“Sometimes the right person tells the right story at the right moment, and through a combination of luck and design, a creative expression gains new force. Spark, tinder, breeze.”
Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, “Hamilton the Revolution”
“Revolution is comin’
Have-nots are gonna win this”
The musical Hamilton is not only brilliant musically but it is also ingenious in the way it breaths life and energy into often lifeless historical and political themes. Its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda picked up a biography of Alexander Hamilton, a somewhat forgotten Founding Father, at the airport. Apparently, after reading just a few chapters, he was already imagining the hero’s life as a musical. Looking at natal charts of Hamilton and Miranda, I was immediately struck by how similar they are. Both have their Sun, Moon and Mercury in Capricorn. Hamilton had additionally Venus and Saturn in this sign, which makes him an incredibly strong representative of the Saturn ruled sign. Not surprisingly, ambition and “an endless uphill fight” are the main themes of his life and the musical. The main recurring theme “How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore…” is established in the first song (“Alexander Hamilton”). From humble origins he rises to become the right hand of George Washington, the founder of the Federal Bank and the first US Secretary of the Treasury. From “a diamond in the rough, a shining piece of coal” he transforms himself into a man he wants to be. His life ended prematurely when he died in a duel at the age of 49.
Alexander Hamilton/Lin-Manuel Miranda
Another crucial motif, so typical of the sign of Capricorn, is forging one’s own path, following the inner vision and ambition no matter the obstacles. Hamilton’s hunger for achievement possibly comes from a subconscious premonition of being out of time. Could he have felt that he would die young? Other characters keep asking him why he is writing “like he is running out of time.” In the song “My Shot” his line is: “I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.” Miranda said that this notion of “the ticking clock of mortality” is what he shares with Hamilton most. Hamilton lived passionately, filling every waking moment with intense activity. In immense frenzy, he wrote 51 out of the 85 installments of the Federalist Papers. Writing is his unique talent and his way of giving perfect form to his passion and zest for life. When Barack Obama invited the cast of Hamilton to perform at the White House he reminisced:
“…seven years ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda came to the White House Poetry Jam, and he took the mic and he announced that he and his musical collaborator, Alex Lacamoire that they were going to perform a song from a hip-hop album they were working on — and I’m quoting him, ‘about the life of somebody who embodies hip-hop — Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.’ And so we all started laughing, but Lin-Manuel was serious. And who’s laughing now?”
The appeal of the musical and its groundbreaking power has to do with diverse casting. In the original version, Hamilton is the man of colour singing hip-hop, but this can go even further since Miranda has said that he is open to women playing founding fathers in the future. As Obama commented: “And with a cast as diverse as America itself, including the outstandingly talented women — (applause) — the show reminds us that this nation was built by more than just a few great men — and that it is an inheritance that belongs to all of us.” Finally, the choice of hip-hop to narrate grand historical events is evocative of Shakespeare, who was also inspired by the common speech of the street, which he turned into poetry. Not only that, though. Exactly like Shakespeare, Miranda is the ultimate wordsmith modelling and remodelling language and finding words in the lowest of the low and in the highest spiritual heights. The dense lyrics of Hamilton are its pièce de résistance. In Miranda’s own words, “we wring every last bit from it,” “it” referring to the universe of meanings that can be found in individual words. “Hamilton” is very much about words in the way that all great works of literature are (https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-the-rich-vocabulary-of-hamilton-1460749591). And yet it is also about “the mystery of what lies beyond words” (quote from Hamilton:the Revolution) when grief strikes or when characters struggle with “the limits to what they can comprehend.”
In the last scene of the musical, Hamilton’s wife Eliza puts herself back in the narrative. She is the one to live and tell his story. She speaks out against slavery and expresses pride in what she sees as her greatest achievement to come: establishing the first private orphanage in New York. She ends by saying that she cannot wait to meet Alexander in the next life. There is some powerful symbolism at play here. First, the history baton is passed to a woman, now putting her in the centre. The mention of the orphanage, family, love are a signal that an astrological shift has occurred – from Capricorn to the opposing sign – Cancer.
The emphasis on Capricorn/Cancer polarity is a single most important astrological influence of our time. Astrologer Mark Jones spoke in an interview with Adam Sommer (https://player.fm/series/the-exploring-astrology-podcast-2394776/exploring-planetary-nodes-with-mark-jones) about the need of balancing “the Capricornian toughness, ambition, relentlessness and austerity with the Cancerian softness, empathy and sensitivity.” In his book Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus and the Lunar Nodes, Mark Jones explains that the evolutionary intention of the north node being in Cancer means that the soul is called upon to “recover the inner child and to allow the sensitive and expressive emotional nature to flow again unimpeded.” And this is exactly what the musical achieves. The stage set seems really Capricornian:
“There’s lots of wood and masonry, all sorts of joists and beams. Part of it looks like scaffolding, part like the hull of a ship.”
Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, “Hamilton the Revolution”
The idea was to make a show about builders – the men and women who founded America. A fascinating fact is that early carpenters were actually ship builders, “landing on unfamiliar shores, and building cities out of their ships.” America was built by immigrants, who “get the job done.” This Saturnine structure, the bare bones of the country, and the overarching ambition associated with Capricorn are juxtaposed with the (Cancerian) emotional truth of the throbbing emotions that the show evokes and awakes.
It can be argued that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical is an integration of Cancer/Capricorn polarity in a way how it infuses the rigidity of Capricorn with emotional and revolutionary freedom of hip-hop and how it promotes inclusivity. In 2018, Miranda published a delightful little book called “Gmorning, Gnight! Little pep-talks for me and you.” Wonderfully illustrated by Johnny Sun, this is a book of positive affirmations for mornings and evenings. Far from being monumental, these little fragments are always heartwarming and extremely reassuring. This is a welcome uplifting message in our time of excessive polarization.