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Birth Chart Analysis ~ Maya Angelou

Double fire, a wide planetary spread, and planetary aspects galore… You can say that Maya had a very full life. Truly, Maya had an exceptionally fiery energy, but she handled it in a subdued manner since a huge part of Leo falls in her 12th House. Maya’s Leo Ascendant denotes a big name, personality, and physical presence. She dazzled, certainly, although people had to do a bit of digging to discover what lay beneath Maya’s surface. She had a big heart and had a way of wearing it on her sleeve; however, she was hurt so deeply in the past that she needed to embark on the arduous voyage of opening her heart again. With Leo and Virgo in the 1st House, Maya may have had an overwhelming appearance, albeit she commanded attention in a very soft-spoken way. She was uniquely beautiful, regardless of what she wore or how she presented herself. People saw her as proper, controlled, perfect, flawless. Fixed star Regulus conjunct her Ascendant also denotes that her appearance and demeanor remained winsome and august. Maya's heart and actions spoke louder than her words. She also had the powerful ability to emote while speaking from a place deep within her very core. Juno retrograde conjunct Neptune retrograde by a 5° orb suggests that because of her pure wisdom, refined only through hard-knocks, people saw her as a perfect human/woman/friend/partner/teacher/student/confidant - you name it! People often projected onto her because they felt like they knew her on a very deep level. Maya was very connected to the humanity in herself and in everyone else. She was seen as someone who would sacrifice a lot to improve society and be of service to mankind.

(Left to right) Johnnetta Cole, director of the National Museum of African Art, Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey

Neptune retrograde is conjunct her Leo Ascendant, so all of that beautiful, Neptunian energy is turned inwards, creating an amplified force that simply struck every person she encountered. Maya was able to quickly gain people’s trust, and she came across as a demure woman who could humbly dissolve interpersonal barriers. She was seen as someone who harbored a very serene, poetic, loving, sublime, angelic energy that drew people in to her. Indeed, Maya experienced a lot of heartbreak and loss when it came to love. She also may have died due to heart failure. She may have spent a lot of time being single and learning how to enjoy it (Juno retrograde).

She became a master of relationships and the art of “give and take”. Her Moon at 11° Libra shows that Maya found a lot of value in creating emotionally intimate relationships with others. She also came to put a lot of value in her intellectual, analytical and communicative abilities. Maya may have witnessed her mother be demeaned by an authoritative figure or entity of sorts at some point in her life (Moon opposite Sun, conjunct Jupiter). Maya’s father may have been physically distant from Maya and remained an absent figure in her life. A lot of her life focus would go towards healing from the experiences of her younger years. With Lilith in Scorpio conjunct her IC, she may have gone through a traumatic, debilitating experience involving themes of femininity, sexuality, darkness, misunderstandings, and the taboo. With power, evenness and sensuality, Maya channeled the pain of her childhood experiences into her career and public image; she transformed into a rebel who fought to reveal to each person the true light that shined deep within them.

Fixed star Antares residing in the 4th house reveals that, although she came out victorious, Maya endured much violence and fighting in the home sphere; Saturn retrograde also indicates that Maya received a lot of abuse from an authoritative figure. She was meant to leave home, or be emotionally cut off from her home, at an early age (South Node). She experienced a lot of fear and transformation related to her home, her childhood/adolescence, her expression, and her joy. These experiences may have involved her sexuality, her skin color, or simply aspects of herself that others feared and condemned; she could not change these aspects of herself, so she learned to conceal them in shame. She came to learn that the only way to cloak her afflictions in grace was to shine a spotlight on them. With her South Node in the 4th House, Maya had to learn how to leave behind warring against oppressive, abusive structures, and instead embrace adaptability in thinking, understanding all points of view, and relating to all people no matter who they were or where they came from.

Sagittarius and Capricorn in the 5th House indicate that Maya knew how to turn her pleasures and hobbies, including writing, publishing, educating and traveling, into a venture she could profit from, thus creating a solid, lasting legacy. Maya preferred to direct herself and be her own boss when it came to ventures that required risk. She relied on faith and hard work to bring her success. Her 5th House also indicates that she struggled with voicing her desires and exercising her ego in her younger years. She exercised a lot of control and employed a lot of wisdom as a child. She found purpose and karmic release in disciplining her childhood memories, her expression, and her joy. With the Galactic Center here, Maya played a big role in getting the childlike voice in every human heard. She knew how to creatively express her will in ways that empowered benevolence instead of greed. Despite her struggles, she embodied a spirit of joy and play, and she pursued her passions with abandon. Additionally, she felt emboldened to take risks that were divinely inspired and guided. Her Vertex at 12° Capricorn also points to a very spiritual, creative work that would serve to heal and uplift many people, especially in regard to whatever childhood wounds they carried. She was seen as a spiritual powerhouse, a woman who adhered unremittingly to her beliefs and ideals until they saw her through.

With the 6th House in the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, we can see that her daily routine and occupations were often guided by childhood burdens; authority figures; work; meditation; writing; community service; and societal norms. With every day that passed, she transcended space and time and garnered a deeper understanding of her wounding childhood experiences to help her make sense of the story of her life. She wrote and thought plenty, documenting her daily life in a journal/diary. Pallas 8° Aquarius indicates that Maya was able to see through the framework of society and detect power dynamics from a very young age; she used her understanding to bring light to the darkness and empower multitudes of people. She observed people very closely and came to understand the undercurrents of human nature, thus informing her own beliefs about society and the collective humanity. Throughout her life, she may have felt isolated by others due to some purpose of hers; she felt as if she was always on the outside looking in. For a time, it may have been hard for Maya to emotionally connect to the people in her workplace or immediate environment; nonetheless, the connections she did make with others ended up benefiting her greatly (Part of Fortune 20° Aquarius, conjunct Descendant). Maya sensed restrictions in being able to act like everyone else and relate to others normally. Yet, she was able to come up with genius ways to draw people in and create a sense of community, whether mentally or physically. She was a highly creative individual and was ultimately forced to seek out time to explore her creative voice.

Maya Angelou with 1st husband Tosh Angelos (left), and 2nd husband Paul du Feu (right).

Maya resonated with forms of sexual identity and expression that were considered unconventional (e.g. abstinence, asexuality, queer, bisexuality, etc.), both in her own life and in the lives of others. She may have gained this outlook or embodiment of sexuality in triggering, transformative, and traumatic ways, but gaining this wisdom ultimately led to the liberation of her mind, body and soul. Maya may have gone through a difficult experience dealing with an authority figure who, for a long time, hid their true colors and put their power and charisma to nefarious uses. Consequently, Maya separated from the home and went on her own to search for light and meaning in life. Her hero’s journey involved a lot of seeking to heal the darkness within and around her. She learned a lot about people who neglected their responsibility to nurture and care for others, and how indecision and unwillingness to upset the balance or disappoint others played a huge role in one’s ignorance. Maya’s compassionate nature pushed her to dedicate her life to making sure others never felt the same pain and betrayal that she felt.

As her 7th House encompasses Aquarius and Pisces, Maya encountered plenty of dreamy, revolutionary, and artistic people. She may have united with many others in fighting for a certain cause. Vesta 10° Pisces shows that the connections she made with others were often spiritual, long-lasting, and based in unconditional love; these were very devoted friends, family and followers with whom she formed strong, protective bonds. These people helped her become successful, which, in turn, drew even more people to her. People were attracted to her name and her wisdom, and she was drawn to them for their love and for what they taught her.

Planet Mars and fixed star Ceres are conjunct at 27° Aquarius and also conjunct her Descendant. Maya had a history of protesting, i.e. fighting for the freedom, empowerment and protection of underprivileged people. This fighting involved a lot of communication; dissemination of knowledge and materials; mobilizing of people of all ages and backgrounds; and organizing of these individuals based on courage and skill. Mars and Ceres are opposite her Ascendant, Neptune retrograde, Regulus retrograde and Juno retrograde in Leo, which means that Maya may have received a lot of physical harm and oppression from the authority figures she fought against, albeit this abuse somehow aided her overarching material ambitions. The tribulations she endured at the hands of these depraved figures helped her know how to be a true, benefic leader herself. Although the battle was fierce, Maya saw that the side united by their love for one another and a higher cause ultimately overpowered those forces perverse by their wounding and disorganized because of their disillusionment; indeed, the people with true heart and grit prevailed over the ones who were undeserving of their authority and who ruled merely because they were born into an unjustifiable world of privilege, pomposity and inequality. Maya, constantly exposed to the anger of others throughout her life, dealt with this anger and outrage by becoming an observer, relinquishing her ego, and remembering that this world/her physical state was not her true home/self, thus allowing her to look at others with understanding and compassion. She was able to be so compassionate because she saw so well, because she listened more than she spoke. While she absorbed a lot of people’s anger, she rarely expressed outrage herself; when she displayed anger, it was righteous and refined. She may have died carrying a lot of the fighting force and energy she absorbed from others throughout her life. Her passing was actually quite healing for many people and the world at large, because when she died, other’s heartbreak and aching perished also. Even more, she is still able to provide a lot of healing and protection to others postmortem.

Malcom X and Maya Angelou in Ghana, 1964

Mercury 20° Pisces in the 8th House conjunct her Venus at 21° Pisces shows that Maya experienced many confusing circumstances related to her sexuality in which boundaries were blurred and people abused their power to assert their dominance over her; her sensuality and freedom to express and explore her pleasures may have been robbed from her. This sent her into a great depression, as violence of any kind was very triggering to her. Maya had to learn how to balance femininity, pleasure and receptiveness with masculinity, extroversion and aggression. With Eris at 1° Aries, Maya may have felt that her innocence, peace and security were stolen from her in a very violent and careless way; therefore, she was motivated to find her own sense of strength, individuality, and peace. With Uranus at 4° Aries, there was a shakeup within her home or inner world that involved dominance and physical over-assertion of one’s will. Maya sought to break away from cultural norms and bring in a new order to replace outdated traditions. She saw herself as a revolutionary, espousing personal and physical freedom. She recognized each person as an individual and could not understand why such beautiful beings had to be so limited in various ways by others. She worked long and hard to liberate her mind and body through unique methods. She held a lot of her personal power in her hands and in the beautiful words she wove into expressions to inspire transformation and enlightenment in others.

Education was very important to Maya’s sense of self, her joy, and her vitality. Her Sun closely conjunct Jupiter at 16° Aries shows that she found a good deal of hope and pride in expanding her mind via an independent, self-directed approach. She may have liked to travel alone frequently; travel and interest in other cultures motivated her to find healing in the meaning in all life - both the happiness and the suffering. She held a lot of power and responsibility when it came to teaching others, especially youth. She sought to liberate herself from limiting beliefs regarding gender, race and sexuality. With Chiron 4° Taurus, Maya experienced wounding or repression of her voice at a young age, as a response to an aggressive authoritative figure (Sun conjunct Jupiter in Aries). Writing about this experience helped her reach fame. Her wounding related to her throat chakra may have resulted from an emotional issue, and persisted for a long time. Maya knew how to free others from religious or social dogmas, especially because of all of the trauma she experienced herself in regard to culture/religion/societal expectations. She may have been deeply wounded by the thoughtless words and actions of others, perhaps due to the way she moved or spoke - she may have been seen as too slow or unintelligent. She had to learn how to trust herself despite criticism from others, and develop a self-validating response to the reality of her physical, sensual and emotional needs. The people who hurt Maya the most - those in the university setting or of a different race/culture from hers - made her feel like she did not have the right to live her life in ways that mattered to her. Chiron shows that Maya felt scapegoated and held accountable for society’s ills and was often subject to prejudice and abuse because of her culture, heritage or physical appearance. She may have spent a lot of time being forced to be still and rest; she had to learn when and how to act, and how to use her immobility as a strength.

"I thought for a long time that I was a writer who could teach. But after being at Wake Forest for five or six years I realized I'm a teacher who can write." - Maya Angelou

Aldebaran conjunct her North Node in Gemini makes Maya a fighter for people she considered her family and friends. Her MC is at the degree of Leo in the sign of Taurus, so she would earn a lot of popularity in speaking; fashion and the arts; and employing taxing physical efforts. Maya found a lot of security in the public sphere. She had a way of using her hands that was extremely beautiful, moving and punctilious. She knew how to fight for justice and righteousness using very beautiful language; she took big philosophical ideas and encapsulated them in layman terms without losing their true meaning and impact. She needed a job where she would serve others and use her skill, intellect and courage to do a great service to mankind and lead others. She had a deep voice that projected robustness from very deep within her physical body. She was a magical and captivating public speaker. She knew a lot of facts about history and mankind; it was as if she was a walking time capsule. She was extremely charming, especially when it came to her career; people saw her as beautiful, smart, and a friend of many, a proponent of peace. She was known for her singing voice and her love of music, and frequently wrote her own songs.

Through her hard work, Maya became a symbol of power and deliverance for the people of her cultural community. She knew how to use her physical attributes to command people’s attention. Her legacy is the transformation of people’s hearts and minds; she gave a lot of time and energy to supporting people in meaningful ways. Maya needed a lot of alone time to process and recuperate, but she found deep healing in using her God-given empathic abilities to bring joy to others. She may have suffered physical pain as a result of the burdens of the world that she carried with her. Maya spent many years trying to hide her true emotions from people, especially from authority figures. She loved playing with children, or simply getting in touch with her childlike spirit. She knew how to direct her will to turn enemies into friends and make opposing forces work for her. A lot of people called her a mother, which she delighted in, as she felt that she had no mother of her own; the fact that she mothered so well was, in her opinion, proof of God’s existence and grace. Maya was very intuitive and knew how to surrender to God’s will and the cycles of nature; she knew when to apply force and when to allay it. Maya strove for peace in everything that she did, regardless of whether others agreed with her or not. The classroom setting helped her grow and flourish in her creativity. She wielded a lot of power when it came to safe and secure environments where people nurtured their souls and minds through the receipt of information. Maya worked to gain people’s attention so that she could point them towards “the light”. Her power was a very passive kind, and it earned her respect and love. The way she stabilized her own emotions was through carrying and tending to the emotions of others. She may have conversed with angels, God and her ancestors often. By conceding her soul and her ego, she gained the whole world.


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