Robert Downey Jr. was born in the final months of his Venus mahadasha, the powerful exalted planet in his ninth house that is first prize in the lottery of life. His Sun-Venus-Mercury conjunction in Revati is a mixed bag, though shows a romantic and escapist who can never be content with the material or mundane. The highest-paid actor in the world today was once a byword for wasted talent, which shows how astrological fortunes can change.
Cancer rising gives him great sensitivity, while Ashlesha – the serpent that entwines us in desire - is associated with ambition and addiction: he also has that nakshatra's mesmeric eyes. Lagnesh Moon is in Bharani, hemmed in between the Sun and Rahu and aspected by Saturn. RDJ has an emotional need for fame and attention, yet the experience would leave him vulnerable, if not tortured. The period 1996 - 2001 that almost destroyed his career coincided with Sade Sati, Saturn’s transit of the Moon and its adjacent signs.
Coming from an acting family, he was involved in movies from childhood, and his experience of drugs also arrived early. His father, himself an addict, introduced his son to marijuana at aged six, and the drug was a bonding experience which Downey Jr. came to associate with paternal love. This initiation occurred in RDJ’s very family-and-father-oriented Sun mahadasha, which rules the second house from the ninth. Mars in the second house in mutual aspect with Saturn shows a tough relationship with his family, which was simultaneously supportive and destructive.
Robert Downey Jr. 4th April 1965, 13:10, New York, USA.
Rahu dasha arrived in 1989, and true to its nature, at first brought a succession of starring roles and rave reviews. Quirky and charismatic, Downey Jr. was clearly one to watch and his first Academy Award nomination, for Chaplin, came in 1992. Rahu in the 11th house is the agent of its exalted sign lord Venus, and gives ambition and potential for good contacts, again especially through the father. Venus exchanging signs with Jupiter makes Raja Yoga, and its lordship of the 4th further emphasizes the family theme.
Problems began in 1996 with Rahu-Saturn, a cruel and difficult energy, even when Saturn is strong. RDJ was arrested in his car while in possession of heroin and a handgun, and sentenced to a year’s probation. Subsequent parole violations and missed drug tests saw him serving actual prison time. Mercury is a troublemaker for Cancer lagna, and fallen in both the Rasi and Navamsha raises a further red flag. Soon after entering Rahu-Mercury in June 1999, RDJ was sentenced to three years imprisonment for yet another parole violation – Mercury rules the 12th house of confinement. Yet he served under a year of his term on condition of drug monitoring, with this very public episode coming during peak Sade Sati in the 10th house.
Rahu-Venus starting mid-2001, alternatively, proved to be his saving grace. He says he’d had enough of looming prison sentences and court-ordered rehab, and decided to play along. His five year drink and drug kamikaze period had left him virtually unemployable as an actor, despite some high-profile TV work, yet by the end of Venus antardasha in 2003 he was back in movies again. This was on the maturing outward stage of Sade Sati, and he has apparently been clean and sober ever since.
It was Jupiter mahadasha, 2007 that really signalled his comeback. Like Rahu, Jupiter is in the 11th house, so many of the same themes continue except with a more sattvic nature. The Raja/ Dhan yoga with Venus in the 9th is activated and Downey Jr. has found blockbuster roles in Sherlock Holmes, Iron Man and The Avengers. These popcorn movies don’t showcase his acting skills as much as his earlier Rahu-period work, but they pay the bills. According to Forbes he was the world’s highest paid actor in 2013 and 2014, and currently at the height of his powers in Jupiter-Venus, he seems likely to make it three years in a row.
In many ways, Downey Jr’s chart and career reflects that of his contemporary Johnny Depp - early art-house movies followed by franchise blockbuster fare - except Depp has not had a hit movie since he started Jupiter mahadasha in 2013. A mixture of yoga, meditation, martial arts and – gasp! – astrology figures largely in RDJs lifestyle today, and this spiritual dimension is clearly what this Revati in the ninth house soul has been seeking all his life.