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Neptune and the Price of Fame: Part 2madonnaimage

In my last entry I discussed the horoscope of Whitney Houston and the influence of her Venus square Neptune aspect. I also discussed how aspects between Venus or the Moon and Neptune are frequently found in the horoscopes of women who become pop culture icons.  (Click here to see the horoscope of Whitney Houston.)

For Houston, the price of Neptunian stardom was her own identity and this proved to be a poor bargain. But there are other pop stars who seem to have no difficulty dealing with Neptune’s dubious allure. One outstanding example is Madonna. (Click here to see the horoscope of Madonna.)

The similarities between the horoscopes of Whitney Houston and Madonna are striking. Both have the Sun and Venus in Leo. Both have Mercury conjunct Pluto in Virgo. And both have Venus in a close square to Neptune. And yet, few celebrities have handled their notoriety with the panache of Madonna. By constantly reinventing herself, by maintaining her confidence and control, she seems to have mastered the vagaries of Neptunian glamour in a way that Whitney Houston could not.

This includes Neptune's ugly shadow, the dark side of Neptune’s glitzy, pop culture appeal, drug and alcohol dependency. Just as Neptune blurs the boundary between what’s real and what is an illusion, it can also cause us to confuse substance-induced numbness with happiness. For Madonna this has not been a problem. For Houston it most certainly was.  Though the role drugs played in her death is, as yet, unknown, it is generally assumed that years of drug and alcohol abuse had taken a ruinous toll on her body.

So, what astrological factor caused these two women, similar in many ways, to react so differently to Neptune’s gift of pop culture fame? One significant factor is that Neptune square’s Madonna’s Venus but not her Sun (as it does in Houston’s horoscope.) Madonna expressed Neptune’s glamour through her sexuality. The deceptive, boundary-collapsing influence of Neptune may have played havoc with her relationships, but it never invaded her core identity.

The closest aspect to Madonna’s Sun is a trine to Saturn, indicating self-discipline and reinforcing Leo’s concern for dignity. While Houston spent much of her life wrestling with Neptunian illusions of who she was and what she really wanted, Madonna treated has her fame like a business and has remained remarkably practical and down-to-earth in the midst of all Neptune’s numinous luster.

Of course, aspects don’t tell the whole story. Our horoscopes may define the problems with which we will struggle but it is by our own efforts that we win or lose those struggles. As I described in my previous article, Whitney Houston’s horoscope provided her with many gifts. It also gave her challenges. In the end, she let those difficulties overwhelm her gifts.

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