Posted by: Donna Cunningham | January 6, 2010

Clowning Around with Chiron, Robin Williams, and an Eclipse

Donna Cunningham Skywriter astrology blog ©1-5-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Are you yearning for some humor? We’ve been dealing with such weighty issues of late that a break is in order.

The other day my email included one of my monthly treats, Lynda Hill’s Sabian Symbol newsletter, with her thoughts about the lunar eclipse on New Year’s Eve, which was at a degree associated with clowns. With her permission, I’ll quote it,  and then we’ll take a look at Chironic clowns like Robin Williams and Patch Adams. Here’s part of what Lynda had to say:

Clown and guru are a single identity: the satiric and sublime side of the same higher vision of life. Theodore Rozak

“The new year starts off with a partial lunar eclipse. The Sabian Symbol is Cancer 11°: A Clown is Caricaturing Well-Known Personalities. As we go into 2010, it seems that current issues have to do with entertainment, putting on a happy face, being optimistic and cheerful, keeping your deeper or darker thoughts to yourself versus being real, authentic and transparent about your emotional reality. 

Keywords of this Symbol are: Exaggerated responses, wanting to entertain, show business, trying to be something or someone that one’s not, putting on a face, comic performances, parodies of personalities, making fun of someone, clowns and clowning, life imitating art, always performing, irony, satire, objective observance, criticism, laughter, caricatures, cartoons, lampooning, voice impressions.

The Cautions include: being foolish in the face of positive potential, trying to cover up reality through buffoonery, being constantly “on stage”, living vicariously, inauthentic behavior, not having the courage to display one’s true self, putting on a face to manipulate or fool others, irritating behavior that wears thing after a while, being the laughing stock, overblown impressions, loss of true identity.Donna Cunningham Skywriter astrology blog

 “Please do remember that the ‘clown’ motif will be in full swing for the entire month, although as it’s a lunar eclipse, the effects are likely to be felt way into the future. We are being asked to put on a brave face, smile, sometimes when we don’t want to. On the other hand, though, we always need to remember to be authentic. A fine balance, especially as we head off into 2010.

“I started writing this on New Year’s Eve and was interrupted by a circus troop arriving at my house for a party. No one knew about the clown degree being the Symbol for the eclipse; it was all serendipity. I’d also like to mention that a good friend of mine here in Australia started a clown doctor troop that does fabulous work in hospitals here. He recently went to Afghanistan and did some marvelous work there (where I can only imagine many probably need a bit of a laugh).”

 The Sabian symbol Lynda presented for the eclipse reminded me of an article Mimi Christ wrote here some time ago, Chiron and Humour: Wounded Clowns that Heal Us. She analyzed Chiron in the charts of numerous comedians and observed,

“Chiron the healer appears when we unlock the door by accepting the inevitable with grace and a sense of humour, and allow empathy to grow in response to it. Comedy helps us cope. If a problem is incurable, we can be healed on another level by laughing about it. Finding humour in the human condition helps when you’re having a hard time.”

Robin Williams and Patch Adams–It Takes a Clown to Play a Clown! 

Wouldn’t you wonder whether the birth charts of hospital clowns also have planets around 11° Cancer–the degree of that Sabian symbol–and where Chiron is in their charts?

 One of the first such clowns to gain recognition in the US was Patch Adams. The birth information given in his AstroDataBank fileis May 28, 1945, Washington DC, 8:15 PM Eastern War Time.  (You can see his chart and biography here:  Adams, Patch. )  His Chiron at 26° 58’ Virgo is strong, being on the Midheaven and square his Moon at 29° 24’ Sag.  As for the Sabian symbol for clowning, he has Saturn and the North Node conjunct at 9.5° Cancer…close, but no exploding cigar!

Beloved comic Robin Williams played Patch Adams in the movie of the same name. His AstroDataBank record (Williams, Robin) says he was born July 21, 1951, 1:34 PM, Milwaukee, WI. Here we do find the Sabian symbol degree of 11° Cancer strongly featured, because he has Mars at 11° 56’ conjunct Uranus at 10° 51’. They’re closely conjunct Adam’s Saturn and North Node.


Donna Cunningham Skywriter astrology blog

Robin William as Patch Adams

Williams’ Saturn is at 27° Virgo, closely conjunct Adams’ Chiron, while his own Chiron is at 27° Sagittarius, conjunct Adams’s Moon. These close contacts between their charts, with Chiron and Virgo highlighted, are no doubt why he was able to portray this medical clown with such poignancy. (You can get the DVD at…)

 Robin himself has had little to laugh about in the last year or so while his second Saturn Return coincided with the transiting Saturn-Uranus oppositions and set off the natal square to Chiron.  Transiting Chiron’s conjunction with Jupiter and Neptune in Aquarius has hovered around his  MC/IC axis most of the past year as well. As you may already have noted, the recent eclipse at 11° Cancer fell on his Mars/Uranus conjunction in the 8th.

The corresponding events are that on March 21, 2008, his wife of 19 years, filed for a divorce, and he had an aortic valve replacement on March 13, 2009.  It pleases me to fantasize that a troupe of medical clowns visited him in the hospital.

 These natal positions will once again be triggered by the last Virgo-Pisces opposition between Saturn and Uranus in May, 2010—a cause for concern for those of us who have loved him and his clowning over the years. Will these transits affect his zany humor–or will it take it to a whole new level of wisdom and compassion?  If you have any ideas about that, leave us a note in the comment section. 

Need more Diversion?

Have you taken a few pratfalls lately in the circus we call life?  Are you still nursing wounded pride, or have you found a couple things to laugh about in the situation?  If not, perhaps reading some funny essays or watching a rerun of one of your famorite sitcoms would give you a guffaw or two.  Remember, laughter heals!

Without even leaving the computer, you can find more humor from other astrologers on the internet. You can read Mimi Christ’s article here: Chiron and Humour: Wounded Clowns that Heal Us. You can find a wealth of wisdom about Chiron and enjoy the effervescent humor of inveterate punster, Joyce Mason at The Radical Virgo. Her current posts are priceless:   Humor: Auntie Joyce’s Astro-Aphorisms and Chiron’s Key Word Corner: Teacher and Wounded Heal… . And, finally, have a few more laughs with posts in the Humor & Creative Writing category on Skywriter  with pieces like Clients Say the Darndest Things! and The Law of Progressive Annoyance—Mars or Jupiter?

Not humorous per se, but certainly diverting is Lynda Hill’s brilliant contribution of an online oracle based on the Sabian Symbols.  If you haven’t tried Ask The Sabian Oracle, you’re in for a treat. Ask it questions about your coming year!  and  Also vist Linda’s site,, where you can sign up for her newsletter.

FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY:  a 50-page excerpt from my out-of-print book, The Moon in your Life, also known as Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World.  Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS!  If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward your most recent email notification to me at  To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”


  1. Happy Epiphany, Donna! Since the Magi were astrologers, I consider this an astrologers’ holiday of utmost importance. A great one for all your epiphanies about Chiron and humor.

    Your article gives context to trends I’ve been seeing lately but not necessarily understanding—one being “optimism without cause.” Most people I encounter are unbelievably “up” about 2010. They sounds so glad to let last year go, you can almost hear them telling 2009, “Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.” At first, I just thought it was relief for a new year, a new decade, and a new start after several bleak ones of economic and political darkness.

    While I’m sure there’s some truth to that idea (and the fact that entertainment plays a huge role in salving bad times), Lynda’s thoughts about the New Year’s Eve eclipse add much dimension to our understanding, starting with the Theodore Rozak quote. (Fabulous, Lynda!) While under the hair dryer yesterday, I “channeled” a humor piece in stark contrast to my first blog post of the year. I started out with a post on Chiron, talking about how winter, darkness, and the cave time of introspection are what winter is for—and how surrendering to this energy bears great gifts. (There are the Magi again!) Then a couple of days later (Uranus in Gemini?), I’m clowning around.

    Obviously, I was much in tune with the light and dark of the eclipse Sabian! I saw Robin Williams’ concert on TV just a couple of weeks ago, “Weapons of Self-Destruction.” While it’s impossible to know how he’ll go/grow with or work the energy, I think there’s potential for him to shoot self-destruction in the foot. Saturn will have returned, triggering the Saturn/Uranus opposition, which is also conjunct Jupiter in his 5th in May 2010. It sets off a T-square to natal Chiron in the 2nd. He values the Chironic healing principle, and this cycle is likely to make that wildly obvious to him. He could be sparked an even larger overdose than usual of creative brilliance from Jupiter/Uranis in the 5th to leave as his 11th house legacy to the world. I hope he remains in his body to do it. He’s got an opportunity to truly become Chiron. If humor is healing, there’s no one I know of who has a better chance of patching himself up, no Patch Adams pun intended!

  2. We would all benefit from just being ourselves. Overdoing or hiding anything sucks. I just started working a new job, and I’ve found that being myself makes people laugh. I’ve a Sagittarius ascendant so am kinda clumsy and very honest. I think I’m inadvertently playing the role of a clown at work (a serious, zen-type setting) and it appears to be working in my favor. I’m also surrounded by very funny types. I’ve never been more comfortable in an office setting!

    Donna, I really appreciate your articles. Thank you!

    • When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth. – George Bernard Shaw

      Apparently I’m inadvertently funny like you. It often puzzles me that people laugh at things I say like I was telling a joke, when I’m really only being honest and speaking from the heart. I do have Sun conjunct Jupiter, which is sort of like Sagittarius. But my Sun is at 12 Cancer, and after learning about that Sabian symbol with the clown–and seeing that Patch Adams’ planets were at 12 rather than Cancer, I kind of wonder whether that Sabian symbol has a wider orb than usually allowed. Donna

  3. Always helpful, always insightful!

  4. Hi Donna

    I have 3rd house Chiron in Scorpio, square a MercurySaturnPluto conjunction in the 12th which links back to square Jupiter, also in the 3rd. Truly, being able to see the funny side of life even in the direst of circumstances, has been a life-saver for me and a gift I have been able to bring to others, on a significant number of occasions. Thank you for this post – and for directing readers Joyce Mason’s way. Her writing is a great combination of wit and wisdom.

    New Year Greetings from Anne Whitaker – writing from snowbound but beautiful Scotland!

    • Greetings, Anne, I’m glad to meet you, having seen your name many times. A Mercury/Saturn/Pluto conjunction sounds like black humor, something my own family specialized in. People who think my sense of humor is a tad skewed should meet my sister! Donna

  5. Robin Williams is my astro twin by 11 hours..

    I’m sure you have his REAL birth year of 1951..

    He has Scorp asc- me Sun conj asc rising..

    Now- onto reading the rest you wrote


    • HI, yes, the data on AstroDataBank was 1951. It would be fascinating to hear any parallels between your life and his and whether you’ve faced the Chironic challenges he has in the past couple of years. Donna

  6. Chiron (H6) in square to N saturn- H3 & pisces moonH-9.. has been brutal…

    Tr pluto going over Chiron was particularly hard..

    Actually- the past 7 years have been hard…

    I found a strength in myself I never knew I had…

    Astrology- endlessly fascinating !!!

    The July solar eclipse fell right on N sun- H1

    The Dec one on N uranus- H12 & this Fridays-

    exact on DC

    When I first saw Robin Williams in a serious

    role- I felt such a pull of commonality…

    Like myself- he has obviously had disappointments in Love- but keeps on

    trying again !!!

    I Believe we also share a very strong tie to

    our Sainted mothers..

    What aspects brought about his heart problems ??


    7/22/1951 Warwick NY- 4:33 am EST ( NOT DST-

    it wasn’t observed )

  7. I would also be curious as to how he has felt that mars conj uranus square N neppy that we share..

    • Thanks for sharing those pieces of your life. It’s always really interesting to find astrotwins–well, more accurately date twins. I believe I’ve talked about that a bit in an early piece on this blog, maybe called The Chart as a Portrait of the Soul. Donna

  8. I’m so glad I found this site


    • I’m glad you found things you liked. Check out the different categories on the side of the blog–there are about 280 articles here. Donna

      • It seems like there are two Donna Cunninghams that practice astrology and publish material. I just got off the phone with the Donna Cunningham and she is surprised at some of the facts on this blog.

      • Hi, Jane, upon reflection, I am quite concerned about what you wrote. I am the Donna Cunningham who wrote all the books (Healing Pluto Problems, etc.), has over 40 years of experience, is the advice columnist for Dell Horoscope, writes for TMA, and is speaking at UAC next May, which doubtlessly would qualify me as “the” Donna Cunningham, MSW, astrologer.

        It’s true that Donna Cunningham is a very common name–I know of 3 here in Portland–and there are at least two nationally who write about other topics under that name. However, I’ve never heard of another practicing astrologer with my name, though there may be, and it’s entirely possible that we have differing opinions on some facets of astrology. It’s quite rare to find two astrologers who don’t differ on a wide variety of things–we’re a cantankerous lot.

        However, my concern is that there are a great many con artists and identity thieves on the web, where people can pretend to be anything they want. I would hate to think that a con artist, having heard that I have retired from active practice, was using my name to pull in clients and defraud them. I would like to know the link where you found her astrology site. Donna (definitely) Cunningham

      • My email to Jane with the above message came back as undeliverable:

        This is the mail system at host

        I’m sorry to have to inform you that your message could not
        be delivered to one or more recipients. It’s attached below.

        For further assistance, please send mail to postmaster.

        : host[] said: 550 5.1.1
        : Recipient address rejected: (in reply to RCPT TO

  9. I’m surprised at some of the facts on this blog, too! 🙂 But only because I wasn’t as educated as I was before becoming a regular reader. Wow have I learned a lot from you, The One, the ONLY…The Moon Maven, Our Lady of Pluto, THE Donna Cunningham.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: