The Incomparable Audrey Hepburn

audrey-hepburn-398403_1280Audrey Hepburn attained what very few in Hollywood achieve– she won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony awards. The level of fame Audrey achieved in the entertainment industry rivaled her success achieved in humanitarian service. Her role as special Ambassador to UNICEF also brought international recognition and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. From a childhood crushed by war and famine to the heights of celebrity, Audrey Hepburn meet her challenges with compassion and grace and, to say the least, left a lasting impression.

Using May 4, 1929 3:00 a.m. Ixchelles, Belgium birth time (AA Rating from astrodatabank), Audrey Hepburn had an Aquarius Ascendant with Moon in Aquarius in the First House. The beauty of this prominent Moon is the gift of expression and feeling. She wore her heart on her sleeve and cared deeply and equally for all. At an early age Audrey began dancing and took jobs as a dancer, chorus girl, and cabaret entertainer. Her Ascendant ruler Saturn rules the First and Twelfth Houses simultaneously, connecting her ease of expression and joy (Moon in First House) to her feet and dancing (Twelfth House). The classic “crazy dance” scene in the hit movie Funny Face where the tall and slender Audrey portrays the character Jo Stockton dancing in an all-black outfit and loafers is a perfect ‘art-imitating-life’ example of this astrological imprint. The dialogue that opens this scene is appropriate. She says, “Isn’t it time you realize that dancing is nothing more than a form of expression or release. You don’t need to be formal or cheap about it. As a matter of fact, I rather feel like expressing myself now and I could certainly use a release!” You can watch the scene thanks to EverythingAudrey.com on Youtube at here.

While Moon in Aquarius in the First House presented an ethereal quality and Saturn encouraged an enigmatic personality, life was certainly not all song and dance for Audrey. Both malefics Mars and Saturn aspect her Moon in exaggerated conditions—Mars is debilitated and Saturn is retrograde, forcing the need for bravery and responsibility not only on to herself but on her mother (Moon) as well. At age nine, Audrey’s parents divorced and her mother raised her as a single parent. With Mars and Saturn afflicting her First House and weak Mars underlying her Aries Sun (self-identity), Audrey was said to be self-critical, believing her nose and feet were too large and her neck too long.

AH birth chart

Germany occupied the Netherlands at the beginning of her Saturn mahadasha. This difficult time had a deeply traumatic impact on Audrey and her family. She had mentioned in interviews how much devastation and suffering her family endured during the war. (Many years later she declined being cast in The Diary of Anne Frank, not wanting to relive the pain of the war.) Her uncle and cousin were shot, her older half-brother was taken away by the Germans, and Audrey herself almost perished from malnutrition during the famine. As a result, she was anemic the rest of her life. This deficiency of red blood cells (anemia) can be seen by debilitated Mars (blood) in the Sixth House of health and health problems aspecting her Ascendant; confirming further health problems, Mars remains debilitated in her Navamsha and rules the Sixth House of the Navamsha.

During the war, she used the name Edda van Heemstra (her mother’s maiden name) so as not to draw attention to the British Hepburn name which could have gotten her confined or deported. This slight identity shift can be seen with Rahu conjunct the Sun (self) in Mars-ruled Aries while Mars aspects the Ascendant from the Sixth House of problems and daily strife. Jupiter’s presence with Rahu and the Sun brings further opportunity to move beyond one identity, and along with her strong Venus, this Aries stellium gave her the interest and skill to take on other characters as an actress. Mars also rules her Tenth House. All she needed to do was find a stage, and to some degree, she must have understood ‘all the world is a stage’ not as mere words but as a real adventurous journey to fulfill.

Colleagues in show business occasionally described Audrey as shy. However, it is more likely that Audrey was not shy but answered with hesitancy and uncertainty of feeling (Mars debilitated in Cancer) due to her sensitivity and intuition (Moon in the First House). She had an exalted Sun that gave her strength of identity, self-awareness, and a healthy ego. Remember, combining forces with that solar power are Jupiter and Rahu, both of whom wish to expand the self-interests of the Sun, albeit in different ways. Never the less, this combination does not a shy person make.

Audrey close-upAnother reason Audrey may have appeared shy is that Mercury, the planet of communication, is in Venus-ruled Taurus while Venus, although in the Second House of communication and exalted, is retrograde. This likely gave her the ability to easily memorize scripts and routines, and she was probably in her head a lot—thinking, daydreaming, imagining; the active inner life that lies behind her large beautiful Jupiter-ruled Piscean eyes. Audrey had a soft, pretty voice to accompany her beautiful appearance. She was soft-spoken, but she also spoke five languages. Venus was in Revati nakshatra, a nakshatra known for bestowing great talent in music, dance, acting, and literature. Revati is a soft, tender nakshatra. Together with manners and etiquette taught by her Baroness mother, Audrey’s gentle speech and response could have been mistaken for shyness.

The Sun rules the Seventh House of relationships and her Moon aspects the Seventh House. Relationships were very important to her but not without challenges. Mars is the dispositor of the Seventh House ruler while Jupiter and Rahu in Mars-ruled Aries aspect the Seventh House conjunct the exalted Sun, which could have easily created self-interest problems interfering with partnerships and compromise, particularly due to the weakness of Mars (debilitated) as dispositor of the Aries stellium. Likewise, one could imagine that Audrey’s creative and fiery spirit helped her overcome or cope with depression, something she had suffered from, and that her love of dance and acting very likely provided a healthy outlet for any anger.

Moon as ruler of the Sixth House occupying the First House shows how much influence Audrey’s mother had on her, and how it was her mother who protected Audrey during her childhood and the war. The Sun-Rahu conjunction with debilitated Sixth House Mars as dispositor shows the situation with Audrey and her father, who abandoned the family when Audrey was a little girl. Later in the 1960s, Audrey’s first husband Mel Ferrer tracked down Audrey’s father and in 1964 the two were reunited. It seems Jupiter’s presence alongside Sun-Rahu brought her justice and closure by way of her husband.

Audrey met her second husband, psychiatrist Andrea Dotti, on a cruise around the Greek Islands during her Mercury mahadasha. Not surprising, Mercury rules the Fifth House of romance and occupies the Fourth House of places near or on water with Mercury’s dispositor the exalted-retrograde Venus in the Water sign Pisces.

The love, however, did not last. After her second divorce, Audrey met Robert Wolders and remained with him until her passing in 1993, though the two never married. According to Wikipedia, her relationship with Robert Wolders began in 1980 and her second divorce took place two years later in 1982. Assuming Wikipedia is accurate, her second marriage was likely unfulfilling and her friendship with Wolders, though unclear, may have been a distraction and perhaps the reason for the eventual divorce. As previously mentioned, the exalted Sun rules the Seventh House. It’s a tricky situation to have the planet that represents the Self as ruler of the house of relationships and the spouse, especially when its dispositor is a debilitated Mars. Also worth noting, social planet and ruler of the Fifth House of romance Mercury, planet of desire Rahu, and karaka or indicator of the husband Jupiter all occupy the Sun-ruled nakshatra Krittika which gives determination, stubbornness, and the drive for success– along with beauty, elegance, and artistic skills.

In 1953, Audrey won an Oscar for Roman Holiday and continued appearing in award-winning films through the late 60s, reaching her peak in 1961 with Breakfast at Tiffany’s—all during her Saturn mahadasha. Saturn in her Eleventh House created opportunities to align with large companies like Hollywood studios and fashion designers. Her success and hard work during this period earned her the reputation and legacy of a film star and fashion icon. Through her connection with designer Givency, Audrey’s unique style launched new fashion trends and Givency remained a lifelong friend. The partnership created an image of classic, unforgettable beauty and elegance. Yet Audrey’s slender physique (Saturn ruling the First House) was often suspected to be the result of an eating disorder. This is supposedly untrue. According to her son Sean in a People magazine interview (August 28, 2017 issue), her ability to stay slim was the combination of malnutrition in her childhood and lifelong discipline.

The imposing aspects of Mars and Saturn on her Moon while Saturn aspects the Fifth House of children and the Moon rules the Sixth House of health brought great difficulty and obstacles to Audrey when it came to motherhood (Moon). She suffered five miscarriages with her first husband, though they did have a son together. This affliction to the Fifth House and Moon would eventually separate her from entertainment and performing, which we see later in her life when her focus shifts to children and world hunger (Saturn in Sagittarius aspecting the Moon and the Fifth House).

Audrey_Hepburn_and_Ronald_ReaganEarly in her Saturn mahadasha, Audrey already began supporting UNICEF. In 1988 at age 59 and towards the last portion of her Mercury mahadasha, she became the International Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF taking trips to many developing nations with children in crisis. Mercury rules the Fifth House of children but also the Eighth House, which facilitated her desire to help change and transform these nations and brought her face to face with death and dying as she surrounded herself with starving and ill children.

As difficult as that must have been, Mercury in Venus-ruled Taurus Fourth House shows that Audrey followed her heart despite the pain. A light in the darkness, her exalted, retrograde Venus in the Second House of values shined during her Mercury period. The Second House is the house of food and nourishment. Venus is in Mercury-ruled Revati nakshatra. Revati is known as the nurturer, reflected in Audrey’s humanitarian work throughout her life particularly regarding hunger and especially in these later years with UNICEF during Mercury dasha. In addition, Mercury and Venus are conjunct in Pisces in the Fifth House of the Navamsha. This speaks volumes about her innate desire and compassion to communicate, educate, and connect with leaders and children around the world.

Of her experience in Ethiopia in 1988, she states “I have a broken heart. I feel desperate. I can’t stand the idea that two million people are in imminent danger of starving to death, many of them children, [and] not because there isn’t tons of food sitting in the northern port of Shoa. It can’t be distributed. Last spring, Red Cross and UNICEF workers were ordered out of the northern provinces because of two simultaneous civil wars… I went into rebel country and saw mothers and their children who had walked for ten days, even three weeks, looking for food, settling onto the desert floor into makeshift camps where they may die. Horrible. That image is too much for me. The ‘Third World’ is a term I don’t like very much, because we’re all one world. I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering.”[1]

Throughout her life, Audrey traveled extensively for work and for pleasure. She lived in Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and Italy. Saturn, as ruler of the Twelfth House of foreign travel and culture, rules her Ascendant and First House Moon. At the same time, Mars, the planet of activity and adventure, aspects the Twelfth House, the Ascendant, and First House Moon and has the Moon as its dispositor. Mercury occupies her Fourth House of home life, and Mercury’s rulership of the Fifth and Eight Houses brought many opportunities and changes of residency.

Audrey departed from this stage on January 20, 1993 at her home in Switzerland. According to her official website, the cause of Audrey’s death was colon cancer, which she had been diagnosed with a year earlier. The colon is associated with the Sixth House, where her notorious debilitated Mars is positioned. Having the Sixth House ruler, in this case the Moon, in the First House is challenging for health and Audrey had her share of health issues throughout her life. Mars also remains debilitated in the Navamsha and rules the Sixth House of the Navamsha as previously mentioned.

Audrey was in her Ketu mahadasha at the time of her death. Although Ketu is positioned in the auspicious Ninth House, it is in the last degrees of Libra in Vishakha nakshatra, a placement associated with health issues in and around the stomach or abdomen, and in the natal chart Ketu is aspected by Mars in the Sixth and the Mars-ruled Aries stellium. From the Ninth House of grace, Ketu released her from further suffering.

Much more can be said about her performances, her iconic fashion, her classic beauty, and her heartfelt charity than what little has been stated here. Audrey left a legacy of beauty, art, and elegance all her own and will be remembered forever by her twice-strong Venus more than anything. Many will remember her for her universal spirit and compassionate heart.

Three years after her passing, Audrey would have entered her Venus mahadasha. As yoga karaka ruling the Fourth and Ninth Houses, Venus would have created truly amazing opportunities for her. Instead, her Venus has gifted us with her legacy. Her Venus mahadasha ended less than a year ago in December 2016. For twenty-years, Venus preserved her memory and the mark she left on the world. Thanks to the internet, she has now reached millions worldwide through film, clothing and accessories, and her official website audreyhepburn.com continues to hold the flame brightly.

Mercury rules the Fifth House of children, occupies the Fourth House of motherhood while Fourth House ruler Venus is strong in the Second House of wealth. Her children took up the task, the honor, to uphold and maintain their mother’s legacy. Both of Audrey’s sons, Sean and Luca, remain involved with her crusade to eliminate hunger and other childhood issues through the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund which they co-created with Audrey. They run her children’s fund and keep its presence and effect active in the world. According to the family website, a first ever Audrey Hepburn exhibit to raise awareness and money for the Children’s Fund was recently held in Shanghai, China in June 2017. If they are anything like their mother, they will continue to do good in and for the world.

When once asked “How shall I sum up my life?” Audrey answered, “I think I’ve been particularly lucky”. Perhaps, Ms. Hepburn, we have been the lucky ones.

*
Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina and can be reached at renatembell@aol.com

All photographs are Creative Commons CCO images courtesy of pixabay, except Featured image courtesy UNICEF.org/au
[1] Quote excerpted from “Audrey Hepburn – Ambassador of Children” by fansite Audrey1.com

 

 

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