Michael Richards is a comedian best known for his role of Cosmo Kramer in the hit television show “Seinfeld.” He has not been heard of much since Seinfeld went into syndication, but last week he made headlines when he was filmed by a cellphone video camera in a racist rant against two black members of the audience. As the black members left Richards shouted, “That’s what happens when you interrupt the white man.” He subsequently went on the apology tour, hitting the Letterman show and making personal calls to black leaders including Al Sharpton.
Subsequent reports include fresh allegations of an anti-Jewish rant earlier this year. Richards claimed at the time that he was “in character” and that this was part of his act. His publicist reports that Richards is Jewish, but his biographies are clear that he was raised Catholic and but is now unaffiliated with any religion. He is, however, a Master Mason who has achieved the 33rd degree. Freemasons have a long history of racism and was associated with the beginnings of the KKK in the US; in fact, there is currently a controversy within the southern Masonic lodges whether to accept the black lodges (Prince Hall Masonry) that were set up because blacks were not permitted to join the Masons. Reports of this kind of behavior from Richards just erupted this year after a lifetime on the comedy circuit, making it easy to conclude that his Masonic connections have something to do with these racist outbursts.
Michael Richards’ birthchart shows that he is a Leo, with Mercury conjunct his Sun. The affiliation of Mercury with the Sun always shows an extremely bright individual and someone who is able to change (Mercury) one’s identity (Sun), easily slipping in and out of a variety of roles. (Frank Abagnale Jr., the con man who was immortalized in the film “Catch Me If You Can” had Sun conjunct Mercury.) Mercury in his chart is at the last degree of Cancer which begins to bleed into Leo, so the Leo influence is strong in this configuration with the Sun. Leo is the sign that celebrates the ego; it can be playful and love life, but it can also become egotistical and self-centered. A difficult aspect (opposition) from expansive Jupiter to this Sun/Mercury combination shows that Richards tends towards an overblown ego that needs to be constantly fed by attention from others. Jupiter is retrograde in his chart which adds a quality of introversion that makes it difficult for Richards to ever feel that he has received enough attention. One can imagine that after the fame that the Seinfeld series brought him, Richards enjoyed the adulation that he enjoyed after his initiation into Freemasonry.
Mars in the birthchart shows how we express our aggressive instinct, and in Richards’ chart Mars is in Cancer, a sensitive and emotional sign. Mars in Cancer can be touchy and reactive, particularly when exacerbated by his conjunction to Uranus, the planet of rebellion. Mars/Uranus conjunctions typically denote an individual with a fiery temper, but in Cancer that temper is not allowed its full expression and can simmer for long periods of time before erupting in ways that are less than productive. When Richards’ racist rant took place transiting Mars was square to Pluto in his chart. This is always a time of great intensity, and for someone like Richard who struggles with his inner rage it can be a time when that rage finds an easy release. It’s possible that during his indoctrination into Freemasonry he also took on the racist world view that so much of this cult embraces.
The timing of this event is interesting, occurring just as transiting Jupiter makes a trine to Richards’ Sun. In addition, Richards’ progressed Sun is trine his natal Jupiter, making this a strong Jupiterian period for him. Jupiter is the planet of good luck and opportunity when it is in a harmonious aspect, but opportunity can be surprising and not always what we expect. It will be interesting to see how this event affects his future career; perhaps the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity will turn out to be true for Michael Richards.