Heath Ledger

Actor Heath Ledger was born on April 4, 1979 in Perth, Australia (no known time). He died on January 22, 2008 of an accidental prescription drug overdose. (1)Heath Ledger, sunrise natal

His father is participating in a documentary called Too Young to Die. He showed a reporter the actor’s journal that he kept during filming of The Dark Knight, for which he posthumously received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The movie opened six months after Heath Ledger died. On the last page in his journal, he wrote “Bye-Bye.”(2)

Sun in Aries, Venus in Pisces, and Jupiter in Cancer are all in their signs of exaltation; they are the honored guests in someone else’s home. This gives prominence to the Sun and both benefics, certainly a life with much grace and fortune. The Moon was in Cancer all day, her sign of rulership. (He came from a prosperous and philanthropic family; the Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust is named after his great-grandfather.)

Mercury, Mars, and the south node are all in Pisces. Mars is ruler of the Sun in Aries and is conjunct Mercury, which is retrograde and in its detriment in Pisces.  The water planets show sensitivity and empathy; the Cancer Moon responds to life and is popular with the public. Mercury and Mars show deftness with language; he was known for subtlety in expression and the range of roles he played. (3)

Using whole sign houses and a solar chart, Mars is also ruler of the 8th house, the conditions of death. The debilitated Mercury rules the 3rd and 6th and is conjunct Mars, dispositor of the Aries Sun and ruler of the 8th-house.  Sadly, he died alone from “accidental intoxication from prescription drugs.”

He had been known to suffer from insomnia. Soon after his death, his former fiancée Michelle Williams said: “For as long as I’d known him, he had bouts with insomnia. He had too much energy. His mind was turning, turning turning – always turning.” (Mercury ruling the 3rd conjunct Mars.) The autopsy reports were complicated and delayed amidst the massive media assault that accompanies the sudden death of a public figure. (Transiting Mercury was exactly conjunct Neptune at the actor’s death, squaring his natal Uranus at 20° Scorpio in the 8th.)

transits at death, Heath Ledger
Ledger had also been suffering from exhaustion and a respiratory infection that he caught while filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Christopher Plummer, an actor in that movie, said: “We all caught colds because we were shooting outside on horrible, damp nights. But Heath’s went on and I don’t think he dealt with it immediately with the antibiotics… I think what he did have was the walking pneumonia.”  This is another echo of an inherent vulnerability in the lungs — debilitated Mercury ruling the 3rd (the lungs) and the 6th (illness).

Along with the charisma granted by the exalted benefics, Ledger was also known for intensity; he had natal Sun applying to an opposition with Pluto.

He has a daughter, Matilda, born on October 28, 2005. She has Sun in Scorpio conjoined Jupiter (a larger-than-life father). The Sun is applying to square Saturn in Leo, speaking of the early loss of her father. Her north node is 13° Aries, conjunct her father’s Sun. The Sun rules his solar 5th house; the transiting north node was on his Sun when his daughter was born. (In a photo I saw of her, she looks exactly like her father.)

Matilda was born on a Friday (Venus’s day), with Venus conjunct Pluto at 22° Sagittarius.

Matilda Heath, sunrise natal

I like to look at the prenatal solar eclipse set for the place of birth. Heath Ledger’s PNSE was 7°30’ Pisces, giving even more emphasis to natal Venus at 7° Pisces. This PNSE chart set for Perth has the critical degree 29° Sagittarius on the Ascendant. On the day of his passing, Venus and Pluto were conjoined in the sky at 29° Sagittarius.
Heath PNSE

As a hint of the potency of a planet’s station, Mars stationed retrograde at 12°27’ Cancer on November 15, 2007, squaring his natal Sun. On January 7 transiting Mars retrograde, at 27° Gemini, squared natal Mars. He died on January 22 with Mars at 25° Gemini, out-of-bounds at 26°N49’.  (This is the degree of the station direct a week later. The autopsy suggested that he died close to 2 pm in NYC; Mars was on the Ascendant then. See the chart above.)

Furthermore, Ledger died at the Saturn return. The second exact passage was two weeks before he died, on January 9, within two days of the transit Mars square Mars.

The solar eclipse before his death was on September 11, 2007 at 18° Virgo conjunct the natal north node in the 6th. Transiting Uranus at 16 Pisces opposed the eclipse, which is on the natal south node. Furthermore, the transiting south node was at 7° Virgo, conjunct natal Saturn.  (The north node was conjunct natal Venus.)

bi-wheel: Heath natal and pre-death solar eclipse

I was very sad when he died. I thought he was a mesmerizing actor. No surprise, my natal Sun at 8° Pisces is on his PNSE and natal Venus.

(1) Biographical material and quotes from Wikipedia

(2) Huffington Post

(3) In an article called An Appraisal – Prince of Integrity With a Lightness of Touch (written right after his death), film critic A.O. Scott wrote about Ledger’s performance in Brokeback Mountain: “What made the performance so remarkable was that Mr. Ledger, without betraying Ennis’s dignity or his reserve, was nonetheless able to convey that truth to the audience. This kind of sensitivity — the ability to signal an inner emotional state without overtly showing it — is what distinguishes great screen acting from movie-star posing.”
New York Times

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