Autopsy #4: Kurt Cobain

Kurt Donald Cobain – 2-20-1967

Date of Death: 4-5-1994


Kurt Cobain would have turned 44 today. He ended his life in April of 1994 by putting a shotgun in his mouth, after injecting himself with a lethal dose of black tar heroin. According to Charles Cross’ biography of the doomed singer, Heavier than Heaven, he had accomplished the same feat three other men in his family had years before: he killed himself twice.

Inheriting what he called “suicide genes”, Cobain deeply internalized all the losses in his life: his parents’ divorce, the violent deaths of his uncles and grandfather, his mother’s rejection,  among other real and perceived losses and failures.

Both disaffected and sensitive, Kurt Cobain was a complex man and difficult to know. Two numbers seem to influence his life and behavior more than any others: 2 and 9.

Governing the emotions, attraction, and reflecting his self-image, 2 appears in Kurt’s chart as both his Destiny number and his Attainment number. It’s also his birth date, and one of his Intensity numbers. Except for the fact that there are no 7s or 8s in his name, and three 3s and 2s, there are two 1s, 4s, 5s, 6s, and 9s in his name.

2 is a number which seeks to connect. It wants relationship, it needs to belong. It finds purpose and value in connection. This was certainly true for Kurt, whose close bonds with his parents  were ripped apart by divorce when he was nine. His world unraveled, his sense of security undone, the split proved to be the pivotal event in his life. The desire to please is a 2 quality most recognizable in Kurt’s deference to his wife, Courtney Love,  and in his devotion to creating authentic and inspired music for his fans. 2s are also known for their likability, easy-going nature, and attractiveness. They are quiet, patient, and passive. These traits were evident in Cobain, who could sustain long periods of silence.

The most troubling number around Kurt Cobain is 9. This is an energy of destruction and self-negation, especially in the position of Life Path, which is one of the key places it shows up in Cobain’s chart.

In the end, 9 wants its subject to not take life so personally. It attempts to destroy the bonds of ego in order to impart the understanding that self-preservation is futile  within the vastness of Source.  In this context, neither Self, nor Preservation has meaning. Our essence cannot be destroyed, changed, insulted, or even improved. It is immutable. And this is the difficult lesson of the 9 life path.

In Kurt Cobain’s life we see this demonstrated in the losses he experienced, the destruction of life and relationships became a repeated pattern over the course of his 27 years. An interesting dichotomy occurs between the destructive, unraveling trajectory of 9 and the attachment driven 2. This may explain the  paradox of a  sensitive, loving soul, and the hardened, jaded, apathetic misanthrope. Both 9 and 2 are generous and loving energies – the 2 expressing love within intimate relationships, and the 9 opening up to love on a bigger scale, recognizing the connection between all life.

The negative aspects of both of these energies presents as apathy, narcissism, and especially in 9, guardedness. Boundary issues are a problem for both numbers, as the need to please and be loved and accepted make people working these numbers vulnerable, self-effacing doormats.

In Kurt’s life, 9 carries out its destructive mission to the hilt – it is his life path, his personal year at the time of his death, his age at the time of his death (adds up to 9), the personal day at the time of his death, and the address of the home where he committed suicide, a home he and his wife purchased in January of that year, was 171 – adds up to 9.

It’s interesting to note, that just shortly after his 9th birthday, his parents divorced. This was also a 9 year for him.

While 9 and 2 both desire love, what they require of the subject is self-love and forgiveness. These processes are crucial in moving through events that force us to see ourselves in they way others treat us. It is easy, and natural, to focus on our failures, to dwell on our imperfections, and then to decide that we are not worthy of happiness because of these things. This makes it difficult or even impossible to receive love from others. He had no difficulty loving others. He mentions that fact that he “loves and feels for people too much” twice in his suicide note.  Self-hatred killed Kurt Cobain. That the world failed to be a loving place was his fault, in his mind.

I’d like to add a thought about his address, 171. The 7 appears between two 1s. 7 is the number of the dark night, of depression, of fear of the unknown. The two 1s, of course add up to 2, and each represents the self – one in this world, the other in the next, on the other side of the mystery of 7.

Happy Birthday Kurt.