Josephine Baker has been fascinating to read about, but a nightmare to write a paper on. I have looked at three books about her (listed below in Biography section). One she wrote with her last husband, Jo Bouillon, the man who also helped raise their twelve adopted children—even after they separated.
Another biography, written by a Chris Chase and Jean-Claude Baker, provides the majority of quotes used for this paper. Jean-Claude Baker met Josephine in Paris when he was fourteen years old. He felt an affinity for her and was spontaneously “adopted.” He did not get to know her, however, until the last seven years of her life. After her death, following reading of the then extant biographies, he felt the need, in the interest of truth, to write one himself. I believe he is writing the truth (and not just being un-generous) because the Josephine he writes about is close to the one I see in her charts. She was a unique woman. She was exceptionally charismatic and wildly contradictory, with enormous self confidence and an aplomb to match it. Only later in life, through growth and experience, did she approach the sort of homogeneity suggested by what I see as the more sanitized versions of her life.
The introductory description for this paper comes from The Official Site of Josephine Baker, which also contains a number of photos of her. One of them, in which she is nearly nude, adequately conveys her physical appeal. Here is her information:
Josephine Baker sashayed onto a Paris stage during the 1920s with a comic, yet sensual appeal that took Europe by storm. Famous for barely-there dresses and non-holds-barred dance routines, her exotic beauty generated nicknames “Black Venus,” “Black Pearl,” and “Creole Goddess.” Admirers bestowed a plethora of gifts, including diamonds and cars, and she received approximately 1,500 marriage proposals. She maintained energetic performances and a celebrity status for 50 years until her death in 1975. Unfortunately, racism prevented her talents from being wholly accepted in the United States until 1973.
She was born Frieda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missosuri, on June 3, 1906 to washerwoman Carrie McDonald and vaudeveille drummer Eddie Carson. Eddie abandoned them shortly afterward and Carrie married a kind but perpetually unemployed man named Arthur Martin. Their family eventually grew to include a son and two more daughters.
Josephine grew up cleaning houses and babysitting for wealthy white families who reminded her “be sure not to kiss the baby.” She got a job waitressing at The Old Chauffeur’s Club when she was 13 years old. While waiting tables she met and had a brief marriage to Willie Wells. While it was unusual for a woman during her era, Josephine never depended on a man for financial support. Therefore, she never hesitated to leave when a relationship soured. She was married and divorced three more times, to American Willie Baker in 1921 (whose last name she chose to keep), to Frenchman Jean Lion in 1937 (from whom she attained French citizenship) and to French orchestra leader Jo Bouillon in 1947 (who helped her to raise her 12 adopted children).
Josephine toured the United States with The Jones Family Band and The Dixie Steppers in 1919, performing various comical skits. When the troupes split, she tried to advance as a chorus girl for the Dixie Steppers in Sissle and Blake’s production “Shuffle Along.” She was rejected because she was “too skinny and too dark.” Undeterred, she learned the chorus line’s routines while working as a dresser. Thus, Josephine was the obvious replacement when a dancer left. Onstage she rolled her eyes and purposely acted clumsy. The audience lover her comedic touch, and Josephine was a box office draw for the rest of the show’s run.
She enjoyed moderate success at The Plantation Club in New York after “Shuffle Along.” However, when Josephine traveled to Paris for a new venture, “La Revue Negre,” it proved to be a turning point in her career. Amongst a compilation of acts, Josephine and dance partner Joe Alex captivated the audience with the “Danse Sauvage.” Everything about the routine was new and exotic, and Josephine, boldly dressed in nothing but a feather skirt, worked the audience into [a] frenzy with her uninhibited movements. She was an overnight success.
Josephine’s immense popularity afforded her a comfortable salary, which she spent mostly on clothes, jewelry and pets. She loved animals, and at one time she owned a leapard (Chiquita), a chimpanzee (Ethel), a pig (Albert), a snake (Kiki), a goat, a parrot, parakeets, fish, three cats and seven dogs.
Her career thrived in the integrated Paris society: when “La Revue Negre” closed, Josephine starred in “La Folie du Jour” at the Folies-Bergere. Her jaw-dropping performance, including a costume of 16 bananas strung into a skirt, cemented her celebrity status. Josephine rivaled Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford as the most photographed woman in the world, and by 1927 she earned more than any entertainer in Europe. She starred in two movies in the early 1930s, “Zou-Zou” and “Princess Tam-Tam,” and moved her family from St. Louis to Les Milandes, her estate in Castelnaud-Fayrac, France.
A 1936 return to the United States to star in the Ziegfiled Follies proved disastrous, despite the fact that she was a major celebrity in Europe. American audiences rejected the idea of a black woman with so much sophistication and power, newspaper reviews were equally cruel (The New York Times called her a “Negro wench”), and Josephine returned to Europe heartbroken.
Josephine served France during World War II in several ways. She performed for the troops, and was an honorable correspondent for the French Resistance (undercover work included smuggling secret message written on her music sheets) and a sub-lieutenant in the Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force. She was later awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government for hard work and dedication.
Josephine visited the United States during the 50s and 60s with renewed vigor to fight racism. When New York’s popular Stork Club refused her service, she engaged [in] a head-on media battle with pro-segregation columnist Walter Winchell. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) named May 20 Josephine Baker Day in honor of her efforts.It was also during this time that she began adopting children, forming a family she often referred to as “The Rainbow Tribe.” Josephine wanted…to prove that “children of different ethnicities and religions could still be brothers.” She often took the children with her cross-country, and when they were at Les Milandes tours were arranged so visitors could walk the grounds and see how natural and happy the children in “The Rainbow Tribe” were.
Josephine continued to travel to the United States, and during her visits she developed a close freidnship with American artist Robert Brady. Now divorced from her fourth husband, Jo Bouillon, she was looking for companionship on a more platonic level. Brady felt the same, and on September 1973 they went to an empty church and exchanged marriage vows. Though no clergy was present, and they were never legally joined, it was an important personal bond that she and Brady maintained [for] the rest of her life. Josephine told very few people about the pseudo marriage, fearing the press would ridicule it.
Josephine agreed to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall that same year. Due to previous experiece, she was nervous about how the audience and critics would receive her. This time, however, cultural and racial growth was evident. Josephine received a standing ovation before the concert even began. The enthusiastic welcome was so touching that she wept onstage.
On April 8, 1975 Josephine premiered at the Bobino Theater in Paris. Celebrities such as Princess Grace of Monaco and Sophia Loren were in attendance to see the 68-year-old Josephine perform a medley of routines from her 50 year career. The reviews were among her best ever. Days later, however, Josephine slipped into a coma. She died from a cerebral hemorrhagae at 5 a.m. on Apil 12.
More than 20,000 people crowded the streets of Paris to watch the funeral procession on its way to the Church of the Madeleine. The French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Josephine Baker the first American woman buried in France with military honors. Her gravesite is in the Cimetiere de Monaco, Monaco.
Josephine Baker has continued to intrigue and inspire people throughout the world. In 1991, HBO released “The Josephine Baker Story.” The movie won two Emmys…and also picked up three Golden Globe nominations.
Here is some additional informations gleaned from the Astrodatabank biographical information [parenthetical comments are mine]: During wartime, Baker worked as an undercover agent with the French resistance, as she was fluent in French, German, Italian and English.
Her fourth marriage, on 6/03/1947, was to Jo Bouillon [who was reputed to be gay or bisexual]. They bought a 15th century castle [including at least 6 private homes on the property] on which she spent a fortune in renovations.
Bouillon acted as the manager and caretaker of her estate, but he could not stem her hopeless extravagance. When he left her in 1960 [she sued for divorce], after 13 years together, she went steadily downhill. In spite of constant tours to pay the bills, her estate [Les Milandes] collapsed and she was evicted on 10/07/1968 with her 12 kids. Princess Grace stepped in to help, arranging a house for her in Monte Carlo in 1968. However, Baker's health soon suffered and she suffered from a heart attack and a stroke.
The Wikipedia article (1/2010) on Mrs. Baker classified her as “dancer, singer, actress,” and gave her musical genres as “cabaret, music hall, French pop, and French jazz.”
Some of her performances are on YouTube. Personally, I do not think they capture her enormous charisma.
In this paper I discuss Mrs. Baker’s astrology for:
Before starting her charts, I need to introduce some information about this form of astrology.
This astrological method is not the traditional Western one. It is not traditional, period. True, it uses sidereal astrology, the predominant (traditional) astrology of the East. It also uses the Egyptian harmonic. Both are quite old. This method started with me in 1983. Its working rules were not inherited. They were uncovered gradually through years of research. As they were uncovered, a system which at first seemed too complex became almost too simple. Here are those rules:
Those interested in reading something about the difference between sidereal (“Eastern”) and tropical (“Western”) astrology can get some understanding from my paper on that subject:
The Sidereal and Tropical Zodiacs: A Discussion
The Home Page also contains information about this particular astrological approach. The background for its discovery, as well as an explanation of the Egyptian harmonic, are found in the paper on method:
About This Method
It is possible to read this paper without consulting any of those papers. The general understanding necessary to facilitate same are:
This approach uses both a birth and conception chart and they share the same axis. That means birth houses will overlap different houses of the conception chart. These are called house overlaps. Like paths, house overlaps play an important part in this astrology. Throughout this paper I use the convention when writing about house overlaps of putting the birth house first, then the conception house. So, for instance, a “5th/1st” overlap refers to an overlap of birth 5th house with conception 1st house in that order. A “9th/3rd” has birth 9th house overlapping conception 3rd house. Birth house/conception house in that order.
Birth planets (including their harmonics) rule only birth houses. Conception planets (including their harmonics) rule only conception houses.
Only conjunctions, applying and separating squares, and oppositions are recognized. Planets so related to each other are referred to as “in the same set.” A set, then, is two or more planets (or an Angle) connected to each other through conjunction, square, and opposition within the defined orbs (2nd paragraph below). The set is more active if it contains a light, and less active without one. Learning to look in terms of “crosses” can be helpful in rapidly finding planets that are in the same set.
”Lights” include suns, moons, and moons nodes. When mercury rules an Angle, especially if it rules two Angles (Gemini and Virgo), it functions both as a light and a planet. For instance, when mercury rules B MC and B Asc and is in the same set with mars and saturn, that constitutes a lighted (by mercury) mars/saturn set with forefront influence (the two Angles). MC and Asc act similar to lights in the sense they enliven and empower the expression of any planet they are touching, but they are not really lights, and their orb is smaller than regular lights.
All planets in a set are lighted, then, when the set includes an Angle, sun, moon, or nodes, and mercury when it rules at least one Angle.
Orbs for planets in sets with lights is 5°; without lights, about 2.5°. Orb for MC/planet or Asc/planet is 2°. Orb for progressed planet-to-Angle or vice versa is 1° and increases ½° - ¾° when a light is involved. If I could be certain each time of birth was absolutely correct, orbs could be established definitively.
In the paper on gurus I introduce the concept of path when speaking about an astrological set. Planets in a set, the houses they are in, and houses ruled by them describe an astrological path. If, for instance, planets in a set rule 4th, 5th and 9th houses, then the 4th, 5th, and 9th houses are inextricably connected to each other. Energy of learning as well as failure, determined by planets in the set, flows among those three houses. That connection between planets and houses is called their path. As can be seen, paths have profound implications.
Although the harmonic used for each chart is always 2 greater than the number of the chart, for ease in reading I have adopted the convention of writing the harmonic number the same as the chart number. For instance, “b12 mars” represents the harmonic of birth mars for the 12th chart (but the harmonic used to find b12 mars is the 14th).
In abbreviating, I use “b” for birth, “c” for conception, “p” for progressed, and “t” for transiting. A number following them, e.g., “3” or “7,” shows the harmonic chart we are examining. For instance, “b7 pluto” represents the harmonic of birth pluto for the 7th chart. “Pc3 mars” is the harmonic of progressed conception mars for the 3rd chart.
This method uses a solar return that occurs every 40 degrees (exactly) after birth up to death, with nine returns occurring annually.
Now to look at the unusual astrology of Mrs. Josephine Baker. When I write unusual, I mean in two ways. First, some of her charts show an excess in consciousness, but the excess is usually on the benefic side. Second, she has some astrology which highly favors individualistic behavior.
Josephine Baker—The Shell Chart
First let’s examine her shell chart. The shell chart is the combination of birth and conception planets and houses before harmonics have been added. So, the shell is the same in all twelve charts. We want to see how much is implied just by it alone, before harmonic planets are added.
(1) Around noon on the above drawing is the conjunction of b uranus to C MC which is in b 5th house, that is, this shell chart shows a 5th/10th overlap It implies the possibility of a career (10th) involving some aspect of sexuality (5th), something “un-inhibited” and/or unusual (uranus).
(2) She has a 10th/2nd overlap around 7:00 o’clock. It contains c jupiter in Taurus. So, career and a positive social image are favored (jupiter in 10th). As well, money through same is favored (jupiter in Taurus, the natural sign of the 2nd house, in c 2nd house). In fact, her birth 10th house contains both of her non-harmonic jupiters, both in Taurus. We all do best in the areas occupied by our jupiters, so Mrs. Baker’s chances for social success are considerable.
(3) B MC at 4 Taurus 52 is in the same set with c SN and c saturn at 5 Aquarius 54 R. Since it is retrograde, this saturn is approaching B MC, symbolizing that for some part of her life—a rather long part because progressing secondary saturn moves rather slowly—her life will be really rather difficult. As a matter of fact, progressing c saturn is at 5 Aquarius 06R when she is 10 years old, and at 4 Aquarius 25R at age 20. So, from shortly after birth up to about age 11 or 12, her progressing saturn is approaching her B MC and symbolizes some of the dark conditions of her childhood. The orbs for effect are about 3/4° before exact and about ¼° after exact, after which time saturn’s influence becomes progressively less.
(4) B Asc is conjunct c sun and c NN both in Leo. North node in Leo on the Asc highly favors positive results (NN) from showmanship (Leo). Leo is the sign most representing talent at acting and drama. Sun conjunct the Ascendant shows an individual who from childhood was used to attracting attention, setting that as her standard for later life. It was probably her position as the first child that brought her that early doting and attention.
Her b saturn is also in b 7th house. When we put together her sun in Leo conjunct her B Asc and her 7th house saturn, we find some one who finds one-on-one relationships (7th house—such as marriage) difficult (saturn) and who also is used to being the center of attention rather than sharing it.
Added to the independence and autocratic tendencies implied by her uranus conjunct CMC, it shows that the focus of her attention is on the phenomenon “Josephine Baker” rather than on who she can be with a significant other. (Two individuals with uranus conjunct an Angle are Tiger Woods and Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, a renegade from conservative politics.)
(5) Her other 7th house contains her birth moon in Libra. Moon in the 7th implies many (moon) relationships with significant others (7th house). Their significance, of course, is diluted by the fact there will be many. (Individuals with 7th house moons may use them in their careers, e.g., doctors, who deal with many individuals “intimately” but serially.)
(6) Birth North Node in Cancer in c 5th house implies an emphasis on creativity (5th) and or children (5th) with positive results (NN). Coupled with her uranus conjunct C MC in b 5th house, her two 5th houses suggest an unusual sexuality (uranus), one she is likely comfortable with (NN). They also suggest that if she has children (5th), she will have some kind of unique (uranus) relationship to them.
(7) C MC is also opposite venus/neptune in Gemini. Angle/venus/neptune shows an individual with charm. Angle/moon/venus (without neptune) shows considerable charisma, one example being Princess Diana. In her 10th chart of career, this set acquires a moon, becoming Angle/moon/venus/neptune (or those planets ruling an Angle), creating an individual, like Marilyn Monroe, whose charisma has gone ballistic.
More is suggested by this shell chart, but that is enough to discuss, because the proclivities shown by her shell will be developed or retarded by the addition of her harmonics.
Since she was an internationally known (at least in Western countries) and loved black star in a time period (starting in the 1920s) when few black individuals achieved stardom, we want first to look at her 10th chart to see what it tells us about her fame.
Josephine Baker—Career and Social Image, 10th Chart
Baker’s 10th chart, like that of Tiger Woods, contains two golden benefics. They are easier to see when shown in two separate drawings, below.
Set (1) shows C MC in the same set with sun/moon/moon/venus/jupiter/neptune/neptune/uranus. Note in her shell chart she had the wide orb relationship of c moon, at 11 Gemini 31, to C MC at 15 Sagittarius 09. Her 10th chart has added three more lights (sun/moon/moon) to that set, making it very powerful. The set has also gained a jupiter, thereby being transformed into a golden benefic (light/venus/jupiter) with forefront influence (to an Angle). C moon rules c 5th house, showing a second 5th/10th connection (the first being her C MC in b 5th house).
Note that Set (1) also includes Angle/light/venus/neptune. Angle/light/venus is already immensely charismatic. Some examples of individuals with that were Princess Diana and President Kennedy. When neptune is added to it, the charisma becomes cinematic (neptune), such as was the case with Marilyn Monroe. As far as I know the Angle/light/venus/neptune in either the 7th or 10th charts works equally well for seductive charisma. Baker also has it in her 7th chart, which also added a light to this set.
Set (1) has enormous power for success because it influences all four of Mrs. Baker’s Angles. C MC is part of the set. Other planets in the set rule Angles: B MC is ruled by b venus. B Asc is ruled by b10 sun. And C Asc is ruled by c neptune.
Let’s look at her second 10th chart golden benefic.
Although b sun in Set (2) pulls all the planets in the set into one set, we could look at Set (2) as comprised of two sets if we wanted to get finicky about orbs. The planets at 10:00 o’clock, 2:00 o’clock, and 4:00 o’clock form Set (2a), so to speak. Since it contains a light, venus, and jupiter, it comprises a golden benefic. Since the set influences three Angles (B MC through b10 venus, B Asc through b10 sun, and C Asc through c10 neptune), set (2a), nearly as strong as set one, shows a very strong astrological tendency to success. When and if we add in the planets at 8:00 o’clock, the set, now labeled Set (2b), takes additional influence to an Angle, C MC through c jupiter.
In her 10th chart Josephine Baker has two golden benefics, each of which shows influence to all four of her Angles. I have not seen anything more powerful than that.
Her golden benefics achieve so much influence because of the signs her Angles are in. They are ruled by: b venus and its harmonc (B MC), c jupiter and its harmonic (C MC), b sun and its harmonic (B Asc), and c neptune and its harmonic (C Asc)—the very planets (plus neptune) which comprise the golden benefic! Saturn is not in either set. Had it been, it would have reduced (but not cancelled) their beneficence. In her shell chart we saw her one Angle/saturn, that involving c saturn in square to B MC (which is the weakest way it influences an Angle, following the conjunction and opposition). And its strongest influence occurred during her childhood and early teen years. The only other way saturn could have been pronounced in influencing her career would have been for it to rule an Angle, but it did not.
Baker had two other social honors for which we want to examine her 10th chart. We will look at the posthumous one after examining the one she earned during World War II. On August 18, 1961, at 12:15 p.m. exactly at Les Milandes (Castelnaud-Fayrac), she was given the high honor of receiving the French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre. (Here let me state that Baker had so many of her progressions work out correctly that I believe in her case the given time of birth was the actual time of birth.)
|Set (3)||pB Asc||24 Virgo 54|
|pc10 jupiter||24 Virgo 15|
|Set (4)||pc moon||28 Gemini 12|
|c venus||28 Gemini 48|
|(pC MC||27 Gemini 33)|
In Set (4), the inclusion of the Angle is tentative. It is possibly operative because of the progressed moon, making this a progressed Angle/moon/venus.
|Set (5)||pb jupiter||6 Gemini 09|
|pc venus||5 Virgo 44|
|t10 NN||5 Gemini 57||for 12:15 p.m. MEDT|
Progressed b venus, ruler of B MC, was at 21 Leo 31 conjunct return10 jupiter at 21 Leo 27R. Return MC was at 17 Virgo 21 fitting into Set (1) above. Return Asc was at 22 Scorpio 50 in the same set with b jupiter at 23 Taurus 47
Now we want to look at her 10th chart astrology for a posthumous honor she received. She died on April 12, 1975. On November 7, 1976, the Variety Club Foundation of New York held a special tribute to her at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center. At that time her progressed 10th chart had the following set :
|Set (3)||pb venus||8 Virgo 50||ruler of B MC|
|pb jupiter||9 Gemini 10|
|pb10 NN||9 Sagittarius 04|
Set (3) above is a progressed golden benefic with influence to an Angle, giving her three golden benefics in her 10th chart (this one plus the two she started with). She had some additional progressed benefic influences, chief among them was progressed C MC at 25 Aquarius 11 conjunct pc10 venus at 25 Aquarius 00.
Our charts are descriptions of our identity. Since an individual can be honored or become more famous after death, our charts reflect that. While I have seen more of this kind of astrology, the one that comes to mind now is the 10th chart astrology for Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, on the occasion of her induction into the American Hall of Fame many years after her death. The astrology for that is shown in the paper of same name, link on Home Page.
Here is a quote about her stage performance just days before her death by Jacqueline Cartier in the book Josephine (cited below in bibliography):
A smiling Josephine sang:
Good evening, Paris,
It’s been simply ages;
Do I look too outrageous?
You look fantastic! Marvelous! the audience shouted.
But that doesn’t mean
That I’m leaving the scene.
Each of her numbers brought renewed applause as she sang on and on in a voice that ranged from resonant to velvety to the merest whisper
When I first sang ‘J’ai Deux Amours’ [I have two loves]
I meant a love that lasts ‘toujours [forever].’
I tried to analyze her charm. It came from within. Suppose another performer could match the way she modulated her voice, moved, wore a motorcycle outfit or simple raincoat with the same flair as a spangled sheath; suppose another had her natural gifts…elegant hands, a supple body. Josephine would always have her soul besides.(Baker and Chase, pp. 288-89)
It is possible to be famous and poor. One example was Mahatma Gandhi. The only actual figure I saw regarding Baker’s wealth was in the bio by Astrodatabank. She was stated to have been worth over a million dollars by 1926, when she was only twenty years old. All the biographies state that she was a prodigious spender.
Here is a quote from her from the Baker and Chase biography regarding presents she received all the time:
Berlin is where I received the greatest number of gifts…In her memoirs, she reeled them off. “I was given rings with fire as big as an egg; I was given a pair of ancient earrings which belongs to a duchess 150 years ago; I was given pearls like teeth; flowers that came in one day from Italy in moss and baskets…big peaches…perfume in a glass horse. One fur, two furs, three furs, four furs. Bracelets with red stones for my arms, my wrists, me legs. (Baker and Chase, p. 124)
And another quote from that book:
Once Josephine began to make big money, Poiret [dress designer] thought she should pay for the clothes he made her. She didn’t agree, she said he was lucky to have her wearing his designs all over town. Deep in debt, Poiret took her to court and lost. It was not in Josephine’s character to pay unless you sued her; even then, you could seldom collect. (Baker and Chase, p. 143) (She broke the contract with the people who brought her to Paris in the first place. They started to sue, then decided not to, in spite of the fact that without Josephine, the whole show fell apart.)
And another, which shows that her highly benefic charts combined to spare her even from taxes:
Around this time, says Shirley Woolf, “Josephine and I decided to part…Still, I gave her a nice going-away present. The United States had a treaty with France under the terms of which French scientists and researchers did not have to pay American taxes. Josephine had asked me to apply for it, even though it wasn’t for show people. Would you believe she got it? Because she was so ‘unique’! She got a free pass on her taxes.” (Baker and Chase, p. 318)
And one final one in re Baker and material reality:
[At Les Milandes] ‘When she gave a dinner in the grand salon,’ says Jacqueline Abtey, ‘she would go and take the chalice and the monstrance and other consecrated articles from the chapel and decorate the long table with them. I was shocked. And guests would sit under large silver chandeliers, and eat off blue porcelain encrusted with roses. Only four sets of that Bohemian china had ever been made, for the duke of Windsor, the king of Italy, the queen of Holland, and Josephine.
Her bathroom was covered with gold-leafed tiles; when she needed money, she would have them taken off the walls and sent to the bank as collateral. (Baker and Chase, p. 330)
Let’s see if her 2nd chart demonstrates a capacity for wealth.
Josephine Baker—Personal Finances, 2nd Chart
Mrs. Baker has two golden benefics in her 2nd chart, too!. Her conception 2nd house (that is, 10th/2nd houses) also contains jupiter in Taurus. Taurus is naturally associated with the 2nd house and possessions. It has held up well for money, and is also the sign indicative of hoarding (lights in Taurus). Her Sets (1) and (2) are less complex than in her 10th chart, so can be shown in one drawing, below.
Set (1) above shows venus/jupiter/saturn/node in the same set with B MC. Having picked up venus plus jupiter, this chart is the one in which her B MC/saturn does the least damage because it is offset by venus/jupiter. B2 venus rules B MC, and c neptune rules C Asc, so Set (1) influences two Angles.
Set (2) shows C MC in the same set with venus/jupiter/neptune/neptune. While it would be made stronger by a light (sun, moon, or node), since the Angle also acts like a light this set is still a golden benefic. This set, too, influences B MC (through b venus) and C Asc (through c neptune). It also influences a 3rd Angle, C MC, through c2 jupiter.
With two golden benefics in her 2nd chart with influence to three of her four Angles, through her astrology Josephine Baker is very favored financially.
Note also that b neptune, also in Set (2), rules b 8th house. I have not calculated her 8th chart, but this set’s influence to an 8th house also favors money. These two charts and houses are prominent with benefics when an individual comes into money or wins the lottery.
On the date of her first overwhelming success on stage in Paris, her progressed in B MC was at 23 Taurus 20 conjunct that b jupiter at 23 Taurus 37 in 10th/2nd houses. Progressed c2 jupiter was at 21 Gemini 34, in the same set with C Asc at 22 Pisces and b2 NN at 21 Pisces 28. Progressed b2 NN was at 15 Pisces 15, having entered Set (2) above and provided it with a light.
Wealth preceded by a childhood of poverty is no guarantee (perhaps just the opposite) the individual will be generous later with common folk:
‘Josephine was terrible, says Henri Chapin. ‘She left us independent contractors in peace, but her maids ran when they saw her coming. She would have them carry things from the basement to the roof, from the roof to the basement, just to keep them busy…Even the children’s nurses were driven mercilessly. Here are excerpts of a letter to a touring Josephine from one nanny: ‘I have been eight days at Les Milandes, and have not yet found time to unpack…On top of my duties as a nurse-assistant, I am a maid of all trades, washing, cleaning, scouring, cooking’…’The personnel went filing past for years,’ says Jacqueline Abtey…’in one year I counted over two hundred nurses.’ (Baker and Chase, p. 331)
Mrs. Baker could be generous, but was unpredictably so.
Josephine Baker—Individual Identity and Childhood, 1st Chart
We have astrologically verified Baker’s social and financial success. Next we want to look at her 1st chart. This chart shows our childhood, the “separate” identity formed through it, and certain physical ailments. Does it confirm biographical contentions her childhood was dark and painful? If it does, it should have acquired some important afflictions through harmonics.
I should point out that while the 1st chart contains a great deal of information about the individual’s childhood, it is not the only place such information can be found. But, it is the best chart for the showing the “skew” (for better or worse) childhood produces.
For comparison, the Indian guru Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) had an idyllic childhood. His 1st chart was highly benefic, containing two golden benefics. It is shown in the paper bearing his name. Here is the link: Paper on Osho
To recapitulate, Baker was the firstborn child of a black mother and possibly a white father who did not remain in the picture following Josephine’s birth. Her mother then married a man who became father to three more children. They all lived in a makeshift house, more a shack, in St. Louis, Missouri. As soon as they could, all contributed to family financial survival. Very poor, life was a constant challenge. Josephine was hired out as a live-in domestic by the time she was eight years old.
Above, while discussing her shell chart, I showed that progressed c saturn to an exact square of C MC occurred during her childhood and early teens. That in itself indicated extra darkness and difficulties during those years. In addition, at least three sets in her 1st chart confirm it was a harsh time.
Set (1) is fairly straightforward. It shows c moon in Gemini in the same set with b1 uranus, ruler of b 7th house, in Pisces. That is, c moon provides a light for her harmonic uranus in Pisces. That uranus is in 8th/12th houses. Uranus is Pisces in a harmonic (I cannot say for sure about the non-harmonic) is generally a problem because it introduces unpleasant (12th/Pisces) surprises (uranus) to life, here through significant others (7th house rulership). We are looking at a 1st chart, symbolic of a child’s life, where it is generally considered that predictability and security best promote growth and well-being. So, this set indicates some deleterious and unpleasant experiences in childhood.
Set (2) is also relatively simple. Any time a non-harmonic light, here b moon in Libra, picks up a saturn, especially by conjunction, suppression of the function of the light is suggested. Josephine’s b moon in Libra is in c 7th house. Its conjunction with b1 saturn suggests her natural inclination to relate to others (moon in 7th and in Libra, natural sign of the 7th house) was damaged or suppressed (saturn) in early childhood (1st chart). Added to this, her b saturn in b 7th house increases the suggestion she found relationships with significant others wanting (saturn).
Set (3) is comprised of B MC, c nodes, c saturn, and b1 mars. This is the set that in her shell chart showed progressing c saturn approaching B MC during her childhood and early teens. Here it has acquired a harmonic mars, turning it into a “dark” malefic (light/mars/saturn with Angular influence). This highlights the difficulty of her childhood, giving it astrological verification.
Any time any of us go through progressed Angle/mars/saturn all at the same time, those times are difficult, sometimes devastating. How much so depends, to some extent, on how long they last. When some one is born with a forefront (Angular) lighted mars/saturn, they are a more-or-less permanent, ongoing influence for the matters represented by that chart. They represent hard luck and bad timing, often conspiring together to produce really bad experiences.
In Baker’s chart, the path for Set (3) is Asc/mars/saturn/4th/9th/11th (because saturn rules c 11th house, and mars rules b 4th and 9th houses). The 6th, involved in showing childhood health, is not involved. The implication of the 4th part of the path is that the foundation of her life (including father model and physical home, both 4th house matters) was impaired.
In addition to those three sets, above, Mrs. Baker has c mercury at 16 Leo 16 (in 1st/6th) conjoined by c1 harmonic saturn at 17 Leo 41 R, with mercury ruling c 4th house. Summed, that gave her lighted mars plus lighted saturn influencing her 1st chart 4th house, suggesting real problems with father image.
Her childhood wasn’t all dark. Her c sun is conjunct B Asc. One does not get sun conjunct Ascendant without having been given considerable attention early in life. As a first child, her mother probably doted on Josephine, at least while she was the only child. But this kind of attention emphasizes reward for display while it falls short in the corrective instructions that help the child to become aware of the needs of others, i.e., relating. That emphasis, then, remains permanent. Sun/Asc people are magnificent when giving some one their full attention. Once, however, their attention turns to something else, that individual ceases to exist, or so it feels to the individual involved. Josephine's opposition to Sun/Asc by saturn on the dark side of the 7th house cusp further demonstrates she got rewarded for existing, but not for relating.
Later in life her Asc/sun, especially in Leo, the sign of drama and creativity, was crucial in her performances. She put her heart (Leo) into them, and she got heart back from her audiences. The title of one of her biographies, Josephine, the Hungry Heart showed the author's intuitive grasp of Josephine's situation.
Josephine Baker—Sexuality, Hysterectomy and Adoptive Motherhood, 5th Chart
Her 5th chart would either detract or contribute to her sexual allure, so we want to look at that next.
Set (1) above shows that her birth NN in c 5th house acquired a conjunction of jupiter and uranus in her 5th chart. With that, she has lighted or forefront uranus in both of her 5th houses. (But, of course, the one conjunct C MC in b 5th is the more powerful of the two.} North node in the 5th, as I already mentioned, favors involvement with creativity and/or children. The children can come through childbirth, teaching, and/or adoption. Considered in regard to adoption, NN conjunct uranus in the 5th house (in the 5th chart) implies something unusual (uranus) about adoption. Josephine’s was, indeed, unusual. Altogether she adopted 12 children of different races, which she referred to as her “rainbow tribe.” Then she had to continue working and touring in order to support them. Her intention was to show that children of all different races could live together harmoniously.
Below are several extracts from the Baker and Chase biography:
In the spring of 1953 she had written to Miki Sawada (who was by then running an orphanage) and ordered a child, as you would a take-out dinner. ‘I would like you to find me a Japanese baby of pure race, a healthy one, two years old. I want to adopt five little two-year-old boys, a Japanese, a black from South Africa, an Indian from Peru, a Nordic child, an Israelite; they will live together like brothers.’ (Baker and Chase, p. 326)
When the youngsters were indoors, they could be observed through a picture window. They were washed, reprimanded, fed in full view of anyone willing to pay an extra five francs for the spectacle, and the cameras never stopped. (Baker and Chase, p. 333)
A third :
Two more children, both French, arrived near Christmas. ‘We drove to a foster home near Paris,’ Ginette says. ‘First we picked up Philippe, a two-year old boy, and then in a nearby village we picked up Alain Jean-Claude, fourteen months old.’ Again, Josephine renamed them according to her whim; Philippe became Jean-Claude, Alain Jean-Claude became Moise. Having failed in her attempt to adopt a baby in Israel, she decided to fabricate her own Jewish child. She announced that Moise would be fed only kosher food, and plunked a tiny skullcap on his head. (Baker and Chase, p. 336)
And a final one :
[In 1956] By December Josephine was back in North Africa…now wars of Independence raged there. In Algeria, the entire population of a town called Palestro was massacred, but two babies—a boy and a girl—were found alive, hidden behind some bushes. Josephine got permission from the authorities to adopt the infants, both six months old…The girl, Jeanne, renamed Marianne, was decreed a Catholic. The boy, Jacques, renamed Brahim, was decreed a Muslin. (Baker and Chase, p. 339)
According to Wikipedia (January 2010) her twelve adopted children were: Janot (Korean son), Akio (Japanese son), Luis (Colombian son), Jari (Finnish son), Jean-Claude (Canadian son), Moïse (French “Jewish” son), Brahim (Algerian son), Marianne (French daughter), Koffi (Ivorian son), Mara (Venezuelan son), Noël (French son), and Stellina (Moroccan daughter).
Her first two adoptions occurred in March of 1951. Conception and birth are indicated in this astrology through the increased occurrence of mercury/Angles and/or progressed sets such as mercury/venus and mercury/jupiter. That is, mercury represents children, and its relationship to the two benefics, venus and jupiter, by timing shows they are then favored. Progressions of Angles to harmonic nodes also highlight the possibility of a specifically “5th chart event,” for instance, birth of a child. On March 1, 1951 she had the following progressed sets indicating motherhood:
|pC Asc||22 Taurus 41|
|b5 South Node||22 Taurus 34|
|(c5 mercury)||(23 Taurus 50)|
|(b jupiter)||(23 Taurus 47)||ruler of b 5th house|
|pc venus||22 Leo 54|
|pc moon||22 Aquarius 03||ruler of c 5th house|
I put c5 mercury and b jupiter in parentheses because technically they are not part of the set because they are both about one degree away from the progressed C Asc. Orb for progression of an Angle to a planet is no greater than 1°. In a rectified chart, the orb is less, much closer to exact, depending on the planet involved. Here, however, the Asc has progressed to the b5 SN, which, as a light, increases acceptable orb. Progressed c moon, another light, also increases acceptable orb. So this set shows her original SN conjunct mercury conjunct jupiter, which is favorable for children, has acquired an Angle and venus, turning it into a forefront golden benefic. I did not show it, but progressed c5 saturn, at 22 Leo 03, is also part of this set, but it does not cancel out the golden benefic, just shows some responsibility in regard to the event.
And she had…
|pB MC||17 Gemini 31|
|c5 North Node||17 Pisces 46|
|B Asc||9 Leo 12|
|pb venus||9 Leo 23|
|C Asc||22 Pisces 00|
|c5 venus||21 Gemini 34|
|progressed c mercury||21 Virgo 56|
Progressed b NN was at 18 Cancer 21 in close conjunction with c5 uranus in c 5th house, but it was at 18 Cancer 27 approximately 10 years earlier when she had her hysterectomy (discussed just below). It is not a timer for her first adoptions. If anything, its closeness to uranus for the hysterectomy is some kind of astrological precursor for what will become her “unusual” (uranus) motherhood (5th). In mythology, uranus was castrated by saturn. In that way it is a fitting indicator of the loss of her uterus.
Set (2) above shows the inception of her hysterectomy. In the first book I read there was no mention of a hysterectomy. It started because of an ill-fated attempt to encourage pregnancy. In June, 1941, while in Casablanca, she had gone to a doctor to inquire about increasing her fertility. Apparently, he “blew air” into her Fallopian tubes in an attempt to “open them up.” A short time thereafter she developed peritonitis, an infection in her abdomen. Peritonitis is serious and life-threatening, so it took her months to recover.
Later, I found out her peritonitis also occasioned her hysterectomy. Before that, I looked in her 6th chart for her peritonitis and saw nothing. Her peritonitis, however, developed as a result of a 5th chart activity—a procedure to encourage fertility. That is where her peritonitis started and that is the chart that shows it.
Set (2) above, then, shows sun and saturn in Virgo in the same set with c moon in Gemini, ruler of her c 5th house. Since b sun rules B Asc, this set, through not particularly dangerous, has forefront influence. It becomes dangerous for her when it receives a progressed mars, turning it into a forefront dark malefic. Her hysterectomy occurred “end of June, 1941.” On July 1, 1941 her 5th chart showed:
|Set (1)||b5 sun||11 Virgo 14||ruler of B Asc|
|c5 saturn||11 Virgo 16|
|c moon||11 Gemini 31||ruler c 5th house|
|progressed c5 mars||11 Gemini 52|
The above set shows at the time of her hysterectomy and peritonitis her 5th chart contained a progressed, forefront dark malefic in the form of sun/moon/mars/saturn which also influenced a 5th house within her chart. She had additional afflictions to this chart on that date:
For her hysterectomy, then, her 5th chart acquired a lot of mars affliction.
In looking at her shell chart, we already saw that Baker had C MC in the same set with venus, neptune, and uranus (all non-harmonic). They constitute one Angle/venus/neptune, an all-charts phenomenon that influences two Angles (c neptune rules C Asc).
Set (3) above, in her 5th chart, shows C Asc conjunct b5 venus and b5 neptune in Pisces, and with c5 neptune in Gemini. Since C Asc has already been influenced by venus/neptune in the set discussed in the paragraph above, this is still only her second Angle/venus/neptune in her 5th chart, but the influence is very strong. Together they suggest a magnetic and alluring (neptune) sexuality (venus for female sexuality) which is soft and receptive (all venus). Since she was reported to have slept with women as well as men (but had no long-term relationships with women), these venus/neptune sets may also be indicative of her desire (neptune) to have love relationships (venus) with women (venus, and perhaps venus/neptune), especially when considered with her C MC conjunct uranus in her b 5th house—a sign of an unusual, atypical, and freedom-loving sexuality that also happens to come into play in her career (C MC in b 10th house).
Everything I read about Mrs. Baker’s sexuality made clear it belonged to her (uranus conjunct C MC in b 5th house) and no one else—not to Daddy (that is, a male parent’s teachings), and not any of the men or women she slept with. Even when she did have a long relationship, as, for instance, with Pepito, her Italian count, she openly continued her sexual liaisons. Not that she “cheated,” she never hid it.
At times her biographies quote some individual or another who states that her body is an instrument, and, as such, absolutely sexless. Then, there were contradictory statements like the following:
In the end it was Georges Simenon, writing in the newspaper Le Merle Rose, who offers the most heartfelt farewell. Not only to his lost love, but to that croupe. In French, croupe means a horse’s hindquarters, a rump, hips. Josephine’s croupe, Simenon tells his readers, is the sexiest in the world, ‘inspiring …collective fantasies that send a deep incense of desire wafting toward her in steamy waves.’ Why? ‘By God, it’s obvious, that croupe has a sense of humor.’ [Then he goes on, speaking of her upcoming tour, and adds] ’They will talk about that croupe in Berlin, in Vienna, in Moscow. The incense of desire spreads. Three million, ten million, fifty, and when we get to a billion…! All of this because of that croupe which laughs, in a woman who laughs….and who possesses at the same time a most voluptuous body, no matter how it is adorned—gold lamé, bananas, or pale-pink plumes.’” (Baker and Chase, p. 154)
Her (pseudo-)adopted son, Jean-Claude Baker comments about her sexuality:
I’ve thought a lot about Josephine and her sexual conquests. Sleep with me, show me you accept me, and after that, maybe we can be friends. She used her body as a weapon against the world because it was the only thing she trusted, it had got her where she was. But scrub the makeup off the mythical Josephine of the stage, daring, modern, free, the one feminists claim as their own, and underneath, you find the little girl from St. Louis who had so much to prove. They can say what they like about her voracious carnal appetites; I think the primary object of the game was power. (Baker and Chase, p. 217)
I guess we will never know for sure…
We want to look at her astrology for when she lost her estate, Les Milandes. After years of struggling to keep up the payments, it went through foreclosure.
Josephine Baker—Loss of Estate, Les Milandes, 4th Chart
Our 4th charts contain at least two types of information. (1) They show something about our relationship with our father. And, (2) they are in play during the purchase and loss of homes. I am uncertain about interpreting Mrs. Baker’s 4th chart in regard to her stepfather (she did not know her birth father), so will leave that alone for now, but will show something about her lost estate.
Les Milandes, Mrs. Baker’s estate in France, was the only home her children, the Rainbow tribe, had known since their adoption. On May 3, 1968 (the first adoptions were in 1951), after years of struggling to keep payments current, she lost it. We want to look at her 4th chart astrology for that date:
Set (1) includes b mars (ruler of b 4th house) and b4 SN in Pisces, constituting “half” a (background) dark malefic. Here is what happened to it:
|b mars||1 Gemini 10||ruler of b 4th house|
|b4 SN||2 Pisces 12|
|progressed b4 saturn||2 Pisces 29R||(coming from 7 Pisces 05R at birth)|
|return MC||2 Sagittarius 02||for Castelnaud-Fayrac, France, on 4-23-68)|
Her return brings the above dark malefic forefront. Baker’s 4th chart also had pC MC at 16 Aquarius 40 in the same set with pc4 saturn at 16 Scorpio 48R, a forefront affliction. Her return brought another affliction forefront:
|C Asc||22 Pisces 00|
|c4 mars||23 Gemini 53||(in c 4th house)|
|return NN||24 Pisces 25|
|return saturn||23 Pisces 20|
The above set does not work as a progression because mars is over a degree away from C Asc. However, 2° is the allowable orb for Angle/planet in non-progressed sets. The return also has a 2° orb for planet/Angle. When her return provided node/saturn for the set, it constituted an operative one for the period covered by that return, giving her a second dark malefic for the loss of her home.
Interestingly, on this date Baker also had pb4 jupiter at 15 Sagittarius 05 conjunct C MC at 15 Sagittarius 09. Something benefic was going on (jupiter conjunct MC). Princess Grace of Monaco stepped in after the sale of Les Milandes and provided Baker and her family a home to live in.
We have covered a lot of Josephine Baker’s astrology. I want to present one more chart.
Josephine Baker—Mental Traits as Represented in Her 3rd Chart
Mrs. Baker had a limited education, having dropped out of school when she was around 12 years old. She was, however, not stupid. True, she lost a lot of money, but that was not because she was dumb (or shy), it was because she was a big spender (sun/mars/jupiter) in her 2nd chart. Having two golden benefics in her 2nd chart also made it seem the money would never stop pouring in. Combine that with her creativity (neptune Angular, among other things) which also correlates with “flights from reality” and it becomes possible to understand her eventual financial woes. No matter how good a chart, almost every one experiences some down periods sooner or later through progressions. This is also true because in our charts the “east” (Ascendant) side tends to represent our childhood, the “south” (Midheaven area) our young adulthood, the “west” side (Descendant) our later adult years, and the “north” (the I.C.), our closing years.
Let’s look at her 3rd chart to see what stands out about her intellectual talents.
Set (1) shows that her original C MC/venus/uranus/neptune has picked up sun/moon/mars in this, her 3rd chart. (The “midpoint” between c3 sun in Virgo and b3 moon in Gemini occurs at 16 Mutable 14). Forefront mars/uranus is correlated with behavior ranging from foolhardy to courageous.
Why, since this set shows light/mars/neptune influencing an Angle and 3rd house in this chart, does it not represent paranoid schizophrenia? I believe the inclusion of venus (a planet of personality, which runs contrary to the non-personal aspect of schizophrenia) and uranus make the difference
In my papers on schizophrenia I stated that I suspected that planets of personality in the “schizophrenic set” mitigate against the experience of schizophrenia because they give ideation somewhere “in personality” to go. Schizophrenics with only light/neptune, and paranoid schizophrenics with only light/mars/neptune, influencing Angles and 3rd houses within the 3rd chart don’t have so many options within such sets. The light provides energy for the neptune, or the mars/neptune. with no where else to go. Neptune, then, yields free-floating fantasy;, mars/neptune, frightful (mars) fantasy (neptune), with no where else to go. Venus with neptune yields precious or artistic feelings—with the emphasis on feelings and form (venus).
It does, however, contribute to her ability for fancy:
Until she died, Sally Henderson [a teacher] talked about Josephine’s ability to shake off the yoke of reality. “After the Thanksgiving holidays,” Miss Henderson said, “the kids stood up and described what they had for Thanksgiving dinner. And Josephine Martin told about the fabulous meal at the Martin house, she described a feast fit for a king, and the other kids were young enough that some of them believed it. She never backed down. She said that’s what they had.” (Baker and Chase, p. 33) [a little bit of this is also sponsored by her sun/Asc in Leo, which presents itself as royal, not poor and penny-pinching...]
And uranus in this set incorporates change (uranus) and will-fulness (uranus) into all the possible interpretations. As I understand it, full-blow schizophrenia presents with a lack will.
Moreover, both 3rd houses within this 3rd chart are ruled by venus, two of which are conjunct jupiter (shown below), indicating likely aesthetic and possibly rhythmic sense (venus) as well as contributing to fine intelligence (venus conjunct jupiter). In her 3rd chart cellist Jacqueline du Pré has a conjunction in Gemini of NN/venus/jupiter in the same set with MC in Sagittarius in 5th/3rd houses, quite possibly connected not only to her exceptional interpretative talent, but also to her ability to memorize her pieces.
Here is a comment on Josephine's genius:
In Kessler’s [a publisher and art collector about to collaborate on some scenes and pantomimes for a ballet using Josephine] library, he had a huge, powerful Maillol sculpture called “Crouching Woman.” Josephine studied the statue, leaning against her, “speaking to her, visibly startled by the overwhelming rigidity and impact of her expression. She danced around her in grotesquely grandiose movements resembling a priestess playfully making fun of herself and her goddess. One could see Maillol was more interesting and alive to her than the people watching.” To Kessler, the scene was “one genius speaking to another.” (Baker and Chase, p. 128)
Looking at just the moon, b3 moon, in Set (1), we can see that Mrs. Baker acquired another moon in Gemini in this chart. Gemini moons usually demonstrate a good memory, flexibility in thought and speech, and the ability to mimic. Mrs. Baker was superb at straight-out imitating. She was also very good in picking up on the form of other singers and dancers and then turning that into something with her own unique stamp (uranus). This is further confirmed by…
Set (2), which shows that her c moon in Gemini (in c 3rd house) has acquired a NN/uranus in Gemini in this chart. It demonstrates tremendous astrological encouragement (NN) for her to display her “Gemini” talents and to improvise (uranus). Another Gemini talent is a sense of humor based on wit.
Too, wit has something to do with artful dodging:
At the Swedish border a guard told her she had to abandon her two dogs…a minister from the health department was called, and passports issued for the dogs, on the condition that they never leave Josephine’s room. She was up at five in the morning, walking them on the street, when a policemen chased her back to her hotel. A few days before, the dog named Phyllis had given birth to two puppies, and all four animals were barking…Josephine produced two dog passports. “What about the others? asked the policeman. “Oh,” said Josephine, “they’re not dogs yet, they’re only samples, and I hope you do not want me to put them back were they came from.” (Baker and Chase, p. 159)Her c venus (shown above without number), ruler of her c 3rd house, is also conjunct c jupiter (but without light), ruler of C MC. Interpretation of a conjunction of the two benefics in Gemini with forefront influence includes an unusual capacity to connect with others verbally. (President Obama has the same thing in a set with a node for the whole time of his presidency and even thereafter).
Set (3) is essentially bipolar in that it shows a forefront lighted saturn/uranus (the two planets most correlated with mania and depression). Her charts in general, however, are so benefic, and she has so much forward momentum in her life (being held down or kept passive and/or stationary correlates with saturn and depression), they—at least the depression—do not predominate in her life.
Mrs. Bakers other c venus, c3 venus, ruler of c 3rd house, is at 23 Aquarius 59 in the same (unlighted) set with b jupiter at 23 Taurus 47, further indication of a usually buoyant and optimistic mind.
The life of Josephine Baker, who was as “self-made” as any one I have ever read about, fits the old advertising slogan, “You’ve come a long way, Baby.” Growing up black, poor and urban in early twentieth-century America, we do not know how far she went in school, only that she dropped out around age 12 (some say 13). She made a life—very different from that of her age and race peers—for herself, for which she had no model. In this paper I have included a few of the less complimentary quotes about her, not so much to show her flaws as to demonstrate she was the individual represented by her astrology. Over time she smoothed out some of the rough edges.
In Mrs. Baker’s case, her highly benefic astrology would have retarded her coming to terms with those rough edges. She could, and did again and again, get away with some astonishing inconsistencies. And she could because there was always more good fortune around the next turn. She was so lucky that even the people fully justified in suing her found it difficult to do so. But, in spite of that, over time she turned into a sophisticated entertainer rather than “just” a sexy and uninhibited dancer. She became more of a “somebody” rather than a “something.” Her duties as a mother inspired more thought and consideration than she started out with. She entered and kept entry into a very sophisticated, elite class of people. She kept her head, too, and continued to work to provide for her children right up to her death at age 68.
What Josephine Baker had that was so rare for most women of her day (and even today) was power. Power, it appears, comes from a strong sense of self (which she had in spades), and enough good fortune to support it. In the words of Virginia Woolfe, Baker had the "500 pounds per year" to afford a room of her own...and she occupied it (metaphorically speaking, of course).