Into the Heavens & Under the Sea: The Dual Passing of Nichelle Nichols and Pat Carroll
On Saturday, 30 July 2022, two actresses whose work is embedded in American nostalgia took leave of this life: Nichelle Nichols, 89, who played Lieutenant Uhura on the 1960’s sci-fi series “Star Trek”, reprising the role in several feature films; and Pat Carroll, 95, a staple of television for decades with supporting and guest roles on sitcoms and game shows, most likely known to more modern audiences as the voice of Ursula in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
Born Grace Dell Nichols on 28 December 1932 (no time available), the future Nichelle started her career as an actress in the late 1950s, and also performed as a singer on European tours with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton bands. Grace Nichols didn’t care for her name, and asked her parents for another; they suggested Nichelle, which they rendered as “victorious maiden”, based on the goddess Nike and the feminine “elle” suffix. There is no PNA (Personal- Named Asteroid) for either name, but asteroid Nike at 9 Capricorn conjoins the Sun at 6 Capricorn, and asteroid Victoria (named for Nike’s Roman counterpart) squares from 2 Aries, so perhaps her parents knew what they were about.
Asteroid Nichols at 1 Virgo is trine the Sun, and at station, turning retrograde on the day of her birth; this conforms to the typical PNA placement of interaction with the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Mercury. Asteroid Michelle is closest to Nichelle; at 24 Gemini it is very broadly opposed Mercury at 15 Sagittarius, which rules the naming function, but more importantly, it squares natal Jupiter at 23 Virgo, with asteroid Starr at 22 Virgo. Jupiter is the source of celebrity and fame, while Starr is a reference both to her acting career and the series that made her famous, “Star Trek”; linked with a version of her chosen name, this becomes a source of her fame.
Asteroid Startek (“Star Trek”, without the second “r”) appears at 3 Aquarius exactly conjunct natal Saturn, ruling career, an apt placement if ever there was one. Nichols’ role as a bridge officer on the sci-fi series was pivotal in the expansion of black characters on US television from domestics and musical performers to leading roles. In the futuristic world of “Star Trek”, prejudice was banished, and humans of all races mixed amicably aboard the starship Enterprise with aliens, each respected for their gifts as individuals.
Asteroid Roddenberry, named for “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, opposes Saturn/Startek from 27 Cancer, where it joins Pluto and asteroid Brown at 22 and 24 Cancer. This portrays the transformative (Pluto) role Roddenberry would have in Nichols’ career (Saturn), and for people of color in the industry generally (Brown).
Despite this celestial prompting, Nichols almost left the cast of “Star Trek” after the first season. Offered a role on Broadway, Nichols had always preferred stage work to screen, and went so far as to tender her resignation. Roddenberry begged her to take the weekend to consider, and during that time off, she attended an NAACP banquet, where she was informed that a fan was anxious to meet her. Assuming it to be a Trekkie, she agreed, and was flabbergasted when Martin Luther King, Jr came to introduce himself. He praised her groundbreaking role, and when she admitted she was considering leaving the series, he counselled her to remain. Nichols duly withdrew her resignation, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A year later, Nichols herself boldly went “where no man (and woman) has gone before”, when she participated in US television’s first interracial kiss. Lieutenant Uhura engaged in a passionate lip-lock with her commander, Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner), albeit the writers used the literary device of being forced into the act by alien telekinesis, not one of free will and desire, to soften viewers’ shock and horror at seeing white lips pressed to black.
Remarkably, this moment, which became so identified with Nichols on and off screen, is foretold in the birth chart as self-defining, with asteroids Kiss and White exactly conjunct at 7 Capricorn, just a degree off the Sun, opposing asteroid Black at 11 Cancer. Asteroid Shatner sits on the fulcrum of a T-Square from 12 Libra, identifying her costar William Shatner as her partner in TV’s first interracial kiss. Also appearing is a combination of asteroids Nichol with Actor and Bus, at 13, 17 and 18 Scorpio, combining a variation of her surname with her profession and a homophone of “buss”, a colloquialism for kissing.
The cosmic synchronicity continues when the kiss first aired, on 22 November 1968. A Grand Trine of the Sun at 0 Sagittarius with asteroids Bus at 4 Leo and Blanco at 5 Aries (Spanish for “white”) tells the tale. Additionally, Bus and Blanco are both embedded at station; Bus turned retrograde on November 21st, Blanco on the 8th.
Bus is also semisquare asteroid Brown at 21 Virgo (conjoined natal Starr), while asteroids Kiss and Black at 17 Aquarius and 15 Taurus respectively form a T-Square with asteroid Shatner at 8 Scorpio. As if to underscore the importance of the moment, asteroid White at 14 Aries is also at station, and turned direct the day before the episode aired. Asteroids Nichol and William conjoin exactly at 11 Libra, reflecting their onscreen embrace, and the Sun squares Startek at 8 Pisces, shining a spotlight on the series’ attempt to broaden American minds.
Nichelle Nichols died of heart failure in Silver City, New Mexico, on 22 July 2022. Celestial portents of her passing in the birth chart include asteroid Silver, for Silver City, which at 9 Virgo is stationary, turning retrograde a week after her birth. Stationary asteroids indicate important factors in a biography, which the place of death certainly qualifies as. Silver is widely squared asteroid Rip at 1 Sagittarius, which functions as a death indicator in the form of the acronym “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription, foreshadowing her demise in a locale with “Silver” in its name.
Transit Silver at 10 Gemini, opposing transit Nichols at 15 Sagittarius, reiterated the connection, at the pivotal moment when Nichols’ life and asteroid were both at a critical turning point, with Nichols stationary. Also of note, a conjunction of asteroids d’Arrest, Valentine and Requiem, at 17 and 22 Libra, which suggests a death (Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead) based in a stoppage (d’Arrest, signaling restriction or immobilization) of the heart (Valentine, with the heart as its most prominent symbol). These also square natal Pluto at 22 Cancer, modern lord of death.
Nichelle Nichols was cosmically tied to a Grand Trine Kite pattern in effect at the time of her death, based in the Sun at 7 Leo in trine to both Jupiter at 8 Aries and asteroid Nichols at 15 Sagittarius, with the String of the Kite formed by asteroid Lachesis opposed the Sun from 9 Aquarius, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life. Both Jupiter and Nichols are at station (recall that Nichols was also at its station at the beginning of her life, as now at its end); Jupiter relates to celebrities, Lachesis denotes a passing, the Sun pulls focus, and Nichols personalizes the moment to her, as well as indicating that literal “turning point” in her life. Nichols turned direct August 3rd.
As well, asteroid Michelle at 27 Gemini is squared to two additional death indicators, asteroids Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead; and Anubis, named for the ancient Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, at 20 and 25 Virgo. Nichols also squares these points, but is too far wide of Michelle to create a T-Square. Interestingly, Nichols had recently experienced a “Michelle Return”, with the planet closest to the name she chose as her identity returning to its natal degree less than a week before her death. Anubis had also recently returned to its natal place, just ten days prior.
Jupiter’s 8 Aries station was exactly inconjunct natal Lachesis at 8 Scorpio, and transit asteroid Nemesis at 0 Aries, relating to ruin and destruction, was exactly opposing natal asteroid Osiris at 0 Capricorn, named for the Egyptian god of the dead, and within orb of square to her natal Sun.
Pat Carroll’s passing on the same day was not as heralded, but deserves notice nonetheless. Carroll was a comedic actress who played “second banana” on a number of TV shows in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. With her raspy voice and somewhat acerbic, not to say abrasive, style, Carroll was a frequent guest in American homes via innumerable guest spots and appearances on popular sitcoms, variety and game shows of the day. From the 1980s onward, she amassed a large body of voiceover work, most famously as the voice of villainess Ursula in “The Little Mermaid”.
Born 5 May 1927 (no time available), Patricia Ann Carroll’s attraction to acting is easy to see, with her 14 Taurus Sun conjoined asteroid Actor at 21 Taurus. Asteroid Patricia at 14 Aries is exactly semisextile the Sun, while asteroid Carol at 1 Taurus conjoins Mercury at 28 Aries, another common PNA connection.
With asteroid Thalia, named for the Greek Muse of Comedy, embedded at station and trine the Sun from 15 Capricorn (it turned retrograde the very day of her birth) and asteroid Hilaritas, named for the Roman goddess of mirth and the root of our word “hilarity”, at 3 Gemini opposed her 5 Sagittarius Saturn, a career in comedy was an obvious choice. Thalia squared Patricia made for a strong personal connection to comedy, and an opposition to a Mars/Pluto conjunction at 10 and 14 Cancer, resulting in a T-Square, shows both her energetic personality (Mars) and the powerful influence (Pluto) comedy was on her life.
Pat Carroll reveled in her role as sea witch Ursula, calling this, her first effort as a villain, one of the favorites of her career. Perhaps this was due to asteroid Ursula at 11 Taurus conjunct her Sun, providing a part she could easily identify with, which revealed another facet of her personality. It is also arguably the role for which she is most remembered.
Pat Carroll’s passing tapped into the same Sun/Lachesis polarity as Nichelle Nichols, but Jupiter is deemphasized, and there is no Grand Trine. This may reflect the relative disparity of fame between them. Pat is right in on the action, however, with asteroid Patricia in T-Square to Sun/Lachesis from 0 Scorpio, pulling focus for her one last time. Patricia also squares death indicator Osiris at 28 Cancer, itself conjoined asteroid Ursula at 27 Cancer, which exactly opposes Pluto, modern lord of death, at 27 Capricorn. The transit Sun at 7 Leo squares natal asteroid Atropos at 8 Taurus, named for the Fate who severs the thread of life at death, and with natal Patricia at 1 Taurus creates an out-of-Sign Grand Cross with Pluto and Osiris.
Transit asteroid Carol at 15 Pisces opposes transit Requiem and Anubis at 20 and 25 Virgo, and sets off a synastric Grand Trine with natal Pluto at 14 Cancer and natal asteroid Rip at 10 Scorpio. Transit Carol also squares natal Osiris at 16 Gemini, conjoined by transit asteroid Actor at 17 Gemini for her passing.
Two remarkable women, one noted for a groundbreaking voyage through space and the other for some undersea shenanigans, pass within hours of each other. And each is reflected in the skies, with asteroids to show the way.
One comment, add yours.
Wow, once again the asteroid correspondences are amazing! I was so saddened by the passing of Nichelle Nichols as I grew up watching Star Trek (I’m dating myself here!) and maybe that’s why I can’t believe we are still living in a world where race is an issue. I was not familiar with Pat Carroll at all but the conjunction of Ursula to her Sun is remarkable. Thanks for another great read, Alex!