Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, was hospitalized over the weekend after ingesting eight Traumeel pills – a harmless homeopathic remedy. The New York Post reports that Ms. Joel’s 911 call said that she had wanted to die but changed her mind. Evidently she was distraught after a breakup with her boyfriend, musician Jimmy Riot that occurred about a year ago.
It is often said that depression runs in families, and some scientists believe that it is a chemical imbalance that runs in families and that this imbalance can be treated with pharmaceuticals. Certainly we can see tendencies towards depression in the astrological chart, along with the pathways to healing, and somtimes these tendencies do run in families.
Billy Joel, Ms. Joel’s father, famously suffers from depression. He was hospitalized after a suicide attempt in 1970, and spent a few stints in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse in 2003 and 2005. Mr. Joel’s astrological chart shows a tight square between Pluto (intensity, fear, power and compulsion) to his Sun, showing a tendency to engage in experiences that will push him to the limits of his endurance and beyond. He also has a challenging square between Saturn (insecurity and depression) to Venus, which reveals his difficulty with love and marriage, despite the fact that Jupiter (the planet of good fortune) sits in his seventh house of marriage and partnership. Challenging aspects from Saturn and Pluto to very personal planets like the Sun and Venus often indicate a tendency towards depression and an intensity of experience that goes beyond what others feel.
Alexa Ray Joel’s chart is similarly challenging, with a square from both Mars (anger) and Pluto (compulsion) to her Moon (emotional needs), which is in Leo (sign of the Ego). This is a very hungry Moon that is desperate for external validation and on her Myspace page her bio says she has a “passion to perform.”. It is likely with this configuration that she does not get enough of this validation, and the fact that the Nodes of the Moon square her Moon suggests that this is a karmic dynamic that she has come specifically to work on in this lifetime.
Her taking of the homeopathic pills and then calling 911 is illustrative of this need for attention and the fact that she feels unable, with Pluto oppressing her Will (represented by Mars) to meet her needs directly.
Challenging dynamics which involve Pluto or other planets and Mars, which signifies our Will, our drive, and our ability to set boundaries in our lives, can create an inner rage which if it is not permitted release will often instead be turned against the individual and cause depression. As it happens, Mr. Joel also has a challenging square from Pluto to Mars in his chart, so the tendency towards denial and repression is inherited.
Ms. Joel also has a challenging opposition between Saturn (challenges) and Chiron (emotional sensitivity) that reveals an extremely sensitive inner nature and one that is easily wounded. This is a difficult combination of planetary dynamics for any young person.
Like her father, Ms. Joel has a strong Neptune component to her chart (he has a Moon/Neptune conjunction and she has Venus/Neptune) which denotes a powerfully creative streak with a strong imagination. Ms. Joel has been However, there is also a tendency to idealize one’s life and create fantasies of perfection with Neptune, and this can lead to rude awakenings.
Ms. Joel is currently going through a difficult planetary cycle with both Saturn and Pluto in a challenging aspect to Venus in her chart, denoting relationship troubles and problems with her own feelings of self-worth (also illustrated by Venus). Even though her relationship ended a year ago, it took this cocktail of planetary cycles to give rise to the difficult emotions that caused the taking of the pills.