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.
My correspondent Sally K has asked why I chose the Aquarius Rising chart for Madonnn when there are two available.
The other one is for 7.05am and it gives her Virgo Rising.
I chose Aquarius Rising because this is what Madonna herself says. She has said in at least two interviews that she has Aquarius Rising. The other chart is from her dad, supposedly.
I think she obviously has Aquarius Rising. It fits in with her whole shock and awe approach to style .
Oooh, interesting investigation, Christina.
What I see is that Bush has Pisces rising with Aries intercepted (Martian aggro under wraps?), while, Madonna has Aquarius rising with Pisces intercepted (nothing squishy on display). And might Virgo, likewise intercepted, make Madonna’s Moon harder for her to express directly? (She’s only LIKE a virgin, definitely NOT one.)
If our ascendants are what we show to the world, it’s not surprising that Bush would appear much more Neptunian (I love the Fish People cover!) And Madonna, whose Asc is ruled by Uranus (motto: “let’s shake things up, shall we?”), presents a constantly morphing persona. (Notice how each of Madonna’s incarnations, though certainly “in your face,” has the cool detachment of Aquarius?)
Can I just say yes to everything you’ve written.
There is something else that I did not address. Madonna has Mercury Retrograde natally, while Bush’s is direct although presumably stationing. Madonna’s career certainly started a bit later than Bush’s and she basically gave up on schooling — but I’m curious as to how that works out. Merc Rx natally often keeps its smarts under wraps for a while….
Fascinating post. And very personal to me, born almost a month after Madonna (my solar return was just about 3 hours ago!). I didn’t realize that Kate Bush was also born around the same time. Alas, even if I had an ounce of their talent, I have too much Virgo, with Virgo Sun square Saturn, to be so confident – and a serious dirth of stamina! (I also think of Michael Jackson, may he rest in peace, born about 10 days after Madonna, but with Virgo Sun and that sensitive Pisces Moon.) I do have Moon in Leo, conjunct the Ascendant and Uranus (trine Saturn), and I add Venus to that Mercury/Pluto conjunction.
There is a big and really interesting difference between them, as you point out. But I do admire them both in different ways. Probably Kate Bush more, given her introversion. I’d more want to be her, but I still admire Madonna’s brass!
Yes, the Pisces Moon… vulnerable.
Tori Amos is also an interesting Leo performer.
Yes and apparently a big Kate Bush fan!
She has dyed her hair red for a long time, a very Leo, or Aries trait? Her chart might be an interesting addition here. I think she is a Leo sun, libra moon, Aquarius Saturn and a cancer north node.
I’ll see if I can dig her chart up.
Very interesting, during the super moon in august I wrote an article about Kate Bush, about the Leo-Aquarius axis. However, I am not sure about the birth time. Is this one correct?
No it is absolutely a guess. As I explained, it’s just a gut feeling because of what she’s like and her record label being called Fish People. Please don’t take it as anything more than that. If I do ever find out I’ll let you know.
Yes. Some confusion here over the asc. This text is taking from SolarFire – the Clifford Files – clearly giving an am birth. “From Madonna’s father to Tashi Grady, q. Birth Record (AA)
Singer, Actress, Dancer, Songwriter
Madonna won her big break in early 1983 and went on to dominate the world’s pop charts (1985 was particularly successful). She has reinvented herself every few years, and suffered a backlash with her pornographic book ‘Sex’ (1992). She reemerged in late 1996 as the title role in ‘Evita’. She was married in August 1985 to Sean Penn (b. 17 August 1960, 3.17 pm PDT, Burbank, California, 34N11, 118W18, from Birth Certificate, AA) for a tempestuous few years.” I have only ever seen the Virgo rising chart.
Astrodatabank has two charts. Virgo Rising is rated DD, but have a look yourself. Here is one interview in which she says she has Aquarius Rising https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCdYUcdmRg0
Sorry. Birth time being 07.05 am
Interesting article 🙂 I’ve always used the Virgo Rising chart for Madonna though. Are these televised interviews where she has referred to being Aquarius Rising? I can’t feel that myself, the stellium in the 12th/1st suits…. She is far more Pluto rising ~transformation, control, sexuality transmitted than Chiron rising ~vulnerable, feeling, healing etc. If she in fact IS Aquarius rising I’d rectify so that Chiron is further from the Asc.
It certainly suits Kate Bush to be Pisces Rising with a Sun-Uranus conjunction 🙂
Yes, I hesitated when choosing the chart, but then I asked myself two questions.
1. Why would Madonna say she has Aquarius Rising?
2. Does she look like a Virgo or an Aquarius Rising?
I think in her 1980s black, bangled phase she does look quite Virgo, especially when she switched between that and a wedding dress. But after that she’s all Aquarian – the shiny bras, the platinum hair. I have a picture here of her wearing a silver suit with pointy tits and white hair – pure Aquarius.
I also like Sagittarius on the MC for her much more than Gemini. She is not eternally youthful – despite her best efforts — but she is athletic, racy, BIG.
I am not especially wedded to Aquarius Rising, but on balance I think it’s more Madonna. There is some discussion about this on one of the astrology forums and they also come down in favour of Aquarius in the end.
Great article Christina, Kate Bush was one of my heroines at school. Do you remember Bananarama though? (sorry to mention…..). Madonna appeared to dress a lot like them in her early days. Anything about the big gay following for Madonna? You would have thought it would be more for Kate with her Aqua moon. Also another famous (well, in England) Leo singer of that time was Sarah Jane Morris of the Communards, now an opera singer! She was fantastic. Sighs…
oops no! so sorry she’s a Sun Aries, just, with Leo Moon and Virgo rising (surely not? not with that photo of her in the nude with lion print body paint).
Interesting – I am a virgo, with venus in Leo and was VERY taken with Madonna in my youth. In the last 2 or three years, I have opened up in my sexuality and begun to appreciate what madonna has done for pioneering the path of female sexuality in the last century – making it far , well, sexier to own your sexuality and strut your stuff proudly! Even the Hollywood gals didn’t dare take it to the edge like she has. Her entire play on sex/viginity/vigin/whore/power etc, has been a Leonine exploration of sex and sin over the last few decades, now that you mention it. I can see the virgo too – a level of self control and reserve that belies the strut. It also makes her seem cold and unapproachable. I didn’t know that much about Kate Bush – but I do recall that the song Babushka was on the lips of most of the boys my age and that costume is still a schoolboy fantasy for most. So – a haunting sexuality, is that Aquarian?
I think the cold and unapproachable bit is also a clue to Aquarius Rising. Although Madonna seems to let it all hang out, she has the force-shield up.
Bush…hmmm…you’ve made me go back to look at that chart again, and it is likely that she has an inconjunct between her Venus and Moon, which makes the whole thing odder. She is deeply sexy in her earlier work. Have you seen The Sensual World which is a riff on Nora Barnacle’s orgasm in Ulysses? Yes Yes Yes etc. I feel she is very upfront about sexuality too, in fact maybe that’s something else they share. And that would really be the Pluto-Mercury in early Virgo, very earthy. But Bush draws you into her magical world with that Cancerian Venus — the opposite of Vagina dentata! Yet that does not jibe with the cool, quirky Aquarian Moon – a shift has to take place to make the two work together. Of course, it’s in the shift that you get the fairy dust.
Haunting – good word for Bush but not just for her sexuality — that would work if the Pisces Rising is right.
An interesting comparison, thank you Christina. Didn’t realise they were so close in age. I loved reading something about Kate Bush, her talent and imagination is phenomenal. I’m a big fan & agree her music is very earthy, very sensual and sexual; quietly wild. A nice blend with the English mystic. She sings like the pagan soul of England. Layers of memory.
I notice Kate Bush was born under a Full Moon, which would make her so vulnerable. I read she had trouble performing in front of an audience.
Born in 1958 she is going to experience her 2nd Saturn return and so will Madonna. Will be interesting to see how this works out for both of them. I wonder if Saturn had anything to do with her (Kate) not performing for so long and now for making a come-back.
Another thing these two have in common is the brothers who work for them…
After her second album Bush’s family closed ranks and helped her create her own production company.
I am suspicious about the Aquarius rising chart. It’s my guess that Madonna is claiming Aquarius rising because she wants to and it is more suggestive for the coming era with which she is obsessed even to buying supposedly messianic territory in Israel. There is a line in Jewish astrology influenced, I imagine, by Kabbalah which says you can give yourself a new birth or chart following a ceremony in order to redirect your life. Madonna is sufficiently into a trendy and magical form of Kabbalah to likely have given herself that and what Madonna wishes has to be true!
I didn’t know that about Kabbalah, Rollan. That would certainly be plausible.
Madonna is certainly a total control-freak! Personally, I feel that the Virgo Moon, Pluto and Mercury are clearly expressed but without the Aquarius rising, the Uranus isn’t strong enough for the way it shows in her life. What do you think?
Have just watched the Madonna interview and yes, she not only states she is Aquarius Rising but that she has Moon in Virgo and follows astrology…. Well I’m going to have to go with that too!! Thanks for discovering this, it’s quite odd you see as observing Madonnas chart years ago gave me insights about the 12th house in a way I’d never previously grasped. What I discovered appears true and yet the source was not 🙂 Funny 🙂
I’ve just been at the AA conference and one of the lecturer (can’t remember who) did point out that if you’re a good astrologer you can often do a brilliant chart reading with the wrong birth time, because you’re reading the chart and the person simultaneously…. 🙂
AA being Astrological Association – not Alcholics Anonymous (although I did wonder….) 🙂
Well yes I tend to agree, there is an intuitive level with chart analysis where the astrologer begins to move beyond the intellect and go deeper into the psyche of the client/subject. I suppose it’s like anything creative ~magic is hidden within the transcendence. I also believe that charts indicate our connection with society and life on planet earth so the further removed one is the less impact certain transits will have. For instance monks living a life without materialism, in a monastery are unlikely to be perturbed by hard Saturn transits….. perhaps a Uranus transit could indicate contact with the outside world? 😉
This is all interesting and you always come up with original approaches to discovering astrology for your readers, so thank you. While I sort of worship Kate as an artist and innovator, risk taker, Madonna has been fun and certainly has done some good things but I am always put off by her in interviews – the self absorbed, high maintenance personality which Kate may have but she keeps it in check and it flows through her art. Joni Mitchell made an apt observation of Madonna a while back – Joni (Scorpio) said: She’s the Nero of the music industry. Maybe you could look into Joni around November 7.
After two days of listening to them both while I wrote this piece, I found myself longing to listen to Sinead O’Connor! Some raw emotional honesty.
Sigh.. Madonna writes her own songs and produces a lot of her own songs. She also comes up with her own ideas for her tours and is the only artist who is very political in her shows, videos, and puts her art into her shows as well as her opinions and other cultures. Im so annoyed with this constant need of people to put down Madonna, making it seem like she hires talented people and they do the hard work. Stop it. do your research. she is the hardest working woman in the artistic land of pop music. She dances and works out like an athlete. even people who don’t like her but worked with her said this many times (and they always show respect and love and say she’s so underrated as an artist, songwriter, dancer, and musician)
People are always first to give credit to some newcomer while ignoring madonna is the most talented & creative of them all.
Madonna writes her own songs as well and said that obviously, material girl is an ironic song. listen to her interviews from the late 90s and OOs.. she’s a very ethereal and spiritual person.
Madonna has written her own music before she even got famous. She wrote everything for her bands and plays guitar, keyboards, drums, and even violin and piano. She got the chance to become a label puppet as she was discovered by a French producer, but she returned to New York to do it her own way. She writes songs for other artists too. She’s also a dancer with the Pearl Lang and Martha graham company. She has a lot of artistic projects (and not in the Beyonce, big Leo kind, but real interesting art) She’s a true artist and very spiritual.. if you listen to her interviews in the 00s you’ll see that she’s really loving and vulnerable. Really, it takes is a google search.. don’t be so quick with your judgement of someone you don’t know just from seeing old interviews or reading gossip.
I just saw a interview and someone asked what her rising sign was and she said she didn’t know her time of birth. This was a couple months ago. She must have guessed before.
That’s really interesting.
[…] wrote about Bush a few years ago, comparing her chart to Madonna’s. The two divas were born just a few weeks apart. Back then, […]
[…] please read an astrological review of Kate Bush’s natal chart https://oxfordastrologer.com/2014/09/ethereal-woman-vs-material-girl.html […]