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037—Axis Astrology Podcast: “The Astrology of Fashion”
In this episode, Alison and Arwynne discuss the transits, aspects and moon phases for March 8–21 , 2015. Our 360 topic is The Astrology of Fashion, so we take a retrospective look at 60 years of fashion trends and the planets and signs that rule them. Arwynne reviews Exploring Jupiter by (Saint) Stephen Arroyo and Alison reviews The Outer Planets and Their Cycles: the Astrology of the Collective by Liz Greene.
Planetary transits for March 8-21, 2015
- 11-Mar-2015 Mars Conjunct Uranus Square Pluto: aggressive Mars in Aries triggers the Uranus-Pluto square
- 12-Mar-2015 Mercury in Pisces: A planet of words dives underwater just as things get ugly with the outer planets. Not helpful.
- 14-Mar-2015 Saturn Retrograde
- 15-Mar-2015 Mercury Square Saturn: Saturn kicks Mercury while it’s down; a can’t-say-anything-right aspect
- 16-Mar-2015 Uranus Square Pluto: 7th and final time (unless we count the 3 weeks within-1-degree they’ll spend in Dec-Jan)
- 16-Mar-2015 Venus in Taurus: the goddess of love slips into something more comfortable to take the edge off
- 17-Mar-2015 Mercury Conjunct Neptune: If you work with words or images, make use of this inspiring energy
- 20-Mar-2015 Sun in Aries: The Aries Point, zodiacal new year, Spring has sprung, and International Astrology Day!
13-Mar-2015 Last quarter
19-Mar-2015 Total Solar Eclipse at 29 Pisces
Arwynne reviews “Exploring Jupiter” by (Saint) Stephen Arroyo. David Roell, the owner of the AstroAmerica bookstore, who sadly passed away last year, was an extremely (often scathingly) critical reviewer, but that only made the praise he doled out so sparingly mean that much more. Of “Exploring Jupiter” he said this:
“My favorite book on Jupiter… a richly detailed, multi-layered book. Arroyo interweaves his own ideas with those of others, almost always producing dazzling insights. There are many sidebars (essays in boxes) that give supporting details and provide case studies… A truly great book.”
David Roell’s widow, Elizabeth LeTourneur, recently announced that she cannot maintain the online bookstore, which at this time is no longer taking orders. She hopes to sell the business to another astrologer, so if you know anyone who might be interested, please visit the site for details.
Alison reviews The Outer Planets and Their Cycles: The Astrology of the Collective by Liz Greene.
First written in 1980, you can see the gestation of ideas developed in her later books. With rare sensitivity and psychological understanding, she discusses outer planet effects in mundane, political astrology, with a focus on the charts of Marx, Lenin, Hitler and the (former) USSR. She predicts with clarity the then-upcoming events of the late 80s/early 90s, namely the breakdown of the USSR. Along the way are various gems of insight into the psychology of individuals and the meanings of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Indeed, one of Greene (a-la-Jung)’s insights is the increasing “psychologization” of the human psyche and its historical influence on astrology: we need not be victims of literalism any longer. Another key point is that the outer planets, because they move so slowly through the sky (e.g., Uranus spends 7 years in a single sign), characterize whole generations rather than individuals.
Green’s solution is to view the outer planets as representing impersonal contents of the Jungian collective unconscious. Some individuals, by virtue of outer planet aspects, are deeply attuned to the forces of the collective unconscious. Such individuals, like Marx, give expression to the unarticulated urges or intentions represented in the cosmos to whole generations, who then resonate to their message like an astrological zeitgeist.
Astrology 360: The Astrology of Fashion
The combinations of natal astrological factors that can bestow the gift of style are probably countless. We’ll discuss some of the most powerful factors (according to Mystic Medusa, the domain of high fashion belongs to Virgo, and as a Virgo herself, Arwynne is inclined to agree), but looking at the big picture—trends that leave their mark on entire decades and generations—means looking at the outer planets. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are the slowest moving planets (averaging 7, 12 and 20 years per sign, respectively), so their placements give the clearest picture to astrologers when we cast our eyes to history—and hemlines.
Pluto in Leo, Neptune in Libra and Uranus in Gemini
What do they always say about this era? Ah, when the men were men and the women were… Well, whatever it is they say, that’s Leo and Libra— what a pair! The King and the Perfect Wife… uber-male/female archetype stuff.
Ever look at photos from the 1940s and wonder how even working class women looked like they spent half their day at the salon having their hair set and their eyebrows done? Throughout the 40s and 50s, everyone pretty much had spectacularly done hair, at all times.
With the influence of Uranus in Gemini (1942-1949), the post-war looks were about simple elegance; wide shoulders, crisp white shirts, neat suits on both men and women. Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart (pictured at left, below).
Middle and right above: 1940s suits and dresses from sovintagepatterns.com.
As Uranus started to shift into Cancer in 1948, we got Christian Dior’s New Look—dresses made from 10 yards of fabric—a signal that the age of consumerism was upon us; no more rationing (or Rosie the Riveter). Father Knew Best and his home was his “castle.”
He was a snappy dresser with big lapels, a big, manly laugh and a big heart—think Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne. She was as picturesque as a wedding cake whether playing the Perfect Wife or the perfect mistress—think Doris Day, Judy Garland, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.
Big floral prints on dresses and home decor and happy homemaker looks for women while the men kept their conservative suits but went crazy for colorful ties, suspenders, sporty cardigans and flamboyant weekend attire.
Late 40s ties from VintageFashionGuild.org, 1940s Vogue suits from sovintagepatterns.com, 1950s dresses.
The 1960s were really two separate eras, the early 60s (approximately 1957-1962) of Kennedy’s Camelot, the British pop invasion and Mad Men seasons 1-3 and the late 60s—rock & roll, LSD, free love and the women’s and civil rights movements, which then gave way to the all-encompassing anti-war movement of the early 70s.
To what do we attribute this drastic change astrologically? Uranus, the planet of revolution, moving from the big, bold, masculine fire sign of Leo into the introspective, critical, moralizing feminine earth sign that is considered the ruler of women (the Pill, 2nd wave feminism), small animals (animal rights, Greenpeace) and the harvest (the Green Revolution, communes and rise of environmental awareness and activism).
Pluto in Virgo, Neptune in Scorpio, Uranus in Leo
Anyone’s who seen “Mad Men” knows that Western society hit its peak in terms of fashion during this brief period; the Beatles, the Rat Pack, The Kennedys, Audrey Hepburn, The Avengers, the cool blondes and suave gentlemen who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s cleverly-constructed psychological thrillers, and those impeccable Europeans (Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot et al).
Women explored endless varieties of hairstyles made possible by back-combing and lots of toxic hairspray; huge in more ways than one were the flip and the bouffant (for decades the preferred hairstyle of politicians’ wives). Speaking of, Jackie Kennedy was probably the single most influential force in women’s style for this period. Pillbox hats and tiny, matching vinyl purses, Chanel suits, geometric block patterns and A-lines, full skirts, “swing” coats and tight, “wiggle” dresses (think Joan in season 1 of Mad Men).
All images above are from sovintagepatterns.com.
Pluto in Virgo, Neptune in Scorpio, Uranus in Virgo
Fashion at this time began to splinter into factions along with musical tastes. Mods, rockers, hippies and beats to name just a few all had their own unique styles and, of course, a large portion of society remained unmoved by such trends and their attire remained relatively conservative in the mode of the previous decade.
Hair remained pretty high maintenance all the way through the 1960s. Some women kept it short and sporty, while many adopted the new Marcia Brady/Cher flat ironed look (often literally ironed) or the Jane Fonda shag. Peter Pan collars, Polyester, go-go boots, the mini and the bikini, turtlenecks, hand-beaded jewelry, flower (power) motifs and super-busy prints like paisley, animal prints, Pucci, tie-dye, geometric and psychedelic patterns that expanded your mind even without the drugs, braids, retro Victorianism and fashions inspired by the third world all reflect the influence of Virgo. And let’s not forget all those late-60s earth tones… olive green, harvest gold and the oranges and browns of autumn.
For the first time in modern history, men’s fashion began to loosen up a little. Although the suit-and-tie uniform of the business world would remain firmly in place until the “business casual” revolution of the early 21st century, their palette—once restricted to grey, black and navy blue—suddenly expanded to allow pastels, earth tones, bold prints and accessories like ascots, turtlenecks, (very) wide lapels and Nehru collars. Increasingly, men grew their hair longer and experimented with sideburns.
And what about the free love, rock music and mind-expanding drugs, you ask? What’s Virgo about Beatniks, the Black Panthers, revolutionary chic, motorcycle gangs and the Manson Family? Remember, Neptune was parked in Scorpio the entire decade. (I think we can give Scorpio all the credit for micro-mini skirts and go-go boots too.)
Pluto in Libra, Neptune in Sagittarius and Uranus in Libra until 1974, then Scorpio until 1982.
After the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1968 and the growing awareness of struggles for national independence throughout the world, American fashion trends began to reflect a multiculturalism not seen since the early century. Afros (think of the fierce, fabulous Angela Davis) and colorful fabrics inspired by African and Indian traditional attire; pants suits and maxi dresses reflect the new feminist sensibility as well as the sportier, more active sign of Sagittarius, which also rules foreign lands, higher education, adventure and travel.
Men, having tasted the freedom from shaving, embraced every conceivable configuration of facial hair, and beards and mustaches gained acceptance in all but the most conservative circles.
With Uranus in Libra for the first half of the decade, men’s and women’s fashions almost converge in a unisex adoption of plaids, turtlenecks, soft, stretchy fabrics like velour and corduroy and warmer colors. In popular culture, performers like David Bowie and Grace Jones blurred the gender lines, and self-help books and movies about divorce, adultery, prostitution and alternative forms of partnership attempted to navigate the suddenly stormy waters of male-female relations. In the US, urban gangs and violent crime were on the rise, reflected in a new rash of TV shows and movies about police, urban crime, drugs and the downwardly mobile, working—and non-working—classes.
In the second half of the decade, moving into the 80s, Uranus in Scorpio brings out the edgier, flashier side of Sagittarius. In politics, the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Nixon in 1974, then the oil embargo, recession and the 444-day Iranian hostage crisis put Americans in a defensive, sober mood, which they reacted to in the usual way – by distracting themselves with heavier music and harder drugs. Heavy metal, punk, rap and disco all emerge from this period and the fashions of the time reflect all those trends to some degree, while the business world tries to maintain some semblance of order under the influx of women as well as minorities into the workforce. The Stonewall riots in 1969 had brought the issue of gay rights to a head, as would the assassination of Harvey Milk in San Francisco and in the early 80s, the AIDS epidemic.
Images from sovintagepatterns.com.
Pluto in Scorpio, Neptune in Capricorn, Uranus in Sagittarius
The era of Reagan/Thatcher conservatism is unsurprisingly presided over by Neptune in Capricorn (1984-1996), which meant “power dressing” for men and women, big shoulder pads, status brands, “yuppies” and “preppies” and the new “Young Republicans” in the US (characterized by Michael J. Fox as “Alex P. Keaton” on Family Ties, the reactionary conservative business-suit wearing son of former hippies who had children and settled down in the suburbs). Wealth inequality skyrocketed while depictions of casual affluence proliferated in popular culture; The Cosby show replaced The Jeffersons and the biggest shows on TV were Dallas, Dynasty and Knot’s Landing – soap operas about millionaires and oil tycoons.
Fashion under the influence of conservative, status-conscious Capricorn and eclectic, multicultural Sagittarius was an explosion of everything at once. A google search for “80s fashion” brings back page after page of regrettable excess; day-glow neon, pastels, acid-washed denim, distressed leather, leather dyed every color in the rainbow—with studs, fringe, quilting, rhinestones, paint spatters, appliques and patch pockets…
And that’s just how the “establishment” was dressing. Switch over to MTV and you’ll see that perms were apparently mandatory, something called “mousse” was apparently being handed out with driver’s licenses and it was impossible to wear too many contrasting colors, fabrics or accessories at one time. Scarves, headbands, chains, earrings, plastic bracelets, vests, jackets, puffy shirts, baggy pants, leg warmers, an ever-increasing complexity in running shoe technology and design, parachute pants (because you can never have too many pockets, zippers, belt or little Velcro tab-y things at once). It was free-for-all of capitalist consumption, on coke and off the rails. I have to say, though, having grown up in the 80s, it sure was a fun time to be a teenager. Want to wear all your favorite accessories and eye shadow colors all at once? Go for it! Hot pink lace leggings, pointy black ankle boots, blue leg warmers, a cut-off denim mini-skirt with a studded, over-sized belt, a mesh tank top over a neon orange sports bra, fingerless gloves, 16 bracelets on each arm and a fringed, leather-patched denim jacket with the front lapels covered in band pins and buttons with phrases and three different earrings in each ear? Yes please. It was kind of amazing.
Images from Google Images (not really an attribution, I know).
Pluto in Scorpio, Neptune in Capricorn, Uranus in Capricorn
An amazing backlash happened around the time Uranus moved into Capricorn, which was called Grunge. In the late 80s/early 90s, this revitalized form of punk music suddenly emerged from the Pacific NW and within a couple of years, models were walking down the runways in Milan wearing black sack dresses and tying flannel shirts around their waists in homage to Kurt Cobain and Co. Out were the supermodels all 5’10” and up who commanded $10K a day, in were “heroin chic” waifs like Kate Moss and Amber Valletta, who would eventually grow up to resemble the “glamazons” that came before them, but it was a hell of a shakeup while it lasted.
Pluto in Sagittarius, Neptune in Aquarius, Uranus in Aquarius.
Retro, layers, cyber-grunge? These are some of the keywords that come back, along with pictures of the Spice Girls, boy bands, ravers, retro hippies and “metrosexuals” – now that’s Aquarius + Pisces for you. In the late 90’s, the tech boom/bubble brought office casual to new levels with “jeans Friday” becoming every day and polo shirts with khakis becoming the uniform of many suburban office parks. Shiny fabrics, feathery and fake furry fabrics were huge, as were flared, low-rider jeans, short-shirts and platform shoes… aaah, the platform shoes. (Glad some things never go out of style!)
The combination of Sagittarius and Aquarius (squared) coincided with the universal adoption of the Internet and a true melting pot (I almost wrote “melting pop” which would also have been appropriate) seemed to emerge for the first time out of the much-hyped “multiculturalism” of the previous decades.
Pluto in Sagittarius, Neptune in Aquarius, Uranus in Pisces.
In 2003, Uranus moved into Pisces and we got the metrosexual/hipster thing, another (arguably better) take on the leveling of the genders but this time around everyone wanted to look pretty, not just comfy. Lots of eyebrow plucking, waxing (everywhere) and interesting hair colors on everyone of every age. This is when we started to hear “_____ is the new _____.” Fill in the color and/or age of your choice. Style icons included everyone on “Friends” (the “Rachel” became the most popular haircut for white women since Farrah’s). All the outer planets were now in the “transpersonal” signs of the zodiac (that would be the final four), which seems to have been the signal to the fashion world that it was time to revisit every trend of the last 100 years; renn faire Victorian, Steampunk, dandies, Dick Tracy gangster-style, rockabilly, mid-century square, punk, hip hop, gangsta, hardcore, nerdcore, normcore and all those people in yoga gear…
Also mentioned in this episode…
Arwynne talks about a fashion show she attended at the Museum of Vancouver in the last few minutes of this episode. If you’re interested in reading about that exhibition and the fashion show’s excellent curator Ivan Sayers, you can read all about it on Arwynne’s blog.