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Susan Boyle: Dreaming the Dream

Fame is an odd thing: some people pursue it relentlessly, those who have it sometimes try to get away from it, some fantasise about it but will never get it and some get it when they don’t want even want it.

So when a 47-year-old unkempt woman whom no one had ever heard of walked out on stage and said she wanted to be “like Elaine Paige,” it was a little funny. The audience—both at home and in the auditorium—giggled nervously. Surely this had to be a set up, right? No one is really going to let her slaughter “I Dreamed a Dream,” are they?

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Like the other millions of people who saw Susan Boyle’s audition, I watched it on youtube first. Susan did sing “I Dreamed a Dream” and this bold little Scottish woman with no prior brushes with fame (unless you count a disastrous performance on Michael Barrymore’s “My Kind of People” where the host was more interested in encouraging the audience to laugh at Susan[1]) captivated the world with her marvellous voice. Suddenly, everyone wanted a little piece of Susan, from the major players in the world paparazzi game to record producers to the villagers who had known her all her life. The interior of her council flat she had lived in all her life became featured as if it were a piece suitable for Hello! and her cat, Pebbles, became the most famous feline in the world.

Susan Boyle’s fame and success, if you read the tabloids, appears to have been a product of spontaneous combustion. While many people strive all their lives to reach the kind of fame Susan found in just a few short months, her story seems the stuff of fairy tales and nonsense. However, can astrology see a different side of Susan Boyle?

Susan Magdalan Boyle was born on 1 April 1961 at 9:50 am in Blackburn Scotland.[2] With her Sun in bold, brash Aries and her Moon in polite, refined Libra, we can see a chasm of difference between her wilful self and the manner in which she reacts to other people. She may come across as pushy and inconsiderate but she’s feeling “how do I get this person to like me?” Usually, a person born during the full moon phase is concerned with forming relationships because they have an acute sense of self awareness, perhaps because they perceive the parents as having polar opposite roles. However, in her chart, Mars, her Sun’s ruler, rises and the stories of her famous displays of temper (sometimes comically incongruous to the nice little old Church lady image) make perfect astrological sense. Mars in Cancer forms the apex of a T square between the Sun and Moon, thus making her strong need to protect her family and home a hindrance to committing to a relationship outside of the familiar. Indeed, it wasn’t until her parents died that Susan was able to consider a career as a singer—and even then she was motivated to do so out of the need to pay posthumous tribute to her mother.

By essential dignity, Susan’s Sun in Aries and Saturn in Capricorn are the strongest planets in her chart with the rest of the planets being decidedly weak. From this we can surmise that Susan has a strong sense of self and purpose as well as having a strong backbone. Jupiter in the chart is where we usually like to be free to explore and, in the case of Susan’s Jupiter, to experiment and try things a little different from the norm. However, Susan’s disproportional Saturn rules his own sign of Capricorn and holds the usually deeply unconventional Jupiter in Aquarius a fearful half-nelson: it’s a classis case of traditional versus modern with the traditional, established way winning hand after hand. We see the external results of this in Susan’s devotion to the Catholic religion and her lack of worldliness before her Britain’s Got Talent audition.

The Saturn/Jupiter conjunction is square to Susan’s Venus. Venus is supposed to be sweetness and light, where and how we are happy in our chart. Susan’s Venus is in Aries, giving her pursuit of desires an impulsive and spontaneous character. We saw this with her outrageous flirting with “Piersy Baby” Morgan. What stopped Susan running off the stage, jumping into his lap and making an indecent proposal (as I might have done) is a square to both Saturn and Jupiter. Here, without Saturn’s steady hand, Jupiter and Venus could have operated without restraint of any kind and we would have seen a very different Susan indeed—if she survived the careless indulgences of Venus square Jupiter.[3] Her brother’s reticence at allowing Susan to manage her own money is a sad reflection of this.[4]

Much has been made of Susan’s learning difficulties, a by-product of a difficult birth caused by lack of oxygen at the crucial stage.[5] Susan herself has often said she was taunted at school and called “Simple Susan”[6] and then ignored as an adult by the very classmates who were keen to spill the beans on her personal life when she became famous.[7] Along Susan’s nodal axis are Chiron in Pisces in the 9th and Pluto in Virgo in the 3rd. This is deep, karmic stuff if we follow the view that the South Node are the things we bring into the world at birth and Pluto is what we take into the next life. In mythology, Chiron was the wounded healer who could help everyone but himself and Pluto is god of the Underworld, the one who processes the stuff no one else wants to touch. And so we have a wee Scot with a beautiful voice who has changed the way we view beauty.

In astrology, we tend to look at Mercury and the signs and houses it rules to give us an idea of how a person thinks. Mercury in Pisces is often very woolly and dreamy and, added to this, Susan’s Mercury is part of a grand trine to Mars in Cancer and Neptune in Scorpio: Susan learns by feeling and intuition rather than by communicating through spoken or written word. It’s what allows her to move us through her singing.

But is Susan the out-of-the-blue internet hit the media has led us to believe? This idea of the home-loving spinster is shot to astrological bits when one notices Uranus buzzing around the IC of Susan’s chart. Susan is not as conventional as she may have seemed. Uranus in Leo on the IC is the rebel with a cause no one can see because no one expects it at all. Let us examine the astrological factors leading up to Susan’s phenomenal “I Dreamed a Dream” audition.

During the mid 1990s (perhaps during the months leading up to her father’s death), transiting Neptune, the planet of dreams, unlocked her Saturn-Jupiter disassociate conjunction. Neptune allows us to indulge ourselves in our little fantasies and provides opportunities to let our imagination run free. By contrast, Saturn serves as the reality that slaps us in the face to wake us up. However, during the time mid 1990s, Neptune washed away Susan’s ideas of a conventional life and career allowing her the fantasy of a singing career. It was a glimmer of hope. She still did little to make her dreams come true—except for singing in a few local karaoke sessions and attending church choir.

Uranus opposed itself in 2000 triggering off her latent rebellious streak. Astrologically, Uranus is the supreme bender of rules and a convention, forcing us to turn our metaphorical backs on “the done thing”. In a sharp break from her usually frugal self (Uranus in the 2nd), Susan had used her savings to cut a demo record and she also recorded a CD for charity entitled Music for a Millennium Celebration, Sounds of West Lothian that contained the songs “Cry Me a River” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song”. Only 1,000 copies were pressed yet the recordings received high, if limited, praise at the time.[9] When Susan’s Britain’s Got Talent audition went viral, these recordings joined it in internet stardom.[10]

Despite hints of success, Susan remained committed to looking after her frail and elderly mother until her death at the age of 91 in 2007. The death of a loved one is always a difficult time and the dire effect this event had on Susan is apparent in the transits: transit Neptune is opposite transit Saturn, along Susan’s IC/Uranus and MC axis. Oppositions always show real conflict: released from the responsibility of looking after her mother (Saturn), Susan was free (Uranus) to pursue her singing career (Neptune on the MC). The dichotomy of this was so unpleasant and more than Susan could bear so she effectively stopped singing.

However, by the end of 2008, Neptune’s meeting with Jupiter gave her an uplifting feeling of confidence, optimism and an I’m going-to-do-it-my-way outlook. Susan had done her grieving and was ready to face the world again. As she opened her mouth to the laughing, disbelieving audience, Saturn opposite Uranus was conjunct Susan’s Mercury in Pisces. As natal Chiron, the Wounded Healer, is on Susan’s South Node in the 9th house, it can be seen that her lack of formal education may be a bit of a touchy subject for her. On the night of her audition, the Wounded Healer was on her MC. “Yes,” she seemed to be saying as she sang Fantine’s last song, “I’m not perfect but boy, do I have some lessons to teach you.” If that weren’t enough, transit Pluto was on her descendant, natally conjunct her North Node, signalling the profound effect she would have on her audience—and on herself.

By the time the audition was broadcast, Susan’s progressed Sun was exactly trine to her natal Uranus: she was ready for an image change. . .and let’s face it, she couldn’t have had a more radical change in image if she turned into Elle MacPherson. More tellingly, transit Saturn was opposite Susan’s Mercury in Pisces. As the apex of the T square between the Sun and the Moon natally, in Susan’s chart, Mars in Cancer represents how Susan deals with pressure. When she was growing up and was being picked on for being “Simple Susan,” she ran to her home and locked herself away (natal Mercury trine Mars). How does one do that on stage when millions of people are watching? On the night of the live final, there was a triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune all opposite Susan’s Uranus on the IC. Put together, these planets tell the story of personal pain, publishing, mass media and immense surprises.

Although Susan “lost” the final, her story of triumph over adversity very much kept her quest to make her dream come true in the media. And owing to retrograde Pluto again reaching her descendant, her album, released on 23 November 2009, ensures Susan’s dream of a singing career truly leaves its transformative mark on all of us.

By the way, much has been made of Susan in the USA. On the day of her audition in Glasgow, Saturn was conjunct the Neptune of the Sibley chart with Venus and Uranus were opposite: Saturn has the habit of knocking the stuffing out of our fantasies but Uranus conjunct Venus in Pisces loves the unexpected surprise of the re-awakened dream.

[1] “Exclusive: We reveal Susan Boyle’s first TV talent show audition – for Michael Barrymore”. Daily Record. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2009.

[2] From a link to an online article submitted by Shelley Ackerman: Robert Blaschke cites Caroline Gerard who quotes from birth certificate. Blaschke gave the information, including coordinates for her birth place, in an online article in The Mountain Astrologer “

[3] “Subo Cash Splash”. The Scottish Sun (UK). 3 August 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.

[4] Wootton, Dan (1 August 2010) “SuBo -I’m on £300 a week”, News of the World, and would be worth £22 million by the time she retired.

[5] Holmwood, Leigh (18 April 2009). “Susan Boyle: a dream come true”. The Guardian (London).

[6] Clarke, Natalie (17 April 2009). “‘They called me Susie Simple’, but singing superstar Susan Boyle is the one laughing now”. Daily Mail (London).

[7] “Susan Boyle ‘has been kissed’, neighbour claims”. The Daily Telegraph (London). 18 April 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009.

[8] “Glenn Close to play Susan Boyle”. The Times of India. ANI. 20 Feb 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011.

[9] “Sue Bigger than Britney!”. Daily Star. 18 April 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2009.

[10] Wieselman, Jarett (17 April 2009). “Susan Boyle: No One-Trick Pony”. New York Post.

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