June Brown (1927 – 2022)

“Ooh I say!”

~ Dot Cotton

June Brown, and her alter ego, Dot Cotton, was a household name, even for those who didn’t watch EastEnders.  She died last week, at the age of 95.  Though it was announced that she left the soap in February 2020, for the viewers her character Dot is ostensibly in Ireland;  they are yet to break the news in soapland. She was often asked how similar she was to the character that was created, and she would reply that they both chain-smoked, and were both Christians.  She played the role, on and off, since 1985.  She has been described as a National Treasure.

Birth Chart

June Brown had half her planets (5) in the Water element, making her an emotional individual, though she would sometimes hide this under a deadpan expression.  This is something an Ascendant might reveal, but we do not have her birth time.  She could, however, be a cool customer, with the Sun in Aquarius.  She was born on a Full Moon in Leo, which would have given her strong likes and dislikes – if she did not like a scene, she would walk away from it.  Her Sun was exactly square Mars – as Dot Cotton, she was not a warrior as such, except perhaps in an evangelical sense.  Here I am in danger of confusing the two people: they do so easily fuse in the mind!  Together with her Neptune/Moon conjunction (emotional sensitivity) in performing Leo, Mars and the Sun create a T-square, and she has had to deal with many poignant and even tragic events in her life.  She lost many members of her family early on in life, for instance.  But the Sun exactly sextile Chiron made her a healer, and she was said to be supportive of other cast members in Eastenders.  She did have the Writer Archetype, in the shape of Mercury conjunct Venus, and produced her autobiography “Before the Year Dot” published in 2013 and written during a break from EastEnders.  In the book “British Entertainers”, Astrologer Frank Clifford writes (with confidential information about her birth time): “With her chart ruler on the MC, Brown won fame during her second Saturn Return.”

Life and Career

June was born and brought up in Needham Market, Suffolk, and went to school in Ispswich.  She trained in acting at the Old Vic Theatre School in Lambeth.  She was an established actress before she took on the role of Dot Cotton, playing roles in the theatre such as Lady Macbeth, Hedda Gabler, and appearing in some films, such as Sunday Bloody Sunday.  She was recommended for the life-changing role by the early EastEnder, actor Leslie Grantham who played “Dirty” Den Watts.

Marriage and Relationships

June was married twice, the first time to actor John Garley, who suffered from depression. Compatibility-wise, her Sun was exactly square his Saturn and opposite his Neptune, and her Neptune exactly square his Saturn (a bleak square mirrored in his own chart).  She lost him to suicide in 1957.  The following year, she married another actor, Robert Arnold (from Dixon of Dock Green), and they were married for 45 years, until his death.  Remarkably, she bore six children in seven years.  Robert’s Sun was closely conjunct her natal North Node (a karmic tie).

John Altman

One of the defining characteristics of Dot’s life was her fierce maternality around her son Nick, a wrong’un who consistently betrayed her trust.  She continually sought guidance from the bible on the matter, especially in the matter of serial forgiveness.  Nick tried to kill Dot, and eventually Dot did kill Nick, and did time for it.  Actor John Altman, who played her son, has portrayed them as good friends in real life.  June’s Mercury was conjunct John’s Sun, ensuring a good flow of communication between them.

Single-handed Episode

June Brown was a unique individual playing Dot Cotton, a unique character.  In 2008 she became the first soap actor to single-handedly carry a whole episode.  The episode was called “Pretty Baby…”, and in it Dot detailed her life on cassette for her husband to listen to who was in hospital with a stroke.  June’s transits at the time were amazingly descriptive of this solitary experience: Saturn was opposite her natal Jupiter, and exactly square her natal Saturn to the day.  Uranus was on her natal Venus in Pisces.  With art imitating life, actor John Bardon, who played her screen husband Jim, was in hospital recovering from a stroke at the time.  Uranus was trine his Chiron (a healing) at the time, and Neptune square his Uranus (the stroke, perhaps).  Again, I am in danger of irresistably fusing actors with soap characters, here.  I hope you will grant me poetic licence, just for this blog.

Who Do You Think You Are?

In August 2011 June took part in an extremely moving episode of Who Do You Think You Are?  Her ancestry is a rich tapestry of English, Irish, Scottish, Sephardic Jewish, Algerian, Dutch and Italian!  She was related to a famous bare-knuckle boxer, Isaac Bitton – maybe this is reflected in her exact square between the Sun and Mars.  In an interesting karmic astrological note, one of her ancestors who was born in 1732 has a karmic link with her of their Sun on her (karmic) North Node.

She concluded, at the end of the programme: “I feel more connected, a consolidation I think of my Jewishness, like being a member of a family.”

Macular Degeneration

In another example of Art imitating Life, June contracted macular degeneration in 2015, and the storyline about macular degeneration was written into the script of EastEnders. With treatment for it, her eyesight was partially saved in 2017, at the time Saturn was trine her natal Chiron.  She commented:  “I never go to soap awards or suchlike now. I don’t recognise people that I know and they would think I was snubbing them.”

Later Life

She received an M.B.E. in 2008, and an O.B.E. in 2022.

At the beginning of the pandemic, on 20th February 2020 Dot announced that she had left EastEnders for good.  Jupiter was sextile her Venus, Saturn trine her Mars, to the day (a severance).  Neptune was on her natal Venus, a spiritual coming to terms.

In politics, June was a Conservative, as Dot Cotton might have been (or was in nature, at least): “I wouldn’t vote Labour dear, if you paid me. I vote Conservative.”

She described herself as spiritual, and took an interest in palmistry and astrology, according to Frank C. Clifford.

In the Guardian obituary by Michael Coveney, he describes her independent spirit: “She simply could not care less about propriety or coy camouflage.  She was one of those rare people in life, let alone the theatre, who simply said what she thought, did what she felt like “.

“Kenneth Williams trapped in the body of Cilla Black”

~ a Guardian writer

“She said she was tired and felt ready to go. June and I were quite spiritual together. She firmly believed she would see her sisters and parents when she passed on and definitely believed in an afterlife of some form.”

~ John Altman


This morning was characterized by a square between Mercury and Pluto.  We have a great deal of travel disruption in the U.K., with lorries stuck in a 20 mile queue to Dover, the airports struggling with a backlog of travellers hoping to get away for Easter, and a petrol shortage (none here in Norfolk, apparently, at the moment).  Under this square, people have reported “trouble with locks” of various kinds, in past instances.  It is a square which requires you, among other things, to rise above negative thinking, or to get to the root of it.  A spot of meditation could help get things into perspective. 

Mercury enters Taurus tomorrow (Monday 11th) which steadies the mind a little, after the stimulus of Mercury in Aries, and the square with Pluto.  The atmosphere may be calmer, with the accent on the word may because of the times we are living in.  This placement (which lasts until 29th April, just before the first eclipse of the year) is good for negotiation and practical ideas.  It is a good time to focus the mind on earth-centred activities and projects in the garden, including climate and environmental work.

We do have another square on Monday, in the shape of the Nodal Axis square Saturn, which is very confrontational in terms of karmic obligations.  It is a day for facing karma, rather than kicking the can down the road!  Some clearing of the karmic path is required.

The big aspect of the week, and the month, and the year, comes on Tuesday 12th.  If you haven’t been reading my regular posts, you might not know that it is the great conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune at 23 degrees Pisces.  This could make all your dreams come true (according to which House it falls in, within your chart), or embroil you in a fantasy bubble.  Whatever it is, it is likely to be a huge event: Jupiter always grandstands, and Neptune is oceanic.  Even if it is in your 12th House of Unconscious, it may be a huge idea taking shape in your mind, with the need for examination and grounding to make sure it is not illusory.  In its most negative form, it may be responsible for the experience of paranoia.  But hopes, dreams and wishes, are a positive focus, and achievable for many.  In terms of mass consciousness, the hope is for peace in the Ukraine and progress on climate change.  Good luck to all my readers.

A very different mood ensues on Wednesday (13th), though hopefully with progress made from the day before.  The Sun will be sextile Saturn, and practicalities, duties and commitments are to the fore.  The aspect occurs first thing after midnight, so may be apparent by the end of Tuesday.  It is a good day for laying foundations and establishing rules.  Creativity is firmed up, and decision making may be easier.  If you made gains on Tuesday, you can back them up and inject them with more power on Wednesday.

Another ingress takes place on Friday (15th) with Mars entering Pisces in the early hours of the morning.  Happy Easter and Happy Passover to my readers!  Mars transits from the more strident sign of Aquarius.  While Aquarius is humanitarian, and looks after the underdog, Pisces is even more compassionate, and very empathetic.  Mars represents our use of energy, and so it may not be so direct, but it will be more in touch with emotional needs (ours, or others).  In charitable terms, it is a good time to put your money where your mouth is.

Saturday (16th) brings the week to a climax with a Full Moon at 26 degrees Libra, in the early evening.  This Full Moon is emotionally dedicated to relating, while the Sun which opposes it in Aries wants its own way.  Thus a delicate balance operates, which may be resolved in common aims, e.g. in a united effort.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – travel disruption
  • Tomorrow – a calmer state of mind; karmic clearing
  • Tuesday – the dizzy dancing way you feel
  • Wednesday – practicalities, duties and commitments
  • Friday – compassionate action
  • Saturday – emotional high tide