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Billy Connolly
by Kes Cross
Billy Connolly has been entertaining audiences with his own inimitable style of humor since the early 1970s. Since his rise to fame, he has also embraced successful outings as a presenter, musician and actor (The Last Samurai, Lemony Snicket`s) – but he always returns to comedy as his chosen art form. Comedy and tragedy often go hand in hand and Billy is no exception. His difficult upbringing and subsequent alcoholism are documented in detail by his wife Pamela Stephenson in the biography ‘Billy’. However, while it is often recounted that there were huge problems in his life, what is not often considered are the astrological forces that helped him overcome such difficult times.

Billy was born on the 24th November 1942, making him a Sagittarius born in the Chinese Year of the Horse. In astrological terms, it seems that Billy’s life can almost be divided into two sections - life under the Horse and life under the Centaur.

The Horse – a desire for independence

The Chinese tradition states that anyone born under the year of the Horse will have difficulties in the first and second stages of their lives. It also predicts that a Horse will leave home at an early age, but this will be riddled with disappointment. Abandoned by his mother and abused by his father, the equine template could almost have been written for Billy. However, it also allowed him to tune into the deeper nature of the Horse - a desire for independence and freedom. Following this path, Billy also drew on another of the Horse’s characteristic traits, nonconformity. Horses are easily bored by the mundane and pursue other, less conventional careers to stimulate them. In his case, Billy threw in his job as a welder to begin as a folk singer before starting out as a comedian. Even his appearance suggests rebellion, from the wild, shaggy hair to the banana-boots that were his trademark for so long.

Horses are a mass of contradictions: conceited yet generous, arrogant yet humble and envious yet tolerant. These conflicting aspects of Billy’s psychic nature will have allowed him to realize the absurdities of life and translate them into comedy that acted as a psychic release as much for himself as for his audiences.

Sagittarius – seeking new thrills

It seems that Sagittarius will have come into play during the success that followed Billy throughout the 1970s. Obviously in great psychic pain as the result of his childhood, he will have followed the Centaur’s desire to seek new thrills. Adrenaline is almost a source of nourishment to the Archer yet, when the thrill of performance fails to blot out pain, those born under Sagittarius will often turn to alcohol to anaesthetize themselves against further harm. Billy certainly pursued this path.

It was during this time that he met Pamela Stephenson. Pamela is also a Sagittarian, born under the Chinese sign of the Ox. The coupling of two Centaurs is not a good one. Although their love life will be highly active, they are too unpredictable to bring out the best in each other. However, Pamela’s Chinese sign offers much better grounding from which to enter a relationship with Centaur seeking solace.

Oxen are often perceived to be slow, plodding animals but it is persistence and dogged determination that typifies them. In order to bear the arrows that a wounded Archer will undoubtedly fire in their direction, Oxen have to be possessed of a slow temper and the knowledge that, while their goal may be somewhere in the distance, it is attainable through patience and perseverance.

A mix of logic and spirituality

Oxen are a curious mixture of logic and spirituality. When Pamela and Billy met, she too was working as a comedian but in later life became a psychologist. With her innate Oxen logic, she will have understood that Billy’s self-destructive behavior was a response to spiritual damage and was able to help him trace a path back to the root of his pain: “With Pam, I discovered that you could not get away with anything. Could not get away from her intelligence. There were always so many whys going on. And I thought, Oh God, you know. I had to own up to everything, which no one had ever asked me to do before.”

Since meeting Pamela and being confronted with her unbreakable Oxen qualities, it seems that Billy has come full circle and embraced his Horse nature again – but on his terms. The third phase of a Horse’s life is supposed to be one of peace and happiness. To maintain his tranquillity, Billy has opened up to the spiritual possibilities offered to him by Buddhism.

While he seems to have transcended the pain and betrayal of his early life, Billy needs to keep a constant vigil on his Sagittarian tendencies. The Archer may be at peace, but it doesn’t take much to startle him back into action, firing the arrows of self-destruction at anyone who crosses his path. With Pamela’s sturdy, logical approach, Billy should be able to uphold the serenity he has found – and well deserves.

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