Gentle reader, allow me to share with you my own personal Christmas Angel, Chicago’s own Wesley Willis.
Wesley was someone I bumped into quite often on the North Side of Chicago. He was always out and about. He went to every rock and roll show that came to town. He was often seen playing his keyboard and singing in front of the Rock and Roll McDonald’s downtown, which he thought was a truly fabulous place. That was one of the things I liked most about Wesley: he was quite a simple man, in the best way. He just wanted to be liked and accepted. He accepted amusement and entertainment even in the music of commercial jingles. He was ready to be happy and excited at all times. And he was hounded by demons that wouldn’t allow it.
The discoloration on his forehead isn’t a birthmark. It’s an actual lump, a raised bump on his head that stayed at all times, because he kept bumping it. Understand that he was about the size of a Volkswagen Jetta standing on its end. He would rock and sway a lot of the time, and he had nystagmus, where his eyes bounced around in his head. You could tell how excited he was at any given time by his body’s metronome, how fast he rocked side to side. When he liked somebody, he’d say, “Head butt me! Head butt me!” and bend down to bless you with a head bump. Many people, including me, were way too scared of that process, though in fairness I never once saw it go wrong. He did it all the time. He was quite large and unpredictable in real life.
There are many things to tell about Wesley, and the Internet is full of stories of him. He lived very much in public. There is a website called wesleywillisart, where people have uploaded their stories, like this one:
Wesley gave this picture to me after he had come into the bar I worked at and needed orange juice to take his medication. He didn’t have any money and was insistant that I take this piece. I framed it a few years later and it now creates many conversations in my dining room.
There was very often a crowd of proto-hipsters around him once the college kids discovered his zany music. When I say zany, please understand that Wesley was a severely abused and neglected child, and also schizophrenic.
One thing I should mention about Wesley, I never experienced him as anything but the world’s biggest and most lovable abused teddy bear. For a while I dabbled in cable access TV production. When I saw Wesley drawing in front of the train station at North Avenue, I asked him if he would come on my cable access show. I will never forget his response, because his swaying tempo instantly went from lullaby to thrash metal. it was the quintessential Wesley Willis:
“I would love to be on a cable access show. My demons say I’m a killer for hire, but I’m not a killer for hire. I would love to go on a cable access TV show.”
That was all well and fine as far as he and I were concerned. But the person who owned the garage where I would’ve shot the interview looked at me like I had lost my mind. Something that I had never thought of until many years after his death, a lot of people (men, mostly) were truly afraid of Wesley. I didn’t realize until reconnecting with Wesley after his death, now that he is a spirit guide for me, that the sight of me would send his demons packing. For an attractive woman to smile and say, “Hi, Wesley!” made his day more than I could possibly have imagined. He thought I was so lovely, like a literal angel that dispelled the darkness by saying his name. I felt the same about him.
The guy who owned the garage, on the other hand, was someone Wesley’s demons were very comfortable with. CTA bus drivers also saw the side of Wesley that had to be terrifying in an enclosed area, the part of him that really, really suffered. For Wesley, a bus ride was literally a journey to another world, especially if there was a rock show at the other end. He had joy rides and hell rides. The demons in his head told him so many lies: he was a bum who robbed liquor stores; he was a jerk, like a kidnapper; he was an asshole con man. He was none of those things. But he would freak all the way out and get arrested for being mentally ill on a bus often enough. And he was a huge guy who could really trash that garage, so it didn’t happen.
Okay, before I get to Astrosplaining my Christmas angel, here is Wesley’s own Christmas song, Kris Kringle is a Car Thief.
Alright, enough fun and laughs. Down to the chart.
First, we see Wesley’s Sun at 9 Gemini, on Aldebaran. That explains so many things. First, as discussed in General McMaster’s chart and elsewhere, an Aldebaran contact automatically puts you on the front line of the battle between good and evil. You can approach from either side. But when you stand at one pole of that continuum or the other, you can see them both quite clearly. And you are open to attack from the other side, whether you serve the Archangel Michael with your life or the malcontent Antares.
Aldebaran is one of the Royal Stars of Persia. As mentioned above, Aldebaran is the energetic point where a connection with the Archangel Michael can occur, and Wesley is there with the Sun, the central focus of his consciousness just as the Sun is the center of our solar system. I have Mars on Aldebaran, so that may explain why Wesley and I clicked so well. When you kneel before Michael, there is automatically a pack of demons at your 6:00 position on Antares.
Wesley also had a bucket chart with a Neptune handle, like I do. We are kindred spirits, lucky me. A bucket chart is one in which one planet is separate from the others. That becomes an energetic fulcrum around which the whole chart rotates, a reference point the individual constantly goes back to. Neptune represents the individual’s connection with their higher self. An afflicted Neptune can create difficulty in knowing the higher mind or having a sense of the sacred. Neptune is about integrity in terms of truthful words (though words are ruled by Mercury), in that with a strong Neptune, lies just don’t feel good.
This could also be argued as a Saturn bucket chart, with Saturn as the handle. That may also apply, like with Lee Godie, Mike Pence, and Bob Mueller, who both have multiple possible shape interpretations. Like Lee Godie with her Saturn focus, that somehow didn’t translate into the sort of material stability we would expect, though she became an acclaimed artist during her life, like Wesley. Saturn, the Greater Malefic, is more concerned with authority than comfort, even his own. Jupiter is the one who makes himself comfortable, not Saturn. Like Mike Pence, this could also be argued as a see-saw chart, with Aquarius through Gemini on one side and Leo through Scorpio on the other. Anytime you are wondering whether it’s this or that, remember that it’s both, because it’s always Schrodinger’s cat.
Mercury is important here because the Sun is in Gemini, Mercury’s sign. Thus Mercury rules the chart and the life. Then Mercury himself is late in Taurus (ruled by Venus), a smidgin out of orb for the blinking demon, Algol. Now, here’s one where I’m not making a firm decision either way. Gentle reader, I leave it to you to decide for yourself whether that Algol “blow the lid off” energy was intermittently part of Wesley’s thoughts and words. Algol is very, very far away from us. But it is huge, and very bright, and Wesley’s Mercury is standing quite near the door, you could say. So that begs the question whether something like the Aldebaran connection brings enough energy into the life that certain lesser things can come into play, due to the enhanced energy flow, like seeing more clearly in a brighter room. That seems quite likely, as I look at Wesley’s chart.
So Algol may or may not be kicking Wesley’s mind into 12th gear once in a while. I think that Wesley did not have the deviousness I would expect from Mercury on Algol, like with Saddam Hussein or General John Kelly. General Kelly’s chart looked to me like he would ultimately have an integrity failure due to his Royal Stars contact. After the debacle with Representative Wilson where he showed his ugly colors, that becomes very clear to me. For a Marine general, accidentally getting the facts wrong on camera is not an accident. I expect we will find out many more disappointing things about General Kelly. When Algol derails someone, it wrecks them spectacularly. I see no such integrity failure in Wesley, quite the opposite. Wesley was no killer for hire. He was someone who would work all day on a drawing and trade it for orange juice rather than accept the juice for free.
Anyway Venus is strong here, and Wesley was definitely a people person. He was all about having fun and being accepted. I think the late Taurus placement makes sense for Wesley’s Mercury. I expected his Mercury to be retrograde, because of the way he constantly repeated himself. This was in his normal conversation, not just his lyrics. But Mercury late in Taurus gave me the image of a bull stuck in the mud, unable to quite get moving. Wesley’s mind went in circles a lot of time. And like a bull in his meadow, even when he got known and traveled to do shows sometimes, he sort of had his own little headspace that he constantly tamped town. Head butting was part of that, incorporating each new person into his inner meadow. Strong Neptune like his makes the inner world more compelling than the outer world; he never leaves his own garden in a way. (Ask me, I know!)
Importantly, I think that Mercury was one of the main components of Wesley’s schizophrenia. Virgo is ruled by Mercury, and we see that Wesley has a lot happening in Virgo — the Moon, Vesta, Juno, Ceres, Pluto, and Uranus. That’s not technically a stellium, because only the Moon, Pluto, and Uranus are considered planets, not the asteroids. But all of that is happening for me, because I saw it happening for Wesley. Virgo is where there is no forest, but we have a precise inventory of trees.
The asteroids are about interacting with others, and Virgo is about small details. I saw Wesley getting bogged down in small details and missing big picture all the time — often in a highly beneficial way. But I also saw Wesley do things like trade a drawing worth thousands of dollars for some juice. And yet those disordered thoughts, that people will think he’s a rapist or a bank robber, kept circling back into his head. I imagined Wesley robbing a bank, good lord. Even if he remembered to put a mask on, he’d be rocking back and forth, saying crazy stuff, and they’d know for sure it was him. One thing is for sure: he would leave that bank with no money.
At the same time, Wesley grew up in one of the scariest places in America, Cabrini Green. He lived through a sort of hardship that all humans should be ashamed of. Wesley Willis was the residue of slavery walking the frozen streets of Chicago. Society cared for him by throwing him into Cook County Jail. In the sort of world where I’d like to live, Wesley Willis would never have seen the inside of a jail, and would not understand frostbite even as an adult, because he would have no need to. Wesley was truly a lamb to the slaughter. This is shown in his North Node conjunct Dejanira the Victim. It was Wesley’s destiny to face these hardships, like with me and everyone else who does. Remember that destiny is always chosen by our higher selves, and free will has everything to do with it even while alive.
There is so much to talk about within this chart. Another fascinating element of this native is that he almost had a grand cross, the big red box marked X. You see it’s missing one side, there isn’t quite a square from Neptune to Uranus. A grand cross, where there are sets of oppositions with feet in Air, Water, Fire, and Earth, creates an enormously dynamic chart. The native has a high degree of internal friction and a balanced way to move it all around the life. With a few softening and supporting factors, a grand cross can be an enormous blessing, making the native much more driven and capable than they would otherwise be. Wesley had a three-legged table there, where all that friction built up and he had to find ways to deal with it. Instead of a nice square where all points could touch, he had something of an energetic eddy, where things could build up.
Saturn, Mercury, and Venus are all at the apices of T-squares in this chart. Wesley had an enormous amount of internal friction, as discussed above. Because of the duality, the polarity of the war of good and evil in Wesley’s life, his joy rides and hell rides, I would expect Pluto to be a key player. Pluto is in the asteroid belt at the outskirts of the solar system, and as such it represents the point of no return, the all-or-nothing, black and white, in or out vibration. With angels and demons battling for his moods on a moment-by-moment basis, I would’ve expected to see Pluto and the Moon, or at least Mercury, having a spat.
But no, I believe that war of good and evil was Wesley connecting with the Aldebaran/Antares axis. Because Wesley’s Pluto is square his Sun, which can explain how dark things could go for him sometimes. Pluto represents the devil, our worst instincts and impulses. (I expect to see very strong Pluto, and possibly Algol, in the chart of Adolf Wolffli, as well as Saturn with all that OCD.) And that had a tendency to brush up against Wesley’s ideas of who he was, the example of demons calling him a jerk like he’s a kidnapper or something. Pluto likes to control and manipulate, and Wesley was constantly in a battle to be the ruler of his own head. I saw him work very hard to stay on the good foot, and IMHO he did an amazing job. I am awed by him as a human being, truly.
Then one lovely thing Wesley has is both Mars and Uranus on Regulus. Regulus the Heart of the Lion is an interesting place for the I Gotta Be Me planet. Having a Regulus contact and an Aldebaran contact in the same chart is a recipe for disaster without strong integrity. Highly evolved Aldebaran Mars is about clarity and leadership, as opposed to Antares’ toxic masculinity and avoidance of responsibility. All of this figures into my assessment of Wesley as a phenomenal success at playing the hand he was dealt.
Saturn brought the hardship for Wesley, by the boatload. But despite the brutality of his short life, in my estimation Wesley won. I never saw Wesley be dishonest or unkind. He died of cancer, in a hospital. But his ability to float back to the surface, to keep getting back up over and over and over again, I am attributing that to his regal Uranus. Wesley did on some level have a strong sense of himself as a child of God, with his prominent Neptune. And his sense of himself as a man is his blessed Uranus.
With a prominent Uranus I might expect someone more inventive than Wesley. His work was very repetitive overall, with his disordered thinking prominent throughout. He was good for saying or doing the occasional bizarre thing, which is Uranus on the nose. But overall in his own way he was kind of predictable, with that plodding Taurus and Venus emphasis. Venus is important here, again, because the chart’s ruler, Mercury, is in Taurus. Taurus is for foodies, fat people who love eating well at home. All good, but Wesley spent a lot of time on the street. I am not sure if he ever had an apartment, though sometimes I think he got a room when he wasn’t in jail. So he wasn’t able to be a classic bourgeois Taurus with a wine cellar in a penthouse, like Melania Trump probably has. But Wesley was a famously big eater, and like everything else, he wrote a song about it.
Whenever we see a big vacant lot in a chart, as Wesley has here between Neptune and Saturn, there is an energetic vacuum that the native seeks to fill. With Wesley, the bull’s eye for that hole in the psyche is the tail end of Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter. Sagittarius is good time Charlie, set course for adventure, devil may care. The ends justify the means, as long as you made your mark.
One of the main things that kept Wesley on the good foot, kept him feeling his angels instead of his demons, was music. Specifically he liked alternative and punk music. He went to every show of Alanis Morrissette, who he loved as though she were a literal angel. His other extreme favorites were Henry Rollins and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But he liked them all, went to all of the shows. He would sometimes go and hang out and draw all day near where a show would be, like in front or on the corner. Then when people would start coming in, he was a bit of a local celebrity and would make the rounds, head butting everybody. He very often was taken backstage, and met all his favorite celebrities. And that was what he totally lived for. That is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect to see when someone hits that energetic bull’s eye, as Wesley clearly did, right in the last bit of Sagittarius.
Really, I’m going to harp on that for just a minute, because of the unsung nature of Wesley’s American Heroism. Wesley Willis, a terrifying-looking, mentally ill descendant of slaves, got himself invited backstage to meet every A-list rock star that floated his boat, like, every one of them at least twice. I know for a fact all of the ones I mentioned were very good to Wesley, because after they’d leave town he’d still be talking about it for weeks. As I said, he was very repetitive. Even with a lot going on, like going to jail in between and losing his keyboard or whatever, if he got a chance to talk he’d still rather tell you that he met Alanis Morrissette (for the fifth time) two weeks ago, in Jesus’ name.
So it just goes to show, gentle reader, and that is my gift to you: sometimes people get exactly what they need, even if it doesn’t seem to be as much as they deserve. Keep in mind that you really don’t know what anyone else had in mind when they set their life up, what courses they intended to take with their days. I talk a lot about Saturn on this blog, because it features prominently in the charts of both serial killers and political operatives. But aside from money, cold, hard facts, and authority, Saturn represents hardship in general. And Wesley had plenty of Saturn to deal with.
Saturn can represent order and organization. But with Lee Godie and Wesley Willis, we see that even with fierce Saturn someone can be quite disordered. Despite Saturn being the governor of health and the physical body, both Wesley and Lee Godie, prominent artists, were unable to protect themselves literally from the elements of the planet. It seems ironic, which I have come to understand means there is a paradox waiting to be identified.
Here I am over 3,000 words into this blog and I haven’t even mentioned the yod! That’s what a fascinating character our Wesley was. The yod, as discussed in the charts of both Jane and Don McGahn, can be seen as the finger of God wagging back and forth between two planets. Here, the hand of God is seen at Jupiter, and he moves his finger back and forth between Pluto and Neptune. An inconjunct, the dashed green line, is a redirection of energy between two planets, a sort of passive-aggression where they interact indirectly.
Now, as discussed above, Pluto is where we look for the sort of polarity that was evident in Wesley’s mental health issues. And Neptune is our ability to hear and render that voice of God. Then Jupiter has rocketed to prominence in this chart not only because of the energetic focal point created in the empty spot in Sagittarius, because it is the yod fulcrum. In my assessment, as I said above, I believe Wesley channeled his consciousness splendidly to address that Jupiterian need to have a good time, get out there and meet people and sing songs.
So while Wesley’s life may not look enviable to you or me due to the extreme, undeniable hardship he was born into, it may be useful to remember that most of us know very little of who we truly are, what our larger selves are up to when we decide to incarnate here. But like a lot of guys, maybe he really didn’t care so much about physical pain or discomfort. With his ruling Mercury, constantly moving around may have been fine for him, may have been his preference.
Anyway Jupiter’s deal is living large, and that’s the hand of God here. Jupiter can represent people like Don Trump, and God help me but I’m going to recycle this same picture and joke because fucking A, this picture is worth at least 1,000 words on Jupiter:
Okay, truth in advertising before I re-fat-shame, I’m an old fat lady who rides around the grocery store in a scooter. But Jupiter looks like a big fat guy with crazy hair, golfing while the world burns. In ordinary, low-quality, low-integrity people, you see the above.
And yet that same feeling is what God told Wesley Willis to shoot for, how Wesley should get on a joy ride. That’s the hand of God moving Wesley — the guy with the Aldebaran Sun and his Uranian weirdo identity planted on Regulus the Heart of the Lion — around like a chess piece. It goes to show how anything in astrology can truly go either way, can be a positive or negative force, used for integrity or disintegration.
There was nothing Saturnian in Wesley’s life, not one bit of factual evidence, that the “Don at Mar A Lago” feeling would be available to Wesley Willis for one red-hot second. There was no hint of it anywhere in the blood-stained concrete of Cabrini Green or the frozen streets of Chicago. And yet Wesley used his imagination, his Neptunian access to other worlds where his Lion Hearted identity was recognized, to make that happen in Chicago. Again, Wesley went to every show, and he almost always went backstage. Women like me would walk up to him and be excited to see him, and say, “Hi, Wesley!” That’s exactly what Jupiter wants.
And so, gentle reader, I drop this portrait of an angel on this Christmas Day, so that you may also enjoy the greatness of Wesley Willis. See for yourself what it looks like to let God move you through your life like a chess piece, how you will be rewarded with the thing you want most of all. Go forth and head butt, and to all a good night.