Charles Chaplin
Also this astrological portrait is excerpted from Marcia Moore & Mark Douglas, Astrology, the Divine Science, York Harbor (Arcane Publications) 1978, pp. 654-669. This study in contradictions will allow the student of astrology to try out the complex symbolic machinery linking signs and planets to the local sphere, and how it works. — Three dots in square brackets indicate the deletions. The few notes are by Fr. L. Viero.

FEW persons see themselves as others see them. However, when there are startling contradictions between a person's account of himself and the account given by a close associate - who, or what, should one believe? In such instances, astrology can give an answer unbiased by conflicting reports and personal points of view. We shall now see what light it can shed upon the life of Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr., a man whose paradoxical personality has mystified millions, and perhaps even himself.

Nowhere are these contradictions more glaring than in the discrepancies between Chaplin's own charming and urbane My Autobiography and the lurid tale told by his ex-wife Lita Grey in her book My Life with Chaplin. For example, Chaplin says:

As for sex, most of it went into my work. When it did rear its delightful head, it was either a glut on the market or a serious shortage. However, I was a disciplinarian and took my work seriously. Like Balzac, who believed that a night of sex meant the loss of a good page of his novel, so I believed it meant the loss of a good day's work at the studio... Unlike Freud, I do not believe sex is the most important element in the complexity of behavior. Cold, hunger, and shame of poverty are more likely to affect one's psychology.

Chaplin managed to triumph over cold, hunger, and the vicissitudes of one of the most miserable childhoods ever recorded. Yet even after he had struggled to the top of the ladder of success, adding a few rungs of his own, he was unable to avoid two disastrous marriages to teenaged girls whom he had previously seduced and made pregnant. He then contracted a third unhappy marriage with Paulette Goddard before destiny finally relented and sent him Oona O'Neill, to whom he remained happily married.
According to Lita Grey, Chaplin was a man who was almost totally at the mercy of his sexual impulses and strangely heedless of their consequences. She says:

What took me a while to comprehend, even though he had proudly admitted it many months earlier, was that he was the kind of sexual prodigy most women can only dream about. He was a human sex machine who, even in his middle thirties, could make love half a dozen times in the course of a night, and his sixth time could be as vigorous as his first.

Lita also describes how she finally told Marion Davies, the girl friend of William Randolph Hearst, that “Charlie bragged to me that he'd had affairs with six women in the past two and a half years. Five of them are well known, and you are one of the five.” During this period, he was not only married to Lita, but wrote, produced, and starred in The Gold Rush.

How does astrology explain the lack of agreement between these accounts? Fortunately, there is an accurate horoscope from which to draw conclusions, for Chaplin obligingly opens his autobiography with the statement, “I was born on April 16, 1889, at eight o'clock at night, in East Lane, Walworth.” (Coincidentally, this was during the period when Thomas Edison perfected his movie camera and George Eastman produced celluloid film in rolls.)
According to this birth time, Chaplin's Moon rises in Scorpio, the sign reputed to produce the most sexually preoccupied people of the zodiac. In combination with the susceptible Moon, Scorpio generates a sultry eroticism with a seamy side of steaming sensuality.
The Moon closely opposes Mars in Taurus, sign of procreation, and both are squared by Saturn in Leo. Mars and Saturn are in detriment while the Moon is in the sign of its fall. This T-square, which closely coincides with the angles of the natal chart, also shows the control of the sex instinct to be a major life issue. With Mars and Venus conjoined in the seventh house of marriage, it is hardly surprising that Chaplin had a surfeit of wives, while his mistresses were often his leading ladies – partners in the making of films. Mars, which rules his Ascendant, Sun, and Mercury, reinforces the Taurean tendency toward self-indulgence, and its trine to Jupiter in the second house of finances supplies the resources to feed this appetite for good living. [1]
The square of Saturn in Leo to the Moon-Mars opposition implies that Chaplin practiced a considerable amount of self-discipline, particularly with regard to his profession. Only an exceptional capacity for work could account for his prodigious achievements in the early days of the movie industry. Nevertheless, his Mars-accented horoscope clearly indicates a powerful and, at times, compulsive libidinal drive.
Planets in the signs of their detriment or fall (of which Chaplin has four) are not weak. Instead, they betoken the deep-seated psychological complexes of a personality riven by contending impulses. [...]
The Moon signifies the instinct to accumulate substance, but Scorpio is the sign of elimination. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Chaplin acquired homes, wives, children, and possessions, all of which tended to slide out of his grasp. Mars takes risks, but Taurus is stolidly conservative and fond of money. Thus, Chaplin was torn between his desire to speculate, and his natural aversion to taking chances. Max Eastman in his book Heroes I Have Known describes Chaplin's inner uncertainty as follows:

And that hyperprudence, a kind of timorous canny clinging to what he's got, is the reason Charlie does not even enjoy his creative art to the full, or exploit his unparalleled chance to enjoy it. His studio is as still as a cemetery more than half the time. It is not because he lacks energy or invention or the funds to fill it with a riot of experimental miracles. He lacks freehearted abandon. A good shot of generosity and recklessness would make him one of the great comic poets of the world.

According to the astrological “rule of three,” (meaning that a tendency must be indicated at least three ways before it is sure to work out), the third confirmation of Chaplin's liability to find himself caught between conflicting modes of self-expression and self-repression is the presence of Saturn in Leo. Leo rules pleasure and entertainment. Saturn shows how hard he labored to give pleasure to others — but it is also the planet of restriction. Chaplin's life was filled to the brim with what most people yearn for. Wealth, fame, creative play, and romance attended his footsteps but, until the twilight of his life, he could not stop long enough to make the most of any one of these gifts. Chaplin himself said to Lita many years after their estrangement:

All I knew was that I was always afraid of people, afraid to be hurt. I couldn't ever quite believe that anyone could love me. I was sensitive about being a small man with an oversized head and such small hands and feet. I never understood women. I mistrusted them. When they got too close, I conquered them, but I couldn't love them for long because I was convinced they couldn't love me... I was simply determined to hold back from giving of myself. That was my pattern with you, and Mildred, and Paulette. If there were a God, I'd pray to Him not to let me repeat this dreary pattern with Oona. I protected myself by hurting you, by driving you to leave me.

Not only does Lita's book carry a strong ring of truth, but her quoted statement expresses the misogynistic isolation of Chaplin's Saturn in Leo squaring both the Moon and Venus, the two planets which refer to women. Saturn limits and constricts Leo's spontaneity, hardening the walls of the ego into a defensively cautious self-consciousness.

On one occasion, Chaplin and Max Eastman took a personality test administered by a mutual friend, Dr. Reitell. In Chaplin's result, the score on “introversion” was a figure so high that the doctor exclaimed with surprise, “You are not so far from being a recluse! Seclusion from the world with solitude seems to be your idea of heaven.”
At that time, Chaplin's private home was on a walled-in hill enclosed with trees. “If I had a moat and drawbridge,” he said to Eastman, “I could live here the year round all alone and be happy. I might let you in once in a while for a game of tennis, but only because I need exercise.” In Chaplin's later life, he did indeed become a virtual recluse, shutting himself away with his wife and family in Switzerland.
On self-confidence, Chaplin's score was uncommonly low. “You are very hamperingly self-conscious and harbor definite feelings of inferiority,” the doctor decreed. “Any bold indications of aggressiveness, or strong assertions of power, are but a defense, a thin veneer, a cloaking of a timid, worried, and perturbed soul.”
At the same time, the tests showed a strong drive for self-assertion. Astrologically, this resoluteness is indicated by the Sun and Mercury in energetic Aries, as well as by Martial Scorpio on the Ascendant. Chaplin may have been an apparently “submissive, quiet, peaceful type” but in 1914, it took him only two months after arriving at Mack Sennett's Hollywood studio as a total greenhorn, to become the director of every picture he appeared in. In less than six months he had changed the whole character and conception of comedy prevailing there.

Chaplin's meteoric ascent to fame was strikingly paralleled by the rise of Adolf Hitler. Der Führer, born only four days after Chaplin, and at approximately the same time of day, also had an elevated Saturn in Leo squaring Mars and Venus in Taurus. The two men resembled each other physically, even to the small mustache that became the trademark of both. In his movie The Great Dictator, Chaplin took advantage of this striking similarity to lampoon Hitler and all he represented. With the Moon on his Ascendant, Chaplin never forgot his mission to the common people, whereas Hitler's Moon was in detriment in calculating Capricorn. Chaplin was always vehemently contemptuous of the brutal Nazi system. Hitler, in turn, made no secret of his aversion to Chaplin's movies.
Since Leo seeks dominion and Saturn is authoritarian, people born with Saturn in Leo tend to be dictatorial. Although Chaplin had ten children, he does not appear to have been the warm friendly kind of father a small boy or girl craves to snuggle up to. As his son Michael says in his book I Couldn't Smoke the Grass on my Father's Lawn, “To be the son of a great man can be a disadvantage; it is like living next to a huge monument; one spends one's life circling about it, either to remain in the shade or to avoid its shadow. But then people brought up in an orphanage, when trying to find out where they stand in relation to the world, often spend the rest of their lives searching for such a monument.”

Normally, one looks to the fifth house of the horoscope for information regarding children. Chaplin's Pisces-ruled fifth house is empty except for Mercury, which is almost on the cusp of the sixth house of work, and in it by the Equal House system. Therefore, Neptune must be taken as the significator of his relationships with his children.
Chaplin's first wife was Mildred Harris. She was only sixteen years old and pregnant when they were married on October 23, 1918 in Los Angeles, California. A malformed son was born in the summer of 1919 but he lived only three days. Mildred divorced Chaplin on November 19, 1920 and received a settlement of one hundred thousand dollars plus a share of their property.
Chaplin's two children by his second wife Lita Grey, Charles, Jr. and Sydney, were unwanted. During both pregnancies he made strenuous attempts to persuade Lita to consent to an abortion. After their marriage disintegrated, he underwent a sordid court trial because of his refusal to pay more than twenty-five dollars a week for the support of Lita and both babies. (The trial and its eventual settlement cost him over a million dollars.) They were divorced in 1927.
The children from his marriage with Oona were more welcome but, with Neptune, ruler of the fifth house, in the seventh house of partnerships, they also fulfilled the purpose of binding Oona to him. Producing these children late in life, after his movie career was virtually over, was a form of self-renewal, shown by the conjunction of Neptune with Pluto bordering on the cusp of the eighth house. Neptune is semisquare Mercury. Therefore, Chaplin's relationships with his children have been fraught with ambivalence, and marked by frequent breaks in communications. His eldest son, Charles, committed suicide, while his eldest son by Oona, Michael, flaunted an addiction to drugs and a bohemian way of life. Chaplin's daughters appear to have inherited his Neptunian love of the theater and the eldest, Geraldine, has become a successful actress in her own right. Most of the children left home as soon as they could fend for themselves. It does not appear that they have any special attachment to their father, who has shown scant interest in their careers.

The personal isolation shown by Saturn's square to the Moon is illustrated by an incident recounted by Max Eastman. One day Eastman dropped in to see Chaplin and found him in a state of abject misery. The reason for this dejection was that Chaplin had just turned down $877,000 which had been offered to him for a series of 25 fifteen-minute radio broadcasts.
“Why can't you do it?” Eastman asked. “You can make a speech.”
“It isn't that,” Chaplin replied. “You know how I love speech making. I can't come that close to the public. I have to remain remote and mysterious. They have to romanticize me. I would lose more than that at the box office if I made myself real and familiar over the radio.”
Despite his enforced reserve, Chaplin's great love was the public. If any single aspect can be said to account for his genius, it is the Moon, significator of the masses, placed directly on his Ascendant. For all his name and fame, he never lost his feeling for "the little man" for whom he spoke in the guise of the tragicomic tramp in baggy pants. In his autobiography, Chaplin says:

Moreover, I dislike Shakespearean themes involving kings, queens, august people, and their honor... I cannot identify myself with a prince's problems. Hamlet's mother could have slept with everyone at court, and I still would feel indifferent to the hurt it would have inflicted on Hamlet.

[...] Chaplin's extreme conscientiousness about his acting can also be seen as a function of his Moon's square to Saturn. A fan once wrote comparing his earlier and later comedies, “Then the public was your slave; now you are the public's slave.” Chaplin may have driven his wives to drink and his friends to distraction with his unpredictable ways, but he never willingly let the public down. He was too intimately identified with the people he served.
The influence of Scorpio upon the Moon also gave him an acute sensitivity to human suffering. In his autobiography, he describes an unforgettable childhood incident which first made him realize that tragic and comic aspects of life are inextricably mixed. At the end of the street where he lived, there was a slaughterhouse, and sheep would pass his home on their way to be butchered. Young Charles saw a lamb escape and run down the street to the amusement of the onlookers. Some tried to grab the panicky animal and others tripped over themselves. Like the other spectators, Chaplin giggled with delight at the ludicrous chase. However, when the lamb was caught and carried back to the slaughterhouse, the reality of the poor beast's situation struck the boy, and he ran indoors to his mother weeping and screaming, “They're going to kill it! They're going to kill it!”
Chaplin did not need to read books to know that the theme of life is conflict and pain. Instinctively, all his clowning was based on this fundamental idea. His method of contriving comedy plots was simple - it was to portray people getting in and out of trouble.
The renowned author, Somerset Maugham, noting that Chaplin's genius was based on a very personal sense of suffering, commented:

He is a creature of moods, and it does not require his facetious assertion, “Gee, I had such a fit of blues last night that I didn't know what to do with myself,” to warn you that his humor is lined with sadness. He does not give the impression of a happy man.

One need not dwell unduly on the melancholy side of Scorpio because, fortunately, Venus is well placed in its own sign Taurus. Despite its square to Saturn, this robust Venus is the saving grace in what would otherwise have been a life of difficulties made insuperable by the exact square of Mars to Saturn.
The first gift of Venus was physical good looks. Chaplin in his early life was as attractive as the little tramp he played was ridiculous, and he could be as charming as he cared to be. His appreciation of nubile maidens and physical comforts was rewarded by the opportunity to enjoy his fill of both. He delighted in friendships with the most accomplished, witty, and cultivated women of his time, including intimate associations with his various leading ladies. The proximity of Mars to Venus lends substance to the general assumption that many of these friendships were also love affairs.
Scorpio is the sign of regeneration. Although its natives may fall to the depths, they have the strength to rise again out of the ashes of the past. With Scorpio's co-rulers Mars and Pluto both in the seventh house, backed up by Venus and Neptune, Chaplin could not avoid investing his emotions in others, even though he knew it made him vulnerable to suffering. This, astrologically, was his life problem. Despite his sense of personal isolation and his instinctive fear of women, he was compelled to seek them out not merely for the sake of physical satisfaction but in order to become a whole human being. By attempting to win the affections of very young girls, he was enabled to feel that he retained the upper hand.
The miracle is that after his many “miss-takes,” Chaplin finally found his true complement in Oona O'Neill.[2] They met at a low point in his career when he was being charged with having fathered Joan Berry's child. He was also suffering from abusive accusations of being a Communist sympathizer [...]. This irrational harassment finally resulted in his being driven out of the United States permanently in 1952 — an enforced exile indicated by Saturn in the ninth house of foreign lands.
Although thrice-married Chaplin was fifty-four and Oona barely eighteen years old when they were married in Carpinteria, California, on June 16, 1943, her Sun on his Venus in productive Taurus promised the stability they both sought, while her Mercury conjunct his Sun in Aries made her an intelligent and lively companion. Oona's Saturn (a father figure) exactly conjunct Chaplin's Moon[3] (his feminine ideal) described the many obstacles they were obliged to overcome in order to contract and maintain their marriage. His ninth-house Saturn in Leo exactly opposing her Moon in Aquarius made it necessary for them to spend most of their conjugal life in exile. Nevertheless, Saturn causes situations to endure and, despite many vicissitudes, they managed to stay together and present a united front to the world. Certainly, much of the credit for the happy ending to Chaplin's turbulent romantic career must go to Oona.

Chaplin could be profoundly swayed by his emotions. Yet it was his keen mind and versatile imagination which directed his rise to greatness. To understand his seminal contribution to the film industry, one must look to the configuration formed by the Sun and Mercury in the pioneering sign Aries, opposing Uranus in Libra. This opposition is beneficently mediated by Saturn in the ninth house of the higher intuitive mind.
The assertiveness of the Sun and Mercury in Aries, stimulated by the originality of Uranus, accounts for Chaplin's insistence upon complete freedom to exercise his innovative talents. With the Sun in the sixth house, his creative energy was directed into his work. He always preferred a direct approach, dispensing with tricky photographic effects in order to emphasize the personality of his characters. In later years, critics complained that his camera technique was old-fashioned and that he was not keeping up with the times, but Chaplin was not to be swayed from his convictions. He particularly stressed the virtue of saving time by quick cutting and dissolving from scene to scene in order to keep the story line moving. Undeniably, however, it was during the early years of movie making when he was still a pioneer in this unexplored field, that Chaplin was at his best. He sensed he was on the threshold of a new era, and his Arian spirit rose to the challenge.
Chaplin's independence is also shown by his unconventional choice of subject matter. The theme of most of the movies of his time was the superman - the hero who could outride, outfight, and outlove everyone else. Chaplin captured the world's imagination with his pathetic portrayal of the little tramp. Yet Aries must be first, so Charlie became the champ tramp of all times.
Mercury in Aries is energetically communicative, but nervous and high-strung. Fortunately, Chaplin's Mercury trines Saturn which steadies its volatility and adds common sense and endurance to a flashing intellect. “How does one get ideas?” he asks. “By sheer perseverance to the point of madness. One must have the capacity to suffer anguish and sustain enthusiasm over a long period of time.”
This strongly buttressed Mercury also accounts for Chaplin's continuing efforts at self-education, although its opposition to Uranus made it necessary for him to acquire learning in unorthodox ways. His reading was wide but unsystematic. After having absorbed five volumes of Plutarch's Lives, he did not hesitate to pronounce them less edifying than the effort was worth. Over the years, he browsed through Plato, Locke, Kant, and even Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, but more out of a sense of duty than because the classics appealed to him.
Chaplin's Mercury semisextile to his Venus in Taurus encouraged him to translate his ideas into words, music, and visual images of haunting beauty. Although untutored in music, he composed the scores which accompanied his films. His literary style is at its best in its sensitive evocation of moods and scenes from childhood. He instinctively sought to feel his way into situations in order to make them meaningful. With regard to this need for a joining of head and heart he said, “All intellect and no feeling can be characteristic of the archcriminal, and all feeling and no intellect can exemplify the harmless idiot. But when intellect and feeling are perfectly balanced, then we get the superlative actor.”
In Chaplin's chart, the main link between intellect and feeling is Saturn, which provides the focal point for the two basic configurations of which his horoscope is composed. Since Saturn squares the emotional axis of the Moon and Mars, he was bound to suffer through his overresponsiveness to moods and impulses. Saturn's trine to the intellectual axis of Mercury opposition Uranus indicates that it was his mental abilities which pushed his career forward while his emotional compulsions tended to slap him back.

Max Eastman candidly admits that Chaplin was a mystery to him, “a baffling combination of cool and high judgment, with a total submersion in blind emotional drives.” He calls Chaplin “one of the most intelligent people I know,” yet speaks of the “weird disconnections between his earnest judgments and his acts of will.” The placement of Uranus, planet of the unexpected, near the cusp of the twelfth house which signifies the realm of the unconscious, helps to explain why Chaplin was such an enigma to his friends and admirers. His mind (Mercury) was assailed by erratic psychological complexes, inexplicable from a rational point of view. Yet in his art he was able to make brilliant use of his fascination with hidden factors.

An example of his subtle humor based on unseen action is the cocktail-shaker gag in his movie The Idle Class. The alcoholic anti-hero has just received notice from his absent wife that she will not come home until he stops drinking. He is standing in front of a table on which her portrait rests. Gazing at her portrait, tears pour from his eyes and his body is racked with sobs. As his shoulders, seen from the back, continue to shake, he appears convulsed with grief. Then, as he turns slowly toward the camera, a sublime look on his face, we see that his shoulders are in motion because he is agitating a cocktail shaker.
When Chaplin was filming this scene, he performed it nine times in a row before the camera and then, still unsatisfied, went through another nine takes the following day. Such can be the patience of Mercury trine Saturn. His determination to achieve success in his profession is also attributable to his Aries Sun in the sixth house, forcing impetuous Aries to Virgoan impeccability. Since the Sun rules Leo on the Midheaven, this capacity for discriminating hard work contributed to the success of his career.
The magnetic interplay between Chaplin's keen Mercurial intellect and his unconventional Uranian intuition is expressed in his conviction that through humor, man can achieve a better balance in his way of thinking. He says, “In other words, through humor, we see in what seems rational, the irrational; and in what seems important, the unimportant. It also heightens our sense of survival and preserves our sanity. Because of humor, we are less overwhelmed by the vicissitudes of life. It activates our sense of proportion and reveals to us, that in an overstatement of seriousness, lurks the absurd.”
Although Chaplin enjoyed many unusual associations, in keeping with the placement of Uranus at the end of his eleventh house, he does not seem to have had many close companions, or to have treated them especially well. He carefully cultivated talented and prestigious people, but his stand-offish attitude betrays the presence of critical Virgo on the cusp of the eleventh house of friendships. “I never needed many friends.” he states, pointing out that celebrity attracts them indiscriminately. “I like friends as I like music, when I am in the mood.”
Chaplin's fourth house of the home is ruled by the Uranian sign Aquarius. Since unpredictable Uranus is approaching the cusp of the twelfth house of hidden enemies, Chaplin had more than his share of ill-wishers who caused periodic disruptions of his home life. Eventually, his foes stirred up so much trouble with accusations of Communist sympathies, and a paternity suit, that Chaplin was driven out of the United States. The Moon on the Ascendant indicates frequent changes of residence, but this roving tendency worked out mainly in the early years of his life. With age, steadfast Saturn overlaid the lunar instability and, in 1952, after many peregrinations, the Chaplin family finally settled in a permanent home in Switzerland.
“How beautiful and reassuring is luxury!” Chaplin exclaims in his autobiography. Yet in his magnificent California home he would serve his guests coffee in soup cups with one handle broken off rather than buy a new set. Of the many paradoxes in Chaplin's character, none is more baffling than his attitude toward money. His basic Scorpionic concern for business and finance is intensified by the placement of Jupiter, the planet of good fortune, in the executive sign Capricorn in the second house of possessions. The effect of Jupiter in the sign of its fall is to expand the Capricornian ambition for wealth and security. Jupiter's strong sextile to the Moon and its trine to energetic Mars are exceedingly auspicious for making money, even though Scorpio is a sign which tends to suffer losses.
This favorable connection between Jupiter and the Moon may explain why, in 1929, when Chaplin heard of the high unemployment rate in the United States, he pulled his money out of the stock market and put it into solid investments. His rich friends assured him that he was missing a golden opportunity for speculation, but his closeness to the pulsebeat of humanity told him that something had to be wrong when so many were jobless. He was well aware of what it felt like to be broke and hungry. As a result of this hunch, he rode safely through the Depression.
Jupiter in Capricorn also shows how hard Chaplin worked for his money. If his income was prodigious, so was his labor. Sagittarius on the cusp of the second house indicates that money may be earned abroad. Therefore, he traveled to one foreign land (America) to earn his wealth, and then to another foreign land (Switzerland), in order to keep it.
When Jupiter and Saturn are linked, the forces of expansion and limitation do not negate each other but blow alternately hot and cold. The effect on Chaplin's character of Jupiter in Saturn's sign was to make him appear inordinately stingy when actually he was in the grip of an uncontrollable anxiety about money. Having grown up in penury, he could not eradicate the fear of poverty from his mind. When he was nine years old, his beloved mother, long since deserted by an alcoholic husband, was forced to leave Charlie in an orphan asylum for two miserable years. Consequently, he never quite overcame the lurking fear that somehow he might once again be abandoned.
The Moon, Jupiter, and Pluto make a “Y” configuration which focuses on Pluto, the planet of psychological complexes. Chaplin's failure to get much fun out of his money may have been the result of a deprived childhood, but it also seems to have been an inherent liability. During his moviemaking days, he was so much more aware of the enormous expense of running a studio than of the far more enormous income his pictures were bringing in, that he felt poor all the time. (Pluto is nearing the cusp of the eighth house of investments.) The whole phenomenon of his sudden fortune appeared to be beyond his grasp — his imagination could get hold of it only on the debit side. Although the restrictive influence of Capricorn did not deny wealth, it limited the pleasure derived from having enough of everything. Here again, Chaplin was confronted with the necessity of integrating contrary impulses. Max Eastman points up the problem saying:

Enjoy any Charlie Chaplin you have the good luck or a chance to. But don't try to link them up into anything you can grasp. There are too many of them.
He has no unity of character, no principles or convictions, nothing in his head that, when he lays it on a pillow, you can sensibly expect will be there in the morning. He is an actor — so deep down and completely an actor that, if you let his charm bewitch you into resting any hope on what he says, you will certainly sooner or later find that hope floating in the air.

Lita Grey Chaplin tells the same story. It was not his brutality which crushed her; this she was willing to forgive. Rather, it was his quixotic inconsistency which drove her very nearly out of her mind. As long as he saw her as the embodiment of innocence, he worshiped her extravagantly, but once he succeeded in seducing her, he was quick to throw the epithet “whore” in her face. At one time he would be affectionate and charming, and then, without warning, he would turn and hurl invectives at her with insane fury.

With the conjunction of Neptune and Pluto reinforced by quincunxes to the Moon and Jupiter, Chaplin was theatrical to the core, and capable of being carried away by volcanic eruptions of emotion. Unfortunately, Lita's Sun ruler, Mars,[4] fell almost on the degree of Chaplin's Pluto, setting off irrational explosions of his temper at a time when he was already nervous and overworked. Chaplin's natal Mars had progressed to this position at the time he and sixteen year old Lillita were married in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico, on November 24, 1924. Thus, there were both inward and outward triggering factors to account for the sordid tale of their life together.
Certainly the marriage itself is better described by Mars and Neptune than by the nuptial planet Venus. The ceremony was performed in what Lita describes as “a dreary, cramped, odorous living room” while Chaplin puffed grimly on a cigarette. On the wedding night, Lita shared a dingy hotel room with her mother. During the train ride back to Los Angeles, the bride came to the brink of following Chaplin's hypnotically worded suggestion that she do away with herself by leaping from the observation platform of the speeding train. Even for a doomed union, theirs was peculiarly exacerbated by flare-ups of rage and resentment.
On the positive side, the Neptune-Pluto conjunction helps to explain the existence of Chaplin's alter ego, the little tramp. Posited on “the hidden side” of the eighth house, this conjunction represents the investment of his dreams and imagination in a Geminian paradigm of inconsistency. The character came to him all at once in a Plutonian uprush from the unconscious, although the tramp role had been foreshadowed earlier in his career. Chaplin explained the role to Mack Sennett in this manner:

This fellow is many-sided, a tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure. He would probably have you believe that he is a scientist, a musician, a duke, a polo player. However, he is not above picking up cigarette butts or robbing a baby of its candy. And, of course, if the occasion warrants it, he will kick a lady in the rear — but only in extreme anger.

The little tramp is immortal — baggy pants and floppy shoes forever contradicting the tight jacket and small hat, so that even his body seems ridiculously out of proportion. However, Chaplin himself continued to mature throughout the years. It is hard to read his thoughtful book and not agree with the tradition that Scorpio can be the worst and best of the signs, with the most abysmal weaknesses and towering strengths. It is, above all, the sign of regeneration because it imparts the force of will required to surmount discouraging situations.
In Chaplin's natal chart, the unifying factor is Saturn in Leo — the discipline of a long and creative life. Leo, as ruler of the Midheaven, portends honor and renown. It has the nobility as well as the splendid isolation of the lion, king of beasts. While still actively pursuing his moviemaking career, and long before he met Oona, Chaplin foreshadowed the mellow contentment of his later years in the following statement:

Look at the animals. They don't put the moral aspect on life all the time. So many gorgeously beautiful creatures — with poise and dignity. Think of a lion — unmolested by those bustling humans. He lives a magnificent life, works when he has to, and then sits, leisurely and sufficient, blinking at the sunset, and playing with the cubs.

In 1972, Chaplin enjoyed a triumphant return to the United States to receive an Academy Award and the cheers of the Hollywood that had shunned him in the 1950s. The lionizing climaxed in 1975 when Queen Elizabeth II bestowed knighthood on him. Afterward, Sir Charles commented, “Life is a marvelous thing, but as you get older, you always think of death.”
Death visited the, by now, white-maned Chaplin at 4 a.m. on December 25, 1977, while he was sleeping at his 37-acre estate in Vevey, Switzerland. He was 88. His pride of seven of his eight children by Oona, who also was with him, was there at his bedside. The London ragamuffin, who became an immortal artist by capturing on film the tragi-comedy of man's run-ins with fate, had produced his final roar.


[1] Note that Venus is the only planet which is in its own domicile in the house of the contractual relations (marriage) and in Taurus, correlated with the second house of properties. Moreover, Jupiter, although in its fall, is located within its own Egyptian terms, so it retrieves power; Venus is within the Jupiter's terms; hence, their bond (trine) is yes abnormal (Jupiter in fall), but ineluctable and strong. The Ascendant and Moon are within the terms of Venus, then they submit willingly to the opposition. In summary, in this chart Venus is very strong not only because of its location but also because it collects and pours (inconstantly and / or late, being retrograde) like a river in flood Moon and Jupiter's energies.

[2] The authors know the birth date of Oona O'Neill, that is May 14, 1925, but not the exact location nor the time. Anyway, here are the positions of the planets for that date at noon: Sun 23° 9' Taurus, Moon 13° 31' Aquarius, Mercury 27° 37' Aries, Venus 28° 34' Taurus, Mars 2° 53' Cancer, Jupiter (retrograde) 22° 30' Capricorn, Saturn (retrograde) 10° 04' Scorpio, Uranus 24° 36' Pisces, Neptune 19° 50' Leo, Pluto 11° 52' Cancer, Caput Draconis 7° 44' Leo.

[3] Since the birth time of Oona is unknown, the accuracy of the lunar aspects should be considered only alleged.

[4] The date (April 15, 1908) and the place (Hollywood, CA) of birth of Lillita McMurray (Lita Grey) are known, but the time is not. Here are the positions of the planets at noon: Sun 25° 07' Aries, Moon 10° 45' Libra, Mercury 4° 02' Aries, Venus 10° 15' Gemini, Mars 5° 34' Gemini, Jupiter 3° 58' Leo, Saturn 3° 18' Aries, Uranus 16° 54' Capricorn, Neptune 12° 13' Cancer, Pluto 23° 03' Gemini, Caput Draconis 8° 04' Cancer.

[2016 © Franco Luigi Viero]