Bless This Mess: Our Ms. Spears & Jupiter


Have I told you lately how badly I want to help Britney?

Okay, before you get all uppity on my ass and start arguing that she is irrelevant, talentless, trashy, lost beyond salvation… whatever the gripe is, let me reframe it this way:

Britney is a child who never grew up… who never learned who she was, beyond her role of trained lip-sync pony, and thus got herself in way over her head. And with all those gobs of money and all the hired yes-men (stylists, managers, agents, nannies) that her money can buy, there's apparently nothing and nobody able to stop her from the self-destruction we've witnessed. I just want to hug her and tell her it's going to be okay.

Contrary to popular lines of thinking, just because someone like Britney is rich and famous, that's no reason to discount her personal problems as any less important than our own. Despite fantasies that tell us otherwise, money doesn't fix our issues—in fact, sometimes it exacerbates them.

For better or worse, when it comes to the lives of our simultaneously-revered-and-reviled celebrities, there's even more at stake than just one individual's rise or fall. Celebrities, of course, are role models… not just for 11-year-old girls but (sometimes shockingly) for full-grown adults, too. Their stories play out like parables before our collective eyes, as they live out scenarios that exemplify 'good and bad', 'healthy and unwell', etc. Often, these tales are all we share in common with the diverse folks who populate our nation.

Among them all, we love none more than the old-fashioned tales of redemption. We kick 'em when they're down, then tune in to watch them cry to Barbara Walters. Once they've confessed their sins and laid out the stakes of their new outlook on life, we rush out to purchase their new product in solidarity. (Mariah Carey, much?)

What better kind of comeback is there than the breakdown-and-come-back-together?

Here's what I wrote for FAMOUS at the end of last year regarding Britney's year ahead for 2007:

Along with all Sagittarians, Britney's got a giant year ahead of herself in'07. Expect her to reemerge into the spotlight, bigger and better than ever, since lucky Jupiter is on her side. The soaring freedom she'll feel, thanks to cutting K-Fed loose, will have her pushing the envelope even further than she already has. While she quietly nurses the hurt feelings from her failed marriage, she'll gain great joy and inspiration from her two small children. Despite how the media plays it, Britney's whole heart is in raising her kids—and that love shows through.

Looking back upon her '07 stints in rehab and head-shaving incident, the firing of her manager and estrangement from her parents (if the tabloids are to be believed), I suppose it would be easy to discount my 'prediction' as not exactly accurate… if, that is, we stick to the most elementary reading of 'lucky Jupiter'. But if I've said it once, I've said it a million times: Nothing in astrology is strictly good or bad. Britney's year-so-far exemplifies what can happen if Jupiter's 'opportunities for expansion' are taken to the extreme.

Obviously, when writing celeb forecasts for a mainstream gossip mag, an astrologer has to simplify. Though Jupiter is traditionally thought of as the 'greater benefic' (or the luckiest planet), its true archetypal purpose is simply to make things bigger… so that we may transcend the prior limits of our awareness, broaden our horizons, and hopefully get closer to our version of the meaning of our life. Thus, in my looking at Britney's chart—with four planets in Sagittarius, including Sun and Mercury, and transiting Jupiter moving through Sagittarius—it made sense to talk about her year ahead as 'giant', with a reemergence 'into the spotlight, bigger and better than ever'.

But to the more sophisticated astro-watcher (or one with 20/20 hindsight vision), we can clearly see that bigger doesn't always mean better. Nobody can argue that Britney's been dominating the headlines, which perfectly fits the transit of Jupiter conjoining her Sun through much of '07. (Jupiter also rules publicity.) It's just a question of whether she's taken this moment of 'expansion' to its excess, past the point of healthy growth… similarly to how Jupiter can lead us to overindulge in the 'good things of life', only to leave us with bloated bellies and hangover headaches.

Only adding to Britney's erratic behavior is Jupiter's ongoing square to Uranus, which also jacks her Sun around throughout the year. The article I wrote about this aspect was subtitled 'Contrary for Contrary's Sake'… which frankly couldn't be more apt in describing Britney's current situation, in how she's 'pushing the envelope even further than she already has.' She's powerfully driven to prove to everyone that she's free to do whatever she wants.

Britney's Sagittarian Sun forms a flowing sextile to her Moon in Aquarius, and both these signs like to do things their own way… and ignore the limits suggested by mainstream social decorum. And with no other major natal aspects obstructing her Sun and Moon from their natural expression, it's in her nature to push the envelope and demand freedom. Only, in its current manifestation, Britney is clearly reacting against… against her parents, her goodie-two-shoes fans, her ex-husband(s), her management team.

If instead she knew who she really wanted to be, apart from the definitions put upon her by everyone else with their vested interests in her continued profitability, she might be able to express this drive in more positive, truly self-expressive ways—not in reactionary rebelliousness.

This Jupiter effect that has our Ms. Spears under its influence bears the potential, even in the over-the-top carryings-on it's inspired her to play out, to help her get closer to her true self. Though many of us have watched her televised development over the last decade, we can't know 'the real her'—a basic limitation to all astrological analyses of public figures, since we've only privy to what's reported. We don't really know her relationship to her children… though, with a 5th-house Moon, I'd bet she's more caring than we might guess, even if she's doesn't know how best to show it. (Thank goodness for nannies, right?)

Why shouldn't a woman in her mid-20s be permitted to test her own boundaries, and discover for herself what happens when she goes too far? I hope that, once this astrological amplification of her trials in self-discovery dies down, she'll have gotten that much closer to finding her own self-defined meaning of life… and she'll have some good stories to share with us.