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Walter White: An Everyman for the Uranus/Pluto Age

heisenbergLike so many viewers, I’ve gone from being a fan of the series Breaking Bad to, in its final season, becoming borderline obsessed with the transformation of mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher Walter White into the murderous kingpin of a methamphetamine empire.

According to his divorce papers, seen in the episode Más, Walter Hartwell White was born on September 7, 1959. Though we have no idea how this date was chosen by the writers or the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, I wondered whether the astrology of the date might reflect the characteristics of the show’s protagonist.

First, a note: The chart I’m using here is based on a speculative time and location. I arbitrarily chose Los Angeles as Walt’s birthplace; we know he attended graduate school at Cal Tech in Pasadena and that in order to visit his mother – who presumably still lives in the area where he grew up – he travels by plane (Four Days Out); so he’s unlikely to have been born in Albuquerque, where the series takes place. But really, we have no clue where Walter was born. I chose 4 p.m. to place the Virgo stellium in the 8th house with Neptune on the Midheaven (career as a drug lord) and Capricorn rising (ambition). But this isn’t even in the neighborhood of a proper rectification – even I only have so many hours in the day to devote to decoding Walter White!

Another note: I’m interpreting this chart in light of what we already know about a fictional character who has chosen to behave very, very badly. Nothing I’ve written here should be interpreted as an indictment of anyone/everyone who has any of these placements or aspects in their own charts!

High standards and weakness


Not surprisingly for a guy who has distinguished himself by manufacturing the purest product in the marketplace, Walter’s chart has a stellium of Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Pluto in Virgo. Quality and a strict adherence to procedure, formula, and cleanliness are important keys to Walt’s superior product.

Walt’s decision to begin manufacturing methamphetamine was triggered by a diagnosis of inoperable cancer and the desire to leave behind enough money to support his family.  As the series has progressed, however, it’s become increasingly clear that ego and hubris play at least as much of a role in his decision. The primary symbols of masculine confidence in his chart don’t receive much support; the Sun is aspected only by the Moon and does not apply to any other planets, and Mars in Libra is in its fall and square Saturn.

Mars square Saturn is sometimes called an “impotence” aspect; not that it necessarily points to literal, physical impotence, but for a man it could suggest a lack of confidence in his power and manhood. Mars is very weak by sign and Saturn is in its strongest sign; it’s telling that he has overcome his feeling of weakness and powerlessness by identifying with the qualities of his very strong Saturn in Capricorn (“I’m in the empire business.”)

Venus, the planet of money and relationships, is in the sign of its fall and retrograde, and very tightly conjoined with Pluto. Pluto is the planet of great wealth, but also of dramatic loss. Walter came very close to achieving enormous wealth with the company he co-founded, Gray Matter technologies (now worth billions), and then as a meth kingpin who personally amassed as much as $80M. But he has also struggled to make ends meet while underemployed as a high school chemistry teacher and working part-time at a car wash, and he’s had a hard time holding on to his money. Donna Cunningham has said that Pluto will lead us to “fail for spite”. With Venus in such a tight conjunction with Pluto (and Moon in Scorpio), Walter has demonstrated this tendency by selling his interest in Gray Matter for a paltry $5,000 because he was angry at his partners, and later turning down their offer to pay his medical bills.

Respect the science

Walt’s scientific brilliance is symbolized by Mercury conjoined Pluto and trine Saturn. In a chart with a number of planets in their fall or detriment, Mercury and Saturn trine in the signs of their rulership point to Walt’s core strength: his intellect. He repeatedly crafts ingenious plans to extract himself from tight situations. With Mercury sextile Neptune, he has “a gift for fiction;” but the sextile is an aspect that needs a strong motivation in order to become useful. Cancer and a life of crime have provided that motivation for Walt, and over time he’s become an accomplished and convincing liar.

Walt has the Moon in Scorpio, also in the sign of its fall. Its aspects are speculative without a birth time, but it may be conjoined with Jupiter. Potentially this is a hopeful aspect, though in Walt’s case it doesn’t seem particularly fortunate, seeming instead to exaggerate Moon in Scorpio’s least admirable qualities. The Moon makes a square to Uranus sometime on this date (in this chart, it’s nearly exact). Moon in Scorpio square Uranus can certainly be interpreted as the astrological equivalent of “breaking bad,” a negative response to sudden situations (represented by Uranus) that catalyze the intense need for control and power, possibly at any cost. Walt’s alter ego, the goatee-wearing, black porkpie hat-sporting Heisenberg, named for the theoretical physicist who proposed the uncertainty principle, is certainly the embodiment of this aspect!


Assuming Capricorn rising (which we probably shouldn’t, but it fits pretty well), Cancer on the 7th  describes partners who are protective and nurturing (his wife, Skyler) or who are characterized by intense loyalty, a sweet, if self-sabotaging nature (Moon in Scorpio), and protectiveness toward children (Jesse, his partner in meth). Capricorn/Cancer on the relationship angles also may indicate relationships that begin with a power or class differential – e.g., Walt a successful researcher and academic, Skyler a waitress; Walt a teacher, Jesse his student. Also, the actress who plays Gretchen Schwartz, Walt’s ex-girlfriend and (at least partly) the reason he left Gray Matter, reported in an interview that according to the the show’s creator, Gretchen and Walt fell out because Gretchen’s family was wealthy and Walt felt that they looked down on him because he wasn’t.

Progressions and transits

Inner wheel: natal; center wheel: secondary progressions to 50th b’day;
outer wheel: transiting planets (natal houses).

Progressions for Walt’s 50th birthday (middle wheel), the day before he received his cancer diagnosis, show the progressed Sun and Mars sitting precisely on natal Neptune. The old self is dissolving; here was an opportunity to become someone new. He might have explored a courageous and spiritual response to his illness; instead, he recklessly moved forward through a series of misguided and violent actions and created a new and deadly persona.

As the series begins, his progressed Sun is approaching a sextile to Pluto, an aspect which provides an opportunity for either empowerment and transcendence or for self-destruction; the aspect will be exact on September 3, 2011 – on the show, this is four days before Walter’s 52nd birthday, when we see him walk into a Denny’s, chat with the waitress, and go into the men’s room to purchase a semi-automatic rifle.

For illness, I would assume we’d see some difficult aspects to the Sun; at the beginning of the series, on Walt’s 50th birthday, transiting Saturn is just past a conjunction with his Sun in Virgo, the sign of health, and within a couple of months will conjoin natal Mars and square natal Saturn. Transiting Pluto has just entered Capricorn and is triggering Walt’s natal Mars/Saturn square.  Progressed Sun and Mars conjunct Neptune might also point to a significant problem with his health. Beyond that, I would assume the Ascendant and 6th house, and possibly the Moon, would be important points to consider; without a birth time and place and a good wheel, though, these are beyond our reach. Anyone who specializes in the astrology of health should feel free to offer thoughts in the comments.

An everyman for the Uranus/Pluto age

What happens when a man who is beaten down by life, who has squandered opportunities and potential, is given a death sentence and decides to fight back? Breaking Bad is one very dark answer. In the end, the birthdate chosen for Walter White by the writers (almost certainly with no astrological input) describes his personality pretty well. As a human being, I wish Walter had made a more productive and rational response to his chart, but as a viewer observing a fictional character I’m completely satisfied!

It’s significant, I think, that his chart features Mars and Saturn square in the first degrees of cardinal signs. The outer planet, cardinal sign configurations that began unfolding in 2008, particularly the extraordinarily important Uranus/Pluto square, have played out spectacularly in the two years we’ve seen of this character’s life.

Series creator Vince Gilligan claims he lost empathy for Walt long ago and can’t believe that so many fans are still rooting for him, after all of the horrible things (murder, poisoning a child, lying) that Walt has done. But I get it. With the epic Uranus/Pluto square leaving many of us flattened like evolutionary roadkill over the past few years, it’s easy to understand why so many fans are invested in this story – even if our response to a changing and brutal world is not quite as colorful, dramatic, or (hopefully) deadly as that of Walter White.

Written a few days before the series finale aired.

© 2013 April Elliott Kent


11 comments to " Walter White: An Everyman for the Uranus/Pluto Age "

  • Steve

    Ha, that’s really good! I do wonder whether giving him a birthday somehow made that character come to life.

    I totally get him too. I think if you see Walt’s whole story from the diagnosis onwards, you can understand why he did what did. He started out with a single objective and has stuck to it: the money is for his family, and to enable him to survive for as long as possible, so he’s never going to just roll over. Yes, he really crosses the line sometimes, but when you threaten his original purpose, he always grits his teeth and fights back.

    Funny what you said about Mars square Saturn too, because Mars squaring his natal Saturn always made my ex blow up about his sexuality — a different thing yes, but his response would be to assert himself with almost complete disregard for the consequences, and that’s very Walt.

    Disclaimer: I own a Heisenberg t-shirt and will be making blue meth candy for the finale.

  • Ha! Thanks, Steve. We get together with a group of friends each week to watch the latest episode, and I’m pretty sure my husband and I are the only ones who are still even remotely in Walt’s camp. I can’t seem to help it; objectively, I know he’s a fiend. But as he repeatedly says in his defense, what was he supposed to do when threatened, just roll over and die? I like his scrappy determination and ingenuity. I even admire his ruthlessness. His only mistake, as he reflected in an episode a couple of seasons ago, was in living too long.

    Interesting perspective on Mars/Saturn! I have the trine myself; make of it what you will. 🙂

    • Steve

      Ah, sounds like patient determination! Useful if you’re going to keep on with silly ideas like working for yourself, or spending years carefully and doggedly building something up, I would imagine.

      I’m not so sure about what I said about the Mars / Saturn square now. I remembered after that the ex also has stuff like Sun conjunct Pluto (in Scorpio!) for the extremes, Mars (in Aquarius) square that Pluto for the outbursts and Moon / Uranus for the crazy, so he’d obviously be influenced by those things when something gets triggered. Then again, I suppose that resonates with the Uranus / Pluto vibe, and Walt’s chart too.

      I probably should be bothered that my support for Walt has barely wavered! I’ve decided he’s not a psychopath, because he clearly has a conscience, no matter how much he tries to suppress it. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have shown that loyalty to Jesse, Hank and even Skyler when they betrayed him, especially as that loyalty cost him dearly. He seems to love them despite the things they’ve done, which could be a more positive side to that Venus / Pluto conjunction.

      And to go back to your point, I think my BB-watching friends are all still with Walt, and we’ve all either been flattened by some nasty stuff recently or find ourselves in positions where we absolutely must be strong or we will get crushed. That said, none of us has dissolved anyone in hydrofluoric acid… yet!

  • April, this is absolutely brilliant. I wish I’d written this post myself. Walter White’s rectified chart makes perfect sense.

    What’s really interesting is that Bryan Cranston is a March 7 Pisces…almost exactly opposite his “role of a lifetime.” And thus apropos for Walter White / Heisenberg’s duality. Signs always contain a drop of their opposite, and I guess in Cranston’s case it’s a pretty powerful drop…like the purity of Heisenberg’s blue meth.

    I too am obsessed with this show in a way that only The Sopranos has come close to equaling (it wasn’t as crazy-making as BB, as I didn’t watch it till a couple of years ago and so could binge-watch and didn’t have to wait and agonize for developments in real time). More than once it has occurred to me that BB is a catharsis for the Uranus-Pluto square, though of course Mr. White can’t possibly “get away” with his crimes. Yet I am still rooting for him (and Jesse) despite everything, and I hope we get to see him at least one more time in his tighty-whities.

    Today I wrote and posted “The Damned Plutocrats Are Giving Pluto a Bad Name” on my astrology blog, which opened with two quotes: one from Plutarch, the other from Walter White. It would be great if you checked it out–I plan on visiting your site again very soon!

  • […] For an intriguing take on Breaking Bad’s leading man’s astrological chart – Walter White: An Everyman for the Uranus/Pluto Age […]

  • Gia

    April, THANK YOU for posting this. I too am obsessed with Breaking Bad and have often wondered about Walter White’s chart but had read in many blogs that his character represented the Libra/Aries polarity. But certainly I think the entire series represents the current Uranus/Pluto square. Your chart makes perfect sense though. Now I just wonder about all of the other characters since they’re all complex and fascinating. From the finale we now know that Walt Jr./Flynn’s birthday is around July 9, 1993. I wonder about him and how he’ll deal with the issues he’s left with.
    And about that Mars/Saturn square? Is a Mars/Saturn conjunction similar? I have that aspect in my 8th House in Cancer. I’ve read that it’s a difficult aspect but never really noticed it being that much of a problem in my own life. Thanks again!

  • What fun, April! Thanks so much for writing this.

    The Virgo in Walt’s chart is one of the things that makes him so fascinating to watch. Remember that episode with the fly?

    You did a marvelous job with this article. Great catch on the birth date on the divorce papers and figuring out a birth place.

    I’ve often thought that actors would benefit greatly from having a chart drawn up for their characters ~ even if the chart couldn’t really exist ~ as a way of understanding their character’s motivation.

    I wonder what Jesse’s chart would look like? My heart broke for him every single week.

  • KaD

    I think a possible reason that Walter/Heisenberg is such an esteemed character even after everything he’s done is that his behavior embodies things that all people have felt at some point-the desire to do what you damn well want to do, to be answerable to no one but yourself, to not be hindered in your goals by other people. To get out of the mundane life with the job you hate and the awful boss. To make something of yourself in some way.

  • Holly Windsong

    Gia, I have that natal Libra/Aries polarity with my Sun conjunct Neptune, and I can attest that my personal moral compass would never allow me to do what Walter White has done. My Sun and Ascendant only just progressed out of thirty years in Scorpio, with the effect of forcing me to look at and transcend what’s rotten in me. Sure, in the early years I was addicted to malicious gossip and other vices, but I couldn’t begin to approach Walter’s depravity. And I never was tempted to become addicted to mind-altering or mood-altering substances. That Libra/Aries polarity shines a fierce, clear light. Holly

  • Astro Mad Max

    This is shockingly accurate chart

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