she traveled for service and for higher purposes. Her Jupiter in the 12th is both retrograde and Vargottama (and therefore doubly strong) and protected her during her sojourns in foreign lands.
Gloria Steinem was the founder and editor of Ms. magazine, which reached and inspired women (and men) everywhere. Again the Raja Yogas formed by the strong 9th lord (the 9th house is the house of publishing) are clear indicators of her literary successes.
Gloria Steinem was and is a truly exceptional person. She has influenced people worldwide, and brought hope, awareness, and freedom to so many people.
Postscript: Other interesting aspects of her chart
Why was Gloria Steinem a proficient tap dancer? Because the only planet in the "house of the feet" (12th house) is the doubly-strong benefic Jupiter and the lord of that house (Mercury) is both strong and participates in two Raja Yogas while occupying the house of preforming (5th house).
Why was Gloria Steinem able to deal with so many confrontations and crises so successfully? (including her husband's decline and death due to cancer) Because her 8th house and 8th lord (Venus) are both aspected by the protective and wise doubly-strong Jupiter.
Why did Gloria Steinem have such great mentors like Bella Abzug? Because her 9th lord Mercury is both strong and participates in two Raja Yogas.
Why was Gloria Steinem so politically active and successful? The main houses of politics are the 9th house and the 5th house, and she has two powerful Raja Yogas involving their lords.