“What keeps me going is goals”, are the words of the great Muhammad Ali, succinctly capturing the essence of his Sun-sign, Capricorn. Saturn, ruler of his Capricorn sun, lies in the 10th house, conjunct Uranus, ruler of his Aquarius Moon. Thus, the rulers of Ali’s Sun and Moon are both in the 10th house of career and mission in life, while the Sun and Moon themselves are in the 6th house of every-day work. This configuration speaks loudly and clearly of a person who would be publicly known (10th house) for his unique (Uranus) mastery (Saturn) of his craft. Saturn provided Ali the strength to commit to an arduous daily regime, and an ability to keep an eye on the prize. Uranus represents Ali’s unprecedented, genius athletic style, not seen yet in the boxing field. But the conjunction of both planets reflects a contradiction: Uranus represents individuation, freedom, and innovation. Saturn speaks to the principle of reality and calls for discipline and endurance in the face of hardship. Uranus, on the other hand, refers to unexpected change and the need to break away from society’s conventions.
Ali’s biography undoubtedly reflects these conflicting energies. An example of this would be his resistance, in early 1966, to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam war. Declaring himself a “conscientious objector”, Ali exclaimed that “under no condition will [he] take part in a war and take the lives of other humans”. True to his humanitarian Aquarius moon, he defied authority and followed his heart. Aware of the possibility of imprisonment, he was willing to face the consequences of his action (Saturn). The consequences were rough: Ali was stripped of his title and suspended from boxing for over 3 years. “My principles are more important than the money or my title”, stated Ali to a crowd of befuddled news-reporters. Everyone knew that this suspension would rob Ali of his prime years as an athlete; but it was a price he was willing to pay. Here we see the Aquarius rebel who follows his own values, not those of current society. Ali exemplified leadership qualities (Capricorn sun with Saturn in the 10th), by playing to the beat of his own drum (Aquarius moon).
Jupiter also lies in Ali’s 10th house, but in Gemini, and it forms a trine with his Aquarius Mercury. Never a man to give up, Ali found a new cause, using his voice (Mercury), as he toured the country, spreading ideas of freedom and human rights, and inspiring young black college students with a message of hope and new possibilities (Jupiter in Gemini). As a young boxer, Ali was famous for his self-aggrandizing - if entertaining and poetic - trash-talk; “I float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee” was his signature one-liner in his early years. But as he matured, Ali became a spokesman for human rights, speaking of the need for faith and meaning. “Don’t count the days, but make the days count”, he said, expressing Jupiter’s higher ground, with its trine to Mercury in the 6th house of service to a higher cause.
Given that Ali’s Ascendant is in Leo, his fight against society’s wrongdoings seems even more remarkable. Leo needs to express its creativity, but fears rejection. Yet, Ali did not succumb to this fear. As the years unfolded, Ali was again a figure of admiration worldwide. People loved him not only for the great athlete that he was, but because they came to realize that here was a man who risked everything, to be true to his heart.