Leading with the Heart Mind: on Kate Bush and the Sun
Understanding the Luminary by marrying traditional astrology and the artists of our time
To know the art of Kate Bush is to never forget Kate Bush. Her voice leaps and warbles in a showy falsetto. Her costumes are elaborate, her choreography, exaggerated but elegant and her stage presence is outsize and compelling.
For my first few years of loving her (“Suspended in Gaffa” was the soundtrack to my sophomore year of college) I never would have suspected that, until 2014, she had only gone on tour once and spends most of her life in private. She took years off from music to raise her son and just because she could. She currently resides in the English countryside with her family in a 200-year-old mansion on the edge of a cliff.
In a way, she is a beautiful example of a Famous Artist who didn’t let the role gut the rest of her. Could she be anything other than a Leo, ruled by the Sun?1 Using her life, her words and her music, we will explore what it really means to be Solar in practice and what wisdom this bright, massive luminary can bring to us.
I come to you as a Leo Rising, so I will say this topic is one I’ve thought about deeply. I see plenty of discourse about “Venusians,” “Mercurials,” and “Saturnians” but rarely is the same scrutiny brought to the center of our Solar System.
My friends and I blame Sun Cult: because astrology was reduced to your sun sign for so long, this one planet was made to bear the weight of all the rest, leaving its actual contours buried under imprecision and, ironically, a forgetting of what the Sun can actually do.
Using the honorable Kate Bush as a guide, I will elucidate what the Sun teaches us.
May this essay provide warmth and light for all who read it.
The Solitude of the King
One way I like to approach any planet is to get down to the basics: what are the physical properties of this luminary? For the Sun, we can point to separateness as one of its defining quality. No planet is as big as the Sun and thus, the rest are pulled into its outsize gravitational pull. It is the planet that keeps the cosmos together, providing coherence and a center around which the rest spins.
One way this translates in astrology is that the Sun often signifies the wealthy and powerful— those set apart by their class or status. Abu Ma’shar associates the Sun with “the king and princes and generals, nobles and magnates, and the assembling of men” — both men of stature and means as well as those assembled to hear them speak. Of course, not all of us are princes and all of us were born with the Sun in the sky. Thusly, the Sun represents the things that only we, as unique, single beings, can accomplish.
Though people enact this unique mission in myriad ways everyday, it is the stage where we see this dynamic most clearly— and Kate’s mission was to be on that stage. From her first single, her uniqueness was alive and well. In the video for “Wuthering Heights,” a dramatic retelling of the novel of the same name, she wore a bright red dress and a flower in her hair while performing exaggerated choreography on a misty moor. And though she only went on tour once in her decades-long career, she certainly made it count:
The Tour of Life began in April 1979 and lasted six weeks. It was described by The Guardian as "an extraordinary, hydra-headed beast, combining music, dance, poetry, mime, burlesque, magic and theatre". The show was co-devised and performed on stage with magician Simon Drake. Bush was involved in every aspect of the production, choreography, set design, costume design and hiring. The shows were noted for her dancing, complex lighting and her 17 costume changes per show (source)
Because she needed her hands free while she sang and danced, her sound engineers used a radio microphone and coat hanger to make the first headset microphone; her performances were so singular she needed to invent a new object to accommodate her vision.
The Sun is especially attuned to this public-facing display of the self. As the illuminator of the solar system, the sun makes things visible and whatever it shines its light on, we notice. Austin Coppock eloquently describes this dynamic of the Sun when discussing the first decan of Leo, where Kate’s natal Sun resides. He tells us that the power of this decan “is to focus a mass of attention on one point or person”. Bush was uniquely able to be this joyous focal point: “Bush seemed born to play live,” a 2010 Guardian article relayed. Melody Maker called the Birmingham show "the most magnificent spectacle ever encountered in the world of rock" and plenty of critics at the time of her only tour matched their fervor.
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