Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Buffy ~ Aries Warrior Woman

"Into every generation a Slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer." 

These are the opening lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the massively successful and long running TV show which explored and in some ways defined the archetype of the empowered young woman in modern drama.

When looking at the astrology of Buffy, a fictional character, the best place to look is the chart of the actress who played her, Sarah Michelle Gellar. This is because the characters that actors play tend to powerfully reflect aspects in their natal charts.

Gellar’s chart is below [data from Astrodatabank, no birth time, so ignore the houses and angles].

Click to Enlarge
The first thing that pops out is Venus in Aries tightly opposite Pluto. The empowered woman (Venus-Pluto) who is a warrior (Aries) fighting (Aries) the forces of darkness (Pluto). Wow, what a gift!

 Buffy and Spike

You would also expect Venus in Aries opposite Pluto to be reflected in Buffy’s relationships. Two of them, Angel and Spike, were vampires, the un-dead (Pluto). Buffy was quite literally sleeping with the enemy. Angel exemplifies rich Plutonic themes. He was cursed with a soul and doomed to feel guilt for all the evil he had done. When Buffy meets him, he is beginning a quest for redemption, but when they fall for each other and make love, Angel loses his soul and turns evil again. With Spike, the sex was wild and rampant, a very dark expression of Buffy’s own grief and depression, after having literally been raised from the dead herself. Her other lover was Riley, a preppy college student with a very dark secret. By night, he was part of a secret (Pluto) military (Aries) operation to capture demons (Pluto) and imprison them in a top secret, subterranean government facility (Pluto). Generally speaking, Venus-Pluto aspects tend to play out in intense, dramatic relationships that involve struggles for power and control, sometimes violently, and this was certainly the case for Buffy.

The Sun is also in Aries. In Aries, the energy of the Sun is focused on the warrior archetype, on leading and exerting force. Because the Sun in Aries is un-aspected, it runs away with the horoscope, meaning that it will tend to dominate. This is soooo true for Buffy. It’s all she’s about! Ultimately, Aries wants to be number one and Buffy is certainly is number one, whether she likes it or not, “one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires” and so on. Noel Tyl says that people with un-aspected Sun tend to ‘dance to a different drummer’, they’re not quite like anyone else and don’t quite fit in. A major theme in the series is the loneliness Buffy feels at being ‘the one’, the realisation that she cannot have a regular life like her fellow high school students. She saves the world every other day, but can’t tell anyone except for her small band of friends. Instead, her classmates deride and avoid her for being weird and aggressive in an environment where being popular and fitting in means everything.

Buffy and The Scoobie Gang
Before you say that the Sun is conjunct the nodal axis, please note that I define un-aspected as a planet that does not make a major aspect (square, conjunction, opposition, trine, sextile) with another planet. Now onto the Sun’s exact connection with the nodes... This is where the chart offers us another wonderful gift. If we think of the nodes as fate and karma, all the explanation we need is contained in the prophecy with its talk of “the chosen one”.  Playing out those Sun in Aries themes is nothing less than Buffy’s destiny, what she was born to do. The north node in Libra perhaps explains how, unlike other slayers before her, she has a small band of fellow misfit friends who are in on her secret and appreciate her for what she does.

The First Slayer
There’s also something primal about the Sun in Aries and in season four, Buffy confronts the spirit of the first slayer, who tells her that to be a slayer she must ditch her friends and work alone. But as we’ve seen, Buffy dances to a different drummer. She’s a rebel who dismisses the legend and shuns the rules of the old fashioned, authoritarian slayer’s council. Where is this reflected in her chart, other than in the Sun in Aries?

Notice the T-Square between Mercury, Saturn and Uranus. Aspects between Saturn and Uranus reflect a tension between the old and the new, often manifesting in the urge to rebel (Uranus) against the status quo (Saturn), to question (Mercury) tradition (Saturn). Buffy does this in spades, forcing the slayer’s council to re-think (Mercury) its time-honoured (Saturn) approach. Saturn though is the focus of the t-square, positioned at the axis point.  A major theme throughout the show is the heavy duty and responsibility that Buffy’s destiny brings.

Mercury in Taurus is a bull-headed placement, once the native has made up their mind about something, it’s almost impossible to to make them change it and they can therefore be very decisive. Throughout, Buffy never changes her mind about rebelling against slayer tradition. I think this placement of Mercury, along with an un-aspected Jupiter in Gemini, neatly reflects Buffy’s famous witticisms, saying it like it is, often sarcastically. The best banter is when she’s just about to dust a vamp, "So are you going to kill me or are we just making small talk?"

Gellar’s strong Aries asks us to consider Mars, Aries’ ruler. Mars is in Pisces in Gellar’s chart, at first glance not really a good position for a slayer warrior. But don’t forget that she still has that Venus and Sun in Aries going for her, so perhaps Mars in Pisces reflects the huge sacrifices that Buffy must make to fulfil her calling, along with an underlying deep sensitivity and an undeniable connection to something mystical that is bigger and more wide reaching than even she can imagine. Oh and Buffy certainly brings imagination into her slaying, killing those demons in all sorts of creative ways! 

Even without a birth time, it’s likely that that Mars is conjunct Moon in Pisces. This aspect speaks of  raw passion, emotional conflict and anger, fighting to protect one’s loved ones, the need to feel and understand sacrifice. Buffy to a tee. This is a hugely sensitive placement, Buffy will only do what ‘feels’ right for her.  In a fight, she intuitively knows what to do, as if she has a sixth sense. This saves her life many times. In relationship, this placement leaves her heart all too open to be broken, revealing a deep yearning for emotional and sexual connection underneath her scratchy and defensive surface.  

Buffy and Giles
The father figure is a major issue throughout the series. Buffy feels abandoned by her father after her parent’s divorce and feels guilty, believing the separation was her fault. This is reflected in Saturn’s tight square to Uranus and sextile to Pluto. Saturn also aspects Neptune, an aspect that reflects the disappointment Buffy feels when her father lets her down time after time. That un-aspected Sun in Aries is also relevant here (the Sun as well as Saturn can reflect the father). Simply put, without her father’s presence, Buffy is forced to go it alone.

Buffy’s watcher, the uptight Englishman Rupert Giles, becomes her sole male authoritarian figure. We’re back to Saturn (father figure) in that t-square with Uranus again because Buffy never fully accepts Giles’ authority. Despite her obvious affection and respect for him, she constantly rebels against (Uranus) and stubbornly questions (Mercury in Taurus) virtually everything he asks her to do and sarcastically talks back to him whenever he says anything she thinks is stuffy.

Finally, what about the show’s 'Big Bads', where are they in the chart? Season One’s Big Bad was The Master, an ancient vampire trapped in a cave (the underworld). He was destined to kill Buffy which he did (but she was brought back to life, long story) and bring hell to earth. The Master was of course the Pluto half of that Venus-Pluto aspect. No prizes for guessing that Buffy was Venus. In Season Two, the Bad was her boyfriend, the vampire Angel, turned into evil Angelus after they made love. We’ve already talked about him, he too is that Venus-Pluto. Season Four, the enemy is her boyfriend Riley’s secret (Pluto) military (Aries) task force who are capturing demons (Pluto) and imprisoning them in a top secret, subterranean government facility (Pluto). The project is called The Initiative (very Aries). Their secret agenda (Pluto) is to create a Frankenstein like fighting monster out of demon body parts. The monster is named Adam (the first man, that Aries theme again). More Venus-Aries opposite Pluto stuff in Season Seven, the final series, which sees Buffy and an army of young women, fledgling slayers, battling to overcome The First Evil, a malignant force that can take the form of any dead person it likes. 

I hope you enjoyed this analysis, which shows how the fictional character of Buffy is strongly reflected in Gellar’s chart. I think that looking for characters in actor’s charts is a really fun thing to do and a great way for an astrology student to learn how to read a chart, because fictional characters tend to display more extreme expressions of the actor's astrological aspects. Of course, we could look at Gellar's chart and try to work out how her aspects play out in her personal life, but I feel that this would be unfair and intrusive, because we can’t call her up and ask her to verify, it would be mere speculation. Remember that aspects can play out in many different ways and on many different levels, riding the spectrum between the positive and the negative, the extreme and the bland.

Usefully, Joss Whedon, Buffy's creator, gave Buffy a birthday. You can read a brief analysis of Buffy's chart over at Elsa Elsa.

This article is part of a series on how the characters actors play show up in their charts:

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