Photo by Jeff Vespa/

Marsha Garces Williams, wife of actor Robin Williams, filed for divorce last week citing “irreconciliable differences”. Although Robin is best known for his comedic skills, he has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction and it is rumored that Marsha filed divorce papers after her ultimatum failed to wean him from his addictions.

The astrological chart of Robin Williams shows a fascinating blend of comic genius and tragic emotional pain, the combination of which appears to be essential in all of the great comic minds. Williams, with a Cancer Sun, also has a Pisces Moon and Scorpio rising. This heavy watery influence shows his intensely sensitive emotional nature, and a tendency to lose himself (Pisces Moon) into his environment. Mercury (mental function) in his chart is in the fun-loving sign of Leo, and Leo is the King of Comedy. That Mercury sits prominently on the Midheaven of his chart, demonstrating his ability to connect with the public (Midheaven) through his ability to express his thoughts and ideas (Mercury). Pluto (intensity and drama) conjoins his Mercury which suggests a powerful mind with an obsessive nature.

Williams has a wildly revolutionary conjunction of Mars (aggression) and Uranus (rebellion) which is tightly aspected to both Jupiter (expansion) and Neptune (fantasy), and it is this planetary system in his birthchart which describes his unique methodology when it comes to acting. WIlliams cannot be controlled and rarely sticks to the script. His strong Cancerian influence (with Sun, Mars and Uranus all in Cancer) reveals his intense attachment to family and his strong desire to nurture others; in fact, he has become a surrogate parent to the children of Christopher and Dana Reeve after their recent deaths.

Saturn (challenges and disappointments) in Williams’ chart is in an exact challenging aspect (square) to Chiron (wounding and healing), indicating a psyche that is extremely sensitive with a tendency towards experiencing life in a way that brings up painful psychic and emotional wounds. Ideally an individual with this combination of planets will seek healing of these old wounds, but the easiest way to deal with them is to numb them with addictions. Transiting Saturn made a challenging aspect to the ascendant of Williams’ chart (his “rising sign”) back in late July of 2006 which resulted in his admitting himself to rehab in August of that year.

Williams experienced another difficult cycle when transiting Pluto made a pass over the Saturn/Chiron system in his chart back in January of 2007 and remained within one degree of that painful system throughout the year. Williams’ older brother died in August of that year, but I suspect the entire year was extremely difficult for Williams as Pluto applied consistent pressure on any unhealed old wounds that remained in his psyche.

Williams’ family-oriented nature has not kept him from infidelity in the past; his first marriage ended after an affair with his current wife who was at the time the nanny to his children and evidently this was not his first adulterous episode. Venus in Williams’ chart is in Virgo, which often tends to be rather prudish and perfectionistic, and it opposes that Pisces Moon. Challenging aspects between Venus (love and beauty) and the Moon (nurturing and sensitivity) denote an individual who finds it difficult to reconcile their emotional needs (Moon) in their relationships (Venus), and the archetypes of the sexual goddess (Venus) with the maternal figure (Moon). This is the classic “madonna/whore” complex and while this is not universally true it does sometimes indicate a proclivity in a man’s chart to separate the two. In December, transiting Saturn came very close to the Moon/Venus combination in his chart and doubtless intensified his depression.

Williams has a few other astrological things going on as well: in March of 2007 transiting Chiron began squaring Williams’ ascendant and bringing up all of his issues around his ability to establish his own identity (ascendant) relative to his marriage (descendant), a cycle that concluded in December. And a transit of Neptune over his nadir (opposing his Midheaven, or career point) has likely created a great deal of confusion over his role in his personal life and family (nadir) relative to his career and public persona (Midheaven). This cycle began in May of 2007 and is just now in the second phase of a cycle that will conclude in January of 2009.

This is a difficult time for Robin Williams, and I hope that he will be able to resolve his demons that are the burden accompanying his tremendous gifts.

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