Robin Williams: A Walker Between the Worlds
Of all that has been written over the last 36 hours about Robin Williams’ death yesterday, little is as profound as Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ essay, “Robin Williams is Gone, Ay, Long Live the Fisher King!” The energy that swirled about him, she writes, was archetypal. “He learned for 63 years of his life how to be ‘the fire handler.’ That is where I would praise him, for what he has managed to do for six+ decades; handle fire, while being made of parchment.”
When a life becomes an expression for archetypal energy, it’s not being lived for the small self alone. Like many of you who follow this blog, Williams was anchoring energies that are complex, potent, and not easy to carry. The beneficiaries extended far beyond his personal circle, to those he would never know — as they do for all who are embodying the energies that can transform our planet and allow life to continue. Many in our world today are walking between two worlds. Most are not famous. All are performing a great service to Life, often at tremendous personal cost.
All the archetypes that Pinkola Estes identifies as central to Robin Williams’ life leap out of his birth chart. The puer, “eternal boy” filled with “energy, imagination, inquiry, exploration, ever highly excited about new and interesting possibilities,” springs easily to life when Mars is in the creative, sensitive sign of Cancer. The loving, protective father who is the pater expresses beautifully the nearly exact sextile between Williams’ Cancer Sun and Virgo Saturn. The lover who knows that physicality and the soul are the same thing is a gift of a Mars-Uranus conjunction in Cancer, in trine to a romantic Pisces Moon.
Water is the dominant element in Robin Williams’ chart, giving him the depth and sensitivity that allowed him to touch so many hearts so deeply. His Sun was in Cancer, along with a Mars-Uranus conjunction and Black Moon Lilith, and his Moon was in Pisces.
Fire, however, was the element that called him. The cosmic star power of Leo was the energy of Williams’ Midheaven, with both Pluto and Mercury in the 10th House, giving him a deep and incisive mind, able to cut to the core truth in any situation.
All of these contributed to the potent mixture of creativity, depth, electricity, and vulnerability that gave Williams an appeal that for many went far beyond a good laugh. The energy of “the mystical king who walks between the worlds” that Pinkola Estes recognizes in Williams is astrologically captured by Chiron, carrier of the sacred wound and sacred gift within each of us.
In Robin Williams’ inner sky, Chiron was precisely aligned with one of the most mysterious and powerful nodes of the Great Mystery in the Universe — the Galactic Center. This super-massive vortex of creation and destruction at the heart of our Milky Way is where our Sun was born, along with almost everything else in our solar system — and in your birth chart. Those with Chiron in Sagittarius have a deeply mystical sense of the Quest embedded in their core. With Chiron here, one’s very identity becomes, in the most profound and the most elemental ways, a bridge between the two very different dimensions of our human nature.
“The gifts of the gods are burdens to bear,” as the ancient Greek saying goes, and this was certainly true for Williams. The sometimes harsh and ruthless energetic tempests of the Uranus-Pluto era hit his chart repeatedly and with full force. The day before his death, the Aquarian Supermoon occurred precisely across the sky from his Pluto, which is closely conjunct Mercury. Like every creative and alive human being, he was vulnerable. We all are, and we hide from that fact at the cost of everything that is most precious, within us and around us.
As we mourn the departure of this warrior for Life, let’s dedicate our grief over all that makes our beautiful planet such a dangerous place for all that is full of magic and fragility. May Planet Earth become again the garden spot of the Cosmos, a place where the mystical queens and kings, the whales and the dolphins, the butterflies and the bees, the artists and the astrologers, flourish amid a vibrant, flowering web of Life.