Astrology of Hoarding: Libra - Scorpio
Hoarders Hall of Fame: Libra Plus Scorpio
Couples Hoarding: Two Famous Pairs
Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith, aunt and cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, lived in a Hamptons mansion filled with “stuff” and cats. For 30 years they let the place rot, and in the 1970s a documentary filmmaker visited and filmed them. Onassis was so embarrassed she donated $32,000 for a housecleaning that turned out to be temporary.
Bachelor brothers Homer and Langley Collyer lived in Harlem in a four-story house. After lawyer Homer went blind, the brothers became hermits, wouldn't pay taxes or utilities, and set traps for creditors and thieves. Langley bought food at night in places miles away and rummaged in dumpsters, amassing 120 tons of stuff. One of his "traps" finally killed them both.
Any list of the top ten hoarders of all time includes the Collyers and the Bouvier-Beales. Birth dates show that both pairs were comprised of a Sun Libra and a Sun Scorpio.
What's so poisonous about this pairing?
The Collyer Brothers of Harlem
Homer Collyer, born November 6, 1881, was a Scorpio Sun with a Taurus Moon. His brother Langley Collyer, born October 3, 1885, had a Libra Sun and Leo Moon. They lived in a Harlem brownstone they inherited in 1929 and neither ever married.
Homer, 65, blind and handicapped, was found dead in his chair on March 21, 1947 after neighbors complained about a smell. His brother Langley was gone, could not be traced, and did not attend the funeral. Police suspected him of murder. Workers cleaning out the house found Langley’s remains on April 9. He had been crushed to death by one of his own "traps" about a month before, and Homer, who was dependent on him, starved.
Yet both Collyers have in their horoscopes glittering clusters of planets astrologers call “stelliums.” Stelliums indicate giftedness in one area of life—perhaps so much giftedness or preoccupation that other areas of life stay undeveloped or ignored.
At the 3 o'clock position in the blind brother Homer's horoscope, above, a massive and rare cluster of Saturn, Neptune, the Moon, Jupiter and Pluto, all in Taurus, must have dominated his life. His Scorpio Sun sits opposite this cluster, signifying that partnership might conflict with his individuality, gifts or health.
Langley Collyer's stellium consists of Mercury, Uranus and the Sun on the cusp between Virgo and Libra. In a horoscope, such an unusual bulk of planets on that cusp, plus a Moon-Mars conjunction, indicates an exceptionally controlling character.
A bulk of planets on a Virgo-Libra cusp indicates Langley's exceptionally controlling character.
Although born four years apart and under different signs, the brothers’ birth charts, compared, are notable because both charts have all ten planets packed into only one half of the chart. Most birth charts have planets scattered more evenly. Astrologically, planets crowded on one side of a chart mean the individual feels he or she lacks adequate support in life, needing an "anchor" to cling to. The Collyers clung to each other.
The Collyers' tragic story inspired movies and two novels.
Life at "Grey Gardens" in the Hamptons
Librans love homes and furnishings—and the less attractive side of being house-proud is a terrible fear that their home, their refuge and investment, will be taken from them.
The Nightmare in East Hampton
Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale, Jackie Kennedy’s aunt, was born October 5, 1895, a Libra Sun and either an Aries or Taurus Moon. (When the Moon is near a cusp between signs, only an exact birth time can confirm the Moon sign.) Edith longed to be a singer, suggesting she was born after 9 a.m. and therefore had a Taurus Moon, Taurus being associated with the human throat and voice. Daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie") was a Scorpio, born November 7, 1917, with either a Leo or Virgo Moon.
Mother and daughter were high-living socialites whose fortunes declined after husband and father Phelan Beale left them in 1931. In the 1940s Little Edie lived on her own in New York City, modeling and aspiring to an acting career. Her mother wouldn’t leave their East Hampton mansion, Grey Gardens, worried she’d lose her antiques and silverware to thieves or the whole 28-room house to the IRS.
Little Edie moved back in with her mother in 1952, and in 1971 they were discovered living there, in three rooms, on $300 a month, hoarding rubbish and cats. The eerie documentary film Grey Gardens (1975) made them famous. They both liked the film, an instant cult classic.
Used to having maids and never taught to keep house, she thought she shouldn't have to.
In the elder Edith's birth horoscope (above) a conjunction of the Sun and Mars in Libra means she was headstrong and impulsive, particularly about her house: a Sun Libran's pride and joy. Like both Collyer brothers, the elder Edith had a stellium: Saturn, Mercury, and Uranus in Scorpio. It was opposed by her Taurus Moon. She had a gift but let her will to develop it sour into resentment. Never taught how to keep house, she thought she shouldn't have to.
Little Edith’s Moon was probably in Leo, because she exaggerated her talents and popularity, showboating as Leo Moons will sometimes do. Grey Gardens shows her continually sniping at her bed-bound mother and playing to the camera. Her chart is more like an average chart, but when we compare the charts her Sun, the symbol of self, was entangled in her mother's Scorpio stellium, and they are forever paired as the dysfunctional flip side of Jacqueline Kennedy's Camelot.
Considering their career dreams, it is ironic that their squalid home life was what finally brought them fame. Little Edith’s cousin Eva Beale turned the “Grey Gardens” name into a brand of wine and a line of clothing.
Explaining Couples Hoarding
What is it about Sun Scorpios and Librans that encourages couples hoarding? Scorpios focus intensely on their interests or loves, and under certain conditions focus can morph into obsession. Librans love homes and furnishings—and the less attractive side of being house-proud is a terrible fear that their home, their refuge, their investment, is threatened or will be taken from them. Librans Langley Collyer and the elder Edith made sure nobody else would want their houses.
The more extreme behavior in each pair was not the Scorpio’s but the Libran’s. Homer Collyer, disabled, could not have built towers of junk or tunnels through them; his Libran brother did. Edith the elder was the one who wouldn’t leave her house. The Scorpio partner functions in these world-class hoarding couples as the enabler for the Libran.
Both Scorpios (Homer and Young Edith) have very close Sun-Mercury conjunctions, an aspect that can cloud thought processes. Each of the four hoarders had a severely afflicted Mercury, planet of the mind.
Libra With Scorpio: An Endless Loop?
The Collyers were sons of a doctor and a concert pianist, and the Bouvier-Beales born into money, proving that hoarding is not necessarily rooted in childhood poverty, although for other hoarders that is a contributing factor. Traumatic events can trigger hoarding. Anxiety or depression runs in families. Remedies include intervention and psychotherapy.
Television programs showed some hoarders coping with the painful de-cluttering process by “churning,” or moving items from one pile to another. Langley Collier said he kept all the newspapers so that when Homer was cured of blindness he could catch up on the news. The Bouvier-Beales, especially the elder, believed objects held memories of happier days, although that did not explain their many cats, or the rubbish, or the human feces left around.
Until more hoarding-couples' birth dates are available, only generalizations can be made, but the information so far suggests that Librans and Scorpios with afflicted Mars or Mercury aspects hoard more avidly than others, and when paired can form a feedback loop. The “empty houses” in world-class hoarders’ horoscopes charts contrast richly with the clutter they lived in.
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