I found this article in a link from Astrococktail about the frequency of musicians who have been found dead at age 27. Most of us know about the potentially problematic experiences of the Saturn Return at age 28, but this was a connection I had not thought much about.
Before each Saturn Return we all experience something called the Progressed Lunar Return which occurs when the Progressed Moon returns to its place in the natal chart. (The progressed chart marks the passage of time and the evolution of the natal chart as we age and evolve.) The Progressed Moon takes 27-28 years to complete the cycle around the natal chart, and it generally marks an opening of the emotional body that can be exhilarating or painful, depending on the chart and the way the individual handles challenges. The Progressed Lunar Return prepares us for the Saturn Return the following year.
Here are just a few examples of the musicians in the 27 Club:
Brian Jones (2/28/42, time unknown), original member of the Rolling Stones, died July 3, 1969 by drowning. His natal Moon was extremely stressed by a conjunction of Saturn and Chiron, and at the time of his death transiting Saturn was exactly square to that difficult triple conjunction that included his natal Moon.
Jimi Hendrix died about six months after his Progressed Lunar Return, with transiting Saturn was crossing the IC of his chart (the cusp of the Fourth House which in some systems is connected to death). The Moon in Hendrix’s chart was not particularly stressed, conjuncting Jupiter which typically confers a positive and confident attitude, but that Moon/Jupiter conjunction made an exact square to the Midheaven of his chart and it is likely that his career (Midheaven) pulled him away from a satisfying emotional life (Moon/Jupiter in Cancer). The Progressed Lunar Return would have brought this dissatisfaction to a head and the transit of Saturn would have forced matters to a crisis point.
Janis Joplin died five months after her Progressed Lunar Return. The sensitivity of her Cancer Moon was squared by Neptune which can show emotional imbalance as well as a heightened creative power. During the months prior to her death, transiting Chiron and Uranus were opposed in the sky, and both planets were exactly square to Janis’s Moon at the time that her Progressed Lunar Return was opening her emotional body and creating even more vulnerability.
Both Joplin and Hendrix had an exact conjunction of Chiron (Wounded Healer) to the North Node (evolutionary purpose), suggesting a potential crisis in the completion of the Earth Mission.
There is no need to fear the Progressed Lunar Return, any more than we need to fear other challenging transits. There is great potential for growth and the exhilaration of transformation in the more difficult planetary events, but we must be willing to open ourselves up to new possibilities of awareness.
Update: Laura Boomer-Trent emailed me that the Astrological Lodge of London had done work in this area back in 2004 and you can find more about that here including an interesting but complex calculation connecting the Uranus and Neptune trines here.