Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Last night, upon returning to my blissfully private lair after a heavy Full Moon weekend of out-of-town socializing, I ordered in some mediocre Chinese food and ate it while watching a documentary about Sunset Strip that had been on my "Nestflix" queue for months. While it suffered for glossing over too many interesting stories in its 72-minute running time (doubling the length would've more than doubled its quality), I still enjoyed it. And during the all-too-brief segment on Sunset Strip's comedy clubs of the 1970s, a fresh young face shone out of the scruffy footage: an up-and-coming Robin Williams, who despite his forays into "serious" dramatic roles in such films as Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society, always remained Mork from Ork to me. I had not thought of him in years, even decades. As footage played of a young Robin Williams toasting Richard Pryor's genius at some "roast" or other, I thought something along the lines of, "It's amazing that Mork survived that era." The tragic element of the comedy section of Sunset Strip belonged to John Belushi, who OD'd at the Chateau Marmont in March 1982. Dark hints weighing about two tons were dropped that Pryor might have also died that night had his promoter not ordered him to go home (and hence stay on the wagon) after performing. Attempting to interpret a celebrity's death, especially one whose likely cause was suicide, in light of that person's chart seems misguided in the sense that it gives fodder to the criticism leveled at astrology -- that it is all about hindsight. What if Robin Williams had lived to 93 instead of 63 and had died peacefully in his sleep? Would such a scenario transform the storm clouds in his chart into a mere drizzle? Unfunnily enough, I was thinking along similar lines last week after watching the John Lennon documentary Imagine. Had this iconoclastic genius not been gunned down on December 8, 1980, I concluded that he might not have survived Pluto's transit of Scorpio opposing his Uranus-Saturn conjunction in Taurus -- he might've died of AIDS or even by his own hands. Perhaps it is only human for astrologers to look for "reasons" after the fact. Always under pressure from skeptics and believers alike to accurately predict future events, looking back in an attempt to understand why something happened can be oddly comforting (to me, at least) as well as a key to considering the manifestations of what has not yet happened. Is it coincidence that the birthday I selected for Blossom, my fictitious work-in-progress penguin, happens to be that of Robin Williams's? Yes -- but only because July 21 works out to be 28 degrees of Cancer, the degree of my Mercury (writing) and also exactly trine my Neptune (imagination). I realize now that Blossom is Mork: although not literally an alien, she does not fit into her harsh environment. Though she has friends and loving parents, her personality is a quirky, contradictory bundle, and her unusual needs and talents will take her far from home. Mork was also supremely unsuited to his environment; banished from Ork and transported to Earth via egg (an apt symbol of the sign Cancer) ostensibly to gather intel about humans (which he dispensed to Orson, his offstage leader, in wise end-of-show tidbits) but actually because his planet did not allow humor, in which Mork had to engage the way we must engage in breathing. Interestingly, just a few weeks ago I read a wonderfully insightful blog post on Darkstar Astrology on the meaning of the third decanate of Cancer; as someone with three planets including the Sun there, I kept saying yes! aloud...even when it was not about the fabulousness of this decanate's creativity ("As artists they throw themselves right into their work, there is no holding back. The feelings flood out onto the canvas and touch the public profoundly") but the mood swings ("Sometimes these people can seem like the classic bi-polar. When they are up they are flying, exuberant, charming, fun and playful. When they are down though, it can actually be quite scary and it is often a shock to those who have only seen their sunny side"). Plenty of bad shit has been written about the perils of a Pisces Moon -- its hypersensitivity, its inability to cope with the "real world," its addictive, escapist tendencies besmirching its inspired genius. Robin Williams not only had a Pisces Moon, but a Pisces Moon conjunct the North Node and opposing Venus in Virgo (which, in turn, was conjunct the South Node). This suggests that he was lonely and anxious from birth -- born into privilege, he was a classic Poor Little Rich Boy, playing with thousands of toy soldiers all by himself in a mansion -- and had Major League Mother Issues even beyond that of most Cancerian men. Whether his mother put him on a pedestal or he put her there, whether or not religion was involved (one manifestation of Virgo is the Virgin Mary; one manifestation of Pisces is Jesus, which literally means "Little Fish"), the thing about pedestals is that there is inevitably a fall from such a lofty height. Crushing disappointment (Virgo) follows on the heels of awestruck wonder and love (Pisces). Relentless perfectionism (Virgo) paralyzes stream-of-consciousness inspiration (Pisces). Robin Williams's fame and manic, eccentric persona seemed directly tied to Uranus's transit of Scorpio crossing his Ascendant and into his 1st House of self-identity in the late '70s. (Please note that although he was born in summertime, Chicago did not follow Daylight Savings Time -- which makes Williams's Ascendant 12 degrees of Scorpio, not 0.) By contrast, the current transit of Saturn in Scorpio in Williams's 1st House, going back and forth on a square to his Pluto in Leo (which is his ruling planet), which in fixed signs can seem like it will last forever (not that depression is easy to "snap out of" for any sign). His progressed Sun passed over his natal Saturn in Virgo just over a year ago, another marker of depression. And if that were not enough, the Uranus-Pluto square had been afflicting his Mars-Uranus conjunction at 10-11 degrees of Cancer -- certainly outweighing his beneficial natal trine between Moon-North Node and Mars-Uranus, which might have saved him back in the '70s, when L.A. was blanketed by a cocaine blizzard. It is hard to believe that someone would decide to end his own life with Venus on his Sun, but yesterday's Full Moon, our second "supermoon" in a row due to its being at the perihelion to Earth, pulled in his Pluto to the mix. The Sun passing over his Pluto with the Moon opposing it must've outweighed any feelings of needing to live for the sake of family love (Venus in Cancer). Since an elevated Pluto in Leo is so wrapped up in yet conflicted about fame, it might not be too much of an exaggeration to say that Robin Williams's celebrity contributed to his death. That said, had this man not become a household name, he might've been known as a narcissistic addict or bipolar egomaniac, and he might've died tragically anyway. Had Williams hung on another year, long enough for his progressed Sun to have entered Libra, perhaps love and some semblance of balance or moderation would have saved him after all -- but now that he is gone, we will never know for sure. This is your sad, tired astrologer signing off. Na-nu, na-nu.