Rubin “Hurricane” Carter: The Power of Love

For those of us of a certain generation, the song “Hurricane” by Bob Dylan served both to immortalize the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and to symbolize the injustice of racism. In 1966, against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, the up-and-coming boxer, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, was accused and convicted of the murders of three whites in a Paterson, New Jersey bar. The subtitle of Carter’s autobiography, The Sixteenth Round, says it all: “From Number One Contender to Number 45472.”

The release of Hurricane Carter, who was serving a life sentence for three murders he did not commit, became a cause celebre for Dylan, Muhammad Ali and other members of the radical chic in the 1970s. However, it took the devotion of a teenager from a Brooklyn ghetto and his “adopted” Canadian family to finally bring about Carter’s freedom in the 1980s. The current hit film Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington, tells the story of Carter’s life, his wrongful imprisonment and his eventual release.

Sun in Taurus: Strength and Endurance

Carter was born with the Sun in Taurus on May 6, 1937, at 11:45 am in Passaic, New Jersey. Each sign of the zodiac is said to correspond to one of the Old Testament Twelve Tribes of Jacob, and the tribe of Reuben is assigned to Taurus. So, Carter is, in a way, twice a Taurus: once by birth and once by name.

Taurus, the sign of the bull, is noted for being strong and persevering. Some might even characterize Taureans as stubborn–an astrologer I know quips that they “nod in all the right places.” Of course, Carter is physically strong, but he is also strong in will and spirit. He became legendary for refusing to wear prison garb because he would not put on the clothes of a “guilty” man. Not even time in solitary confinement could change his mind.

According to the film, a guard finally offered a compromise that Rubin could live with–he put on “hospital” prison whites. Carter never did succumb to wearing jailhouse stripes. He is described in a 1975 Penthouse interview in this way: “His meticulous attire—clean khaki slacks, an immaculate white turtleneck shirt and a black turban adorned with a pearl pin—clearly testifies to his determination to preserve identity and self-respect in the face of the conformity of prison life.”

In a recent appearance on Oprah, Rubin Carter disclosed that the way he gets in touch with his “spirit” is by working in his garden. This is typical of Taurus, a Venus-ruled earth sign. Many Taureans find great solace by working with the earth, cultivating flowers to beautify their home and vegetables to satisfy their discriminating palates.

Ascendant in Leo—Radiant Leadership

If Taurus is the immovable object, then Leo may very well be the irresistible force. Those with Leo rising, in short, have presence. They are courageous and proud and will seek to preserve their dignity at all costs. Here again we see where Rubin Carter got the strength to hold onto his beliefs and individuality in a system intent on conformity. Leo’s ability to lead is unquestioned—be it a family, a corporation or a nation. Carter now heads the Association for the Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted and speaks out on this important issue all over the world.

Four Retrograde Planets—A Spiritual Influence

Retrograde planetary motion is an astronomical phenomenon whereby, from the viewpoint of earth, a planet appears to be moving backward through the zodiac. When planets are retrograde, astrologers say that the energy usually associated with that planet is internalized, or acts differently than when the planet is in direct motion. Carter was born with four planets retrograde: Mercury, Venus, Mars and Neptune. The late astrologer John McCormick did a 100-year study of retrograde planets and found four planets were retrograde only 12 percent of the time. It is even more unusual when three of the four are the so-called inner planets of Mercury, Venus and Mars. To internalize the energies of the planets of communication, love and action inevitably leads one to a very spiritualized existence. McCormick noted this signature was often found in the charts of writers.

Carter spent his time in prison studying religion and philosophy. It was Rubin’s own words in his autobiography, The Sixteenth Round, that reached out and touched the heart of Lesra Martin, the teenager who fought for his exoneration and who bought the book for a dollar at a used book sale. It was the first book the boy had ever read! And, it was Carter’s writings that attracted Bob Dylan and others to his cause. It isn’t just his talent as an author that stirred those who read his work—it is the spiritual truth that his message carried that won their belief in his innocence.

Uranus and Pluto: A Rebellious and Powerful Nature

Carter’s incarceration for the murders at the Lafayette Bar and Grill was not his only brush with the law. He spent time behind bars on several occasions in his youth. In fact, many suppose that it was this history coupled with his outspoken opinions on police brutality and civil rights that led to his unjust arrest. There are a number of astrological aspects that speak of rebellion and problems with authority figures. His Uranus falls in the Tenth House and is square to his Ascendant, making personal freedom and the need to do things his own way an integral part of his personality. He is not likely to placidly accept the rules of the “powers that be.” This aspect also bestows a good amount of creativity and originality, which eventually Rubin was able to use for writing, speaking and influencing others.

In addition, Pluto squares the Midheaven, giving Rubin a tremendous amount of personal magnetism and an overriding need to transform societal norms. The lessons of Pluto also have to do with the use and abuse of power. During his life, Rubin was at the mercy of a justice system that sought to keep him in jail despite contradictory and exculpatory evidence. At times, Rubin did use his physical power in anger. Later, he directed this energy positively through his career in boxing. Since his release from prison, he has been able to use his formidable personality and charismatic power to fight for justice for those who find themselves unfairly imprisoned and powerless to do anything about it.

The Hurricane—Free at Last!

Carter’s horoscope is as complex and compelling to the astrologer as his story is to the millions who have been moved by it. An innocent man spends nearly twenty years behind bars and, on release, chooses to bring his message of hope to the world. It is in this extraordinary act of forgiveness that Carter has finally found true freedom and redemption. A lesser man might have found himself a prisoner of his own resentment and rage. To paraphrase his own words, “Hate put me in prison but love is gonna bust me out.”

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