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Home -> People -> Shrink Rap 2008

Shrink Rap: New series for 2008

Published: 21st June 2008

A second series of Shrink Rap was broadcast in April and May this year. Shrink Rap is a 'chat show' conducted psychologically, hosted
by Pamela Connolly (née Stephenson) who is a qualified psychotherapist (as well as being known for her marriage to and books about the comedian Billy Connolly). Each interview was conducted over about 2.5 hours then edited down to 50 minutes for the programme.

In this series Pamela's guests were Joan Rivers, Gene Simmons, Tony Curtis, Kathleen Turner, and Salman Rushdie. All these interviewees are featured here with the exception of Gene Simmons. The writing is fairly long so you can use these links to jump directly to the section you want to read about:

     Joan Rivers     Tony Curtis     Kathleen Turner     Salman Rushdie

Joan Rivers

The first guest on Shrink Rap was the American comedienne Joan Rivers. Here's her birthchart, and it'll be immediately obvious why her signature question is 'Can we talk?' and two of her autobiographical books were titled 'Enter talking' and 'Still talking':

Joan Rivers birth chart

Pamela's view was that a major theme of Joan's life was betrayal; going by the birth chart, I'm not sure I'd put it that way at all, but I do think there is a strong sense of transgression, unreliability, incompetence, and consequently having to do it all on her own while fearing her own competence and adequacy wasn't up to scratch.

Joan probably has an Aries Ascendant, and her Mars is in Virgo. That already gives us the picture of someone who's very, very angry. But Mars is in a T-square with her Sun and Moon, and therefore is also on the midpoint of the Sun/Moon, and this places Mars at the very heart and soul of Joan, and at the very centre of what her life is revolving around.

Mars isn't about betrayal, it's about feeling up against it and having to go it alone with no-one to help, no-one as strong, fast, capable, ready as you, to fight alongside you and slay all the dragons. In Virgo, Mars is especially p'd off about all sorts of rules transgressions, and here Mars has an extremely relentless 'work ethic' that just never lets up, as if it's saying 'work or die - you choose'.

This symbolises an extremely active and potent 'inner critic' - lots of incessant, chattering inner voices constantly beating her up from the inside. Tremendous inner conflict. And yes, the chart suggests Pamela was right to focus on the origins of this in Joan's parental relationship, because Mars is exactly half-way between the Sun (father) and the Moon (mother), and the Sun and Moon are in opposition aspect to each other. Pamela said that Joan's parents were opposites and Joan's first comment about them (if we can trust the programme's editing) was that they "argued about money." This fits the Sun-Moon-Mars T-square. Her being in constant competition and conflict with men and women alike - including her husband and daughter - is also shown here.

The unreliability of Joan's parents was brought up by Joan, highlighting the Virgo planets, the Capricorn-Cancer MC-IC axis, and the Sun-Moon being placed in the Mutable (changeable, roving, multi-tasking) Signs of Gemini and Sagittarius.

Joan 'spoke her chart' perfectly when she responded to Pamela's enquiry about what advice Joan gives to people who've survived suicide:

"Got to go on, got to move on, gonna be angry, just a question of moving forward."

Of course, this isn't the slightest bit emotionally healthy, but it appeals to the Gemini-Sagittarius and Mutable Mars-Jupiter, and that Aries Ascendant. It's also why she takes the approach she does to her career, and enjoys the immediacy and cut and thrust of live television, sparring with audiences and celebrities alike, telling sharp jokes, and suchlike.

Her dislike of her body and the ageing process is a typical Gemini-Sag thing: the eternal youth, the puella. With Mercury conjunct Venus in Gemini, possibly in the 3rd house if the birth time is accurate,  and Mars in Virgo, Joan couldn't escape being admired (Venus) for her words and her mind (Gemini, 3rd, Mercury), and the strength (Mars) of her incisive wit (Virgo). Her anger with her body is shown particularly by the Mars-Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in Virgo in square to the Moon. Again, she hasn't accepted something/one she was angry with; she took her own advice to 'move on, moving forward', and used Mars' decisiveness ('de-cidere' literally means 'to cut off') to undergo surgery to try to change what she didn't like.

Joan's Moon is in paran to a star called Antares, which is in the constellation of Scorpius. This star is about experiencing success and then there is the possibility of causing one's own undoing. It's been written about this star:  The natural desire of this star is to generate success by going through a cleansing life-and-death experience. If we leave aside the word 'generate' and just look at this as symbolising a theme, then what it immediately calls to mind is her working relationship with her husband, the career failures she experienced, her husband's suicide and her subsequent temporary estrangement from her daughter, and the years of getting herself back on her own two feet financially and so on.

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Tony Curtis

First of all, Tony's birthchart. I've no idea of the birthtime's accuracy - common sense always suggests that rounded times such as on the hour should be treated with a great deal of caution, so I'm not setting much store by the Cancerian Ascendant and house cusps:-

Tony Curtis birth chart
In the programme Tony talked about the pain of losing his brother when young, and the abusiveness of his mother. He discussed his illness, his addictive use of drugs and alcohol, his looks, and his sexual relationships.

I think his chart is quite disconnected. The planets are scattered around the wheel, making no real shape, design, or pattern, and that in itself is, by definition, the nature of it and hence of the personality it reflects. The Sun in Gemini can indicate a tendency to a scattered self - or rather, selves - in any case, as if the self is by nature a trickster and mercurial, unable and unwilling to be pinned down even by oneself, and the Sun's lack of aspects shows a core 'I' that is difficult to connect to, and yet which, paradoxically, can burn strongly when it does come out to play.

The Sun's sesquiquadrate with the Moon shows someone not at ease with themselves, someone who has to struggle with issues before becoming comfortable in their own skin. If the birthtime is within a few hours of being accurate, then the Moon is definitely in Libra, and the Sun-Moon Air Sign duet can reflect a person who talks and socially interacts well, but is not necessarily at ease with going a bit deeper. The Moon is also in trine to Venus, which is in Gemini along with the Sun, so there is an Airiness here where the self is reflected back through others based on appearances, and favourable feedback. In Tony's case, that centred on his physical appearance, rather than the surface expressions of his personality or intellect for instance, and so there are elements of the narcissistic wound.

The Sun's other aspect is a semisextile with Pluto. That shows an ambivalence about deeper emotions and experiences that trigger becoming acquainted with depth. This aspect also shows how his glory (Sun) was always linked with Plutonic issues: the death of his brothers, the hatred he grew up around, the jealousies of his appearance and the sense of threat created, and so on. An aspect like this requires a depth that Gemini and Libra just do not possess and are ill-equipped to develop. A person can go into very painful territory. During the interview this was discussed as 'courting death'.

The Sun's parans with fixed stars show Tony's other topics of discussion: his constant battling through life:-

Rising when Aculeus is Setting
A person who grows in strength through attacks or difficulties. A battler

Rising when Acumen is Setting
Personal attacks on one’s credibility

Rising when Arcturus is Setting
A pathfinder, to break new ground

Rising when Alphard is Anti-culminating
A person of strong passions who can become angry, violent or aggressive

 when Regulus is Setting
To receive honours and awards, provided one avoids matters of vengeance 

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Kathleen Turner

Below is Kathleen Turner's birthchart. Please keep in mind that there is no known birthtime for Kathleen, so ignore the house cusps in this diagram and consider the Moon's position as approximate. If she was born after 26 minutes past midnight the Moon was in Aquarius, and if prior to that Capricorn.

Kathleen Turner birth chart

Kathleen Turner was born with the Sun approaching its opposition with Mars, a position that indicates the self choosing either an offensive or a defensive position not only vis-a-vis its environment, but within itself - inside, a person can feel very attacked, as if they have to fight for their life all the time, constantly caught up in a battle, directing one's vitality not to thriving but surviving. There is a defiance to this configuration, a sort of 'f*** you', combined with a disdain and disregard of all that stands in the way of one's goals and anything that impedes one's forward movement, as well as a heightened sense of sexual potency.

Being born when the Sun-Mars midpoint is aligned with 0 degrees of Aries greatly reinforces this basic life-theme, this core self as a wilful being, masculine in essence, dominating by default, surviving by necessity, triumphing by spirited defiance, soldiering on, pitting one's wits, throwing ones energies forwards and outwards, confronting and seeking the power to direct one's own fate (and perhaps that of others too) - 'I'm in charge and don't you forget it, and I intend to master my environment rather than be overcome by difficulties'.

Kathleen talked about the arguments with co-stars she's had, as well as the autoimmune nature of her rheumatoid arthritis. Both of these express the symbolism of Sun opposite Mars. (Note: there is no cause-effect connection implied here, this is just drawing attention to a synchronous process, where the symbolism of various parts of reality - in the sky, at work, in the body - coincide and are 'lined up' so to speak.)

With Mars in Capricorn, there is a tough, hard casing that carries on, and on, no matter what, like a marathon runner as opposed to a sprinter. With Saturn in Scorpio, there is this subdued smouldering sexual aggression, coupled with a ferocious will harnessed for the long haul (Margaret Thatcher had Saturn in Scorpio, and is a good example of the wilfulness and self-controlled nature of this placement.) Coping with her illness undoubtedly requires these qualities: survival is the issue, and so forces must be marshalled in that direction.

But alongside all that, and sometimes covered up by all that, is a profound relationship with fear. It's almost like there is a continual game of 'chicken' being played, being challenged by fear and taunting fear in response. Wherever there is 'fight' there has been some trigger that forced a choice: 'fight, flee, or freeze'. Kathleen chose 'fight', and so there is an up-front directness and spontaneity rather than a running away, a projection of strength rather than a contracting into fear, and an emphasis on action and domination rather than passivity and giving in/up.

With Sun (father) conjunct Jupiter in Cancer, Kathleen's father was seen by her as the beneficent protector and problem-solver; she spoke in the programme of being able to literally call on his help anywhere in the world as long as she could get to a USA embassy. This also picks up the configuration of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn: Mars and Jupiter are opposite, with Saturn trine Jupiter and sextile Mars. This Mars-Jupiter aspect, along with Venus in Leo and the Sun in Gemini, shows Kathleen's capacity to enjoy herself, which she remarked on in the programme, and to spread that enjoyment through her acting. Her teaching of acting is also here, indicated by Sun in Gemini conjunct Jupiter in Cancer.

These themes of endurance and teaching are backed up by the parans between Kathleen's planets and stars. Since her birth time is unknown, the parans shown here are only those which were within throughout her day of birth.

Anti-culminating when Rukbat is Culminating
A level headed approach to life, a good head for business

Rising when Facies is Rising
Endurance, physical or mental, for good or for evil
Culminating when Zosma is Setting
To work in impossible, or extremely difficult, circumstances

Culminating when Vindemiatrix is Rising
To gather others around an idea, a teacher

Rising when Sualocin is Anti-culminating
An unconventional person, the eccentric
Culminating when Hamal is Anti-culminating
Hard physical or intellectual choices that can cause frustration or anger
Setting when Vindemiatrix is Setting
Exploring, or collecting information in order to implement new systems
Setting when Procyon is Anti-culminating
To try and build a body of work in difficult, or changing, circumstances

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Salman Rushdie

This week's edition of Shrink Rap featured Salman Rushdie in conversation with Pamela Connolly. As with the Joan Rivers programme, I think that Pamela slightly missed the mark in the things she emphasised. Salman is another of the many Sun-in-Gemini guests Pamela's interviewing for this series; interesting that. Anyway, without further ado or adon't, here's Salman's birthchart:

Not sure of the accuracy of the birthtime, so house cusps need to be treated with caution, and the Moon's exact position too.

Salman Rushdie birth chart

If the birthtime is even approximately correct, Salman's got both the Sun and Moon in Gemini, conjunct each other. He's also got Venus in Gemini, and the outer planet Uranus too. The Sun-Moon conjunction is also conjunct Uranus. This quickly paints the picture of someone who is 'in his head', who will almost certainly reject the value of emotional feelings, and the value of the body's sensations. During the conversation this was evident, although not discussed, unfortunately. It is, in fact, possibly the most important theme of the chart: overemphasis on thought and knowledge and data and communication, dismissal of and discomfort with feelings and the life of the body as a physical organism.

Salman talked about his distance - both emotionally and physically - from his parents. This remoteness is shown in the chart by the conjunct of the parental significators, i.e. the Sun and the Moon, conjunct Uranus and in an Air Sign. Salman said that his primary caretaker was not his mother but his nanny, and when his parents offered him the chance to go away to the UK to study he jumped at the chance, and didn't really write many letters to his parents. Salman said he often wondered why he'd jumped at the chance, but it's not difficult to detach from people who you've never really bonded with and who, in fact, you feel not only an outsider in relation to, but also superior to (something that either wasn't broadcast, or Pamela missed or chose not to comment on).

Pamela focused on perfectionism and sense of not being good enough and loved enough, thanking Salman when he spoke her words for her in the form of 'be perfect, or dead'. Speaking astrologically, Salman's psyche is not one that revolves around perfectionism at all. Salman is instead the archetypal herald and factotum of the Gods, telling other people's stories for them - he said this was the highest compliment someone could give a writer - speaking their words, writing their thoughts - just as he did with Pamela which led to her thanking him, although I'm not sure if she realised at the time what was going on. He had picked up on her thoughts, the direction of her words, the story she was trying to tell, and neatly summarised it for her. She, meanwhile, seemed to think she'd finally broken thought to his his child-self's conclusions formed by his relationships with his parents. I thought it was his Geminian impish side coming out, acting as the mediator and translator of other people's ideas, with an element of trickery so as to always evade capture, just as Hermes/Mercury (the planet that rules Gemini is named after this God) did in the myths. In short, he was using words to play a tune pleasing to the listener, whilst giving away nothing deeper - Gemini remains on the surface but can simulate depth when required, its skill is in mimicry and sometimes it can all add up to double-dealing.

Throughout the interview Salman acted as if he was intellectually superior to her in terms of figuring himself out, and figuring out human nature. He more or less came clean about this later in the interview when Pamela asked him about his previous experience of psychotherapy, and he explained that he held one of his former psychotherapists in contempt, calling it 'writer's arrogance' - which is to perfectly encapsulate his Geminian planets - because a writer's job is to reflect on their life and so what could a psychotherapist possibly tell him that he doesn't already know', and that he thought there was no difference between thought and emotion, they both exist 'in the brain'. Typical comments for someone so 'heady' and whose ego (in both senses of the word) pivots on the articulation of pure thought, yet who must use fictional stories to appeal to people's emotional sensibilities in order to capture people's attention: Mercury in Cancer, possibly on the IC at the foundation of the chart.

There is a lot that could be written about the upset his writings caused. The impish, provocative nature of the Sun, Moon, Venus, and Uranus cluster in Gemini has already been mentioned. As Pamela and Salman discussed, he won't compromise his speaking the truth as he sees it. This is so profoundly important to someone with these sorts of astrological placements, but with such an emphasis and in a chart that has Mars opposite Jupiter across the Fixed Signs of Taurus and Scorpio, compromise is not generally on the table and a 'devil may care' attitude can easily take hold, coupled with the nature of Fixed Signs to be long and drawn out. At the time when Salman attempted to limit the publication and translation of his book, Pluto was conjunct Salman's Jupiter (religion, beliefs, publication) and opposite his Mars, indicating how he was having to deal with the threats that can be unleashed when extending himself out into the world. With transiting Saturn opposite his Sun-Moon conjunction, he tried to delimit his creative output in order to protect himself and his family.

Salman talked about the 13-year period during which he strived for literary success (despite actually achieving it in 1981...transiting Neptune opposing and transiting Pluto trining his Sun-Moon conjunction, with Pluto squaring his Mercury). Anyone who studies astrology immediately thinks of Saturn's cycle when they hear something of that duration. The 13-year period in question is 1975 to 1988, from the publication of his first book, which was largely unsuccessful, to the publication of the Satanic Verses. In terms of planetary cycles, Saturn was conjunct Salman's Mercury in 1975, and possibly also his IC if the birthtime is accurate. Over the next 13 years it would then climb up the chart to the MC, and towards the opposition with Mercury, but the most important thing is this: on the date of publication of the Satanic Verses, Saturn and Uranus were conjunct at 26-27 degrees of Sagittarius directly opposite Salman's Sun-Moon conjunction at 26-27 Gemini.

A quick look at Salman's star-planet parans shows, amongst other things, the following:-

Rising when Zosma is anti-culminating

To receive, or cause, suffering

Culminating when Castor is Culminating

A skill with words and language

Rising when Capella is Rising

To challenge the values of society
"You will strive to be free of the restrictions society can place on a person, and will be inclined to act outside of the social norm, or even to challenge the unspoken rules of society.... this combination will see you struggling to deal with your need for family and support versus your strong desire for independence. Learn to express your independent nature in an appropriate cause, thereby ensuring a more settled domestic life."

Culminating when Hamal is Setting

Hard physical or intellectual choices that can cause frustration or anger

In summary, Salman's chart is one that suggests someone who rebels against accepting a life of ordinary mortals. There is an intellectual commitment to the truth, undoubtedly, and a facility with language that borders on an utterly total involvement with this sphere, but there is also an arrogance, and considerable problems with emotions, forming deeper connections with people, closeness both literally and emotionally, bodily experiences and physical realities, and living within sensible limits.

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The writings accompanying the first series of Shrink Rap:

An astrological view of Pamela Connolly/Stephenson & Shrink Rap:

Applying astrology to political lifeGordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, EU, USA, France, Australia, Uranus in Pisces & Neptune in Aquarius, & more

Applying astrology to business life Euro Currency, NHS, BBC,
USA economy, Ofcom, Concorde,
W Edwards Deming, European Central Bank, stock markets, & more

Applying astrology to people's lives Health, emotional intelligence, Zodiac elements, understanding change, Russell Brand, James Bond, Angelina Jolie, Desmond Tutu, & more

Astrology for the 21st Century - Bringing the sky down to Earth

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