On 21st October 1941, issue 58 of Detective Comics hit the newsstands: This publication, (the birthplace of Batman), would now witness the debut of one of Gotham’s most dashing and formidable villains; Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin.
Throughout his long and chequered career, the ruthless and elegant Gentleman of Crime has escaped the pages of “Batman” comic as often as he has eluded his captors in Blackgate Pentitentary and Arkham Asylum, inspiring acclaimed portrayals both in the Batman television series and a number of forays into film. For the last five years his most recent incarnation, played by Robin Lord Taylor, has been winning new plaudits in Netflix’s Batman prequel series “Gotham”.
What can Astrology tell us about this most enigmatic of villains? To my knowledge, there is no record of Penguin consulting an astrologer but we do have a birth chart of sorts. A “Sunrise” or solar chart set for Gotham (which according to Batman lore is located in the state of New Jersey) fits the approximate time when issue 58 of Detective Comics went on sale and marks the emergence of Penguin onto the world stage. When a birth time is unknown, the ‘sunrise’ chart can tell us much about the promise and abilities of those born on the day in question, and (as might be expected) the 21st October 1941 was a day rich in potential.
On the Midheaven (signifier of public image and fame), Pluto Lord of the Underworld in regal Leo certainly fits the profile for the mobster, nightclub owner and self-styled “King of Gotham”. Chiron is here, too; often signifying someone perceived as a maverick or outsider; there are many accounts of him suffering cruelly from childhood bullying. However, this inability to ‘fit in’ served as the impetus to his ambition – for him, without doubt, the greatest revenge has always been success – on his own terms. Saturn, ruler of the 4th house (home, family and ‘roots’) is in the 8th house in Taurus, conjunct Algol: Among the many versions of Penguin’s backstory, there are numerous examples of which feature the early death of his father (4th ruler in 8th house) and his subsequent rejection by his extended family. Saturn is conjunct Uranus and Algol; in many stories, a sudden reversal of circumstances denies the young Cobblepot his inheritance and birthright, perpetrating the crisis which sets him on the path to crime. Algol is a fixed star associated with uncontrolled desires; in the 8th house (other people’s goods and resources), this seemingly limitless appetite is directed towards the property of others; be it money, real estate or jewels. Venus, the ascendant ruler in the 2nd, points to a complex connection with material goods and self-worth and also reveals his talent as a snappy dresser.
As a Libra, he works well in partnership with others and is a networker par excellance. He has been the architect of many an imaginative underworld alliance throughout his career, and (when it suits him) is not above dealing with the Caped Crusader or the GCPD if it will allow him to manipulate the balance of power to his own ends. Charming when he wants to be, under that elegant exterior beats the heart of a ruthless fighter; Mars strongly placed in Aries in the 6th house shows that he views violence as an occupational hazard, and a way to get the job done when plans call for it.
Mercury in Scorpio describes a formidable strategist, with a fascination for the hidden and the mysterious. Power, crime and the taboo are all topics which often have an irresistible allure to those with this placement, and it is nearly impossible to keep a secret from them. Mercury is retrograde, endowing him with an unusual approach to problem-solving: Whilst others flounder in chaotic circumstances, he keeps a clear head and knows how to turn the situation to his advantage. The Moon, also in Scorpio, adds a more dangerous tone to the mix. The Moon rules the emotions and is natural significator of the mother in the birth chart. With the Moon in intense Scorpio, this is a man who will never forget a slight. If you hurt his feelings or (God forbid!) his mother, there will be no forgiveness. The comic books, in particular, are full of blood-chilling accounts of the fates of those (and their friends and families) who got on the wrong side of the King of Gotham; the usual mob vendettas resemble a picnic in comparison.
“Gotham” has brought Penguin before a whole new audience of admirers, with many clamouring for a spinoff series dedicated to the Gentleman of Crime, in no small part due to Robin Lord Taylor’s mesmerising and charismatic performance. We have no birth time for Robin Lord Taylor either, but the comparison of his chart with that of Penguin’s ‘sunrise’ chart shows some intriguing links. Radical and unconventional Uranus in Scorpio (Robin Lord Taylor’s chart) is conjunct the Moon and Mercury in Penguin’s chart. Robin’s highly original and Machiavellian portrayal of the young Oswald Cobblepot has electrified viewers and, from the first, earmarked Penguin as the show’s breakout character. Furthermore, the Sun in Robin’s chart conjunct Jupiter in Penguin’s chart is a fortunate and expansive influence which has introduced them both to a whole new audience.
Some Penguin quotes (taken from the “Gotham” television series) and their astrological correspondences:
Sun in Libra : “…walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light” and “maybe its not our friends, but our enemies that define us”
Pluto in Leo conjunct the Midheaven : “Foolish arrogance led me astray. But I learned my lessons. I’ll be back, stronger and smarter than ever” and “This is Gotham City. There will always be crime. What I am offering is crime in the hands of professionals, and held to agreed upon terms”
Mercury retrograde in Scorpio “Gotham is rife with crime…who better than a criminal to clean it up?”
By Louise of Arabia www.louiseofarabia.com
Image of Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot; The Penguin from “Gotham” Series 5
“Gotham” distributed by Warner Bros Television
Batman and and the Penguin are characters published by DC Comics