Robert Peace – A Saturn Return tale
I’ve just completed my journey through the compelling The short and tragic life of Robert Peace which is beautifully written by Robert’s Yale college roommate Jeff Hobbs. If you’re unfamiliar with the story I would highly recommend this book. Hobbs tells the story of Robert Peace, an African- American prodigy who graduated from Yale on scholarship, after growing up in the 1980s in East Orange, New Jersey during the crack epidemic and beginning of the war on drugs. After not finding success post college– the success he believed he’d find after graduating an Ivy league school likeYale, he worked as a part time weed dealer, as a high school teacher, and a baggage handler. Until sadly he was murdered at the young age of 30 during a home invasion in his basement which was his “stashhouse”.
The despair that set in as he grew tired of trying and not succeeding as he approached his 30th birthday is something that as an astrologer I wanted to focus in on. It was as Jeff Hobbs chronicled his life that Robert Peace’s life was beating him down, and the sheer number of his undertakings was crushing him under the weight. I wanted to explore his chart with you and point out a number of things that to me are teaching points in his natal chart. Robert Peace – A Saturn Return tale is about these teaching points dovetailed into a birth chart analysis.
* There are some spoilers below, but I recommend the book regardless, it’s nuanced and very compelling that it doesn’t matter in my opinion.
The Natal Chart of Robert Peace
In the book, a huge theme of Robert’s life was his attention he gave to women. His mother specifically. There was a special attention and empathy that was given to women. He would always give his mother Jackie money from the time he was young enough to make any money. He had many female acquaintances and friends whom he had platonic relationships with. He would tutor their children, help them out with tasks, or simply just be a listening ear. This is reflected by his Sun and Mercury in Cancer. His resonance with women and a mother’s energy was very strong.
There is no official birth time available for Robert Peace, but I don’t think I’m going out on a limb in assuming he has a Sagittarius Moon. His dream getaway was Rio, Brazil. A place that he ventured too many times. He had an affinity for traveling– traveling to places like; Japan, South Korea, Croatia where the sight of a black person was like seeing Bigfoot or a UFO. He actually had a girlfriend in Croatia, whom was a relative of a Croatian he knew from New Jersey. He had girlfriends of many different races and cultures. I thought this subconscious yearning for travel was archetypal Sagittarius. Being that his Moon was is Sagittarius his innate curiosity of the world beyond his block in East Orange brought him in contact with foreign women. Which I also attribute to a Sagittarius Moon.
One of his pitfalls that is evident in book, is one of too much empathy, too much concern for others. In short he would give his energy away and neglect his own needs. His Venus in Gemini was apparent has he mixed and mingled with many many people on a day to day basis. Venus in Gemini and Gemini energy in general is someone who will socialize even if it’s only a part of their job/career. But they’re likely to be good at it. In Robert’s case, his Venus square Saturn and Venus opposite Neptune natally tell me that he really thought he owed others his time and felt he had to work for their approval.He also likely gave away too much of his own energy to people, people who didn’t deserve it but he felt empathy for. He didn’t have strong boundaries. As a result he burned himself out.
Mars in Virgo conjunct Saturn in Virgo presents another set of issues. While this aspect shows great persistence and helps in assisting the mutable Mars in Virgo stay on course, it also can be frustrating, stifling even. Events in life aren’t unfolding as planned, and this might keep on happening. You persistently push through it but there is a breaking point.
I think a part of his genius can be attributed to his Mercury aspects. His Mercury trine Saturn is reflected in the book by how often and rigorously he studied. Mercury – Uranus is believed to be a potent aspect for genius. Mercury trine Moon shows a keen intuition and strong powers of retaining information. I think this was by far his best asset.
A big part of his struggle to realize his personal goals can be seen by looking at the red triangle in the chart. This is a T-square in astrology. Mars/ Saturn squaring Venus, and Neptune which oppose each other. The opposition planets are pointed towards Saturn and Mars. This shows me that Mars and Saturn were strong points but also some of his biggest hurdles.
Lastly, his natal North Node in Leo is very telling. It rings very loudly based upon what was said in the book. Many of his strongest qualities were qualities that he needed to leave behind to be successful. South Node in Aquarius wants to belong to the greater whole, therefore easily would succumb to peer pressures. Not wanting to confront problems head on. This angle wants to work collaboratively with everyone, and the problem with that is if what everyone else is doing is something dangerous and not really positive then that leaves the North Node Leo person in a bad spot.
The key with this placement is to learn to be self-confident and increase willpower, so that NN Leo doesn’t need to be prompted by others or to feel the need to collaborate. But rather to spearhead and forge ahead regardless to whom doesn’t like or what might stand in front of them. Reading the book, sadly, I just got the impression he just never had the willpower to step into the unknowns beyond his neighborhood on a permanent basis. He traveled and explored, but always came back because of others when he needed to become more individualistic and self-directed.
Tests from the lord of the rings
During Robert’s Solar Return he was a baggage handler at Newark Liberty International airport. Not really what you would expect from a Yale grad. His natal Saturn was in Virgo and Saturn had passed his natal Saturn when he was fired from his job after a costly mishap . The despair of being 30 years old, a Yale grad, and unemployed was weighing on his conscience. Robert began working as a weed chemist of sorts for a local drug lord. He and a few of his friends established a real estate company years prior and now that he was unemployed, he wanted to raise money to invest in real estate. This is where things got dicey. He and his friends agreed to start selling wholesale marijuana, a type that Robert himself created in a lab and was able to reproduce (sour diesel) in order to raise the capital needed. He worked for himself in his basement lab and worked for the drug lord simultaneously. Unfortunately, this operation brought a lot of unwanted attention and he was murdered.
Saturn returns throw tests at us. I write about it more in How to navigate your Saturn Return. The curve balls Saturn throws at you and the severity will largely be predicated upon your chart and where you are in life. If you’re someone like Robert who was frustrated by circumstances and felt compelled to do something rash because you are around 30, my advice is always to stop and think about it. Saturn is your true transition into adulthood, and you are young still in the grand scheme of things. Problems may arise but know that the time after 30 years-old is not a black hole. It’s not a void that has no path to lead you over it. Many people I think feel the need to accomplish everything now at 30 or you’re a failure. That’s not the case at all. Keep plugging away , stay honest, and stay positive. Most of all stay patient.
I think this book is really exceptional with many lessons in it about life in general. I recommend everyone get your hands on it and read it.