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A Life Less Ordinary: Benedict Cumberbatch

While filming in South Africa in 2004, Benedict Cumberbatch was abducted at gunpoint by a masked gang, robbed and bundled into the boot of his car, and was lucky to escape with his life. "I was scared, really scared”. I said, “Are you going to kill us?' I was really worried that I was going to get raped or molested or just tortured or toyed with in some way, some act of control and savagery." Cumberbatch kept his cool, and along with two friends, smartly negotiated his way to safety.

The exact date is uncertain, but the incident occurred in Cumberbatch’s Sun dasha (probably Sun/ Mercury), which rules his 12th house of confinement, faraway places, and thieves. Mars, ruler of the 3rd house of short journeys and the eighth of sudden transformation also sits in the twelfth, showing potential for struggle or violence in this area. Eighth lord in the twelfth house is also a Vipareeta Raja Yoga, allowing one to benefit in a roundabout way from misfortune. Not surprisingly in this respect, the carjacking experience was pivotal: “It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own”, he said, “It’s made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary.”

There in a nutshell is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch’s appeal, an actor less ordinary, equally at home on stage and screen, playing heroes or villains, and according to Google, ‘weirdly fanciable’. He gives full value to his characters’ strangeness, while keeping his own movie-star quality, and is simply more interesting than most Hollywood leading men. He is involved in a world of worthiness: The Princes Trust, Stop the War Coalition, The Willow Foundation, The Thomas Coram Foundation for Children, and several others. Planets packing his eleventh house, including Lagna ruler Mercury, show his activist side and he is probably a money-magnet for these personal crusades.

July 19th 1976, 12:00pm, London, UK. (birthtime quoted in biography)

He has Lakshmi yoga and other wealth-creating Dhan Yogas, and is one of a generation of privately educated (Harrow, in his case) British actors from wealthy, and indeed quasi-aristocratic, families. He is distantly related to the both the current Queen Elizabeth, and even more distantly to Richard III, in whose re-burial ceremony he recently took part. Mars, ruler of his third house in the twelfth shows that - as well as being abducted abroad - he has taught in faraway places (teaching English in Tibet), and also that he is an only child. Cumberbatch has Buddhist sympathies: a strong Navamsha chart shows an honest, lucky character with an affinity for a Dharmic lifestyle.

His exact Venus-Saturn conjunction repeats in all vargas, making an auspicious association for Virgo ascendant. These planets lie at the heart of Cumberbatch’s quirky romantic appeal, not to mention the negotiating skills that saved his life in South Africa. Stylish too, there is something classic about Venus-Saturn that has seen him named variously as among ‘Britain’s best dressed’ and ‘most fascinating’ men, and as the true successor to Laurence Olivier. Venus, lord of second house of speech also accounts for Cumberbatch’s thriving second career as a narrator, along with his starring role as the voice of Smaug the Dragon in The Hobbit movie.

Moon Mahadasha since 2006 has brought him prominent roles as tortured genius Alan Turing and also as Sherlock Holmes, both super-intelligent Asberger’s-types, respectively gay and asexual. Natal Moon-Ketu in the 8th is naturally mystical and open to doing things differently, and following his portrayal of Turing, Cumberbatch spoke openly about his own adolescent sexual experiments at boarding school. However, he married his partner Sophie Hunter very conventionally on Valentines Day 2015, after the couple made a formal announcement in The Times. Moon in Taurus in Navamsha lagna (along with D9 Venus-Saturn in Libra) is a traditional romantic, and currently in Moon-Venus dasha, he and Sophie are currently expecting their first child.

He is on a roll (role?), and it remains to be seen if Mars Mahadasha starting September 2016 will continue his good luck. He is by no means restricted or typecast, and plays his own distant cousin Richard III for the BBC in 2015. Then, in what may be a defining role, he stars as Doctor Strange in a Marvel movie blockbuster in 2016 - though he may insert a clause that excludes filming in South Africa.

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