Whitney Houston, the brilliant but troubled singer and film star, was found dead in a hotel bathtub this weekend. The cause of death has not yet been determined but toxicology tests found a combination of Xanax and alcohol.
Ms. Houston’s life-long troubles with drug and alcohol dependence were widely documented and often threatened her exceptional career. Her marriage to singer Bobby Brown was punctuated with violence and bouts of drug addiction and rehab.
Astrologically, Ms. Houston (chart here) had a conjunction of the Sun and Venus in Leo – she was born to be someone whose light shone brightly (Leo) and the presence of Venus typically bestows beauty and the ability to interact with others in a positive way. However, Saturn, the Celestial Teacher opposed that Sun/Venus combination which suggests that she was riddled with insecurities about her looks and her ability to be loved. In addition, the fact that Saturn in her chart was retrograde shows that she was particularly self-critical.
Although her chart was quite fiery, signifying a person of great passions and energy (her Moon conjoined Jupiter in Aries), Pisces, the sign of empathy, artistry, creativity and intuition rising in her chart, and Neptune, ruler of Pisces, squared her Sun/Venus conjunction. Neptune and Pisces are beautiful influences for an artist, but they can also indicate addictive behavior because of the strong urge to transcend material reality, an urge which is good for the spiritual life, but not so good for someone who lives in the material world. Neptune and Pisces express themselves through art and creativity but can make it difficult for an individual to see the realities of their lives clearly, and that was a hallmark of Whitney Houston’s short life.
In delving more deeply into Ms. Houston’s chart we also see an exact conjunction of the Black Moon Lilith to Neptune and squaring her Venus. I am a novice in studying the Black Moon, but in examining charts and reading the ideas of other astrologers it appears to me that the BML has to do with primal experiences of love, rage and passion that often become obscured in our socialized existence. When it is prominent in a chart such as this one it may show an individual who faces the ultimate darkness within herself (BML) when she is in relationships (Venus) and can get lost as a result (Neptune).
In addition, the Moon and Jupiter in Aries has a powerful need for self-assertion which conflicts with the Saturn/Sun opposition’s pressure to conform and toe the line, and the Neptune/Pisces tendency to go with the flow. There is nowhere for the fire in the chart to go which can lead to a buildup of rage, and there are many stories of Ms. Houston’s eruptions, including one of jealous rage at a party right before her death.
Many people have difficult charts, and it is said that we come in with the chart that we need in order to have the experiences the soul desires in order to learn and to grow. Ms. Houston’s chart shows an opposition between Chiron and Pluto signifying that soul surgery will be accomplished during the lifetime – individuals with this opposition tend to have deep emotional wounds that may seem out of proportion to the life’s experiences. But the sensitivity and emotional pain are quite real and unless the individual is actively and consciously striving to use this pain to grow and evolve they will often use drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.
This is a challenging combination of planets for anyone, and for someone in the public eye where every action is scrutinized and criticized, it is even more difficult.
At the time of her death, transiting Pluto was in an exact square to her Mars (and had been approaching this aspect for quite some time, at least a month or so). This would have stimulated her inner rage and anywhere that she felt frustrated and angry. In addition, transiting Uranus was opposing her progressed Sun. The Sun represents the physical heart, and I have had an intuitive feeling that the actual cause of death here may have been heart failure caused by the stress of years of addiction. Uranus transits to the progressed Sun generally indicate some sort of sudden change (very rarely death!), but at the time time transiting Chiron was opposing Uranus in Ms. Houston’s chart. It would have been clear to an astrologer that some sort of medical event could happen during this time period between February 1st and the 15th.
It’s always tragic when a person leaves this life without having resolved the issues that prevented them from achieving joy and satisfaction during their lifetime. Rest in peace, troubled soul.