Randy Pausch died on Friday after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He skyrocketed to fame after he delivered “The Last Lecture” to a standing-room-only crowd at Carnegie Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh. The lecture, an inspiring film on life’s lessons, was posted on YouTube and soon watched by millions of people who drew inspiration from the wisdom in Randy’s words about living your life to the fullest.

Randy Pausch was born as the Sun just entered the sign of Scorpio, the sign of darkness and intense experiences of life. Mercury in his chart was also in Scorpio, which shows that his intellectual capacity (Mercury) was colored by the Scorpionic need to probe under every rock and examine closely the underlying facets of life that are missed by those who live closer to the surface. Randy also had a strong Sagittarius element with the Moon, Venus and Jupiter all in Sagittarius which craves a lighter, more buoyant and positive experience of life. But his Moon was squared by Pluto, ruler of Scorpio and god of the underworld, which suggests that for Randy the spectre of death and darkness was always a shadow of the lightness that he craved (Moon) in his heart.

This combination of darkness and light can be a difficult one, and the two must be synthesized in the personality in order to function properly. It is more common for the darkness and light aspects to battle within the psyche, creating distress and potential physical problems. It is exactly this synthesis that we see in The Last Lecture: a fearless look into the mouth of death (Pluto/Scorpio) while maintaining a positive and inspirational viewpoint (Sagittarius).

At the time Randy was diagnosed in September of 2006, transiting Uranus was making a square to his Sagittarius Moon, indicating that his life would soon be abruptly changed. Uranus is the Awakener, and in one way or another we will wake up from our sleepy state and come to a new realization of one sort or another. It is apparent from Randy’s journal that he remained awake throughout the course of his disease and treatment, and conscious enough to process every step of the change and transformation that he was going through.

When Randy died on Friday his progressed Moon was nearing an exact conjunction to Pluto in the progressed chart, denoting the arrival of an intense experience that would change his life. Transiting Saturn, presiding over challenges and limitations, was conjunct the two and shows that Randy’s death was not an easy one. Still, transiting Pluto was conjunct Jupiter (abundance and opportunity, the ruler of Sagittarius) in his chart, bringing together for one final event the powers of darkness and light to create real inspiration for the millions of people who followed his story.

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