The film ‘Joker’ starring Joaquin Phoenix has pierced itself into public consciousness like a surgical incision. Few films stir public debate in this way and it is no accident that it penetrated at this time of year – the sun is in Scorpio. It went on full release in the UK from 4th October, 2019. People are talking because paradigms are shifting, but it takes an unruly downtrodden oddball character, the Joker- think the shadow side of Mercury- from a graphic novel to achieve this level of impact. The film delves into the misery and lifelong depression of Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix– a Scorpio sun sign. Fleck is a clown in Gotham city with an uncontrollable hysterical laugh. He is relentlessly mocked and mistreated by all around him- even his mother deceives him.
Clowns and comedians are known to suffer depression as if the twin masks of Comedy and Tragedy are fused halves of dual face. A study of how comedy works will tell you that comedy works best when it shows a sad guy having a bad day. The clown wears a mask where it is Laugh Now- Cry Later. Comedy originates from the deepest pain and trauma. But this film dispenses with any laughs and examines the dark underbelly of Fleck and society’s psychosis. This dark and poisonous brew is served up to us well attuned to the seething intensity of Scorpio season.
Mercury entered Scorpio on the 4th October – the day the film was released- and Venus entered Scorpio on the 9th October. This pressed the fast forward button into Scorpio even before Libra was barely half-way through. And Mercury and Venus will be conjunct in Scorpio on the new moon on 28th October – which happens to be the birthday of actor Joaquin Phoenix who was born on that day in 1974. It turned a whole lot darker even from early October, and I’m not talking about the disappearing light in the northern hemisphere, but the fact that at work, in the office, and on social media people were galvanised into talking deep stuff, about mental health, depression, humiliation, social injustice, the criminal elites, and whether a murder is ever justified – all as a result of watching Joker. This was remarkable- just not to astrologers who know this is the signature of Mercury in Scorpio. People having deep conversations about dark and usually hidden subject matter and this is the prequel as we approach the Saturn Pluto conjunction in January when we’ll have a lot more to talk about.
Joker plunges us into territory covered by Dostoevsky where the crime is in and of itself the punishment and there is a level of agonizing guilt and the search for redemption. Dostoevsky too was a Scorpio, born on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1821. He is considered one of the greats of literature and wrote with a visceral intensity not easily forgotten. His work was unlike anything before in fiction. He introduced the first anti-hero sick and liverish man into literature. ‘Joker’ from the DC Comic series follows in this tradition of anti-hero as, not only is Joker given a back story that feels disturbingly real, it almost makes the audience feel he is justified in killing his opponents, which incidentally even includes his mother. A ‘Rolling Stone’ critic said of Phoenix in ‘The Master’ (2012)“he’s a volcano in full eruption. You can’t take your eyes off him” and his performance in Joker’ has the same effect. This echoes James Joyce’s comment on Dostoevsky ( the Scorpio) that he had ‘explosive’ power. Exactly – as Pluto rules Scorpio, and the dwarf planet was discovered at the time of the first nuclear fission in 1930. Pluto can be explosive; Mars the more traditional ruler can also be sudden, but more in the way of bursts of anger and physical prowess. What seems clear that Joaquin Phoenix was an inspired choice, perhaps even destined to play role of Joker, and has brought a Scorpionic depth to it that matches and even goes beyond that of Heath Ledger’s edgy portrayal in ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008). We know a lot more about the Joker than ever before, and he is not merely ridiculous or menacing, but a radical leader of the people.
What adds to the richness of ‘Joker’ is that it is heavily laden with symbolism for those with the eyes to see. Not only is the Joker character a classic variant of the Trickster –or Ellegua in Santeria– just as we enter Mercury back tracks through Scorpio for nearly five weeks, it is also resonant with archetypal associations. A King or ruler is never without his court Jester who is permitted many scabrous comments on the reign of the King, but it is a particular branch of the Masons- The Royal Order of the Jesters. On top of that one scene in the film shows Arthur Fleck climbing into a fridge to ruminate in foetal position- an example of subliminal messaging. This weirdly echoes the deaths of 39 immigrants in a freezer lorry in Essex the very day the sun entered Scorpio on the 23rd. Yes, Fleck has a mental condition so we might think he is just retreating back in to his 12th house. Dostoevsky had Mercury in his 12th House and had trouble being accepted as a writer, was subjected to fake execution and 4 years in prison. But the refrigerator symbol represents the cocoon stage of a transformation- before a final transformation-all very Scorpionic indeed. Thanks to Thomas Sherdian for pointing this out. At the end of the story, the unknown Arthur Fleck emerges with renewed purpose. He has morphed totally from the powerless underdog into the lionised King of the opposition to the rich elites. He traces a perverted smile traced from his bleeding teeth, and has a gun in his pocket aimed at those same rich oppressors who created him. So, there is also the Capricorn-Cancer archetypal polarity highlighted here. Fleck searches for his true father, who denies any connection to him.
The elites are represented by Batman’s father- the Patron of Gotham city (Brett Cullen) but who patronises people in a way this continues to disempower them. A King needs his fool as they are two sides of the same coin and justice cannot be served until both voices are heard. A cocoon is needed before a full flourishing and a Phoenix – one of the symbols of Scorpio -rises from the ashes. There is so much in this film that this just skims the surface here. The Film has touched a real nerve as it shows there is still pain inflicted by society on the individual. At the same time, it has made a hell of a lot of money and looks likely to earn Phoenix an academy award.
Joaquin Phoenix carries the film, but the art styling, set design, script and direction by Todd Phillips all contribute to its undeniable impact. His last name itself evocative of one of the key symbols of Scorpio. Phoenix has a trio of planets in early Scorpio: Mars, Venus and then the Sun. But as if prefacing this grand narrative of his particular hero’s journey there is another conjunction of Mercury and Uranus at 28 degrees in the neighbouring sign of Libra. This gives Phoenix an astonishing closely-connected chain of five planets: of communication (Mercury), originality (Uranus), energy (Mars), love (Venus) and the true self (the Sun)- all of which makes him one of the most watchable and dynamic actors of his generation. He owns the role of Joker 100% and even gives it depth and nuance based on a rediscovery of his physical body that could do dance movements that look like Tai Chi because he slimmed down so extremely for the role.
Phoenix throughout his life has endured genuinely challenging experiences. He was there the night his older brother River Phoenix, then aged 23, collapsed on the pavement on Halloween 1993. It was Joaquin, aged only 19, who dialed 911 to call for help. But River Phoenix died a few hours later from an overdose of drugs. Joaquin disappeared from acting for almost two years before he felt able to come back into the limelight. So he has definitely done the deep dive, the alchemy of transformation we all sometimes need to endure in order to emerge renewed, and that level of depth is communicated through his acting. He has periodically retreated from public view only to reemerge even more successful. Scorpios are inclined to be secretive and hold themselves back from any personal revelation and Phoenix claimed “I don’t bring my life into my characters at all.” He said he didn’t suffer personally from getting into the Joker character. He is master of disguise and even did an interview with David Lederman in 2010. He came out as a bearded character that he’d created in order to make a documentary film about his life – a whiff of Trickster going on there too. But also Phoenix has said “The less people know about me the better as my intention is to play a variety of characters’. But the quote I think that goes to the real core of Scorpio is this one “ When I decide to do something, I stick with it, total commitment.” Scorpios know they are vulnerable to revelation, need dark places to hide in only because they put all of themselves into their partners, lovers, and work projects and are devastated by any betrayal. And even Cinema Blend in a review of Joker emphasized these qualities as if they knew his key words from astrology.The reviewer said “It’s a radical interpretation that requires a transformative, thoroughly committed performance”
Phoenix has Neptune- the planet associated with films and glamour- in Sagittarius is square to Jupiter the planet of expansion -in Aries. It is trine to the Moon also. This is not too bad for a film actor. It could expand his fame and that seems to be working nicely for him. Neptune in Sag is the dubious guru and he has played besotted follower of a cult leader in ‘The Master.’ But to add to levels of commitment he has asteroid Vesta conjunct Neptune lending almost sacred purpose to his immersion in a character. The Moon in Aries however is opposite Pluto in Libra which could be challenging in different ways rocking the boat in his relationships. But it might also and might be about his mother but he is tight-lipped about his family saying only that it was great to grow up with so many talented siblings.
This New Moon is early morning on the 28th is at 5 degrees of Scorpio which conjuncts Phoenix’s sun and by default triggers his Venus and Mars. So his Solar Return for 2019 so a five planet whammy conjunct with the five in his natal chart. But has this incendiary opposition to Uranus, challenged by the square to Saturn/Pluto in Capricorn, so I’d be watching for triggers to Phoenix to start a whole new phase in his life, perhaps due to the world-wide attention he is now receiving for his role in the Joker.
But there may be some erratic and intense behavior from him. There has been a backlash from people saying it is an instruction manual for ‘incells’ who are social misfits, usually lonely disaffected males with sociopathic tendencies. When asked if the film incited violence he walked out of the interview. But this opinion sidesteps is correlated viewpoint that the blame could also placed on society itself for its lack of nurturance of the healthy masculine. This is a point the film makes very well. It asks- who gets to decide what is funny, and when it is okay to laugh and when not now that political correctness has gone rampant. And, who gets the last laugh? The joke played by society may be on us, or not? But there has been a backlash against the backlash, and the film is still doing fine at the box office.
I have some reservations about the film is that it appears to suggest he only goes crazy because he goes off his medication. But I don’t believe medication is the savior to the problems in society. The Pharmaceutical companies would love us to believe that. Also, it hints that his experiences all could have just been in his head, and therefore not real. It leaves all of this open-ended. That takes away from the from the power of the story, but audiences are taking is as if he really did do it. So maybe that device did not work? There is always so much more to say about any chart, and one astrologer at Elite Daily predicted that Phoenix would be the greatest Joker ever based on his chart. But Joaquin Phoenix is riding high at the moment and so much has gelled together for him in this film fusing together his life, his acting ability, his astrology and hacks straight in the spirit of the age.
© Proteus Astrology, October 27th, 2019
Kieron is a London-based and trained astrologer at Proteus Astrology on Facebook:
Natal Chart Readings via Skype and in person
This is a great opportunity for those who are curious about what a chart reading can do for them and need advice on where to go from here.
Email me on the Proteus Astrology FB page directly, or at
KieronDevlin111@yahoo.co.uk and you will receive a request form to fill in.
Astrology can help you to understand:
- life patterns, purpose and life path
- relationships, business and romantic
- money, and what it means to you
- career issues
- personal and spiritual development
- vision, hopes and wishes
- choices and decisions
- planning for the future
- health and well being, aligning your energies
- stimulating creativity
- the best places to travel and live
Sessions can also be in person and will include a full recording of the sessions, with colour print outs of your chart, astromaps, and bi-wheels, and notes.
Kieron has a Certificate in Astrology from the London School of Astrology
He writes for Celestial Vibes Magazine edited by Aswin Balaj.