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AstroBlogger Throw Down!

Are you throwing down with me over this Imus thing, Jeff? Are you? Because you may be from Brooklyn, baby, but I’m a middle-aged housewife from the mean streets of San Diego and I am fueled by the twin rages of hormones and dieting… and I am telling you to bring it on! 😉

Jeff poses the musical question: Are astrology writers going too far in profiling celebrities? Does probing the psyches of these troubled individuals do them an ethical disservice? As you may know, I recently wrote a post about flawed media icon Don Imus that not only vented my feminist spleen but also suggested a particular disposition of mind at the time he made certain damning remarks that resulted in his firing. Creatively inspired by noting Imus’ Venus in Gemini, I probed his mind – guilty as charged! Careful readers will note, however, that I framed my statements with helpful phrases like “I think”, to alert readers to the facts that 1) astrology does not offer me clairvoyance into the workings of Mr. Imus’ mind; and 2) I’m not reporting facts, but opinion. But in a world in which Fox “News” is considered journalism, I suppose one can’t be too careful about clearly stating one’s bias.

With all due respect to ISAR, of which I’m a member – whose ethical guidelines insist that astrological analyses concerning public figures stick to what’s in the public domain – what else could astrologers possibly write about a celebrity or public figure other than what is in the public domain? Unless we know the celebrity personally, anything else is obviously speculation. Astrology cannot be used to x-ray people’s minds. I have never – not once, in 17 years – looked at a client’s chart in advance and formed a mental picture that was remotely in the same zip code as their reality. Yes, I know the themes that are operating, but the map is not the territory. I do not know that person.

If presented with Don Imus’ chart and not told a thing about him – had I never seen or heard a minute of his program – I would never have assumed his Venus in Gemini was misbehaving in such spectacular fashion. I’d have given him the benefit of the doubt. As his astrologer, I would automatically place myself in the role of his champion. But in light of his very public actions, I interpreted that Venus in Gemini differently.

Now if a blogger starts speculating about a celebrity, or extrapolating a bit too enthusiastically and then claims it as astrological canon, that’s when I’ll cry foul. That’s not what I see people doing in astrology blogs, though. Mostly I see them scratching their heads and saying, “Unh?”, just like the rest of the baffled public. WTF, Mel Gibson? Britney, get ahold of yourself!

Astrology is a way of making sense of things that make no sense, and so is entertainment. Sometimes celebrities are a symbolic prompt to help us untangle larger issues. I think celebrities are sort of like modern day Gods that act out our projected mythology. I would argue that when we speculate about the inner lives of celebrities, it’s not even about them. How can it be, when we don’t know them at all? Don Imus means little or nothing in my life, but I thought his situation said something interesting about Gemini, so I pretended to crawl inside his ugly head for a minute and played with what I imagined was lying around. And then took a nice, long shower. By next week I’ll have completely forgotten about Don Imus, but I’ll still remember just how ugly Gemini can be when it gets contaminated. Thus, Don has served his Celebrity Deity purpose in my life.

It’s always worth discussing the ethics of our profession. We should never claim more on astrology’s behalf than it can deliver, nor use it to cause harm. But I’m sorry – the ethics of an astrologer who speculates, based on astrology (and the in-studio chortling between Don and his staff), that Don Imus might actually have enjoyed saying the lousy thing he said, are a lot less interesting to me than the ethics of a person who accuses complete strangers – scholars and athletes – of sexual promiscuity, based strictly on gender and race.

So in conclusion, I don’t much care if Mr. Imus or anybody else wants to take exception to my probing his psyche. It’s not like I read his diary or petitioned a registrar for his birth records (his bloody birth date is all over the web). He’s the one who sold his public personna as a commodity and made reams of dough cracking wise at the expense of others. These are not the acts of a private person. As far as I’m concerned, such a person is fair game for a certain degree of creative musing and speculation – just as long as I don’t claim that my astrological musings are astrological facts.

14 comments to " AstroBlogger Throw Down! "

  • Lynn

    Here’s the comment I left for Jeffrey:

    “I write celebrity profiles mostly for the purpose of educating readers about astrology. They know something about the celebrity and it makes the astrological signatures more meaningful.”

  • Michele Lessirard

    Michael Jackson brought us to a deeper understanding of child abuse, OJ Simpson did the same with spousal abuse issues. There is a higher calling in taking these shadow elements on for the collective. Now Don Imus for race and misogyny. Big Egos + big unhealed shadows= BIG FALL from grace. What courage.

    I don’t resonate with astro bloggers who dissect a celebrity’s chart. Quite frankly it bores me. Tell me the story about the person’s chart and how those same qualities – shadow and all – show up in your life, then I am hooked. Because that blogger/storyteller is being real, rubbed raw by the experience. There is a learning, deep learning. And that is what I got from your Imus post.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the spunk, vim and vinegar of it all!

  • That’s funny. I wasn’t aware you had written about Imus, even though I usually watch your RSS feed like a hawk. He’s just the first celeb who popped into my head as I was writing, and I figured some astroblogger would give it to him.

    Wanna piece of me?! 😉

  • Jeffrey, it’s ON, baby! 😉

    Thanks, Michelle. I’m kind of the same way about the celeb profiles, unless the celeb in question has suddenly done something harebrained and godawful. Then I like watching astrologers open up the carcass and perform an astro-autopsy.

    Lynn, can I be you when I grow up?

  • Wow–this celebrity thing is all over the astrology blog world! As I mentioned in Jeff’s blog, celebs are simply ENTERTAINERS. I suppose astrologers could use them as teaching tools.. but I disagree about the “Purpose” or contribution of OJ and Michael Jackson’s alleged crimes.. we do not need celebrities to point out issues of domestic abuse and child molestation–MOST OF US have a personal friend, neighbor, or even a personal experience which brings the message home is a VERY REAL WAY.. we are giving celebs way too much import, in my humble opinion.

    I am simply fed up with the celebrity culture, I guess.. hence all my blog replies. I wish, like I told Jeff, astrologers,bloggers would forget about Britny and give me some lessons, some ruminations about some very REAL people who have done interesting things– or, HEY! How about dissecting the chart of someone who is NO BODY SPECIAL– just a happy, fulfilled, small town living person. Wouldn’t’t THAT be an interesting chart to look at, learn from, and think about?

    Ethics: Well, I guess every job has it’s price, and having one’s privacy on
    the front page of blogs, newspapers, etc. is a price they pay, but, I think even the silly movie stars deserve a little privacy.

  • I’m not a professional astrologer, just an astrology blogger, but
    I think it might be even more unethical to analyse the chart of a REAL person (unless it’s your own) for public scrutiny. I suppose if the individual being analysed agreed to it, that would be OK.

    Perhaps other astrologers like to read about a real person’s chart, but the average reader of an astrology blog would, I believe, find it boring.

    As bloggers we try to interest readers, some of whom know little about astrology. In my own case I try to point out areas where astrology can be seen working. I’ve done this on occasion using my own chart, but I always feel that I’m being a little narcissistic, and that nobody will be interested.

  • In classes I have taught and articles I have written,I have used the charts of “normal” individuals who have agreed, with ,of course their names omitted!

    I especially have enjoyed using the chart of a woman who married at age 17, had a baby at 20 ,divorced, had quit high school, then went on to become a business owner and scientist, remarried, traveled world wide and lived a really cool life (many more interesting details..) THIS kind of chart has INVALUABLE lessons and planetary signatures that I know a LOT of folks could relate to–BUT– perhaps you are right,Twilight– blogs are, actually a PART of the entertainment business aren’t they? Readers who are not necesssarily astrologers are certainly more entertained by the big names. This has given me pause about what astroogical blogging is all about–

  • Michelle

    I don’t think an analysis or interpretation of a celebrity, spotlight personality, or current event character is probing, invasive, or unethical — unless what is being said is presented as fact when indeed it isn’t, or it is exposing something confidential.
    The point is, it is an analysis, an interpretation, which is more subjective than objective. I see it as offering a perspective meant to provide insight; which, quite frankly, often says more about the interpreter than the interpreted.
    And having said that, I applaud you, April, as a very adept astrology/writer/artist for providing such an insightful and courageous analysis because I view your reference of Don Imus as a seque to revealing your own very real and honest experiences with Gemini energies (albeit darker ones at times – not to mention Plutonian ones) — experiences that in someways seem remote to me (I have no planets in Gemini,tho Gemini at MC; however, I have many Gemininian people in my life), but also, though I admit so reluctantly, do feel familiar to me (particular Pluto) — for I believe that we all collectively have all the signs integrated in our lives tho at different degrees.
    So what you provided, for me, was cathartic and instructive.
    And speaking of the collective, I think analyzing those in the spotlight can be illuminating because the interest in a particular person really says more about those who are interested. Why are people giving so much attention to a particular person or event? What does that say about them, about us, about me? And how do we relate to these sometimes larger than life characters who are almost, at times, archetypal. Like it or not, eventhough I may not be personally interested at times (admittedly ;-l), I am/we are all part of culture – whether counter or mainstream. And collectively, we learn from each other.

  • Just to be a pain in the ass, I’m questioning the overall value of dissecting a celebrity profile for the benefits of teaching astrology. I totally understand using it to help understand transits and progressions. (I especially love the McEvers analyses in their books.) But we only know what we know about each person’s true personality through the press, which can be skewed to say the least. Therefore, to use it as a means of illustrating the principles of astrological interpretation when we don’t even know the real personality of the individual…I’m not convinced. I’ve gotten my best celebrity personality insights for chart interpretation from people in the film industry — because they know the people whose charts I’m looking at. They say things that never come out in the press. And that’s a very different picture from what people commonly know about a celebrity, lemme tell ya.

    Check me out! I think I’m still Hollywood and stuff. 😉

  • I want to make sure none of my replies about celeb. charts are taken personally.I know a lot of people/astrologers enjoy commenting on the people in the news, using the charts as reference point.

    My responses don’t have anything to do with Imus.He is not even a blip on NY radar screen!

    I am just very thoughtful about the whole role of the media lately, including blogs.. and especially regarding “celebrities.” I think the Anna nicole Smith thing and Brittny and all those BABIES that are getting pulled dinto the circus are just getting under my CANCERIAN skin..

    so– no personal affronts intended.I just don’t enjoy celeb. gossip or charts –I love real people astrology.

    Blessings to all!

  • Maddie – are YOU throwing down with me? 😉

    Heh. Seriously, no offense taken on my end, anyway. I’m loving this discussion. I so rarely write about celebrities, because few of them interest me much. Every now and then, though, one of them acts out some spectacular bit of crazy and it flips some switch in me. Guess that’s why the Imus thing caught my attention.

    I actually almost posted something about the Britney breakdown thing too, because I was feeling so damn bad for the kid (and was sort of amazed to find myself having any feelings about her at all, honestly), having been at the breaking point once during my early twenties as well.

    Twilight, there is no astrology writing I enjoy so much (see this article for more) as that which is written in the first person. I’ve been accused of narcissism a number of times over the years for using myself as an astrological guinea pig in my own writing, but what can I say? I’m the best research tool I have at hand! I never get tired of reading about people’s personal experiences through the lens of astrology; it brings the symbols to life in such an engaging way.

    Michelle, thank you so much for your warm comments. Like you, I’m fascinated by the collective response to these high-profile celebrity events. Why are we fascinated by this person, now, over this issue?

    Maria, back when I was teaching astrology I used celebrity charts now and again for exactly the purposes you mention, to illustrate transits and progressions. But just as often I or my students would bring in charts of regular folks for delineation exercises – always using pseudonyms, of course. The classes always seemed to find these charts just as interesting as those of celebrities.

    Thanks, everyone, for weighing in with so many rich comments!

  • We’re led to believe that celebrities are somehow more interesting, real and exciting than the rest of us – it’s almost a human need to have people we look to in this way – so when an astrologer profiles say a celebrity relationship that’s in trouble, it implies it is somehow an important event for all of us, because their relationship is somehow IMPORTANT, when often it’s just sad, or at best just ordinary. So if we can learn about astrology through the profile, or what it is that makes these often imbalanced and lacking people tick, then fair enough. But I think the astrologer needs somehow to make it clear that by profiling them they are not attaching the same level of importance to these people as the general media do. Otherwise it becomes another contribution to the frenzy.

  • April–thanks.

    One LAST comment on this topic! I read somewhere that we humans often love to read and hear about other people’s tragedies as some sort of “talksman” for OURSELVES.. It’s NOT HAPPENING to US (the anorexia or shaved head or whatever..) so we get some sort of cosmic relief from watching it happen to a “celeb”–a big NOBODY– meaning, no one who is really important to us, anyway..

    Yes, this has been a very thoughtful discussion! A great opportunity to examine some of our motivations!

  • Couldn’t agree more… which is why I’m adding your blog to my links…