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Multiple Marriage: The Triumph of Hope

Classical Jyotish rules regarding multiple marriage show the invariance of human nature, even in today's whimsical world. Analysis centres on the seventh house and navamsha, while Venus is the universal significator of relationship. The eighth house is more concerned with the financial settlement than actual marital breakdown, though divorce is precisely the kind of crisis-transformation that is this domain's speciality. Parashara (BPHS: 18.6) says: "If the seventh lord is a sign of Saturn or Venus and be aspected by a benefic, there will be many wives". Marriage, especially second or seventh time around, requires a kind of heroism: 'the triumph of hope over experience', indeed.

The Six Wives of Steve Earle Alt-country rocker Steve Earl has been married and divorced seven times over a 40-year span, including two marriages to the same woman. He first got hitched in 1974, aged 19, in Saturn-Venus dasha, and thereafter had six successive divorces and marriages up to 1997, rather like a chain-smoker lighting the new cigarette with the old one. This succession was followed by a seven year break before he married singer Alison Moorer in 2005, who was the longest-lasting of his wives until the couple divorced in 2014: “I'm done with marriage”, Earle said recently, “For some reason, I thought [my relationship with Allison] was different. And it didn't work out”.

Steve Earle's seventh lord Venus is in the eighth house (hemmed between Saturn and Rahu), and aspected by Jupiter, which conforms with Parashara's aphorism. Saturn itself, exalted in the seventh, shows a man who wishes to make a statement of his relationships, though conjunct the Moon shows a more restless and emotional romantic side. And lonely: “I’m lonely sometimes, but I’m on the road half the time and that’s pretty lonely anyway”, he said. For neo-Vedics, Neptune in the seventh has a wistful and escapist quality that is at odds with the sworn promise to live in a lifelong institution. Mr Earle’s seventh house is also under the gaze of Mars and Ketu, and in any blind analysis, most astrologers would predict him to have at least one divorce.

January 17th 1955, 12:00pm, Fort Monroe, VN

Steve Earle D9

His navamsha lagna activating the rashi fifth house Leo suggests Mr Earle is simply a great romantic. Likewise D9 lord Sun in the D9 seventh house shows someone who places great store by relationship. Timing-wise, however, his six wives have spanned four different mahadashas, so it is hard to draw a meaningful pattern. “I dodged a bullet recently,” he said.

If Steve Earle is an extreme case, he’s far from alone. Fellow rocker Gregg Allman was also married seven times and also had Venus in the Eighth, along with Moon in Libra. Venus is his lagna lord, plus three planets in his seventh house, which is a traditional recipe for more than one wife. Remarkably enough, Jerry Lee Lewis is yet another rock ’n’ roller with seven marriages behind him, who too has the Venus in the Eighth... with Moon in Libra. And just to prove it’s not solely southern good ol’ boys, Richard Pryor was also married seven times to five different women, and, surprise, he too had Venus in the Eighth house, in Libra.

Artists and addicts often need someone to look after – rescue - them, and a heavy Libran signature gives a codependent streak. A performer also has charisma and pulling power regardless of age, and often money enough to afford ruinously expensive serial divorces. Drugs and the showbiz lifestyle are factors, and maybe these guys are all just slightly nuts, but Keith Richards, for example, with Venus rising in Libra has only been married once. What is it about Venus in the Eighth that is so unsympathetic to marriage? Might these men’s relationships otherwise have survived without the nuptials, and also, why stop at seven?

Liz Taylor, February 27th 1932, 02:30am, London

For women, the husband is signified by Jupiter, and a prominent or debilitated planet may show repeating issues around marriage. Elizabeth Taylor had Moon in Libra, while seventh lord Venus aspected by Jupiter fulfils the essence of Parashara's dictum for 'many wives [ie, marriages]'. Though Venus and Jupiter are exalted, both are also aspected by Saturn, which along with a debilitated D9 Jupiter, suggests the problem may have been the gap between romance and reality. Zaza Gabor, with nine marriages to her name, likewise had seventh lord Jupiter in the eighth house, aspected by both Mars and Saturn.

The most celebrated multiply married man, Henry VIII, had Venus in Taurus in the 10th (Malavya Yoga), and in Venus’s mahadasha especially, up to age 34, he was the archetypal Renaissance prince. Venus is closely conjunct Ketu, however, showing strange and potentially violent moods, while his seventh lord Saturn in the sixth aspected by Mercury again fulfils Parashara's principle. Henry’s Moon in Pisces in the Eighth house, aspected by all the major malefics, was also not a source of joy and during Moon mahadasha 1532-42, he had two wives executed and one die in childbirth, and was divorced from another after only six months of marriage. Not for nothing was he Henry the Eighth.

Henry VIII June 28th 1491, 08:45, Hampton Court, London

There are assuredly people of both sexes with Eighth-house placements, including Venus, who have successful long-term marriages, but what is the secret? This placement brings a special kind of emotional intensity and potential for crisis that tears people apart, creating an all-or-nothing experience that only the closest bond survives. And the takeaway for this placement is that even for these lucky souls who have lasting matrimony, the dasha periods of the Eighth lord, in combination with any planets in the house, will prove testing.

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