CHART OF THE DEPP V HEARD TRIAL *************
With the ash having settled from the Depp v. Heard trial, I want to explore a loaded question: why don’t we believe women? The natal chart of this trial paints an evocative portrait of the grotesque intersection between public opinion, misogyny, and deception.
Before diving in, here is a brief retelling of the circumstances: Johnny Depp (Depp) sued Amber Heard (Heard) for defamation arising from a 2018 article in the Washington Post titled I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change. While Heard’s name is listed as author, it would later come out that the ACLU penned the piece (to which they later testified). Depp is not mentioned by name in the article. Previously, Depp lost a libel lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun, who printed in 2018 that he was a “wife beater”. Note that in the U.K., it is notoriously hard to win libel suits if you are a publication. As part of the trial, evidence of Depp’s abuse (as provided by Heard’s team) was found to be “substantially true.” The Sun continues to label Depp a “wife beater” in all articles run about him.
So, Depp sued Heard for defamation because of an article in which is he not named and sued Heard (not the ACLU or The Washington Post) to the tune of $50 million dollars, money he knew she didn’t have. Depp asserted that Heard partook in a years-long, elaborate hoax against him, and that she had violently abused him.
The trial began on April 11, 2022, in Fairfax, VA. Based on the Fairfax County Circuit Court’s scheduled start times for civil cases that commence on a Monday, we can reasonably assume a 10:00am event time.
Here are the most notable observations of the chart, paired with a recounting of the climate and media blitz surrounding the case:
Gemini ASC. The amount of documentation, recordings, soundbites, testimony, etc. speaks to the frenetic energy of airy Gemini. Like any court case, this was information heavy. It also represents how, months later, views on the trial are shifting. Views on the case shifted in real time as well. An absolute flurry of opinion, which I must note substantially differs from fact. Gossip is also firmly in the Gemini ballpark.
Sagittarius is the 7th house, in part representing how the case was viewed from the perspective of the other. While the public forum lives in the 11th house, the collection of personal perspective in the 7th galvanized how the trial came to be viewed by the masses (trine). Sagittarius operates on belief, specifically societal/overarching beliefs, which also substantially differs from fact. The reactions to Heard were mostly formed from gut. And the collective gut reaction to a woman alleging abuse against a publicly admired man is to not believe her. And to place upon her the burden of having to be the “perfect” victim in order to be taken seriously. (Recordings of Heard criticizing and belittling Depp were justifiably awful to hear. Descriptions of her own erratic and violent behavior were also justifiably appalling. But policing a woman’s response to abuse, limiting her to a narrow set of expectations, represents a metastasized societal tendency to silence women who speak up).
Mercury in Taurus in the 12th house. Ruler of the ASC in the 12th house exacerbates difficulties around understanding. In Taurus, Mercury has a slow and thorough approach to information, antithetical to the Gemini rush. Mercury is the only personal planet in Earth here, and hanging in the 12th, indicates that information-spread born out of practical application of the facts was hard to come by. Mercury in the 12th can also indicate a degree of hidden information, lies, mistellings, and misgivings. The public couldn’t know all there was to know but postured as if it did anyway. Declarative statements of Heard’s guilt, her sociopathic tendencies, her body (Taurus) language (Mercury)—all contributed to Heard’s now damaged reputation.
Many times, Heard was called a liar, her words picked over with a finely judgmental comb. For instance, the kerfuffle around whether Heard “donated” or “pledged” money to the ACLU. She used these words synonymously. Yet in cross examination, she was grilled about if she actually gave all of what she intended to give to the ACLU. She pledged several million to the ACLU, to be donated over the course of many years. The ACLU would later confirm this agreement and confirm that they had already received one million from Heard. This was not a gotcha moment. But the public ran with it as if it was.
So, see, in the 12th house, Mercury is subject to subterfuge and vagaries. A simple semantic error, despite evidence to the contrary, was held against Heard. (Note how Depp’s sarcastic remarks and smirks were publicly lauded, while Heard’s testimony and delivery was routinely mocked).
Mercury forms an out of sign square to Pluto, which deepens cruelty of speech and spiteful bandwagoning. Men’s rights groups and sympathizers, formed in the fallout of the Me Too movement, used this trial and the public humiliation of Heard to strengthen a fundamental tenet of their cause: women lie, and men are the real victims. The corrosive nature of Pluto undermined a Venus narrative. (Men can be victims of domestic abuse. But anti-Heard groups campaigned less on that legitimacy, and more on vitriol for women and reclamation of power over them.)
Jupiter and Neptune conjunct in the 10th house. This is perhaps the most telling area of the chart. On this day, Jupiter and Neptune were in an exact conjunction at 23 degrees of Pisces. They were also forming an exact square to the Gemini ASC at 23 degrees. In my view, this set up ensured there was no way Heard would have a fair trial. The Jupiter-Neptune conjunction is one of hype, mass confusion and ubiquity. The way this trial played out on social media was the most evocative manifestation of this planetary mirage. No matter where you went on the Internet, you were bombarded with footage of this trial. On social media particularly, campaigns against and jokes at the expense of Heard went viral. Jupiter is an expansive energy, made even more powerful by its dignified placement in Pisces. Jupiter is the bully pulpit. And Neptune infused that platform lies and falsehoods that were quick to spread. There was no seeing anything clearly or objectively. Jupiter with Neptune created both the negative hype around Heard, and the positive, almost hero-worship, hype around Depp. In the 10th house, this conjunction forms the legacy of this case.
The square to the ASC from both planets worsened misunderstanding and fueled the media circus. With Jupiter square a Gemini angle we see both information overload and aggrandizement. With Neptune square a Gemini angle we see glamorization and deception. The collection of small lies and misconceptions (Gemini) over time can be regarded as truth.
As a personal aside, I, and maybe you, fell victim to the narrative spins of this trial. Tweets and Tik Toks inundated me with a one-sided take: Heard was a villain. Regretfully, I ran with that. Under a Jupiter-Neptune conjunction, it is easier to drink the Kool-Aid. While I never steeped so low as to publicly mock her, sign petitions against her, or engage passionately in her humiliation (that I know of…we all absent-mindedly like questionable takes on Twitter)—I still regret second guessing her. I was an unwitting accomplice in a culture that bashes women. Even pretty, white, and wealthy women. That’s just the programing we absorb. I am happy I exposed myself to information that in turn exposed my blind spots and inspired this piece.
Sun in Aries in the 11th house, with Chiron. The life of this case was firmly steeped in public opinion and spectacle. The razzle dazzle of a celebrity trial. But the presence of Chiron amplified a public pain. In one interpretation, this can represent Heard having to re-live difficult events for the entire world to see. Heard’s own natal Mercury in Aries formed a conjunction to Chiron, representing speaking about and reflecting upon one’s own pain. Heard’s natal Chiron in Gemini is another astrological avenue through which we see this trial salting her wounds—on display in the 1st house of the trial chart. In another more symbolic interpretation, Chiron here can represent a societal wounding—what humanity still must heal. And that is the way that we treat women.
Moon in Leo in the 3rd house. This Moon placement underscores the entertainment element of this case. The soulful purpose of this case having been to bring things into visibility, to give them attention. The Moon can also, at least here, point towards the embodiment of the feminine. So, the Moon’s opposition to a dignified Saturn in Aquarius, representing the patriarchy at large, insists upon a contentious relationship between these polarities—what is traditional in a man’s world, and what is suffered as a woman in a man’s world. The Moon’s need for care is neglected when facing off with Saturn like this. The law and courtrooms are a 9th house topic. Strengthen by a rigid Saturn, Heard ultimately fell victim to the larger patriarchal industrial complex. The soul of this case was fundamentally weakened by a long-standing system that reinforces the subjugation of women. Note also that the 9th house can be where we find firmly entrenched belief, and the 3rd house is where we find individual perception that can run counter to these beliefs. In the end, Heard’s testimony wasn’t sufficient enough to crack a centuries-old, cemented view on women and the legitimacy of their stories.
Mars and Venus conjunct the MC. The midheaven of this chart sits between Venus and Mars. Instantly I thought of the classic he-said, she-said dynamic, with both Venus and Mars elevated and insistent on telling their sides of things. Also, this case hinged upon domestic abuse. Mars is violence and Venus is relationship.
Venus is exalted in the sign of Pisces, which you may think is good here. But remember that close-by, Jupiter and Neptune sat in their intoxicating conjunction, sending tumultuous waves through the waters Venus found itself in. Mars on the other hand was conjunct Saturn in Aquarius. Venus’ placement in Pisces may have been more influenced by Jupiter-Neptune falsehoods, subjecting Heard (the woman) to widespread disbelief. Pisces is also far more impressionable than Aquarius, becoming whatever you view it as, or at the very least inspiring confusion. So, Venus was also subject to misconception and projection. We saw Heard how we wanted to see Heard. Venus was also unaspected by any other major planet, creating a quality of elusiveness that could be read as deceit. Mars on the other hand is in a fixed sign and supported by conjunction to Saturn. Mars also sees and influences the ASC via trine. The Saturn-tinged Mars outlook flowed more smoothly. Mars also formed a sextile to the Sun in Aries and ruled the 11th house. In the most basic terms, the man’s perspective won here through simple dominance of energy. And it didn’t matter if that perspective was founded upon misogyny and malice. We are more keen to believe that Heard was the evil mastermind behind a complex and years-long scheme to bring down Depp than we are to believe that Depp abused Heard point blank.
To add, asteroid Juno, which symbolizes marriage and partnership, was between Mars and Saturn at the time, giving a leg up to Depp’s experience of the marriage over Heard’s experience.
Saturn square the North Node (NN) in Taurus. Saturn sat at 22 degrees of Aquarius and formed an exact square to the NN in Taurus, also at 22 degrees. In short, Saturn could be seen here as obstructing the free flow of collective growth towards Taurean ideals. Amplification of the divine feminine is one of those. And that can include respecting women, security for women. With the NN in the 12th house, no doubt this case had and will have a continuing impact on the collective, even if imperceptible for now…with the Saturn square representing a kind of harsh redirect of fate. When Depp won, many feminist activists warned that his victory could start a slow regression of woman’s rights, that it could mark the end of what has been achieved under the Me Too movement. It was not only a loss for Heard, but a loss for women everywhere.
The 12th house highlights marginalized communities, segments of society that are thrown over to the margins. There is no light in the 12th. And if this sounds dramatic, think about all that has been taken away from women this year alone, from the Roe v. Wade reversal to the stripping of rights from women in Afghanistan to the gender-based violence resulting from the war in Ukraine. When the nodes are in play, these individual events add up in remarkably important ways.
Reader, I hope this has been a valuable intellectual and spiritual exercise for you. I hope that you were able to learn more about how Astrology works in real life, through humans and events, and ground some of what can feel abstract at times. Moreover, I hope this has poked a restless nerve in you, that it can help you rewrite or at least think more critically about the narratives we hold about and against women. May this trial be a critical learning moment that helps embolden, not erode, women’s rights, women’s value, and women’s stories.