“Ornette always knew what he was doing. He had it all worked out.” -Denardo Coleman
I’ll even go as far as to say that even before birth, Ornette had a plan. His entry point into this world was perfectly timed for him to actualize his life. In other words, Ornette came into this world astrologically armed to be exactly who he was and accomplish exactly what he did. While John Coltrane’s astrology placed him on somewhat of a tilting wheel playing in the spaces between everything, and Albert Ayler’s astrology was so extreme that it couldn’t be sustained long-term, Ornette’s mission was crystal clear. He was a spiritual and musical scientist with a true heart of gold containing a sensitivity rare in human beings that permeated everything he did. In a more abstract sense, Ornette was as he told me, the moon itself.
Let’s go to the videotape. Ornette told Art Taylor that he was born in Fort Worth Texas on March 9th, 1930. He was four years younger than Miles Davis and John Coltrane and born the same year as Clifford Brown. His Sun in Pisces in the first house granted the power to be a leader with collaborators, along with a deep need for freedom of expression as the undertow of everything he did. Ornette was 43% cardinal energy, which further grants a need to undertake plans, to create, and to be an extreme individual. Ornette was 50% water and what I call a true Pisces. Besides the Sun in Pisces in the first house, he had Venus in Pisces in the second house, the Moon in Cancer in the fifth house, and Pluto in retrograde in Cancer in the 6th house. All these aspects contain deeper levels of sensitivity and Ornette was the most sensitive person I ever met. Right down to his mannerisms, his daily emotion conveyed through his unique speech, his general physical demeanor, and especially the dynamics and emotions expressed through his horn, Ornette was the definition of sensitivity. Let’s go deeper. This entire piece is an introduction to further levels of analysis. Perhaps Charles Downs and Amir Bey can join me here. If only Will Connell were here to go all in.
Ornette’s Sun and Moon combination is indicative of a highly developed emotional nature beyond his daily interactions with people into being sympathetic to the universe at large. Throughout his life he expressed a general concern for humanity. Nearing the end of his life he was saying how we must learn to stop fighting and hurting each other. The Venus in Pisces placement in the second house granted exalted status in the arts. In other words, Ornette’s level of artistry was at the highest level possible in a human being, a gift from God, or as I see it, an ability he was born with. The Venus in Pisces aspect goes even beyond this as seen by master astrologer Jeffrey Greene: the ability to invent a new system of transcendent value to create a sense of ultimate meaning in life. Ornette literally came here to create and use harmolodics!
Pluto, the planet of transformation where you have no choice also in a water sign, Cancer, just deepened it all. This aspect calls for the creation of new ideas, and to create new ways of teaching and learning. Ornette told me he considered the idea itself to be sacred. This aspect also brings a need to convince and convert others to your teachings, along with an x-ray type mind. I saw Ornette use this on me as within about 10 notes I was fully diagnosed. Further gifts include emotional tenacity and the capacity to do whatever work was required to achieve this goal. Again, we have so much evidence to support this. Ornette was beaten and attacked for his beliefs but carried on up the mountain carrying a deep inner emotional fortitude. Musicians that played with Ornette know that regarding work, countless hours of playing and rehearsing are required to learn and play harmolodics. Pluto in the 6th house is also a person that truly enjoys solving problems in their own unique way. Ornette’s harmolodic music theory has an answer for almost everything in Western music, drawing sharp attention to harmonic rule paradoxes.
Now to double back to air where Ornette was at about 26%. His ascendant in Aquarius continues his sympathy towards human nature. Deeper however is a profound love of freedom. But deeper still, Ornette was freedom itself! This aspect denotes someone who will go to extremes for freedom. The capacity to become an unparalleled inventor is present. It’s quite simple really: Ornette came here to do something that no-one else ever had done before, and something that only he could do.
Mars in Aquarius in the first house like his Sun just continues to boost it all. An active intellect with a need to change things, the will to change things, and further desire for freedom. Independence. Impatience with the status-quo. New ideas consumed like food. Mars in Aquarius calls for the life itself to be an experiment, where progressive transformation takes place in pursuit of true individuality. In a checkmate of sorts Ornette also had Mercury in Aquarius in the first house granting very advanced ideas, and an idealistic, humanistic nature. Jupiter in Gemini in the fourth house of home, I believe to be behind his expansive and unique living environments over the years.
Ornette did lack fire in his chart at only 5%, but Uranus in Aries again in the second house is very powerful. This placement is like a backbone of sorts where freedom can not only be called for, but it can be forced. Radical originality is present. Aries acts, and Ornette was here to shake things up. Some people, even prominent musicians just couldn’t handle it and freaked out.
It’s important to discuss Saturn’s power in Ornette’s stars. Ornette was 18% Earth and had Saturn in Capricorn (It’s ruler) in the eleventh house as well as Neptune in Virgo retrograde in the seventh house. Saturn relates to the serious side of Ornette’s work. He had the power to summon a powerful concentration. None greater than when he composed or was involved in the creative act, especially during performance. In the classroom, laboratory, or just his music room, Ornette could be quite serious when issues regarding the practice of music were concerned. I experienced this myself by not resolving my ideas on several occasions. The more I did it, the more serious the transgression became to the point where I felt like my heart was being kicked around the room like a hacky sack. Ornette wasn’t intentionally hurting me, it was the truth that hurt, not his willingness to reveal it to me. Saturn in the 11th house is evidence of taking friendships more seriously than most. Ornette was quite close with some of his collaborators over the years. I saw him grab and hug Charnett Moffett one day and I thought about his father Charles Moffett from the great Ornette Coleman trio.
So, Ornette was ruled primarily by Cancer (imagination and sensitivity), Pisces (unlimited emotions, and his actual craft, more sensitivity), and his Aquarian nature where his originality may even mark him as strange to conservative (fear filled) people. In a total paradox that I cannot explain Ornette had zero planets in the houses of communication, sex and death (although sex was one of his favorite topics and he was certainly concerned with the subject of death), religion (music became his religion in the 50’s), and the house of career (he had an amazing career of extreme ups and downs). It could be that Ornette was so much more than his chart, but that his mission required he to come so armed as to complete his prime directive. This leads to bigger questions about astrology overall. Who writes the chart? Are we the chart or is it simply our lesson plan? Astrology is one of those things where if you choose to look God in the eye and question him or her, you can be driven mad.
Far easier, is to be who you are and trust in the process of life. Ornette Coleman came here with life itself as his target. He invented and launched his music right into the heart of it to see what would happen.
That’s just it.
I think Ornette knew what was going to happen when he brought his music to the world. He was endlessly fascinated by the results of his creation and genuinely enjoyed the practice of his own philosophy in application. Denardo Coleman says that to play harmolodic you must be a harmolodic person. In that regard, Ornette himself, as the core progenitor, will forever be the most harmolodic person that ever exists.
We’re all students, and so much better for it.
This introduction to Ornette’s astrology is dedicated to the divine inventor himself.