It’s Aries season and as I’m trying to stick to the ‘tradition’ of analyzing the chart of a famous celebrity each astrological season, one particular Aries lingered on my mind in this period. And he happened to pop up indirectly, as I was listening to a funny video on Youtube in which Alizee was breaking down Mathew Perry’s new book about addiction and the women in his life, in an attempt to uncover whether Matthew is sexist or just self-loathing. Spoiler alert, she concluded the latter. You can see the clip here:
As I was viewing this, I kept thinking “Ok, so I know that Matthew is a Sun in Leo, which makes him a Fire sign. Now another Fire sign known for his battle with addiction (but also someone who has made an amazing recovery) is Robert Downey Jr. Wait! It’s Aries season, let’s write about him and addiction then”. Not that you needed to know my train of thought, but this is how I reached this place of finding myself in a cafe in the center of Bucharest, on a rainy and grey April afternoon, studying the charts of Mathew and Robert and looking for clues that might point towards the astrological unravelling of their addiction stories. I’m especially interested in seeing why their recovery stories are so different and what can astrological transits tell us about the probability of overcoming addiction.
For those of you who are new to the filmography of these two actors, I can clue you in on the fact that before becoming Iron Man & Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. had a successful career at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s appearing in movies like Less than Zero, The Pick-up Artist, Only You and Chaplin (for which he won an Oscar nomination). Following an incident where he was found driving while on drugs and after a period of incarceration, Robert made a slow recovery. During his period of recovery in the 2000s he played together with Nicole Kidman in a unique and strange movie inspired by the artworks of Diane Arbus, called ‘Fur‘, which I strongly recommend if you want to see a different side to Robert’s acting skills. The interesting thing about Robert is that even if he struggled with addiction and engaged in alleged days-long drug benders, and one of them apparently got him fired from the set of Ally Mcbeal, he somehow remained prolific, appearing in movies in a consistent way during the Pluto in Scorpio/Sagittarius/Capricorn eras. His powerful comeback however began in 2008, as Pluto entered Capricorn and harmonized some of his natal chart placements, which I will discuss in the following.
The same cannot be said however of Matthew Perry, who shot to wealth and fame in the 90s by playing Chandler Bing in the phenomenally successful series ‘Friends’. He then starred in only a couple of roles, most notably being his appearances in the Whole Nine Yards and its sequel. He went quiet for a good amount of time (about a decade) until last year (2022) when he launched a tell-all biography called “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing”. These facts aside, before I dive into the comparative analysis, I also need to show you their charts:
Birth-chart of Matthew Perry, born on August 19th 1969 in Williamstown, Massachusetts (age 53 years)
Birth-chart of Robert Downey Jr., born on April 4th 1965 in Manhattan, New York (age 58 years)
I want to write about addiction and healing and how it emerges from both Matthew’s and Robert’s natal charts. The interesting thing is that part of the healing process is seeing Robert create a documentary about his father’s life, called ‘Sr.’ It’s fascinating to see just how emotionally attached and close Robert has remained to his father, who was the one who initially got his son on this addiction path by offering him weed at the age of 6. I am remined here of the close emotional relationship that Johnny Depp shared to his verbally and physically abusive mother, and which also healed for him in court, as he had to reflect on that important maternal connection during his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard. In addition, Johnny also struggled with drug and alcohol consumption throughout this healing process. I was struck by how Robert seemed to have consumed drugs throughout his 20s and 30s in a co-dependent attempt to preserve an emotional connection to his father.
The theme of a certain fascination with the father who is somehow absent, is also present in Matthew’s narrative who mostly got to see his dad while growing up through the medium of ‘Old Spice’ commercials on TV. On the other hand, it seems like Matthew wasn’t introduced to drugs by his parents, but he did go through his parent’s divorce at the fragile age of just 1 year old, and then with his family having relocated to Canada following the separation. Matthew apparently grew up in a household where he had many step-siblings, which I guess on some level accentuated his feeling of alienation. Throughout his life he suffered a couple of accidents and he mentioned in interviews that the injuries he sustained led to him to develop drug habits that he found hard to bounce back from. Of course, we need to take into account that two other important factors were present in the lives of these two men, that might not usually show up for other addicted individuals: being actors and the subsequent fame they garnered, and their sexy and charismatic looks, which increased their popularity but might’ve complicated their capacity to form, meaningful emotional bonds with people. Matthew describes recently how he is ‘no longer afraid of love’, while Robert tears up in the Netflix documentary saying how he made the documentary to figure out his relationship to his father and that he doesn’t want to ‘miss a thing’. Which I think it’s very sweet, kind of like in the Aerosmith song, but this insight also reveals the state of his inner world, where addiction might have taken the place of an incapacity to let go of the idealized image of the father. The things that Matthew and Robert have in common are not only the fact that they are both actors, astrological Fire signs and both have their own personal addiction stories, but it seems that their understanding of their masculine sense of self is also built upon a fatherly model which is in one case ‘in-absentia’ or improvised (for Matthew) and in another it is toxic and in need of healing (for Robert).
To be more precise, what are the astrological things that both actors have in common? Well the first thing I noticed when I looked into their charts is that at the time at which I am writing this article (April, 2023) the planet Saturn is in the sign of Pisces. In Robert’s chart one can see that Saturn is nataly in the sign of Pisces and in the dark, intimate and obsessive 8th house. So this makes this specific transit, Robert’s second Saturn return! Not only that but in Matthew’s chart, Saturn is currently moving across his natal North Node in Pisces in the same 8th house. This blew my mind a little bit 🙂 Having any of the ‘malefic’ planets or points in the astrological house of power and healing (the sensitive 8th house, traditionally ruled by Pluto and the magnetic sign of Scorpio) can shape a person’s life to their core in emotionally profound ways. Any planets in the 8th house speak strongly of addictions and the incapacity to let things go; this is because Scorpionic energy is mind-body-soul, it is life and death, the Alpha & the Omega, an energy that carries long before the physical body is gone. While this house gives one a certain irresistible magnetic and sexual appeal, it can also bring up problems related to trust, obsessive thoughts, paranoia, self-harm and destruction. Jealousy and envy are powerful emotions which lie dormant in the 8th house and an outer planetary transit can easily trigger them, leaving the native to cope with these emotions as best as they can; and often, people cope by turning to alcohol, drugs or sex to numb the pain and the emotional intensity. Having either Saturn, Pluto, Mars, Lilith or the North Node in this house can bring up the darker energies out to play to the detriment of other healing and empowering aspects of this house. Nonetheless, we can see how Robert has been somehow protected by the force of Saturn in this house, because he survived his 1st Saturn return and made it to his second in great standing. Saturn tends to limit, separate and freeze a person’s energy in a given house or by transit, but it also preserves it and purifies someone’s energy in a methodical and slow-moving process.
So, with Robert, Saturn granted him the karma of emotional power: issues related to trusting others, feeling sexually potent, refusing to emotionally separate from family figures, and being overcome by self-destructive thoughts abounded in his life, but they were also purified and restrained as long as he continued to work both in his professional life (Saturn sitting opposite from the hard-working 2nd house of money and resources) and at his relationship to his father (which, with Saturn placed here, I can see that the relationship only got better with time). Another thing is that Pisces IS the sign of dependency, emotional sensitivity and addiction. This is the sign of the idealist who finds it hard to exist in the real world, with all its demands of bureaucracy, order and logic. Not only that but Pisceans are ruled by Neptune and Neptune is the ruler of cinema and the filmic environment. His Saturnian Pisces got Robert to experience success in his career and in his intimate life, much later than some of his peers, and all of this following after his first Saturn return experienced around the age of 29-30 years. As Robert is experiencing his second Saturn return, the focus falls on healing his relationship to his father and reflecting on the purification that Saturn brought in both of these men’s intimate lives, from what I assume were years of silent substance abuse. The pressure to create and to film, to appear on movie sets and to act, where embedded in Robert’s natal energy early on; unfortunately the addiction was the by-product of a co-dependent emotional state to his father and potentially a lack of finding an emotional anchor in his life in someone else. Once Robert met and fell in love with this producer wife, Susan Nicole Downey, things started looking up for him on all levels of his life. This is because Pisces energy – being a dual and romantic energy – needs another person’s strong intimate presence in their lives in order to focus and flourish. Coincidentally, Susan happens to be a Scorpio Sun (born on November 6, 1973), an interesting detail which complements Robert’s strong Saturn in Pisces in the 8th house energy, showing how time granted him a Scorpionic lover to fit with his ‘Pluto-flavoured’ Saturn.
Unfortunately, I don’t see Matthew being that lucky, because for him his 8th house is occupied by the North Node, a point which shows an individual’s dharma. Vedic astrologers call this point, Rahu and attribute certain malefic and obsessive tendencies to it, because of its association with the human willpower and Ego. Seeing how a dark and obsessive point lies in the most emotionally intense house of the zodiac, you can image the dharma that Matthew has to shoulder. For him, part of his destiny is to come face to face with the darker aspects of life and to go through pretty intense, life-and-death experiences in which strong emotions will constantly wash over him. This is the house of random and painful life events, from accidents to overdoses, to emergency operations and potential murders or stalking events, to sexual abuse and master-servant dynamics. This is also the house of healing and mending, strong creative urges and ancestral legacies and it shows an individual’s phenomenal capacity to bounce back from deep pain, rejection, abuse and dissolution. With the North Node there, Matthew has the task of learning how to surrender, forgive, let go and flow with life’s chaos rather than to fall back into his comfort zone (the South Node, Ketu) which points towards pleasure, materialism and common sense events. He is stuck on the Virgo-Pisces axis which describes going from control and order to creative messiness and emotional attachments. On a deeper level the 2nd house versus the 8th house axis also shows an individuals work-life balance, and as we can see Matthew is meant to gradually let go of work and of earning his income independently (the 2nd house which contains his South Node), in favour or falling in love and sharing his resources and his life with someone else (the 8th house which contains his North Node). Although being given a pretty rough ride, he is eventually learning to walk this path by letting go of the fear of love, as he mentioned in an interview connected to the release of his book. The 2nd house is also the house of the body and Matthew has his natal South Node in Virgo conjunct Mercury and Pluto there, and we can see the big transformations that Matthew’s physique has endured throughout the years with respect to how he thinks (Mercury) and where he draws his power from (Pluto).
In both of the charts I also see some problems regarding the use of both men’s sexual energies: it’s either blocked or stunted (in Robert’s chart) or too much and thereby it loses its meaning (in Matthew’s chart). So for both men this imbalance in their sexual energies can get them to either perform sexually too much or not at all, to avoid physical contact or to desperately crave it. Containing sexual energy and mastering it is benefic for creative work, but it can also lead to a lot of problems in the ways in which they person’s with such placements can express their emotions and desires to the ones they feel attracted to; as a consequence, rejections, separations, sexually transmitted diseases and issues of low self-esteem are possible, which can be quite tough especially for men who tend to associate their masculinity with their capacity to be virile and sexually confident. The key is to release the anxiety surrounding the blending of sex with emotions, and risk falling in love really hard for someone. That’s the typical 8th house treatment: loving so much it hurts…and then noticing how true love heals you, rather than betrays you. And that’s what Robert did 🙂 While we are still rooting for Matthew (or at least, I am, on some level).
Coming back to the astrological things they share in common, well I guess you noticed their Leonic Ascendant! (strangely enough, they share this in common with Johnny Depp too, another actor who has smouldering good lucks and suffered from addictions). Matthew has his Sun in the first house conjunct the Ascendant, while Robert has his Sun in the lucky 9th house conjunct Venus and Mercury. Looking at the current transits and how they affect both actor’s energies, I can also see some interesting patterns: Matthew is having at the moment his Chiron return in the sign of Aries and in his 9th house, while Robert is having a strong Jupiter conjunct Chiron transit over his natal Sun, Mercury and Venus in the sign of Aries. The 9th house shows the place in which we can unlock our good luck and the planets and points there show us the manner in which we can access this luck. I can see that Jupiter in Aries is helping both of these men become increasingly popular and more visible in the public’s eyes at the moment, but they are experiencing their blessings in a slightly different manner: for Robert, he can unlock his good luck by simply being himself (the Sun), by talking (Mercury) and by loving others (Venus); while for Matthew he can bring more good fortune in his life, if he heals from past trauma (Chiron).
Image from https://pagesix.com/article/matthew-perrys-addiction-struggles-inside-his-long-road-of-recovery-and-relapse/
But why did Robert’s career took off with the transit of Pluto in Capricorn, while Matthew went incognito for a while? Well, one reason for this is the preponderance of Earth planets in his chart which were harmoniously activated by compatible Capricorn: we can see that Robert has Jupiter conjunct his Moon in Taurus (which is an aspect that also shows that his mother was a source of emotional support and a solid nurturer in his life), together with a stellium in Virgo (involving Mars, Uranus, Pluto and the part of Fortune!) in the work-prone and financial 2nd house – so with these aspects being triggered by stable and supportive Pluto in Capricorn, no wonder he made a fortune, nourished himself better and got clean, all while achieving international stardom by consistently appearing in successful movies and franchises. On the other hand, in Matthew’s chart, although we a also see a Virgo stellium in the 2nd house that was indeed supported by Pluto in Capricorn, his other placements in Leo (Sun and Ascendant) together with his natal Jupiter and Uranus in Libra in the 3rd house and his Chiron in Aries in the 9th house were challenged during the 14 years-transit of Pluto in Capricorn. Having a preponderance of squares working simultaneously in an individual’s chart for a long period of time can take a toll on a person’s body and mental health, especially seeing as Matthew’s faith & growth (Jupiter in Libra) and sense of future and progress (Uranus) were put under pressure by Pluto in Capricorn. I’m not making excuses for a man who clearly made some conscious choices to engage in his own self-destruction, but I am mapping out the astrological fact that Matthew had a lot of tense influences acting upon him simultaneously which were hard to resist. And as you all know, we all have our good days and bad days. The charts do show to some extent why it was harder for Matthew to ‘bounce back’ career-wise compared to Robert who had a lot of benefic trines supporting him in the last years on his path to recovery and ultimately, to thriving. On a more optimistic note, I can also see that Matthew’s natal Saturn and Part of Fortune in Taurus were supported by the transit of Pluto in Capricorn – this means that with some effort and discipline, he managed to survive the intense, physical experiences he endured following from prolonged drug-consumption. The problem is that he also had these sensual and stubborn energies (Saturn in Taurus and Part of Fortune) sitting in tension with his personality (the Sun in Leo) and the opportunities he could attract to him (the Leo Ascendant), which I assume led to many personal frustrations and potential ‘battles of will’ with other people in his life (since the squares are between fixed signs).
One final thing I need to mention about the things that both of these men share in *astrological* common is that their Neptune in Scorpio lies in the 4th house. This is a marker that shows a propensity towards the idealization of their family lives, an increased emotionalism and an attraction to the world of the silver screen. This placement also denotes individuals with deeply sensitive souls but also quite powerful, sexual desires. A Neptune in the 4th house is someone who finds in hard to rest at home without the use of substances that can help one escape the mundane fabric of reality; it can describe a native who has addiction problems rooted deep in their ancestral DNA. The higher vibration of this energy would be coming home to a creative and intimate, family abode, but the lower vibration would be having escapist fantasies, indulging in substances, lewd sexual dynamics and intense emotional disappointments. A Neptune in Scorpio can also indicate some sexual activity in the family that took place behind closed doors and was buried deep for years. This energy affects Matthew in a stronger way than Robert, because Matthew has his Moon conjunct Neptune in Scorpio (and trining his North Node in Pisces but squaring his Leo Sun and Ascendant and opposing his Saturn in Taurus). The Moon shows how we rest, how we feel, what makes us feel safe and nourished. The Moon is also the emotional support that we get through life and it portrays the mother figure, which in Matthew’s case was a strong woman with a mysterious and elusive energy. So within Matthew there is a deeper struggle between light (Leo Sun) and dark (Moon in Scorpio) than it is inside Robert (whose Sun in Aries and Moon in Taurus sit a semi-sextile aspect to each other rather than a square).
As you can see, on the surface, these men seem to have a lot in common, both in terms of their qualities and bad luck in life, but at the same time, once we get deeper into their natal charts, in spite of ongoing astrological similarities we also see how one actor’s recovery path from addiction is harder than the other’s. There’s also the issue of how the public ends up perceiving their recovery. Again Robert has it luckier than Matthew. This is because Robert has a Moon and Jupiter in the 10th house and so close to the Midheaven (the point of the professional legacy). So he has an enduring appeal, a beautiful artistic image that is stable and trustworthy (Taurus). He is seen as a hero, as a sensitive man who made a successful emotional recovery and healing and became Iron Man. While Matthew is being criticized and scrutinized by the public upon the release of his book. Some of the criticism is based on how he squandered his privilege and his fame, but also the wealth he had, which he re-purposed in order to heal himself (Part of Fortune and Saturn in Taurus in his 10th house).
Image from https://thedirect.com/article/robert-downey-jr-mcu-return-marvel
I hope you found this comparative analysis useful and feel free to let me know down in the comments section your thoughts regarding these actors and the astrological placements discussed in this article. Take care & until next time!
With universal love,