Death chooses the very wealthy widow William Parrish (Anthony Hopkins), tough builder of a Press emporium, about to be 65. His time has come, but before taking him, Death wants to be around him in human form in order to learn certain things that he believes can be learned from Mr.Parrish, who has lived a very intense and fulfilling life. So for a while Death stays in Bill's home, having taken the body of a young man (Brad Pitt) who died very suddenly hit by a car... because Death "needed a body".
What Death ("Joe Black") didn't know is that the young man whose body he took had just met Bill's daughter casually in a coffee shop and they had "fallen" for each other as if struck by lightning. They liked each other "so much" that they didn't even asked their names, and after they said good bye in the street the young man was so absorbed in the feelings he was having that he was very violently hit by 2 cars and died in the spot.
Death took his body, and presented himself in Bill's house while he was having dinner with his 2 daughters and their mates. Only Bill knows his true identity. But Death cannot resist the attraction he feels for Susan (Claire Forlani), Bill's dearest daughter, and in a matter of days they are madly in love with each other.
Death gets confused, mixed up, "fucked", and Bill is very angry with him and afraid for the fate of his daughter. Death (Joe Black) wants to take Susan with him, but Bill challenges him to disclose his true identity to her. As Joe (Death), who sincerely and passionately loves Susan, tries to tell her the truth, he realizes that Susan, even though she loves him, is afraid of that truth, and that the real "heart" for Susan was that "struck of lightning" that had happened in the coffee shop and that he had not lived himself.
In a few and very painful moments, one can tell through Susan's eyes that she had understood the truth, during the birthday party as she talked with Joe and danced with her father. They were both saying good bye to her. Out of his love for Susan, Death (Joe Black) decides to leave without her, taking only Bill with him, but before he promised Susan that she will always have "what she had found in the coffee shop".
The two men walk away to the light alone, leaving the big celebration party and dancing behind. Susan sees them and walks after them, with her heart teared apart... and as she walks toward the light over the hill where they had disappeared, she sees Joe coming back from it alone. Then, in utmost bewilderment and sadness, Susan realizes that Death had brought back to her the young man from the coffee shop that had been taken away. "I wish you had known my father", she says to him in understanding and gratitude amidst her immense sadness. They walk back together to the party. The movie ends.
The scenes between Joe Black and Susan are of great beauty.
That beauty is possible through the angles of the camera and the light,
especially through the very magical presence of both Brat Pitt and Claire
Forlani. Forlani's eyes and voice are soft and beautiful and very deeply
expressive. Bratt Pitt (Joe Black), is extremely polite but cold and commanding,
lacking compassion toward Mr. Parrish. But with Susan, you will see the
actor making his best to portray all the tenderness and delicacy of feeling
he can. It is fascinating to see Brat Pitt trying to transform his countenance
from utmost inner beauty and softness when he is with Susan to the coldness
and politeness of Death when he deals with her father. The film lasts 3
hours, but I confess that the magic of the scenes between Forlani and Brat
Pitt hypnotizes me and I am not aware of time at all.
II. The Centaurean Connection
The movie is about the triumph of love over death. The dialog, the photography, the music, and the acting, are works of art of great allegorical beauty.
I am going to write a few comments on the planetary positions of the actors (Brad Pitt, Claire Forlani, and Anthony Hopkins) and the day of the Premiere. I think that the story can come out doing this, especially with the centaurs and the scattered disk objects. The starting point is some ideas I had written about the centaurs before, and which can be seen "incarnated" in this movie. Along these lines, for example:
<<Before that, Pluto's "kiss" was the kiss of death, and it came only to take us away to his realm. But now, with the new Centaurs, Pluto's old death is coming to us and becoming human, instead of taking us away.>> [from "Dear Pluto"]
III. The Night of the Premiere
As an introduction, I will start with the positions at the time of the film's Premiere. According to the "Internet Movie Database", "Meet Joe Black" had its U.S. premiere November 2, 1998. As a reference, I will assume 20h EST. Note the following:
Asbolus= 10Sc00There was a Sun/Venus conjunction in Scorpio, conjunct the osculating Black Moon, conjunct Asbolus, opposition Pylenor... all within 1 degree! Here we see how the event illuminates the chart, and the chart the event, in a striking reciprocity.
Sun/Venus speaks of the relationship between Bill Parrish and his tender single daughter Susan, who is "the light of his eyes". It centers everything on the beautiful love relationships that the movie is about: man and woman, woman and death, love and death, father and daughter, death and life...
This last category, "death and life", is the world of Asbolus. At the start, we see Bill telling his daughter that in the relationship she has with Drew...
<<... there's not an ounce of excitement, not a whisper of a thrill. This relationship has all the passion of a pair of tit-mice>>and then we hear the centaurean admonition, the quality that we see in the positions above:
<<I want you to get swept away, I want you to levitate, I want you to sing with rapture, to dance like a dervish... be deliriously happy...This will come, but with a price. She will be deliriously happy but also deliriously sad. Lightning will strike, Susan's father will die, but before that, Death will incarnate in the person of Joe Black and Susan is going to fall madly in love with him. There will be a constant, marvelous, beautifully allegorical interplay between death, love and life throughout the movie.
I believe that Asbolus can also be seen, for example, when Bill is in his studio, and Susan comes in asking the whereabouts of Joe. His father asks:
<<Why are you looking for Joe?and her answer is:
<<Love, passion, obsession, all the things you told me to wait for. Well, they've arrived.>>The conjunction is seen in the last sentence: "They've arrived". Susan has fallen to her knees before love, in the same way that his father, a few days before, had fallen to his knees in his office out of an unbearable pain in the chest during his first encounter with Death, the same person that now Susan is in love with.
I cannot describe how beautiful and profoundly symbolical --and true-- this love triangle is...
Death became human, assumed a human form (the young Joe Black). I believe this is to be seen in the opposition with Pylenor. Pylenor is Joe Black walking through the corridors of Bill's mansion, eating peanut butter, soon to fall in a very awkward position after having fallen in love with Susan, arousing Bill's fear and anger. Listen to what Bill says to him:
<<You may be the "pro", Joe. But I know who you are, and you're all fucked-up!>>and the old dying Antillan lady at the hospital, the only other person to know his identity, in the scene where he visits her with the flowers:
<<You are not in your right place , Mister>>He is not. He has fallen in love and is attached to life, to Susan. Death is therefore in a very precarious situation. He is lonely, and now there is someone who wants him, who doesn't want him to leave. He becomes vulnerable, and begins to feel compassion. So death decides to take Susan with him, but at the same time he loves Susan so much he doesn't want to hurt her or scare her, especially because she doesn't know who he is.
Joe has to conceal his true self to Susan. But, as he later is able to learn, this contradicts love, because love recquires that you know the darkest secrets of the other person. We see Asbolus in all this.
In the end, Bill triumphs, as he is able to teach Joe about the meaning of love, which is truth, commitment, responsibility, and above all, not hurting the person you love. Bill is ready to go; his life is fulfilled, he has had everything he wanted, especially, the overflowing love of his two daughters. Joe surrenders and leaves Susan behind, taking only Bill. Before leaving, once-cold and implacable Death has tears in his eyes. Bill is aware of Joe's sadness and says: it is hard to say good bye, isn't it? Yes, it is, says Joe-Death.
I guess some of you may find this corny. It is when seen out of the context of the film. But I thought the dialog and the plot could help us see how the centaurs manifest in the feelings of people.
The loving father, for example, is the Sun, as well as
the luminous heroic figure that Joe represents for Susan. This allegory
is, to me, a wonderful expression of the Mystery of Christ (the God that
became human and suffered death in order to transcend it through the birth
of love, which was the fruit of His death. It is also the story of Parsifal,
the compassion-less fool (Joe Black) who is able to heal and redeem the
wound only after he learns to feel the pain of others, etc.
IV- The Data
I will continue now with the planetary positions of Claire Forlani, Brad Pitt, and Anthony Hopkins, and see what they reveal. The source of the data I use is as follows:
Brad Pitt (Joe Black)
Claire Forlani (Susan) July 1st, 1972
Anthony Hopkins (Bill Parrish) December 31, 1937
date of the U.S. premiere:
Let me make a few comments first about working with the actors' data to represent the movie, since it is important to clear out the questions of methodology here:
Normally, artistic scenes --in painting, in movies, in literature-- are superior to actual circumstances in terms of meaning. I believe this is true also of dreams. I can say that movies and particular scenes seen from the point of view of the director's and the actor's chart are very fertile and valid for this kind of research. Certain scenes in particular are actually the culmination of a main theme throughout the movie, and the key of many of the dialogs between the two characters. Besides, in a grand-scale movie like this, it is just not one scene: it is a culmination in the actor's life, a symbolic dialog with destiny, and often also the role which gives him or her recognition and awards.
Any actor involved in a film is first very carefully chosen so that he or she fits the character. As the movie goes on, the director and script-writers normally adjust things to the personality of the actor, while the actor must create the character out of his or her own personality and life experiences. It is the same with any artistic creation, and I believe that in most cases they are better expressions of inner and psychological forces --as shown in the astrological chart-- than actual circumstances of life.
I deal with this daily with my clients. Fantasy projections
and scenes are no different from real-life experiences. I see no difference
between using a painting, a work of literature, or a movie character or
scene to understand the forces at work in the personality of the artist
or artists involved.
V. The Fight for Susan.
As I already mentioned in the summary of the movie, Death (Joe Black) falls in love with Bill's daughter, Susan, who has also fallen madly in love with him. But Joe plans to take her away with him, even though he hasn't told her who he is.
NOTE: Joe's world or true nature is trans-Neptunian and trans-plutonian, but as he has incarnated in Joe, he had become centaurean. From the notes on the night of the Premiere, you can see that he is best represented by Pylenor as a person, and by Asbolus as a principle.
Bill has gone from a feeling of alarm and fear at first to external manifestations of anger and disgust toward Joe, and shouts at him to leave his daughter alone. Seeing her father's anger, Joe politely but commandingly reminds him of who he is: you don't raise your voice or pretend to give orders to Death. Bill replies, in an unusual openly harsh tone that appears for the first time between the two at this point:
<<Cut all the "Bill" crap, you son of a bitch.>>You don't speak like that to Death, especially when you are about to die, but in this case, it is Bill's daughter who is at stake, and Bill doesn't care. He will fight for his daughter, and comes even to the point of threatening Joe, although the only thing he can fight with against Death is reason (because Death wants to learn)... and love (because Death really loves Susan).
Now, there is something fascinating about this:
A. Hopkin's Sun = 10,11 Capricorn (precession-corrected
to the Premiere)
-- Susan is "the light of his eyes"... but the strange suitor arrives:
B. Pitt's Mars = 10,41 Capricorn
Which I think very much accounts for the rivalry between the two men, the commanding attitude and presence of Death (conjunction), and the very strong attraction between the two lovers that threatens Susan's life (opposition).
VI. Claire Forlani
Unfortunately, I don't know the birth time of Claire Forlani. She was born in England July 1, 1972. At 12h GMT, the Moon was in 6,19 Pisces (precession-corrected to the time of the premiere), so we may assume that she has the Moon not far from this point: it is in 0,45 Pisces at 1 a.m. and at 13,02 Pisces at 11 p.m. Her photographs very beautifully show the archetype of this lunar position in a woman...
Pholus is in 5,33 Pisces, probably conjunct this Moon. I feel that this conjunction in Pisces can be seen in her peculiar physical constitution (very slender, soft, and delicate, like a beautiful fairy), the very striking deep expressiveness of her green eyes which give to her face that strange beauty and profundity, and her acting ability in a role like this: everything is said softly, the action goes slowly, but with an intense and passionate magic that would have never been possible without the quality of her voice and the profundity of her eyes. I am very impressed with her acting.
In The Claire Forlani Website, you can read
that she <<... made just one film in 1997 (due to the passing
of her mother), the decidedly downbeat, semi-autobiographical "The Last
Time I Committed Suicide". Her performance as the deeply disturbed girlfriend
of beat poet Neal Cassady won her further critical praise.>> This "deeply
disturbed girlfriend of a beat poet" is a nice description of her Piscean
Moon, and her official site mentioned says it is "semi-autobiographical".
I think this is shown by her Moon/Pholus conjunction, although I recognize
the possibility that she may have been born after sunset, making the conjunction
separative and whitering away.
NOTE added July 2006: there is an astrological chart for her without any reference to the source of the birth data at http://librarising.com/astrology/celebs/claireforlani.html, where
it is said that she was born in the evening between 6:03 and 8:33 p.m.
This would place the Moon near 9 Piscis, 4 degrees away from Pholus.
Brad Pitt has his TL66 in 5,14 Pisces, in exact conjunction with her Pholus, and, probably, with her Moon. If her Moon is indeed close to this Pholus/TL66 contact, we would have a perfect description of their relationship in the movie.
Let's assume that she may have been born early in the afternoon or in the morning. In this case, then the Moon/Pholus conjunction, in addition to her abilities as a dramatic actor and her fairy-type of physical glamour, describes the "rapture" quality and magical intensity of her scenes with Brad Pitt (Death), one year after her mother had passed away.
Brad Pitt is Death, the escathological TL66 (conjunct her Moon and Pholus) who comes to take her father (her mother had passed away in the movie, too) and "falls" (Pholus) for her. Death wants to take her with him, but he finally realizes that this would mean Suzan's sacrifice and destruction, so he surrenders to love, and gives her away to life and to the young man whose body he had taken, whom he "resurrects" in the end, as he appears coming out of the light where he (Death) and her father had just disappeared. This light, joining this and the afterlife, where Joe and her father went away and the young man comes back to life and is given as a gift to Susan, ending the movie as they join hands and go back to the party, is seen astrologically in:
Bard Pitt's Sun = 26,35 Sagittarius
Juan Antonio Revilla