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A What-the-Hell Attitude
Julia Child is known for her groundbreaking cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her popular TV show The French Chef. Just like the seven traditional planets stay close to the Sun’s path in the sky, so does the Sun in the birth chart pave the way for the other planetary significations.
In the 3rd house, Sol’s inspiring light focuses on the abilities of the Mind, such as gathering information and learning basic skills. Linked to the 4th house of home and family, “familiarization” in the broadest sense of the word is the key. In Leo, the noble Sun-king zealously strives to move past the boundaries of the self by offering its valuable light to future generations.
Sooner or later the public will forget you; the memory of you will fade. What's important are the individuals you've influenced along the way. - Julia Child
The Magic of Mercury and Saturn
How we reach our solar goals is typically determined by a stimulating mix of character and circumstances. Both the 1st house ruler Mercury and Saturn - just a step away from the ascendant - portray Julia’s personality very aptly. Led by great curiosity, she felt she was an eternal pupil, always asking questions and never afraid to explore new avenues. In a mutually applying square, Mercury and Saturn demand nothing less but the best from one another. Mercury’s flair for experimentation is overseen by a relentless Saturn, which results in Julia practicing things over and over again. Her clever exalted Mercury in Virgo, co-present with a competitive Mars, was not intimidated by failure. It looks like Julia was given the perfect tools to work with Saturn, whose message always is “feel comfortable with failure because failure is the path to great success”.
The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude. - Julia Child
When The French Chef first aired, it was filmed in one shot, showing her mistakes, but Julia was unflappable. She unflinchingly talked herself out of a variety of cooking disasters. Her calm composure allowed her to do very complicated actions while simultaneously talking about it. Using her humor to her advantage, she truly embodied the best of Mercury and Saturn combined, aided by the Venusian copper pots and the giant Martial knives, in her Virgoan kitchen. She could have been a scientist or chemist with this setup, but perhaps thanks to Venus’s beautiful square to Jupiter, there was room for the more pleasurable things in life, such as enjoying delicious food with friends and family.
Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal. - Julia Child
Saturn’s impact on the ascendant is also expressed by the fact that Julia didn't start cooking until much later in her life, and her first cookbook wasn't published until she was 49 years old. It had taken her 9 years to finish it. Saturnian processes can be painstakingly demanding!
I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. - Julia Child
Closely opposed by Jupiter, there’s something revolutionary about her work as the slowest moving traditional planets can move mountains of work together. Julia definitely accomplished many firsts: she was the only woman in her first class at the famed Le Cordon Bleu school France in 1949, and she was the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame in 1993. She was always an early adopter of new technology, using a computer and microwave in the early days. Granted, the microwave soon ended up being used for drying her newspaper.
The Wild Side
Julia’s history before her cooking adventure was quite intriguing! Thanks to the nice Mercury/Mars combo, she was adventurous – even “wild” according to an old friend - athletic, and talented in golf, tennis, and small-game hunting. She intended to become a writer but none of her writing was published. True to her 4th house stellium as well as to her research-loving Sun, she got a degree in history.
Jupiter, opposing the ascendant, inflated Julia’s height all the way to 1m88 / 6'2" which allowed her to play basketball in college, but also denied her enlistment in the Navy's WAVES and Women's Army Corps. Julia was dead set on joining the military during WWII. The Moon, as a reliable indicator of circumstantial fortune, forms a hidden contra-antiscion to stealthy Mars; Julia became a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division. This was likely mind-numbingly boring work, but her talents were noticed by the OSS – the predecessor of the CIA – and they were happy to work with her. In total Martial style, Julia developed a shark repellent that kept sharks from mistaking underwater explosives for a snack.
Jupiter, in the 7th house of marriage ruling the 10th house of career, describes how Julia met her husband Paul while she was on duty. They got married and left the OSS. It was Paul who introduced her to French cuisine. Her Virgo stellium and Saturn surely fell in love with French cooking because of its clear set of rules, offering her a strong foundation that she used for endless variations. Paul got closely involved with her newly found cooking aspirations, building her a kitchen that was adjusted to her height, and using his expertise as a photographer to capture her work.
Ketu and the Moon
The couple had no children, and this is demonstrated by the Moon’s close encounter with the South Node in the 5th house, which means that the theme of surrender or loss is associated with lunar and 5th house topics. As I’ve mentioned several times in past chart explorations, the South Node is often connected to amputation, and this was the case for Julia when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 55 and decided to have a single mastectomy. This all happened just months after a Solar Eclipse in Libra in Julia’s progressed chart. Fortunately, she pulled through and lived a long and adventurous life, which she credited to eating red meat and drinking gin, always in moderation.
I would rather eat one tablespoon of chocolate russe cake than three bowls of Jell-O. – Julia Child
Coping with Criticism
Julia was popular but, as we can expect with Saturn on her ascendant, she was also frequently criticized for not washing her hands often enough, as well as how she gracelessly handled raw meat and snapped bones. "I can't stand those over-sanitary people," Child said in response. It sounds like an exaggeration coming from a Virgo stellium, but the stereotype of tidiness doesn’t always apply, especially not when there are malefic planets in the mix. On a side note, sometimes we even see extremes in Virgo placements, as planets in this double-bodied sign struggle with the unbearable desire for unattainable immaculateness. The cracks in a high-quality ideal can spill images of that perfection’s antithesis.
However, Julia felt comfortable articulating her thoughts, so she had a healthy attitude towards any criticism. Oftentimes she made humorous, yet controversial comments to provoke conversation.
How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex? - Julia Child
Venus in Virgo doesn’t over-complicate things by laboring diplomacy. Standard courtesy will do nicely.
Ultimately, Julia’s message was very simple “Work hard, never apologize, and always have fun”. That sounds as good as her Dauphinoise potatoes, quiche Lorraine!