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December 2009

Actress and Singer Brittany Murphy Dies at 32: The Astrology of her Death

Brittany murphy Most of us were shocked to hear that Brittany Murphy was pronounced dead this morning at the young age of 32 and I was very saddened to hear  it. Her ability to play intense roles and yet light her whole aura up when she smiled was remarkable. While I am no expert on the astrology of death, I took at look at the aspects hitting her chart right now and did find some things that make me speculate about its cause (cardiac arrest – but why?).

Brittany-murphy-chart

This is Brittany's natal chart (alas, without a birth time) in the center, and the transit and progressed wheels have been set for around 8 am pacific time, when the 911 call was made. Several things stand out in this chart immediately: The moon in Aquarius was approaching a sextile to her natal Neptune and was nearly exact, as well as having just passed a square to Uranus. Transiting Mars is about a degree away from a square to her Sun, something that is made more profound by the fact that Mars stations to go retrograde today and its exact time of stand still was around 5:30 am today, not long before the 911 call. Saturn is also approaching a square to her Jupiter in Cancer and Pluto opposing it, but both have been happening for more than a few weeks now. An additional fascinating thing about this chart that is not readily apparent from the image is that her progressed Mars also stationed retrograde, just 10 days ago. This is a rare event, and may not signify anything much on its own, but coupled with transiting Mars doing the same thing makes one wonder. It is unfortunate that we do not know her time of birth, because I wouldn't be surprised to see stressful aspects to her ascendant.

Mars has a great deal to say about how one defends their boundaries, processes anger, and acts on their motivations, but it's significance in the physical realm can have a lot to do with our physical energy and our robustness. According to Eileen Nauman, an astrologer who is an expert at medical astrology, squares between Mars and the Sun can signify issues with the heart, such as heart palpitations, high blood pressure, or anything that causes stress (Mars) to the heart (Sun).* Brittany does not have this aspect natally, so it is less likely that heart trouble was a chronic condition but something that was triggered as transiting Mars' strength squared the Sun, and was then amplified by it standing still (stationing). Was something started 10 days ago (or earlier in the build up) as her progressed Mars also stationed to go retrograde, while squaring her own Moon?

EDIT: Today People.com reported an interview with Brittany's husband Simon and he did indicate that she had a heart condition:

"He added that his wife of three years did suffer from a heart murmur (mitral valve prolapse), which can cause
fatigue, dizziness and irregular heartbeats – but is generally not life
threatening. Murphy didn't require medication to treat it, says Monjack."

So perhaps the square from Chiron to her natal Mars in Leo is another factor here. I'm not too sure what to make of the sextile from the Moon to Neptune, but I mention it because of the timing of the aspect and Brittany's death, as well as the fact that Neptune is the most basic rulership of drugs and since it's not common for a 32 year old to be vulnerable to going into cardiac arrest, one can speculate if drugs were involved, prescription or otherwise. I wonder if this speaks merely (or additionally) to the mystery surrounding her death, so it will be interesting to note what they find that caused her to enter cardiac arrest.

So sorry to hear the passing of this actress.

*From Eileen Nauman's book Medical Astrology, third edition.

And Then There Were Three: the Astrology of the Season 6 Top Chef Finalists; Third, Michael Voltaggio

Those
of you watching Bravo's Season 6 of Top Chef were no doubt holding your
breath like I was when the final three were revealed. Now that we know
one of these chefs will be

crowned the latest 'Top Chef' and we know who we love and who we love
to hate, I'll take a look at the astrology of each. Who will win? Who
should win? You decide; I just work here! Although I have no time of
birth for any of the contestants, a look at their dates of birth still
reveals a great deal astrologically. I'm devoting an entire entry to
each of them since a paragraph never does any chart justice! Third finalist: Michael Voltaggio.

Michael Voltaggio

Top-chef-michael-voltaggioLibra is a sign that is most stereotyped as the 'peacekeeping, nice and tactful one,' so it may be quite surprisingly, initially, to find that Michael's Sun and Mercury are in Libra. But Libra is not strictly about niceness, it's really about balance. Libra is Venus-ruled, which gives it an entire creative component, and a Libra's skill in creating it's own art, whatever medium it chooses to use, will be utilizing it's natural understanding of balance and harmony to put components together in a way that is pleasing. Michael clearly has chosen to express his art with food, which emphasizes balance not only in presentation of the food (color, shape, style) but also tastes. Libra is a sign of partnership, which means that it understands that nothing exists in isolation – everything is relative to each other. A dish paired with wine, a spice paired with the right meat, elements from all the food groups, you name it; Michael innately understands how everything fits together and is deepening that understanding as he works with Libra energy.

Michael also has three planets in Scorpio, a sign that is also about extremes, just as Libra is. But while Libra is a sign of learning how to bring extremes into balance and getting them to cooperative harmoniously or at least agree to co-exist, Scorpio is a sign of extremes in the sense that it takes something down to its core and pushes it even further. Michael's Venus and Uranus are conjunct (in the same place as each other) in Scorpio, which means that Venus, the creative extension of his Libra Sun, and his Uranus, the way he expresses his individuality, function together. In Scorpio, he will always wanting to be pushing that creative envelope past it's edges, not only taking risks but working with intense flavors or innovative combinations.

As a side note about Michael's bedside manner (and it's seeming absence on the show): he may have the Sun and Mercury in Libra, but his Venus and Uranus conjunct in Scorpio shows that his relating style (Venus) is less about going the extra mile to fit in or feel understood and more about asserting his independence and being his authentic self in relationships. His personal authenticity demands that he not compromise his individuality for another, but the side effect of that instinct can often be a tendency to push others away. As we'll see below, other factors in his chart have a tendency to make him very single-minded when working, which means that when he's working, don't get in his way! If we knew his birth time, his rising sign, or Ascendant, would be revealed, giving us more insight into the style of social interface that is most comfortable for him to present to the world.

Michael's chart also shows an interesting relationship between Mars in Scorpio, Saturn in Virgo, and Jupiter in Leo, all in a sextile relationship with each other, with Mars and Jupiter on the edges forming a trine to each other. Both sextiles and trines between planets help those components of him to work well with each other. Mars in Scorpio shows his strong desire to take something to its edges. Jupiter in Leo, and its connection to Mars, reveals an innate belief and confidence in himself. Not that he won't ever have a down day, but there is something inside of him that knows if he just pushes it all the way and is willing to go after what he wants (Mars in Scorpio), success is all the more likely (Jupiter in Leo). Confidence, when turned on its side, can look a lot like arrogance, which may be the astrological fingerprint of Michael's cockiness (as some would say he has), but it's likely that a birth time would reveal more fingerprints that add to that story.

Finally, Saturn in Virgo between the two (Mars and Jupiter) is really where he can take anything he does to the next level. If it were just Mars and Jupiter, he may have all the confidence in the world, and a lot of competitiveness, but perhaps no commitment to see things through. Working successfully with Saturn in Virgo means that if he doesn't skip the details, if he follows through with painstaking care, and will accept nothing less than himself than excellence (and take care not to berate himself too much when he doesn't achieve it), then that Mars and Jupiter can take anything he does all the way to the top.

Good luck, Michael!

………………

If you are an astrologer and would like to work with these charts and make your own observations (please share!), the available birth data of all three contestants is as follows (no birth times available, which is why no houses or rising signs are revealed):

Michael Voltaggio: Sept 29 1978

Bryan Voltaggio: April 15 1976

Kevin Gillespie: Sept 30 1982

……………..

Want to find your inner gifts and learn how to maximize them? Contact me for a personal reading at heavenlytruth.com!

And Then There Were Three: the Astrology of the Season 6 Top Chef Finalists; Second, Bryan Voltaggio

Those
of you watching Bravo's Season 6 of Top Chef were no doubt holding your
breath like I was when the final three were revealed. Now that we know
one of these chefs will be

crowned the latest 'Top Chef' and we know who we love and who we love
to hate, I'll take a look at the astrology of each. Who will win? Who
should win? You decide; I just work here! Although I have no time of
birth for any of the contestants, a look at their dates of birth still
reveals a great deal astrologically. I'm devoting an entire entry to
each of them since a paragraph never does any chart justice! Next up, Bryan.

Bryan Voltaggio

Top-chef-bryan-voltaggioIn Bryan's video biography on the Top Chef website, he speaks about some of his earliest memories of his grandfather tugging at his apron and helping him at the stove, real family dinners and "not picking from a refrigerator," and the family's  garden which were worked into the family meals. He started as a busboy in a restaurant in his teens and essentially worked his way up at a steady pace, getting training and experience. He now owns his own restaurant, Volt, in which he is committed to using "ingredients that are local, stable, and organic."

In Bryan's chart, we're limited without a birth time to fill in some of the information a chart can give, just as in Kevin's and Michael's, which will follow shortly. But right away I'm drawn to his Mars and Saturn in the sign of Cancer as well as his south node in Taurus. Cancer and Taurus are the two primary signs that are often linked with a love of food – Taurus because it classically loves to feed it's senses, and Cancer because it loves to nurture (or shall we say nourish, in this case?). Bryan's upbringing, with that sense of stability and nurturing which took on the form of food and family meals, gave him a foundation, but his desire (Mars) to nourish (Cancer) as well as build and continue traditions (Saturn) around that Cancer principle is a continuing motivator in his adult life. I wouldn't be surprised if the full birth chart revealed planets in his 4th house, which would amplify the sense of tradition from his childhood.

His Sun in Aries is squaring Saturn in Cancer pretty tightly however, as well as Mars widely squaring Uranus, which may be a perfect reflection of the way he defines his food, which is "modern American," combining classical techniques with modern ones, which seems like a great way, at least professionally and creatively, to take the tradition one's grown up with (Cancer) and make it their own (Uranus, Sun). Along those same lines, Bryan has this to say (from his bio at his restaurant's website):

"Driven by the love and support of his family, wife Jennifer and son
Thacher, Chef Voltaggio seeks to bring historic Frederick a piece of
his culinary upbringing to a place that built his foundation."

His restaurant is in his home town and he wants to contribute back to that town, carrying on the traditions forward from his rich past.

But what about his Aries Sun and Scorpio Moon, two very important components of any chart? Leadership and a willingness to take risks are key elements of his personality that he will benefit from developing. The south node reveals an underlying foundation to one's personality, the energy, attitude, and expectations we entered this life with and what we need to take the best from and move forward with, as well as what habits and 'comfort zones' we need to grow beyond to have a satisfying life. The vulnerabilities of a Taurus south node lie in trying to keep things from changing, the love of something timeless becoming simply stagnant and dead, like an anchor around one's neck. His Aries Sun gives him a hunger to identify with someone who is forward thinking, who doesn't rest on his successes and is not afraid to stretch to one's edges. While his brother, Michael, seems to be the competitive one, Bryan's definitely got the streak as well.

His Scorpio Moon reveals a need to nurture himself by learning how to trust and develop his intensity, calling forward the phoenix's strength to recognize cycles – to let go of what's ready to fade and step into what's ready to be born, whether it's in himself or in his life situations. Again, this emphasizes the bridge he must build between the warmth of past traditions and the foundation they provide for him, while stretching beyond it into his own territory.

Good luck, Bryan!

And Then There Were Three: the Astrology of the Season 6 Top Chef Finalists; First, Kevin Gillespie

Those of you watching Bravo's Season 6 of Top Chef were no doubt holding your breath like I was when the final three were revealed. Now that we know one of these chefs will be crowned the latest 'Top Chef' and we know who we love and who we love to hate, I'll take a look at the astrology of each. Who will win? Who should win? You decide; I just work here! Although I have no time of birth for any of the contestants, a look at their dates of birth still reveals a great deal astrologically. I'm devoting an entire entry to each of them since a paragraph never does any chart justice! First up, Kevin.

Kevin Gillespie

Top-chef-kevin-gillespie Kevin seems to be the sweetest and mildest one of the bunch, and that almost made him seem to come out of nowhere when he started climbing up the ranks of Top Chef's best quickly and steadily. His Jupiter/Moon trine and Mars in Sagittarius emphasizes the easy going quality of his Libra Sun, but there are underlying strengths that show Kevin's definitely a competitor. His Mars in Sagittarius is conjunct Uranus, which reveals a desire to stand apart. Mars in anyone's chart shows how and why we handle our natural competitive natures (even if it's to roll over peacefully), but this configuration is less about a competitive urge to beat out others and more an urge to feel that he has got something special, that he can surprise others as well as himself by utilizing qualities that are uniquely his.

Another way he shows he's not only a big teddy bear is his Capricorn South Node. The South Node reveals an underlying foundation, the energy, attitude, and expectations we entered this life with. It represents what we're trying to take the best from and move forward with as we have the new experiences and develop the new tools the chart reveals for us, while leaving behind some of the growth-stunting patterns that each sign contains. The South Node often reveals itself more strongly in early life, as we reenact our karmic habits and before we've been around the edges of ourselves and life enough to realize we don't want the same old, same old anymore.

Kevin's South Node lies in Capricorn, a sign that emphasizes hard work, integrity, duty, diligence, strategy, tenacity, and ambition. The pitfalls of a Capricorn South Node can make one vulnerable to focusing too much only on what makes logical sense, what is most profitable, and what must be done, sometimes going so overboard on a sense of duty and restraint that the heart is constricted because desire can be seen as irrelevant to what IS and what MUST BE. Listen to what Kevin had to say in his video bio on the Top Chef website: 

"And then as I got older, in school I did really well and so people assumed that I would go to an Ivy League school and in fact that was sort of my route, I was supposed to be an engineer, and at the very end of my high school career I just decided that wasn't where my heart lies."

Kudos to Kevin for recognizing that the best strategy isn't always in alignment with who you are. Kevin's Sun is squaring his nodes, which means embracing the lesson that his Sun reflects in his chart is an important stepping stone in getting from the karmic habit (South Node) to the present and future purpose (North Node). To embrace our Sun means to develop our sense of identity, to take it seriously, to not only have an ego but celebrate it – not to outshine others, but not to hide ourselves out of some pious, misguided attempt to be nice. Simply knowing and accepting who you are and then not being afraid to let it shine out is what Sun work is all about, and Kevin's recognition of who he was no doubt helped him move toward the goal he truly desired. He takes the best of his Capricorn qualities of ambition and hard work, and devotes it to a goal that he loves, which nourishes him (Cancer). Well done! And when he is in alignment with what his heart wants (Moon), that trine from Jupiter (success, luck) can sure have him creating opportunities for himself left and right.

He also revealed that his family was very big on the large family
gathering with cooking and sharing, which is such a blessed example for
him to learn some of the fundamentals of a Cancer North Node, that which is he is moving toward in this life: love, shelter, and nourishment, both figuratively and literally! He also speaks about using local and seasonal foods which speaks to the integrity of the best of Capricorn as well as the urge to shelter and protect the best sources of nourishment and one's local 'family' that Cancer stands for.

Good luck, Kevin!

Stay tuned all week to my blog; before the Top Chef Season 6 finale, I'll take a look at the Voltaggio brothers' charts as well.

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