Excerpt from "Growing Pains"
Copyright: Alex Trenoweth
All rights reserved
Case study - Julia Child
15 August 1912, 23:30 PST Pasadena California 34 ̊N08’52”118 ̊W08’37” Rodden rating: AA; Collector: CAH Jupiter in Sagittarius, Jupiter in rulership
Saturn in Gemini, Mercury in Virgo
First Jupiter return: December 1923 First Saturn opposition: June and September 1927 Time lapsed between first Jupiter return, last Saturn opposition: 3 years 7 months
Second Jupiter return: December 1935 First Saturn return: May 1942 Third Jupiter return: November 1947 Fourth Jupiter return: November 1959 Fifth Jupiter return: October 1971 Second Saturn return: July and November 1971 and April 1972
With Saturn in Gemini on her ascendant and Jupiter on her descendant in Sagittarius, Julia Child’s adventures with the two planets are more obvious.
For example, Saturn, normally noted for restriction, had the opposite effect on Julia: she grew to an imposing six foot two in height. She regarded being too tall as a handicap and by the time of her first Saturn return in 1942, had accepted that she would remain unmarried. She had not yet discovered her love for France or French cooking, the two interests which paved her road to success. It wasn’t until she met Paul Child, who she later married, that her life opened up to the promises of Saturn.
The descendant typically represents the signals we unconsciously send out to people that attract them to us. Jupiter in Sagittarius is ever buoyant, exuberant and fortunate. In the mid-1940s, Julia was awarded for her work with the OSS in China, amongst her many virtues was her inherent drive and cheerfulness. Her delightful nature attracted a man who would introduce her to fine cuisine.
In 1946, Jupiter the ruler of her descendant was square to Uranus the month she finally married her gastronome husband. We can hear the astrology echoing through Julia’s words when she said: “I was lucky to marry Paul. He was a great inspiration, his enthusiasm about wine and food helped to shape my tastes...I would have never had my career without Paul Child.” 13
Towards the end on 1948, as transiting Saturn made a series of aspects to its natal position as well as to Mercury and Venus, the Childs moved to France. Paul carried on with his work with the US government, whilst Julia wondered what to do with herself. Eventually Paul was posted to Paris in 1948. They shared their first French meal together near Rouen: sole meunière. The moment was a defining one for Julia: “It arrived whole: a large, flat Dover sole that was perfectly browned in a sputtering butter sauce with a sprinkling of chopped parsley on top. The waiter carefully placed the platter in front of us, stepped back, and said: “Bon appètit!” I closed my eyes and inhaled the rising perfume. Then I lifted a forkful of fish to my mouth, took a bite, and chewed slowly. The flesh of the sole was delicate, with a light but distinct taste of the ocean that blended marvellously with the browned butter. I chewed slowly and swallowed. It was a morsel of perfection.”14 Occurring 3 November 1948, at about 2:30 pm in Rouen France,15 Julia came to refer to this meal as “the moment of sensual delight.” From this moment, Julia knew she wanted to replicate the recipes she had tasted. To do this, she would have to master not only the art of French cooking (transiting Saturn conjunct Venus), but also the French language and the metric system (transiting Saturn conjunct natal Mercury).
The sign of Gemini mimics rather than invents and translates to be understood by as many people as possible. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes 1 and 2 published by Knopf in 1961 and 1970 respectively (written with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle), was a seminal work containing detailed drawings and precise attention to detail. Its publication allowed everyday people to create master class standards of culinary art. And all this in America at a time when the height of haute cuisine was TV dinners! Just after publication, transiting Jupiter made a number of conjunctions to her natal Uranus, signifying the sudden and profound changes occurring in Child’s life. Jupiter also made a series of three squares to her natal Saturn. The opportunities presented to her following the publication of the book would force Julia to change in ways she never could have imagined: appearing on television nearly fourteen years after the moment of sensuous delight (half a Saturn cycle).
It was during this time that her unforgettable, tremulous, Saturn in Gemini voice was unleashed to audiences. Gemini is a playful sign and Saturn’s presence does little to quench the repressive sense of humour. On her live shows, she fluttered about her television kitchen, knocking things over and encouraging the cooks at home to be as messy as they wished. She dried lettuce leaves by waving them around, splashing herself, the cameras and her crew with water. She beheaded huge fish with giant meat cleavers, brandished knives like something from a medieval nightmare and introduced the poultry she was about to use by title and purpose for cooking. She mixed eggs with a comically oversized whisk and sloshed them everywhere. Once, when she tried to flip over a potato pancake, half of it missed the pan and hit the stove. She excused her error by explaining to the live studio audience that she didn’t have the courage of her convictions. In time, several of her passions would be revealed to viewers: the perfection of French cooking, a love of good wine, a staunch defence of the liberal use of butter, a clean kitchen towel and the importance of using fresh ingredients. And of course the “bon appetit!” that ended every show.
Astrology charts continue to tell their story even after the native has died. Child passed on to the big kitchen in the sky in 2004 but Julie/ Julia, a movie about her life in France and the blogger Julie Powell’s attempt to replicate all of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, was released on 7 August 2009, just as transiting Jupiter made its second of three oppositions to her natal Sun.