(c)8-12-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
A reader wrote this morning and asked, “Would you be willing to elaborate in your blog on the issue of predicting suicide in charts that are so heavily impacted by this year’s astrology in light of Robin Williams’ suicide? I think his death has torn up half the world, and shocked us all. I would love to hear your comments, as opposed to what else I’m seeing out there in the astrological section of the web.”
I’ve been devastated by these events and haven’t had the heart to venture out onto the web, but it’s easy to imagine what she might have encountered in the blogosphere. Unfortunately, there are astrologers who glory in the negativity and get a thrill out of making astrological interpretations that are terrifying to people whose chart or loved ones’ charts have related natal or transiting aspects.
Back in June, Liz Howell created a guest post here about the charts of several young men who committed massacres and then killed themselves. Eventually, there were so many comments that reveled in the negativity and speculated on its origins that Liz and I agreed to delete the post and the comments. (Eventually, I put up some posts on the ethics of the situation, and on predicting suicide—see the links at the end of this post.)
I find myself not wanting to put up this post or to open the comment section because it would be disturbing—and infuriating—to get comments like those.
I feel such a compassion for this man whose work so many of us have loved for decades. Having worked in mental health settings and seen non-medicated manic people in action, I believe he was bipolar (manic depressive), as his comedy was wildly manic and because he struggled often with a deep, bleak depression.
Both polarities are due to an imbalance in the brain, and the depressive polarity is a terribly black hole. Bipolar people can swing between the two extremes, and for some of them, the higher the high, the lower the low.
His abuse of drugs and alcohol is well-known, but I see it as a way of medicating himself out of the terrible highs and lows. I took an excellent course on alcoholism years back, and we learned that one of the genes for depression and one of the genes for alcoholism are next to each other on the same strand of DNA. I have a feeling he just got too worn down by a lifetime struggle to pull himself out of a soul-crushing recurring depression. That the man was so wretchedly miserable to hang himself breaks my heart.
I looked up Robin’s chart in the middle of the night on AstroDataBank. Here’s the link to that chart and his bio: Williams, Robin. According to their data, based on a copy of his birth certificate, he was born July 21, 1951 at 1:34 PM, CST, Chicago, IL.
That gives a 22° Leo Midheaven with a close conjunction of Mercury at 22° Leo and Pluto at 18° Leo. Transiting Saturn in the first has been back and forth between 17° and 22° of Scorpio for many months, including stationary retrograde and direct intervals.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem with the chart. When I entered the data into Solar Fire, a pop up message said that Chicago was on CDT when he was born but that an Illinois state law said that CST should be used for the birth certificate. When I recalculated the chart, the Midheaven and Ascendant were much earlier in Leo and Scorpio.
That chart doesn’t make sense, because neither the natal or transiting aspects fit his genius or the event. The AstroDatabank Chart with 18-22° Leo placements of the natal Pluto/Mercury/Midheaven in the other chart fit both his comic genius and the pressure of transits that erupted yesterday in ending his life.
The pressure of such depressing Saturn aspects to the Midheaven/Pluto/Mercury conjunction alone could have worn him down. We need to keep in mind, however, that transiting Saturn would have made hard aspects to these same points every seven years of his life, and he survived to 63.
It would be helpful to know what was going on in his life during the last Saturn in Scorpio transit, some 28-29 years ago–8/1983-11/1985–and whether that was a low point too.
Adding to the pressure he was under, he’d been through a long series of aspects of the transiting Pluto and Uranus square to his close natal conjunction of Mars and Uranus in Cancer in the 8th. ( Don’t get alarmed. Many of you out there have also had transits from this long-lasting Pluto—Uranus square, and it’s been a tough one, but you’ve survived it.)
The sadly ironic thing was that one of his memorable non-comedic movies, What Dreams May Come, was about a man whose wife commits suicide and he travels to the depths of the astral plane to rescue her spirit. Now Robin’s wife is grappling with losing him in the same way. We all are grappling, saying a sad farewell to an exceptional man.
The one comforting thought is of his welcoming party over there–friends like Christopher Reeve and Jonathan Winters, waiting to be with him once more.
Sorry, no comments this time folks. Here are some links to related posts:
- Why Astrologers Cannot and Should Not Predict Violence or Suicide
- Astrological Research into Suicide—Proof that We Can’t Predict It from the Chart
- Suicide Prevention vs. Suicide Prediction: Some Cautions for Astrologers
- Important Differences in the Ways Men and Women’s Bodies Process Medication for Depression, Anxiety, Sleep, and Pain