Maria Callas – talent was no consolation for her misery

The torture, murder, suicide melodrama of Puccini’s Tosca, Maria Callas’ signature role, had nothing on the searing unhappiness and maltreatment of her own life. Regaled as the greatest operatic soprano of the 20th Century, she was pimped out by her mother who later blackmailed her into handing over money, was ripped off financially by her husband and latterly, in a harrowing affair with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, was violently attacked and drugged for sex, before being publicly dumped for Jackie Kennedy.

 She was born 2 December 1923 6am (unverified) New York, but was brought up in Greece after her parents’ marriage failed, an overweight unhappy child who was made to feel ugly and unwanted but still put out to perform as her singing talent became obvious. Her mother during World War 11 worked as a prostitute and tried to pimp her out to Nazi soldiers. When she became successful both parents tried to leech off her. Callas later said: “I am fed up with my parents’ egoism and indifference toward me … I want no more relationship. I hope the newspapers don’t catch on. Then I’ll really curse the moment I had any parents at all.”

  She had a mercifully upbeat Sun Jupiter in Sagittarius which would give her an edge of optimism; with her Sun square a 4th house Uranus, a sign of an unstable, constantly changing childhood and adult domestic life.  On this birth time she had a 10th house Virgo Moon which fits a public career; but what stands out are a cruel-treatment Mars Saturn conjunction in Libra and a trapped though influential 8th house Pluto, which latter would make her feel circumstances were constantly out of her control.

  Onassis, 20 January 1906 10am had his Capricorn Sun square her Mars Saturn so he’d tap into her victim fears. He had a ruthlessly determined Pluto square Mars which collided with her Moon – his power-hungry Pluto squared it and his aggressive Mars was in opposition. And his leadership Leo North Node was conjunct her musical Neptune as he claimed a global superstar prize as befitting his status.

  Their relationship chart was truly distressing with a destructive, damaging, dominating and angry composite Sun Mars opposition Pluto; and a fated, leading-to-irrevocable-changes in both lives composite Yod of Mercury Saturn sextile Jupiter inconjunct Neptune.

  Even after he moved on to Jackie Kennedy, much to America’s acute horror, he still met Callas secretly in Paris and she died nine years later.

  His relationship with Jackie oddly enough did have positive aspects though it never seemed a comfortable match.  His Jupiter in indulgent Taurus fell in Jackie’s 7th, his possessive Pluto was in a passionate conjunction to her 8th house Venus though also opposition her Saturn and square her Mars.

  Their relationship chart had another of those irrevocably-life-changing Yods onto the composite Sun, for an ego-centric match on both sides, one assumes. There was also a passionate and socially ambitious composite Venus sextile Jupiter, square Pluto and trine Neptune.  Not quite what her sophisticated image suggested or her ‘Camelot’ fans wanted, but she had been brought up by a hard-drinking, womanising rogue of a father which may explain part of it.  And JFK himself was no saint.  

17 thoughts on “Maria Callas – talent was no consolation for her misery

  1. In 1997, I was taken to the theatre in NY to see Dixie Carter in MasterClass — the play based on Callas’ life. I was too young to really care about Callas or opera but oh how Dixie Carter brought the story alive!! She so movingly and beautifully told the story of this woman’s pain that all the women in my group started to cry. We were at the very front of the small theatre and when Ms Carter came to take her bows at the end, she could see the tears streaming down our faces and she kept mouthing “thank you, thank you” to us which made us cry all the more.

  2. I wrote an astro-biography of Callas a couple decades ago for my local NCGR chapter. One thing I recall is her Venus in Capricorn,, on Aries point which correlates to artistic fame; Venus is also in mutual reception with Saturn in Libra. Venus/Saturn describes her early marriage to her much older business manager but also the dramatic weight loss , occuring on her Saturn return, which propelled her to international fashion icon status .

    With the Sun conjunct the Royal Star Antares (anti-Ares), Callas was known for her temper, if provoked. Antares “Heart of the Scorpion” is also literally linked heart issues, such as the heart attack that took her life. One might say she may have had a broken heart based on Ari’s romantic betrayals.

    By the way, thanks Marjorie for posting the Callas / Onassis composite with its astounding number of planets at 29 degrees befitting such a famous yet ultimately tragic affair.

  3. I never knew much about Maria Callas except that I loved her voice. It is a great pity that show business attracts extremely unhappy people. It is like a magnet to them. It is especially sad, as the satisfaction they get in their professional lives is never matched in their private lives.

    As for the others I always found myself feeling protective towards them. Their vulnerability easy to see.

    • It’s a cliche but so often true. Many talented artists have these tragic, fated lives and this and the interesting comments about Virgo/Sagittarius made me look at Hank Williams’ chart as he sprung to mind immediately as having suffered similarly a life of chronic pain, addiction and torture. He was actually a Virgo Sun with a Sagittarius moon and was born in that same year about 3 months before Callas.

      This is the territory of the god Dionysus. I think the ancient Greeks knew about the connection between self-destruction, addiction and the tragic lives of such individuals and this is embodied in the myth of Orpheus, the gifted musician and poet whose singing moved to tears anyone who heard his beautiful songs. His eventual fate, torn to pieces by the raging Maenads, Dionysus’ followers because he could not stop singing and lamenting his lost wife which infuriated them. He was one of the few heroes who returned alive from the underworld, after going in search of his dead lover, Eurydice and this maybe is symbolic of the way in which gifted musicians and singers can give voice to the abyss of our collective suffering.

      • She had an incredible voice, just radiant with the deepest emotions and able to channel them for everyone who listened to her.

        Your comments about Dionysus and Orpheus made me curious VF. It turns out Maria Callas had asteroid Orpheus at 11 Capricorn, opposing her Pluto – exactly symbolising Orpheus in the Underworld. Asteroid Dionysus was at 24 Gemini, square her Moon in Virgo from the 8th house. Eurydice at 19 Pisces made a thought provoking t-square.
        I’ve found some strange and intriguing synchronicities with named asteroids and individual life stories. They are not astrology exactly, but almost like dream symbolism, or tarot cards. Well that’s how I look at them anyway.

        • Wow, fascinating Jane. Asteroids are not something I’ve looked into yet, but yes they seem to offer some quite startling mythic parallels in the lives of the chart natives. I remember reading a book, it’s name and author escape me, about the link between mood disorders and creativity with Bi-polar disorder being most common among creatives. I seem to remember that both poets and composers score highest when it comes to severe depression and bi-polar disorder, but that having bi-polar disorder or depression doesn’t actually make you more creative.

          Psychiatrist Anthony Storr wrote; “The creative act is one way of overcoming the state of helplessness which,we have seen is so important a part of the depressive state.It is a coping mechanim, a way or exercising control as well as a way to expressing emotion.”

          • Yes, VF, the link is definitely there. It makes me wonder if we will find a way of redefining what we mean by mental health one day – or perhaps redefining “normality”. There are brilliant scientists who are now considered to be “on the spectrum” of autism, for example. And endless creative people of every kind who suffered with various conditions, including depression. I haven’t got a cohesive theory, it is just something I’ve puzzled over.

          • In the case of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, (1st recorded case is from the 19th century), Dr David Veale who specialised in the disorder and author Katherine Philips discovered there is a link between developing the illness and a natural aesthetic sensibility plus an Aesthetic training in art and design. As you say, there is so much more for us to discover, as our understanding of the mind deepens.

  4. I am not sure about other Sagittarians but I am one, and I find we are easily hood winked by sexual partners and can be led into high risk situations. Do other Sagittarians find this? I realise we have different natal charts.

  5. Hmm. I have same birthdate many decades later. Also, a Virgo Moon (5th house but with Pluto) and Sag Mercury. My adoptive mother was a controlling and withholding narcissist (although she has greatly softened and improved with time). I did not feel loved by her as a child. My adoptive father was loving at times but always sided with his wife. He’s a Libra Sun and she’s a double Scorpio. My birth mother was a Virgo Sun. My adoptive father wanted me to be a teacher. He believed that I was “magical” with/around children. I didn’t become a teacher; partly because my adoptive mother was a teacher and I wasn’t allowed to out-do her. I think I channeled “teacher” into motherhood.

    • Also, for the record: I was unaware my adoptive mother was a narc until well into my adulthood (post Saturn return) and I was unaware that my first husband was a raging narc until around 12 years of marriage.
      Pattern seems to fit.

  6. Patty Duke also had Moon in Virgo in a t-square to Sun/Mars in Sagittarius and Uranus in Gemini. She had an alcoholic father, very depressed mother and abusive guardians. She managed to win an Oscar at age 16 while playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker with Anne Bancroft. Along with Patricia Neal who was in the Broadway play they were mother figures. Valley of the Dolls turned out to be biographical with her character’s self medication. She develops a fiendship with Sharon Tate before her horrible murder. She had developed severe bipolar disorder. There was chaos in her marriage life and there it was uncertain who Sean Astin’s father was. She was diagnosed and put on medication, had a happy marriage and was an mental health advocate, appearing before congress.
    Tina Turner also had a dreadful childhood and marriage. Another Sagittarius survivor with an opposite Gemini Moon in a t-square to Mars in Pisces had her Torture and abuse from her Husband Ike. She also had Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius in a grand trine to Pluto in Leo and Jupiter in Pisces. All 3 were beloved by many. They had healed those who identified with their struggles.

  7. Looking at the AGE INCIDENCE OF DISEASE TABLE, by Maurice Weymss, she died at age
    53+, activating the axis 20 Leo/Aquarius. On this axis she had Neptune, 20Leo22,
    the heart, ruling her 4th House, the grave.
    C.E.O. Carter states that Neptune in Leo, causes heart damage thru’ drugs and/or
    smoking. Here is a portion of Weymss’s Table:
    Age 52 20 to 22.5 Leo/Aquarius
    Age 53 17.5 to 20 Leo/Aquarius
    Age 54 15 to 17.5 Leo/Aquarius.

  8. I’ve looked at Maria Callas’ chart on earlier occasions, and there are so many things on the chart this biography explains. I’ve often thought Sun Sagittarius / Virgo Moon must be one of the hardest Sun / Moon combinations for natives, Sagittarius Sun is such an expansive position, while Virgo Moon almost never receives as much nurturing as they give. And this was definitely present at Callas’ relationship with his parents and “savior” Giovanni Meneghini. However, one of the most gut wrenching details of this biography is that Maria Callas was forced to leave Master Class sessions she was giving due to be harassed by Juilliard’s chairman Peter Mennin who fell in love with her. I think that if not let down this way, she might have felt more fulfilled teaching than ever on stage.

    Also, another detail I want to point out, that might not be indicated on her chart: Apparently, she lost her voice because of a neuromuscular disease that was diagnosed as just hysteria. Having studied classical singing, I remember one of the most persistent myths in singing having been she had faulty technique that destroyed her voice, while apparently, her body was failing her. Not dissimilar faith to that of Ettore Bastianini, a baritone who often would sing in productions with Callas. Bastianini had arguably one of the most gorgeous voices ever, great technique and impeccable Italian diction (horrible diction even most Italian opera singers have is one of my pet peeves), but struggled with throat cancer much through the 1960’s, eventually dying at only 44 in 1967. He never disclosed his illness but to his closest friends and colleagues, and got horrible reviews before leaving stages. But at least Bastianini was “rehabilitated” very soon after his death.

    • @Solaia, you’ve cut to the heart of the matter for sun Sagittarius/moon Virgo people (my square is only a 2 degree 6 minute orb). Friends and family have told me my entire life that I give and do too much for people. It’s also interesting that you believe Callas would have felt more fulfilled as a teacher, since I’m an educator.

  9. I rectified her birth time to 5:47:07 am. She died from heart attack in Paris, on
    September 17, 1977. In a biwheel for death, she had trans Herrick, heart attack,
    exactly conj her natal Ascendant, and trans Valentine, the heart, on the 8th House
    cusp of death.

  10. She had a most beautifull poignant voice. Perhaps reflecting her inner troubled experiences with humans beeing supposed to protect and love her. There was this morning an artikel in the Gardian (online) announcing the publication of ” Cast a diva” a biography of Maria Callas by Lyndsey Spence per june first. Can be ordered through the Guardian bookshop

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