This chartwheel was created using Halloran Software's Astrology for Windows, available as shareware at www.halloran.com.
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Chico (Leonard) Marx
March 21, 1887, New York City
Interpretation by Kathy Biehl
This interpretation uses the birthdate and place given in the Marx Brothers Encyclopedia. The chart was run with the sun on the ascendant, to avoid the problem of not having an exact birth time, and as a result I'm not making any conclusions about the ascendant. The planets and signs are:
Sun conjunct Mercury conjunct Mars
Moon conjunct south node in Aquarius
Venus in Aries
Jupiter in Scorpio
Saturn in Cancer
Uranus in Libra
Neptune in Taurus conjunct Pluto in Gemini
The preponderance of planets in fire and cardinal signs gives the chart an Aries overlay, underscoring the effect of four planets in that sign.
The themes of this chart are impulsiveness, independence and self-motivation, living for the chase and thriving on instability, and being everyone's pal.
Chico's sun in Aries was alone enough to make him a hard-driving character. It's in the very first position of the sign, zero degrees, and so embodies raw, unrefined, unadulterated Aries energy -- enough blind, egocentric aggression to have made him hard to handle. With all of the sun, Mars, Mercury and Venus in Aries, Chico was a veritable powerhouse. This planetary line-up combines his sense of self and will, how he used his energy, his mode of communication, and his romantic/artistic nature. The first three were inextricably linked; his mind, his drive and his ego operated as one unit. With all this Aries, he lived in the moment, acting on impulse and native intuition rather than planning. This pile-up would have made him a bulldozer, able to talk (or charm; in this case the verbs amount to the same thing) his way out of, or into, just about anything. The fight would continue as long as the other side didn't capitulate, but after winning, he'd run to the next excitement. This is someone who hunted for the sport rather than the capture or reward. He couldn't have helped but be an adrenalin junkie, valuing the experience more than the result.
Just how low his tolerance for boredom was (which was incredibly low) is emphasized by where Uranus, the most destabilizing point in the chart, falls: right opposite the sun/Mars/Mercury conjunction, which is a formula for constant inner tension. So not only did he live for excitement; he had a compulsion to stir things up, just to heighten the drama. This is a signature for deliberately causing your own trouble, for making the fight harder and more difficult, for, say, throwing card games that would be too easy to win. Not surprisingly, Uranus clashes with Saturn in Cancer, which represents where he was held back, restricted or obligated. He was his own worst enemy; the source of damage in his life was himself, and the damage that spun off from his internal instability involved his family and responsibilities to them.
There is no room for self-doubt, reflection or regard for consequences in a hyper-Aries personality like this. Anything would be fair game. The harder it was to get, the more attractive it would have been. The inherent brazenness in this chart held the potential for arrogance and phenomenal egotism. Apologizing would not be in the realm of possibility, unless it served a purpose as a sales tool; feeling remorse was even less likely. By the same token, such a blast of Aries made for a personality so warm and vibrant that it would have been difficult to deny him whatever he wanted in a particular moment.
Aiding this is a handy moon placement in Aquarius, which treats everyone like a friend. This influence would have made it easier to take his relentless pushiness and impulsiveness and probably kept fights from going bad. (Jupiter trining the moon would have amplified this ability to be everybody's pal.) People with moon in Aquarius see the whole world as their neighborhood and have an openness that makes even strangers generally respond positively to them. These are the sort of people who get to know the guy behind the counter at the drycleaners and single out a particular bar or restaurant to adopt as a hangout. This placement has friendships that last over the years, even though the parties may not see or talk to each other very often at all. The flip side to the friendliness is cold detachment, which in this case may have diffused some of Chico's fieriness. Four planets in fire guarantee that he had a quick temper that erupted without warning (thanks to the Uranus opposition), but also that he didn't hang on to arguments once he vented. That would have been boring and a waste of energy.
With Mercury in Aries, he didn't have to think to talk; there wasn't time. Talk just flowed, fueled by a desire to sell or convince or win something. He would have been able to make things up but likely have no memory of what had come pouring out of him. He would have been most comfortable with a seat-of-the-pants approach to just about anything. An attention span and follow-through would not have been his strong suits, so learning scripts would have been difficult, not because of a lack of intelligence, but because it would have been easy for him to lose interest.
His ideal of women and his artistic/romantic nature fell right in line with his basic personality. Venus in Aries typifies the hunter. Conquest is more important than possession, and constant variety and stimulation is the goal. (He was, not surprisingly, a notorious womanizer.) He saw women as targets of the chase, but he would have valued someone with spunk and the ability to fight back. His dream woman was a spitfire and a fighter, independent, impulsive and exciting, Diana in the flesh, as much a hunter as Chico was. Similar qualities were what he looked for in his art. Impulsiveness permeated his performances. He would have much preferred an edge of uncertainty onstage. Having the script down cold wouldn't have given him security; it would have bored him.
It's interesting that with all that fire, his emotional nature and needs were based in air. With moon in Aquarius he needed distance and independence. He would have felt more at home with someone who talked to him and was herself independent than with an emotionally sensitive and expressive woman who tried to mother him. He would have also been comfortable around unconventional people and in situations that went against the norm. Intellectually he could be concerned about the welfare of others, but it's unlikely that anyone close experienced him as compassionate and empathetic. Jovial and affable, yes, because of the moon's trine to Jupiter, but not emotionally concerned or connected in the way that most people expect. If he were pushed or confronted about an emotional situation, the fundamental detachment of his nature could have been glacial.
This was his predisposition, as shown by the south node in Aquarius being in close conjunction to the moon. The south node is instinctual, automatic behavior that a person resorts to under stress. Chico's m.o. would have been to distance himself. The north node in Leo (which shows his true path) challenged him to shine and be a leader, to learn self control, create something substantial and beneficently share it. While the issue of self control (as the term is usually meant) was a lost cause, he did take the lead in getting work for the act. Too, through the legacy of the brothers' films he did manage to bestow beneficence on humanity. Those closer to him would have been another matter.
This moon position indicates that Chico experienced his mother as a masculine, mental presence, emotionally distant yet intense and powerful. She would have been more of a pal than a fussing, nurturing presence, but it would have been the type of pal that clamps on, never lets go, and tells you what to do. She was certainly a beneficial influence; the moon's trine to Jupiter suggests that her goodwill towards him knew no limits. A harsh aspect to Chico's moon shows that he would have butted heads with her. (A Neptune/Pluto conjunction squares his moon.) His need to be independent and do things his way would have been a challenge to her formidable power, and he broke away periodically in his youth. Coming back was inevitable, though. She challenged him to grow and had a hold on him that was akin to a spell. It took a powerful, goddess-like presence to maintain the interest of this quintessentially wandering soul. (For an astrological comparison of the brothers' relationships to Minnie, click here.)
Copyright Kathy Biehl 1999. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for electronic replication or distribution of this article only if you include the copyright notice.
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