In part 1 of this article, I examined the 12 best male singles players of the modern era of tennis (1968 – present).
In this second article, I am looking into the women’s field. Separating men and women was intentional as I hoped to I to find differences that would shed light on how the two genders approach competition, tennis and maybe even life.
This exercise is not meant to be quantitative research but rather a case study. My objective was to look into relevant energies, trusting my astrological “eye” to notice what defies or confirms common wisdom.
The use of the same criteria to define “the best players” as in the men’s case study (i.e. 5 grand slam victories after 1968), yielded 11 women singles players. In order to have the same number of females as male tennis champions I introduced a second criteria, match winning percentage[i], for determing the best of the best. From that group, Kim Clijsters, who is still playing competitively, became the 12th player. Both gender group samples are now equal in number, making comparisons easier. Below is the roster of the greatest female single tennis players of modern time:
Grand Slam Victories First and Last Grand Slam Victory
Margaret Court 24 1960 – 1973
Billie Jean King 12 1966 – 1975
Evonne Goolangong-Cawley 7 1971 – 1980
Chris Evert 18 1974 – 1986
Martina Navratilova 18 1978 – 1990
Steffi Graaf 22 1987 – 1999
Monica Seles 9 1990 – 1996
Martina Hingis 5 1997 – 1999
Serena Williams 13 1999 – 2010
Venus Williams 7 2000 – 2008
Justine Henin 7 2003 – 2007
Kim Clijsters 4 2005 – 2011
Margaret Court and Billie Jean King started before the modern era, but the number of grand slams they won after 1968 qualifies them anyway. Contrary to the men’s field nobody new seems to break into this group of dominant players. Henin has retired, the Williams sisters, both over 30 years old, are at the end of their careers. Kim Clijsters retired when she became pregnant but made a comeback after the birth of her daughter. That is something she has common with Margaret Court: winning a Grand Slam event before and after having a child.
I looked at the planetary energies more involved in the game: the Sun (will), Mars (competition, action, and physicality), Mercury (mind) and the Moon as the ruler of the emotional world; how they are modulated by the signs, by special characteristics and by their aspects. Since birth time is unavailable for some players and others have C ratings, I did not consider the Ascendant, Mc, house positions and house rulers. When looking at aspects, I took into account conjunction, sextile, square, trine, quincunx and opposition. Aspects to the lunar nodes were 4th harmonic only. I considered mutual reception as an aspect because planets in mutual reception behave as in aspect. The default orbs in the standard aspect of set of Solar Fire Gold we used.
1. Element Distribution
Fire 25% Earth 13% Air 38% Water 25%
Air is the dominant element and Gemini is the dominant sign in both genders. Mutable air fits the game of tennis as it represents agility and speed. It is the sign that has rulership over hands, arms and shoulders. Although Air is dominant in both both genders there is major difference: men have none of these four planets in Libra and women have none of these four planets in Aquarius. In fact women have also no occurrences Capricorn, which with Aquarius are signs traditionally ruled by Saturn. Besides Libra, men have also no occurences in Aries.
Comparison by element:
Air and Water are virtually alike but there is an inverse proportion in fire and earth between genders. Men have more earth and women have more fire.
2. Temperament patterns
This observation did not yield results in men’s but half the women’s have either bowl or a bundle. The bowl represents a personality that is good at holding, at sustaining, which suits the demands and strain of training, and the bundle represents self driving and concentrated energy.
In women, Gemini is the most represented sign whereas in men that distinction is shared equally with Leo. Only Evonne Goolangong –Cawley has the Sun in its rulership sign.
The planets most aspected by the Sun are Neptune and the Moon, 5 times each. There are no hard aspects between the Moon and the Sun signifying stability, an ease between their wants and their needs. The Sun / Neptune suggest sensitivity and possibly the importance of visualization. These champions are constantly facing the reality of winning and losing so maybe they need this dreamier, soft aspect as an escape mechanism.
The planets most aspected by the men’s Sun are Saturn and Uranus. What a difference!
Margaret Court Leo
Billie Jean King Gem Rx, OOB +24 21
Evonne Goolangong-Crawley Can T-square
Chris Evert Pis
Martina Navratilova Pis
Steffi Graaf Sag Rx, OOB -23 52
Monica Seles Ari T-square
Martina Hingis Sco Square Nodes
Serena Williams Leo
Venus Williams Vir T-square
Justine Henin Lib Yod
Kim Clijsters Gem
One player has Mars in Aries and one player has it in Scorpio but more than half have a feature that makes Mars stronger either by being out-of-bounds, part of an energizing pattern or squaring the Nodes. Men showed a similar picture where dignities do not play a role but other considerations do.
Mars is in aspect with Venus in 9 of the 12 charts, 4 with Uranus and Neptune. Mars/ Uranus – quick action, risk taking -and Mars / Neptune are aspects often found in the charts of athletes. The combination of strength and elegance (Mars/ Venus) is very visible as many players come to the courts wearing fashionable sports clothes and jewelry. These aspects reveal a love for competition.
In the men’s charts these are the same planets that Mars aspects more often, but the proportion is slightly different. In the women’s field Venus is greater presence (9 times out of 12 to men’s 5 times out of 12).
Margaret Court Can
Billie Jean King Sag
Evonne Goolangong-Cawley Vir
Chris Evert Sag
Martina Navratilova Lib
Steffi Graaf Gem
Monica Seles Sco
Martina Hingis Sco
Serena Williams Lib Square Nodes
Venus Williams Can
Justine Henin Gem
Kim Clijsters Tau Unaspected
Mercury is in rulership signs only in 3 of the charts and there are not many distinctive features. In the men’s charts Mercury had more special characteristics that made this energy play a bigger role in their psyches.
Uranus and Pluto are the planets most often aspected by Mercury – 5 times each. These players have to be quick thinkers and the game requires mental focus. These are the same aspects that appear in men’s charts but in a slightly different proportion.
Margaret Court Leo
Billie Jean King Lib
Evonne Goolangong-Cawley Can OOB + 28 00
Chris Evert Sco
Martina Navratilova Ari
Steffi Graaf Gem OOB + 27 19
Monica Seles Tau
Martina Hingis Gem
Serena Williams Vir
Venus Williams Leo
Justine Henin Lib
Kim Clijsters Tau T-square
Three players have Moon in fire signs which is a normal distribution but no men had the Moon in fire signs.
The Moon in the charts of these players aspect Saturn 6 times, Uranus and Neptune 5 times each.
The aspects to the Uranus and Neptune are also present in the same proportion in men’s charts possibly indicating how they deal with being on the road almost permanently and the elusiveness of home. A larger proportion of women have Moon / Saturn contacts (6 out of 12 to 3 out of 12) indicating a sense of bleakness, the solitude of the singles game.
Margaret Court SA, UR square
Billie Jean King PL conj NN
Evonne Goolangong-Cawley VE opo NN
Chris Evert SU conj NN
Martina Navratilova PL square, SA conj NN
Steffi Graaf SU square, PL, JU, UR opo NN
Monica Seles SA opo NN
Martina Hingis MA square
Serena Williams ME, PL square
Venus Williams MO conj NN
Justine Henin MO, SA square
Kim Clijsters SU conj NN, NE opo NN
In the men’s charts Mars squaring the Nodes was the single most frequent aspect of all which led me to look into the nodal axis. Only one woman as Mars square to the Nodes and the other squares show nothing uncommon in their frequency. However all of these 12 female players have a 4th harmonic aspect to the nodal axis whereas in the men’s chart only 7 out of 12 had these aspects.
There is lot of discussion about the precise meaning to the nodes. I do not mean to get into that discussion here but these are the Lunar Nodes, they have a dimension that includes the Sun and the Moon, the Tao of the chart. I resonate with Tracy Marks’ interpretation that the Lunar Nodes “… show how we became attuned to the spiritual and evolutionary forces which guide us and suggest how we find nourishment at a universal level by ingesting and digesting energies which extend in time and space beyond this lifetime and beyond our bodies”[i]
8. Comments on the differences between genders
- Fire and earth signs have inverse proportions, men having more earth and women having more fire. This seems to indicate that men need more grounding and stability and women need more enthusiam and vitality from the quality of their experience. This is corroborreted by the fact that some women have the Moon in fire signs and no men do.
- Aries – Libra, Capricorn and Aquarius. Men do not have any of the four planets considered in the Aries- Libra axis. Women do not have any of these four planets in Capricorn and Aquarius, signs traditionally ruled by Saturn. It is as if men are saying “I have enough competitive drive, I have enough “ I vs. we” as a dimension of my experience because Mars is very prominent.” Whereas women are saying “I have enough discipline in my life, I have taken an usual path, I do not need any more”.
- Different competitors. Mars, the archetypal competitor, is much more of a central issue in men’s charts, the total number of aspects to all other planets and nodes being 40 to women’s 30, more special features, greater involvement with the Nodes. Women draw the drive and determination of Mars from their temperament patterns, which together with Fire are more wholistic features. Women are also more driven by the love of competition (Mars / Venus aspects in 9/12 charts) and certainly more elegant competitors.
- Mercury also plays a bigger role in men’s chart but the way they mentally approach the game is similar.
- Different hero – heroine. The archetype of the hero/heroine is the Sun which has very different aspects modulating its energy – a softer heroine (Neptune, Moon), and hard, cold hero (Saturn, Uranus). Whatever Saturn represents – ambition, discipline, fear of defeat – is present in the game for both genders. Women deal with it at internal level (Moon/Saturn aspects) and men at a more conscious one.
- Lunar Nodes – all 12 female players have a 4th harmonic aspect to the nodal axis, which raises the question: Is being a tennis champion part of their evolutionary path and not just a transitory success?
9. Enter neurobiology
Advances is brain science bring new light into structural and hormonal differences between men and women. I am not competent to comment on this matter but I would point out some discoveries that might explain the findings above.
- “In the brain centers for language … women have 11% more neurons than men”[i] – might explain Mercury’s lesser role in women.
- “The principal hub for emotion and memory – the hippocampus – is larger in the female brain[ii]” – maybe that is where (Moon) they chose to process difficult Saturn.
- “Men have two and half times the brain space devoted to sexual drive as well as larger brain centers for action and aggression, … have larger processors in the core of the most primitive area of the brain, which register fear and triggers aggression – the Amygdala”[iii] – might explain why Mars is so dominant and men’s chart and Sun harder than the women’s.
10. What now?
How gender biology influences the psychological functions of our personality as symbolized by planetary energies and our behavioral traits as symbolized by the signs of the zodiac I do not pretend to know. However, every professional astrologer that I talk to confirms that they approach the chart of a male or female differently, but cannot be precise in their approach. What this brain biology research seems to indicate is that science confirms the stereotypes relative to gender differences in a much more complex view than men are from Mars and women are from Venus. This raises some important questions:
Can we as astrologers ignore the biologically driven gender differences because we are fearful of falling into the stereotype? How can we approach astrologically the biological, hormonal driven differences?
I hope the findings of this case study, with its insufficiencies, might spur discussion, that will eventually lead to further research and advance in astrological knowledge.
 Born July 16, 1942, time unknown, Albury, Australia – source http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0179b.htm
 Born November 22, 1943, 11:45 am, Long Beach, CA – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born July 31, 1951, 12:00 pm, Barellan, Australia – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born December 21, 1954, 4:30 am, Fort Lauderdale, FL – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born October 18, 1956, 4:40 pm, Prague, Czechoslovakia – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born June 14, 1969, 4:40 am, Mannheim, Germany – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born December 7, 1973, 5:00 am, Novi Sad, Serbia – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born September 30, 1980, time unknown, Kosice, Slovakia – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born September 26, 1981, 8:28 pm, Saginaw, MI – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born June 17, 1980, 2:12 pm, Lynwood, CA – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born June 1, 1982, 4:20 pm, Liege, Belgium – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Born June 8, 1983, 2:17 am, Bilzen, Belgium – source http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/
 Tracy Marks, “The astrology of Self-Discovery”, CRCS Publication, Sebastopol, CA,USA, 1985, pag 76
 Louann Brizendine, M.D., “The Female Brain”, Broadway Books, New Yor, USA, 2006, pag 5
 Louann Brizendine, M.D., op. cit., pag 5
 Louann Brizendine, M.D., op. cit., pag 5