Chart study: A look at the astrology of interesting people.
Astrologers love looking at charts. We’ll happily talk charts for hours. It’s not only fun, though—they’re also the fastest route to learning. When I studied with master astrologer Dawn Bogrodi, we looked at hundreds of charts together. Hearing her analysis of fascinating figures—Bob Dylan, Emily Dickinson, and many others—helped hone my own instincts and intuition for interpretation.
I believe learning from real-life charts can do the same for anyone. So, on this site, I’m beginning a feature called Chart Watch, wherein I’ll look at current and historical folks’ natal charts to see what their astrology suggests. I’ll work with the charts of creatives as well as political, spiritual, and cultural influencers—types of people who interest me. I prefer to focus on the admirable and inspiring, but occasionally the nefarious may make an appearance too. I’d also love to hear whose charts others want to see — leave a comment and let me know.
Let’s start with someone who’s inspired many: Brené Brown. (If you haven’t seen Brown’s interviews or checked out her books, I recommend them.) The feminine asteroids are prominent in her chart, highlighting how much influence these cosmic bodies can have.
We know her birth time, since Brown kindly provided her birth time to astrologer Tony Howard back in 2012. Her natal chart, below.
Her 12th house Sun is in Scorpio, the classic sign of the researcher, detective, or psychologist. An Ascendant and Mercury in Sagittarius incline her toward deep questions and curiosity, while Mercury aspects a Virgoan Pluto at her Midheaven: she’ll be driven to provide detailed, carefully researched foundations (Virgo) for her pioneering (Sag) work in psychology (Pluto-Scorpio).
A 12th house Sun can be a sign of an introvert or someone who prefers to stay in the background, and Brown has said in interviews that she needs ample time alone. But this Sun can also be a sign of relating to the public in some prominent way. Hers happens to be conjunct Neptune, the planet associated with film and television, at a somewhat wide but active 6 degrees: she’ll be a natural in the spotlight, on camera and film. Mars and Venus loosely conjoined in an out-of-house conjunction enhance her public appeal as well. Meanwhile, Jupiter falls in her 7th house: she’ll have no lack of support and company from others, and she’ll draw beneficial partnerships to her throughout her life.
To the asteroids
Brown has several fascinating, prominent asteroid aspects. With Black Moon Lilith in Brown’s 3rd house of writing and communication, she’ll be seen as a powerful speaker. With Pallas and Juno conjoining this point from the 2nd house, she’ll use her innate wisdom (Pallas) to fight for fairness and social equality (Juno) using those same communication skills.
She won’t be afraid to go against the grain with these placements: Black Moon Lilith can suggest where we couldn’t care less what people think. In a recent podcast interview with Marie Forleo, Brown talked about speaking up on behalf of families separated at the border and in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—causing her to lose some followers on social media. Her response, basically: “Bye, Felicia.” “Don’t suck what you need out of my work and leave some vague memory of who I am behind,” she told Forleo.
These strong traits are also reflected in Pluto falling less than a degree from Brown’s Midheaven, a significant placement that suggests powerful transformation and change will always be part of her work. With that Pluto-Midheaven also conjoining Uranus, her work in these areas will break new ground or even be considered revolutionary: this is the psychologist with a touch of forward-thinking genius.
The Moon’s nodes aren’t far from her Ascendant and Descendant, falling in her 12th and 6th houses. A North Node in the Virgo-ruled 6th house can indicate a life’s work in health-related matters and, close to the Descendant, specifically suggests work with the health of relationships, for which she’s well known. A South Node close to her Ascendant suggests she’ll have no trouble with self-confidence or defining and asserting her sense of self and identity. Since it’s in the 12th house, she’s also likely to have a strong sense of spirituality (she calls her faith “the organizing principle” of her life). With Mars and Mercury falling in her 1st house, she’ll also have plenty of drive and determination to take action and communicate on issues that are important to her.
With Saturn in Pisces in her 3rd house, Brown may struggle with internal blocks around speaking up—though when she does, she’ll be taken seriously (Saturn), even while she remains sensitive to emotions (Pisces). That Saturn also semisextiles Eris and Pallas: her original ideas (Pallas in Aquarius) will have natural gravitas and weight, while she’s able to effectively advocate (Eris in Aries) for what are often still viewed as traditionally “feminine” ideas—such as integrating sensitivity and compassion into the workplace and broader cultural conversations. With Eris also opposing her 10th house Part of Fortune, her pioneering advocacy has clearly played a significant role in her fortune, career, and work in the world.
Healing what’s hidden: Ceres-Chiron
Venus, bringer of beauty and blessings, falls in Brown’s 2nd house. Commonly known as the house of finances, the 2nd house can also point to the things we value, our self-worth and intrinsic values. Vesta, meanwhile, falls in Brown’s Cancer-ruled 8th house, suggesting she’ll be passionate about Plutonian, 8th-house issues (the stuff many would prefer not to face—death, sex, intimacy, taxes). With Venus closely opposing Vesta at just under a degree, for Brown there’s a devotion to these 2nd-8th house issues of self-worth, inner work, and transformation. She’ll be able to help others feel better (Venus), effortlessly bringing others into her nurturing wing, even while addressing some of the most difficult issues we face in life.
Ceres closely conjoining Chiron, both opposing Brown’s Midheaven at less than a degree, continues these themes, and to my mind is the most striking in her chart. Chiron is the cosmic body associated with the feelings of shame and isolation Brown has written about with such honesty and sensitivity—often, Chiron in the chart indicates our deepest wounds, which (with work) can become where we are most gifted at helping others. With nurturing Ceres on wounded Chiron, Brown is a natural when it comes to supporting these deep forms of healing, particularly those related to the innermost self, family, heritage, and cultural norms. This conjunction speaks strongly about the most ground-breaking aspects of Brown’s work: how do we heal when our deepest wounds are the ones we’re most silent about, even to ourselves? How do we care for and support the wounded parts of ourselves and others?
Brown explores the roles of courage, connection, empathy, and vulnerability in answering these difficult questions in, among other books, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame. She also shares insightful advice in her interview with Forleo. Find someone you trust to help you see your unique value, she suggests. Ask them: “Help me explore and name the value I bring. Help me know what it is that I do uniquely well.”
“We have to understand our value,” she says, because doing so makes it more difficult for shame to stick around. “Shame will pick somebody else. They don’t choose the people who are very clear with their value, because it’s harder to stick to us.”
“I know my value,” Brown continues. “I know what it is, and I know what it isn’t.” She’s hired a CEO to handle the details and spreadsheets involved in running her various enterprises, for example—tasks that are not her forte. On the other hand, she says, “I’m really good at seeing connections between things that most people don’t see and then wrapping language around it in a way that makes it accessible and makes people feel less alone. I know that’s my thing.” The cosmos certainly agrees.
What else do you see in Brené’s chart? Who else might you like to look at in a future post? I love a good discussion—let me know your thoughts.