Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Mirror Mirror: The Julie/Julia Project

Photo found at: Sarah Forbes
Having nearly finished the second "Growing Pains" book (now in its "resting" phase before touch ups for submission of the first draft),  I am turning my attention to my next book on actors who have portrayed real life characters. As I understand I have competition (ahem, Frank Clifford!!), I'm furiously writing the rough draft. This is just a working draft of one of the chapters.

Julia Child was born on 15 August 1912 at 23:20 in Pasadena California (Rodden Rating: AA; Collector CAH) with Jupiter in its rulership, Sagittarius and Saturn in Gemini. Although she was mainly known for her role as "The French Chef" (pretty good going as she was neither French nor a chef), her earlier career at the Office for Strategic Services during World War II was also outstanding.

With Jupiter in Sagittarius, Julia would have possessed a natural sense of confidence and a thirst for adventure. As I wrote in "Growing Pains": "Pupils with Jupiter in Sagittarius seize life by the throat, shake it all about, wave it from the flagpole, dunk it into their coffee and then come back for seconds. Or thirds. Their enthusiasm is exhausting, their questions never ending, their energy ever flowing."

At 6'2" Julia was also exceptionally tall--despite having Saturn conjunct her ascendant. Her height gave her gravitas--although she often said it made her feel awkward. Julia's ability to research and translate her topic is very typical of Saturn in Gemini. (On a personal note, I loved Julia and as a child was mesmerised by her television performances. It wasn't until I became an astrologer that I realised that we share the exact same degree ascendant. My article on Julia here). But it was for her uncontrollable larynx that Julia is remembered: she throttled unsuspecting syllables and became particularly animated when discussing the merits of butter, whole ingredients and fine wine. Her manner and diction were an imitator's dream.

In August 2002, a young creative writing pupil by the name of Julie Powell began writing her now famous blog, "Julie and Julia: 365 days, 534 Recipes and 1 Tiny Kitchen Apartment". Her blog chronicled her attempts to complete all the recipes in Julia's seminal work "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Transiting Neptune hovered over Julia's natal MC so no one should have been surprised that the blog would become a movie.

"Julie & Julia" was filmed as Jupiter transited Julia's MC and was released in August 2009 as the North Node passed over her Uranus and transiting Neptune opposed her natal Sun--all fairly good arguments for the validation of posthumous transits.

Photo courtesy of: ABC
The synastry between Julia Child and Meryl Streep, who portrayed Julia in the film, is equally fascinating. Meryl's Venus/Mars conjunction is very nicely conjunct Julia's Saturn in Gemini. Although Meryl is known for her mastery of accents, her delivery of Julia's voice was a pure class act: she managed to do it without taking the proverbial mick and even made Julia's voice endearingly normal yet interesting. Meryl is not a tall actress but somehow she seemed tall in her role. Also noteworthy is Meryl's Saturn conjunct Julia's Venus/Mercury in Virgo: Meryl is portraying author who's translation of French recipes into not only English but to the imperial measurement system. But there's more! Meryl's Neptune is on Julia's Moon in Libra and the touching interpretation of a loving marriage between Julia and her husband Paul (played by Stanley Tucci) was the perfect mix of marital playfulness, subtle naughtiness and loving devotion and were nothing short of a delight to watch. Meryl's Jupiter (natally conjunct her descendant) is conjunct Julia's Uranus. Meryl turned Julia's quirkiness to her very great advantage. Of her performance, the notoriously difficult to please movie critic A. O. Scott of The New York Times said"By now [Streep] has exhausted every superlative that exists and to suggest that she has outdone herself is only to say that she’s done it again. Her performance goes beyond physical imitation, though she has the rounded shoulders and the fluting voice down perfectly."

There is one final point worth looking at. On 3rd November 1948, just after her marriage to Paul, Julia travelled to France for the first time and experienced French cooking: sole meuniere and oysters. She described it as the "moment of sensual delight". Occurring at about 2:30 pm near Rouen, transiting Saturn was conjunct her natal Venus: Julia had permanently fallen in love with French cuisine.  This moment in the movie was beautifully conveyed: a French waiter removes the lid of the dish with a flourish and as the fragrance wafts towards Meryl's/Julia's nostrils, a look of pure bliss crosses the character's face. One just knows a transformation has taken place.

What is in Meryl's chart that could pick this moment out so well? 

Meryl was born about 6 months after the actual event so no surprises for matching outer planets and progressions. Instead, this "moment" deserves its own birth chart. And it is absolutely, completely satisfying that Meryl's Sun is conjunct the Uranus of this chart. Small wonder then that even posthumously, Meryl made Julia Child a star all over again.

About the Astrologer

Alex Trenoweth is an MA graduate of the Cultural Astronomy
and Astrology course at Bath Spa University (2007) and has gained recognition as an outstanding schoolteacher for her tireless and innovative education of adolescents. Her unique expertise in both astrology and teaching, coupled with ground-breaking research, led her to her write Growing Pains, a book aimed at helping parents and teachers support and guide young people into maturity. Alex’s articles have appeared in astrological magazines across the globe and in addition to her many writing accomplishments, she was voted “Best International Astrologer, 2015” by the Krishnamuti Institute of Astrology in India for the energetic presentation of her original and thought-provoking investigation into astrology and education. As of October 2015, Alex is on a world tour, lecturing on a variety of astrological topics and is enjoying meeting other astrologers from different cultures.  "Mirror Mirror" is a work in progress and will be published in 2016. All rights reserved.

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