There aren’t too many astrology books that are just plain fun. This is a delightful book that will both entertain and educate and a treat for people (like me) who are die-hard film buffs.
Trenoweth assembled over one hundred examples of well-know people about whom biographical films were made and compared their charts to the actors who took the roles. The chart connections are startling and quite precise. The book presents a smorgasbord of case studies useful for beginning and intermediate astrologers, as the best way to learn astrology beyond the basics is to look at a lot of charts and learn how to read and compare them.
The book is organized by planets. The author works her way from the outermost invisible outer planets – Pluto, Neptune and Uranus – to Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Moon, the Sun, the Nodes, and Chiron. There is a section called “Multiples” that features famous individuals who have been portrayed by more than one actor. The comparisons include a description of the film’s storyline and remarks about the chart connections. The final presentation of charts is called “Favorites” and offers the dual charts of eighteen historic figures and celebrities with the actors who immortalized them on film.
The innumerable charts in this book deserve special mention, both for the extent of data collection as well as the effort that went into formatting charts into a book format. Both are quite substantial chores! Each historic person’s chart is the inner chart of a biwheel, the actor’s chart as the outer wheel, and chart data on the edges (not all have time of birth). Charts are provided for all of the comparisons, providing a gold mine of chart data and charts! The biwheels make it easy to see the shared contacts. The charts occupy a full page of the 6” x 9” book size; the glyphs are small but legible. The only peculiarity is that no retrogrades are indicated on the charts.
It’s uncanny how the specific planet connections between subject and actor aptly describe the focus of the film portrayal. No biographical film portrays every aspect or incident in a person’s life but rather highlights a crucial period of development, achievement, or in some cases, ruination. Actors channel a particular facet of their subject through these planetary connections, and the shared chart contacts make them particularly suited for the roles.
Each chart comparison occupies 3 – 5 pages, making this book perfect for short spurts of reading and absorption. Trenoweth doesn’t delve too deeply into the chart contacts, leaving plenty of room for teachers with students to explore the charts together.
“Mirror Mirror” is a good book for experienced astrologers to acquire for the chart data and amusement. It’s as close as any book has ever come to being “escapist astrology literature”! That said, this book has the potential to be extraordinarily valuable as a tutelary text for astrology teachers. The sheer abundance of charts to examine and discuss makes the book a great text for students with a basic grasp of astrology who are ready for practical exercises to take them to the next level with chart-reading. Well done!
Elizabeth Hazel for North Face
This book teaches synastry in a different way. It is astrology in action. Alex chose 100 biopics ( movies about real people) to show the connections between the person the movie is about, the actor who plays that person, and the transits on the day when the movie was released. She organizes the book with chapters that show the connections between specific planets, starting with Pluto and ending with Chiron. Her chapter on the Nodes of the Moon emphasizes the fated quality of why a certain actor takes on a certain role. There is some overlap with planetary connections showing where some person/actor charts have more than one planetary connection. The examples do vary as to where the connections are more obvious. There is a section showing when many actors play one person or when one actor plays the same person in different films. Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth are examples of this. There is a wealth of information in each tri-wheel. You get to read the charts and see the connections yourself as you read and look at each chart.
(Spoiler alert! Alex tells the plots of the films. Because the scripts are written about real people you may already know the ending. If you are not familiar with the person’s life story, may not want to know how the film ends. You can skip right to the astrology.)
Alex works with children and she knows how to make learning fun. This book is fun to read while it makes you think. It is like taking a very good astrology workshop that is so interesting that the time just flies by. The book shows that she put in much work and thought in collecting these examples of actors and the roles they play.
It is thought-provoking to read these connections. The chapter on the Nodes shows where fate has a hand. Gandhi and Ben Kingsley have the same nodal axis as do Ray Charles and Jaime Foxx. Renee Zellweger has her Chiron on Judy Garland’s South Node. It must have been healing for her to portray Judy’s wounded soul.
To add to the wow factor of this book, Alex suggests you compare your chart to the triwheel of your favorite movie, the one you watch over and over. Mine is Lawrence of Arabia. I see that Lawrence’s Saturn and Peter O’Toole’s Sun are conjoined my Pluto. Peter O’Toole’s Moon is the same degree as my Sun. The movie was released when the transiting North Node was at that degree. How can I ever forget feeling the heat of the desert sun when I watched that movie for the first time. The old saying “you can’t make this stuff up” rings true here.
This is a book to enjoy. You can pick it up and savor it one movie at a time or gulp it down to feed your curiosity. It’s a book you want to own so that you can make notes and circle the correlations you see, especially those to your chart. It makes a great gift to an astrologer friend.
Arlan Wise OPA Journal April 2022
Researcher. That is what her bio says about Alex (check the end of her article “The Crown” in this issue). Her new book is about research into something she just loves – biographical films. ‘Research’ is such a serious word, and an arduous process, but one that ISAR values most highly. This research comes out of the fun of investigating what you love.
The book is especially for those who love movies, celebrities, and comparing charts. This is creative research about creativity. I am personally passionate about those two: ‘creative research’ and ‘creativity.’ Researching the creators who act out the dreams and life narratives on the screen inspired by real, notable people is the goal and purpose of Alex’s new book, Mirror Mirror: The Astrology of Famous People and the Actors Who Portrayed Them.
The aspects of comparison in Trenoweth’s study are basically but two: conjunct and opposition, using tight orbs. Other aspects come after for support, verification, and detail. Each example of a famous person’s chart, to the chart of the actor depicting them in their biopic, to the chart for the release of the film, make up the tri-wheels. Alex tells the core narratives that are necessary to blend her interpretive remarks. They are a starting point. They invite and leave room for much further analysis of the charts.
The over 100 famous people and their biopics make up her ‘database’ of examples organized by planetary emphasis starting with Pluto, including Chiron and the Nodes. Other categories are those with more than one biopic, from the infamous Ted Bundy to Queen Elizabeth I, and a special list of Alex’s 18 favorite biopics of all. Seeing the qualities in the actor’s chart connecting to their subject’s life as a role is amazing. It is as though Astrology was a secret casting director. Secret no more.
This is a natural gift book for anyone who loves astrology and films, and yourself, too, of course. But don’t leave it on a shelf. Put it by your ‘spot’ on the couch, or on your night table. It is a good read in tasty bits, or whole hog. Significantly, it demonstrates that anything you enjoy, as Alex enjoys biopics, is a potential subject for astrological research. Do it with whatever you love. Put the beloved idea through an astrological research process. Now you’re having fun.
Victoria Smoot in The ISAR Journal
When I heard that Alex Trenoweth had written a book on famous people, my response was, “Oh. Okay.”
If I was a little unenthusiastic, you have to understand that I think her previous book, Growing Pains, is not only a classic in astrology but one of the most important astrology books in the last decade. Taking the reader far beyond sun sign astrology, it’s a book that is useful to parents and educators, and accessible to anyone – even if they don’t know their sun sign.
And now she wrote a book on famous people? Ho-hum.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Mirror Mirror is a real delight. It’s an insightful book that weaves together the strands between real people, the actors who portray them, and the time that the movies are released. Keeping to her knack for simplifying complex astrology, the author focuses on conjunctions and oppositions, which makes reading easy and leaves it to the reader to plumb more subtle connections, if they are inclined. Certainly, though, there is no lack of powerful evidence from the aspects Trenoweth uses.
A few good examples of actors playing biographical parts would be interesting, but there are about a hundred films in the book, and in some cases there are multiple actors in the same film.
The result is a wealth of evidence that actors often have strong astrological resonance with the people they portray.
The book is organized by planetary aspect. For example, Neptune is prominent in the connection between actor Ray Liota and Henry Hill, the gangster he played in Goodfellas. Al Capone’s connection to Rod Steiger is, unsurprisingly, Plutonian (as are connections with Oskar Schindler and Marie Curie – think about that). Karen Silkwood and Meryl Streep appropriately resonate along Chironic lines, while Streep connects with Margaret Thatcher via Saturn. Freddy Mercury’s connection with Rami Malek is, you guessed it, Mercurial.
Thus we see that not only do powerful connections exist between the actor and the real person, they often reflect what the famous person is known for (Fred Rogers and Tom Hanks along Plutonian lines are an exception). The chapter on nodal connections is a favorite, both powerful and somewhat haunting.
The release date of a film is another piece of the puzzle that often fascinates. Consider that Diana Ross was born at Billie Holiday’s Saturn return, and Lady Sings the Blues was released at her Saturn return (Holiday’s second return).
Mirror Mirror is available in both softcover and Kindle editions, and although the softcover is twice the price of the Kindle version, I think most readers will appreciate having the physical book in hand. While it can be read straight through, it’s likely that after getting a little way in you’ll want to skip to favorite movies, interesting historical figures, and favorite actors. You’ll also want to be able jump to a specific film when you see it, and while you can do that with an electronic version, it’s easier with the softcover (as is writing your own notes). I’m sure many of us will use this as a starting point for our own research into film and the entertainment world in general.
Get a copy of Mirror Mirror, and leave it out within reach of your couch, or wherever it is that you watch movies. You’re going to enjoy it for a long time – both on your initial reading and as you revisit it time and again. There’s so much of value in this interesting and enjoyable book.
Reviewed by Armand Diaz for the NCGR memberletter
The moment I opened Mirror Mirror, memories were revived. Before astrology beckoned me rather late in life (thank you, Saturn) I reviewed movies and attended film festivals – Cannes being by far the most glamorous and cool. I was transported back to the Palais des Festivals, the vast entertainment hub of Cannes on the Croisette, and heard once again Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, the ‘Aquarium’ movement in particular which was played on a loop morning, noon and night, year after year, in the Palais’ public halls and corridors. I didn’t know it then, but Cannes had enjoined the movies showcased with a piece of music that summons up dreams and magical phantasms of reality (as well as an aquarium) – Neptune in a word. In modern astrology, Neptune rules the movie, the arena of light illusion, all that appears real but is not. Unwittingly, the organisers of Cannes had found the perfect Neptunian, watery serenade for the celluloid fodder of the dream factories.
Another one of those…coincidences.
Mirror Mirror takes us into the domain of Neptune for an amazing and original exploration. As a film buff herself, Alex Trenoweth started to notice the astrological connections between real-life stories and the illusory renditions on the big screen, and between the real people portrayed (such as Oscar Wilde or Elizabeth I) and the actors hired to portray them. We may say, for instance, that Taron Egerton gives us a remarkably good impression of Elton John in Rocketman, but only an astrologer can make something of the Sun/Moon conjunction in the two men’s synastry which enabled the actor to get under the skin of the subject and persuade us that he was in effect Elton John.
Trenoweth puts a hundred movies under the astro-microscope, supported by hundreds of charts – mostly biwheels and triwheels. She rewatched all the movies under discussion, with Mr Bubbles by her side, her pet cat who has since departed for purr-heaven. And what helps make this an astounding book is its structure which ensures that a love of the movies does not eclipse the astrology.
This is achieved quite simply by allotting each of the planets and lunar points its own chapter with a selection of films that share its astrological themes. As Trenoweth explains in her Introduction, films are categorised “by the planet that showed the strongest synastry between character and actor”. So, to take one planetary example, Pluto embraces A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, Al Capone, Madame Curie and Schindler’s List because each features highly transformative, Plutonian themes. But also, there are interesting aspects and synastry involving Pluto: Greer Garson, for example, was perfect to play Marie Curie, a scientist who researched radioactivity, because Garson’s Pluto (radioactivity) was conjunct her own MC (career).
Another wise move structurally was the decision only to look at the films that are about real people living or dead – this roots the astrological associations in an origin actuality, a discrete starting point from which to trace the links that take us into the filmic dream. And the astrology.
Trenoweth imposes a disciplined, set format on each movie analysis, upholding order, and this reminds us that this is not a book to be confused with the spirit of Photoplay. Under each title, birth data of selected starring performers is set out before Trenoweth treats us to a faithful synopsis of the storyline. Then she moves to the aspects and synastry. So, in the case of Wilde in the Venus chapter – the biopic of Oscar Wilde’s decline and fall starring Stephen Fry – it is significant that the two men’s Venuses in Libra are conjunct, and that Fry’s MC sits on Wilde’s North Node. This aspect alone suggests a fated quality to Fry’s uncanny conjuring up of Wilde, as if he were born to play the part. (Arguably, Fry has never done anything better since the brilliance of his Wilde.)
Trenoweth also notes that Fry’s co-star Jude Law’s Pluto in Libra is conjunct the Moon of Lord Alfred Douglas, aka the infamous Bosie whose affair with Wilde and feud with his own father were largely responsible for Wilde’s destruction. It is as if the astrological dynamics of the actual story are played out at a filmic level in an interplay of matching cosmic energies – crossing boundaries of time, personal identity, fact and fiction, and locations – a mirroring only to be found in the horoscope.
Countless other new things are to be discovered in this compendious book. In the later chapter Multiple Versions, Trenoweth revisits those famous people whose lives have been turned into more than one biopic, people like Ted Bundy or Stephen Hawking. My favourite chapter is…Favourites, at the back of the book, comprising the flicks that have turned Trenoweth into a fangirl. I share a lot of her loves. I was most pleased to see Michael Douglas’ Liberace film Behind the Candelabra – not strictly a big screen film but a TV movie, largely thanks to Hollywood studio homophobia – analysed, as well as the Meryl Streep classic Julie & Julia. The astrological connections in these and many other films are breath-taking.
If ever a book should come with a carton of popcorn, it’s Mirror Mirror. Prodigiously researched, painstakingly detailed to satisfy the worst cases of data freakery, and beautifully turned out (applause for publisher Margaret Cahill), this is a book that (like all good movie franchises) most probably will end up with a sequel and a prequel.
Victor Olliver The AA Journal