My favorite series right now is Bates Motel and it is airing its series finale next week, after five seasons, which I am feeling rather bittersweet about. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it (the first four seasons are on Netflix). It’s a modern-day prequel/retelling of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Psycho and it stars Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga as Norman and Norma Bates, respectively, the iconic mother-son duo. It’s a tale of how Norma’s overprotectiveness and irrationality toward her mentally ill son eventually leads the teenager to grow into the demented serial killer from the film.
I was very curious earlier about the birth charts of Freddie and Vera, although I already am generally familiar with their charts. Neither of them have given birth times. Yet, I feel like Freddie might be a Libra Ascendant while Vera could be an Aquarius Rising. In any case, Freddie has the Sun in Aquarius with a Cancer Moon and Vera is my astro-twin with a Leo Sun and Scorpio Moon. But, what I found super-interesting about their charts is that they both have the North Node in Capricorn. Not only that but they both have planets conjunct the South Node in Cancer (Vera’s Saturn and Freddie’s Moon) and their North Nodes are conjunct by just one degree.
That is a really powerful, fateful connection to have. It’s actually very rare to meet someone whose North Node is conjunct yours, especially to a near-exact degree. But, when you do, you learn a lot about yourself through them in the positive and the not-so-positive sense: the full potential that you are capable of and the true satisfaction that is waiting for you, if you just go after it, and also the cringeworthy moments and destructive patterns you can display when you are not your best self. I used to have a close friend who had the North Node in Aquarius at the exact same degree as me and he was actually pretty influential in reminding me to not be self-absorbed or desperate for praise and attention. Not because of any advice he gave or anything but because he was so egotistical, and it backfired on him so regularly, that it was a big warning sign to me.
But, it is a synastry aspect that must work somewhat differently in professional relationships than it does in personal friendships. Since we gain our natural skills from our South Node, I do think it’s very common to see people making a career out of their South Node. With the South Node in Cancer, acting is an excellent fit, thanks to the emotional expression involved. Bates Motel is highly emotionally charged, in particular. Freddie and Vera can easily feed off of each other’s effortless sensitivity and emotional availability in order to give the intense performances that they do.
The thing about this synastry connection is that, even though the person can be a mirror of your lower self, there can also be an amazing understanding between you two that you rarely find with anyone. From interviews and appearances, Freddie and Vera speak of hitting it off very well and becoming very close friends through the show. Farmiga once said, tellingly, that in playing characters like this, you’ll either really love or hate each other and they fall into the first category. Interestingly, there does seem to be a Cancer-like dynamic between them that makes them seem a bit crabby, defensive, or moody toward each other but in a very affectionate way, working off of each other’s emotional states as if they were actually family.
Yet, they are both focusing more on the Capricorn energies in this lifetime. Vera is 43, so she is significantly older than 25-year-old Freddie, making her probably more experienced in the North Node in Capricorn realm. It is more than likely than Freddie still has some epiphanies to make when it comes to living out that Capricorn North Node energy, since he isn’t in his late 20’s yet and still hasn’t gone through his first Saturn Return. Those with this North Node definitely need goals to achieve and ways to be reliable, effective, and respectable. This is often achieved through being career-oriented. So, working on Bates Motel is probably even more satisfying for the two of them because Capricorn North Node people usually need really great work to channel their emotions into. Acting is the perfect career for that.
Also, we have to consider just what this show is about. All of these themes of smother-mothering, emotional instability, a claustrophobic family environment that keeps pulling you back, etc. are all feeding into the shadow side of their Cancer South Node. Granted, most people with this placement won’t have a family situation that is as extreme as the Bates’. But, still, those with this North Node have a deep-seated familiarity with being part of a clan that, in some way, keeps you emotionally stunted or unable to deal with your feelings in the most mature of ways. Cancer South Node also means that the relationship with the mother is so profound, for better or for worse, and it’s something that makes such a mark on the individual that they struggle to escape the weight of Mother and her influence on them, just as Norman does.
Freddie has something extra to draw on because his Cancer Moon is conjunct the South Node. If he was born at night, as I suspect, the South Node is really close to the Moon. Having the Moon conjunct the South Node is really powerful because it makes one’s habitual responses and patterns so deeply ingrained. The person will very instinctively react like the sign the conjunction is in and often to their detriment because they can do so without thinking for a second and from a place of insecurity, fear, or defensiveness. Since his South Node is conjunct the Moon in Cancer, there can be even more insecurity, fear, and defensiveness that Freddie must strive to overcome in order to feel in command of his life and like a mature adult, a la Capricorn.
Norman Bates is the poster-child for the stunted mama’s boy and also one of the most famous “crazies” in pop culture history. So, Highmore is really drawing upon these Cancer archetypes in this role, which could be part of the why he is so fantastic in it (seriously, he needs an Emmy nomination this year, at least, if not a win, or I will feel personally victimized). If I’m right about him having Libra Rising, then he also most likely has a Cancer Midheaven, putting his Moon and his South Node in the 10th House. This symbolizes him being given a big, career-making role as a “lunatic” and having such a vulnerable, emotional screen presence, easily prone to tears. He also started out as a child actor and I’ve found that a huge number of former child stars/teen stars have planets in the 10th, making it their destiny to get a head-start on career and adulthood. If this is the case, then he has that reversed Nodal situation going on and is actually being challenged to direct his maturity and strength (Capricorn) toward his personal life (4th).
Now, Vera’s Saturn conjunct her South Node is also quite symbolic and archetypal. In the film, we really only know Norma as a creepy corpse and the shrewish, overbearing figure in Norman’s imagination and memory. But, in Bates Motel, we get to see what Norma was like when she was alive and she is much more dimensional, complex, and, therefore, human on the show. We see that she, predictably, comes from a very harsh, difficult family life, having received very little comfort as a child. This is strikingly represented in Vera’s chart by Saturn conjunct the South Node in Cancer. I can’t say what Farmiga’s own childhood was like and she hasn’t confessed to having an unhappy, harsh upbringing. But, it is amazing how actors can unconsciously and unintentionally draw on placements in their own chart in order to play a part and how these placements can make them such a natural, perfect fit for the character.
Saturn on the South Node represents a past where there was a lot of hardship, pressure, and struggle. Since the conjunction is in Cancer, this can mean struggles to feel protected, comforted, or nurtured. However this has manifested in Vera’s actual life, she has been able to express this painful energy to play a woman who always had to take care of herself but, at the same time, struggled to do so. Because of this, she struggled to be the best mother she could be. In the series, Norma also has another older son named Dylan, who is continually the voice of reason, and it shows how she constantly tried to “grow up” by settling down in life very early. Yet, playing the part of wife and mother so prematurely only worsened her issues, instead of solved them.
Vera’s performance is as equally brilliant and complicated as Freddie’s (I really want them both to be nominated this year, as she’s only received a single Emmy nod for season one). Her Cancer Saturn on the South Node makes her a natural at portraying a woman who is weighed down by motherhood but also takes it so seriously, being as fiercely protective as she can be of her offspring. Vera is a mother of two herself in real life, which has to add to her portrayal. The interesting thing about her Nodes, which I see quite often, is that the ruler of her North Node is on the South Node. So, actually, she doesn’t have to stretch herself as much as the next person to live out her North Node. She already knows how to be self-sufficient, dedicated, and accountable for herself. The thing is knowing how to not let her emotions get the best of her because, when she masters this skill, she will achieve the sense of purpose that she has always tried to live by. Also, she must realize her purpose is more about her goals and less about making sure everyone feels okay.
There are also other energies at play in both of their charts that allow them to rise to the challenge of these characters. They both have a significant Pluto influence, which isn’t surprising at all. These parts are dark, complex, uncomfortable, sometimes downright disturbing. Actors who can play such characters with deep insight, total commitment, and a lack of fear about going to those dark places usually have some sort of Pluto influence. As I said before, Vera is a Scorpio Moon. Those with a Scorpio Moon instinctively know, often from experience, that a bond between mother and child can be as deeply loving, enriching, and intimate as it is totally complicated, suffocating, and even terrifying or threatening.
Freddie happens to have a few Pluto aspects, as he has Pluto sextile his Venus and square his Sun and Mercury. The square of Pluto in Scorpio to his Sun conjunct Mercury in Aquarius suggests that his brilliant, unique, broad-minded mentality gives him a profound insight into human nature that desperately needs to be expressed. If not, this awareness of the darkness could be consuming and bring him a lot of inner conflict. So, playing Norman is probably a great outlet for him in this sense, too. He does regularly speak about Norman, in interviews, like a nonjudgmental psychiatrist, expressing an intelligent, big-picture view of the human condition (Aquarius) that makes him understand the psychology of a twisted soul (Pluto).