The Divine Mr M

One of my favorite actors is Viggo Mortensen.  I’ve been quite taken with him since LOTR--me and a million others! :)  My friends know this and slip me articles about him when occasion permits.  Mr. Mortensen (herein referred to as VM) is in the public eye again as his newest film, The Road, plays in theatres everywhere.  So what is it about this guy that makes him so skillful, multitalented, multilingual, and successful—not to mention gorgeous?


The astrologer’s first impulse is to take a look at the birth chart.  However, for an accurate chart we must have a time of birth.  This determines the rising sign, a key element of any chart.  We also need the birth time to know the exact position of the Moon, which moves quickly across the sky (an average of 13 degrees of celestial arc per day).

Well, bummer.  There is no birth time available for VM.  I found one online reference to “a little after 11 a.m.” but with no source cited, this is unreliable.  What does an astrologer do when no birth time is available?  The convention is to set the chart for 12:00 noon on the birth day.


I'm guessing that noon is within an hour or two of VM’s actual birth time.  When we cast his chart for October 20, 1958 in Manhattan, NY, 12:00 p.m. EDT (see chart below), a few things seem to hit the mark: 1) A dignified Venus, conjunct the North Node of the Moon, rules the 10th and 5th houses; 2) Sagittarius is rising, which would make Jupiter his Lord Ascendant.


Venus.  As the strongest planet in the chart, this would be VM’s Lord of the Geniture (a traditional term).  Venus is in Libra, one of its own signs, giving it essential dignity.  It is elevated in the sky, in the tenth house, giving it accidental dignity.  Strengthening Venus further is a tight conjunction with the North Node, which acts as a positive amplifier.  But, you may ask, isn’t Venus combust of the Sun?  Normally this is a major accidental debility; however, a planet combust in its own sign is enhanced as if by mutual reception, and such is the case here.


A dignified Venus would help to explain many of VM’s talents and successes.  Venus is the natural significator of art and artists.  Within a range of time at midday, Venus rules the tenth house (career/vocation) and the 5th (one's creations).  VM is an accomplished artist in a number of media, including acting, photography, painting, and poetry.  He is known for bringing his art and skill to bear in everything he undertakes and for the high quality of his work.


Mutual Reception Mercury/Mars.  If I understand correctly, mutual receptions are not necessarily positive if the planets involved lack essential dignity.  Here, though, Mercury seems aided by its conjunction with the chart ruler, Jupiter.  Jupiter is in term and placed in the house of its joy, the eleventh.  Mars is in the sixth, the house of its joy, and Mercury is the natural ruler of the sixth house.  This Mercury/Mars reception seems to signify VM’s skillfulness in a variety of things.  Take, for example, his swordsmanship: the trainer for LOTR said Mortensen was one of the best swordsmen he had ever worked with.  Mercury in this noon chart also rules the ninth house of things foreign; VM is fluent in several foreign languages.


Sagittarius Ascendant.  The symbol for Sagittarius is the centaur: freedom-loving, adventurous, part-wild, and loving the outdoors.  Doesn't that seem to fit? :)  For example, VM is reported to have stayed in his Aragorn costume for days in order to embody his character more fully.  Jupiter as chart ruler also suggests a person searching for the truth and ever expanding his personal horizons.  




Above, By Nicolas Genin from Paris, France - 66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra), CC BY-SA 2.0,


Below, Mortensen at the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, December 1, 2003. CC BY-SA 3.0,


First published Dec 29, 2009 on  


Postscript: Mr. Mortensen received a second Best Actor nomination this year (2017) at the 89th Academy Awards for his role in the film Captain Fantastic. Bravo, Mr. M!!