Ethereal Woman vs Material Girl
Did you know that popmamas Madonna and Kate Bush were born within a few weeks of each other? Oh astrological joy! The English mystic and the queen of consumerism…. let’s check it out.
Kate Bush shimmered on to the music scene with an astonishingly original sound when she was just a teenager back in 1978. Unbelievably, here, she was the first woman to get to number one with a self-penned song, Wuthering Heights — a catchy tune about a Victorian novel.
About six years later, along came Madonna with her bangles, her bleached hair, her brilliant producer Nile Rogers, and a song called Like A Virgin.
Bush and Madonna’s natal charts are very similar, with just the Moon and Venus in different signs. Now both aged 56, they are a contrast in style, content, worldview — but if you think about it, they have more in common than at first seems possible. For a start they are both mothers who can fill stadia with worshipping fans – that must fill their Leo hearts with joy. Leo is the sign of the performer; even the quiet ones have it in there somewhere.
Both women have been chameleons through their careers, changing character, costume and style. Madonna has gone from post-punk bovver girl to boy toy to whatever the current thing is; Bush experiments with point-of-view all the time in her songs from imagining being a dying soldier to being a little boy to seeing the world from inside a snowflake. This is part of the Leo dressing up thing: Leo’s search for identity by inhabiting different characters.
And maybe more important than anything else about them, both women wrested artistic control of their own work as soon as they could, and have been completely self-directed in their careers. Again this is Leo at it’s finest, but maybe also that Pluto at the very start of Virgo (see below). But also look at the North Node, destiny and life direction, conjuncting Neptune (music and film) and Jupiter (expansion). These women are both, in their contrasting ways, fulfilling the promise of that Node.
I would be curious to know exactly what that Lilith on the South Node represents for Kate Bush. Madonna, we can guess at least that the early death of her mother (Lilith to Moon to Chiron in a Yod).
Both women have the Sun and Uranus, the planet of shock, in Leo, of course. And you can see that their contrasting use of that Uranian energy is a fascinating divergence. Madonna has regularly sought to épater the bourgeoisie, her recent collaboration with Miley Cyrus was just another example of Madonna-shock. Uranus (along with hard-working Saturn) is also her chart ruler. She really can’t help it.
Notice that Bush’s Uranus is applying to the Sun and Madonna’s is separating, and closing in on sexual Pluto. Madonna’s route to shock has consistently been sex, and there’s often a Plutonian element: S&M, power games (remember the pointy bra).
Bush has chosen a different Uranian expression, English eccentric. Bush has never, ever compromised her artistic integrity, even though she was only 19 when she had her first big hit. She has always gone her own way, no matter how odd, or even downright weird. Her work is, though, in the tradition of English prog rock. Dave Gilmour – of the Floyd – was an important mentor.
Both Madonna and Bush made dance an important part of their acts. Mars in Taurus is often graceful and athletic. Saturn in Sagittarius gives horsey stamina. You need it to do a full-on stage show at 56.
Now, Madonna and Kate Bush are (or were, depending on your POV) damn sexy, but I think if you ever fancied Kate Bush, you’d be unlikely to fancy Madonna, and vice versa. Both women have Mercury conjunct Pluto in Virgo: talking dirty, listen to the lyrics. Before you say that Kate Bush never did nothin’ so naughty, remember that her first album had a song about masturbation on it, cast your mind back to various videos (Babooshka) and the way your brother used to lock himself away with Lionheart or The Red Shoes. Mars in Taurus is also earthy, sensual and connects to the springtime of sex.
The Moon and Venus are the only two planets in different signs, and we could guess this could be the key to everything. It’s a shame that there’s no birth time for Kate Bush, so we cannot compare houses, angles and ascendant which are, of course, key. I’ve given her Pisces Rising in this chart because of her record label, which is called Fish People and sports this logo. Without Pisces Rising she would have no fish in her chart, so I couldn’t help but wonder…
But let’s look at the Moons.
Madonna has Moon in Virgo, and she is, of course, the Material Girl. She acts out the whore side of the virgin/whore dichotomy so often observed in Virgo. (Think of Amy Winehouse with her Virgo Sun.) The thrust of her persona, no matter which mask she wears, is sexual. This is earthy stuff. Madonna is by all accounts excellent at detail, too, a Virgoan quality.
I listened this month to Rick Levine and Jeff Jawer’s monthly talk and they discussed the meaning of virgin in ancient times, pointing out that it really meant more literally, a woman not owned by a man. Ummm — that would be Madonna to her very soul, I guess.
Contrast Madonna’s earth-bound, practical Moon with Bush’s Moon in Aquarius — airy, ethereal, interested in ideas, people, technology, the future. The range of stuff Bush writes about is vast — from computers to incest to the nature of snow. She sometimes writes from a male point of view. Aquarians are never bound by gender.
And here is a huge difference, Bush writes all her own songs. Like Madonna, she collaborates a lot, of course, but the creative vision is singular. Madonna is an expert at hiring brilliant people and using their ideas and talent. This is Leo as impresario. Creativity through making choices: Venus in Leo.
Bush’s Venus in Cancer is introverted. Hers is an inner vision. True, she takes inspiration from everything, but then it goes into her mind, ferments and brews and is remade. Madonna’s Venus is looking outward. Look also at her 7th house of partnership; she has consistently chosen outstanding producers, designers, film-makers to work with. Her technique is collage, imitation, borrowing.
- Venus in Cancer: emotions, visions, love of country (Oh England, my Lionheart), nostalgia, softness, sweetness, eccentricity. Bush’s lyrics often hark back to earlier times, reference children’s fiction, but she also re-imagines the present, putting in a much wider context. With this concert tour, she has asked the audience to put away their iPads and their mobile phones and to please encounter her show for real, in person.
- Venus in Leo: showmanship, glamour, bling, fashion, putting on the ritz, razzmatazz. Madonna’s been a huge influence on fashion. There are legions of women currently who look just like her with those muscly arms and that hair thing. And come to think of it, there have been Madonna clones as long as she’s been around.
It’s a bit like Aesop’s fable about the bee and the spider. The bee flies around dipping its nose in nectar and creates honey with what it finds. The spider pulls the gossamer right out from its midriff and weaves a web. Two kinds of creativity.
Venus and the Moon — these are the “female” planets. Our only ones forsooth. And when these are different you get two very different ideas of what it means to be a woman. Madonna projects the earthy practicality (Virgo Moon) combined with bling (Venus in Leo); Bush projects eccentric, zany braininess (Moon in Aquarius) combined with extreme sensitivity (Venus in Cancer).
Creative, productive, experimental, self-determining, independent and powerful: not a bad set of characteristics to share.