At first glance, Ben Affleck’s chart looks like a dream come true. Venus is right on the ascendant in the intelligent, creative sign of Gemini, opposite Jupiter in its own sign of Sagittarius and trining a 5th-house Moon in Venus’s own sign of Libra (in the nakshatra of Svati, which is often associated with the wealthy and socially adept). Mars is located in his 3rd house, which has a strong connection to the arts, and is in the sign of its great friend, Leo (which, once again, represents the arts). In other words, it’s a fitting chart for a multimillionaire movie star who is also sharp enough to become an elite screenwriter and film director.
Most movie fans are familiar with “Good Will Hunting,” which Affleck and Matt Damon famously wrote together and starred in, jumpstarting their careers. However, in my view, Affleck’s career artistic peak and one of the best movies of the new millennium is “Gone Baby Gone,” which was co-written (adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane) and directed by Affleck. I can’t remember a movie in the past few years that likely resulted in more couples arguing as they left the theater… and that’s a compliment, if it wasn’t clear 🙂
Then there’s Affleck’s substantial humanitarian efforts, which he’s kept rather low-key compared to the amount of effort and attention he gives them. Considering the lifestyles of some movie stars, it’s a bit ironic that a clearly talented artist who invests much of his time on charity work to help the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (which constitutes way more personal attention than writing some checks or showing up at a few banquets), seems to trigger intuitive suspicion and negativity among much of the general public. Affleck clearly understands how he’s often seen and even incorporated this view of himself into his art when he starred as a philandering husband framed for murder in the recent blockbuster “Gone Girl.”
He’s also had one of the most unlikely career trajectories in film history. He was celebrated as a screenwriter in his 20s, unfairly mocked as a tabloid headline for years, reemerged as one of the world’s top directors (and, suddenly, a respected actor), won an Oscar and now his pending divorce is all over the news, with most accounts essentially blaming him for drinking and gambling away his marriage. Of course, who knows if that’s true? However, the point is that it’s on every supermarket shelf, and while it’s likely especially personally painful for Affleck, it’s really just a dip on the Rahu-driven rollercoaster he’s been riding for a long time.
Rahu is the north node of the Moon and considered especially troublesome in Vedic Astrology. It represents our insatiable desires – the areas of life we are relentlessly compelled to experience but must eventually realize are maya (illusion) to continue on our spiritual path. Rahu is specifically responsible for all forms of mass hysteria, which include both fame and public derision. So far, I’ve done celebrity profiles on Woody Allen, Taylor Swift and Affleck and I’ve ended up writing about Rahu extensively in each one. None of these people were originally chosen to profile with the idea of focusing on Rahu, but it turned out to play a huge role in all of their lives.
Affleck’s Moon nakshatra of Svati and his Ascendant and Venus nakshatra of Ardra are all ruled by Rahu, so it’s bound to be a substantial influence throughout his entire life. As it’s placed in his 8th house, it represents sudden ups and downs, secrets and the esoteric or occult. Since the Moon nakshatra determines which mahadasha (major period) one experiences first in life, Affleck grew up during a Rahu mahadasha; then he initially became famous during the mahadasha of his strong 7th-house Jupiter in Sagittarius and antardasha (sub-period) of Rahu. In this instance, Jupiter, which is generally considered the planet best able to work with Rahu’s energy, was able to channel the more positive elements of Rahu into a sudden rise.
However, by the early 2000s, Affleck had moved on to his Saturn mahadasha, which lasts until 2019, and was still learning how to work with that planet’s humbling and constricting nature. His big-budget flops and high-profile romance and break-up with Jennifer Lopez were tabloid fodder and critics were unrelentingly harsh towards him. A New York Times review during this period actually said Affleck’s “talent has curdled,” which is so over-the-top that I’d imagine Affleck himself found it at least a bit humorous, considering his dark wit. The Los Angeles Times, in an apparent effort to demonstrate the difference between the two coasts as starkly and concisely as possible, simply described him as “a bad actor.”
Saturn is quite a mixed bag for Affleck; it’s in the sign of a great friend and he clearly has some reckless impulses that can benefit (and have benefited) from the discipline Saturn provides, but despite all of this, Saturn is still the strongest natural malefic and its dispositer (i.e. the ruler of its sign) is Venus, a great planet for Affleck in many ways, but located in the Rahu-ruled nakshatra of Ardra, which is anything but emotionally steady. The strong connection between Ardra and the ability to channel life’s ups and downs into art was discussed in my article about the important role of Ardra in Taylor Swift’s life.
In 2007, when Affleck adapted and directed “Gone Baby Gone” to critical acclaim and started a new chapter in his career, he was running Saturn-Ketu, meaning he was in the mahadasha of Saturn and the antardasha of Ketu (the south node of the Moon), which represents the opposite of Rahu. If Rahu is everything we can’t wait to experience and can’t get enough of, Ketu represents areas of life we’re intuitively familiar with and, in many cases, ready to move on from. Affleck’s Ketu is in his 2nd house (since Rahu is in his 8th house and Rahu and Ketu are always 180 degrees apart from each other, this is naturally the case). The 2nd house represents steady gains, finances, family and close friends. While the 8th house is sudden, secretive and mystical, the 2nd house is gradual, open and mundane.
Somebody with as much Rahu energy as Affleck has in his chart likely benefited greatly from the balancing influence of a focus not only on Ketu, which is naturally restrained and serious, but also on the 2nd house and its daily obligations. Instead of making paycheck movies, including one literally named “Paycheck,” Affleck began carefully cultivating meaningful artistic material during this time. He also married and became a father just before his Ketu antardasha began. (There’s general agreement among astrologers that the effects of a dasha or sub-dasha start to occur for some time leading up to its official date.)
To be fair, Affleck hasn’t “fallen” again in any professional sense, and, at this point, he’s done enough in his career that he’ll be respected as an artist for the rest of his life. However, a pending divorce and a return to the front pages of tabloids both damages his public image and seems likely to be quite troubling for him personally. As a married man with three children and a wife (actor Jennifer Garner) who, despite being a movie star herself, has a wholesome and traditional image, it always seemed like his partner helped balance out his darker Rahu-driven characteristics. Affleck reportedly spent time just before the divorce was announced in a Buddhist monastery on a small Canadian island (a secretive place and a religious practice that is non-traditional considering his background); yet, Garner has had their three children baptized as Methodists in her hometown church in West Virginia, which is about as mainstream as it gets. It’s also worth noting that the 12th-house, where Affleck’s mahadasha-planet, Saturn, is located, represents isolated places, specifically including monasteries (along with prisons, hospitals and any foreign country). The 12th house also represents loss, and the loss of a marriage may be second only to a literal death of somebody close as the most significant loss one can experience.
When the news of the Affleck-Garner divorce hit, Affleck was running Saturn-Rahu, which will continue to be the case until late 2016. His Rahu Antardasha has returned, but this time instead of the benefic influence of Jupiter bringing out Rahu’s more positive energy, his 12th-house Saturn is in the driver’s seat. However, Saturn and Rahu are just as necessary for our growth as great benefics such as Jupiter and Venus, so it’s not like the planets somehow wronged Affleck and Garner.
Instead, like all karma, it simply played out how it was designed to. I’m sure Affleck grew personally from the experience, he has three kids with Garner and will likely always be at least somewhat more grounded because of them (which is important for him, considering his chart) and now he can follow Rahu’s pull with less collateral damage until the veil of maya naturally fades a bit and loses attraction for him. That’s likely to be some time around November, 2016, when the antardasha of Affleck’s extremely well-placed Jupiter begins and almost certainly signals a much more positive time for his personal life.
Here’s a chart of Affleck’s recent dashas, using the Vimshottari Dasha system, which is what I refer to whenever I just write “dasha(s).” There are actually multiple dasha systems in Vedic Astrology, but Vimshottari is by far the most commonly used and widely followed. As you can see, Affleck is in his major period of Saturn, but has also been in the sub-period of Rahu recently. However, Jupiter and its almost certain relief are just over a year away.