Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Bill Maher!

Today is the birthday of Bill Maher, host of HBO's Real Time, stand-up comedian, political commentator & social critic : HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BILL! He's a special favourite of mine. His show kept me (almost) sane during my first years in the USA during the presidency of G.W. Bush.

He has an interesting natal chart. I blogged about it a couple of years ago, around the time his documentary film Religulous was released. Here's an excerpt from the archived post, as it related to Bill's natal chart. That post and others referencing Bill Maher can be accessed via the Label Cloud in the sidebar.

Bill Maher was born on 20 January 1956 at 10.32pm in New York, NY.

Rather than trying to interpret his chart in general, I'll concentrate on what strikes me as particularly interesting about it, and on where his anti-religion streak comes from.

Interesting: so many very early and very late degrees:

Sun 00 Aquarius
Saturn 00 Sagittarius
Mars 04 Sagittarius
Neptune 00 Scorpio
Uranus 00 Leo
Moon 02 Taurus
Venus 04 Pisces
Chiron 05 Aquarius

Pluto 28 Leo
Jupiter 29 Leo

The first decanate (10 degrees) of each sign is thought to be most characteristic of the sign in question, having the sign itself as sub-ruler, whereas the second and third decanates are sub-ruled by the other two signs in the same element. This could make for a particularly clear-cut planet-in-sign interpretation in Bill's case, but because so many planets lie in early degrees there are numerous close aspects in the chart, which in turn form webs of interlinked aspect patterns. Perhaps the simplest translation is that Bill has a particularly complex personality. The most interesting aspect patterns here are the Grand Cross and the Mystic Rectangle.

The Grand Cross, which I've outlined heavily in blue, includes four square aspects and two oppositions. Astrologers see this type of configuration as indicating stressful, tense energy which needs a clear focus if it is to be constructive. In Bill's case the Grand Square is in Fixed signs: focus will be inflexible, opinions not open to persuasion. I've recently noticed this type of configuration in the charts of a couple of other ascerbic well-known personalities - Keith Olbermann and Randi Rhodes. All three of these critical observers focus on the political scene. Aviator Amy Johnson's chart contained this pattern too - her focus was on feats of flying, in her time unusual for a female. These people seem more driven than the average person, almost as though they house a hidden looped dynamo.

The Mystic Rectangle, which I've outlined in purple, isn't actually mystical. The configuration combines helpful and tense aspects (2 trines, 2 sextiles and 2 oppositions). This feature of Bill's chart may act as a partial antidote to the Grand Cross, bringing in a softer more adaptable side, especially as some of the aspects are "out of sign" - which means that early aspects of one sign link to late aspects of the previous sign, combining two elements/modes. Eg. Pluto/Jupiter in late Leo (Fixed Fire) trines Moon in early Taurus (Earth), a degree or two more would put the Leo planets in Earthy Mutable Virgo, indicating the potential for a rather more adaptable attitude than indicated by the Grand Cross.

His quick wit and ready ability to see the funny side of most things probably help Bill to deal with many of the stresses of his lifestyle. Mercury, the communication planet isn't closely tied into any aspect or pattern, it lies at 12 Aquarius (in the second decanate of Aquarius, sub-ruled by Mutable Gemini). Symbolically here Mercury acts as "an observer" of the tangled web of aspects - rather as Bill himself observes the tangled web of the world's political and religious scene.

In a nutshell, I see this web of linked but very different aspects in his chart as indicating that Bill Maher, though sharply critical of organised religion, still retains certain doubts. His humour softens and warms the harshness of his judgement, and this is always going to be his saving grace. For every challenging aspect in his chart, there's a harmonious one - something not encountered in every natal chart.

Many viewers of his programme, myself included, have forgiven Bill much in the past. He can be something of a misogynist at times, possibly though this done is more for effect, to raise a laugh, than due to any personal feeling. I detect an underlying kindness and softness beneath his overtly critical and prickly nature.

Bill Maher on France


Gian Paul said...

Trying to understand his "anti-religious" character: Sun opposite his Uranus (barely in Leo and retrograding): Little tolerance for authoritarian "bull-sh..."

Interesting that most of his planets are at the cusp of signs. An indication that he's very flexible but also not submissive. Probably what people like in him.

Astrology Unboxed said...

I cannot gush enough about him too. His show is my very favorite one, which I follow "religiously".
I am not going to analyze his chart, but rather give my feeling about him. Each time I watch his show, there is a sense of seeing somebody who defies the notions of what "being" an American means.He totally shatters any preconceived idea of the cookie cutter idea of what Americans are. He feels utterly French to me, as in the political and satirical tradition image of the newspaper "Le Canard Enchaine".

Wisewebwoman said...

I would be a complete fan of his only for his misogyny which I find rather baffling in a man who exhibits such a sense of tolerance otherwise (except for fools and non-thinkers)

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ Yes - good point!
He's quite libertarian re drug use, so that ties in with what you've said too.

I found it interesting that his planets are "cuspy" too- and therefore well integrated.

Twilight said...

Astrology Unboxed (Fabienne) ~~
Yes, I try never to miss Real Time - or his stand-up shows on HBO (few and far between are those though).

He's definitely unique, on TV at least. I want to see him getting even more annoyed about the current administration, and corporatism. I believe he will - soon.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ I know - I've "sworn off him" at times too because of snarky comments - but really I don't think that he is portraying his true feelings, when he snarks. He's just playing for laughs. When he has a female guest who he likes and respects on the show, he's very sweet to them (e.g. Elizabeth Warren). Let's face it - SOME women CAN BE a pain in the ass and deserve snark! ;-)