As avid fans of James Lipton’s The Actor’s Studio know, a good percentage of Hollywood’s celebrities emerge from exceptionally difficult childhoods. Most are scions of broken families and some have witnessed the death of their parents at close range. Perhaps it could be argued that these early dramas work to define their recipients’ career calling: Show Biz. It’s the only business where drama is as good as gold.
With high drama built into the mix, astrologers search for the cosmic roots to this phenomenon. We review the stellar blueprints of Hollywood’s luminaries and check specific planets, by sign and aspect, to locate those factors known for catalyzing dramatic conditions. Andy Warhol once remarked that everyone wanted their five minutes of fame. What happens when it’s combined with the poignant adage that only the good die young? Is there a combination of cosmic forces that compels an individual’s star to shine so brightly that its light goes out far too soon? I decided to look into this subject by studying the charts of 17 of Hollywood’s most notable fatal femmes.
A few died “naturally” if death before age 50 can be construed as natural. Some of these beautiful women died in car or plane crashes, others from cruel diseases, and a few others by their own hand. With respect to suicide, one could argue that outside forces haunted the inner lives of these psychologically tortured celebrities. According to Native American tribal culture, when an individual acts out with aggression (directed at himself or others), the tribe looks to all of its members for an explanation. Indigenous people understand that the fabric of life takes its character and quality from its many human “stitches.” In modern America, the individual is expected to sink or swim on her own.
Students of astrology work from a complex nonlinear model. We realize that multiple factors contribute to all significant outcomes. Therefore, no singular astrological recipe predicts death. Due to its complexity, astrology is discredited by scientists who demand concrete linear proof in the form of simple equations. Essentially, they ask the 4th dimension to conform to 3-dimensional logic.
The astrological prism instructs that when death arises through a car accident, one is advised to review aspects that involve Mercury, Mars, and Uranus. And when life-threatening dangers are imposed by others, the shadows of Pluto and Mars can’t be far off. Drug use, whether linked to suicide or adopted as life habit, typically traces back to Neptune and the Moon.
And when we explore the emotional (and psychological) state of individuals who took their own lives, Uranus is likely to factor into the mix since suicide constitutes a major act of rebellion. Typically, it takes place during an electrically charged moment, and Uranus fuels that sort of spontaneity. Saturn contributes as the bearer of dark, depressing thoughts. Plus it’s associated with feelings of guilt and the gripping sense that one is a failure. Saturn also demarcates each lifetime’s discernible chapter changes. Its mythological counterpart, Cronus, counts out the granules of sand in each hourglass to thereby allot specific time to fulfill our anointed purposes.
Due to space limitations and the number of charts under review, all pertinent transits and progressions cannot be analyzed. However, it’s useful to remember one of Astrology’s fundamental lessons: That every significant thing that happens in life traces back to the birth blueprint.
Transits and progressions set the timing for when the natal chart’s indications will come to pass. In instances of accident or suicide, the death date reveals the planetary transits that triggered the tragic event. (This approach is not appropriate in the charts of those who died from disease processes that evolved over extended time-spans.)
Since the life expectancy for a woman in America is age 78, if death strikes before age 50 it stands out as a statistical anomaly. Not unusual in Hollywood, the phenomenon suggests that the star that burns brightest burns out fastest.
Our sample breaks down as follows:
Group1: Death by Accident (7): Isadora Duncan, Natalie Wood, Grace Kelly (Princess Grace, of Monaco), Princess Diana, Jayne Mansfield (with her entire family), Carole Lombard, Patsy Cline
Group 2: Death by Suicide/drug overdose (5): Amy Winehouse, Judy Garland, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, Whitney Houston.
Group 3: Death by Illness: (5) Karen Carpenter, Frances Farmer, Jean Harlow, Farrah Fawcett, Gilda Radner
Now, let’s play Cosmic Detective by searching for those stellar indications that link premature death with ominous birth chart factors. Readers may notice things that missed the writer’s acumen. Some might wish to check midpoints while others may look to the indications of the fixed stars or Arabian points. After all, astrology’s lotus holds many petals.
Isadora Duncan, actress and dancer, was killed when the scarf she wore in an open convertible was blown by the wind and ended up tangled underneath to essentially strangle her. That was hardly a conventional exit for a woman who’d been called passionately back to center stage for frequent second ovations.
Born on May 26, 1877, Ms. Duncan’s chart opened with the firepower of Aries rising. Mars was found in her 11th house (she was driving with friends at the time of her fatal accident) where it directly opposed Uranus in the 5th. The natal Moon Scorpio was found in the 8th house. Plus, in Ms. Duncan’s natal chart, the Moon opposed Pluto while it also squared Uranus. These influences read like Astrology 101. Seldom are indications of sudden death by accident (and given Uranus’ contacts with Mars and the Moon, certainly an element of the strange would factor into the mix) rendered this obvious.
The day of the accident (September 14, 1927), transit Mercury at 1 Libra was closing in on Ms. Duncan’s Mars at 2 Libra with transit Uranus stationed at 2 degrees of Aries. The day itself was set up for strange accidents. One of the qualities associated with Jupiter is liberation. The transit Mercury-Mars combination made a precise square to Ms. Duncan’s Jupiter at 2-degrees of Capricorn to suggest a liberating exit.
Not yet at full magnitude, Saturn, the arbiter of major cycle changes had reached 2-degrees Sagittarius not quite fully opposing Ms. Duncan’s Sun (5 Gemini)-Mercury (6 Gemini) combination. The Sun at 20 degrees Virgo had just passed its peak opposition to Ms. Duncan’s Saturn at 19 degrees Pisces.
While Saturn was also transiting Ms. Duncan’s 8th house, I was surprised to see no major contacts to her natal Moon positioned there.
Let’s move on to the chart of Princess Diana, as beloved a modern-day princess as ever there was one. The question of foul play remains unanswered. Princess Diana was compassionately committed to removing land mines from war usage and prior war zones. Then, too, there was her romantic affair with Dodi Fayed, a man of Middle Eastern heritage. What vital clues to the mystery of Lady Diana’s death does astrology offer?
This beauty fated for royal status was born with a fatal combination in her 8th house. Her Mars (near 2-degrees Virgo) conjoined her Pluto (at 6 degrees Virgo) producing a sinister combination in the 8th house. Along with its ties to weapons of war, Mars also signifies the fire that propels automobile engines.
Princess Diana (born July 1, 1961) was a Cancer whose life experience was channeled through her rebellious Aquarian Moon. She didn’t take well to the protocols of royalty! Aquarius, answering to Uranus, takes us back to her 8th house of endings where a very tight opposition formed between Diana’s Moon (25-degrees Aquarius) and her Uranus (23-degrees Leo). While this combination made her known worldwide as a genuine friend to all, it also factored into the sudden nature of her demise.
With Sagittarius rising, Diana’s Jupiter was also found in Aquarius where it defined her life on her own unique, unconventional terms.
The day of the accident (August 31, l997), Uranus was at 5-degrees Aquarius: one could say smack on Diana’s Jupiter. Certainly that fits the idea of death as the ultimate liberation from the earth plane or what Buddhists term the wheel of karma.
Mars, transiting Scorpio, the sign of death, had just passed over Diana’s Neptune. Linking Mars to motors and Neptune to fogginess from drugs or alcohol, it’s probable that nebulous conditions clouded events as well as the driver’s perceptions.
What shows up with more acuteness is Pluto - at 3 degrees Sagittarius - forming a square to Princess Diana’s Mars-Pluto midpoint at 3 degrees Virgo. I think it’s fair to say this transit hit a cosmic nerve.
The Virgo Sun (8 degrees) had just completed its passage over Diana’s Pluto (6 degrees Virgo).
Next up, Jayne Mansfield was one of Playboy’s first “pin-up” girls. Jayne liked to break the rules (Uranus) by unabashedly strutting her stuff. Her natal Sun was conjunct Venus in Aries so bold exposure made celestial sense to Jayne. Her natal Sun at 29-degrees Aries meshed with her Venus positioned at 28 degrees Aries, and both harmonized with Jayne’s Moon found at 29 degrees of Aquarius.
Some astrologers believe that the 29th degree of various signs is critical. It animates the underlying tension produced when one sign archetype transitions into another.
Jayne’s Cancer rising put the Moon in charge of her chart; and on that critical Aquarian degree, it would compel Jayne to stand out as an iconoclast. The Sun-Venus Aries inclined her to use her looks (and sexy image) to advance her career interests.
Jayne’s natal Saturn was also found in Aquarius. It laid in ambush in her 8th house. Jayne’s natal Mars, placed in the natal 3rd house of automobiles was conjunct Neptune. Whenever the planet of fog, confusion, and dualistic perception (Neptune) teams up with mighty Mars - the force intended to ignite engines and get things moving forward, trouble sets in. In fact, it’s baked into the cosmic mix.
Jayne’s natal chart also held Uranus (sudden events) in a tight square with Pluto, the planet that connotes death as well as major transformation.
On the date of her fatal car crash (June 29, 1967), transit Mercury was retrograde at 22 degrees Cancer in square to Ms. Mansfield’s natal Uranus at 23 degrees Aries. And transit Mercury was also closely conjoined with Ms. Mansfield’s Pluto at 21 Cancer.
Transit Mars reached 21-degrees Libra to also square Ms. Mansfield’s Pluto and oppose her Uranus.
So, as it turned out, Mercury, the planet that governs driver perception (as well as short trips) and Mars, the planet linked to fiery events including accidents both trip-wired Ms. Mansfield’s lethal chart square: the natal conflagration set between her Uranus and Pluto.
Up next, we look to the legendary Natalie Wood. There’s still speculation as to whether or not her husband, Robert Wagner, played a role in her untimely death. As soon as one glances at Natalie Wood’s birth chart, Uranus, the signifier of strange and sudden events stands out from its position in her 8th house.
Natalie’s Russian mother took a gypsy’s prophecy very seriously. Ms. Wood’s mother was told that her daughter would achieve fame but had to guard against dark waters. So Natalie grew up with a fear of the water and never learned to swim.
Ms. Wood’s birth chart also held the dangerous combination of Mars conjunct Pluto. Mars, found at 28 degrees 37 minutes Cancer was just a degree away from Pluto, found at 29 degrees 37 minutes Cancer. Plus Natalie’s Sun was conjoined with both at 27 degrees 23 minutes Cancer. The trio, positioned in her 10th house of career renown definitely granted fame. Sadly, Natalie’s immortal legend was enhanced from her tragic early demise.
On the day of her drowning (November 29, l971) Mercury sat at 1 degree Sagittarius to square her natal Jupiter found at 1 degree of oceanic Pisces. Her natal Jupiter, retrograde in Pisces may have pointed to a soul memory associated with shipwreck or a prior-life drowning incident.
Uranus had just reached 0-degrees Sagittarius and therefore formed a square to Natalie’s Jupiter. Again, there’s evidence that “the great liberator” plays a role in ejecting souls from mortal bodies.
Natalie was undergoing one of those life-altering Saturn opposite natal Saturn transits. Neptune, approaching 24 degrees Sagittarius was also squaring Natalie’s lunar nodes (her north node was at 23 degrees Virgo). What an apt signature for Lord Poseidon to abduct the darling of Hollywood!
Princess Grace of Monaco started out as the tragic heroine of Alfred Hitchcock’s films and worked under the screen name of Grace Kelly. She was literally courted away from Hollywood by an exotic European prince. And what screen princess wouldn’t be seduced by that script?
Unlike the other starlets mentioned, Princess Grace had no ominous planet waiting in ambush in her natal 8th house. Her seductive Scorpio rising put her natal Jupiter (14 degrees Gemini) into her 8th house. It might be argued that the 8th house’s Gemini cusp granted a clue in the form of cars and short trips, both falling under Gemini’s cosmic aegis. Here, again, Jupiter extended the ultimate trip to the owner of this chart signature.
On the day of her car crash (September 14, 1982), transit Mars was at 26 degrees of Scorpio and approaching a conjunction with Grace’s natal Mars at 27 degrees Scorpio. Her natal Sun (19 Scorpio) shared a wide conjunction with her natal Mars (27 degrees 38 minutes Scorpio) and both occupied her first house. All three were Scorpio signatures; and this sign is tied to death and transition.
Analyzing Pluto, the chart’s ruler, one notes that the midpoint between transit Mercury (at 16 Libra) and transit Saturn (at 21 Libra) was approximately 19 degrees Libra, and thus it squared Princess Grace’s Pluto at 19 Cancer. Mercury ties in with decisions and short trips while Saturn represents ultimate mortality. When both conflict with Pluto, death could well be “on the menu.”
Patsy Cline became world famous for her soulful crooning and poignant song lyrics. Born on September 8, 1932, she died before her 32nd birthday in a tragic plane crash. The crash occurred on March 3, 1963.
Like Jayne Mansfield, Ms. Cline’s birth blueprint held Saturn in the 8th house. And like Princess Diana and Natalie Wood, Patsy also had Mars (at 22 degrees 49 minutes) Cancer, in a tight bond with Pluto (at 23 degrees) Cancer. The natal chart Mars-Pluto merger formed a charged square to Uranus located at 22 degrees 43 minutes Aries.
Mars-Pluto marked Ms. Cline for dangerous encounters and a potential fiery demise. Both Mars and Pluto formed wide oppositions to Saturn. This is another chart whose indications for early death are crystal clear.
On the day of the plane crash, the Sun at 14 Pisces opposed Patsy’s Sun at 16 Virgo. Venus at 1 degree Aquarius opposed her Venus at 0 degrees Leo. Mars, at 6 degrees Leo created a quincunx with her Moon at 7 Capricorn. The transiting Moon Cancer triggered Patsy’s fatal Mars-Pluto combination.
With Pluto transiting Virgo, the shadow of death lingered over Patsy’s Sun for months. Transit Uranus at 3 degrees Virgo was approaching Patsy’s Jupiter situated at 6 degrees Virgo. With her natal pleasure-principle Venus, the ruler of song opposing her natal Saturn, fate was positioned to cut her voice off prematurely.
Last on our accidental death list is Carole Lombard, born October 6, 1908. Ms. Lombard’s chart holds Mars (at 27 degrees 50 minutes Virgo) square to Pluto (at 25 degrees 49 minutes Gemini). Hard Mars-Pluto aspects, in my view, represent the ultimate imprint of violent death. (This influence also ties in with rape, abduction, and sexual violence.)
Carole’s Libra Sun was conjunct her 8th house cusp. However, Mercury positioned at 8 degrees 31 minutes Scorpio resided in that ominous chart sector. With 0-degrees Pisces rising and her Moon Pisces posited in the first house, much of Ms. Lombard’s destiny would be determined by Neptune. Certainly, this planet of illusion works well within the culture of Hollywood. There, illusion is a prized currency and what audiences seek as a means for escaping the mundane rigors of their ordinary lives.
Ms. Lombard’s natal chart held an opposition between Uranus, the planet of sudden events (and spontaneous awakenings) and Neptune, ruler of her Ascendant. She would always find herself wrestling against an inner polarity. One side of her persona gravitated towards escapisms and the other part was acutely sensitive to everything going on in the world.
The accident that took her life occurred on January 16, 1942. That day’s 26-degree Capricorn Sun fell into quincunx with Ms. Lombard’s Pluto. Transit Mercury at 11 degrees Aquarius was just off the square to her natal Mercury at 9 degrees Scorpio. Transit Uranus at 26 degrees Taurus was approaching a square to Carole’s Venus at 28 degrees Leo.
Perhaps most telling of all was the fact that transit Neptune situated at 29-degrees Virgo closely conjoined Ms. Lombard’s natal Mars at 28 Virgo. Little else stood out.
At this point in our analysis, we’ll shift gears and take a look at those who took their own lives. It’s arguable whether that was truly Marilyn Monroe’s intention. Also, it’s arguable that Janis Joplin and Whitney Houston intended for drugs to send them to their final destinations. Still, I’ve placed deaths that occurred as a direct result of drugs and drinking into this next category.
Do the following 5 charts hold any striking parallels? Will their cosmic causes of death resemble those found in the charts of the 7 accident victims just reviewed? If suicide is the result of extreme mental duress, then it’s prudent to look at these individuals’ 6th house (the health sector) planetary placements.
We’ll start our cosmic forensics with Amy Winehouse. Born September 14, 1983, her Virgo nature would incline her to wrestle with incessant perfectionism. She would likely tackle a health (mental or physical) issue since Virgo’s 6th house path consigns its natives to learn life lessons related to health maintenance and healing.
Ms. Winehouse’ stated cause of death was alcohol intoxication. The first natal chart indication that inclines towards an alcohol problem is the proximate distance between her natal Moon at 0-degrees Capricorn (engendering dark and cynical moods) and her Neptune at 26-degrees 29 minutes Sagittarius. The Moon governs the individual’s mood swings and factors substantially into their emotional nature. The dark moods the Capricorn Moon is prone to might seek out solace in Neptune’s drug cabinet.
Those drugs that mask mood fall under Neptune’s aegis. In balanced charts, Mercury, the governor of our basic thought processes, would step up to act as a counterweight against heavy mood swings. But in Amy’s chart, Mercury (at 23 degrees Virgo, retrograde) fell into a tight square with Neptune at 26 degrees Sagittarius. Plus Amy’s combust Mercury (the term for Sun and Mercury closely conjoined) allotted precious little perspective on her own life.
The Sun-Mercury combination not only narrowed Amy’s perceptions about herself, their square to Neptune obscured others’ potentially therapeutic conveyances of Truth. She would block out helpful advice. Plausibly, Amy might not recognize the state of clarity; and it’s a good bet that one or both of her parents used drugs and/or alcohol at the time of her conception and during her formative years.
Amy’s natal 8th house was clear of planets, although her 6th house of health matters held Pluto conjoined with Saturn. This pairing reads metaphorically as poisons (Pluto) bringing harm or a serious life lesson. (Saturn frequently acts as the arbiter of fate, itself.)
Amy’s Gemini rising put Mercury in charge of her life course; but the Sun-Mercury fusion zone found its navigational compass impeded by Neptune’s clouded vision. Neptune, as governor of the sign of Pisces suggests martyrs and martyrdom. With her Moon (soul memory) closely combined with Neptune, Amy’s past life imprint of religious martyrdom may have acted as an unconscious undertow. It drew Amy towards self-destructive behaviors. Neptune, as natural ruler of the 12th house of self-undoing certainly coaxes persons to assume habits that work against their health… and best interests.
Next up: The legendary Janis Joplin. Born on January 19, 1943, Joplin was a surfer on the wild 60’s wave that had millions of youths searching for life’s purpose on inner and outer planes. This era involved a good deal of drug use. Rejection of the establishment’s status quo called for radical explorations. Millions of young people were actively searching for new ways to live, think, and be.
While Ms. Joplin’s 8th house is empty, drug-oriented Neptune, at 2 degrees Libra conjoined her 8th house cusp. Janis’ sensitive Moon at 8 degrees, 48 minutes Cancer fell into a wide square with her Neptune. And her Mercury at 9 degrees 28 minutes Aquarius formed a strong opposition to extremist Pluto, at 6 degrees Leo.
Janis’ Sun at 28 degrees-39 minutes Capricorn formed a wide opposition to her Pluto at 6 degrees Leo. The Sun-Mercury midpoint thus opposed Pluto; and this would incline a person to take everything to the absolute limit and likely court death by testing the fates.
Janis’ natal Pluto sat in her 6th house. This would leverage the state of her health against potential exposures to poison. Janis’ Sun in the 12th house lent further escapist tendencies to the chart. With the Sun, or basic focus, posited in the chart sector of self-undoing, Janis’ gravitation towards addiction may have constituted familiar soul turf.
The 12th house has a direct correlation to Pisces, the sign that closes the circle and thereby produces no discernible end point. Persons with strong 12th house or Piscean planetary placements really don’t know how to stop once they get caught up in the momentum of an addictive habit. Frequently they end up trapped in a vicious circle based upon substance abuse.
Sometimes I get a clear clairvoyant read on a chart. What comes to mind when viewing Janis Joplin’s birth chart is a past life experience as a shaman. During that prior incarnation she used drugs in order to converse with the spirit world. Janis’ 12th house Sun created a fluid line between the world of the living and the world of the discarnate. Indeed, crossing this line was familiar to her soul.
At the time of her lethal drug overdose, transit Mars was at 20-degrees Virgo and squared her natal Mars at 24 degrees Sagittarius. Transit Jupiter (again, acting as the ultimate travel agent-liberator) was at 9-degrees Scorpio in square to Janis’ natal Mercury at 9 degrees, 48 minutes Aquarius. Transit Uranus at 9-degrees Libra formed a square to Janis’ natal Moon, and Saturn at 22-degrees Taurus approached a square to her lunar nodes. (Janis’ north node was at 26 degrees Leo.)
Did Marilyn Monroe plan to kill herself, or did someone else cause her drug overdose? Marilyn’s natal 8th house suggests foul play (rather than suicide). Her natal Mars found at 20 degrees 43 minutes Pisces fell into a wide conjunction with her Uranus at 28 degrees 59 minutes Pisces. When planets are found in Pisces, it’s important to examine what Neptune is up to. He serves as the Zodiac’s chief druggist and apothecary and is directly linked to sleeping aids, opiates, and the oceanic sphere. Thus a death brought on by drugs--ingested consciously, through a sudden irrational impulse aimed at self-undoing, or delivered surreptitiously—makes perfect cosmic sense.
Lending Marilyn enormous glamour, Neptune Leo rose in her chart. But this Neptune also clouded her perceptions of the world and her place in it. Neptune is dreamy and it often seeks a means of escape from the cruel ways of the world.
Marilyn’s 6th house was empty which is a good indication that she harbored no genuine mental or physical illnesses. Her Natal Moon found at 19-degrees Aquarius was widely conjoined to her Jupiter at 26 degrees, 49 minutes Aquarius. The combination would produce unrealistic emotional expectations and a domestic life that would prove anything but conventional.
The Moon-Jupiter merger located in the 7th house makes perfect sense since this gorgeous star had an abundance of suitors and would-be marital partners. But the Jupiter-Moon duo opposed her Neptune and that meant that Marilyn wouldn’t know that she had what she wanted even when she had it.
Neptune’s dominant position would constantly incline Marilyn to seek out drugs that would make her feel “out of this world.” Her Saturn found at 21 degrees 26 minutes Scorpio formed a T-square with her Jupiter (at 26 degrees, 49 minutes Aquarius) and her Neptune (at 22 degrees Leo). Saturn’s realism could not anchor her. Marilyn truly sought an escape from this world, and Hollywood films were one way to temporarily satisfy this incessant urge.
On the day of her death, August 5, 1962, transit Mercury reached 19-degrees of Leo to oppose her natal Moon at 19-degrees of Aquarius. Transit Mars reached 19-degrees of Gemini to square Marilyn’s natal Mars at 20 degrees 43 minutes Pisces. Transit Jupiter (again acting as liberator) reached 10 degrees Pisces to square Marilyn’s Sun at 10 degrees Gemini. Plus the Sun was in her 12th house of self-undoing. Jupiter was also transiting her 8th house.
Probably the most compelling planetary case for death came from Pluto at 9 degrees of Virgo beginning a square (that would be sustained for 2 years) to her 10-degree Gemini Sun.
Let’s now turn to Whitney Houston born August 9, 1963. With the voice of a seductive angel, Ms. Houston had all the fame any Leo stardom seeker could possess! With Pisces rising, Whitney’s Neptune was found in the 8th house. Here again, the soul searched, perhaps unconsciously, for the ultimate escape. Not recognizing this urge as a death-wish, it probably felt more like an urge to merge with the numinous, our Divine Source.
Whitney’s Leo Sun was also caught in a lifetime square with Neptune. Even more difficult was her natal Sun’s opposition to Saturn since it forced her to constantly grapple with heavy gravity. Typically, this influence demarcates distance from the father. Saturn, lord of karma was positioned in Whitney’s 12th house. Deep inside, regardless of her wealth, fame, and talent, she felt that life was essentially a prison: that she was trapped. This perception may not have been fully conscious.
Mercury’s tight conjunction with Pluto would attract Whitney to the dark side or turn her thoughts to death. Daily life interactions could involve underworld figures, and Whitney’s choice of male companion pointed in this direction. Her Aries Moon (at 17 degrees Aries) was conjunct Jupiter (at 19 degrees, 28 minutes Aries) which led to popularity and a huge audience. But the levity promised by this Moon-Jupiter link was offset by the fact that this dynamic duo squared her lunar nodes. (Whitney’s north node was positioned at 18 degrees, 58 minutes Cancer).
Whitney’s death is described as a drowning incident; but only a fool would leave out the drug intoxication that led to that tragic outcome. Whitney’s fatal day arrived on February 11, 2011. The Aquarian Sun widely opposed Whitney’s Leo Sun. The transit Moon approached transit Saturn, as both crossed Whitney’s 8th house, the chart zone that marks death. Transit Mars at 21 degrees Virgo formed a Yod with Whitney’s natal Jupiter (19 degrees Aries) and her natal Saturn (20 degrees Aquarius).
Probably the most dramatic aspect was Pluto’s position at 9 degrees Capricorn just past the exact square to Whitney’s natal Mars at 8 degrees, 30 minutes Libra.
Our next fatal femme is Judy Garland born on June 10, 1922. Ms. Garland had no sinister planet (actually no planet at all) in her 8th house. Judy’s Moon was found on a critical degree: 29 degrees 10 minutes Sagittarius, and it bypassed a conjunction with her Mars at 18 degrees, 55 minutes Sagittarius. These two planets were placed in her 6th house of mental and physical health.
Judy’s Gemini Sun fell in the sensitive, escapist-oriented 12th house. This Sun position operates somewhat akin to a natal Sun Pisces, and that explains Ms. Garland’s reliance on drugs. Mercury, Gemini’s ruling planet was found at 0 degrees of Cancer in a wide conjunction with Pluto, positioned at 9 degrees Cancer. This Mercury, like Whitney Houston’s Mercury, would give rise to extreme thoughts and a likely unconscious attraction to oblivion… if not death.
The 12th house is defined as the chart sector of self-undoing. Those who work against their own best interests typically hold key chart elements in this self-destructive zone. Judy Garland had Sun, Mercury, and Pluto in her natal 12th house. Plus, her Sun directly opposed her Mars.
Judy’s natal Gemini Sun also squared her Uranus positioned at 13 degrees, 34 minutes Pisces. Judy was extremely nervous and susceptible to Uranus’ sudden changes of mood. The most impulsive, accident prone of influences is natal Mars square Uranus. Indeed Judy Garland wrestled with this chart influence over the course of her short life.
Uranus situated in her 10th house brought her notoriety; but Judy’s inner demons proved too resilient to tame. Judy’s natal Moon squared Saturn, and that pattern all but guarantees bouts of intense depression. In addition, deadly Pluto squared Judy’s nodes (her north node was situated at 5 degrees Libra).
Judy’s ultimate overdose occurred on June 22, 1969. The Sun met Judy’s Mercury which may have triggered its wide square to Pluto. Transit Venus at 15 degrees Taurus formed a square to Judy’s Neptune at 13 degrees 45 minutes Leo.
Transit Uranus sat at 29 degrees Virgo which precisely squared Judy’s natal Moon at 29 degrees Sagittarius; and transit Pluto, at 22 degrees Virgo, formed a square to her natal Mars at 19 degrees of Sagittarius.
Saturn’s natal placement in Libra brings karmic lessons into marriage and close relationships. Saturn’s conjunction with Judy’s north node encouraged her to summon the patience to grow more tolerant of her mate (along with the compromises demanded by marriage, itself). Unfortunately, Pluto’s compulsiveness operated largely on an unconscious level—by virtue of its placement in her natal 12th house. It triggered fate through its square to her north node.
At this point we’ll change gears and examine the charts of those starlets whose lives were cut short by diseases, Cancer, chief among them.
Few teenagers didn’t grow up singing Karen Carpenter’s tunes. These songs guided an entire generation as it came of age to the riches and rigors of romance. Karen’s cause of death is defined as Anorexia, so it’s interesting that Venus—tied to pleasure as well as the mouth and throat (which are instrumental to the nourishment process)--was located in her natal 8th house.
Like Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe, Karen Carpenter held natal Saturn in her 4th house. Astrologers describe the 4th house as both the realm of early family life and that which pertains to the end of life. Saturn here points to a deep emotional void. Judy’s emotional needs were not met from an early age. This, in turn, set up the negative expectation that her core emotional requirements would never be met.
Karen’s Sun at 11 degrees, 32 minutes Pisces opposed her natal Saturn at 16 degrees, 24 minutes Virgo. Karen’s Mercury found at 21 degrees, 45 minutes Aquarius widely opposed her Pluto found at 16 degrees, 26 minutes Leo. As has been noted in several other profiles, when Mercury configures closely with Pluto, the individual’s thoughts often turn to death or other dark fears.
Interestingly enough, Karen Carpenter had no natal planet in either her 12th house of self-undoing or her 6th house of health matters. Her natal Saturn position in Virgo, however did point to karmic lessons associated with health and how she would take care of the body… as temple.
According to the famous seer, Edgar Cayce, the vast majority of health disorders begins in the intestines; and Saturn-Virgo would certainly sensitize Karen’s interior plumbing.
She was found dead on February 4, 1983 when two striking transits stood out. First, Saturn had reached 4 degrees of Scorpio to form a precise square to Karen’s Venus (in her 8th house). Second, transit Mars at 14 degrees of Pisces almost perfectly opposed Karen’s Saturn found at 16 degrees and 27 minutes Virgo.
Transit Jupiter (at 7 degrees Sagittarius), Uranus (at 8 degrees Sagittarius), and Neptune (at 28 degrees Sagittarius) were all transiting Karen’s 6th house. Transit Mars had recently crossed over Karen’s Pisces Sun. Perhaps her body could no longer bear the strain of so formidable a lack of nutrition, and it symbolically slipped into Neptune’s bottomless sea?
I remember how moving it was to watch Frances Farmer’s life story. An intelligent woman who was outspoken in an era that didn’t allow for that response in females, she was branded mentally ill and essentially baker-axed. Naturally, that put a mojo on her Hollywood career.
Frances’ chart holds no planet in either her 8th house of death or her 6th house of health matters; however, her Venus was situated in her 12th house. As has been earlier mentioned, the pleasure principle planet in the 12th house would make it virtually impossible for the individual to establish boundaries on activities oriented towards pleasure, or in Frances’ case, the arts. Frances became a closet alcoholic.
The fact that she died of throat Cancer at age 56 was metaphorical since the world had essentially denied Frances her powerful voice. Venus, as the ruler of Taurus governs the throat and the individual’s vocal expressions. At the time of Ms. Farmer’s early demise transit Saturn was transiting Taurus (at 22 degrees).
Like several other fatal femmes in our study, Ms. Farmer was born with a very tight conjunction between her Mars (self-expression) and her Pluto (signaling violence predicated on some form of abduction). While the 10th house is typically associated with the individual’s father, it was Frances’ mother, Lily, who wore the pants in the house. She was the one who ruled her daughter’s life, even institutionalizing Frances and threatening to do so again if Frances did not obey her strict, controlling demands.
On the day of her death, transit Mars (9 degrees Leo) formed a precise square to Frances’ natal Moon at 9 degrees, 37 minutes Taurus. The actress’ voice was at last cut off.
The exotic glamour girl, Jean Harlow died at the tender age of 26 from Kidney failure. Medical technology in this earlier era was not as advanced as it is today. One wonders if her fate might have been different had she been born in a later time? Ms. Harlow’s chart held Saturn in the 8th house designating the role that fate would play in her untimely demise.
Jean’s Pisces Sun (at 12 degrees, 22 minutes) was situated in her 6th house. As many know, this location places a lifelong emphasis on health: a condition that rests upon the efficient functioning of the intestines. The pairing of Mars (at 22 degrees, 40 minutes) Capricorn and Uranus (at 27 degrees, 50 minutes) Capricorn in the natal 4th house points to a potentially inherited physiological condition.
This dangerous Capricorn duo answered to Saturn as found in Ms. Harlow’s 8th house. Albeit widely, Neptune positioned at 18 degrees, 57 minutes Cancer opposed the natal Mars-Uranus combination while Jean’s Aries Moon (at 21 degrees, 24 minutes) squared all three! The Moon references the individual’s inherited constitution and also relates to digestion and the body’s ultimate capacity to absorb nutrients.
Since the Moon also processes one’s emotional states, the stresses of a Hollywood career (Moon in the 7th house) likely added pressure to Jean’s cardinal cross. The Moon was situated 9 degrees away from the 8th house cusp. However, if the recorded birth time was off by half an hour, it would have placed the Moon—as cardinal cross trigger—right into the 8th house.
On the day of her death (June 7, l937) the Taurus Moon was transiting Ms. Harlow’s 8th house, and transit Venus met the degree of her natal Saturn (2 degrees, 53 minutes). Jupiter, at 26 degrees of Capricorn was opposite Ms. Harlow’s Mars-Uranus midpoint; and Saturn at 4 degrees Aries was closing in on her Venus at 5 degrees, 31 minutes Aries. In addition, transit Uranus at 12 degrees Taurus nearly opposed Frances’ natal Jupiter located at 14 degrees, 32 minutes Scorpio.
During Farrah Fawcett’s meteoric rise to fame, who would have thought the blonde beauty would pass away before she’d enjoyed a natural lifespan? Born on February 2, 1947, Farrah’s natal chart held Mars (at 6 degrees, 32 minutes) Aquarius, the Sun (at 13 degrees, 12 minutes) Aquarius, and Mercury (at 20 degrees, 46 minutes) Aquarius. All three were positioned in her 8th house. As most astrologers know, 8th house placements can enhance an individual’s sexual magnetism, and certainly Ms. Fawcett had plenty of that! Key 8th house placements also catalyze major life transformations and complicate financial matters that involve others. Likely, in Farrah’s intense marriages, these conditions applied.
Farrah’s natal Moon positioned at 4 degrees, 37 minutes of sensitive Cancer fell in her 12th house. Since the Moon relates to eating habits and the ways we seek to nourish our emotional needs, this 12th house Moon placement points to secrets or a secretive habit. Venus, the pleasure principle (and planet tied to sweet treats) was placed in Farrah’s 6th house. Venus, at 26 degrees, 27 minutes Sagittarius essentially opposed Farrah’s Moon-Uranus midpoint. Uranus, ruler of Aquarius, was also located in Farrah’s 12th house. This would point to an eccentricity that she hid from the world. Did Farrah eat and then purge herself?
Although never revealed, I wonder if Farrah might have obsessed over inner cleanliness and succumbed to excessive enemas or colonic irrigation treatments? Too much of a good thing can turn problematic. When the human body is relieved of necessary bacteria (the kind that thrives inside the human intestines), it leaves room for unfriendly pathogens to thrive.
On the day of her untimely death (June 25, 2009), Farrah’s chart received numerous intense, challenging aspects. The Sun at 3 degrees Cancer met her Moon (at 4 degrees, 37 minutes Cancer). The transiting Leo Moon activated Farrah’s Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Mercury (at 15 degrees Gemini) was closing in on Farrah’s Uranus at 17 degrees, 57 minutes Gemini. Mars, at 18 Taurus was about to square Farrah’s Mercury at 20 degrees, 47 minutes Aquarius. Jupiter, at 26 degrees Aquarius squared Farrah’s natal Jupiter at 25 degrees, 13 minutes Scorpio.
Most noteworthy was Saturn approaching 16 degrees of Virgo to square Farrah’s Uranus (the planet that governed her Sun-Mercury-Mars Aquarian trio) positioned at 17 degrees, 57 minutes Gemini. Uranus, at 26 degrees 35 minutes Pisces also set off a dynamic square to Farrah’s Venus (at 26 degrees, 27 minutes Sagittarius). Then there was Pluto at 2 degrees of Capricorn closing in on a near 2-year opposition to Farrah’s Moon located at 4 degrees 37 minutes Cancer.
In countless books devoted to esoteric research one theme that emerges is that the soul chooses its final hour. This decision - taken at the soul level - is not always consciously recognized. With that being said, rather than stretch out 2 years of painful cellular deterioration—the likely result of Pluto’s opposition to Farrah’s Moon (since she was already grappling with an intensive disease process); Ms. Fawcett’s soul may have elected to exit sooner rather than later.
It’s as true with male stars - Rock Hudson, Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, Patrick Swayze, Paul Walker, and James Dean as it is with female stars: that when bright lives flick off suddenly, they’re immortalized. These luminaries thus live on retaining their perpetual youth in the public’s imagination.
In a future study, I may analyze the charts of male celebrities who died young. I wonder if the same factors that paved the way for the early demise of female celebrities will hold true for male stars? And how about the charts of all those funny men… the comedians who died young having delivered boatloads of laughter to the world? Many of them no doubt suffered silently in sorrow.
We’ll complete our overview with the chart of Gilda Radner, the hilarious asset to Saturday Night Live in its early inception. She put this longest running comedy show on the T.V. map. Ms. Radner was born on June 28, 1946 and she passed away from Ovarian Cancer on May 20, 1989.
Ms. Radner’s chart is erected for 12 noon which is probably not her actual birth time. Using this generic template, no planets show up in either her 8th or 12th houses. However, Mars-Virgo is positioned in her 6th house. Mars is regarded as a malefic planet, and it’s seldom good news when found in the 6th house. If Edgar Cayce’s psychic acumen was on target, then Mars-Virgo would suggest inhibitions to the body’s capacity to throw off toxic wastes.
Venus influences the flow of female hormones, and the ovaries are tasked with regulating that physiological function. Gilda’s Leo Venus (at 12 degrees, 23 minutes) was great for celebrity, but its conjunction with Pluto (at 10 degrees, 22 minutes) paved the way for cellular degradation which took aim at her ovaries. In lucky instances, Pluto also works to regenerate what it formerly broke down.
Taking a clue from Ancient Greece where theater was depicted by twin masks representing comedy and tragedy, the great comic mind may require tragedy in order to produce brilliant comedy. Gilda’s natal Leo Mercury (at 1 degree, 12 minutes) was conjunct cynical Saturn—positioned at 25 degrees, 31 minutes Cancer. She was likely a worrier, a fate quite familiar to natives of the Zodiac sign Cancer.
Depressed thoughts may have played a role in the darkening of her life force. Gilda was born during the dark of the Moon, the phase just prior to new Moon. This is significant for a Cancer since Moon children are governed by Luna’s pulsing phases. Here too we find the Moon hypothetically placed on a critical degree—in Gilda’s case at 29 degrees, 53 minutes Gemini. And while Gemini lends itself to comedy (along with its twin, tragedy) Gilda’s luminaries held to a conjunction while passing through next-door-neighbor signs. That’s quite a contradiction to live with, no less negotiate on a daily basis.
This dark Moon could indicate a weak constitution particularly when it came to absorbing nutrients. There would also be difficulties associated with her home life as well as the processing of emotions. These challenges would amplify due to karmic Saturn’s natal position in Cancer.
At the time of Gilda’s death, the transiting Scorpio Moon was in her 8th house. Transit Mercury at 4 degrees Gemini squared her natal Mars at 4 degrees, 46 minutes Virgo. Disruptor Uranus had reached 5 degrees of Capricorn to begin a long opposition to Gilda’s Sun (at 6 degrees, 22 minutes Cancer). And Pluto at 13 degrees Scorpio was moving retrograde to square her Venus at 12 degrees, 23 minutes Leo.
Just as Forensic Detectives assemble pieces of evidence in order to figure out how crimes happened and who was involved… astrologers review the charts of those who died young with the benefit of hindsight to guide our stellar efforts.
Readers are advised not to stress out if their own birth charts hold Saturn in the 8th house or if there are conjunctions, squares, or oppositions between their personal planets ( Venus, Sun, Mercury, and Moon) and the outer planets (Pluto, Saturn, Uranus, and Mars). However, it’s wise not to test the fates if you (or someone you love) carry a challenging birth blueprint that outer planetary transits now agitate.
Life is not without its dangers. These include ambushes set by fate. Like the song says, “no one here gets out alive.” It’s best to view life as an adventure and remain mindful that each incarnation is one experience in a long succession. If the ultimate outcome is merging with pure divine energy… then the various challenges we encounter while embodied exist to advance that outcome. All of the world’s Masters have taught the importance of forgiveness. This practice enables us to shed our own karmic baggage and thereby progress towards the ultimate goal: union with Source, the numinous.
These wonderful celebrity-stars taken from the earth plane while still shining remind us that eventually, we all must go home. In the meanwhile, each one of us has the opportunity to make the journey as wondrous and luminous as we can. So shine on!
25-May-2018, 19:42 UT/GMT
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