Christopher Bowman was the man’s man of figure skating who died last week at the age of 40 in a cheap motel room from mysterious causes. An unidentified male friend shared his motel room and was with him the night he died. He was destitute and recently divorced, living out of his car and struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. He was on probation with the City of Los Angeles for receiving stolen property.
Bowman often recounted that he started skating at age five because he was an overactive child, and in his heyday was celebrated for his manly performance on the ice, a relative rarity in that business. He was known not only for his talent, but also for his charisma and a wild streak that could not be tamed.
Bowman’s astrology chart shows that he had the Sun in Aries, the sign of the warrior and adventurer, reflecting his willingness to be a maverick and live on the edge. However, the planet Saturn conjoined that Aries Sun, applying pressure on him throughout his life and a sense that he was never good enough. That Sun/Saturn conjunction is difficult to live with but in an individual who is willing to work hard it can bring tremendous strength of character in one’s later life.
However, the persistent sense of inadequacy that Saturn can apply can also cause depression and isolation that drives some people to drown their sorrow in drugs and alcohol. Bowman’s coach Frank Carroll reported that although Bowman had great talent, he was untrainable and uncoachable and lacked the discipline to improve his skills. Instead he relied on instinct and charisma which sadly, did not go far enough.
Like everyone born in the mid-1960s, Bowman’s chart shows a conjunction of Uranus and Pluto, the planetary combination that brought the cultural revolution of the 1960s. Carrying that dynamic within them, this generation is a powerful force for change but it also can create emotional distress if that urge for change and social upheaval is not expressed in a positive direction.
At the time of Bowman’s death he was going through a series of difficult planetary cycles, including the famed “Uranus opposition” that occurs at the age of 40 when Uranus in the sky is 180 degrees from Uranus in the birthchart. This is the cycle that causes us to want to break free of the restrictions that we feel are holding us back and is the root of the “midlife crisis” that occurs at age 40. This is particularly difficult for the Uranus/Pluto generation, since the transit of Uranus over that combination amplifies the effect and not only creates an impetus for change, but also brings in the Plutonic element of endings and rebirth. There is enormous pressure to recreate one’s life, and in an individual like Bowman who has tried to find the easy way without developing any inner strength, it can be overwhelming.
Jupiter in astrology is also called “The Great Liberator,” and we nearly always find Jupiter transits at the time of death. At the time of Bowman’s death, Jupiter was in a challenging aspect to that Saturn/Sun conjunction in Bowman’s chart, liberating him from that inner pressure once and for all.
For more commentary see Jill’s nostalgic look at Bowman in his heyday.