I wanted to write a quick piece on the chart of Russell Brand. I’m going to say straight away, that this isn’t a piece about whether he did or didn’t do it. That is something for the courts to decide. I have followed him in the past and even shared a couple of his videos now and then. Sometimes I’ve found his monologues extraordinarily resonant with current astrology, to the point where I wondered if that was what was informing his narrative. But at other times, I have been turned off by the company he keeps and certain commentaries that jar with what I understand to be the truth. So, I have no personal interest in protecting or crucifying him and nor do I want to discredit the women who have come forward because women are so often silenced in these kinds of cases. I’m only interested in the astrology at work and how it is so descriptive of what we see splashed all over the media right now – and how it is a fundamental story in the necessary cultural shifts at work.
For those in other countries who may not know what has occurred, Russell Brand is a comedian turned spiritual/truth ‘guru’ who has built up a massive following online where he talks about conspiracy theories and exposes political lies. Of course, there are some truths in there, about manipulation by people in power and governmental shenanigans. But Brand also has a chequered past, an ex-drug addict and a self-confessed sex-addict. There was distinct unpleasantness in 2008 when he and Jonathan Ross prank-called the late Andrew Sachs and left lewd messages about his granddaughter who was in a relationship with Brand at the time. Both Brand and Ross were forced to resign from the BBC. ‘Sachsgate’, as it came to be called was considered a massive invasion of privacy and sadly it caused many years estrangement between Sachs and his granddaughter. Since those days, Brand has had a lot of therapy, healed a lot of the issues he grappled with and has worked towards helping others with addictions, according to the videos he’s made. However, recently, a television programme called Dispatches, consisting of years of in-depth investigation, brought up historic allegations of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse by Brand – events that allegedly occurred during those hedonistic earlier chapters of his life. I did not see the program but know from the papers that there are several women who have come forward, all with corroborating evidence. This evidence has now been passed to the police. Consequently. Russell’s YouTube has been demonetized, his comedy tour cancelled and he is front page news everywhere over here. So, this is a rough sketch of where he finds himself now and the themes in play.
Now look at his chart. It’s alight! The first thing I notice is his MC on the anaretic degree of Scorpio. On Brand’s YouTube introduction credits, he has what looks like to be a crow breaking wind! Talk about resonating with your Midheaven (Scorpio rules the bowels!) but I digress. Scorpio is associated with sex, addiction and yes, abuse too via ruler Pluto. This is the sign associated with power – the having of it at all costs. But it is also the sign that is associated with the truth, the cosmic detective working it’s way down and down to get to the very bones of the matter. An anaretic degree tends to work in extremes, it is volatile and unstable- a critical degree. And yet also a karmic degree, one that points us towards evolutionary change at work, the final lesson, the final opportunity to resolve all that came before. It is a liminal space between this and that, past and future.
Now look at his progressed North Node. It is now sat, exact to the minute, on his natal Midheaven. It reached this minute on September 11, 2023. By the way, I should have said, there is some discrepancy with Russell’s chart as he said he was born at midnight. Some people think that may mean he was born at the end of the day not the beginning. But I feel as though this early chart is the one, given the aspects in play but of course there is room for error. Anyway, for this chart, the Progressed North Node is now exactly on his natal Midheaven. The Midheaven is our most public point in the chart – everything here comes out. It is being lauded for being at the top of your game or it is a very public downfall. The North Node progression here opens the way for his natal karmic lessons to come into effect.
Now look to his natal IC and the progressed South Node-Ceres conjunction sitting right there! Wow! That captures my attention for many reasons. Firstly, the fact that all this came about just as we have a Ceres-South Node conjunction by transit. It’s an echo of his progressed chart. And the Ceres-Progressed South Node conjunction on his IC is of course anaretic. In Taurus, this is the ‘weeping sisters’ degree – certainly resonant with the women who have described their terrible experiences with him – which all by the way, happened behind closed doors (the IC). I find myself thinking of Ceres, how she laid waste to the land after Pluto whisked away her daughter (and in some myths, he raped Proserpina). Ceres’ rage knew no bounds. Here is the devouring mother, coming to protect her daughter, eviscerating all in her path at the very root of Brand’s chart. I will no longer feed you, says Ceres through bared teeth.
And then we have Pluto himself, hanging out on Brand’s Ascendant by transit, opposing his progressed Sun to the degree! The title of the Dispatches programme was ‘In Plain Sight’ (a play on ‘hiding in plain sight’). Here is the feeling of a dramatic change in image, a change of identity, exposure, something out of his control, significant opposition, powerlessness, powerful people forcing a transformation. Here is the storm in the public eye – remember Pluto rules his anaretic MC that strips everything back to reveal the reality. Here is a walk in the dark, through Pluto’s Underworld brought about by others (the opposition). Here is the spotlight on his shadow.
Note in his natal chart, he has a Moon-Mars opposition to Pluto. Traditionally, Mars opposite Pluto can indicate violence – either being the perpetrator or being the one that experiences it at the hands of others. Natally, asteroid Grieve opposes Mars too. Asteroid Hel is conjunct his Moon, along with Maja, named after Maia, one of the daughters of the Pleiades (which takes us back to the weeping sisters on his IC degree). Moon opposite Pluto can speak of emotional manipulation – perpetrator or victim. Echo opposite Pluto may well suggest, at a soul level, he has been here before.
There is much more I could say about the chart, I means I haven’t even mentioned his illusive, spiritual, potential Jesus-complex natal Sun-Neptune opposition or his disruptive/rebellious 10th house Uranus square his Ascendant-Descendant (he refers to his followers as ‘awakening wonders’ and always tells them at the end of his videos to ‘stay free’!). But I think this is illustration enough of how astrology can be so extraordinarily, even eerily accurate when it comes to the themes in play. If nothing else, Russell Brand seems to vividly inhabit the archetypal stories of his chart. It doesn’t tell us whether or not he did what he is accused of because people can use the energies of their charts in all kinds of ways, positively and negatively and often a mix of both. Astrology is our path of evolution as souls and the lessons we are here to learn. Whatever the truth of the situation, the starkness of this story in Brand’s chart suggests an ongoing lesson in exploring his shadow, the heights and depths that we as human beings can travel to, the dark and the light. I imagine we will hear more each time Pluto sits on that 29th degree of Capricorn.
Collectively though, this is only one story amongst many, about the toxic behaviour of those in positions of power, especially in powerful institutions such as the BBC and the government. Pluto’s ongoing square to the transiting Nodes is forcing the point for many of us that we must face the truth of our past to clear the way for a fairer future, one built on respect for all, where everyone can play to their strengths without fear of abuse or violence from others. Right now, this story is playing out in exposing the glaring differences between how women and men are treated, particular in the workplace. It makes sense, given that Venus now rules the South Node and Mars the North Node. Pluto in Aquarius is coming, and it will change the face of society as we know it and change the way we think of ourselves as human beings. But first we need to let go of the worst of us before we open the way to the best of all we can become.
Photo by Eva Rinaldi – licensed under creative commons.