Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 26, 2009

Morgan Freeman and Nelson Mandela—Are their Charts Alike?

©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.” (

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:  

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 astrology booklet by Donna Cunningham

If  you liked this post, sign up for a subscription, and get a FREE EBOOKLET for Skywriter Subscribers Only: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: New: Free Booklet For Skywriter Subscribers! practical

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Art Credits: Photo of Freeman as Mandela:    and the composite created by Issa Rae at


  1. I hadn’t heard about this movie, good recommandation.
    I don’t know why but I have this feeling that actors get their glory, fame, Oscars or whatever for parts that show the essence of who they really are or what are the main THEMES in their lives – which is ironic, since they are ACTORS!
    Leo DiCaprio has a thing for tormented, beaten down, on the edge, under pressure characters and in all his interviews I got the feeling he is an INTENSE PERSONALITY, who does not laugh easily.
    Kate Hudson – I think she just loves to laugh and she laughs in all her movies and is such a beautiful presence with nothing vulgar attached – Jupiter in 1st house and Cap moon!
    I think they have a word for this – CASTING!
    I always wondered if the casting team includes an astrologer, because they chose them perfectly!!!!

    • Terrific observations, Criss and right on the money! I’ve often felt that casting is nothing more than finding someone who is embodies the personality of the character in the script. It’s a rare actor, like Denzel Washington who can play a full range of characters and do it well. Donna

  2. OMG!!! I love you forever for this post!! I love them both so much. I have a personal tie with Nelson (I met him when I was 10, visited Robben Island and our charts are identical from Rising to Venus and houses) and am a huge fan of Morgan’s. I always like to say that I’ve never seen a bad Morgan Freeman film. So “Invictus” was a dream match for me. I think Nelson has a Sagittarius Rising because we view the world similarly and our life paths are similar (according to his “8 Lessons of Leadership” and autobiography). The only difference is that while Mandela literally went to jail, I was “incarcerated” by injuries from a car accident. But the results were the same: I used that time to study, soul search, and self-heal.

    As you mentioned, the first connections I saw between the two charts were the conjunctions. Notice the North Node conjunction in Sagittarius in the 12th house. Karmic, for sure. Also, Morgan’s Asc and Neptune are in Nelson’s 10th house. Morgan is symbolically and literally using his persona to shed light on Nelson’s ambitions and legacy for the world to see – a dream come true for Nelson.

    I know we’re warned not to choose charts based on our intuition, but mine is squawking pretty strongly here. 😉

    • A very special connection. No, I hadn’t heard he was hospitalized. Donna

  3. I took a look at the transits to Nelson’s chart when his hospitalization was announced the other day. Very spooky Pluto, Jupiter, Uranus and 8th house activity. I did not like how the Moon in Scorpio was transiting his 12th house right over *our* natal Moon. Any thoughts on why there was so much mystery surrounding his stay?

  4. Yeah they are similar in addition at Mandela’s Jupiter- it is everything in his chart conjoined Pluto in the 7th. In an angle ruling an angle while Morgan jupiter is fallen. Madiba’s Jupiter is the ruler of the first house, and the 4th- father of the nation. Nice comparison.

  5. I also love Mandela and Freeman.

    Mandela and I have the same Rising Sign, Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus. Same energy. I actually performed for him with classmates when he visited my city after he was released from prison. He complimented my spirit.

    Yet you threatened to kick me off your blog due to misinterpreting the…spirit of my words.

    How ironic.

  6. Freeman is an actor. Mandela knew how to play roles. But they don’t have similar spirits or life paths to me.

    More cosmic irony: you and I share the same birthday.

    As wise psychologists say (& 8th house Suns know): what we reject in others is what we disown about ourselves.

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