March 7, 2013

The Saturn Cycle of Vivien Leigh

This is Part 2 of The Saturn Cycle of Career Success. Part 1 is HERE.

To read the post on the Saturn Cycle that measures our lives in 7-year increments, click HERE.

Scorpios burn themselves out and eat themselves up and they are careless about themselves - like me. I swing between happiness and misery and I cry easily. I am a mixture of my mother's determination and my father's optimism. I am part prude and part non-conformist and I say what I think and don't dissemble. I am a mixture of French, Irish and Yorkshire, and perhaps that's what it all is.

                                                        ~Vivien Leigh
In this post, we will examine the Saturn Cycle of actress Vivien Leigh, also known as Scarlett O'Hara to the millions of fans of Gone With the Wind. Many others will also remember her other Oscar-winning performance as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Ms. Leigh was born November 5, 1913 at sunset in Darjeeling, India, where some say her father was an officer in the Indian cavalry, and others say he was a stockbroker. In either case, he was an amateur actor who enjoyed being in local plays. Because Leigh lived in India and her mother wanted her to have a proper British education, she was sent away to a convent where she lived and studied.  

Vivien happened to meet another girl there by the name of Maureen O'Sullivan, who came to be widely known as Jane Parker--"Me, Tarzan; You, Jane"--yes, that Jane, who also happens to be the mother of Mia Farrow, who has the most interesting birth name.

Vivien and her friend Maureen played dress-up and decided that someday they would be great actresses, probably much like a scene from The Little Princess with Shirley Temple and Sybil Jason. But I digress again.

As a teen, Ms. Leigh attended schools in England, France, Italy and Germany. She spoke English, French, Italian, and fluent Southern Belle. 

Her natal chart, above, had a majority of planets in fixed signs and a majority in air signs, giving it an Aquarian signature, which would color everything in it, even her Scorpio sun. Her moon was in Aquarius, and was conjunct Uranus, the ruler of Aquarius. The moon also conjuncted her Midheaven. She was an intelligent, intellectual, well-educated woman. She was opinionated and set in her ways, and because these are fixed signs, those things were not easily changed about her.

Unfortunately, her moon squared her sun, which caused a conflict between what she wanted to do vs. what she felt she should do, as well as conflicts between her private persona and her public one. It's a sign of emotional insecurity that restricts self-expression. She undoubtedly thought a lot of things she knew she shouldn't say, but not saying them would be like forbidding the stars to shine.

Scorpio, is a sign known for producing smoldering, mesmerizing people of extraordinary intensity. They can call you from across a crowded room without uttering a word, and the look in their eye that they use to do it will make you blush. They rarely ask for things, preferring to sit quietly and wait for you to realize they want it. When you do, you will hurry to give it to them. They could charm a snake. They are generally quiet and private people unless some poor unknowing soul makes the mistake of scorning them, and then hell hath no fury... This is the all-or-nothing sign. They are deep as wells in mind and soul. They are both sinners and saints.

A man I used to know asked his Scorpio kids why they always wore black,  and they answered, "Because there's nothing darker." That describes Scorpio perfectly when they are in a mood. For your own safety, you should probably steer clear.

Ms. Leigh's moon, which describes her emotional needs, was in Aquarius. Seems just about every other chart I've looked at lately has had the moon in Aquarius. It's humanitarian and wants to make the world a better place, but it's also emotionally distant and difficult to love. A moon-in-Aquarius person examines their feelings, intellectualizes their feelings and understands their feelings, but they don't feel their feelings.

Her Ascendant was in Taurus, so here we have another fixed sign. It's ruled by Venus, which adds to her beauty and charm. She also grew up in the lap of luxury, as befits Taurus, and yet because Venus, as well as her sun, are in the 6th house, she always expected to work for her living. It's just that she knew from an early age what she wanted that work to be. Those people have a jump on life.

As most people do, Vivien had a starter marriage (chart above). She wed her first husband, Leigh Holman, on December 20, 1932, at the age of 19. He was a lawyer and thirteen years her senior. As is often attributed to Saturn, he offered security. Look where Saturn was transiting her chart: conjunct her Midheaven. The pinnacle of career success (according to the astrologer Grant Lewi, who first noted the Saturn Career Cycle of Success). Be that as it may, Saturn conjunct the Midheaven represents a willingness to take responsibility for one's own path and direction in life. Saturn conjunct any angle marks a milestone in life.

In 1935, while Ms. Leigh starred in her first professional play, a young actor named Lawrence Olivier saw her performance and went backstage to meet and congratulate her. Although they were both married, they were attracted to each other and soon began a long affair. I don't have an exact date for that meeting, so can't track her Saturn for it. 

Another thing I don't have an exact date for is the one where she was chosen to play Scarlett O'Hara. There are several stories floating around about it. One says she was told of it on Christmas day. Another says she knew even before the "big search" began when dozens of actresses were screen-tested, and that the search was really only a ploy to maintain public interest in a movie that wasn't even financed to be made yet. In any case, the director, George Cukor, liked what he called Leigh's "incredible wildness," (a trait of Uranus on an angle), and chose her for the role. Another popular anecdote is that the close-up scenes with Clark Gable were torture for her because his dentures gave him severe halitosis. It's hard to know how she might know that, seeing as how she was smoking four packs of cigarettes a day.

We do have a date, although not an exact time, for the premiere of Gone With the Wind in Atlanta, on December 15, 1939. See the chart below: 

You can see that Uranus (change, excitement), which was on her Midheaven at birth is now on her Ascendant (you, here and now), along with the Part of Fortune (luck) of the moment, and all three are trined by transiting Venus (happiness, harmony, beauty) which has just left a conjunction to her natal Jupiter (bigger, better, more, joy) and is heading toward her Midheaven (career, reputation, fame, direction and path in life). But we're tracking Saturn in this post, and where is it? It's in the 12th house, which Grant Lewi said was the time to consolidate your position and build for security rather than expansion. That's why I'm doing this little study: to see if this Saturn theory is correct.

By this time, both Ms. Leigh and Lawrence Olivier have been able to obtain divorces from their respective spouses, and it is said that he proposed to her on the plane on their way home from Atlanta. Whether or not that's true, we have no way of knowing. So much of Hollywood is hype, then and now. However, the position of the planets are in a good position for that the story to be true.

The Academy Awards were held on February 29, 1940 that year, in Los Angeles. Ms. Leigh won the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal as Scarlett O'Hara. That's a very honorable achievement, and according to Lewi's Saturn theory, Ms. Leigh's Saturn should be somewhere near the top of her chart at the Midheaven. But it's not. We already know it's way past that. 

At the time of this big win, transiting Saturn is still in the "consolidation" sector, and moving quickly toward the "obscurity" sector. It was also making a square aspect to her natal Neptune, planet of glamour and illusion. She once said she found it difficult to live up to the public's expectations, and she hated making films. She preferred stage performances. Recall now that her chart has an Aquarian signature, and notice that the Vertex (fate, a date with destiny) does trine her natal Uranus, moon and Midheaven.

Later that year, Ms. Leigh became Mrs. Olivier on August 31, 1940, with Katharine Hepburn as her maid of honor. 

Where was Saturn on her wedding day? There, exactly on her Ascendant, marking another milestone in her life. Jupiter for joy is also there, along with Uranus, the ruler of her Midheaven and her moon. Transiting Venus, planet of love, was conjunct her Mars, a very appropriate aspect for a wedding.

In 1940, while Saturn hovered around her Ascendant, Ms. Leigh tried several times to be cast opposite her husband in movies, but was thwarted each time, and she did, in fact, enter an obscure period in her career. The couple returned to England, as World War II had begun, and together they went to entertain the troops. But on one of their trips to Africa, she contracted tuberculosis and took several months to recuperate. Then she became pregnant, but miscarried, and entered into a deep depression, later to be diagnosed with what we now call bi-polar disorder.  

Olivier went on to make very successful movies and win several Oscars, and in 1947, he was knighted, becoming Sir Lawrence Olivier (although he preferred to be called "Larry"). While his career soared, hers plummeted. She had another miscarriage, an affair, and more illness. During this time, he also had a clandestine affair - with actor Danny Kaye. His bi-sexuality may have contributed to his admitted failure to consummate his first marriage on his wedding night.

True to the Saturn cycle of "the 7-year itch," Leigh and Olivier's marriage went on the rocks. Like many couples whose finances depend on togetherness, they carried on with the proverbial stiff upper lip. They went to Australia where they appeared on stage together again, but it was the beginning of the end. I haven't been able to find the exact day that Olivier was knighted, nor the day in New Zealand when during a heated argument, they slapped each other before going on stage, just one of many tumultuous fights between them. When I pick a date out of the air, I usually go for the middle of the month, and then adjust forward or backward, depending on what I find. For this exercise, I chose August 15 1947, which was just before their 7th wedding anniversary when I assume they were Down Under, and it just so happens to be quite revealing.

Here you can see that not only is Saturn transiting at the bottom of Ms. Leigh's chart, but it also squares her Ascendant and Descendant axis. The Descendant is the cusp of the 7th house of marriage. Pluto, the destroyer, is also square this axis. There are six planets in Leo - the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Pluto, all of which square Ms. Leigh's sun in Scorpio, and Olivier's sun in the opposite sign, Taurus. In addition, transiting Mars conjuncted Ms. Leigh's natal Pluto, which is like lighting dynamite. There was bound to be an explosion. Finally, the transiting vertex (fate, appointment with destiny) conjuncted her natal vertex.

In 1951, Ms. Leigh returned to Hollywood to work on the film A Streetcar Named Desire. Olivier went with her to try to keep her in control of her bi-polar disorder. Later, she would be quoted as saying her performance as Blanche DuBois "tipped me over into madness."

She won her second Oscar for playing the role on March 26, 1952.

See the chart below:

Notice that this time, the Vertex (fate, a date with destiny) is conjunct Pluto, the ruler of her Scorpio sun, and the transiting Ascendant is conjunct the sun, itself. Transiting Venus (love, happiness, harmony) is square her natal Saturn. Transiting Saturn, which is retrograde, makes several aspects. It trines its own natal place (achievement, ambition). It trines her natal moon (emotional satisfaction), and it squares her natal Jupiter (bigger, better, more). Transiting Chiron conjuncted her natal Jupiter. I don't believe the true meaning of Chiron has been discovered yet, but it always seems to make an appearance in charts of significant events. As you can see, transiting Saturn is in the sector of the chart Lewi called "The First Rise," indicating progress and development toward the 7th cusp at which time a person "re-emerges" from obscurity. Winning an Oscar is quite a re-emergence, and Saturn still has quite a distance to go before reaching the 7th house.

By this time, both Lord and Lady Olivier were having affairs outside their marriage. Ms. Leigh had a final pregnancy that ended in miscarriage, and her mental health continued to deteriorate. They still worked together and continued to garner good reviews. On January 30, 1953, while filming Elephant Walk in Ceylon, Leigh suffered a major mental meltdown, after which she was hospitalized and began electro-shock therapy (Elizabeth Taylor was called in to take her place).

Transiting Saturn is exactly opposite the position it was in when Leigh won the Oscar for Gone With the Wind - squaring her natal Neptune (illusion, delusion, deception and confusion). It was in the First Rise sector of the chart.

The transiting Moon's Nodes at 12 degrees Leo and 12 degrees Aquarius exactly squared her natal sun (inner life, ego, individuality), as well as the transiting Jupiter which happened to be conjunct her natal Ascendant (you, here and now). Normally, Jupiter on the Ascendant is a very good aspect, but any planet under stress can go awry. In this case, Jupiter represents "over the top." The transiting sun, conjunct the transiting South Node (the bitch node, a malefic) also squared its own place in her natal chart. Transiting Mercury (rational mind, communication) conjuncted her natal moon, which was also ruler of her 3rd house of the rational mind and communication. 

Vivien Leigh never fully recovered from her mental illness, and in 1957, Olivier began an affair with actress Joan Plowright. He left Ms. Leigh in 1958, and they divorced in 1960 after 20 years together, as Saturn once again conjuncted her Midheaven, marking another milestone in her life. Saturn at the Midheaven timed her marriage to her first husband, and now it timed her divorce from Olivier. According to Grant Lewi's Career Cycle theory, this should have been the most public part of her career, the pinnacle of her success.

She did revive her career somewhat, making a movie the next year, and winning a Tony for a Broadway performance in 1963, followed by another movie in 1965. She began living with an old friend from the 40's, Jack Merivale, but reportedly kept a photo of Olivier on her bedside table, nevertheless. Just as the mental illness never left her, neither did the tuberculosis, and on July 7, 1967, she died suddenly at home as a result. Transiting Saturn inconjuncted her natal Sun, and the transiting nodes of the moon squared her natal Uranus (sudden, unexpected, disruptive), the planet ruling her fixed-air signature. Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered on the mill pond at her home.

Every Hollywood story is supposed to have a happy ending. Whether hers is real or manufactured is up to you to decide. When Olivier heard the news that she had passed, he left the hospital where he was being treated for cancer and rushed to her deathbed where he prayed for forgiveness for all the bad things that had transpired between them, and accepted blame for her illness.

Leigh had long since forgiven him. She told a writer shortly before her death that she would "rather have had a short life with Larry than to face a long one without him." 

Olivier lived another 22 years, devoted to his 3rd wife, Joan Plowright. But in 1986, a visitor to his home found the 80-year old sitting alone, watching an old Vivien Leigh movie on TV. "This, this was love," he reportedly said. "This was the real thing."