The ingredients for this type of analysis can be found in the first post of the series, which you can view here, and were reviewed with additional comments a couple posts back, which you can view here.
Comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher is a very vocal critic of religion and frequent supporter and publicizer of the “new atheist” movement, serving on the advisory board of Sam Harris’ Project Reason, creating a film spoofing religious belief, winning the Richard Dawkins award from Atheist Alliance International, and frequently featuring new atheist figures on his shows. Rather inaccurately, he self-describes as an apatheist, though he has shown great interest in religious belief, attacking it often, and promoting atheist causes. You can read Maher’s biography on Wikipedia by clicking here. His natal chart is below, and has a Rodden Rating of AA.
Bill Maher’s Chart Analyzed in Brief
- Not strong, not weak – Jupiter is just barely advancing, and so is not very strengthened by advancing. It does not have any other major strengthening or weakening conditions. Retrogradation may be mildly weakening to Jupiter.
- Mixed, somewhat benefic – Jupiter is naturally benefic and is in the 11th (its Joy), but Jupiter is also out of sect, and struck by the rays of Saturn (Jupiter is square Saturn within 3 degrees – actually within 1 degree – and in such a case the overcome planet strikes the planet behind it with rays and afflicts it. This is part of the Hellenistic aspect doctrine, and the way I imagine it, it’s as if the dominant planet can see the other one better and take some control over it, sort of like with a panopticon, but the dominated planet has a straight enough shot to chuck something in the dominating planet’s eyes.) So Saturn hits Jupiter hard with its significations. On a more minor level Jupiter is in the term of Mars and is opposed by the Sun and Mercury. Overall, Jupiter is benefic though.
- Jupiter is one of the weaker planets in the chart, though not as weak as Venus, and arguably about equal in strength to Mars and Saturn (though I would consider Saturn, being exalted ruler of the Ascendant, to be stronger than Jupiter; also Venus is ruler of the Ascendant so there is a case for Jupiter as weakest planet, but it’s not clear-cut). We can expect some spiritually expansive experiences because Jupiter is not very weak and is somewhat benefic, though Maher seems to have chalked these up to his drug experiences on his show, and in any case, Jupiter is struck very strongly by Saturn, planet of doubt. Jupiter does not have a prominent and pervasive effect on the life, but should bring great fortune in terms of 11th place matters of friends and networking.
- 9th Place:
- Moderately strong, primarily Mercurial and Saturnine – The 9th, Gemini, is empty, and is ruled by Mercury, planet of reason, intellect, and communication. Mercury itself is moderately strong, being in phasis, but also weakened from stationing retrograde about 2-3 days before birth. The 9th is overall quite Mercurial from Mercury ruling, overcoming it by trine, and being the 1st triplicity ruler of Air signs by night. Saturn and Mars also have a strong effect on the 9th by opposing it from the 3rd, though Saturn has the strong effect, as Saturn is a triplicity ruler of Air, and is a bit stronger than Mars (Saturn also rules the Sun and Mercury, is exalted ruler of the Ascendant, and is in a partile sextile with the Sun). Venus dominates the 9th (right-side square), but her influence does not seem as strong as that of Mercury nor Saturn, as she is rather weak and has no rulership of the 9th.
- Mixed, somewhat malefic – Mercury rules the 9th and is overall benefic in the chart, being in sect, and in the very good 5th (of creative performance) though is heavily influenced by Mars and Saturn which overcome Mercury by sextile (perhaps hinting at how Maher’s mercurial performance can be controversially dark, skeptical, and even aggressive, but with some degree of working well or harmoniously for him, as shown with the sextile – Mercury is friendly with Mars and Saturn, though they rub off on Mercury because of their more influential position in the friendship – overcoming – and so Mercury takes on some of the same inclinations). However, the 9th is made more malefic than benefic by having both malefic opposed to the place (i.e. in the 3rd).
- Matters of belief-systems and searching for some greater truth have moderate prominence in the life, but are not as prominent as in most of the charts of vocal atheists we’ve seen. His beliefs tend to be heavily influenced by rationality and intellectualism (Mercury rulership), doubt/skepticism and contentiousness (Saturn and Mars opposition), and also sensual pleasure (Venus domination).
- Somewhat weak – Saturn is not very strong in the chart, as it is cadent, and just barely advancing. While Saturn has a strong effect on the 9th, and upon the Sun and Mercury, it doesn’t have a strong effect on the life overall. So overall the life is not marked strongly by doubt, loss, dreariness, darkness, and negativity as it is in the charts of many atheists.
- Malefic – Saturn is naturally a mafefic, and here is out of sect, not in a good place (nor in a bad one), and is assembled with Mars. Jupiter overcomes by trine, but the aspect is actually a scrutinizing square because it is within 3 degrees as such. Jupiter is expected to ease up some of Saturn’s significations though, but overall Saturn is still quite malefic in the chart, and is the significator of the most difficult challenges in his life.
- As noted, Saturn does not have a very strong and pervasive influence over Maher’s life. Saturn does have a strong impact on the belief system, and there is a self-identification with Saturn (exalted ruler and a triplicity ruler of the 1st, while also regarding the 1st), but we don’t expect Saturn encroaching strongly on many areas of Maher’s life. Saturn is very destructively inclined, signifying the more difficult matters in life, rather than simply discipline and duty or something like that. In fact, discipline, duty, mortality, and authorities have very negative associates attached to them.
- Moderately strong – Mercury is advancing, and is in phasis, but stationed retrograde 2-3 days before birth. The Lights are very prominent in Maher’s chart, but Mercury is at least the strongest planet other than the Lights (the Lights are naturally strong). Mercury is in the 5th place of creative performance (the Joy of Venus) and with the publicizing Sun, in an idea-oriented Air sign (and one of the “human” signs).
- Overall benefic – To reiterate: Mercury is overall benefic in the chart, being in sect, and in the very good 5th (of creative performance) though is heavily influenced by Mars and Saturn which overcome Mercury by sextile. We expect some of the greatest fortune in the life to be associated with Mercury, even though the styling is influenced by the malefics.
- There is a strong identification with Mercury, as Mercury is strongly connected to the Ascendant. For instance, Mercury is the 1st triplicity ruler of Air signs, the term/bound ruler of the Ascendant, and regards the Ascendant by trine. The domicile ruler of the 1st, Venus, does not regard the Ascendant. There is also something of an identification with Saturn, the exaltation ruler, and another triplicity ruler, of the Ascendant. There is not a strong identification with Jupiter. Mercury does have a prominent and pervasive influence upon the life, and has a particularly strong influence on the 9th of belief, which it rules.
With Bill Maher, we see a lot of similarities, and some differences with the charts of other outspoken atheists and skeptics. For instance, Maher does not have a Saturn that is much stronger than Jupiter, but he does have a Jupiter which is most strongly linked to the out of sect malefic, a 9th place characterized by Mercury and the malefics, and a strong identification with Mercury and Saturn, with Mercury quite strong.