©12-26-2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
It’s reported that when Nelson Mandela was asked which actor he’d choose to portray him in a film, he named Morgan Freeman. The composite picture on the left shows their striking resemblance. It was created by filmmaker, Issa Rae of the Black Film Academy, which she describes as “a collective dedicated to reforming black film.”
She got it right when she said on her blog, Issa Rae, “I’m gonna bet money that Morgan Freeman was pretty much born to play Nelson Mandela, in much the same way that Denzel Washington was born to play Malcolm X.” (http://issarae.com/2009/06/08/tidbits-of-life-morgan-freeman-is-nelson-mandela-and-the-end-of-black-tv/)
After seeing the movie Invictus on Christmas Day, what strikes me even more is the deep resonance of their being. I have loved both of them for a decade or more, and so this morning, I decided to look at their charts together to see if the astrological picture was as similar as the picture from Issa Rae.
The quest was frustrating because neither has a reliable birth time, though their dates of birth are known. Nonetheless, we can look at a bi-wheel chart and see which planets line up, since most planets move a degree or less in the course of a day. Mandela’s planets are on the inside, and Freeman’s planets are on the outside.
Here’s the best data available from AstroDataBank’s Birthdata Collection of Notables, along with links to their Wikipedia Biographies:
- Freeman, Morgan: Link to Wikipedia biography born 1st June, 1937 in Memphis, TN, Rodden rating X, time unknown. Moon either late Aquarius or early Pisces.
- Mandela, Nelson: Link to Wikipedia biography 18 July 1918 at 14:54 (= 2:54 PM ) Umtata, South Africa, 31s35, 28e47 EET h2e, Considered DD, dirty data, conflicting reports.
What Does the Chart Comparison Show?
There are extremely potent contacts between their charts. I tend to focus on conjunctions in chart comparison, for that’s where the real juice of a connection lies. Freeman’s Pluto in Cancer is very close to Mandela’s Cancer Sun; Freeman’s Mars in Scorpio is close to Mandela’s Scorpio Moon.
The theme of the movie is Plutonian in the sense of the Phoenix Rising from its own ashes. Freeman portrays in an extremely powerful way the story of what Mandela did to overcome his own hatred of South African Whites and to bring forgiveness and reconciliation between the races in his country. Mandela won a Nobel Prize jointly with his one-time opponent DeKlerk for this work. Let us hope that this movie–and our own Nobel-winning President–can do something similar to heal the racial divisiveness in the United States.
Freeman’s Moon is either late Aquarius or early Pisces–sign wise, I could argue either way! If it’s in Aquarius, it’s conjunct Mandela’s Uranus. If Freeman’s Moon is in early Pisces, then it’s conjunct Mandela’s 4th house cusp. However, I lean toward an Aquarian Moon for Freeman for one reason–the current transits favor an Aquarian Moon, while nothing even remotely comparable is happening in early Pisces.
A late Aquarian Moon would have been strongly activated nearly all of 2009 by the transiting Neptune-Chiron-Jupiter conjunction in those degrees. (It’s on Mandela’s Uranus, the US’s Aquarian Moon, and President Obama’s Ascendant as well.) In the highest meaning of this combination, it would represent freedom and an end to oppression. And it does make sense, too, for an enduring American icon like Freeman to have his Moon conjunct the US Moon. I hope it means he’ll be winning another Oscar–an Oscar for portraying a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Another particularly telling set of conjunctions between Mandela and Freeman is in their Chiron connections. Freeman’s Saturn in Aries is a mere 2′ from an exact conjunction to Mandela’s Chiron–and both are being set off by transits, first Pluto, then Saturn, and soon Uranus–the latter just in time for the Academy awards. Mandela’s Venus in Gemini is a mere half degree from Freeman’s Chiron. These two contacts depict how well Freeman was able to portray the personal and national wounds that Mandela did so much to heal.
ARE their Charts really All that much Alike, then?
What conclusion would we reach from a side-by-side comparison of the charts, remembering that the birth times are both in question? Let’s first consider whether the two of them might have the same Ascendant, since they do look so much alike.
The picture shown here is either Mandela OR Freeman wearing a cap for the South African rugby team that won the World Cup against all odds, portrayed so dramatically in the film. Do you know which one it is? (See the art credits.)
The trouble with establishing a mutual Ascendant is that Mandela’s Sagittarius Ascendant is also somewhat questionable. What if they both had Scorpio rising, instance?
We can’t reach any final conclusions as to how alike they are in real life, for sure, but let’s have a look to see if there are other similarities. The chart on the bottom left is Mandela; the one on the upper right is a Solar chart for Freeman, set up for noon:
Apart from the fact that we can’t know for sure about similarities between their Ascendant, Midheaven, and Moon positions, there aren’t as many common factors as I might have anticipated. Both of them do have strong Neptunes. Both have aspects between Jupiter and Pluto, as well as aspects between Mercury and Neptune.
It may be that my admittedly idealized perceptions of both of them come more from their public personas than from what they are like at a deeper level. It wouldn’t be the first time–I’m an absolute and total sucker for Willie Nelson as well, but have reluctantly come to the conclusion that he’s bad with women. Oh, well, it was fun looking at the charts! Go see the movie if you haven’t and if you need to feel a whole new surge of optimism about the human race.
For more celebrity portraits, see the category Charts of Famous People.
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Art Credits: Photo of Freeman as Mandela: http://liveforfilms.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/first-photo-of-morgan-freeman-as-nelson-mandela/ and the composite created by Issa Rae at http://issarae.com/2009/06/08/tidbits-of-life-morgan-freeman-is-nelson-mandela-and-the-end-of-black-tv/