Madonna, Mighty Aphrodite
The ongoing evolution of Madonna finds her in love, and with a new baby on the way. Happiness may well be here for the mother of self-invention, and a measure of security along with it—something that she has managed without, but longs for within. Madonna's horoscope has two outstanding features: one that symbolizes the original meaning of “virgin mother,” and the other that embodies her Aphrodite image. Those two characters may seem at odds—the goddess of love and the virgin mother—but for Madonna, it works...
Stellium in the Sign of the Virgin
The first feature to consider is Madonna’s stellium (group of three or more planets) in Virgo. The Moon, Mercury and Pluto are all clustered in Virgo around her Ascendant (rising sign), and it is in that stellium that we see the theme of regeneration and self-creation played out.
The Moon in the First House, conjunct Mercury in the Twelfth House, gives her the facility to play to the public's secret desires, to assess the mood and tone of the collective unconscious and communicate back to it through imagery. There is a sharp cunning to Virgo because it is the sign of understanding how things work, and how to work things. Her renowned work ethic is admirable, and she has a reputation for being absolutely diligent—even slavish—to her projects. She becomes an expert on whatever she is working on, whether that is a course in the Kaballah, her role as Evita or creating her motherhood.
Mercury conjunct Pluto shows Madonna's powerful mental will and her capacity to regenerate, as well as her affinity with the underworld and radical, revolutionary action. Mercury-Pluto lends her a powerful combination of communicative tools, but with a dualistic nature. She can be fruitful as well as horribly destructive. Her desire to have absolute power and control over her domain has clearly manifested in her repeated self-creations and singular career. Her Plutonian overtones—unorthodox, scary, dark, mysterious, harsh, spiky—all came out early in her first strong anti-establishment video, and have been played out in many ways since.
Venus in the Sign of the Lion
The second important signature is her natal Venus in the sign of Leo, square to Neptune in Scorpio. This too speaks of her relationship to older, mythic goddesses because Venus/Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and erotica. Aphrodite means "born of sea foam," and Neptune is the god of the sea, the great oceanic unconscious in which the fruits of the psyche and creative imagination are housed. Neptune is also a shape-shifter, a protean planet that has no defined boundary or image, but can adapt, chameleon-like to its environment, or change its appearance instantly.
Madonna uses her shape-shifting ways (Neptune) to enhance and depict the feminine image in as many forms as it can be found. She has shaped a generation of girls into their own images, by giving “permission” for women to be who they really are, no matter what. Madonna is an Aphrodite figure. She is self-created, birthed by secret and mysterious methods, glamorous and wild.
In a worldly manner, Venus in Leo is aware of social roles and hierarchies. Madonna is very savvy politically. That is, she knows how a role should be enacted, and in which stratum of the social hierarchy a role is best played out. This is both a personal trait and one she uses in her career. Now, Madonna does have a coarse, immature side (Venus in Leo can be a reluctant adult) that is demonstrated through her ultimate disrespect for authority, her attempts to desecrate various icons of the era and so on. Though generally she appears to have “been there, done that,” she still has a child-like need to be a bad girl.
For instance, her appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman in March (2000) showed that she still thumbs her nose at what she perceives as the establishment. She slouched, cursed and swore (and was bleeped) constantly—even after Letterman begged and threatened, she continued to curse, until he finally gave up. She bleeped her way to the ad-break and was not seen on the set afterward. She was her teenage rebel all over again. Yet she recently appeared on the cover of Good Housekeeping! This is not a mystery. It is manipulation of the public, another Moon-Pluto signature, coupled with the Venus-Neptune square.
Madonna has an exalted, glamorous side that is demonstrated in her flawless creation of roles, her positioning of herself at the top stratum of her own hierarchy of needs, as well as assuming that all others in positions of power have got there somehow by false pretences. Her fantasy/real life is both regal and underworldly. Her Neptune in Scorpio is the dark side of the soul, where the psyche is seduced by Hades, the god of the underworld, where she wears black leather and spikes and calls the gods down from their pedestals. But, on the other hand, Venus in the magisterial sign Leo, in the Eleventh House, is a crowd pleaser—glamorous, tasteful, contemporary—and has everyone around her in a thrall of some form or another. Her personal stage is a playful, seductive and continuously changing scenario.
Madonna is a woman of vision (Venus square Neptune) with a rich fantasy life, and the resources to act out her vision. But, the purity of her vision is the key to its success. Her seduction into her own mythology has created an attentive audience and a successful dramatic presentation. I should think her next image will be—well, different than before.