Neptune and the Sex Symbols

In previous articles I’ve discussed the relationship between Neptune and popular culture. Frequently women who become pop culture icons have strong aspects between the Moon or Venus and Neptune in their horoscopes. In my next three articles I will describe the how Neptune influenced the careers of three notable women from three different eras of motion pictures: Clara Bow, Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe.

Part One: Clara Bow (Moon conjunct Neptune)

Long before movies learned how to talk, Clara Bow was known as the “it” girl; “it” being sex. She was one of Hollywood’s earliest sex symbols and, in many ways, her private life kept pace with her naughty movie persona. For a while the public loved her but then a series of scandals and the advent of “talkies” abruptly ended her reign as a pop culture princess.

In Bow’s horoscope both Saturn and the South Node of the Moon are hugging her Pisces Ascendant. Saturn on the Ascendant indicates ambition but also difficult a beginning in life. Few had such a difficult beginnings a Clara Bow. She was born in one the worst slums of Brooklyn. Her father was an abusive alcoholic and her mother was periodically insane. Her earliest years were lived in dire poverty and constant rejection. (Click here to see Clara Bow's horoscope.)


Bow’s lot in life was transformed in 1921 when transiting Pluto crossed over her natal Moon and Neptune. A company that published the movie magazines that the teenage Clara loved held a contest and the prize was a chance to be in pictures. Against the wishes of her mother, Clara entered and won. Her competitors in the contest had better clothes and a professional training but Clara had the Moon and Neptune in a close conjunction in her 5th House. This allowed her to project an allure through photographs and on the silver screen that wowed the judges and, later, captured the heart of millions.


In front of the camera Bow was a pure Sun sign Leo. She was always at ease and seemed aglow with confidence and carefree charm. Away from the movie set, however, things were not easy for Clara. Her poor upbringing and thick Brooklyn accent made her an object of ridicule to many while her lack of education made her dependent on other people for the management of both her career and the piles of money that were suddenly at her disposal. Bow often felt isolated among the Hollywood elite and sought support from a series of lovers, a few close friends and even her wastrel father.

Even though Bow’s Venus is in fickle Gemini, it is conjunct Pluto and her Mars is in Scorpio. Bow was steadfastly loyal to her friends but she could be vengeful when she felt she had been wronged. Convinced that the woman who had managed her money for many years was cheating her, Bow pressed charges. The woman, believing herself betrayed by Bow, responded by revealing lurid details about Bow’s private life.

At this point Bow’s place in popular culture changed. Instead of being the impish beauty who teased the boys but who was essentially a good girl, she became the epitome of dissolute Hollywood. Scandal magazines and newspapers expanded on the information revealed in court about her love affairs and lifestyle and added a few inventions of their own. Bow was characterized as a giddy spendthrift and a brazen nymphomaniac.

Meanwhile, Bow’s career waned. Even though her first movies with sound were successful, her effervescent charm did not translate well in the new medium. Bow retired from acting, married and had children but her later years were marred by bouts of mental illness. This was the dark side of the opposition of her Mercury to Saturn (on the Ascendant/Descendant angle.) The nagging sense that she was “not good enough” which had clung to Bow since her childhood slowly ate away at her sanity. She died in 1965.

Meanwhile, the scandals, rumors and outright lies that had swirled around Bow during her youth lived on in popular culture. Here she was accused every sort of excess, including sleeping with the entire University of Southern California football squad. This is the cruel side of Neptune and popular culture. With Neptune the boundary between true and fiction are blurred. Only the image matters; and the image can take on a life of its own.

Comments powered by CComment