Frida Kahlo

Frida as shot deer The astrological birth chart of Frida Kahlo is no less impressive than the woman herself! If you can read the language of astrology, then the cosmic description of who she is, her cosmic name if you like, is as unambiguous as she was. She was described by Andre Breton, the founder of surrealism, as “a ribbon around a bomb”!

Frida seems to be one of those souls stalked by fate. At the age of 6 she was struck with polio and this resulted in her right leg being shorter and thinner than the other.

On 17 September 1925 she suffered a serious motor accident resulting in multiple injuries affecting her back, pelvis and right leg. This single event undoubtedly shaped her life more than any other. It prevented her from giving birth to children, which was a terrible blow to her. It resulted in her being bedridden for long stretches of time, and this played a significant part in her taking up painting. The perpetual pain and suffering this accident caused her is clearly reflected in her many self-portraits. Even so, it was literally through her painting that Frida reclaimed some sense of identity and purpose which could otherwise have been completely lost. Her paintings are therefor products of an heroic tenacity and will to live, and not mere pictures.

Frida western natal SF

The western chart, using the Tropical Zodiac, gives a Leo Ascendant, and this I guess is quite believable. Frida is nothing if not dramatic; but is she dignified in the way of a true Leo? There are many other factors that describe her fieriness with ample clarity (Sun in tight Opposition to Mars and Uranus!). If her time of birth is reasonably accurate then her Ascendant is close to the cusp of Cancer and Leo in terms of the Sidereal Zodiac, and considering the fact that the time of birth we have is unlikely to be accurate to within less than a minute, we need to decide on the correct Sidereal Ascendant (and Vedic chart) from the fact of her life and personality.

Frida two Sidereal charts

A Cancer Ascendant has a lot going for it, since apart from the question of whether or not her personality can be viewed as Cancerian, it places the Sun (as well as Jupiter and Neptune) in the 12th House, and this is a distinct indication of a life of relative seclusion (Frida said “I paint myself because I am so often alone…”) and experiences of pain and suffering, as well as the possibility for some sort of escapism or sublimation.

The 12th House is literally associated with hospitals and Frida was in and out of hospital her entire life. She had over thirty surgical operations and I have found Mars in the 6th House (only applicable with a Cancer Ascendant) invariably manifests as surgery as some stage of life. It’s also interesting that Mars is in Sagittarius, since the hand rail that pierced her in the bus accident pierced her hip/thigh area if I understand correctly. I know of more than one other dramatic instance of Mars in Sidereal Sagittarius where people have had either hip surgery or accidents injuring thighs. It’s also worth adding that since in Vedic terms Mars aspects the 8th House from its position, Mars in the 6th from there casts his potentially injurious glance into the 1st House (body).

Considering the profound way Frida’s life changed in September 1925 isn’t it amazing that she began the 18years of Rahu Dasha (which tends to be a very turbulent period at the best of times) in October of 1925?!

Frida Jyotish chart Cancer lagna

In my experience these major periods of the planets in Vimshottari Dasha begin in some discernible way through a big life change a little while before the mathematically calculated dates, often within a few months, and in this case within a few weeks. In fact, this is such a consistent pattern that I’ve come to assume that some months before the beginning of a new Mahadahsa (major planetary period of Jyotish) there will be a notable event that heralds the beginning of the new cycle. This is all the more likely when the new period is one of malefics, like Rahu, which in this case is in the 1st House (if the Ascendant is Cancer), and thus capable of affecting the body and physical life directly.

If the Vedic chart’s Ascendant is taken as Cancer, Ketu, which is always180 degrees from Rahu, is located in the 7th House, which aptly describes a volatile marital and romantic life. Frida was married to the celebrated Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Their relationship was tempestuous; and Diego was an incurable womanizer. While he accepted Frida having affairs with women he was very jealous of her liaisons with men. Episodes of fighting, as well as deception, can be shown through Ketu in the 7th House.

“There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”
-Frida Kahlo

Saturn becomes lord of the 7th and is located in the 9th, and this fits nicely the theme of being married to an older partner who is something of a celebrity. It is true that she has Venus Square Saturn, by western astrology’s rules, and that Saturn would also rule the 7th House if she had a Leo Ascendant, but if the Ascendant was Leo Saturn would be in the 8th House of the Vedic chart, and while lord of the 7th in the 8th may represent secret love affairs (Frida hid her affairs with men from Diego), it doesn’t describe Diego as well as Saturn in the 9th, which paints him as something of a father figure and mentor to Frida, apart from the also significant fact that the 7th  lord in the 9th can indicate a partner who is gifted, fortunate, successful and exceptional. Diego enjoyed great acclaim, far more in his own lifetime than Frida in hers.

With the Cancer Ascendant the imaginative Moon becomes Ascendant ruler and is thus very important in the chart as a whole. The Moon is exalted in Taurus and located in the 11th House. This may well indicate that Frida was an inherently sociable person and that such seclusion as she had to endure was contrary to her natural inclination (Venus is lord of the 11th House and in the 12th). This exalted Moon in the 11th House probably also represents the famous artistic friends and social contacts she would have been surrounded by, partly thanks to her husband’s celebrity status, and later to her own artistic accomplishments.

Interestingly the Moon is located in Krittika Nakshatra, which is symbolized as a flame or razor, hinting at a high energy “fiery” type of personality and an emphatic and cutting nature, which fits Frida well.

Having an exalted Ascendant Ruler promotes general success in life which is typically a natural result of being gifted somehow. Although Frida is one of those artists who has been appreciated more after her death than during her own lifetime, the exalted Moon as Ascendant Ruler points to a clear and lucid mind, and along with Mercury in the 1st House, indicates intelligence. Mercury is indispensable for learning techniques requiring attention to detail. A strong Mercury generally supports skillfulness.

Another weighty argument for the Cancer Ascendant is the fact that it will be located in Ashlesha Nakshatra (depicted as a serpent), whereas the moment it shifts to Leo the Ascendant ends up in Magha Nakshatra.

Frida Asc and Moon Nakshatras

Ashlesha Nakshatra is associated, amongst other things, with addictions, sexuality and intrigue, which all featured prominently in Frida’s life. Magha Nakshatra, by comparison, represents themes such as government work and other formal and official undertakings that that are far more difficult to see in Frida’s life.

One of the most striking features of Frida’s chart is the Sun Conjunct Neptune in tight opposition to  Mars and Uranus. This combination in itself sums up a huge chunk of Frida’s personality and life story.

The Sun/Neptune Conjunction is a classic signature of an artist, but it also makes addiction and a type of chaotic dissoluteness possible. Sun Conjunct Neptune loves to manifest as a martyr and may represent a victimized, but also almost supernatural or “surreal” self-image. The ego, represented by the Sun, has no bounds or distinct defining qualities (other than Neptunian indistinctness) and so there’s a tendency to alternate between delusions of grandeur and acute worthlessness and disillusionment with oneself. The escapism of Sun Conjunct Neptune is amplified by the Sun (with Neptune) being in the 12th House. Frida spent much of her life after the accident intoxicated, either due to pain relieving medications or alchohol.

Sun Opposition Mars, Sun Opposition Uranus, Mars Conjunct Uranus, any of these aspects alone would make one somewhat accident prone, and in terms of personality attributes, would make one wilful, defiant, dynamic, bold. The Sun/Uranus influence in particular indicates an ability to be creative in a truly individualistic way; to follow your own path and to believe in your own abilities (which is then the key reason the ability is realized).

When such volatile Mars/Uranus energies combine powerfully with Neptune, as they do here, you can get something like a violent emotional storm; an emotional ‘bomb’. Add a little liquor or other biochemical additives, and it can get a little messy. Mars combining with Neptune can generate a powerful desire to lose oneself; Mars/Neptune types can easily lose control and overdose on intoxicants. Mars here storms into Neptune’s lair, a place where angels fear to tread. Mars combining with Neptune has also produced great artists, since it can represent (in one way of putting it) the capacity to align action and imagination. Dancers often have Mars/Neptune aspects in their charts, but painters will be benefitted too. Frida did not avoid the pitfalls of a very powerful and active Neptune, but she did manage to direct its influence skilfully too through her art. Many in her situation would have succumbed more completely to the martyrdom and escapism of Neptune without giving it any meaningful creative form. Defying your own limitations, apathy and intertia is one of the admirable qualities of a Uranian type. Uranus despises inertia and passivity as much as Neptune seeks oblivion. In such a powerful combination (Uranus and Neptune in Opposition, itself a generational alignment of slow moving planets here focussed through personal self-expression by the involvement of the Sun and Mars) you get vivid and energetic expressions of the otherworldly dreamland which is Neptune.

The transits on the day of Frida’s accident are nothing short of amazing!

Frida accident ephemeris for transits

On that fateful day the Sun, Mars, Uranus and Neptune are once again all aspecting each other. The Sun and Mars are in Conjunction and both these are in Opposition to Uranus. Someone born that day would be accident prone for that very reason. Neptune is Semi-Sextile the Sun and Mars and Quincunx Uranus. Now, all of these transiting planets are aspecting Frida’s Ascendant (body), Venus, Pluto and Midheaven.

It is the Square of Transiting Sun and Mars to her Natal Pluto while Transiting Uranus Opposes Natal Pluto that is most obviously a description of an abrupt and violent event. The fact that her pelvis is crushed in the process is apparently described by the involvement of her Natal Venus in the picture. Incredibly, transiting Pluto is also involved, Conjunct her Natal Sun and Opposing her Natal Mars. So there was a double Mars/Pluto influence active then. It’s truly rare for a person to experience so many simultaneous ‘astrological onslaughts’ of dangerous influences.

Frida accident transits with Pluto

Transiting Neptune on her Ascendant points to losing consciousness, losing control, being forced to surrender; a victim of tragic circumstances

I can’t help wondering what Frida was dealing with internally just prior to the accident. There must have been some huge issue in her personal life that she was struggling with. If nothing else, the astrological influences active at the time of her accident reveal that it wasn’t a random incident. There was an enormous amount of energy moving in her world, and anyone under these circumstances would have struggled to hold onto their hat!