As I walked out into the new day, a double rainbow arched luminously over the soft curve of the waves in the sparkling bay below our home. And as I walked, I thought about Amy Winehouse. A young woman I never even knew, and yet in her few years of fame and notoriety, she touched my life in some inexplicable way through the power of her intense, soulful voice.
Who was this person whose bright trajectory of fame and scandal imploded so publically? Who was Amy Jade Winehouse, behind the beehive hair, the tangle of tattoos, the artificial breasts, the outrageous young diva, hurriedly hurling through her one wild life, crying fuck-you all ? A plethora of musings and assumptions, judgements and accolades reverberate in the after-shock of her death. It’s better to burn out, than to fade away...Like the mythic gods and goddess of ancient lore, she now takes her place in the firmament. Out of the Blue and into the Black.
The press have dubbed this constellation of shining bright stars the Tragic 27 Club. Requirement for membership: Youth. Reactionary behaviour. Exceptional talent. Extraordinary beauty. Brilliance. Bravado. Hubris and naivety fuelled by an insatiable thirst for opiates and intoxicants… so that they all tripped the light fandango by the age of 27. Astrologically, this is when the secondary progressed moon makes one full cycle in the birth chart, shortly followed by the Lord of Time, stern Saturn. This is a new cycle of growth and maturity. We assimilate the lessons of childhood, integrate the experiences of the first 27 years of our life time.
These glittering rock star gods and goddess are significant astrologically, and collectively. For one brief, tremulous moment, they capture the zeitgeist. They carry something wild and primal in the Collective that perhaps is too large and too potent to be embodied by one mortal. Their time on this earth is a brief budding before they ignite and are immortalised, forever young.
Popular “sun sign” astrology, which has very little validity, in my opinion, would describe Amy’s Virgo Sun sign as presenting her with the attributes of a sensitive, practical, grounded young woman, perhaps someone rather demure, who would prefer to work efficiently behind the scenes and be of service in some way. Amy was and would have been a hard worker, very driven and highly successful, had she grown into her full wisdom and maturity.
I have not been able to verify an exact time for Amy’s birth, but she was born with a Virgo Sun and a Moon either in late degree Sagittarius or early Capricorn, suggesting that these last four or five years would have been especially intense and often traumatic for a sensitive person like Amy. Her birth chart holds the seed of her creative genius, as well as the numbing shadow of her eventual self-destruction. The siren’s call of alcohol and narcotics grew louder and louder, I imagine, especially from 2007. My interpretation of her birth chart suggests that the real Amy behind the petulant Diva Mask she wore was soulful, highly intelligent, highly keyed and very fragile. It was perhaps the self-punishing self talk around being good enough, and her intense sensitivity and nervous energy, that only the numbing oblivion of booze or opiates could quell. Her Virgo Sun is squared by Neptune, a planet that dissolves boundaries of mundane reality, and also gifts us with enormous creative impetus. There can be great difficulty in creating healthy boundaries and also confusion about a sense of identity along with a yearning to transcend this earthly coil, to seek escape into oblivion. Neptune conjoins her Moon, enveloping her emotional and psychic sensibilities with extraordinary creative talent, yet also a great difficulty in staying grounded and focused. Amy’s Venus and Mars are conjunct, in passionate Leo, amplifying an enormous need to be seen, adored, admired as The Diva. Her fiery energy and flair for the grand gesture is counterpoint to the Virgo’s humility and drive for self expression through work and service. To me, it is her Chiron in Gemini, that really taps into the pain and wounding of the Collective. It sounds through the often dark lyrics of her songs, and the heart-rending rise and fall of her beautiful voice. Jupiter and Uranus oppose Chiron, this small planet, a refugee from the Kuyper belt, that symbolises the Wounded Healer Archetype which came into Collective consciousness only in the 70’s.
With this challenging aspect to Jupiter and Uranus, Chiron symbolises a deep psycho-emotional wound that doesn’t heal, but which will, in time with conscious awareness, guide us to heal ourselves. Amy’s Chiron wound is around her ability to express herself to others. Chiron and Mercury in Retrograde in her birth chart suggest that her wound runs painfully deep. The opposition of Chiron to Uranus, not uncommon in those of us born between 1955 and 1985, has a well-documented tendency to evoke addictive behaviour because of its intense effect on the nervous system. The term, Indigo Child might best describe this wild child, who was too sensitive to survive the rigours of life here on earth. Exploding across the skies like Icarus, she rests now with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, and Kurt Cobain, who never lived long enough to experience the first return of Saturn. “My greatest fear is probably dying with no one knowing of any contribution I’d ever made to creative music” Amy Winehouse is reported saying seven years ago. Her Spirit lives on, gone but not forgotten.
With thanks to Neil Young:
My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.
Out of the blue and into the black
They give you this, but you pay for that
And once you’re gone, you can never come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.