Monday, September 30, 2013
Pluto Ricin: R.I.P. Walter White
May I propose this epitaph for Walter White's gravestone? “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really...I was alive.” While I normally pride myself on being somewhat detached from U.S. pop culture (I couldn't identify any of the Kardashians in a line-up and have not seen a single episode of American Idol), and normally refuse to allow myself to be manipulated by the machinations of art in any medium, I had to surrender to Breaking Bad like any self-respecting meth-head would surrender to Heisenberg's finest. And now that "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," I decided that while Walter White's corpse was still warm, I would attempt to rectify his birth chart based on the September 7, 1959, date given in the divorce papers -- and also examine how it lines up with the chart of actor Bryan Cranston, who has acknowledged that playing this character was "the role of a lifetime." Small surprise that no matter what time of day Walter White was born, he had a Scorpio Moon. And hell hath no fury like a Scorpio Moon scorned, for the Moon represents one's deepest emotions and truest feelings and needs; in Scorpio, the need is for validation of its stunning perception and absolute, unlimited power both at home and in the world. Jupiter is also placed in Scorpio, which magnifies the effect of the Moon. When we first meet Mr. White, he's what his student/partner/stand-in son/enemy/fellow soldier Jesse Pinkman would term a total "bee-yatch" -- at everyone's beck and call except his own, someone who never even attained has-been status, because he took himself out of the big time so soon with Gray Matter Technologies that he was herewith reduced to an also-ran. Whatever time of day Walter White took his first breath, it was only a matter of time before he "broke bad," for his Moon, in the sign of its fall, was within range of squaring Uranus in Leo, also placed in the sign of its fall, representing the last of the baby boomers (born 1955 - 1961), also called "Generation Jones," a group known for its high rate of crime and addictive behavior. I like to think of Pluto Rising as the Superman/Clark Kent position, for no one seems to notice that Clark Kent is Superman. It seems that if you put on a pair of dorky glasses and act like a hopelessly unhip egghead, people do not see you as someone who is capable of doing anything spectacularly good or bad; you are reduced to a worker bee who doesn't get no respect. I believe this is particularly the case when Pluto Rises in Virgo (1957 - 1972), for Virgo is considered an "omega" sign compared with the likes of, say, Leo or Aries. Virgo is given short shrift in astrology; its characteristics sound pretty dreary (organized, clean, detail oriented, service oriented, finicky). Therefore, I believe that Walter White was born at about 6 a.m. (most likely in L.A., as that is where his mother lives) with Pluto just behind the Ascendant, conjunct from the 12th house (to better conceal his disguise) and also exactly conjunct Venus and Mercury at 4 Virgo, a critical degree. This critical-degree stellium defines Walter White's complexity, intelligence, and multiple personas. Venus-Pluto points to Walter White's attraction (Venus) to the underworld (Pluto) as well as the sexual charge he receives from it, plus his simmering resentment in his marriage (Venus) that periodically blows up, though despite all the shit that hits the fan, he and Skyler never make a clean, definite break. It is worth keeping in mind that Walt's Venus is in the sign of its fall, and Skyler (represented by Venus) briefly becomes "Mrs. Heisenberg." Mercury-Pluto highlights Walt's ability to use his mind (Mercury) and extensive knowledge of chemistry to make the purest meth on the planet (Virgo strives for purity) and get out of tight spots through ingenuity, and murder (Pluto) anyone standing in his way, most impressively via ricin -- poison being represented by Walt's strongly aspected Neptune in Scorpio. "Say my name," he says menacingly to some badass cartel hombres while rocking the now-iconic black wide-brimmed porkpie hat in season 5A. Names are ruled by Mercury; take a Mercury-Pluto conjunction exactly sextile Pluto's despositor, Neptune in Scorpio (drugs) in the 3rd house (also ruling names), and voila: we have Heisenberg, a persona that was brought out by Walt's death sentence of cancer (Pluto) at the beginning of season 1. Walter White's Virgo stellium exactly squares his Midheaven (MC) at 4 Gemini (also a critical degree). The MC indicates one's career path, and in the mutuable sign Gemini it's not a surprise that when we meet Walter White, he has two jobs: high school chemistry teacher and area carwash drudge. Pluto square MC indicates trouble with authority; Mercury square MC points to poor communication skills with the powers that be and poor judgment concerning public standing; Venus square MC shows Walt's ability to put up a supposedly benign front -- he successfully hides his Heisenberg identity from his wife and family, most notably his macho DEA brother-in-law, for an impressively long time. Interestingly, Hank finds the incriminating evidence in the form of poet Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass in Walt's bathroom (Pluto) while taking a shit (more Pluto) -- and the original "WW" himself had Pluto Rising! Pluto can manifest in self-sabotage; Walter White left the inscribed volume of verse for Hank to find instead of sensibly stashing it in his bookcase or burning the damned thing altogether. "Say my name," indeed. In a deep-rooted Plutonian way, Walt wanted to be found out -- and no matter what pain resulted, as least Hank would never again view his brother-in-law as an insignificant, nerdy milquetoast. Walt's 5th-house cusp is 7 Capricorn; the ruler, Saturn, is in the 4th house at 0 Capricorn -- another critical degree. Such a placement indicates challenges and downright disappointments concerning children; Walt's oldest child, named after him, has CP and ultimately rejects his father, calling the cops on him and asking, in their last heartrending phone conversation, why he is even still alive when Walt tries to arrange to send him money from his hideout. (If you're reading this and haven't yet seen the series finale, please stop!) Still, Walt perseveres (Saturn) and manages to arrange an eventual trust for his son (symbolized by Jupiter in Scorpio) via his former business partners from Gray Matter who have publicly distanced themselves from him on Charlie Rose, using some classically Heisenberg ingenuity and intimidation without actually resorting to violence. As for baby Holly, whose name has Christmastime (early Capricorn) overtones, she will never know her father as anything but a criminal mastermind. At least Walt got to bid her, and his wife, a tender farewell before going off to the neo-Nazi compound to finish some unfinished business -- and "accidentally on purpose" finish himself off as well. I count myself among the relatively few who were still rooting for Walt despite all the death and destruction he unleashed; as reprehensible and unforgivable as his actions were, he refused to lie down and die without trying to leave behind a legacy, albeit a dubious, death-filled one. Even though at the eleventh hour he admits to his wife (and to the vast TV audience who were glued to their sets) that he truly did it for himself, if he had not had a family (symbolized by Sagittarius at the IC exactly squaring his Virgo stellium), he might not have had the literal spur digging into his side to do it at all. Actor Bryan Cranston's exact chart is unknown, but his Pisces Sun falls in Walter White's 7th house of partnership, his exalted Mercury in Aquarius (which lends itself well to science) in Walt's 6th house of work, and his Saturn falls at the bottom of Walt's chart, acting at the IC as a solid anchor and foundation for his character. Arguably, the only Moon sign that rivals Scorpio in its will to power is Capricorn -- which Cranston has, placed in Walter White's 5th house of creativity. Interestingly, Cranston's Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in late Leo is placed in Walt's 12th house -- there was much gold (Leo) to mine on an unconscious, collective level, and with outer planets acting so strongly in the 12th house, Cranston's portrayal of Walter White is truly iconic, providing a perfect catharsis for our Uranus-Pluto square era, a time of massive collective crisis, a time when so many of us Waltesque "losers" have been squashed down and hemmed in by a few bad choices plus a huge dose of bad luck. And I firmly believe that long after the last Uranus-Pluto square occurs in 2015, Breaking Bad will continue to inspire obsessive, Pluto-driven passion in viewers -- the same planet that drove Walter White to break bad, transform his self-identity, rise from his own ashes, and irretrievably change his world as well as the worlds of everyone who came into contact with him.