Brooke’s Neptune Trip

Pretty Baby – the new Brooke Shields docu-series – is evidently full of not-so-pretty revelations. I haven’t seen it yet however it seems super-apt for her imminent Saturn Return – always a time to take stock – and recent Pluto-Mercury ‘voice reclaiming’ transit.

Yet this project, like the childhood it mostly references, is more of a Neptunian mirror labyrinth, complete with glitter-infused disco mist – Studio 54, no less.

The doco title is from Brooke’s 1978 movie debut playing Violet, a 12 year old prostitute in a New Orleans brothel circa 1917. Like many Gen X people who were also children or teenagers at the time, I was weirded out by it.

In fact, my response to this film prompted my first “oh no you wouldn’t understand, it’s artistic,” response. Cue long pervy pretentious rave about Louis Malle, “sensual innocence” and the joys of early 20th Century lingerie.

Pretty Baby had a long half-life and came with a cluster-fuq of similar phenoms: the excrebal Bilitis, vaseline-lensed David Hamilton ‘art’ featuring adolescent girls improbably drifting around in rowboats and dim baroque bedroomsa and the similarly soft-focus, underage Anais-Anais and Jontue aesthetic – “sensual but not too far from innocence.”

Think also Taxi Driver,  seventeen year-old Mariel Hemmingway’s character dating 40-something Woody Allen in Manhattan, Roman Polanski fuqing off to Paris to avoid charges of sexual assault on a 13 year-old girl, perv anthems like My Sharona and Don’t Stand So Close To Me being the top hits…these are just off the top of my head.

What WAS the late Seventies astro? It was Neptune in Saggo – yay, disco! -Uranus in Scorpio and Pluto in Libra. The only major, ongoing outer planetary alignment was Eris in Aries opposite Pluto in Libra. I actually cited this as a feminist surge in an Eris post – it was – but were Pretty Baby and Co the counter-insurgency?

So Brooke Shields, a multiple-conjunct Gemini with Virgo rising, was the epicenter of a gigantic, unprecedented pop culture pivot that fetishized pubescent girls. When television hosts are fawning over the sex appeal of a 12 year old, you can imagine the sort of people who are empowered and inspired.

To the typical teenage girl of the time, however, Shields was often infuriating. More accurately, her image was. Six-foot tall, sensationally beautiful with skyscraper legs and huge hair, she was omni-present as a “super-teen,” aspirational beauty icon and/or “dangerously seductive nymphet.”

Her birth astro is super-Mutable – the Sun, Jupiter, North Node, Moon, Midheaven and Venus are in Gemini squaring Uranus, Pluto, Mars and the Ascendant in Virgo. Saturn is square the Gemini stellium and opposite the Virgo one. It’s as if she has the classic Gen X signature (Saturn opposite Uranus and/or the Uranus-Pluto in Virgo) but amped.

Neptune in Sagittarius was in gnarly aspect to literally all of those points above from 1974 until 1982. Although she’d started work as a child model aged 11 months, things went haywire in the mid-70s.

In 1975, a nude pictorial of her was published in a Playboy magazine special called Sugar ‘N Spice, inspiring Louis Malle to cast her in Pretty Baby. Film analyst Julia Kearns has a fantastic, nuanced take on the screenplay, original story and process here.

After Pretty Baby, Brooke went on to star in Blue Lagoon and Endless Love – both of which featured flimsy plots that nonetheless required a tonne of nudity and “just grown-up enough” narrative. They did at least cast her alongside age-appropriate love interests – in the repulsive 1979 “Western” Wanda Nevada, her character is “a fiery 13 year-old” in a romance with Peter Fonda’s 39 year old drifter. 

Then in 1980, the 15 year-old essentially made Calvin Klein with her jeans ads implying she wasn’t wearing underwear. If you’re wondering how the hell any of this was permitted, her mother – Teri Shields, the prototypal momager – signed off on all of it. Was she unconcerned because she was smashed a lot of the time, making too much money from her daughter or genuinely oblivious?

I think we can rule out the third option. “They see total innocence, which is totally there,” she says in one of many painful to watch television interviews, describing the ‘secret’ of Brooke’s success, her daughter nestled next to her.  And…they have the sexy child too, they have the sexy person as well — that appeals to them.”

Amidst all the disturbing but sadly unsurprising revelations that have come out of this doco, the most heart-rending is Brooke’s abiding adoration for her mother.

Even the most positive read on her still ends up with the fact that the only thing off-limits for her daughters employers were her iconic lush eyebrows – nobody, not even the supreme make-up artist of the era – the very Leo Way Bandy – was allowed to alter them.

Teri Shields was an active alcoholic who managed her daughters career – controlling the considerable cash flow – from when she was a baby until her Saturn Return. That’s right. Brooke’s first Saturn Return – in 1995 – was the tremendously difficult extrication of her mother from her business life and the second Saturn Return coincides with this docu-series.

They were notoriously enmeshed and incredibly close. “I loved her, laughed with her and respected her,” she said after Teri Shields passed in 2012.

Yet this is also the person who was frequently abusive, accepted $450 for ten year old Brooke to appear in the ‘erotic’ picture spread that she still cannot win the rights back for and even, ludicrously, fat-shamed her.

Poignantly Shields has often talked of trying to win her approval or be ‘good’ enough that her mother would stop drinking. Her Gemini Moon is conjunct the Midheaven and Venus, suggesting not only the obvious outsize role her mother played in her career but the primal intensity and importance of the relationship, however tormented.

Since April 2021, Neptune has been hovering on Brooke’s descendant, an enchanted mirror reflecting herself and all the projections. It crossed her Saturn shortly after her mother passed, perhaps helping to dissolve rigid barriers and has been squaring her Gemini Moon, Midheaven and Venus up until practically the release of this documentary.

Neptune is cinema and also reflected in the Jungian therapy Shields has apparently been doing, yet you can also sense it in the reconjuring of her child self – it’s weird enough to gaze at one’s younger self from a distance but when your child self was sexualized and hailed as a sex symbol, seemingly with the sanction of everyone, it would be beyond surreal.

Notice how the Pretty Baby docu-series photo riffs off the striking photos taken in 1981 – below – only Brooke is now in her mother’s place, juxtaposed against her teenage self. This whole topic stirs up so much –  thoughts?

36 thoughts on “Brooke’s Neptune Trip”

  1. Last night I stumbled across an episode about her genealogy on Who Do You Think You are (currently on SBS On Demand if you are in Australia). She is descended from French Royalty and her grandmother’s family was full of sadness – check it out!! Fascinating and now very curious about Pretty Baby!

  2. Was not going to watch this, but then I did. Such a range of emotions. In awe of her beauty, repulsed by her mother, protective when she had to deal with the assumption that she was not at all intelligent. Her poise in every interview, even as a child. Her compassion towards her mother’s alcoholism, which left her very much on her own to raise herself. I never saw the movie Pretty Baby, and the clip they showed from it made me physically ill. Who gives a shit if it really happened? What kind of mother lets her child perform in a pornographic pedophile’s wet dream? I am amazed at her resilience, how she really did turn out ok, married to a good man, a great Mom to two daughters. How she never gave up on herself, and did not let anyone else define her, as she matured, and was able to take her life into her own hands. Mad Respect for her.

  3. Men who call their perversions ‘art’ are the most narcissistic of all pedo’s, I find it enraging. As if their engorged perspective is inherently above the petty feelings of the people around them, sacred. My own experience of being painted nude (I did not model for it) on a 3 x 3 metre canvas with a tyrant in red boots at 15, by a relative, felt extremely wrong. But, you know art, so it’s ok? What stuns me is how graceful and articulate Brooke is, what a wonderful poise and mental clarity she has, more interesting even than her face. Watched a little of the show, but it is quite uncomfortable. I want to protect her young self. She is amazing to have grown into a strong and open person despite this psychic abuse by millions. May Neptune bless her with strong boundaries going forwards.

  4. As a closeted Gen X teen, Brooke’s beauty in Blue Lagoon made it painfully obvious where my loyalties were, and I best pack my bags for Hell after an early death from AIDS. I can get a bit nostalgic for this era, and then I write sentences like this one.

    And Brooke had a Leo momager at that. I have come to realise that stepping out of the role that a Leo person has assigned for you can be ‘a thing’.

    Not bashing Leos here. If you do want to see a rising Leo made for the stage, stardom, adoration etc, check out trans performer Sasha Colby on Drag Race, who should win the Season this weekend. Ru Paul is bowing to her!

    My peak early Gen X moment though was watching Christiane F at school. It was played at my Catholic school as a warning against drugs, but it can easily be seen as a ‘How to’ guide as well. Maybe scenes like the one where a guy jumped the toilet stall to steal her loaded syringe and to them jam it into his neck were edited out in the school version, but after seeing it again in Berlin in 2019, I wondered WTF they were thinking.

  5. Yes, certain European filmmakers takes were pervy and inappropriate, some still are. Now days some of them seem to have a fascination with teenagers. Check out Serge Gainsborough’s creepy song clip, ‘Lemon Incest’ with his daughter Charlotte from the early eighties. Explained away as high art by a certain ilk. And now we are seeing adults still on the march insinuating their adult views and now political ideologies onto children and teens, just in another way but still as equally as creepy. The eighties actually was a somewhat unfettered time, great films (other kids were watching Bambi I was watching ‘The Deer Hunter’ with my parents and siblings), some great music with strong and interesting female leads and solo vocalists unlike the vapids these days. We weren’t glued to a mobile phone, weren’t slaves or manipulated by social media, felt the need to turn everything inward and narcissistic, journalists actually did their job and not what they were told to do (in the main), never had the pressure to conform to sex stereotypes and if you went outside them weren’t reassigned. Never had the plastic people a la Kardashians ect. Political activism was really interesting then and I had hopes for real change as left wing actually meant something, now they are just sellouts to woke corporatism and various cult like movements and have become useful idiots. I want to go back to the eighties! Can we start again? I’ve always liked Brooke Shields, ‘Endless Love’ is imprinted on my brain, possibly because I went through similar as a teenager with my first torrid love.

  6. I’m surprised she is as sane as she is! I can’t imagine the amount of pressure she must have been under constantly or how warped and twisted that world was

  7. Gen X-er here. Considering the disparate, post 60s come down of the era, in some ways if you didn’t have someone grounded & supportive caring for you, all manner of s*it could be gotten into & or, happen at you. I can’t imagine being thrust forward like Brooke was, it was hard enough to just get through the 80s without any scars (lack of healing communication/understanding). I can’t wait to see this docu. I am however, going to make sure I’m in a good headspace for it & have plenty of cleansing gubbins for after. Great piece Myst xx good to be back xx

  8. So far, there’s been no mention here of her marriage to Andre Agassi. It’s interesting because, according to his bio, his father pushed him hard to be a tennis star. They both had parental issues.

    I didn’t notice Brooke until the Calvin Kein ads. She seemed age appropriate for the campaign and I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Many jeans wearers dispensed with underwear in those days!

  9. Shields’ has that Gem moon out of bounds, and so does Gwyneth Paltrow too I think–I wonder if that’s a factor in them both being triggering figures to many?* Or is OOB Gem moon just very common?

    Thank you for this Mystic, and thank you for not mincing words and calling the projects childhood Shields was so sadly not protected from what they are–repulsive. So often writers about such things strive for “nuance” and end up with apologism. It is refreshing to read you calling it what it is, directly and honestly. That Kearns essay is excellent as well.

    *full disclosure–I have an out of bounds Gem moon, also in the tenth house. So my interest is personal!! LOL

  10. I will have to read this again but yes, this topic does stir up so much. I am not sure if I have understood this correctly but placing herself in her mother’s place in the photo is incredibly sad.

    1. Wish Upon a Star

      Interesting Brunnie.

      I saw it as Brooke being her Higher Self. Not in a nauseating spiritual way, But Brooke gaining her voice and looking after herself.

      Yes it has stirred up alot for me too. Maybe we should treat our selves to some kindness today.

      1. Yes, most definitely. We need to be kind to ourselves. I am loathe to say too much about Brooke Shields as I don’t have enough facts to comment. Mothers, goddess help us!!!

        1. I have Saturn in Pisces in the fourth. Mystic described it as looking at happy families and thinking Stockholm syndrome. I cannot even begin to say how apt this is. And I have in-laws who play this out too! I can only hope that that in my next life I am rewarded for doing time. But now I am sounding like a whinger. I will say though that having a mother and mother-in-law who honour a worthy foe and eat you for breakfast if you show a weakness is an excellent training ground for life.

          1. Wish Upon a Star

            No you are not sounding like a whinger. I hate how people in these situations get silenced. What you really need to do is rant and scream. In all it’s crazy, messy glory.

            I understand not showing weakness so well. I am a Pisces Rising, feminine, sensitive and fluid. I will show vulnerability, fuq them who tried to indoctrinate me into hardness. I won’t give up a huge part of me.

            Have a lovely night Brunnie.


          2. You can be rewarded earlier than the next life! Neptune is now presumably also in your 4th so see the description in the Year Ahead report for that BUT consider some kind of an outreach program where you be the adult that you wanted to be in your life, for someone currently in your situation. You may or may not think you have anything to offer them but for a teenager in a repressive or shaky household, being a stable, well-meaning adult who can offer friendly and unbiased advice is golden, don’t you think?

        2. Wish Upon a Star

          May Goddess shine her Light on all Mother’s and daughters and sons.

          Life is complicated and nuanced.

  11. And didn’t Tom Cruise berate her for taking anti-depressants for a very public postpartum depression. Could that have been caused by her own memory of ‘helpless’ early life?
    The hot studs in the early 80’s, the ones who wore ‘Italians do it Better’ T-shirts, had her photo pinned everywhere as their ideal girlfriend. That was hard for the mortal others to compete with.
    The Mother as The Pimp, not easy to get your head around & it seems cinema has a list of them.
    Of course her eyebrows were non-negotiable

    1. I have been down the interweb labyrinth this afternoon on a Brooke Shields trip. Very true about the public riff with Tom Cruise and his faith based take on psychiatry. She did end up accepting his apology and attended his wedding to Katie Holmes.
      I was wondering with Brooke Shields having the maternal role model of Teri, perhaps had valid concerns she may turn our like her own Mother. When you watch the creepy 80’s interview with Brooke and Teri Shields my reaction has been varied. Should I call a therapist and checkin? Two things are very clear to me tho, I have reaffirmed my commitment to feminism and child safety globally.
      Sweet Pegs when I walk past a YSL counter or ChiChi eyeshadows, I think fondly of you and the styling world you create.

  12. In a sketchy reception zone so I’ve saved this to read. Brooke was so zeitgeist with those brows in the 80-90’s. I adored her in Blue Lagoon as a teen.

  13. Thank you for this MM. So much to unpack here and a lot of interesting astrological significance and parallels. In common with Brooke Shields is our height and parental alcoholism and the various toxic behaviours we have survived. Perhaps I’ll watch this or will this be too triggering. The Lolita fetishism in the arts does trouble me and I would suggest that is coming from my abused past origin.

    My issue with Woody Allen is incredibly personal and is about “Blue Jasmine”. I knew the women this was written about, she lived with us when I was about 2 years old after living in her car with two cats. She changed her name to Jasmine because of the night jasmine my Mum had growing along our fence line. I last saw Jasmine whom changed her name again (I know of three or four of her names) in 1995. The three of us sharing tea at The Three Monkeys at West End in Brisbane. This beautiful women gave me my beloved feline friend Sylvie and Woody Allen has no idea of the value of this real person’s life story. Cate Blanchett was and is incredible. It’s to the women that knew Jasmine, the reasons for her name changes and her actual life story should have been handled with the utmost respect. As the end of the film was actually the beginning of her evolution.

    I look forward to reading Pegs post on this one.

    1. My beloved mother died early (64) from alcohol use. A woman publican in the 60’s who retired too early. A workaholic who lived for her work which was almost 24/7, kinda lost it w/o work.
      How hard is it to watch a beautiful glamorous intelligent woman who was way ahead of her time to slowly kill herself.
      Of course we survive S as we have developed the skills & compassion parental wounds create.

      1. And i worshipped the ground she walked on.
        My Moon is married to Neptune Mid Heaven 10th….will always moon after my mother 🙂

      2. Thank you for sharing about your beloved mother Pegs.
        My strength comes from those I met and the common themes we share. Generational trauma and the grief cycle are an integral part of my healing.
        My father was 2 years sober when as a sterile man he married my Mother. I have a few dear friends who I love in active addiction, I try and offer my support and it’s a very difficult situation.

          1. Well when it doesn’t shine one must trust the shadow that they cast 💙 Thank you for your kindness and tender words xx

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