Conscious Uncoupling: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin
The rest of the world divorces, separates, splits up, breaks up, calls the lawyers, tears each others eyes out; film-star Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin “consciously uncouple“.
We may all roll our eyes at the (conscious or not) superiority of their announcement, but let’s be sympathetic. Even for the wildly privileged, breaking up is never easy, especially when children are involved.
Paltrow has a focused, airy chart. Libra Sun, Gemini Moon and Pisces Rising. Those three certainly describe her public image well: an ethereal airy beauty (Libra) with a need to communicate hence the blog and the interviews (Gemini Moon) and Pisces Rising is extremely glamourous. Then she has the chart rulers — Neptune and Jupiter — sandwiching her MC: she was made to be in the public eye. There’s more glamour in that blinging Venus in Leo working hard in the 6th house, and given a little extra frisson by a neat sextile from Uranus in the 8th house of sex. Paltrow loves work with Venus in that position but also receiving a tight sextile from Saturn.
She is not a lazy person by any means, but with all those trines and sextiles you might think that life has been handed to her on a plate, so what drives her? What’s she hungry for?
I’d make a guess that she’s hungry for power (or influence). She’s driven, not by the need for adulation or confirmation from an audience, but more by the desire to sway people. (Sun-Pluto conjunction and Part of Fortune (or Hunger) in the 8th house of hidden power.) Not very many actresses decide to have their own website to expound their opinions on how we should live — that’s Martha Stewart territory.
With all those planets in the seventh — notably the Sun-Pluto conjunction — she actually finds her identity through other people, but that is on a one to one basis, not as a “star”.
So when she met Chris Martin (just after the death of her father) it must have felt a little like coming home. He reflected her back at herself. His silvery Pisces Sun is close to her ascendant and exactly on his own descendant. He too finds his identity through his personal interactions. His Sun is at the point of a powerful yod — quincunxes from Pluto and Saturn, power and work (I think you can literally see this yod at work in the videos, many of which feature Martin walking towards the camera so the lines of perspective hit him in a quincunx). But the Sun’s position there on the descendant makes him an ideal partner, a team player, better together. What is more, Martin and Paltrow have an exact trine between their fiery Venuses. This means they get along like a house on fire; they like each other.
So they both have Sun-Pluto aspects, and they also both have Moon-Saturn conjunctions. This can be quite depressive. Paltrow did have postnatal depression apparently. But it also give a degree of seriousness about emotions and commitment that tends to make marriages stick.
There must be many temptations in Hollywood and clearly there are third or even fourth parties involved in this break up. It’s not about uncoupling, but recoupling. Paltrow’s Libra Sun does not do single.
The phrase “conscious uncoupling” is, of course, silly. It’s pretentious and it’s weird. When we talk about two humans coupling,we mean sex. So to uncouple means to disengage from sexual congress. To call it conscious implies that for the rest of us unevolved souls, divorce is done in a fog of unknowing.
So why the reference — unconscious, we suppose — to sex? Well, there’s Pluto, of course, so active in both charts. And then there’s Ceres, the planet of plenty. She plays an important role in Paltrow’s chart right in the middle of that Libra stellium. Ceres is about food and nourishment. In this chart, she conjuncts Mercury, the planet of communications, so it’s no wonder that Paltrow has written so much about food. In fact, she probably puts more emotional energy into this than she does into acting. Her Gemini Moon-Saturn trines the Ceres-Mercury conjunction. She also nurtures to feel stable. Creating her own family must have been very important for her, specifically having babies.
The person with whom we have children may not be the love of our lives. Sometimes the purpose of a relationship is the offspring. Martin’s Ceres is at 8° Libra, nestled right in with Paltrow’s stellium. Having children was an essential part of this relationship. This is the part that endures for both parties. Both Ceres are in aspect to the Moon-Saturns: emotional stability.
The product of coupling is children. Children made: coupling over. Ceres is the goddess of agriculture: dead practical.
It’s interesting that their first child was called Apple: in some stories, Ceres is the goddess of orchards as well as the harvest.
Finally, take a look at the composite chart. It’s enough to persuade anyone that composite charts work. Jupiter, exalted, in Pisces on the MC: a glamourous couple. Jupiter loves itself in Pisces, so a self-regarding glamourous couple. It is exactly on Martin’s Sun, so the relationship made him famous — he was reasonably well known already — but marrying into the Paltrow dynasty took him to super-celeb status.
Juno, the marriage asteroid, is in Scorpio in the 6th house of work, so it looks like the marriage quickly became a job of work. In the natal charts, both have Juno in Scorpio — a pretty serious placement — but as far apart as can be.
The Moon-Saturn moves to Cancer here, the sign of family, so we have repeated testimony of the importance of children. Pluto-Ceres conjunct on the 5th house cusp, the house of children. Venus in the first, again a lovely-looking pair, and opposite the Sun, a good testimony for love. The angles are mutable though, so you might guess that the relationship was part of a process for both of them, rather than the end of a fairytale.
Oh and a quick word on the transits. Clearly this is just the announcement of the break up, so we have Mercury, the planet of communications, going across the top of their joint chart. Mars, the planet of action, is retrograde in Paltrow’s sun sign, Libra, the sign of marriage. This is a good time to unpick a marriage.
Chiron, the planet of pain, has been hovering around poor Christ Martin’s Sun for around a year already, and it’s just burst that Jupiter balloon at the composite MC. But Chironic misery is fuel for Coldplay. In Martin’s chart it’s at 28° Aries, fiery and motivated (and at an odd but exact angle to Juno, the marriage asteroid), so he’s got some good material out of this.
Chiron has already passed Paltrow’s ascendant, so you can believe her when she says she’s sad, and Neptune is there now too, which often brings grief. She must be grieving for what might have been, but that will all be swept away now as she integrates this difficult energy. Once she has let her silvery fish go, she will have to try to hold that energy in her own heart and make it part of herself.
Both parties may find the pain of this break up strangely inspiring.