Jeff Dunham; One: Something small can later shape a life time.
Children grow and learn through the process of playing. Sometimes a special gift inspires a child in a manner which has an impact on their whole life. Such was the case with an eight year old boy living in Austin, Texas, USA on Christmas Day in 1970. His name was Jeffery Dunham; the gift was a ventriloquist’s puppet named Mortimer Snerd. This puppet was made popular in the mid 1900’s by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen as a companion to Charlie McCarthy, his primary puppet companion.
Young Jeff immediately decided to become a ventriloquist, to make that his life’s work. Let us now look at his natal chart.
The Sun is in the 10th house, separated from the MC angle by Pallas. One of the keywords for Pallas is “the happy child.” With the Sun, this pair challenges one to find and struggle to remain happy, to be true to one’s self and one’s calling, to be approved of by others. The 6th house relationship between the Sun and the Moon suggests that one is always refining one’s skills to accommodate another or to reach a capability where one can claim parity in a relationship. The chart is basically a ‘see-saw’ pattern with a few loose oppositions: Venus opposite Neptune, Jupiter-Chiron opposite Pluto. There is one close square, Saturn to Neptune, which generically indicates the need to establish a structure to manage one’s dreams. This can certainly be seen in Dunham’s use of his puppets to deliver his comedy.
With loosely organized charts such as this one, I often look at the midpoints for each planet. I then take only the ‘close-to-exact’ patterns into consideration. In that vein, let us look at each of his planets and their most-exact midpoint pattern. (Midpoints relate to any hard aspect — 0, 45, 90, 135, 180 degrees — between one planet to the middle point of another pair of planets).
Sun-opp-Moon/Neptune (0d03m): Sensitive, illusions and deceptions. A sensitive wife.
Moon-to-Venus/Chiron (0d11m): Relating to the difference between balanced and upsetting aspects of an issue.
Mercury-square-Moon/Venus (0d07m): Artistic interpretations, seeking love, approval.
Venus-to-Mercury/Jupiter (0d10m): Becoming wrapped up or obsessed with a life-style.
Mars-to-Venus/Saturn (0d06m): Acting on emotional inhibitions, discussion.
Jupiter-to-Mars/Saturn (0d02m): Concentration on an objective, excluding other issues.
Saturn-to-Moon/Pluto (0d22m): One-sided emotional life, depression.
Uranus-to-Venus/Jupiter (0d01m): Whole-hearted expression of joy. Become popular.
Neptune-to-Saturn/N.Node (0d06m): Feeling neglected, lonely. Separation.
Pluto-to-Moon/Mercury (0d08m): Adjusting to new situations. Reorientation.
N.Node-to-Venus/Saturn (0d03m): Coolness in dealing with relationships.
The above listing is difficult to summarize in a short statement because of the great complexities, and a few contradictions, involved. What this use of a computerized listing doesn’t show is something that an experienced astrologer would see in the chart itself; Mercury sitting there in the 10th opposite Moon and Neptune — Moon and Neptune are not close together. They are 28 degrees apart. But Mercury is opposite (more or less) the midpoint between them. What is more important is that these three planets together symbolize imagination. Imagination! This young boy has imagination.
At this point I wish to post Jeff Dunham’s natal chart relocated to Hollywood, CA, the place he moved to in order to launch his career.
Of immediate note is that Mars has come to the MC angle at this location. His career goals are energized and activated in this area. The square of Mars-to-PoF will require many changes, starts, and delays, all requiring continued effort to achieve those goals. The shift of the Ascendant from Leo to Cancer takes away some energy from ‘showmanship’ and moves him over to a more empathetic and likeable personality. The MC, moving from Aries to Pisces, requires Mars to adopt an illusionary approach to entertainment in lieu of a more aggressive approach.
The photo at the left is off Jeff Dunham and one of his most popular characters, Achmed the dead terrorist.
This is what we have to work with. So, let us now look at the event that started him on his life’s journey; receiving his first puppet at the age of eight.
Below is young Jeff Dunham’s t/Moon-opposite-n/Sun Return of Dec. 23, 1970, two days before the Christmas holiday at his home in Dallas, Texas. Remember, even though the natal chart is based on a “noon” birth time, any Moon-to-Sun Return chart for a given day, for anyone else, will have the MC within several degrees of the MC of this chart. It is just the way the mathematics work out when using the ratio of daily advance of the Moon relative to the Sun — a 13:1 ratio.
t/Moon opposes n/Sun from the 1st to the 7th house. This pattern’s theme statement has to be placed into the context of an eight year old boy who is captivated by the receipt of a ventriloquist’s puppet for a Christmas present. “Finding a relationship that appeals to an ‘only child’ though an alter-ego. Multiple possibilities are inherent in this gift. He can be able to both lead or dictate and respond or rebel within that relationship. A whole new experience of relationships are opened up for him.”
t/Pluto-Asc.; He will be in control. The opposition to n/Mars suggests that his energy and goals will need to be expressed through this magical (to him) moment. The t/PoF to n/Asc. suggests that his life-style and focus will change in this two-week cycle. t/Sun at the IC points to a new phase of his life is being launched.
Let’s look at his Advanced chart for Dec. 25th, 1970, Christmas morning when he opened his holiday presents.
t/Sun remains on the IC angle, a situation that drags out as the Sun’s daily advance is close to that of the chart’s diurnal advance rate. Something is ‘starting’ for this boy. t/Mercury is just ahead of the IC angle, close to the n/Part of Fortune. The n/PoF is the point in our natal chart where we are most sensitive to change. t/Mercury is quite symbolic of speaking, the n/PoF links into an more unusual form of speech, that of a ventriloquist speaking for a dummy. We should take note of n/Asc. for California square n/Mercury; he will face a challenge in learning how to speak through his puppet. It is a skill that can be developed, the illusion of ‘throwing’ ones voice to a puppet. But the content of that speech is also part of the challenge. What will he say?
Perhaps the content of his ‘speech’ is symbolized by t/Mars in the 2nd house square the n/N.Node. The N.Node shows how we relate to others, make associations. The square by t/Mars points to a struggle, a struggle to develop his self-esteem (2nd house) by being able to address others in an interesting way.
t/Chiron-Desc. is interesting; does it tie in with the opposition of t/Pluto to n/Mars? What kind of ‘past’ or ‘old’ wounds could a young, only child have — how can we understand this Chiron? Chiron does not have to represent one’s reactions to old wounds. Chiron has another side; representing the closing of one door and the opening of another door. In other words, a significant Chiron placement or transit can mark a “moving on to something new” point in one’s life. Jeff was so taken by this Mortimer Snerd dummy, as popularized by the then famous Edgar Bergen, that he knew then that he was going to be a ventriloquist.
When researching Chiron I came upon a book in my library, Midpoint Keys to Chiron by Chris Brooks. On page 94 Chris notes that Chiron with the transiting midpoint to Uranus-Pluto indicates “joy.” Looking at this Christmas morning Advanced chart we see Chiron at the Descendant opposite Uranus and Pluto — Chiron opposite the midpoint of these two transiting planets. Joy.
So, I will leave my readers with these observations about Chiron. We will test the theory that Chiron represents the closing of one door and the opening of another door in future postings.