Fixed star themes in 'Breaking Bad'

'Breaking Bad' just completed its fifth and final season on AMC September 29. This story of one man’s transformation from ordinary guy to uber-villain, one bad choice at a time, made for superb television. It’s a show that fans will be discussing for years to come!


 As a teaching astrologer I enjoy thinking about the astrological themes in film and TV. What came most to mind as I watched Season Five were the myths underlying the fixed stars in astrology, especially the story of Orion and Scorpio. Here are some thoughts about the way ‘Breaking Bad’ picks up on the major themes of these two constellations.


By the way, this is your official SPOILER ALERT! If you don’t want to know how the series ends, please stop here—but do come back once you’ve seen the show :)


Orion and Scorpio oppose each other in the sky, a fact that is central to the lessons involved. One rises as the other sets. Here’s the tale, in brief.


Orion was a mighty hunter made out of a bull's hide by the gods. This means he’s all matter. He’s missing the spiritual element, that part of us that transcends this material realm. Orion is one impressive fellow, and he knows it! He thinks he’s ‘all that and a bag of chips’, as an old coworker of mine would say.


Artemis, goddess of the Moon--signifying the changing nature of things down here--gets sick of Orion’s boasting and decides to sort him out, permanently. So she sends the Scorpion to fight him. Orion gets one good sting from the Scorpion and he’s toast. The end!


If an Orion or Scorpio star shows up in a chart, the message is get it done quick! The major stars in Orion include Rigel, Bellatrix, and Betelgeuse. Scorpio stars include Antares and Aculeus. (Remember that the constellation of Scorpio is not to be confused with the zodiac sign of the same name.) None of these stars supports a long haul in anything. Further, they warn us about ‘the pride of life’: if you get too cocky and full of yourself, you are inviting trouble to find you.


Walter White is the protagonist in ‘Breaking Bad’. In a short time Walt evolves into the biggest, baddest drug lord in the US. And he likes it—something he admits only at the very end. Walt takes great pride in his product, his cleverness, and his power. So I figured the Scorpion was coming to get him; it was just a matter of when.


The writers surely wanted Walt’s downfall to be proportionate to his crimes. They managed to wrap things up in spectacular fashion.


If you like a complex story that gets at the heart of human problems and challenges, give this show a try. You won’t be disappointed!


For an excellent discussion of the fixed stars and their meanings in astrology, see John Frawley’s Fixed Star CDs. Disc 6, Track 22 is the story of Orion, Pegasus, and Scorpio. Read more here:



Above photo by The Conmunity, "Breaking Bad" (Flickr: CC)