An astrological portrait of the inimitable Mae West.
The complete chart interpretation covers four main sections: Personality, Relationship Needs, Relationship Wants and the Marriage Blueprint, and Career. This is a "classic" example of an astrological portrait, first published in September, 2013.
Each section of the interpretation begins with the completed “Blueprint Sentence” used as the basis for that portion of the interpretation. These fill-in-the-blank blueprint template sentences are one of the exclusive tools available as part of the curriculum of the Online Natal Astrology Class. The value of these templates is that they ensure the correct relationship between the different parts of speech in the language of astrology. Simply by dropping in the appropriate keywords for signs, elements, modalities and houses, you create an astrologically-sound blueprint that you can use to build a more detailed interpretation of that specific astrological signature.
Part 1: Personality
Elements and Modalities
Mae West has a balanced distribution of planets in the elements, with two planets each in Fire, Earth and Water, and one planet in Air. She also has an even distribution of planet in the modalities, with three planets in Cardinal, two in Fixed and two in Mutable.
When there is an emphasis in a particular element or modality, or a lack of planets in an element or modality, it can suggest a theme that may become important as you explore the rest of the chart. You won’t always find any useful information here, however. When there’s an even balance across the elements and modalities, as we see with Mae West’s chart, you just move on to the next section of the interpretation.
Sun in Leo in the 4th House
Sun Rules 4th House, Co-Almuten 12th House
Mae West seeks to express her authentic “Big S” Self (Sun) by being bold, charismatic, grand, and courageous (Leo) WITH her home and family (Sun rules 4th House) and her unconscious and her shadow self (Sun almuten 12th house). She encounters these needs particularly IN her private life and her home environment (Sun in 4th House). [Blueprint Sentence]
Right away, this is intriguing for such a very public figure. It suggests, perhaps, that however Mae West may have appeared to the public, that she only shared her authentic Self in her private life, with people whom she considered to be family, in her home. Certainly, much of her Sun in Leo Self informed her public persona; she was famous for her charisma and heart; she loved to hold court, both in her public and private life. And the moment she set foot into a room, all eyes were on her.
It’s interesting to consider then, that the very qualities of warmth, generosity, drama, charisma, strength and fortitude that form the essence of her authentic Self are also the source of her sorrows and self-sabotage. The Sun is the almuten of the 12th house, and it occupies (and rules) the 4th house. This means that she encounters the affairs of her 12th house (sorrow, self-sabotage, hidden enemies) in connection with how she expresses her authentic “Big S” Self (Sun), and she experiences the effects in her private life (Sun in 4th house).
As we’re about to see, the 12th house comes up quite a lot with respect to Mae West’s personality.
Board of Directors for the Sun in Leo
Sun in Leo in the 4th (Ruler, 5 Votes)
Because the Sun in Leo is the ruler of its own Board of Directors, we don’t need to interpret it further, other than to note that the qualities we’ve already explored are the most important when it comes to expressing her authentic, “Big S” Self.
Jupiter in Aries in the 12th House (3 Votes, Triplicity)
Jupiter Rules 8th and 11th Houses
In order to express her authentic “Big S” Self (Sun’s Board of Directors), she needs to grow, expand, and experience faith (Jupiter) in a manner that is active, independent, and impulsive (Aries) WITH shared resources (Jupiter rules 8th House) and her hopes and aspirations and her friendships (Jupiter rules 11th house). She encounters these needs particularly IN her unconscious and her shadow self (Jupiter in 12th House). [Blueprint Sentence]
The influence of Jupiter in Aries on the Sun’s Board of Directors seems to contribute to West’s famous independence: she had absolute faith in herself, and of course, this self-knowledge and self-acceptance is the bedrock of her persona. In order to embody her authentic Self, Jupiter in Aries needs West to express her individual identity (Aries) in a very, very big way (Jupiter). She certainly pursued her hopes and aspirations (11th house) from a very young age (her performing career began at the age of 6). Later in her career, she not only wrote, but also produced plays on Broadway, brining in the 8th house (other people’s money), because the most important rule of producing is, “Never invest your own money!”
That Jupiter is in the 12th house, however, suggests that West may not have been fully conscious of how big and expansive she could be. One of the challenges faced by anyone that blazes new trails (and Jupiter in Aries is apt to blaze very big ones) is that other people aren’t always comfortable with change. This could account for the actions of hidden enemies.
As an aside, considering Jupiter from the context of faith, it’s interesting to note that West seemed to have faith in the occult (Jupiter rules 8th house) and the unconscious (Jupiter in the 12th house). According to West’s biography on AstroDatabank.com, while living in Santa Monica, West held frequent ESP demonstrations in her home, featuring her favorite psychic.
Mars in Aquarius in the 10th House (3 Votes, Term and Face)
Mars Rules 7th and 12th Houses, Co-Almuten 9th House
In order to express her authentic “Big S” Self (Sun’s Board of Directors), she needs to take action and expend energy (Mars) in a manner that is objective (Air), free-thinking, and humanitarian (Aquarius) WITH her partnerships and one-to-one relationships (Mars rules 7th house), her shadow self and personal unconscious (Mars rules 12th house), and her beliefs and philosophies (Mars almuten 9th house). She encounters these needs particularly IN her career and public life (Mars in 10th House). [Blueprint Sentence]
This is the first connection we’ve seen that link’s West’s authentic Self (Sun) with her public image (10th house); of course, it’s also the third connection between West’s Sun and her 12th house, so there’s a definite theme going on there. What we could say about Mars in Aquarius is that it represents West’s need to take action (Mars) to support and maintain (Fixed) freedom and equality (Aquarius). Planets in Aquarius are often eclectic or eccentric, and the frequently cause social comment because they can appear to be rebellious or even revolutionary. West’s reputation for pushing the envelope of social conventions (Mars in Aquarius) showed up with her relationships (Mars rules 7th), and particularly her frank and open sexuality; and with her beliefs and philosophies (Mars almuten 9th house), and all of these were expressed in her career (Mars in 10th house). But these very qualities — particularly her overt sexuality — that got her into trouble and energized her hidden enemies (Mars rules 12th house).
Aspects to the Sun
Chiron in the 4th House Conjunct Sun in 4th House (Ruler of 4th, Co-Almuten 12th)
There is a unity of purpose (Conjunction) shared by her core wound (Chiron), COMING FROM her home and family environment (Chiron in 4th) and affecting her home and family environment (Sun in 4th). This could interfere with her ability to express her authentic “Big S” Self (Sun), particularly WITH her private life and her home environment (Sun rules 4th). [Blueprint Sentence]
In a way, the Sun conjunct Chiron seems to reinforce the 12th house theme of sorrow or self-sabotage associated with how she seeks to express her authentic Self. Chiron’s influence is also associated with deep healing and spiritual transformation. Certainly, West took what could often be considered a weakness (being an extremely attractive woman) and turned it into her greatest strength. She owned her sexuality, and used it to accomplish her goals and get what she wanted.
Sun in Leo in the 4th House (Rules 4th, Almuten 12th) TRINE
Jupiter in Aries in the 12th House (Rules 8th and 11th Houses)
[Jupiter has 3 votes (Triplicity) on Sun’s Board of Directors
Sun has 4 votes (Exaltation) on Jupiter’s Board of Directors]
There is an easy, harmonious, constant exchange of energy (Trine) BETWEEN her need to grow, expand, and experience faith (Jupiter), specifically involving shared resources (Jupiter rules 8th), friendships, and her hopes and aspirations (Jupiter rules 11th), COMING FROM her unconscious and shadow self (Jupiter in 12th house) AND her need to express her authentic “Big S” Self (Sun), WITH her home and family (Sun rules 4th House) and her unconscious and her shadow self (Sun almuten 12th house) IN her private life and her home environment (Sun in 4th House). [Blueprint Sentence]
The trine between the Sun and Jupiter only emphasizes the importance of Jupiter in Aries. This is a double dose of Jupiter’s urging to express her individual identity (Aries) in a big and expansive way (Jupiter). It also reinforces the connection between her 11th house hopes and aspirations (Jupiter rules 11th) and her authentic Self (Sun). In practice, however, this connection is probably responsible for West’s larger-than-life personality. She was probably used to getting her way in her private and personal life (4th house), as well as in financial partnerships (8th house). But no matter how warm and generous she was, the sheer force of her personality and the fact that she was probably not completely aware of her own power (Jupiter in 12th, Sun almuten of 12th) would activate the 12th house issues of self-sabotage, unconscious behavior, and hidden enemies. The people closest to her may have harbored some resentment towards her because the force and size of her personality might make them feel overlooked or marginalized.
Ascendant in Taurus
When she interacts with the world and other individuals, she appears to be affectionate (Taurus), grounded (Earth/Taurus), and practical (Earth/Taurus). [Blueprint Sentence]
Famous for her love of diamonds and furs, West certainly looked the part of a Taurus rising, beautiful, sensual, earthy, and extremely at home in the lap of luxury. West, after all, did originate the famous quip, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful.”
West’s Sun is in a partile square to her Ascendant, with a 28 minute orb. Because the Sun has such a direct, strong connection to the Ascendant, her authentic Self (Sun) has a clear line to express in the outside world. Because the aspect is a square, however, this suggests an element of conflict or tension (square) because her placid, hedonistic and gentle (Taurus) appearance (Ascendant) belies the fierce passion and fire (Leo) of her authentic Self. Certainly judging West based on her appearance alone would be a mistake; although West definitely used this to her advantage, gaining favors and support from a seemingly endless parade of men.
Board of Directors for Ascendant in Taurus
Venus in Cancer in the 3rd House (5 Votes, Rulership)
Venus Rules 1st and 6th Houses
Other people perceive (Ascendant) her need to express appreciation and feel validated (Venus) in a manner that is caring, nurturing, and sensitive (Cancer) WITH her personality (Venus rules 1st house) and her job (Venus rules 6th house). [Blueprint Sentence]
Certainly, West was famous for her beauty and her sexuality; it was not only a part of who she was (1st house), but also the basis for her job (6th house). She was obviously used to being the center of attention, and appreciated being admired by others. We’ll explore her Validation Needs in greater detail in the next section.
Moon in Cancer in the 2nd House (7 Votes, Exaltation and Triplicity)
Moon Rules 3rd, Almuten 1st
Other people perceive (Ascendant) her need to express emotions and feel safe (Moon) in a manner that is caring, nurturing and sensitive (Cancer) WITH her communication (Moon rules 3rd) and her personality (Moon almuten 1st). [Blueprint Sentence]
West’s caring and compassionate (Moon in Cancer) nature expresses in her personality (Ascendant). It’s interesting that her Moon rules the 3rd house of communication, because this makes it important that she be able to communicate and express her feelings (Moon). We’ll explore her Safety Needs in greater detail in the next section as well.
It’s worth noting, however that both her Safety and Validation Needs have a powerful influence over her personality and how she relates to and appears to other individuals.
Saturn in Virgo in the 5th House (3 Votes, Term and Face)
Saturn Rules 9th and 10th Houses
Other people perceive (Ascendant) her need to be responsible and establish boundaries and limitations (Saturn) in a manner that is adaptable (Mutable/Virgo), analytical (Virgo), and practical (Earth/Virgo) WITH her beliefs and philosophies (Saturn rules 9th) and her career and public life (Saturn rules 10th). [Blueprint Sentence]
West’s Saturn in Virgo clearly expresses through her personality and her appearance. Not only does it have a total of 3 votes on the Ascendant’s board of directors, but it’s also trine the ascendant, giving Saturn an easy, flowing path to express through her identity, in the outside world. Saturn has a great deal to do with West’s self-confidence; she knew that she was the one that set the rules, and she established the boundaries. Other people relate to her on her own terms, both personally (Ascendant), in her love affairs (Saturn in the 5th) and in her public life (Saturn rules 10th house). We could say that her beliefs and ideals (Saturn rules 9th) and her career (Saturn rules 10th) express in her attitudes towards sex (Saturn in 5th house), and this, in turn, shows up in her appearance and how she relates to other individuals (Saturn 3 votes on Ascendant’s Board of Directors/Saturn trine Ascendant).
Part of Fortune in Cancer in the 3rd House
She will experience the greatest amount of prosperity and success (Part of Fortune) by being kind, loving, and maternal (Cancer), particularly IN her writing, communication, and familiar environment (Part of Fortune in 3rd house). [Blueprint Sentence]
West’s Part of Fortune in Cancer is also conjunct Venus, the ruler of her Ascendant, and of course, being in Cancer, it’s ruled by her Moon in Cancer. So, West’s Safety (Moon) and Validation (Venus) needs are closely associated with her prosperity and success. It’s interesting to note that although West built her career on a unique combination of sensuality and wit, her quips, while suggestive, were rarely mean. Her communication and writing (3rd house) embodied compassion (Cancer).
Summary of Personality
It’s worth noting the major themes that have emerged so far with regards to West’s personality. As we continue to explore her chart, these themes may or may not become more prominent.
First, although West’s Sun in Leo gives her a powerful, glamorous, regal, and greathearted authentic Self, the involvement with the 4th house indicates that despite her very public career, she prefers to live a private life, sharing herself with close friends and family.
The partile square between her Sun and her Ascendant means that she is able to express her Sun, and share it with the world; however, she may experience some frustration and challenges because other people will still relate to her based on her mask (Ascendant).
The extensive involvement of the 12th house indicates time and again that West’s larger-than-life personality and overt sexuality can be the cause of her own undoing. The 12th house brings in issues of self-sabotage and actions of hidden enemies.