Interview with Pam Gregory!!May 9, 2022
Mirror Mirror: Lawrence of ArabiaAugust 16, 2023
To celebrate Saturn’s ingress in to Pisces, we will look at the life and biographical film work of legendary Hollywood actress Katharine Hepburn, who had Saturn at 25°48’ Pisces. This article appeared in TimeLords magazine and parts of it have also featured in “Mirror Mirror”.
Hepburn appeared in 44 feature films, 8 television movies and 33 plays in a career that lasted over 66 years. For the purposes of this column, she appeared in 3 biographical films: as the lead role in “Mary of Scotland”, Clara Schumann in “Songs of Love” and in the Oscar-winning role of Eleanor of Aquitaine in “The Lion in Winter”.[i] Unfortunately, as a date of birth is not available, Eleanor of Aquitaine cannot be used as a case study. However, Hepburn was so influential, she was a subject of a biographical film in “The Aviator” and was brilliantly portrayed by Cate Blanchett.
Hepburn’s Early Life
Hepburn was born on 12 May 1907 at 17:47 in Hartford Connecticut (Rodden rating: AA, Collector: Rodden). She was born to wealthy, progressive parents who encouraged her free-spiritedness and both she and her older brother were raised to think and debate on a wide range of topics. Katharine even accompanied her mother to “Vote for Women” demonstrations as a young child and she re-named herself “Jimmy” and kept her hair short. She was keen to keep up with her brother in sports (and especially loved golf) and, encouraged by their father, performed quite dangerous stunts. Along with excellent physical prowess, Hepburn also loved films and putting on neighbourhood performances to aid the Navajo people.
In the spring of 1921 at her first Saturn opposition at 13 years old, the young Hepburn was understandably devastated to discover her brother’s dead body. He had apparently committed suicide by hanging, though the family maintained it was an experiment that went very wrong. She retreated from social situations and she found it difficult to interact with other people.
Several biographers have pointed out that her parents were often criticised by the community for their progressive views, which “stimulated Hepburn to fight against barriers she encountered.”[ii] Saturn in Pisces needs firm and consistent guidance or they risk being swept out to sea (check out my article on Saturn in Pisces in the classroom on page. . .)
This early exposure to the challenges of accepted norms would ensure she could tap into her Saturn in Pisces energy and live her life on and off the stage the way she saw fit. Somewhere down the line, she had learned how to hold those barriers firmly in an industry where women and other minorities were bullied and pushed around by powerful and wealthy men. Although a talented, exceptionally beautiful actress, she was just as well known for her strength of will and sophistication as she was for her talents.
“Mary of Scotland”
Some biopics contain historical inaccuracies or take liberties with facts and sequences of events in people’s life to make them more interesting to a buying public. This is particularly true for films about people who lived long ago—and for biopics of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the genre tended to be about Biblical figures or royalty. Be this as it may, what is interesting for astrologers is the synastry between the actor and the real life person so we can study the astrological factors the actor is tapping into in order to play their role. The transits of the film’s release (set for noon without using the Moon or angles) is also interesting as the first glimpse of a film can give us an idea of what the audience is reacting to.
With this being said, we can turn our attention to the subject, the actor and the transits of when the film was released.
Mary Queen of Scots: 18 December 1542 (the Gregorian calendar is being used here for consistency) at 13:12 in Linlithgow Scotland, Rodden Rating: C, Collector: Rodden
Film release: 30 July 1936
The film’s plot loosely follows the events of Mary’s claim to the throne and the threat this posed for her cousin Queen Elizabeth of England. Hepburn portrays Mary’s 18 year imprisonment and a rather long and drawn out walk to her execution. The costumes are lavish, the music dramatic and the dialogue slow. However, Hepburn is stunningly beautiful in period dress and there are several close ups of her exquisite face.
Several outstanding connections show between the actress and the Queen. Hepburn’s Uranus in Capricorn is within one degree of Mary’s MC: we have a rebellious woman playing a tragic queen’s unfair treatment and subsequent punishment for daring to stand up to authority. Additionally, Hepburn’s Mars in Capricorn is exactly conjunct the Queens’s Mercury at 15 degrees. Hepburn may not be saying Mary’s exact words but she is performing them and saying them in a way that helps the audience understand the circumstances. This is aided by Mary’s moon also being a part of this conjunction—the actress is feeling and expressing the Queen’s emotion.
Mary has another conjunction, this one between Mars and Pluto in Aquarius and the actress’ Chiron is conjunct this enabling her to convey the pain and agony of the Queen’s position. Katharine’s Mercury in Taurus is conjunct Mary’s ascendant and again, we can see how the actress may have used her communication skills to help the audience understand Mary. If that weren’t enough transiting Uranus also passed over Mary’s ascendant when the film was released: although there was a short film about Mary’s execution made in 1895, “Mary of Scotland” was the first “talkie”.
Mercury and Venus in Leo transited Hepburn’s MC which should have meant she was well received for her performance. However, the reviews were mixed and the film flopped at the box office and the film is not well regarded today. This was not helped by Pluto transiting the actress’ North Node in Cancer. In fact, Hepburn became regarded as “box office poison” and, after a two-year screen absence, she left RKO Radio Pictures and moved to MGM.
“Songs of Love”
Clara Schuman: 13 September 1819, no time, Leipzig Germany
Film released: 9 October 1947
This film also took a few liberties with historical accuracy but nevertheless, it does tell the interesting story of Robert and Clara Schumann, two famous German musicians of their time and Robert’s most promising student Johannes Brahms. Brahams, who lived with the Schumanns (and their seven children), fell in love with Clara and decided to leave their home. Sadly, Robert suffered from an affliction that caused him to have melancholic depressive episodes. While enduring the disappointments of being rejected for his composition “Faust”, he suffered a breakdown on stage. Clara supported him until his death in an asylum at the age of 46. Brahms, seeing his chance, asked Clara to marry him but she turns him down and spends the rest of her life preserving Robert’s music and memory.
Clara Schumann had a notable six-planet opposition between the Sun, Venus and Mercury in Virgo and Pluto, Saturn and Chiron in Pisces (in real life, she is regarded as a virtuoso piano player and composer). Katharine, who had little musical ability, had her Saturn conjunct the musician’s conjunction in Pisces. In cases where actors have portrayed pianists, the actor learns basic hand positions to make it look realistic. It can be hard work to fake it!
The film was released as the Sun and Uranus were on the musician’s South Node. Transiting Pluto had moved away from Hepburn’s North Node and was conjunct her MC when the film was released to the public. Unfortunately, the film was not a box office success. However, although slow moving, Pluto did move away from these sensitive points in Hepburn’s chart and she went on to receive Oscar nominations for “The African Queen” (1952), “Summertime” (1956), “The Rainmaker” (1957), “Suddenly, Last Summer” (1960), “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” before winning Best Actress for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in 1968 and the following year for “The Lion in Winter”. She won a final Best Actress award for “On Golden Pond” in 1984.
Cate Blanchett: 14 May 1969, 6:40, Melbourne Australia, Rodden Rating: C, Collector: Scholfield
Film released: 17 December 2004
Sadly, Hepburn didn’t get to see Blanchett’s performance in “The Aviator” as she died the previous year. How interesting it would have been to hear her opinion on the actresses Oscar-winning performance.
The film is about Howard Hughes, his obsession with building airplanes and his struggles with OCD that led to Hepburn leaving him for Spencer Tracy. Whilst Katharine was not the main focus of the film, Blanchett stole the show with her performance.
Katherine Hepburn’s natal New Moon is conjunct the fixed star Algol which often signifies intensive, passionate romances. Cate’s Sun, only a couple of degrees away from this New Moon would find it easy to identify with such passion. Further, transiting Venus in Scorpio was exactly conjunct Cate’s Neptune and transiting Jupiter in Libra was in orb of opposition to both actresses’ Venus when the movie was released further highlighting the emphasis on relationships. Transiting Saturn in Cancer was conjunct Katherine’s North Node and transiting Chiron was in opposition to both when the film was released.
Perhaps the most interesting connection is Hepburn’s Saturn in Pisces conjunct Cate’s North Node within just a couple of degrees. Here we see a “fated” quality that binds the lessons Katharine learned in life as someone who had to keep the boundaries firm.
[ii] Higham, Charles (2004) . Kate: The Life of Katharine Hepburn. New York City, NY: W. W. Norton