This is the story of Josephine Baker, a black girl of U.S. citizenship who grew up poor in St. Louis, Missouri, gravitated to a vaudeville and dancing career in New York City, and relocated to Paris, France where she became a star. As the photo suggests, her trademark upon appearing in Paris was a short skirt made of artificial bananas — and, nothing else. The photo shows her with a little more coverage so as not to offend anyone or the WordPress web-masters.
But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. We will first look at her natal chart and early life, and then her relocated natal chart for Paris, France. In France, her natal chart had Ceres on the Descendant angle and Juno at the MC. This placement is valid for her life experience and repeats itself (as being angular) in the debut of her Paris arrival and dance opening that led to her stardom. I thought it would be instructive to concentrate a bit on the major asteroids for a change.
I came across Josephine’s story by accident. The chart is listed in Astrodatabank and is included in the Kepler-Sirius chart library, but is probably a chart you would never take notice of. Wikipedia notes that her black lineage included a white man, accounting for her lighter skin color. In any case, she grew up in St. Louis near the Union train station, poor as a church mouse, living on the streets much of the time. Her mother took in wash to help the family through the drudge of daily life. Josephine was street smart and took on many careers to survive, including getting married at age 13. She learned to dance and worked her way into vaudeville performances, ultimately moving to New York city with her dance troup, effectively divorcing her second husband by distancing herself from him.
So, what about Ceres and Juno. Note in her St. Louis natal chart, Ceres in the Ninth House. Ceres represents parent child relationships and major life cycles among other things. Josephine’s mother was very much against her dancing and moving about to follow stage performances. She wanted Josephine to remain at home and help her. Ceres-9th. is the chart’s representation of this battle between mother and daughter over the daughter’s wanderlust. On the other hand, in this St. Louis natal chart, Juno is in the 12th house, nine degree behind the Ascendant. Juno is also a ‘relationship’ asteroid but is linked to wife-husband issues, not parent-child issues. Josephine dumped or hid her two childhood-husbands, leaving them to follow her own dreams.
Her Sun in Gemini-10th points to self-determination. Sun squares Saturn, so she had to battle against being tied down — as represented by her mother, her two husbands and here environment. Saturn-Vesta suggests an almost-tunnel vision view of what was required and what had to be limited. The fact that she was able to break free of this was amazing in itself. Note that her Moon is 135 degrees ahead of her Sun, the cusp of Dane Rudhyar’s ‘Moon-phase’ lunation cycle suggesting that she had to work hard to adapt and to develop the skills needed to make her way in life. There are other factors to look at such as Moon-Neptune-opposite-Uranus. An exciting sense of drama and appeal.
Let us now look at her natal chart when it is relocated to Paris France.
In Paris, France, Ceres is placed upon the Descendant; This will be the supreme rebellion against what her mother wanted for her. But that is the story for the next post. Here, we see this as the ultimate rebellion — a young dancer moving to Paris and all that it seemed to be to home-bound mid-west American’s.
Paris, in 1925, was still horse-carriage oriented with auto’s just making inroads on the city streets. Life was still shops and small hotels, artists along the river front, and all of the charm we see in older movies. Note that Juno was now positioned at the MC of the chart. Let us look, since both are now sharply angular, at how they work out as a pair.
I quote, in part, from my old friend Martha Lang-Wescott’s views on this pair: ” . . an awareness of relationships where one partner has to . . . mother another, a recognition of imbalances in parental relationships.” In the next post we will expand this interpretation.
I want to note here the square between the Part of Fortune (PoF) and Mars-Pluto, and the square between Pallas and Venus-Neptune. Mars-Pluto is unbounded energy and an electric presence. The involvement of PoF will bring surprises. Again, you will have to wait until the next post ofr further input on this. Pallas relates to a ‘favorite child, a father-daughter relationship perhaps. Also note that Saturn-Vesta is now in the 4th, a place of new starts and great focus. Oh, I can hardly wait to share this next part with you all. Dave.