The astrology of Carole Lombard has a raft of fascinating factors; born in 1908, she was arguably the template for comedy acting; despite her deliriously dreamy good looks she was never much enamoured of the screen-siren mantle that could have been hers for the taking; she was a fast-talking, strong willed dynamo who swore like a trooper and knew her own mind. Her nickname on the studio circuit was “the Profane Angel” and Howard Hawks said of her: “Marvellous girl. Crazy as a bedbug.” She died in 1942 aged only 33, when the aircraft she was travelling home in crashed into the summit of Mount Potosoi, south west of Las Vegas.
No surprise then that her forté was Screwball Comedy, nor that Hawk considered her to be “crazy”, her astrology is as screwball and crazy at it gets. Far from evincing a single pointed focus, her astrology is a dizzying, confusing maze of indications and contraindications. But let us consider a few of the extant themes:
- Chiron rises in Aquarius, crazy but sensitive.
- Moon also rises, but in dreamy Pisces.
- Moon opposes Venus conjunct Jupiter, giving (according to Ebertin) “Film Star mannerisms”, this on Regulus too, and forming the basis for a tee-square to her Midheaven.
- A grand trine: across the 1st/5th and 8th/9th houses that includes Pallas! Why am I not surprised!?
And finally, consider the debilitated mutual reception in opposition of Sun in Libra with Saturn in Aries. Both these planets are in fall and thus considered weak, but by mutual reception they are placed in the signs of each-others exaltation, in opposition they are difficult to balance, but how else explain Carole’s enormous determination to succeed in comedy? Saturn in Aries is a strange placement, it ought to in theory be more or less the most debiltated of positions for Saturn, but somehow the stubborn, wilful nature of Aries seems to suit Saturn in a manner that the other fire-signs simply do not. There is no smooth sense of persistence with it, rather, like the Ram the Saturnine Arian will butt against a problem out of sheer bloody-mindedness for a while and then give up, but importantly, it rankles, so he or she will be back eventually and butt away some more, and again, and again. The truth is that Saturn in Aries gives astonishing, if intermittent persistence.
Traditionally the placement gives a high level of entitlement without the necessary humility; Saturn in Aries wants your respect but doesn’t want to serve his apprenticeship to earn it, but when he does eventually learn that he’s not getting your respect he’ll persist.
Sun in Libra is equally indifferent to solar qualities which demand a sense of entitlement too, the Libran is always expending effort on ensuring the other person feels at ease, only to realise that he or she is the only person that feels dissatisfied with things; all the energy has been spent on everyone else!
So then, consider the reversal; Sun in Aries gives a real power to focus exclusively on one’s own needs; subjectively it is a great position for the Sun – even though the downside is that you can appear to be very selfish – but by its very nature Aries doesn’t actually care all that much about what the other person thinks, so where’s the crime? Similarly, Saturn is very comfortable in the sign of Libra, which rules the serious business of justice and gives a weighty consideration and an element of gravitas in the demeanour that usually commands the respect that Saturn in Aries feels is his divine right.
The mutual reception then, especially one where the planets see each other in aspect (thus by quincunx, quindecile or most powerfully, by opposition) gives the potential to realise the very best potentials of the interchange of energies by mutual reception, but only after the lesson of Saturn has been learned. Now Carole Lombard may have been considered ditzy, but she certainly displayed a great quality of persistence and other factors in her chart allowed her to experience great success even before Saturn had transformed. Intriguingly she married Clark Gable at the time of her Saturn return, just as the mutual reception would have been raised a notch or two in her psyche.
Another notable actor with the same debilitated mutual reception is Guy Pearce, who although ostensibly Australian, was actually born in Cambridgeshire, England. The release of his most critically acclaimed movie Memento in 2000 saw Pluto transiting his tenth house whilst Solar Arc Sun applied to conjunction with radix Neptune, the actor’s high-point therefore; although no doubt the sense of confused, continually dissolving real-world conditions that were at the heart of that movie’s plot were reflective of some genuine sense of dissolution in Pearce’s life at that time. As above, so below and life imitates art, as any good astrologer understands. Similarly the movie dealt with the difficult aftermath of a head-injury, Carole Lombard suffered a serious scar to her face during an auto-accident early in her short career, and due to the polarity of Saturn with skin, the opposition to blemishless Libra and Aries of the head, Saturn in Aries very frequently gives scars, skin eruptions and injuries to the face.
Alan Leo said of the Sun opposition to Saturn (and he applied the same sentiment to the conjunction as well) that by it, “the native is frequently confronted with obstacles and delay, and unless in mutual reception, it is very unfortunate for all things signified by the two planets, bringing misfortunes in business, loss of public favour, likelihood of the father’s death, loss of father’s money or separation from or disagreement with him.” (from “How to Judge a Nativity” p249. LN Fowler & Co. 1928).
Rarely do the natives with this particular configuration manage to shine in early life, theirs is the task of having to learn to combine the best qualities of Sun and Saturn, Aries and Libra, and usually the work has to be done – as is Saturn’s timeless directive – the hard way.