Leni Riefenstahl – putting a gloss on Hitler’s lies

The Dictator’s Muse is a new novel about Leni Riefenstahl, the film director known variously as the greatest female film director of the 20th century and a Nazi propagandist. Her two 1930s films “Triumph of the Will” about the 1934 Nuremberg Rally and Olympia were highly effective in giving artistic expression to the “Hitler myth”, presenting the Nazi leader as a Wagnerian demigod. It was a celluloid portrayal of the Big Lie laid out in Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The bigger the lie, the more believable it is.

  Despite having been a Hitler favourite and invited into the inner circle she was cleared of collaboration post-war and although her reputation was damaged, she was still taken up by the likes of Andy Warhol, Jodie Foster, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean Cocteau and Mick Jagger, who were attracted to her talents as a film-maker. Unsurprisingly Roger Ailes, the man who more or less invented Trump the politician through Fox News, was a great admirer of her work. Ailes had run Richard Nixon’s successful 1968 presidential campaign and later admitted he had based his tactics on Triumph of the Will.

  In her own life and writings Riefenstahl was evidently an unreliable narrator of the facts. As writer Nigel Farndale puts it: “She subtly fictionalised her own life, living on the border between her truths and her lies, so that even she no longer seemed to know the difference.”

  She was born 22 August 1902 8pm Berlin, and astonishingly appeared to have had a Jewish maternal grandmother which fact she buried in order to be able to work and function in Germany. Her love life was as ‘pioneering’ in feminist terms as her films with a harem of cameramen and actors whom she lifted and laid as it suited her.

  She had a hard-working 6th house entertaining Leo Sun trine an innovative Uranus which in turn was in a revolutionary opposition to Pluto – she certainly knew how to experiment, innovate and push back the leading edges.  She also had a hard-edged, can-be-destructive Saturn in Capricorn opposition Mars in Cancer in her performing 5th house – and a superficially charming Jupiter in Aquarius opposition Venus sextile/trine an Aries Moon. Her 4th house Neptune was opposition her Midheaven square her Moon and sextile her Mercury and Sun casting a smokescreen over her roots and promoting her imaginative and truth-distorting streak.

  Her Venus in Leo was conjunct Hitler’s Midheaven so her creative flamboyance did help promote his reputation. His Jupiter Moon fell in her 10th for a career-boost the other way with his Midheaven in her entertainment 5th house.

  Their relationship chart had a ramped-up affectionate and friendly composite Sun Venus Mars conjunction. With the composite Mars conjunct Neptune Pluto suggesting dark undertones of megalomania and cruelty.

  She never admitted to being aware of what Hitler had been up to and died aged 101, having spent some years in Africa.                       

UK politics – no certainties in any direction

A crashing Tory defeat at the recent Chesham bye-election followed a stunning Tory win/Labour defeat at Hartlepool and a considerable Brexit sausage-war/Northern Ireland humiliation for Boris at the recent G7 summit where he expected to score a major PR victory. Nothing is certain wherever you look – UK politics is going through a spin and rinse churn with all bets off.

 The Lib Dems are unsurprisingly buoyant, talking about future trends though sometimes bye-election results can be a flash in the pan. The Lib Dem chart, 3 March 1988, does look to be on a confident roll and charm offensive over this year and 2022/23 with tr Pluto square the Venus now and then Jupiter. Where it all looks less upbeat is after that.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, 25 December 1965, is buoyed up by false happiness in 2022 into 2023 and running into total road blocks by 2024, which is also reflected on the Lib Dem chart.

  Boris’s term chart is slipping and sliding this year and next with tr Neptune square the Sagittarius Sun which was also triggered by the Solar Eclipse this month in opposition hinting at a run of crises in the months to come.

  Keir Starmer’s mystifyingly blank persona/strategy will run into a dead-halt in 2022 when the Solar Arc Saturn on his leadership chart, 2 April 2020 10.45am, is conjunct the Mars. And that’s much about the same time period that Boris’s Term chart grinds to an impasse with the 12th house Saturn exactly conjunct Venus Pluto – 2022 was always when post pandemic Boris was going to have to face the cost of Brexit and the lockdown which won’t be pretty.

  All very strange. Pluto may well be pulling down the pillars of the temple by damning them all. What a horlicks of a pitiable political mess.

 The Conservative Party chart, 10 May 1912, looks to be in meltdown circa 2023/24 and the Labour Party chart is fairly un-illuminating around then. Not that political party charts are always the best guide.

Iran – new leader emerges from one sided election

Ebrahim Raisi has won a skewed election in Iran in which all prominent reformist candidates were disqualified from the ballot.  His victory means all the arms of government, elected and unelected, are now in the grip of hardliners.  He is head of Iran’s judiciary, an ultraconservative cleric, who claims a lineage tracing back to the prophet Muhammad, which enables him to wear a black turban. He is associated with a bloody series of political trials and executions in 1988 around the conclusion of the Iran-Iraq war. Human rights groups say he was involved in the deaths of thousands of people. He is considered a possible contender to replace the Ayatollah Khamenei whose favoured candidate he was.

  Paradoxically his election is likely to unlock talks in Vienna on the terms for Washington’s return to the nuclear deal and Iran’s return to full compliance. Though he won’t take over until next month.

  He was born 14 December 1960 (wiki) which makes him a Sun Sagittarius which despite its adventurous and sporty reputation can also be a know-it-all, self-righteous pedant. More significantly he’s got a talented though can-be-cruel Half Grand Sextile from a hard-edged Saturn Jupiter in Capricorn opposition Mars, sextile Neptune, trine Pluto conjunct a Virgo North Node.

  Tr Neptune is squaring his Sun through this year and on and off till January 2023 so he’ll have a lacklustre start to his administration.  He does fit the Revolutionary Iran 1 February 1979 9am chart well with his Sun on the RIran midheaven conjunct the Venus Neptune and his Venus in Aquarius conjunct the RIran Aquarius Sun, Mars, Mercury. Nor surprisingly he’s more at odds with the Iran 7 October 1906, first parliamentary democracy chart.

  Though the relationship charts with both are under stress ahead for several years. He won’t be a happy mix.

 He and Joe Biden have an argumentative and competitive chemistry with a composite Sun square Mars. The USA/Iran 1979 relationship chart will be challenged through 2022/23 with pressure to change the nature of the relationship as tr Pluto squares the composite Sun; with considerable uncertainties in 2024 which last flags up on the Biden/Raisi relationship chart as well.

Mitch McConnell – winning is the only thing

Mitch McConnell, the GOP Senate Minority Leader, has stirred up outrage with his comment that if there is a Republican-controlled senate after the 2022 midterms, he would refuse to consider a Biden nominee for the Supreme Court. Such behaviour is regarded as an anti-democratic power grab and “constitutional hardball” — behaviour that isn’t technically forbidden but which subverts the intention of the Constitution and damages democratic institutions. Under previous Republican administrations Democrat majority senates have confirmed nominees put forward by the president of the time.

  There is a push to reform the Supreme Court by Biden who says it must cease to be a “political football.” It has been pointed out that Democrats won the popular vote in six of the last seven elections, and yet Republicans have appointed the vast majority of sitting justices.

  Born 20 February 1942 McConnell is a Pisces with a superficially charming though possessive Venus in Aquarius opposition Pluto. What stands out in his chart is an intimidating, unyielding and bulldozing collection of Mars, Saturn, Uranus conjunction in Taurus. Money is certainly a driving issue with him since those are acquisitive planets and generosity won’t be in his nature. Mars Saturn isn’t sentimental to put it mildly especially in Taurus; and Saturn Uranus can be autocratic. Early in his career he was known as a pragmatist and a moderate Republican. Latterly he mainly supported Trump though called him responsible for the January 6th Capitol attack.

 He had triple bypass heart surgery in 2003.

   Working backwards he looks completely deflated by a catastrophe over the 2024 election with tr Neptune in a monumentally undermining square to his Mars/Pluto and Saturn/Pluto midpoints; plus a ‘car-crash’ Solar Arc Sun conjunct his Mars, then Saturn in 2023/2024; and tr Uranus will also conjunct his Mars and Saturn from the middle of 2023 until the late spring of 2024, which will be highly insecure, pointing to major stresses.

  This year he’s hitting major problems throughout July to early August and through this December with plans not working out successfully as tr Pluto hard aspects two of his Neptune midpoints. Tr Saturn square tr Uranus will also be colliding with his Mercury for disagreements and gloomy moments this year into early 2022.

   He’ll pick up a head of steam from February 2022 with a Jupiterian midpoint lifting his confidence and enthusiasm, on and off till late 2023; though at the same time he has another Pluto transit to a Neptune midpoint bringing losses and calamities. Plus tr Uranus will be causing him grief from mid June 2022 onwards into early 2023 as it upsets his Sun/Pluto midpoint though that will also harden his resolve. His Solar Arc Mars Saturn will also oppose his Mercury later in 2022 and 2023 which will be bad tempered and discouraging.

  There’s no birth time with this and the looming problems may come from various directions not all political.

Blurb of a 2014 biography of him: The Cynic by Alex McGillis:

‘Tracing his rise from a pragmatic local official in Kentucky to the leader of the Republican opposition in Washington, the book tracks McConnell’s transformation from a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and public employee unions to the embodiment of partisan obstructionism and conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill. Driven less by a shift in ideological conviction than by a desire to win elections and stay in power at all costs, McConnell’s transformation exemplifies the “permanent campaign” mindset that has come to dominate American government.

‘From his first race for local office in 1977—when the ad crew working on it nicknamed McConnell “love-me-love-me” for his insecurity and desire to please—to his fraught accommodation of the Tea Party, McConnell’s political career is a story of ideological calcification and a vital mirror for understanding this country’s own political development and what is wrought when politicians serve not at the behest of country, but at the behest of party and personal aggrandizement.’

Monica Lewinsky – creating a life out of the ruins

Monica Lewinsky of the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal has rebranded herself in recent years as an activist against cyber-bullying. She describes herself as “patient zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale” has spoken out against the “public shaming epidemic”. Her 2015 Ted Talk, The Price of Shame, has been viewed 20 million times. She has now signed a production deal with 20th TV, working on the latest of the American Crime Story anthology series. ‘Impeachment’ set to premiere in early September will chronicle the events that led to the first impeachment of a sitting president in over a century with Clive Owen (as Bill Clinton), Edie Falco (as Hillary Clinton) and Sarah Paulson (as Linda Tripp).

  Although she was 23 when the liaison with Clinton started and she freely admits it was consensual it created a typically American furore which Europeans, especially the French viewed with astonishment. The Republicans exploited it in the hope of a political win though some now regret their actions of the time. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/547303-boehner-on-clinton-impeachment-i-regret-that-i-didnt-fight-against-it

   The one who suffered most was Lewinsky whose life was ruined for years after.

  She was born 23 July 1973 12.21 pm San Francisco and her parents divorced acrimoniously in her teens. She has an ambitious 10th house Leo Sun in an expansive opposition to Jupiter with her Jupiter in a confident trine to Pluto, so she’s no weakling though she will have father issues with a close bond from a 4th house Jupiter and her North Node in Capricorn.  

 She has a self-willed Mars in Aries opposition Uranus on her ascendant square Mercury in Cancer in her 10th which will be rebellious, unpredictable and highly-strung but also, when she gets it stabilised, makes her well- designed as an outspoken public communicator. Her Mars is also in an enthusiastic trine to Venus in showy Leo – overall she’s a strong character who knows what she wants and goes for it. Though even she sagged under the humiliation.

   When the scandal broke tr Neptune was opposition her Sun as was her Solar Arc North Node; Solar Arc Pluto was square her Mercury; her Solar Arc Neptune was opposition her Saturn; and tr Saturn was conjunct her Descendant square her Midheaven – a perfect storm of negatives.

  At the moment she’s building ahead for a new Saturn career cycle with tr Saturn moving through her Second Quadrant and heading upwards and onwards for two decades ahead. It won’t all be plain sailing with some challenging disagreements this year with tr Pluto opposing her Mercury; followed by glitches and setbacks in 2022 as her Solar Arc Midheaven squares her Neptune and her Progressed Mars is conjunct her Moon. But she has initiative and has overcome enough setbacks for several lifetimes so she’ll keep moving ahead.  

  On the Clinton connection – both she and himself are Sun Leos and both have an earthy, indulgent Taurus Moons and his Sun is conjunct her Venus, so there would be an attraction. Though his Saturn is conjunct her Sun indicative in part of the age difference but also a chilliness. His Mars Neptune is conjunct her 12th house Pluto suggesting a less favourable, subterranean and overloaded connection. When the scandal erupted his Pluto was conjunct her Solar Arc Midheaven bringing down her public reputation.  

  Their relationship chart has an adventurous, seemed-a-good-idea-at-the-time composite Sun Uranus trine Jupiter; with Jupiter in a frivolous square to Venus and a power-couple square to Pluto. But and it’s a major BUT there’s also a composite unkind, one-sided, sacrificial-victim Mars Saturn conjunction.  It was always going to end in tears one way or another.

Elizabeth Short – an unsolvable puzzle

The mystery of Elizabeth Short’s brutal and macabre murder in 1947 has continued to fascinate reporters and writers through the decades since, all with different theories based on flimsy evidence but held onto as “unmistakable truths” about what became known as the Black Dahlia murder. Alleged culprits range from a demented surgeon, to a lowlife serial killer burned in a fire years later, as well as George Hodel, a notorious surgeon who ran in Hollywood social circles with Man Ray, John Huston, Orson Welles who all became embroiled in wild speculation as well.

  Her death has become “an inexhaustible social phenomenon” as a French reviewer put it recently on the publication of yet another book on the subject which definitively pointed away from the Hollywood circle. But the likelihood is it will never be solved.

  Astrology will never prove one way or another about guilt of a crime though there are usually astrological crossovers between victim and perpetrator.

  She was born 29 July 1924 Boston, Massachusetts, no birth time sadly, with her father abandoning the family after the 1929 crash and faking his suicide, though he reappeared years later. She was an entertaining and adventurous Leo Sun trine Jupiter but with a stressed Mars in Pisces trine Venus, Moon, Pluto in Cancer and inconjunct her Sun. This led her into a string of relationships with difficult men. Two things stand out for me – one is her ‘leadership’ North Node in Leo conjunct Neptune, inconjunct Uranus, sextile Saturn and trine her Chiron. There’s no indication that she had the talent or resources of character to make a career for herself – though anything is possible if she had lived – but it does suggest an ability to capture the spirit of the age with her Node tied into Neptune and designed to send fantasies swirling.

 She was killed sometime around midnight on 15 January 1947 in Los Angeles when a Scorpio Moon was closely conjunct Chiron and the destructive Saturn Pluto in Leo was highlighted in aspected to Uranus, Neptune and Venus.

   The Hollywood chart itself, 1 February 1887, was under stress at that juncture with tr Pluto opposition the Sun exactly and tr Neptune in a highly strung conjunction to the Uranus. Which may have been for other reasons but would also help to stoke up conspiracy theories about which celebrities might have been involved.

  There are too many charts to cover but to take two. Orson Welles’s South Node was exactly conjunct her North Node and Neptune so her capacity to hit the zeitgeist would pull him back into his more primitive instincts. Their relationship chart was competitive and would spark arguments with a composite Sun square Mars but there was nothing much affecting it around the time of her death.

  John Huston, the film director, 5 August 1906 Nevada, Missouri, rectified by Starkman to 2.18 pm, was a Sun, North Node and Mars as well as Mercury in Leo. His Sun was conjunct her Mars so she would spark up a fiery reaction in him and her Pluto (Moon) in Cancer was conjunct his Neptune for a confusing and almost surreal connection.  Their relationship chart was a complex mix of attraction from Sun Venus, needing space from an opposition to Uranus and inclined to explode with a square to Mars. Tr Pluto was conjunct the composite Venus when she died.

  He certainly had strong and not all positive astro-connections to her but that proves very little. His relationship chart with his daughter Angelica Huston was ten times worse with a composite Mars Pluto inconjunct Saturn etc etc and she lives to tell the tale.

  I met John Huston briefly years ago and he still sticks in mind as an aggressively unpleasant and sadistic personality who loved to crush people, especially women (i.e. me) under foot. It was quite unnecessary in a fleeting social setting and one in which he knew I would hardly hurl a coffee pot at him. He was what was known long ago as ‘a man’s man’ – big game shooting, heavy drinking, womanising. His autobiography described his fifth wife as ‘a crocodile’ – and good on her. Talented as a film director but a lesser human being.

Alcoholics Anonymous – Chiron and Neptune

Alcoholics Anonymous has been around for 86 years with a membership of around 2 million globally which for a self-support group is not bad going. June 10 1935 is celebrated as the day of its anniversary which has a perfect T Square for its role in treating alcoholism with a focal point wounded- healer Chiron square Neptune in health-oriented Virgo opposition Saturn in Pisces. Saturn Neptune is also associated with the drive to create a better society. The Gemini Sun is also conjunct Chiron and square Saturn and Neptune. Neptune is further strengthened in effect being the driving planet of a Kite from a healing Water Grand Trine of Jupiter, trine Mercury trine Saturn. Healing and a religious undertone.

  Bob Smith, one of the co-founders, 8 August 1979, has his Neptune conjunct Chiron square his Leo Sun. The other co-founder Bill W Wilson, 26 November 1895 has his Neptune trine his Chiron; and a T Square of his Sagittarius Sun opposition Pluto square his North Node tying him into the cultural shifts of the time.

  What’s also intriguing is the AlAnon chart has its Pluto conjunct the South Node in Cancer, suggesting a compulsive pull back into the past which has to be overcome. The Capricorn North Node individual produces an initial tendency to act in an immature way, constantly seeking crutches and creating self-inflicted illnesses. Letting go is their essential learning lesson of life.   

Social menaces – Kawczynski, Roberts, Teigen

Bad behaviour comes in many forms – verbal and otherwise. There are grovelling apologies (sort of) this week from a couple of bullies and not so much from another culprit.

On the UK political front Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski, 24 January 1972, was said to have been “repeatedly aggressive, rude and impatient” with parliamentary staff as he struggled with IT issues during the first lockdown.

 And Rob Roberts, former Tory MP, now independent after losing the whip over a sexual harassment claim, 15 October 1979, refuses to resign.

  What’s intriguing about both of them are the similarities in their charts. Both are Air Suns aspecting Pluto and Saturn and both have Mars in a Fire sign. Both have their Mercury tied into Uranus and Mars.

  Kawczynski is an Aquarius Sun in an Air Grand Trine to Pluto trine Saturn; with a short-fused Uranus opposition Mars in Aries square Mercury. Roberts is a controlling Sun Pluto in Libra semi-sextile Saturn; with Mars in Leo in an insensitive square to Venus in Scorpio, an impatient and outspoken square the Mercury and an overly excitable, irritable square to Uranus.

   Chrissy Teigen, US model and tv personality, 30 November 1985 6.10 am Delta, Utah, USA, has another set of astrological pointers. She has expressed a “crushing weight of regret for the things I’ve said in the past” as stories of her trolling a 16 year old celebrity years ago when she was 25 urging them to take their own life. Teigen currently has 13.5 million Twitter followers and 35 million on Instagram.

  She has her Sagittarius Sun conjunct Uranus on one side and Mercury, Saturn in Sagittarius on the other. While Sagittarius is known for delivering truth bombs directly they are not usually malicious. I suspect the problem in her case comes more from a 12th house Pluto square a 3rd house Jupiter. A 12th house Pluto can harbour a raging storm of hidden dark feelings – jealousy, envy, greed etc – and squaring Jupiter makes her over-pushy and careless of social niceties.

  A misplaced or misused Pluto can cause huge problems giving a false sense of superiority and a pervasive urge to rain contempt on other people’s heads.

Jackie Collins – a surprising culture shifter

Jackie Collins created a new genre of wildly popular romantic (sexual) fiction which sent 500 million books flying off airport stands all over the world. She was ahead of her time in writing strong female characters who fought for what they wanted in the bedroom and in their careers. Her carefully crafted shoulder-padded, over-made-up public image sold her brand. But she never threw off her inferiority complex at being the glamorous actress Joan Collins’ younger sister.

  A new documentary Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story, has been an unexpected hit at the Tribeca film festival. It outlines her early life in London with a showbusiness agent father who favoured Joan, her early failed starlet career and the runaway success of her novels from Hollywood Wives onwards. She even rescued Joan’s career when it was in the doldrums with starring roles in the movie versions of her books The Stud and The Bitch which led to Joan getting the Alexis Colby part in Dynasty.

  She was born 4 October 1937 (from birth records and sister Joan) maybe 3am (early morning), London.  Her first marriage ended because of her husband’s drug addiction and manic depression and he suicided shortly after. Her second husband, a nightclub owner, died of cancer after 18th years; and her next long engagement also finished with her intended dying of cancer.

  She was a self-sufficient, focused New Moon in Libra with her Moon and widely Sun opposition Saturn in forced-to-be-self-reliant Aries square Mars in Capricorn. That would dent her self-esteem but also give her the steely determination and self-discipline to achieve financially and in reputation. Her chart is overwhelmingly Earth with her Mars trine Venus in Virgo trine Uranus in Taurus and her Jupiter in Capricorn trine Neptune (Mercury) in Virgo trine Uranus. Her books from my recollection having had to dip into one or two for research were fairly gross in their descriptions of physical sex and were certainly focused on materialistic values. And weren’t exactly great literature to put it mildly.

  Despite the celebrity magazines pushing a sibling rivalry story about her relationship with Joan they did have a close though at times competitive relationship. They were both Air Suns which would help as to some extent would Joan’s earthy Taurus Moon.

   Their relationship chart has an emotionally intense, possessive though also jealous composite Venus, Pluto, Mercury, maybe Moon conjunction. Plus a creative and suspicious Saturn opposition Neptune and a fairly explosive Uranus opposition Mars square Sun. No surprises it blew hot and cold between them through their lives.

  Whatever one thinks about the quality and indeed content of her novels she did have an impact on the culture.