Within her memoir, Ashley Judd: All That is Bitter and Sweet, Ashley gives us a confirming glimpse into prominent planetary yogas and conditions occurring in her natal chart. We will journey through her dasha timeline with a heavy focus on the difficulties in childhood from a dysfunctional family life, her career success in Hollywood, and her ability to walk away from acting whenever she has felt called to humanitarian service.
Using April 19, 1968 1:12pm in Sylmar, California as the birth data (AA Rating), the beautiful, talented, go-getter Ashley Judd came into this incarnation under the last bit of the Sun mahadasha and shifted into the 10-year dasha of the Moon shortly after her first birthday.
The Agony of Loneliness: Ashley’s Moon (Moon Mahadasha, ages 1 through 11, 1969-1979)
Ashley has Moon in business-savvy, organized Capricorn. Structured, methodical and stable experiences help nurture the emotional state of someone with Moon in this Saturn-ruled sign. Capricorn is practical, no nonsensical, with an eye on success and productivity, and can be experienced as cold or aloof at times. These are challenging traits to be highlighted at such a young age, and they represent not only Ashley’s feeling nature but on another level characteristics of her mother (or Ashley’s response to her mother) as the Moon also represents one’s mother.
The Moon shows our emotions, our ability to feel deeply, to love and be loved (emotionally), to give and receive emotional support, to be nurtured and nurture others. Ultimately the Moon’s highest expression is unconditional love. From its position in the sixth house of service, Ashley’s Moon rules and aspects the twelfth house of foreign countries and hospitals and healthcare, which is the root of her innate desire for advocacy and service to uplift humanity at large. To feel good, she needs to help others feel good and, in the process, heals herself—this is the key to the path to wholeness and awakening that she takes later on in life. She states in her book, “The health of my Soul was linked to my service work.”
But there’s more going on with this Moon placement. Ashley’s Moon, the focal point or filter with which she is looking out from at this early time in her life, forms a Kemadruma lunar yoga, which occurs when the Moon is alone and when both the house before it and the house after it are empty. The Kemadruma Yoga worsens with Ashley’s Moon being located in a Dushthana House (the sixth, eighth, and twelfth houses are considered houses of suffering or ‘dushthana’). The difficulty of this lunar yoga increases when the Moon does not receive any aspects from benefic planets (Ashley’s Moon is unaspected). Think of the Moon as the queen in a medieval kingdom. To feel safe and function at her best, the queen needs her court, her circle of advisors and ladies in waiting surrounding her with love, loyalty, and a sense of connection. When the Moon is Kemadruma, the queen has no court (the houses on either side of the Moon’s placement are empty). She is, in a sense, alone. All of these conditions create emotional separation, lack of emotional support, and feelings of being alone or abandoned.
There are many references to extreme loneliness, feelings of abandonment, and not feeling loved within the memoir. Ashley, not unlike other children from abusive or divided families, went through a wide variety of events or times in her young life that encouraged the deep-seated loneliness (and anger, which we’ll discuss a bit later). During these ten years under the Moon’s lens, Ashley said she felt so alone as a child that she began “talking to the fairies” and pretended to be the characters she read about or watched as a means of coping. She shares with her readers that she had childhood depression, anxiety and insomnia. “Spells started around eight years old”. Her third and fourth grade years were “soul-destroying”. Her first unfortunate experience with sexual abuse occurred when she was around six or seven years old. After her parents divorced at age four, Ashley found the most stability and love in her life from her grandparents, who not long after divorced when she was eight. There was one other family member whom Ashley felt the closest to, whom she experienced unconditional love with, her great-aunt Pauline but she too passed early, when Ashley was in fourth grade.
We find out in the memoir that Naomi Judd, Ashley’s mother, appears to have desperately followed her own dreams of becoming famous, putting her desire for personal success and fame before the welfare of her children, Wynonna and Ashley, two sisters who reacted to the same mother and her dysfunctional parenting in their own ways, and who, at times, were unsupportive and absent from each other as well.
Besides the underlying emotional suffering from the Kemadruma Moon, Ashley’s fourth house (the house of the mother) is Scorpio, ruled by Mars. Of all twelve signs, Scorpio is the one capable of the deepest feelings and the deepest hurt. To feel good, Ashley has to feel deeply. But with her Moon itself Kemadruma with zero support, where and to whom can she express herself to in order to function like the queen in her own life?
After her first abusive encounter somewhere around 1974-75, she talked about how she felt extremely alone when she didn’t tell everyone about what happened and those whom she had confided in only laughed at her. Rather than receive the emotional support she looked for, she was humiliated. During this time, Ashley was running Moon dasha (major period)/ Saturn bhukti (subperiod). Saturn is the ruler or ‘dispositor’ of her Moon and is located in the eighth house of scandal, where it’s afflicted by Rahu (who often represents shadowy, untrustworthy people) and an exalted Venus (the planet of beauty and pleasure). Not an easy house or combination to be triggered at such a young age. Additionally, Saturn was transiting Gemini at that time, aspecting the eighth house and planets therein while transiting Jupiter in Aquarius was in her seventh house of others aspecting her Ascendant (overall wellbeing) and Jupiter is the ruler of her eighth house and dispositor of the planets therein. (It’s possible that Ashley was running the Moon/Saturn/Jupiter period which occurred at the end of her sixth year and beginning of her seventh year in 1975 when this took place, but the exact date was not stated.)
Another configuration occurring in Ashley’s chart creating additional layers of emotional challenges is the inauspicious relationship between Moon and Jupiter. When the Moon is located six, eight, or twelve houses from Jupiter, Shakata Yoga is formed. (Ashley’s Moon is sixth from Jupiter.) Shakata means cartwheel and symbolizes the meaning of this planetary effect: the person will experience rises and falls over and over throughout their life. Things will be unsettled and uprooted often. This everchanging landscape is far from what a child with a Kemadruma sixth house Moon requires.
But young, innovative and eager Ashley found moments of peace and calm with unconditional love from animals. Pets offered a space of comfort to Ashley, who wrote “I have a wonderfully deep relationship with animals”. This shows the ability to love and nurture coming from her Moon in the sixth house of pets. We can see how Moon in sixth house Capricorn became a positive effect through structured play, fantasy, acting and animals, each giving her a safe place to open up and love.
Bravely Finding Her Own Way: Ashley’s Mars (Mars Dasha, age 11-18, 1979-1986)
Having Leo Rising (also referred to as Leo Lagna or Leo Ascendant), the planetary ruler of Ashley’s chart is the Sun and it’s exalted in Mars-ruled Aries and placed in the most auspicious house, the ninth house of prosperity and one’s truth– where the urge to beat to her own drum and fulfill her own dharma or path in life becomes the lighthouse whose light beams guide her through the thick fog of other people’s expectations, and their neglect. Ashley’s exalted Sun, which represents her Self and identity, is in Aries, the most independent of all signs. Aries is ruled by Mars, whose courage and energy can steer the boat of life with bravery, but may also create the very waves desperately being navigated.
Ordinarily, a well-placed and supported Mars can be an ally, a good friend that encourages your decisions, fights along side you on whatever battlefield you choose, and routes for you as your most loud and energetic fan. Ashley gained this dynamic within herself during her 7-year Mars dasha.
Mars is strong in its own sign, in the most auspicious ninth house, and is the yoga karaka for Leo Ascendant. (Yoga Karaka is a planet who rules both a dharma and karma house. Mars rules Ashley’s fourth and ninth houses, karma and dharma houses respectively.) Supporting Ashley and bringing tremendous opportunity and the chance for rise in life, Mars creates four Dharma Karma Adipati Yogas, a Trikona Raja Yoga with the Sun, a Lakshmi Yoga, a Parvata Yoga, and a Dhana Yoga. All of these planetary yogas bring into her life events and situations that shift her from ordinary to ‘extraordinary’. But underlying these yogas that kick in during the Mars dasha is the Ruchaka Yoga (the Pancha Mahapurush Yoga created by Mars by extended definition, which accepts the yoga forming from a Trikona House as well as a Kendra) and the Ruchaka Yoga is not dasha dependent. This is a defining characteristic that will accompany Ashley through her life. Granted, it gets lit up when Mars dasha is running, but she has this powerful Ruchaka always.
In her ninth-grade year, Ashley spent two months in Tokyo alone pursuing a modeling career. Sounds amazing! But it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. She ended up being raped and, as she explains in her memoir, no one supported her. During this time, she was running Mars dasha-Saturn bhukti. Saturn in the eighth house and twelfth from Mars tarnished what could’ve been a wonderful experience but brought abuse and criminal behavior to her instead (all eighth house stuff). To be honest, I’m having a hard time thinking about a ninth grader traveling alone to Toyko, or anywhere for that matter.
Ashley’s Mars is a good example showing how just because a planet is strong doesn’t mean its results will always be ‘good’. Like her memoir’s title, All That is Bitter and Sweet. So while Ashley gains through numerous yogas, she also has challenges created with her strong, actively involved Mars. Mars is conjunct the Sun, planet of Self, and Mercury, the planet of communication. (Mercury is also Ashley’s second house ruler, the house of speech.) At its worst, this combination can create a roughneck who verbally abuses others (and/or herself) and who struggles with what to say (Mercury) versus what to do (Mars) while having the awareness that all her words and actions represents who she believes herself to be. This very combination is an underlying strength at the same time, one that helped her survive her dreaded Moon dasha and this will always be a core strength to support her.
The Mars-Sun-Mercury combination also has an impact on her father. The Sun represents the father and the ninth house is the house of the father. While an active drug addict, Ashley’s father ‘divorced’ her from his life when she was in eleventh grade. Breaks in their relationship and their meeting each other on neutral ground (in therapy) to heal the rift between them and learn to understand each other can be seen by this ninth house situation. Retrograde Jupiter on her Ascendant aspects the ninth house and these three planets therein. Jupiter is Ashley’s truth and justice-seeking innate trait that encourages the opportunity to grow and shift the relationship into something positive.
Between the lack of emotional support and healthy expression during her Moon dasha and the violence and abandonment issues during her Mars dasha, Ashley was never able to truly feel grounded in a comfortable, stable home environment. Her mother worked odd jobs in various locations requiring frequent moves so that Ashley attended 12 different schools by the time she was 13 years old.
Pursuing Her Desires Regardless (or In Spite Of): Ashley’s Rahu (Rahu Dasha, age 18-36, 1986-2004)
Both wonderful and difficult events and situations continued into Ashley’s Rahu period. Those noted here are but a few that exemplify her natal Rahu and how it works with the rest of her chart. Rahu is in the Pisces eighth house conjunct Saturn and exalted Venus, as mentioned earlier. Rahu casts no aspect to other planets nor does it receive any aspects, except for its conjunction with Saturn and Venus. It does, however, aspect the twelfth and fourth houses, which shouldn’t be overlooked. Rahu is positioned twelfth from Sun-Mars-Mercury.
She got her first starring role on television in 1991 in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, playing an ensign opposite Wesley Crusher, portrayed by Wil Wheaton. In 1993, the movie she starred in, Ruby in Paradise, won her an award, recognition, and launched her career. At this time, Ashley ran Rahu/Saturn. When thinking of these two natural malefics, you don’t think fame and stardom. But when we look at her chart, we see that both Rahu and Saturn are conjunct exalted Venus, ruler of the arts and ruler of her tenth house of the public and fame. Saturn is a good planet to have around for longevity as well, especially at the onset of things. She also has Rahu and Saturn conjunct in the fifth house of entertainment and the arts in her Chaturtamsha division chart, representing good fortune and prosperity—aspected by Jupiter who occupies the Ascendant and rules the fifth house. Rahu and Saturn are conjunct Ashley’s Navamsha, where Saturn is strong in its own sign and aspects the Ascendant and the fifth house. In her fortieth divisional chart of auspiciousness, Rahu is conjunct a strong Moon in its own sign, exalted Jupiter, and Ketu while Saturn occupies the Ascendant and rules the tenth house. All of these division chart placements support some rise in life tied to her acting career. She acted in many television, film, and stage productions particularly from 1993 through 2002.
But Ashley was not “married” to her acting job. She had other goals and pushed herself to achieve them. Notably, she graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1990, joined the Peace Corp, and in 2002 she became Global Ambassador for Youth AIDS at PSI. However, the loneliness or lack of support continued. For example, no one attended Ashley’s Spring 1990 graduation from the honors program at the University of Kentucky. No one showed up to support her and cheer her on. Years later in May 2007 with determination and resolve, she returned to get her BA from University of Kentucky. She mentions in the memoir that her mother and sister did not attend her U of K graduation, and even later, her Harvard graduation. Her husband at the time (race car driver Dario) could not attend her graduation from Harvard due to being unable to leave the 500.
In addition to the achievements and repeated abandonment issues (that Kemadruma Yoga showing its affects throughout her life regardless of the planetary period), she experienced other hardships. Her rental house burned in the Southern California wildfire in 1993 leaving her stranded and homeless for almost three years. That same year she broke her ankle falling off a horse. This timeframe is still Rahu/Saturn. In her Tajik divisional chart of health, Rahu is in the twelfth house of loss and hospitalization while Saturn is strong in its own sign in the eleventh house of the ankles, aspected by Mars, planet of accidents.
Also during her Rahu dasha, Ashley met Dario in 1999 and married him in December 2001. Saturn is the ruler of her seventh house of marriage/marriage partner and with Saturn conjunct Rahu/Venus in the eighth house, its likely that Ashley felt ready for a change and sincerely desired a loving connection, expecting and admittedly depending on Dario’s presence in her life to carry her and help lift her own burden. She states that she relied too much on him to stabilize her moods. In her Navamsha ninth divisional chart of the spouse, her Moon occupies the twelfth house of loneliness and abandonment! But we also see Mars in the seventh, representing someone who has passion, is daring and brave- like a race car driver, and that Mars is ruled by Venus who sits in the tenth house of the public. The idea and attraction of marrying someone who does wild and crazy things and is famous for it shows up, particularly in this chart. Although married when she wrote her memoir, they have since divorced.
In 2004 sometime when she was shifting from her Rahu dasha into the Jupiter dasha, she injured her foot during a stage performance. This is tenth (the stage) and twelfth (the feet) house stuff! Remember earlier, Rahu in the twelfth house in her Tajik health chart had a strong Saturn in the eleventh house, aspecting her Ascendant? Saturn also rules the tenth house in that chart.
Optimism for Self-Healing and a Positive Future: Ashley’s Jupiter Dasha, age 36-52 (2004-2020)
Jupiter is the planet of hope and optimism, for positive opportunity and growth. It’s not surprising then that during these years, in 2006 specifically, Ashley decided to seek professional help, which took place at Shades of Hope in Texas, a rehabilitation facility which she continues to visit and publicly promote to this day for its success rate. In her memoir, she wrote that she “learned to process emotions” there. “I need the support of others as I do so, to know I am not alone in my internal struggles.” This is a clear indication of her Kemadruma Moon. It was good to read that she has had the courage (Mars in its own sign conjunct exalted Sun in the 9th house of one’s truth) and the potential now with Jupiter to address what wasn’t working in her life and where within herself she needed to bring darkness to light and seek healing.
In 2007, Ashley received her BA degree from University of Kentucky as previously mentioned, and in 2010 wrote her memoir, Ashley Judd: All That is Bitter and Sweet, whose writing process likely served as therapeutic and healing in itself.
Jupiter occupies Ashley’s Ascendant from where it aspects the fifth house of publishing, the seventh house of partnerships, and the ninth house of purpose and truth. Another side to the ninth house is philosophy and religion and she shared in her book that at this time she personally understood and accepted that religions and spirituality is open to all faiths and is one journey. She went on to say that she’s ‘blending advocacy and evangelism’ and feeling sandwiched between two worlds (Hollywood and advocacy). Jupiter in Aries occupies the Ascendant/First House of the Tajik divisional chart of Health conjunct Mercury the planet of communication, showing how healing can be found by taking the brave initiative to grow and express what has been and is being learned. The ruler of this divisional chart, Mars, is in the fifth house in Leo, giving her the underlying support to share her experience with others through writing and entertainment, through her success as a Hollywood actress.
Near the end of her memoir Ashley’s words reflect the qualities of Jupiter when she states, “I will always be traveling on the front lines of hope expecting miracles to happen.”
A Tough Road Ahead: Ashley’s Saturn (Saturn Dasha, ages 52 to 71, 2020-2039)
She has come a long way. Through great ups and deep downs, the rollercoaster of Ashley’s extraordinary life has been everything but boring! The progress she has made, the healing, the awareness and insight, and the positive growth during her Jupiter dasha will hopefully carry her through the years ahead. Saturn is quite opposite of Jupiter. Saturn is constricting, but also a revealer of truth, so in that respect, Ashley can continue to unfold and seek long-term healing and forgiveness.
This timeframe has already provided its share of difficulty. There’s Covid-19 and the lockdown for one thing. Then when Ashley went to the Congo in September 2021, she was involved in an accident that resulted with her leg broken in four places. She endured tremendous pain having to be carried on a makeshift stretcher from a remote location for medical treatment.
Saturn (planet of endurance and pain) is in her eighth house of chronic health issues. At this time, it’s unclear if she is walking normally again or if a limp lingers. With Saturn as the ruler of her Capricorn, Kemadruma sixth house Moon unaspected in her natal chart, she will continue to face the emotional turmoil but hopefully from her work and great progress in past years, she will experience alone-ness without loneliness, surrounding herself with support, family and friends.
Ashley’s story, her life, is full and rich with experiences (both difficult and amazing). The events and conditions discussed here are but a sampling and used only to illustrate the dasha timeline in an understanding of how planets are triggered or lit up and activated by the timeline and when they are, how they show up in life. Ashley has Jupiter on her Ascendant giving her an innate sense of optimism, carrying hope and faith wherever she goes, a strong Mars for bravery and conviction, and an exalted Sun for independence and self-worth. These things alone can, and hopefully will, accompany her solitary Moon, sustaining her as she finds her way emotionally.
A Queen can learn to create her court if she finds herself without one, knowing she has the power and remembering she has the resources and ability to do so.
I published Ashley’s chart analysis days before her mother’s death on April 30, 2022- at which time I temporarily removed the article from public view on my website. Saturn, Ashley’s current dasha ruler, owns that deeply challenged Moon as mentioned above. The Moon represents one’s mother, so I knew this current period would bring issues regarding Naomi but I didn’t look further into it. Without knowledge currently of Naomi’s own chart, it’s still pretty clear from her youngest daughter Ashley’s chart that life was not easy, support was questionable, and self-worth/self-love and emotional health a priority that may have been neglected. I don’t personally know what clinical depression feels like or does to people, but it makes me sad when it takes the lives of people who have resources and the ability to get help and, for whatever reason, it isn’t sought or doesn’t resolve deep enough for emotional healing and liberation. My thoughts are with the surviving family, with Ashley and her sister.
By Renate Maria Bell – certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at email@example.com 2022© Do not use, post, repost, or reprint in part or whole without the expressed written consent of the author.
Book cover image courtesy amazon.com; Photo of Ashley Judd courtesy wikipedia