The Astrology of Real Life & TV Spies: Burn Notice’s Michael Westen

Jeffrey Donovan(Astrology Explored) Michael Westen is a spy. Or at least he was a spy, until his organization dumped him. In season two we are told that Michael’s burn notice was engineered by a shadow government organization in order to recruit him into their little group. It’s all very sketchy and we haven’t quite found out why the CIA hasn’t reversed this error and bring their spy back in from the cold. What we do know is that Michael Westen is very smart and has one heck of a skill set. He also has boundaries, geographic as well as emotional. The fun in the show, Burn Notice, is seeing how each of these elements are stretched in each episode.

Any attempt to leave the Miami, his boyhood hometown, where he was dumped would result in an arrest by the government. This normally wouldn’t restrain a spy of his caliber, but the strategically savvy Westen knows that he would lose any chance of regaining his former job if he did. So he sits in Miami, doing odd jobs as a sort of unlicensed private investigator, scamming an assortment of bad guys from the seamy underside of Miami, and basically acting out like a toddler sent to his room until a grown-up notices him. This is not to imply that any of Westen’s games are childish, they are far too life and death for that designation. One wonders, however, if Michael will ever get that for whatever reason his life is changed and the players aren’t interested in him saving the world anymore.

Adding to Michael’s angst is that he is forced to deal with family and personal relationships that he distanced himself from when he left home to join the military at the age of seventeen. Michael’s mother, Madeline is a curious mix of needy hypochondriac and master manipulator. His girlfriend Fiona is an an ex-IRA operative with a penchant for explosives and violent behavior. Her motto is “Kill them before they kill you.” His wingman is a supposedly wash-up and retired CIA operative, Sam Axe, who comes-up with the most incredible resources at a moment’s notice. In a show however, where turnabout is not just fair play but what the plot points turn on, one never knows where just who is going to do what and that includes anyone close to Michael Westen.

What sort of horoscope would be behind such a complex character? The unreferenced birthday, January 7. 1970, listed in Wikipedia seems a stretch. With four planets in Capricorn, one wonders where a man with a chart like that can get out of bed let alone run around the world in high stakes operations. You would think a chart like this you’d get a banker with a mortgage, wife and kids.

So incredulous was this astrologer about this date, I did some research on well-known spies taking from a site call Ten Famous Spies the birth data listed and drawing up charts. A quick survey yields some common threads:

Heavy Pluto contacts with the personal planets, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars
Strong Neptune influence
A Taurus/Scorpio opposition involving any of the planets

Take for instance the chart of this spy:

Klaus Fuchs (full name Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs) was born on December 29, 1911 in Russelsheim, Germany. He was a famous as a British theoretical physicist and atomic spy. In 1950 was convicted for spying from the British and American atomic bomb research to the USSR after World War II. Klaus Fuchs have died at the age of 76 on January 28, 1988 near Dresdes, East Germany.

Klaus has his Sun & Pluto in tension aspect (opposition), Venus/Mars opposition on the Taurus/Scorpio axis, Neptune in harmonious aspect (trine) that Venus and in friendly energetic connection (sextile) with that Mars.

In Michael Westen’s chart we find Pluto trine the Moon and Mercury, Jupiter, the planet of abundance and Saturn, the planet of duty, on the Taurus/Scorpio axis, and the planet of action Mars in Pisces, ruled by Neptune, in friendly energetic connection with his Moon/Mercury combination. So indeed, Michael Westen does fit the quick astrological sketch of a spy.

In doing other pieces about the birthdays of fictional characters, I noticed common threads. While the fictional character need not have the same birthday, they do seem to share the same ascendant as the actor playing them. For instance, while doing a rectification for the character of Indiana Jones, based on the life events written by his creator, the ascendant of Harrison Ford neatly fit. However in Jeffrey Donovan’s case, we don’t have an ascendant, though we know he has a Taurus Sun and a Scorpio Moon.

To research possible combinations I searched Astrofaces, and look up Taurus Suns and Scorpio Moons. What should I see but a photograph of an individual that could be Donovan’s brother. It is a strong possibility his ascendant is Libra. And that fits so well with the smiling demeanor of our world-class spy as well as Michael Westen’s penchant for Armani suits and the perfect haircut. Yes, Westen may get down and dirty righting wrongs for a price, but he’ll look good doing it every time. With a Libra ascendant, the planets swing into appropriate places in the chart, with Pluto, the lord of the Underworld, sitting on the ascendant.

Mercury in Capricorn describes the “do it yourself gene” that Westen displays so well in crafting ordinance and spy devices on the cheap and on the fly.

Capricorn in the fourth, the Sun sextile Mars, and sextile Uranus describes the abusive Dad, though you can imagine with that Mars in Pisces, usually passive aggressive rather than aggressive that dad was “cruel to be kind” so to speak.

And all that Capricorn describes his reticent nature in reestablishing his relationship with Fiona. He is well aware of the complications of having a romantic relationship while pursuing a dangerous profession. This is a handy excuse not to commit, and he is trying to keep a lid on the intense feelings he has for her.

All and all, this is not a man to cross. And he’ll prove that over and over in the fourth season and beyond of this popular hit show.

Note: Six months after I posted this piece, Burn Notice aired an episode, Past and Future Tense, which supposedly gives the birthdate of January 6, 1967 for Michael. This information was posted on Wikipedia under the section for Michael Westen. Of course this would give Michael a much different chart and quite frankly a chart that doesn’t work as well as the one above. There is no birthdate listed on the official Burn Notice site so I’ll keep working with the chart I presented here. If you want to read more about Michael’s birthday check out my most recent article.

Natal Horoscope of Michael Westen

Photo taken from Wikipedia listed as being published under Public Domain

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The Astrology of the Fort Hood Killings: The Enemy Among Us?

shooterIn a shocking and inexplicable incident that claimed the lives of 13 and threatens to claim some the lives of 38 others wounded, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a U. S. Army psychiatrist, opened fire on his fellow soldiers. The November 5, 2009 mass murder took place at a readiness center at Fort Hood, Texas, where a crowd was gathered to witness graduation exercises for some of the soldiers.

Col. Kimberly Kesling, deputy commander of clinical services at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, said she had known Hasan.
“You wouldn’t think that someone who works in your facility and provided excellent care for his patients, which he did, could do something like this,” Kesling said. She described him as “a quiet man who wouldn’t seek the limelight” and said she was shocked when she heard he was the suspect in the shootings.

Was this a expression of faith as some had surmised about this deeply religious Muslim, or was this an act of a deeply disturbed individual?

What can astrology and his horoscope tell us about this man?

Nidal Malik Hasan was born on September 6, 1970, in Arlington, VA. The son of Palestinian immigrants he:

attended William Fleming High School in Roanoke, Virginia.[31] He joined the army immediately after high school and served 8 years as enlisted soldier while attending college. Hasan graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and went on to medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.[32] After earning his medical degree (M.D.) in 2001, he completed his residency in psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.[33] In 2009, he completed a fellowship in Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry at the Center for Traumatic Stress.[34


His aunt had reported to reporters that Hasan was distressed about what he perceived as harassment about his Muslim faith and that for a number of years he had been seeking to pay the Army back for his education and get a discharge. Other reports portray him as a man for whom the army was his life. Though he was slated for deployment no official date apparently had been set. Nonetheless, two weeks ago he gave notice to his landlord he was leaving and he said his goodbyes to friends, giving away belongings and making final arrangements to have his apartment cleaned. In retrospect, all this seems like acts of person who is planning his suicide.

Hasan’s facial features resemble so closely his many planets in the zodiac sign of Virgo it is hard to tell if his ascendant is Virgo as well. However the sunrise chart fits his stated personality well. With many planets in Virgo, he would naturally be drawn to a helping profession, and if he did indeed have a twelfth house sun, it would explain an interest in the psychological workings of the mind. His work would be careful and precise, and with his Sun in harmonious energetic connection with the planet of work and responsibility, he would be a hard worker as well. What stands out is his Sun and Mars in stress aspect (inconjunct) to the planet of wounds difficult to heal, Chiron which in the sunrise chart is tenanted in the eighth house, traditionally associated with death. It is reported the Hasan became more committed to his faith after his parents’ death. Can it be that his parents death opened a chronic wound that he was unable to reconcile in his mind?

With his strong Virgo sense of perfection and his Libra in the justice minded zodiac sign of Libra, he would have a strong sense of right and wrong. Couple that with a probable Moon in the zodiac sign of Scorpio, he would have fixed ideas of what should happen, ideas that could be at odds with the realities of his world.

Notice that this moon is opposite the planet of restrictions and duties, Saturn, which is in the zodiac sign of Taurus. The Taurus/Scorpio axis is a difficult one to master, one that pits three dimensional reality against the surreal impressions of the Universe that bombards the Scorpio Moon person. Though all his earth sign Virgo planets should have helped ground that Scorpio Moon, a challenge aspect from the Moon’s neighbor Neptune, the planet of delusions to Mars which is inconjunct Chiron, upset that apple cart.

Chillingly, two weeks ago, when he gave notice to his landlord he was quitting his apartment, the Saturn/Uranus opposition sat on his natal Pluto in Virgo at 29 degrees, the anarectic degree of decision. It seems that in his mind the only way he could break free of the chains of this life was to sever them altogether. It is entirely possible that he confused his devotion with God with a desire to release those chains and an extremist view of self-sacrifice to justify an action that he would intellectually know was wrong. It appears that the enemy among us was what many of us have faced, the difficulties in reconciling the realities of this world with our inner view of how the world should work.

Photo printed under a Creative Commons License from Wikipedia.

Update: As Funkstar pointed out in the comment below and Chris Brennan to another astrologer there is a posting of an army record on My Space Astrology discussions that lists Hasan’s birthdate as September 8 not 6 as reported by Wikipedia.

Aside from the Moon moving forward, not much else has changed in terms of aspects to each other. The Saturn/Neptune opposition seems to stand alone, but it is still in challenge aspect (square) to the personal planet Mars, so the observation about the Scorpio/Taurus axis stands. Chiron in the new sunrise chart is in the seventh, but so close to the eighth house cusp, that without a birth time, we can not be sure its not there anyway.


The progressed chart on the event date is tantalizing as well. Some astrologers like to read the progressed chart as a stand alone, though again without a birth time still leaves some information open to question, especially the position of the moon. With all this being said, in the progressed chart, the Taurus moon is the apex of a Yod between Pluto and Venus signaling difficulties in transforming his value system. It is an aspect of someone feeling the call of destiny. The trigger appears to be transiting Sun and Mercury in Scorpio, again highlighting the difficulty in handling the Taurus/Scorpio axis.

Your thoughts?


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