Sean and Robin Wright Penn have announced that they are divorcing.

I am a huge fan of Robin Wright Penn – her beauty is so tender and delicate yet she has such a hard edge as well. I recently watched the film The Pledge in which she stars with Jack Nicholson and which was directed by Sean Penn, and she was amazing in it.

Still, you had to wonder how anyone can live with Sean Penn for so long. No one knows what the lives of strangers are like behind closed doors, but if he is anywhere near as intense in private as he appears in public he is a pretty difficult guy. And looking back, it’s very rare to see a photo of Robin where she’s smiling. She is the one who filed divorce papers, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

Sean Penn’s birthchart shows a tight conjunction of the Sun and Uranus in Leo. Uranus is the planet of rebellion and radical behavior, and this clearly is the root of his notoriously unpredictable behavior. The past year can’t have been easy for Penn with transiting Saturn beginning a transit of the Sun/Uranus combination back in September of 2006 which continued through March of 2007, applying the restrictions and limitation and challenges of Saturn to Penn’s independent nature.

That independent nature was made even more rebellious and reckless since 2005 with a transit of Uranus over Venus in his chart, always a challenging period for relationships. Uranus creates in us a desire to break free of the status quo, and when it hits Venus in our chart it can threaten our relationships. In May of 2007, as this cycle completed, Sean Penn was filmed exiting a police station in New York at 4 am after visiting rapper Eve in jail following her DUI arrest. That can’t have been helpful to an already fragile marriage.

Robin Wright Penn has the Sun in Aries and it conjuncts Mars, showing that she possesses the qualities of a warrior (think Xena) and a desire to fulfill her own needs and follow her own destiny. However, this conflicts with her four planets in the sensitive and adaptive sign of Pisces which tends to seek the path of least resistance. This combination of the fiery warrior and the sensitive mystic can be very difficult to resolve and often results in an inner conflict that can lead to depression due to an inability to express one’s will which is often subjugated to that of others.

Robin has been going through her own challenging planetary cycles, including the famed “Uranus Opposition” that occurs for everyone at the age of 40-42 when transiting Uranus opposes Uranus in the birthchart. This is particularly powerful for her because like so many others born in the late 1960s, Uranus and Pluto are conjunct in her chart meaning that the Uranus opposition sets off this combination that denotes change and transformation. This cycle began for her back in April of 2007, and has likely created a tremendous need within her for more independence and autonomy in her life. The second phase of the cycle hit her in September of 2007, and will complete in January of 2008.

The other “midlife crisis transit” that occurs for everyone in their early 40’s is the “Neptune Square,” the time when transiting Neptune makes a square to Neptune in the birthchart. This planetary cycle is well-known for creating confusion and eroding self-confidence, causing us to feel that what we thought was real has no basis in reality. This can be a time of tremendous self-discovery, but it is not always easy to keep the trappings of our mundane existence in order during these cycles.

It is difficult enough to go through these cycles in the privacy of a normal life, but to experience the chaos at midlife in the celebrity goldfish bowl can be extremely difficult. I hope that they can find the healing that they need to come out of this difficult time as more empowered individuals.

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