In the headlights: Amy Winehouse
The July 2015 release of Asif Kapadia's documentary Amy coincided with a striking Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer, which by chance or fate, joined Amy Winehouse’s own Venus, her sweet but afflicted chart ruler. Rahu in her first house made a rebel and maverick, an anomaly for sure: an old-school jazz nut turned modern-day R’n’B icon.
Venus is at 29 degrees of Cancer, in the three-degree ‘gandanta’ area between water and fire signs and two nakshatras. This is a weird, unfocused and weak perimeter zone, and in the case of the ascendant ruler gives a tenuous hold on life – someone who slips between the cracks. Venus is also aspected by Mars and Saturn: Amy chose a hard road.
Her rising nakshatra Mrigasira’s myth centres around Brahma lusting after his daughter Soma, the Moon, for the purpose of creating beautiful children. Soma took fright and turned into a doe, only to be pursued across the heavens by her father in the form of a stag. There was nothing incestuous in Amy’s relationship with her father, but the new documentary paints Mitch Winehouse as a naïve, starstruck parent chasing his daughter around the world with a camera crew, oblivious to the extent of her problems. There are also disturbing scenes in Asif Kapadia’s film of Amy being caught like a deer in the blinding glare of paparazzi flashes.
14th September 1983, 22:25, London.
Amy’s parents split when she was nine, after which she lived with her mother (1990, Venus-Sun period, Sun ruling the 4th house). All the time, however, she apparently longed to be a daddy’s girl and to have a strong, no-nonsense male influence. Ironically, she has strong karakas for both mother and father. Saturn is the exalted Yogakaraka lord of the ninth and tenth houses showing the father, though its placement in the sixth house of addiction, disease and enemies is revealing. The crudest interpretation here is to say her father was her enemy, and a powerful one. Sun in Leo in the fourth house ordinarily shows a stable background, and whatever problems Amy had, there are few stars who are so closely identified with their family.
Navamsha - D9
Until Back to Black appeared in October 2006, Amy was basically a local Camden Town eccentric and cult figure. Yet this second album coincided with her powerful Sun Mahadasha, commencing February 2007, the angular planet making Budhaditya and Raj Yoga with Mercury. Back to Black took the Grammy for Best Album in 2007 and sold over three million copies in the UK alone. At this point Amy basked in her Sun dasha, with charisma, talent and originality, yet hardly a week went by without a new story of her latest meltdown, romantic betrayal or ‘assault’ on a bouncer or photographer - never mind that she probably weighed six stone soaking wet.
Her some-time husband Blake Fielder (born 16/4/1982) has been excoriated for introducing Amy to hard drugs, even if she was besotted with him and seemed at some level a willing victim. He was her muse and inspired many of her greatest songs, yet his baleful influence had a kind of awful determinism: if not him, she would have found some other vampire. Saturn transiting her Venus in August 2007 (Sun-Moon dasha) saw her surivive a near-fatal overdose, while their tempestuous marriage from May 2007 – 2009 coincided with Pluto’s transit across Amy’s 8th house Moon. Back to Black indeed.
Eighth house lord Jupiter in Amy’s seventh is not good for a strong husband, still less placed with otherworldly Ketu. Ketu is smoky-coloured, and placed in the seventh shows an escapist relationship that is hard for outsiders to fathom. Jupiter in Anuradha is a generous and sociable placement in itself, one said to be given to patronage. Amy’s Moon in Mula nakshatra in the Eighth house is also somewhat notorious for excess and self-destruction, while its conjunction with Neptune is a classic kamikaze rescue drama. Her seventh house ruler Mars joins with exalted Venus in her Navamsha 8th house.
After a spiral of cancelled gigs and increasingly worrying pictures and reports, Amy was found dead at her home on July 23rd 2011. Sun-Mercury dasha, with both planets in her 4th house, left her a domestic prisoner, while 2nd lord Mercury is also a Maraka planet. By all accounts she was clear of hard drugs, but the coroner's verdict was death due to a lethal quantity of alcohol in her system.
Accusations have been levelled at her family, husband, management and the press for Amy’s demise, but perhaps it was fame itself that killed her, in the same way as it killed Brian Jones, Jim Morrison and others in the Club of 27. She was trapped in a bubble, unable to venture out past the paparazzi, with her phone likely tapped, while having unlimited opportunities to drink and self-medicate. Asif Kapadia’s film shows clearly that she was into music, first last and always, and would probably have been as happy as an original artist and local celebrity, rather than leading the jazz singer's lifestyle to its ultimate tragic end.