My daughter recently celebrated her 11th birthday. Among her presents was the movie Tangled, an animated rendering of the Rapunzel story. As an astrologer I often see astrological symbols at play in film and TV. To me, Tangled is all about the Sun and Saturn.
The Sun signifies the life force and all that is life-giving. Saturn signifies things that are old and dying, along with death itself. As such, the two planets do poorly in each other’s signs. The Sun is in detriment in Saturn’s sign of Aquarius, while Saturn is in detriment in the Sun’s sign of Leo. These opposing forces of light and dark, good and evil, young and old go to battle in the movie via the two main characters, Rapunzel and Gothel.
The movie opens with the story of a drop of Light falling to earth and becoming a magical flower, one that has the power to heal and turn things young again. Gothel discovers the flower’s magic and hides it so that only she can use its powers; thus she is able to stay young and beautiful well beyond her years. However, one day the King’s men discover the flower while searching for a cure for the Queen, ailing as she labors in childbirth. The Queen drinks a remedy made from the flower and is healed. She gives birth to a daughter whose golden hair contains the flower’s magical powers—but only if it remains uncut on her head. Discovering this, and desperate to retain access to the magic, Gothel resorts to stealing the baby.
Gothel keeps Rapunzel locked away in a hidden tower, posing as her mother and forbidding her to venture into the kingdom beyond. She tells Rapunzel the world isn’t safe because people will take advantage of her (!). The main storyline begins with Rapunzel celebrating her coming of age.
How might we express Rapunzel in astrological terms? As a maiden she is Venus, but for her golden hair and its life-giving powers she is the Sun. What dignities, essential and accidental, would she have? Essentially she is as strong as can be, like the Sun in Leo which it rules. Accidentally, she is like a planet in the 12th house: confined and under the spell of an evil force, bereft of power.
Gothel, on the other hand, is like Saturn: cold and hard. Saturn is not nice to begin with, but Gothel is the worst sort of Saturn because she is evil. We could say she is like Saturn in detriment in Leo, ruled by the Sun because she cannot live without access to Rapunzel's magic. Accidentally, Gothel is strong and in control. We can imagine her planet being in one of the angular houses (1, 4, 7, or 10) to express this accidental strength.
Every year on Rapunzel’s birthday the King and Queen hold a lantern ceremony in honor of their lost princess. Filled with sadness and longing, they light the first lantern and release it into the night sky. Hundreds of lanterns are then released while the townspeople watch in reverence. This scene beautifully captures the spiritual essence and meaning of the Sun.
Throughout her life Rapunzel has painted a particular Sun design all over her tower walls (see photo in the gallery below). In a moment of sudden awareness at the crux of the film, she recognizes this as the same image that hung above her cradle as a baby—in the King’s Castle! In that instant Rapunzel realizes her true identity, and Gothel will soon be reaping what she has sown.
Tangled works on many levels and is a delight. Treat yourself to the movie if you haven’t seen it yet!