Michael Gambon ( 1940 – 2023)

“Gambon’s iron lungs and overwhelming charisma are able to command a sort of operatic full-throatedness which triumphs over hard walls and long distances”.

~ Simon Callow

One of the greatest actors of our time, Michael Gambon, died this week at the age of 82.  He was able to undertake roles of gravitas, such as that of Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, in the film franchise of Harry Potter.  Among other well-known roles, he played the Singing Detective in Dennis Potter’s series of that name.

Birth Chart

Michael Gambon had Sun in Libra, unaspected, save for a square to Chiron.  This accounts for his very independent, individualistic character, with a slightly mischievous edge.  He was very much a prankster.  As we have no birth time, we only know that his Moon might be in Taurus, or Gemini.  At noon on the day he was born, it was exactly on the cusp between those two signs!  He had Mercury loosely opposite Jupiter, so there was a wide-ranging mind, but with a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, he could be indecisive, often a feature of the Libran personality.  Though with 5 Earth planets and 5 Fixed planets, he would probably stick rigidly to a point of view once decided.  He had Venus closely trine Jupiter, which made him a very social being (added to his Libran side).  A sense of loyalty was strong, too, with Venus also closely trine Saturn.  Mars was unaspected, save for a close conjunction with the North Node, indicating a karmic mission both as a warrior (Mars) and a peacemaker or tough negotiator (the conjunction being in Libra).  Uranus closely trined Neptune in his chart, enabling him to take on complex roles.  Pluto conjunct Chiron meant he was able to tackle the dark side of humanity in some of his roles – he was adept at playing villains.

Life and Career

Michael Gambon was born in Dublin and brought up in Ireland until he was six years old, when his family moved to London.  He was brought up as a strict Catholic, and educated in Kent, but left school at 15 without any qualifications.  This may be a reflection of the opposition to his Mercury by the huge exact conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, giving him a lot to overcome.  In his first employment path, he went into engineering, which may be a reflection of his North Node/Mars conjunction.  At the age of 24, he fabricated his CV and was taken on at Dublin’s Gate Theatre.  This fabrication again is reflected in that Sun/Chiron square of his birth chart.  He was known to be an inveterate fibber as a raconteur.  At the theatre, he played in Othello, and auditioning with a piece from Richard III he was noticed by Laurence Olivier who was looking for actors to join his new National Theatre Company.  Other actors recruited by Olivier at the time were Derek Jacobi and Frank Finlay who also became heavyweight actors.  His first film role was in Othello in 1965, and he played a vet in Ayckbourn’s play The Norman Conquests in 1974.  He went on to star in several plays by Ayckbourn and Pinter. In 2001 he played in the film Gosford Park, and from 2004 he took over as the headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise, after Richard Harris died, which is probably his most well-known role among the younger generations.  His acting range was vast and versatile.

In latter years he found it difficult to learn his lines, and he started to withdraw from stage work in 2014.  He was well loved and highly regarded for his acting ability, and although his role as Dumbledore was less demanding than some of his Shakespearean roles, the image of him in his “flowing beard and tassel hat” (as described by Chris Wiegand in the Guardian) is probably the most iconic.


Neptune opposes Mercury tomorrow (Monday 2nd October), which can spark mental confusion.  There may be for instance a mental dilemma, or a demand for clarification.  It may be difficult to focus, if you are engaged in documentation work.  Journeys may be long and complicated.  You may need to take care near water.

On the same day, Venus trines the North Node, a more harmonious influence.  This links karma with harmony and love, and reminds us that love is a force underlying a great deal of human interaction, e.g. standing up for one’s country, and protecting loved ones.  It also reminds us of the Hindu law of ahimsa, or harmlessness, required to neutralize and promote good karma.

Tuesday (3rd) has a very constructive aspect, that of Mercury trine Pluto.  Mercury trine Pluto is mentally harmonious if not challenging us to dig deeper.  This aspect is conducive to psychological reflection, and earnest conversations between friends or colleagues.  It is good for in-depth consultations and negotiations, and researching past lives.  It may help to heal some aspects of the problems encountered on Monday.

Mars on the South Node on Wednesday (4th) could bring some age-old or ancient strife, some of it karmic.  We already know there is a train strike that day, which will bring anguish to many.  This conjunction is about addressing past conflicts, particularly in a group setting.  In this lifetime, we may be training to be a peaceful warrior, or we may be pacifist.  But in some way we come across conflict, just by participating in society.  It is a chance for us to look at our anger issues and how we choose to deal with them.

Mercury enters Libra on Thursday (5th).  This can bring a new mental focus on cultural themes, which could bring more pure enjoyment: art and music being fundamental areas for Libra, and decision-making. Mercury in Libra is slightly more relaxed than Mercury in Virgo, but having laid plans and attended to essential detail under the previous placement Mercury in Virgo, we can embellish, beautify and smooth things over.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – mental confusion; karmic harmony
  • Tuesday – deep thought
  • Wednesday – old conflict needing to be resolved
  • Thursday – new cultural mental focus