I’m celebrating the holidays this year by Astrosplaining some Angels I Have Met (TM), people who were in my orbit in Chicago, like the adorable Lee Godie.
This has been a pretty great year. Looking back on 2017, honestly I slept most of the time. I really needed it, I feel like a new woman. I moved to LA in 2017. I came out as a child trafficking survivor this year. Thank you to everyone who supported me on that.
But the most important thing this year is that I discovered myself as an artist. This year I’ve become much more aware of a group of non-physical (dead) artists whose lives were similar to mine in certain ways, people who lived on the margins of society. They were not aware of each other in life, they are souls who act as muses to me, guiding me through my process — including Lee Godie.
After death, people shed their craziness to a great degree. The psychological pitfalls of life in a society that just doesn’t care, all of that stuff vanishes in a blink after death. There is clarity, and perspective. There is awareness of many other lives, of which your life is only one link in a chain. And that tends to help people become what we think of as spirit guides, when they see what they misunderstood or couldn’t see while alive. Then they gravitate to others who have those same feelings and ideas, and offer their guidance.
And that’s who this group of artists is to me. Many of them are people I have never heard of. But most of them dealt with major mental illness, some of them were also physically disabled, homeless, socially marginalized, or simply misunderstood.
Anyway, today I’d like to talk about one of my primary guides these days, the lovely Lee Godie. She is a highly collected artist, and has been described as a style icon. The video below is long, but if you are intrigued by this freest of spirits, it may be worth a listen. It explained a lot about her, raised as many questions as answers.
Before I get started on the astrology, I will tell you of my one and only conversation with Ms. Lee.
Sometime in the 1980s I was walking back to my office job from a lunch break. As I passed the minipark at the Old Water Tower on Chicago Avenue, the tiny bag lady who often painted there stepped in front of me. At the time I was in my mid-20s, a competitive athlete, 6’1″. She was about 5’3″, but she stepped right in front of me and made me stop short. She liked the cut of my jib, so she picked me. That was her deal, I later learned.
“While you’re over there,” she said, pointing at the Walgreens across the huge intersection in the opposite direction of my destination. But the pure bossiness of her, the fact that my potential non-compliance was really not a thing in her world, made my day. I waited while she gave me very specific instructions. She handed me a crumpled dollar, a dime, and a nickel.
“Get me the vanilla with the red label, not the blue one. In the cooler just inside the door, the middle bin. The red one, not the blue one. Thank you.”
So of course I jogged across the street, bought her ice cream, and reported back. I had seen her a lot of times, but she had never spoken to me before. And it was perfect, I did have plenty of time to get back to work. It made me so happy that it’s still putting a smile on my face to this day. Of course I gave her back her $.02 change, because I knew she expected it back, and she did. ::snort:: Look at that Saturn!
[Update: Please accept my apologies for a correction I will need to make throughout this blog: it was brought to my attention today that Saturn is not a co-ruler of Virgo, a bit of misinformation I fossilized long ago and have unfortunately shared here. I do check my sources before publishing, and you will see me sometimes reference when I am strictly using my own interpretations with nothing but my intuition to back me up. But it’s always good to remember that nobody is perfect, and I’m not an astrology teacher. So it’s good to use my work as a starting point for your own research, in case I make a mistake.]
Ms. Lee had the Sun in Virgo, making
Saturn Mercury the chart ruler. The other bigmouth in this chart is Mars, which is the traditional Greater Malefic representing the god of war. [Update: my Saturn/Mercury references need to be re-thunk as above. But Saturn is still very prominent in this chart due to the T-square apex. Mercury ruling simply makes it easier to understand her lack of physical self-care, because Mercury is about thoughts, not physical things.]
Saturn, as I have gone on and on and on about in this blog, is about the material world, money, authority, details, and all things official. People with strong Saturn tend to identify very strongly with the law. Saturn is for doctors, attorneys, police officers, anyone whose word is held above the word of others. Such people can be super unpleasant to deal with, if they are less socially aware, which unfortunately often goes with hardcore Saturn. Saturn is about the head mind, the belief that consciousness originates in the brain. (Of course with my big Neptune I believe the brain is manifested by the consciousness as a means of expressing itself, but tomato-tomahto.) Saturn tends to think the material world is all there is.
So there are a few things to understand about Dear Lee and her relationship with money and society at large. She was, as I described above, a tiny, mentally ill-looking woman with a shopping cart, who slept in the parks downtown.
After the day she blessed me with the ice cream order, I went home and told my roommate what had happened. As soon as I started describing Lee, Laura asked me, “The one who paints? Lee Godie?” I hadn’t thought about it, because it wouldn’t occur to me to pay that much attention to what’s in her shopping cart or what she does all day. But Laura went to college at a place called The Art Institute, and she was super stoked. “Did you get her to draw you a thank-you note?” I was still in a great mood just from the ice cream encounter. Discovering that she’s a world-famous artist was so good it still makes me smile.
So what’s up with Lee Godie, selling her goofy paintings and photo booth pictures from the train station for hundreds of thousands of dollars, sleeping in a park in Chicago in the winter? How can that be a thing for someone with this raging Saturn in her chart, and a big fat bankroll? That’s Mission 1 for the Saturn native, getting that nest egg padded, and meeting his own material needs. And this is where mental health comes in.
One place to look for mental health is obviously Mercury, the conscious thoughts and words of the person. That is where you look for a lot of the Axis II sort of things, where there are disordered thought patterns that the person persists in, like narcissism or borderline personality disorder. Though it’s not immediately clear from the link above,(and all of this has been reclassified anyway) is that Axis I is for things like schizophrenia or PTSD, where the individual who has it generally suffers more from their illness than others around them. On Axis II, people feel like everybody else is the problem. So Axis I is for people who suffer from mental health, while Axis II is for carriers, you could say.
So Lee didn’t seem to have a Mercury issue, she seemed more schizophrenic, Axis I. But she also didn’t seem to suffer at all. She was always doing her thing, never crying or injured. She was doing just what she wanted. That would tend to rule out the other potential mental health threat, the Moon. The Moon is about those horrible moods. The depth of feeling, the exquisiteness of the emotional pain that can be experienced with a strong Moon, can definitely make people mentally ill. I believe it is her afflicted Moon that put Jessica Taylor in the path of the Long Island Serial killer. I’m sure she suffered greatly in her short life. But Lee wasn’t moody like that, never in her cups that I know of. She did have the Moon in Scorpio, which can go very dark, especially with a lot of Saturn. But mostly she was very Venusian, or at least wanted to give that appearance, that was her theme.
So that leaves a couple of other options. Saturn can give intense OCD, and there is an argument for that. But Lee was nowhere near smart enough to be like a Rain Man. And I don’t think that would make you crazy enough to be Lee Godie anyway. (I say this with love, really she’s an angel in my life.) A bad Pluto could give you a head full of demons, but again, I don’t think she was disordered in quite that way. There was no darkness to her that I saw — which is a little unusual with this intense Saturn, because Saturn is a pure buzzkill.
No, I think that one of the culprits must be Uranus, Mr. I Gotta Be Me. Very much like Rex the Tillerman, I suspect that Ms. Lee felt like her problems were different than everybody else’s, nobody could understand her or live on her island. She had to do things her own way. That’s the bottom line. It was her world, the rest of us were just living in it. Uranus is out in left field. If you listen to the personal stories of people who knew her, went to her hotel rooms, etc., it’s clear that she was just truly disordered. Uranus is the wild card, the bolt from the blue, that lightning that you can’t catch in a bottle. That’s what kept her from ever becoming as steady or stable as all that Saturn would indicate. Her Uranus acts as a second bucket handle, and things spill when she grabs that one.
Ultimately I think the thing that made her such an icon of self-exploration was her troubled Neptune. Neptune is about the integrity, the core connection to creation wherein we might feel like one little finger on a giant hand, rather than a little island, like Saturn tends to think he is. Mars always wants to be first, be the leader, fight and win. And Ms. Lee had strong Mars, with her chart-ruling Saturn in Aries, and her Moon in Scorpio, co-ruled by Mars. In the video above, someone notes that if people tried to snap pictures of Lee she would flip out on them, attack them physically. That volatility is the Scorpio Moon, where you rub her the wrong way and she makes you sorry. Scorpios don’t get mad, they get even.
Lee had Sirius just under 4 degrees off of Neptune in Cancer. Jamie has given Sirius an orb of 2.40, but as I have seen with the LISK charts, I am being more flexible when I see the effects of a given asteroid or star amply displayed in the life, as I do here. Neptune is involved in that challenging T-square with Saturn, the chart’s ruler and bucket handle, and Uranus, which is prominent here for a few reasons that I will circle back to.
In the video above, they discussed how femininity and beauty were the key to all of Ms. Lee’s art. She loved cameos, and traditionally feminine things. This reflects her Neptune conjunct Venus in Cancer. Her daydreams are all of an old-fashioned world with hoop-skirt ladies and dandy gents strolling the boulevard, buying her paintings. In reality she was not so super feminine, though as discussed in the video she refused to wear pants. But she looked very tough, even in her fur coat, from sleeping out in the park. Chicago is hard on people who live indoors. Hope Hicks is a great example of a very Venusian woman. As I noted in her Astrosplain, Trump has never yelled at her, a unique honor. This is because of her Venusian ability to keep everything lovely at all times. But Hope Hicks obviously flows around the big man, whereas Lee Godie made other people flow around her.
And interpersonally she was not very feminine at all, she was quite aggressive and Saturnian. I think of those two planets as energetic opposites, where Saturn always feels like he has a badge and a billy club, and Venus wants everybody to like her. Melania is a perfect mix of Saturn and Venus. With Melania we see the sort of health consciousness that I expect from a Saturn woman. But Melania actually does have a lot of Venus influence in her chart, whereas with Ms. Lee, it was more an aspirational thing tied up with her escapist Neptune. Venus is about pampering your skin. Mixed with Saturn that’s even more pronounced, because her looks are her financial investment as well as her physical health. Melania doesn’t have the hard Uranus that Lee Godie had. Melania knows how to smile and say nothing, very Venusian. Venus is the other one who guards the money and the physical body. But again, Lee has almost no Venus in her chart.
For an example of how not-Venusian Lee was, my roommate Laura told me that she had once tried to buy a painting from Lee. Laura approached her, which caused Lee to quickly and angrily shove the canvas face-down. Laura was quite a nice lady, and I’m sure she approached with the utmost respect and appreciation, a true fan.
Laura had very little money, but it never got to that part of the conversation. You see, Lee decided the prices of things on the fly, kind of the same way Trump evaluates his net worth. Her sale process was described as performance art in the video above. If she likes you, the price is lower. If she doesn’t, it’s higher. If she doesn’t think you’re sophisticated or rich enough, probably like Laura, she won’t talk to you at all. If you make her mad, the deal’s off. If she doesn’t like something about you, as with Laura, get away from her or she might hurt you. This is a combination of her Saturnian intensity about money and her Uranian unpredictability. But there’s no Venus thing where she hates a scene or is worried about offending a fan. Venus is always a lady.
Saturn is the chart ruler because of the Sun in Virgo. But Saturn is emphasized two more ways: it is the handle of the bucket chart, the energetic fulcrum of the chart; and it is the apex of a T-square, that red triangle. The T-square is like a psychic pebble in the shoe, an irritant that the native must deal with throughout the life. This prevents people from being lazy or complacent. Saturn is a hard worker generally too. And Lee was very prolific.
Uranus could also arguably be called the bucket handle of this chart. Uranus is in Saturn’s sign of Capricorn, and thus on Saturn’s agenda or at least inflected by Saturn’s sense of self as authority. Both Uranus and Saturn work as bucket handles for me here, though Uranus is arguably just taking her Saturnine disposition in an oddball direction. Apparently even when Ms. Lee was forced to go to a transient hotel due to the extreme cold weather in Chicago, she preferred to sleep on the fire escape, because she believed the fresh air was better for her. That is a very Saturnian thing, to have strong, idiosyncratic ideas about health and fitness, and adhere to them as gospel. This is the disordered part of her Saturn, where the Uranian need to be true to oneself can overtake Saturn’s ability to see the forest, so to speak, in terms of actually preserving the body.
Another part of the magical mystery of Lee Godie was her Jupiter, which is where we would look for delusions of grandeur. Jupiter is the man who would be king. And there’s her Jupiter, right on Regulus. I suspect this is why we know her name now, the feeling of royalty that she carried. She projected it outward until it got validated.
Ms. Lee has a few other interesting things in this chart, for one a mini-kite with the Moon, Uranus, and the Sun. Mars is combust here, quite close to the Sun, and thus included in the mini-kite, which is a group of planets playing nicely in the sandbox together, cooperating and creating a positive energetic relay. This lovely blue mini-kite triangle is sitting across from the Saturn T-square, the big red triangle. It reminds me visually of serial killer John Bittrolff’s chart, with the back-to-back T-squares. But this is quite different, much less Pluto and anger in general.
I will say there are a couple of giant empty spots in this chart, big enough that there are arguably two different bucket handles. To me that suggests that the centers of each of those empty spaces is also energetically important, the vacuum creating a pull. Like Rex the Tillerman, she has Chiron in the middle of Aquarius, making that “need to be myself” a bit of an Achilles’ heel, due to being located in the middle of the vacant lot. It’s a marked sense of loss, and carries with it a societal, over-arching, impersonal tone, maybe a generalized alienation or sadness with the world.
The other big empty patch would land approximately the middle of Taurus, ruled by Venus, where Ms. Lee has not a single thing going on. Again, she has Neptune the Fantasy World conjunct Venus, and her Neptune is super busy. This would only serve to exacerbate that Neptunian fantasy world of traditional femininity, her theme as discussed in the video above. I guess this is an obvious thing to say about an artist, but Ms. Lee truly lived in her inner world. She wasn’t sleeping on a park bench in our world, we were walking around the bedroom on Planet Godie.
As described here, and here, Jupiter is the original good-time Charlie. Especially when combined with Saturn, as with crooked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, we see someone who loves to spend other people’s money. Jupiter is the part of us that wants to go all around the world plastering our names on giant buildings. The ends justify the means. There is a marked lack of accountability. And again, I believe this prominent Jupiter is why we even know her name. Ms. Lee believed she was an important artist, and she insisted that the rest of us get on her page.
This opens up a huge question, which may turn out to be rhetorical. If you gaslight the entire world, and then the rest of the world validates your version of things, is it still gaslighting? Or is that just a fake-it-’til-you-make-it superpower? That’s what I think Ms. Lee had. She may have been a kooky bag lady, but she insisted that she was a great artist, and now her work is hanging in the Smithsonian. So who’s gaslighting who? Who decides which version of reality is real?
There is a story floating around, that Ms. Lee marched up to the curator of the French Impressionist exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago and advised them that her work was as important as Paul Cezanne’s, they should make wall space. It’s probably not so far off the truth. As described in the video above, Lee took her canvases to the stairs of the Art Institute to sell them there. That may have been why she was banned. It’s entirely plausible that Lee became abusive with people in the sale process, or they just didn’t want her selling them there at all, very possible. But she slept in the park and thought about having her paintings on their walls, and in the end, she won.
Ultimately Lee was a marketer extraordinaire, and like Don Trump, she has a focus on branding herself. She was all about provenance, often photographing herself with her paintings, mindful of the sale price. She signed everything, including photographs of herself holding photographs of herself, so MC Escher.
And at the end of the day, that’s what Ms. Lee was all about: she was mind-blown by her own hall of mirrors. That’s an idea that had never occurred to me before. I only became aware of her as a spirit guide, aware that she had input for me personally, very recently. I was thinking back on the time I met her, how it still tickles me pink to think about how kooky she was, such a bossy little boss. And I got curious about her paintings, which I had not really seen. I immediately noticed that there is one very clear theme to her work, see if you can spot the trend:
This is what Ms. Lee wanted to impress upon me personally. I’m planning to profile two more of my favorite Chicago art consortium angels over this holiday weekend, and they have added to this advice. But Ms. Lee wants me to just focus on myself, period. I have been — not exactly phobic, but not at all confident in my ability to draw. Never satisfied with my drawings, I most often don’t even try, I dislike feeling so incompetent. Ms. Lee got me to understand that I need to throw that out the window. I draw just as well as she does.
The other thing, it had never occurred to me to use myself as a study, do art about me. The other guides in this artist consortium include many whose work was not discovered until after they died. I was on track to be one of those, and when I made the decision to publicly identify as an artist, Ms. Lee was front and center. She encouraged me to draw two self-portraits, just jot them down without judgment. The first one I have stitched as Self-Portrait with World, a piece that is very different than anything else I’ve ever done. I flipped the page over and immediately drew The Winner, which I am about 3/4 of the way done stitching. That has been a truly life-changing process.
Anyway after death people become a lot more lucid, less bound up in the distracting or dysfunctional thoughts. They are much better able to see what’s truly relevant, zero in on the salient points, and communicate from a higher level. So the ones who died in anonymity have convinced me to come forward with my work, and I intend to continue doing so. When I have a few finished pieces I will take them to a gallery, probably in 2018.
Now that Ms. Lee is deceased, she sees what she did right, and that is an important bit of insight for myself. I am not only doing only self-portraits for now, I am signing all of them. It looks gross to me, tacky, loud, just ugly. But I have connected with Ms. Lee and the others enough to get how wrong I am about that. Many of them, had they been able to get as good a handle on their mental health as I have on mine, would do that part over, and be recognized and accepted while alive. Vincent wants me to come forward and be recognized while alive, and has encouraged me to paint. I never really understood what art was until I connected with the angels I am profiling this weekend. They have shown me that art is a way of resolving my own problems, answering my own questions, owning my world. So glad I got her that ice cream.