Saturday, April 2, 2011

Joan Crawford, Kate Winslet and Mildred Pierce

James M. Cain’s depression era novel, Mildred Pierce, first filmed by Michael Curtiz as a 1945 Warner Bros. film noir has been adapted by Todd Haynes as an HBO mini series debuting Sunday, March 27, 2011. This time around Kate Winslet stars in the title role originated by Joan Crawford in the 1945 version which earned her an Academy Award.

Joan Crawford is an actress of mythic proportions and Kate Winslet is an extremely talented actress quickly racking up awards and having a career that rivals Joan Crawford in her prime. Both are considered fiercely ambitious, resilient and determined with almost super human work ethics. I thought it would be interesting as a lesson in synastry to see what these two have in common and what may draw Winslet to invite comparison to Crawford. In essence these two actresses are now forming a relationship via the character of Mildred Pierce.

Crawford’s birth information: March 23, 1903, 10:00 pm, San Antonio, Texas. Told by Crawford herself to astrologer Nelle Sliter.
Winslet’s birth information: October 5, 1975, 7:15 am, Reading, England. This is the time of birth found everywhere I’ve looked and although not verified, I’m going with it.

Crawford is an Aries with the Sun in the 5th house and Winslet is a Libra (in fact Winslet is a triple Libra) with the Sun and Moon in the 1st house indicating a very aggressive, Aries type of Libra. Winslet’s creative inspiration may be in direct contrast to Crawford’s, while retaining a commonality which is indicative of opposite signs. Winslet would be driven to balance her interpretation and offer an alternative choice by creating from another direction and showing a different side to the character.

A mini series format provides ample opportunity to flesh out the character in contrast to a 2 hour film condensation of the novel more in tune to Crawford’s direct Aries approach. The creativity of the Sun sign opposition indicates the actresses mirror each other in some way and most definitely fans and critics will take sides. Winslet, being smart and diplomatic in true Libra fashion, would respect, appreciate and admire Crawford yet stay detached, balanced and aware of her own individuality and not be swallowed up by the powerful presence of Crawford’s legend.

Their Saturn’s are in aspect by opposition again giving perspective and awareness regarding their work and reputation as well as pointing up their differences and similarities. There are other interesting aspects between the charts; yet, the most karmic interaction, indicating an unconscious link for channeling energy between the two actresses, would be the nodal connection. This is where we see astrology at work in a very mysterious way and what buttons are being pushed. Winslet’s Sun, Moon, Pluto, Ascendant and Mercury conjunct Crawford’s North Node and Mars. This is an enormous vortex of energy funneled between them. Crawford’s North Node in Libra is bringing out the best of what Winslet’s planets have to offer. In essence she is getting Crawford’s approval, encouragement, support, caring and inspiration from the grave. Likewise Winslet’s nodal axis sits on Crawford’s ascendant/descendant further emphasizing the karmic nature of this contact. There is a give and take and hopefully a healthy debate in discussing the relationship both these actresses have with each other and their interpretation of the character of Mildred Pierce. Some mysterious force throughout time and history links them.

Transiting Saturn all over Winslet’s Libra stellium on the Ascendant indicates career endings and beginnings while opposite Crawford’s Sun suggests a re-assessment of Crawford’s past creative achievements. Transiting Pluto has been squaring Crawford’s Sun for several years (and currently squaring natal Mars, her chart ruler) doing a mighty job of resurrecting her past and transforming her legacy that had been decimated by Mommie Dearest. Her identity has come up for re-examination and purging and in typical Scorpio rising fashion we see “the phoenix rising from the ashes”. No less than 4 new biographies on Crawford have surfaced in less than 2 years. Read this great article written in the January 3, 2011 edition of New Yorker by esteemed film critic David Denby as he tries to put Crawford’s career and reputation in perspective:

And let’s not forget transiting Uranus has just entered Aries conjuncting Crawford’s Sun helping to give a 180° shift in perspective to her talent, creativity and legacy (Sun rules the 10th). Uranus needs a few years yet to revolutionize Winslet’s career but its ingress into Aries may herald a new beginning for her in terms of roles and direction. After all this is a major return to television after having appeared exclusively in films since her debut in 1994’s Heavenly Creatures. We should keep an eye on Winslet’s career in 2013 as Uranus and Pluto form a very tight transiting t-square to her natal Sun.

The original Mildred Pierce premiered on 9/24/45 showing a stellium of Sun, Neptune, Jupiter and Chiron in Libra and the HBO series premieres on 3/27/11 with a stellium of the Sun, Uranus, Jupiter and Mercury in Aries; the signs so heavily represented by Crawford and Winslet. Recent transits by Saturn, Pluto and Uranus have activated and continue to activate the cardinal signs.

Joseph Addeo

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