What do you need when you start an ambitious business enterprise with Eastern spiritual leanings and a hippie sensibility? If you’re the fabulously wealthy Beatles pop rock singing group you open a trendy boutique on London’s Baker Street and hire an in-house astrologer to advise on both personal and business-related timing issues.
The Beatles opened their first Apple Corp. business enterprise, the Apple Boutique, in December 1967. By this time, the rock group’s coming-out party on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York City was in the rear view mirror, as was John Lennon’s infamous “we’re more famous than Jesus” remark, which incited denunciation and Beatles record bonfires in the U.S. and elsewhere.
In December 1967, the rock group’s widely publicized visit to Rishikesh, India and the ashram of Transcendental Meditation ™ founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was only months away. According to critics, this was a musically productive period and helped to solidify the group’s image as counter-cultural icons.
The Apple Boutique was housed in an 18th century Georgian building just down the street from the fictitious 221B Baker Street address where Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, purportedly lived and matched wits with evildoers from all walks of life. Originally, the Beatles had the building’s exterior covered in a bright, swirling psychedelic mural created by The Fool, a Dutch art collective. But the flamboyant artwork was painted over after neighboring businesses and municipal officials complained.
The Beatles’Apple Corp. headquarters building and main recording studio opened on Savile Row in 1968. But the Baker Street property also housed two demo recording studios – upstairs and in the basement. On the main floor the boutique showcased clothing fashions and accessories for hip, upscale buyers of the sixties.
As Beatle Paul McCartney put it, the Apple shop was “a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things.”
According to an article posted on the Dangerous Mind website, the Beatles’ in-house astrologer Caleb Ashburton-Dunning was assistant manager of the boutique and had an office in the building where he did daily horoscopes on demand for the group – and charts “for any special event or problem.” However, the astrologer’s arrangement with the rock group ended abruptly after he reportedly advised John Lennon that his fortunes would roll better if he dropped Yoko Ono and returned to wife Cynthia.
A lifetime flirtation with astrology
Most likely, the Beatles’ interest in astrological symbolism and timing didn’t start with the Apple Boutique. For some members of the group, the flirtation with astrology was a lifetime passion that didn’t end with Ashburton-Dunning’s dismissal.
Astrological blogger Mary Barron points out that Beatle George Harrison was so into astrology he had his birth chart rectified to make certain he had the right time and date. He didn’t.
Rectifying a birth chart is a sophisticated process that requires matching the progress of transiting planets and angles with actual events in an individual’s life. Harrison was born near midnight and, before his chart was rectified, the date was recorded as February 25 at 12:05 a.m. However, Harrison‘s astrologer fixed the time a half-hour earlier on February 24 at ll:35 p.m., and the rock star emerged as an individual whose life experiences were more in sync with his astrological map.
Barron explains that Harrison closely identified with his Pisces birth sign and rectification didn’t change his sun sign. His deeply moving song, “Pisces Fish,” appeared on Brainwashed – the album released posthumously in 2002 after its production was completed by his son. “It’s a song deep with Piscean perspective,” she noted.
“I’m living proof of all life’s contradictions,” Harrison sang. “One half’s going where the other half’s just been. I’m a Pisces fish and the river runs through my soul.”
After rectification, the moon in Harrison’s chart remained in Scorpio, the sign known for probing the mysterious, for life-and-death concerns and for a “certain darkness,” Harrison called himself a dark horse more often than he called himself a fish, Barron noted.
What most changed with rectification was the astrological sign rising on the western horizon at the time of Harrison’s birth, which moved from Scorpio back into the late degrees of Libra with the correction.
“Libra adds a certain intellectual detachment, a love of beauty and a need for balance. Where the sun sign indicates the basic ego-sense of self, the moon represents one’s emotional nature and the ascendant or rising sign one’s dealings with the outer world. All come through with great strength in Harrison’s theme song for his sun sign,” she said.
“Rowers gliding on the river
Canadian geese crap along the bank
Back wheel of my bike begins to quiver
The chain is wrapped around the crank
Old ladies, who must be doggie training
Walking, throwing balls, chasing all the sheep
While the farmer stands around, and he's complaining
His mad cows are being put to sleep and I'm a Pisces fish and the river runs through my soul
Smoke signals from the brewery
Like someone in there found the latest Pope
In a vat of beer that keeps pumping out with fury
While the churchbell ringer's tangled in his rope
There's a temple on an island
I think of all the Gods and what they feel
You can only find them in the deepest silence
I got to get off of this big wheel
And I'm a Pisces fish and the river runs through my soul
I'm a Pisces fish and the river runs through my soul
And I'll be swimming until I can find those waters
That one unbounded ocean of bliss
That's flowing through your parents, sons and daughters
But still an easy thing for us to miss
Blades go skimming through the water
I hear the coxon shouting his instructions about
With this crew oh it could be a tall order
Have we time to sort all of these things out
Some times my life it seems like fiction
Some of the days it's really quite serene
I'm living proof of all life's contradictions
One half's going where the other half's just been
And I'm a Pisces fish and the river runs through my soul”
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