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Astrology at Work: Drew Barrymore

Both important passages in our Saturn Cycles and significant aspects to our natal chart by transiting Uranus indicate changes in our lives. But what’s the difference between them? How does the change represented by a Saturn aspect different from that of a Uranus aspect? The early life of actress Drew Barrymore provides us with a dramatic demonstration. (Click on Drew Barrymore to see her horoscope.)

For most people the first square of transiting Saturn to its natal place, which occurs around age seven, brings about changes on a personal level. It might have something to do with our situation at school, or our relationship with our parents, but its rarely front page new, and it rarely has anything to do with our career.

That was not the case for Drew Barrymore. When Saturn squared her natal Saturn in Oct. 1981, she was making the movie that would establish her as a star, E.T. She was being given the opportunity to show her considerable talent at make-believe, and she was proving herself to be a natural actress.

But making the movie E.T. was more than just a major career opportunity. It brought a positive father figure into her life. Barrymore’s father was a violent drunk who only occasionally had contact with her.  So, the kind,nurturing influence of Steven Spielberg, who produced and directed E.T. was a revelation for Barrymore.

The next year Uranus crossed Barrymore’s natal Descendant, an aspect that foretells sudden and shocking change. In June of that year E.T. was released and instantaneously Drew Barrymore was transformed from an anonymous first grader into America’s darling little girl. She was interviewed on the Tonight Show by Johnny Carson and hosted Saturday Night Live. Everywhere she went she was recognized and acclaimed.

Barrymore’s Saturn transit allowed her to discover her calling as a very tender age, but it also brought work. Even though she loved acting, Barrymore came to resent the fact that her work in movies was depriving her of a normal childhood. Also, she quickly learned that the warm and friendly atmosphere she had enjoyed with Steven Spielberg was not the way most movie sets worked, and she had to adjust to being treated as just another actress, and not the director’s pet.

Uranus also has its downside. Sudden fame and fortune were heady stuff for a while, but the promise of forever is just not something we can expect from Uranus. After a few years, offers and scripts stopped coming Barrymore’s way. She became a has-been at fourteen. Barrymore would have to wait until her late adolescence to revitalize her career.

The changes that come with Saturn transits typically bring us challenges. We have to work in order to get the most out of them. Also, Saturn passages are more likely to be quiet, and bring with them the opportunity for intellectual, emotional and even spiritual development.

Uranian changes tend to be accompanied by more noise and drama. These aspects can present us with huge opportunities, or they can bring us low, but their influence ends as suddenly, and  often leaves us standing in the spot where we started, with nothing to show for the experience except a lot of great stories.