by Alex Miller-Mignone
BLACK HOLE CASE STUDY
The media circus attendant upon the recent incarceration of hotel heiress Paris Hilton was among the more egregious examples of the blurring of the line between news and entertainment which has become so pervasive since the collapse of FCC regulation in the mid and late nineties. Paris Hilton is a textbook personification of the Black Hole clash between image and substance. Is the public endlessly fascinated with the antics of Americas celebrities and the latest private tragedy of its neighbors, or are we just being acclimatized to an atmosphere of hysteria about trivial matters in an effort to distract us from the true issues of our day? In other words, do we actually not want to know about whats important, or are we being trained not to care?
Hiltons legal quagmire, in fact much of her life story and public image, is a perfect example of the topsy-turvy, black-is-white, up-is-down energies released by Black Hole activation, creating a scenario so convoluted and complex as to virtually defy rational explanation. Paris Hilton is a textbook personification of the Black Hole clash between image and substance. Trying to untie this Gordian knot is counter-productive and self-defeating; Alexander-like, we must cut it clean through to fathom its mysteries.
Paris Hilton is the great-granddaughter of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, latest scion of a wealthy family not noted for much intellectual staying power beyond its founder. A dizzying web of interconnections with Hollywoods glitterati forms a complex genealogical interplayElizabeth Taylor is technically Paris great-aunt, having been once briefly married to Nicky Hilton (Paris' grandfathers elder brother), and Zsa Zsa Gabor is a step great-granny, due to her mesalliance with the dynastys founderthe second marriage for both. With an inheritance estimated at upwards of $50 million, the lap of luxury is a term probably too tame for the circumstances in which Paris found herself at birth, but she managed to make it into early adulthood without causing much of a stir.
A high school drop-out (she later earned her GED), Paris began modeling as a child, primarily for charity events, and eventually worked with some prestigious agencies, including Donald Trumps T Management, New Yorks Ford Agency, and Londons Premier, including layouts for GUESS jeans, Tommy Hilfiger, and Christian Dior, quietly building a portfolio based more on her exotic roots than her talent or looks. That relative obscurity was shattered in 2003 with the release of One Night in Paris, a videotaped sexual encounter with her former boyfriend, Rick Salomon. Hilton denied involvement in the tapes release, but was later awarded $400,000 from its proceeds, and given a directorial credit. The DVD elevated Hilton into the select company of celebrity show-alls such as Tonya Harding with Jeff Gillooly and Pamela Anderson with Tommy Lee; it won three AVN awards in 2005, including Best Selling Title of the Year.
The release of the tape came one week before the premier of the Fox reality series, The Simple Life, showcasing Hilton in a variety of blue collar and menial jobs, and did much to foster the shows early success. After three seasons a dispute between Hilton and co-star Nicole Ritchie led to the shows cancellation on Fox, but it was picked up by E! Entertainment Television and has run there sporadically. The success of The Simple Life led to a spate of minor and supporting roles in films, most notably 2005's House of Wax, as well as guest and cameo appearances in music videos, awards shows, and TV.
Hilton has been canny and successful in branding herself as a commodity for sale, lending her name and likeness to a variety of products, from purses and jewelry to perfume. Her growing reputation as a party girl led to the opening of a chain of nightclubs, Club Paris, and her New York Times bestseller Confessions of an Heiress, which was critically panned as amateurish. In 2004 Hilton founded Heiress Records, a sub-label of Warner Bros Records. To date the companys only release is Hiltons own eponymous debut CD Paris, which has received mixed reviews and disappointing sales. Despite rather tepid interest from the public, Hiltons ventures have added an additional $6-7 million per annum to her sizeable inheritance in 2005 and 2006.
Hiltons personal life has been fodder for the tabloids, and unfortunately, for mainstream news outlets as well. A six-month engagement to male model Jason Shaw in 2003 was followed by one of similar length to Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis in 2005. One can only speculate on the confusion caused by the couples shared first name in that heir-head household. A brief romance with yet another Greek millionaire was followed by a self-imposed ban on men which, with minor exceptions, Hilton has maintained for the past year.
On 7 September 2006, Hilton was stopped for erratic driving and failed a sobriety test with a .08% blood alcohol content (Californias legal minimum for intoxication). Hiltons license was suspended and she subsequently pled no contest to reckless driving, receiving a 36-month probation. On 15 January 2007 she was arrested for driving with a suspended license. Hilton alleged that her publicist had told her she could drive for work, and she was forced to sign a document acknowledging that she was not permitted to drive. However, on 27 February 2007, Hilton, who was driving without lights after dark, was stopped for doing 70 in a 35 mph zone, and was again charged with driving with a suspended license (a copy of the January 15 document was in her glove compartment).
These infractions and her failure to enroll in a court-ordered alcohol education program were deemed to constitute a violation of her parole by the city attorneys office on March 29, and Hilton was ordered to appear in court. On 4 May 2007 Judge Michael Sauer sentenced her to 45 days in jail, beginning June 5. Hilton supported an online petition to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requesting a pardon, but rival groups asking him not to intervene received roughly equivalent numbers of signatories.
At 11:38 PM on Sunday, 3 June, after a surprise appearance at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, Hilton surrendered herself at the Twin Towers Correctional facility in Los Angeles. Transferred to an all-female jail in Lynwood and detained in a special section reserved for celebrities and high-profile inmates, Hilton was expected to serve approximately 23 days of her 45 day sentence, with time off for good behavior. But at 2 AM on Thursday, 7 June, Hilton was released on the orders of LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, who cited an unspecified medical condition. Credited with five days served, Hilton was ordered to serve the remainder of her sentence at home in her mansion under house arrest, with an electronic monitoring device.
But the story didnt end there. On the same day, Judge Sauer ordered her to appear in court the following morning, June 8, where he ordered her to return to jail and serve the rest of her full sentence. Hilton, whose composure had evaporated during the dizzying turn of events, screamed Its not right! and repeatedly called for her mother as she was led weeping from the courtroom.
I used to act dumb. It was an act. Two days later, on Sunday the 10th, Hilton phoned Barbara Walters from jail, and Walters revealed the conversation on her show, The View, on Monday. Stating that she had not been sobbing as reported, Hilton did admit to being severely depressed and not eating, then rather unimaginatively described her prison experience by stating that she felt as if she was in a cage. When asked how she was different, Hilton responded:
"I'm not the same person I was. I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26 years old, and that act is no longer cute. It is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who looked up to me. I know now that I can make a difference, that I have the power to do that. I have been thinking that I want to do different things when I am out of here. I have become much more spiritual. God has given me this new chance."
She further related that her spiritual advisor had explained to her that My spirit or soul did not like the way I was being seen, and that is why I was sent to jail. God has released me. She suggested she might want to work to make a difference with breast cancer, multiple sclerosis (both diseases have afflicted family members), or sick children. Hilton stated she was reading newspapers, the Bible, and The Secret. Meanwhile her parents have planned a star-studded Las Vegas bash to celebrate her return.
Born 17 February 1981, Paris Hilton is fortunately named, from an astrological perspective, for there is an asteroid Paris, named for the City of Light, though it works just as well for her. At 27 Cancer retrograde, this body is conjoined a Black Hole at 28 and makes significant aspects to the nativity, including an inconjunct to her natal Sun/Mercury conjunction at 29 and 28 Aquarius, conjoined another Black Hole at 28. Sun/Black Hole natives are adept at projecting an image, and receiving public attention for it, whatever the substance behind it, or lack thereof. Often this image is consciously understood by the native to be an inappropriate facade, a realization Hilton seems to have come to, if belatedly. But even if struggled against, it may be hard to dispel from the public imagination once it has formed there. This may be the case with Paris, if we are to believe her jailhouse confidences to Barbara Walters, acknowledging that the image she has cultivated for the past half decade no longer serves her. We may be about to see just how entrenched that image has become, if Hilton does try to alter it upon her release.
Some Black Hole Sun natives back up the image with considerable substance; others do not. So far Hilton seems to be of the latter variety, being only moderately successful in any of her creative or business endeavors, although the attractive power of the Black Hole has enabled her to reap a significant monetary recompense for her efforts regardless of the lack of talent they reveal. It is typical of this placement that what successes she has had, has come predominantly from cultivating her imageeither her literal image, in her modeling career, or the more symbolic image, as evinced in the lines of female accouterments which she has endorsed.
Black Hole Mercury is also retrograde, and may reflect the lack of education: Hilton likely does not test well or perform to accepted academic standards. It is certainly the source of her undoing, for all three infractions leading to her incarceration centered on driving violations, Mercury ruling cars and transportation. Why someone with her wealth would simply not have hired a driver in these circumstances (or at least driven carefully and observed speed limits while illegally behind the wheel) is beyond rational comprehension, and that poor decision-making faculty is another indicator of the hold which this retrograde Black Hole Mercury has on her life.
Asteroid Midas also has a strong impact in the chart, appropriate for one born into vast wealth and able to create more by simply lending the golden touch of her name to a product. At 27 Aries, it is also exactly conjunct a Black Hole, sextile the Sun/Mercury conjunction, and forms a T-Square with asteroid Paris and Pluto at 24 Libra. Midas/Pluto is an indicator of extreme wealth, but also a certain lack of satisfaction or accomplishment derived from it. Rich, but unlucky, about sums it up.
The Nodal Axis at 10 Leo and Aquarius has several points conjunct, descriptive of aspects of Hiltons life. As may be expected, it is the South Node, representing her past, family roots, and areas in which she feels comfortable but which ultimately hold her back, which has the most activity. Venus conjoins from 16 Aquarius, itself on a Pulsar and squared a Black Hole at 16 Taurus, representative of the easy money of her inheritance, and her notoriety (Pulsar) as an image of female beauty as well as feminine vapidity, vanity, foolishness and foibles.
Asteroids Eros and Icarus cluster about the South Node as well, from 3 and 4 Aquarius, and say much about the rather rash passions which enticed her into several brief engagements and allowed her to entangle herself with someone untrustworthy enough to publicize explicit footage of their lovemaking. Asteroid Godiva conjoins the North Node from 1 Leo and trines Uranus at 0 Sagittarius, perhaps explaining the bump to her career which ensued from the shocking (Uranus) nudity (Godiva), electronically (Uranus) revealed. Regardless of the propriety of that incident, it did enable her to embark upon an acting career of sorts, a stretch of her talents which would normally be encouraged by the forward-looking North Node.
Mars at 8 Pisces is conjunct asteroid Hammurabi at 9 Pisces, opposes a Black Hole at 9 Virgo and squares a Maser at 7 Gemini, itself conjoined by asteroid Dizzy at 11. This nicely encapsulates the dizzy sexpot aspect of her image, as well as the controversy (Maser) evoked by her sexual antics, on screen and off. Hammurabi, named for the first codifier of laws in ancient Babylonia, when linked with Mars may speak to Hiltons fractious and antagonistic relationship with the law in general, and specifically the run-ins which led to her prison term. The third and final infraction, which broke the legal camels back, occurred just five days before a 12 Virgo lunar eclipse on March 3 which fell directly across the Mars/Hammurabi opposition to the Black Hole. Mars is also inconjunct an exact conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at 9 Libra, both retrograde, and forms a Yod with the North Node at 10 Leo, itself conjunct a Black Hole. This reiterates the rather harsh (Mars) reaction of the judge (Jupiter) and the legal system (Saturn), all with an eye to Hiltons further development and progress as a mature adult (North Node), and suggests that this was meant to be, to evoke her better nature, something touched upon by Hilton in her conversation with Barbara Walters.
Neptune at 24 Sagittarius is exactly conjunct a Pulsar, within orb of the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius, and is conjoined by asteroid Child at 23 Sagittarius. Its interesting that Hiltons apparent spiritual awakening included an overt awareness that she was now a 26-year-old grown-up, and her childish antics were no longer cute, and that this realization came on the heels of her pathetic pleas for Mommy as she was escorted from the courtroom. Neptune is exactly sextile natal Pluto at 24 Libra, and together these form an exact Yod with natal asteroid Desiderata conjunct the Black Hole at 24 Taurus. Desiderata is named for the famous Max Ehrmann poem, often college dorm poster material, about how to form a spiritual approach to lifes challenges. Its inclusion in this pattern may be the best astrological evidence available that Hiltons mooted transformation from celebutante to Mother Theresa may be more than the whim of the moment, and could include a fated or predestined element to the current crisis in which she finds herself.
If we needed a confirmation of Mercurys pivotal role in the cause celebre, we need look no further than its status for the week-long furor attending Paris incarceration, precipitate release, and re-incarceration. Mercury, of course, is the trickster, and was being particularly cruel to Hilton at this time.
Black Hole keywords are reversal, dramatic change in status quo, and alternate reality. On Sunday the 3rd, when she surrendered herself at the Twin Towers jail, Mercury was at 5 Cancer, just past the singularity of the Black Hole at 4 Cancer and exactly opposed another at 5 Capricorn. Black Hole keywords are reversal, dramatic change in status quo, and alternate reality, which is just what Paris would have experienced in transitioning from the stage of the MTV Movie Awards to a cell in solitary confinement. By the morning of Thursday the 7th, when she was released, Mercury had moved on to the Quasar at 8 Cancer. Quasars are the polar opposites of Black Holes, often regurgitating whatever it was the Black Hole had consumed, and right on cue, Paris found her liberty, which had been absorbed by the Black Hole, restored by the Quasar.
But not so fast! By the next day and her return to court, Mercury had transited to 9 Cancer, from where it made a sextile to the Black Hole at 9 Virgo and a trine to her natal Hammurabi/Mars, and the long arm of the law intervened to snatch her back again, once more altering her reality. It was also exactly square natal Jupiter/Saturn at 9 Libra, reiterating the potential for judicial/legal reversals inherent in that conjunction when activated by Black Hole energies.
Not to be outdone, Pluto lent a hand as well. Its retrograde station at 28 Sagittarius in March was in sextile to the Mercury/Sun conjunction at 28/29 Aquarius, and inconjunct asteroid Paris at 27 Cancer, a double-whammy dose of identity transformation. It was still at 28 on the 3rd, but had backed off to 27 and the exact aspect to Paris for the bizarre in-and-out shuffle at the end of the week. Transit Venus chose to highlight this further, being exactly conjoined asteroid Paris for Hiltons surrender on the 3rd, then moved on to 2 Leo and an exact square to asteroid Chaos at 2 Taurus in Hiltons nativity, certainly apt for the courtroom breakdown scene, depicting as it did a female in complete disarray.
The Sun began the week at 12 Gemini, just past conjunction with Hiltons asteroid Dizzy at 11, moving on to 14/15 Gemini and an opposition to transit Jupiter (representing the judge and his pre-empted decisions) for her release, finally coming just shy of opposition to the Black Hole at 18 Sagittarius on Friday for the dramatic reversal and return to her cell.
Just after midnight on Tuesday, June 26, Hilton was released, having served 23 days, with time off for good behavior. The Sun at 4 Cancer was reactivating the Black Hole which Mercurys passage had stimulated when she was first incarcerated, and Mercury itself, now retrograde, was back exactly at that same 8 Cancer Quasar where it was for her first, abortive, release on June 7. As she made her way through the phalanx of photographers and into the waiting arms of her mother, one could only wonder what, if anything, she takes away from the experience.
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at Alixilamirorim@aol.com.