I was recently listening to a podcast by Kara Swisher, whose guest on that episode was the actor Andrew Garfield. I knew of Garfield from the movie “The Social Network” in which he played Eduardo Saverin, a co-founder with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and the conscience of the fledgling enterprise. I had come across other movies of his, but hadn’t seen any of them. As I started listening to the podcast, I wasn’t looking for anything beyond light Hollywood gossip, but as the conversation carried on I found that the tone of the episode and Garfield’s take on various matters were much weightier than expected.
Perhaps I really shouldn’t have been surprised: the title of the episode was after all “Why this Hollywood Actor Stays Off Social Media (Mostly)”. But I could have been forgiven for thinking this was one of those Hollywood stunts, celebrity swearing off social media, blah blah. Right at the start of the conversation, in talking about his role in the Social Network movie, Garfield says he shut his Facebook page down right after he read the script. About Zuckerberg, he says “his dysfunction has become all of our dysfunction,” the dysfunction being the inability to connect deeply with others, out of which arose Facebook with its celebration of hundreds of shallow connections.
Garfield talks about the celebration of adolescence and immaturity in technology, where entrepreneurs routinely behave like bratty kids and get away with it. It brought to mind Saturn, and it’s significance of maturity and wisdom, of conscientiousness.
Late in the conversation, Swisher says: “You know, Elon Musk thinks we’re, of course, all in a simulation. This is this is a video game being played by teens of the future. And they’re fucking with us almost constantly. And Trump is just the latest thing in the game, essentially, which is kind of a scary thought.”
To which Garfield responds with, “Well, that’s a sure fire way to disassociate and feel a lack of responsibility for any of your actions. That’s a lovely justification.”… “How do we get away from financial greed, power, status, the things that are killing kids on instagram.” Again, this speaks to Saturn, which when strongly configured with the Moon can result in asceticism, a detachment from material possessions, an inclination to simple living. But to do so in the modern world of inescapable consumerism (you need to consume to stay connected) requires a strong dose of independent-mindedness, a willingness to go against the grain, the very qualities that are symbolized by Uranus. The blurb for the episode echoes the Uranian angle: “Garfield and Kara talk about his unconventional approach to the internet..”
Garfield realized that if he wanted a life of privacy, protection, freedom, and wholeness, he would have to remove himself from social media. He will only allow into his life people who “get it”, not the nameless, faceless entities on social media who know nothing about him as a person and yet feel it’s right to post on his life and his relationships.
Garfield conveyed gravitas throughout the conversation. At the same time was quick to see humor and laugh out loud. About choosing roles to play, Garfield says, “I think the role of the artist, and I take this seriously, is to be the prophets, to be the ones that are reflecting the times we’re in.” This is the voice of Neptune, which identifies with prophecy and visions, with trends and “signs of the times.” Does Garfield have a strong Neptunian element in his horoscope? (Interestingly, Harry Styles has a song, “Sign of the Times” which may voice the Neptune in his horoscope.)
Neptune makes its presence felt again, when Garfield speaks of Jonathan Larson’s death at the age of 35 just before the first night of the first preview of the off-broadway production of Larson’s famous musical “Rent”. (Garfield stars in the new movie “tick, tick, BOOM!”, a musical about the Jonathan Larson.) “Like it speaks to the more spiritual dimension of what we’re doing here. And I think the thing that people, like our friends in the tech world, kind of need an education in — and it’s funny, I feel like people in the tech world, a lot of them seem to have big come-to-Jesus moments. And end up going to Esalen and going on silent retreats and, you know, hanging out with gurus in India-“.
“And, again, this obsession with ascension, this obsession with — lengthening life rather than deepening life I find quite alarming and upsetting. My mom was someone who was a pantheistic. She saw God in all things. And I say God, I mean the interconnectedness, the everything. And the poem that she wanted read at her memorial was, “Do not stand by my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep,” which is obviously a classic and absolutely perfect and beautiful.” More Neptune.
“It’s important that we don’t idolize anyone, any human being. And we see what happens. And we see what’s happening in Ukraine right now, this incredible president who refuses to be idolized. He’s totally meeting the moment with humility and with self-sacrifice. So I think that an example of that kind of humility and that kind of actual leadership is really humbling without ego seemingly being the main driving center and force.” It’s clear that Garfields very strongly about not letting the ego get the better of the person. Humility, and checking the ego at the door, is quintessentially Saturn.
And finally, death, healing, and a deep dive into the inner life, all Pluto significations that Garfield explores in the conversation.
On death: “My dad died when I was five. So I have a little bit of — and I save death quotes all the time. I use it to inspire myself. I listen to Steve Jobs’ speech about death like every couple of months, essentially. So it informs me a lot too.” … “For me, I just want to continue telling stories that are life-affirming, death-affirming, actually. As you say that you remind yourself of Steve Jobs’ incredible words around death and any other gurus that have great insight about that final adventure.”
On healing: “Because we don’t often give ourselves the opportunity to just to look at the horizon and be a human being rather than a human doing. And I definitely feel like I’m in a season of being and just kind of contemplating and supporting the loved ones around me and having a life and being a bit of a private Andrew for a while. That’s the next project maybe is just to kind of do some personal healing and personal kind of work with just with myself.” … “And, again, it’s about descent, to descend into our wounds and to heal them is the only way through.”
On the inner life: “It might be turning out ok for their bank accounts, it may not be turning ok for their inner lives.” Garfield on the “Winklevii”, the Winklevoss twins who filed suit against Facebook claiming that Zuckerberg had stolen their code. They lost out on big money when Facebook went places, but they have since become Bitcoin billionaires…. On Jonathan Larson’s complete and utter commitment to being an artist, and living on the edge of life and death as he despaired of ever making it. “I think especially during the pandemic and these last two years of kind of struggle and suffering, for young people to see someone fully commit to their gift fully commit to their dream in the face of failure and rejection and isolation and maybe not making it is deeply, deeply inspiring. And it is a kind of archetypal journey that every young artist has to go through”.
All of this paints an astrological picture of a horoscope that elevates the significance of all the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and channels their immense energies and potential through a grounded and very much in the here-and-now Saturn.
Time to look at Garfield’s horoscope. Here is his natal chart off Astrodatabank (birth time rated AA), with the aspects to the Sun and Moon (the most important, life-affirming planets in a horoscope) marked out:
The connections paint a striking picture. The Sun is connected to all the outer planets: square to Uranus, trine to Neptune, and sextile to Pluto. The Moon is connected to Uranus, via a sextile, and Pluto, via a square. To see both the Sun and the Moon connected by “major” aspects to all the outer planets (except for the absence of connection between the Moon and Neptune) is incredibly rare. It’s hard for Garfield to say anything that’s somehow not of an outer planet quality. He is the ultimate “outer planet person”.
An outer planet person has a hard time grounding themselves in earthly life. With the Moon in Aquarius, Garfield could tend to be more detached from the everyday goings on, possibly giving the impression of someone who doesn’t seem to care. However, the square to Saturn brings him right back to earth, and challenges him to work with the material of daily existence. Added to this is the sextile between the Sun and Saturn, which makes the Saturn influence even more important in keeping his feet very firmly on the ground. This is a challenging congregation of energies to handle, and Garfield must strive every day to keep his eyes wide open and be fully aware of his response to the world so he is not subsumed by the powerful outer planet energies.