Nina Simone — singer, composer and activist — was born on February 21, 1933 in North Carolina. She has Moon in Capricorn — a singer’s placement (read more on this here), Sun, North Node, Mercury and the Part of Fortune in Pisces in the first house of self and cusp of second house of talent. Simone truly was extraordinarily gifted: her piano-playing alone is brilliant. But add to that a composer’s understanding of the mechanics of music, an unforgettable voice, and the emotional truth of Moon-Pluto, and you get genius.
I went to see her a long time ago at the Marquis in London. She seemed bored and cross and mainly she wanted to plug her book — and she was kind of scary. Even so it was one of the most memorable concerts I’ve ever been to, because just an iota of her talent on an off-day filled a small London club up to the brim. We were in the presence of a lion.
Her Pisces stellium is balanced by an equally strong stellium in the opposite sign Virgo, in the 7th house of the other and the cusp of the 8th house (of demons). This Virgo placement is the classic musician’s signature — Mars conjunct Neptune — but it’s amplified even more by a conjunction to Jupiter. The devil has the best tunes, and Simone seems to have battled her inner demons her whole life. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the 1960s, which we might see in this see-saw across the houses of talent and pain, self and other.
Simone was a committed advocate for African Americans. Her put her voice and songwriting talents to work for the Civil Rights movement in the US in the 1960s. To Be Young, Gifted and Black has been covered many times, Tell Me What It’s Like To Feel Free. You can see this strong sense of mission with Saturn Rising and powerfully placed in his favourite sign, humanitarian Aquarius. Simone’s Capricorn Moon opposes Pluto in the tribal sign Cancer. She was writing and performing those songs for all African Americans. Of course, the Moon-Pluto opposition is so hard to deal with personally, though.
Here she is showing how brilliant her piano playing can be, with How It Feels To Be Free at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976. The song was written by Billy Taylor.
A documentary about Simone is up for an Oscar this year. It’s on Netflix.
Her angry, truthful song Mississippi Goddam seems more relevant today than ever. Today, it could be re-sung as Ferguson Goddam. Here she is singing it in 1965 on a European tour.