Robin Williams 2011a (2)

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you the shock and sadness I felt  when I saw the announcement that Robin Williams was dead.

I literally had a moment of not believing my eyes – and thinking I must have misread the “Variety” headline.

At first I wasn’t going to write about it… there’s enough about him in the news, and all over major and social media, and I didn’t feel I would have anything new or valuable to say.

In India, when one studies astrology, the first thing they study is the topic of longevity and the timing of death.

This is for extremely practical reasons – marriages are mostly arranged, and you don’t want to be married off (or marry of your children) to someone who will perhaps die young.

If you have any family lands or monies, you don’t want to leave them to a child who might die early, when you likely have other children who would benefit more.

You get the idea…

But I’m not in India, and here in the West we have a cultural denial of death (me included!). A whopping 95% of Americans don’t have their affairs in order (because, hey – WE’RE not going to die – that’s what OTHER people do!).

So I’ve purposely never studied such things.

What good would it be to speak to clients about this stuff here where people would totally flip out? How would it help them to know when they would die, how it would likely happen, or at what age? Yes, it can be enormously practical.

But is it a good idea to know, or healthy to ponder – let alone PLAN for – such topics?

I like to write about happy things, like how to meet men, and how to attract them and connect deeply with them – things that make life worth living with the time we’ve got!

When I write about celebrities, I like to write about their happy love news – their engagements and weddings, and once in a while their breakups if I feel I can put things in a positive light, or at least an instructive one.

But death? Who wants to write about that, much less read about it?

As news of the details of his passing are made known, however, I did feel I should chime in.

Here’s why…

So many people turn to astrology and love advice when they are depressed.

I receive sad, desperate emails EVERY DAY from women everywhere.

And it’s humbling, and sometimes scary… and I’m often at a loss as to how to respond.

Depression and addiction are NO JOKE.

They are NOT a choice.

No one wants to be depressed… and no one would choose to be an addict.

These issues have NOTHING to do with a person’s will, or character.

Being sad does not make someone a bad person, and having an alcoholic reaction to alcohol does not make someone weak.

(And being in a relationship with someone battling such things can be sooooo confusing. Thinking, “If he really loved me he’d be happy…” or, “If he really loved me he’d stop drinking” simply aren’t true. And something I say a lot is, “Depression causes divorce as much as divorce causes depression.”)

We know now from scientific studies that these issues are instead the result of things happening (or NOT happening) in the BRAIN (neural patterns, “misfires,” a lack of certain neurotransmitters, etc.) and cannot be wished away.

And, as this example and so many before him clearly illustrates, it doesn’t matter how amazing and wonderful your external circumstances are.

You can have a beautiful home (check! Robin had two), amazing career spanning decades (duh!), adorable children (three!), a gorgeous wife (yup), not to mention the admiration, respect, and love of the entire world (uhuh), and still feel that life is unlivable.

Now, you may be reading this now and thinking, “Carol – everyone knows this. You’re not saying anything new…”

And I WISH that were the case. But, sadly, we have SO MUCH SHAME in our culture when it comes to depression and addiction, that these things are often NOT talked about, and not taught in school, and are widely misunderstood. So there’s tremendous ignorance, even among the most educated and powerful.

Which is why there’s been such painful things said in the media, and all over social media, calling this amazing man’s final act an act of “cowardice” – or blaming and cyber-attacking his wife and family…

But anyone who has ever loved a mentally ill person, or an addict will tell you – when you love someone such as this, you are utterly POWERLESS over their behaviors, choices, and habits.

There is NOTHING you can do to make the depressive or addict you love “snap out of it” or “STOP THE MADNESS.”

So – if someone in your life is depressed, or battling a demon (or twelve) PLEASE don’t tell yourself that lie. Please don’t think if you just love them more, and give things more time, and focus on them more, THEN they’ll be better.

If they are truly depressed, mentally ill, and enslaved by a bona fide addiction, nothing you can do will change that. (And I STRONGLY encourage you to get support for yourself. Twelve-step groups such as these can totally save the day, allowing you to love the sad and sick people in your life without being taken down by them:

And if it’s YOU who are depressed or fighting an army of demons, PLEASE get help. And please remember the BASICS… getting enough sunlight, exercise, good food (at regular intervals), and deep sleep are crucial. And are so often NOT happening in people who are depressed, or finding their lives unmanageable.

I’m not an expert on this stuff (depression and alcoholism don’t run in my family that I know of – we’re more of a compulsive, anxious, overdoing high serotonin group of “Tiggers” vs. “Eeyores”)

But my favorite blogger, appropriately named “The Bloggess,” writes so beautifully on the topic of depression, and battles it herself. Here’s an old blog post of hers with genius suggestions and insights I highly recommend.

The other reason I finally chose to write about this, is that the old saying really is true, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

And astrology can illuminate that like nothing else.

Robin was in an exceedingly challenging time in his life… and had been for a while.

Timing aside, his emotional nature was such that he’d ride the wave of his emotions fully, and feel extremely high highs, and low lows. This is due to the fact that – according to the calculations of Vedic astrology, which differ from those of Western astrology by almost an entire sign, he had the Moon in the same sign as Rahu, a mathematically calculated point we call a “shadow planet.”

The Moon indicates our emotional and psychological nature, and it’s extremely common for addicts to have Rahu in the same sign as the Moon, as Rahu is the indicator of addictions and intoxicants.

It also makes a person deeply sensitive, and moody.

(And attractive – it’s common in the charts of beauty queens and sex symbols… giving a person incredible charisma.)

So I’m not at all surprised to learn that he’d been diagnosed as Bi-polar, and that he’d experienced depression on and off throughout his life… and that he’d been in and out of sobriety.

The Moon is in the sign of Aquarius (“ruled” by the planet Saturn, the planet of both timing – something a great comedian like Robin had in spades – and depression) and is found in the smaller Vedic constellation of “Shatabisha” which is symbolized by 100 physicians. It’s said that people born with the Moon here are either as powerful at healing others and solving problems as though they WERE 100 doctors, or they have such severe problems they require the help of 100 doctors…

Sadly and not surprisingly, many forces were coming to a head in his chart in the last year, and had become extra painful in the last month.

The rising sign in his birth chart is Libra, and the two heaviest influences (Rahu and Saturn) have both been in the sign of Libra for a long time… Saturn since the end of 2011 and Rahu from January of 2013 until  it finally moved into Virgo just last month.

A person’s health and vitality and attitude are deeply impacted by the rising sign, and so to have Saturn there (the planet of fatigue and depression – for the first time in thirty years) at the same time as Rahu (the “shadow planet” of addictions and hyper-sensitivity – for the first time in 19 years) is just too much.

But this is where astrology gets downright creepy…

Rahu moves into a new sign every eighteen months. And, as I wrote above, it only recently moved into the sign of Virgo. This happens to be the 8th sign from Robin’s Moon sign, and that’s a VERY difficult place for Rahu to be in a person’s chart… In an ancient book I have on the impact of the different motions of the planets through the sky in relation to where they were at a person’s birth, it says that Rahu here causes “Danger to life…”

This coupled with Saturn in the rising sign and in the 9th house from the position of his Moon sign, which according to that same book brings, “Extreme helplessness, misunderstandings with one’s own people, a break through hatred, and enmity with all…”

And Mars in his 12th house for the last several months, in the 8th house from the position of his natal Moon causes, “weakness, mental depression, severe blows to the body…”

In the last month, Mars had moved into his rising sign. Mars is called “The great malefic” and is believed to be the most dangerous, harmful of all the planets.

Saturn gets a lot of “bad press” for bringing long lasting problems and challenges, but Mars makes us lash out in anger and with violence, and do things impulsively, and causes the most sudden upheaval.

So Mars and Saturn (an extremely frustrating, violent combination) were together in his rising sign since mid-July (which is the body, and the SELF – and our SELF-CARE, or in this case, self-harm).

Again, it’s just too much…

Now, the planet that help us the most is “the great benefic” – Jupiter.

But Jupiter was powerless to help.

As of late June, Jupiter had moved into the sign of Cancer, which is the 6th house from Robin’s Moon sign position. That same book says about the time in which Jupiter is in the 6th sign from a person’s Moon, “Even the wife’s bright face will not please the native’s heart. Tendency to feel unhappy even though having everything to make oneself comfortable. Reduces the native to abject slavery or degradation.”

But soon things would have improved… had he just held on a little longer.

But here’s the thing… I could have gone on and on and revealed what a challenging major and minor “planetary period” he has been in (true!), and more – which is believed to be the most important factor impacting every area of our lives.

Many people have the Moon in the sign of Aquarius and/or the rising sign of Libra, so have been experiencing the very influences I just described.

Many people have the Moon with Rahu, and they made it through all of the difficult things going on these past several months.

So there’s more to it…

Amazingly, Robin has a combination I was taught years ago is common in the charts of people who take their own lives. (Hemingway had a version of this combo, as did his granddaughter, Margot, as did Amelia Earhart, who you could argue was so reckless in her last, fateful flight that it was akin to suicide…)

He was born when the planets Mars and Uranus were right on top of each other in the sky, within one degree of one another (called an exact “conjunction” in astrology).

This combination removes all impulse control, inclining people to live by their own rules, and have a tremendous need for freedom.

It enables people to leap without looking – and boldly, bravely, and sometimes thoughtlessly and foolishly act.

It was immensely helpful to him in his career and was responsible for his incredibly speedy humor and his utter free flow of ideas. He never held himself back, or took the time to worry about “the rules.” (This made him unbelievable at improvisation, and happy to leap off the interviewer’s couch and run around the studio audience on talk shows – I saw him do that very thing on both “The Tonight Show” and the “Dick Cavett Show.”) Fellow comedians say his brain was lightning fast – always ten steps ahead of his mouth…

So he had the nature to go to such an extreme as he did.

He was getting older and experiencing health problems, and he was enduring a “perfect storm” of the most painful astrological influences all at once.

Part of why Robin Williams’ death is so unacceptable to us, is that it seems it was his decision, and that he was willing – in spite of his lifetime of incredible blessings and accomplishments and abundance that are oceans beyond what any of the rest of us “mere mortals” could ever possibly hope to attain – to throw it all away.

To trade the love of his children, the companionship of his wife, the adoration of his fans, and the future plans he’d committed to, and just chuck it all.

But given his inborn nature, his very real psychological and physiological challenges, and the celestial “shit storm” he was going through, I’m not so sure he had any choice in the matter…

So, let’s take a moment of silence for Robin, and let’s be kinder and gentler to ourselves and each other.

And do something he would wholeheartedly endorse: watch a movie, make someone laugh, and know that no matter how bad things may seem, this, too shall pass…

P.S. Here’s a super sweet clip of Robin in “What Dreams May Come” – a movie about the afterlife. Grab a hankie, hug a dog, and enjoy.

Photo By: Eva Rinaldi, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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