Relationship Deception: The amazing astrology of the Amazing Randi

In this post, I want to examine the Vedic chart of The Amazing Randi, the famous skeptic and debunker (or 'scientific investigator', as Randi prefers to be called) of all things supernatural and paranormal. In particular, I want to investigate the astrological indications regarding the nature of the long-term relationships that show up in Randi's horoscope.

I should stress that what follows is an incomplete and general analysis, as it hyper-focuses on only a single portion of Randi's horoscope. A 'real' analysis would require taking into account the horoscope in its entirety, which is way too much information for a blog post.

Having said that, here's a little background on a portion of Randi's life.


Though Randi (nee Randall James Zwinge) has seemingly been around forever, my interest in him, and especially in this corner of his life, was recently piqued when I had a chance to watch the 2014 documentary entitled 'An Honest Liar'.

Randi, it turns out, is something of a walking contradiction, but not just in the obvious way implied by the film's title. Yes, his confessed sleight of hand and constant confirmation that everything he does in his act is a 'trick' certainly transforms his 'lies' from dishonest to honest ones. But an element of duplicity is par for the course for magicians; their job, after all, is to openly deceive.

A deeper and somewhat less 'entertaining' double-dealing is revealed, however, in Randi's offstage life, some of which is captured in the film and some of which has come to light through the work of interested journalists.

Perhaps the biggest of Randi's non-magic related deceptions is the fact that he knowingly participated in a case of identity theft for about thirty years. As is revealed in the film, Randi's lover (and now husband) Deyvi Orangel Peña Arteaga was caught on September 8, 2011 by the Feds and charged with falsely applying for (and receiving) a US Passport, and therefore engaging in identity theft.

After the arrest, the much younger Pena (there is a 33 year difference between Peña and Randi) was eventually prosecuted, though he eventually got off relatively easy: time served, three years probation, 150 hours of community service, and 6 months house arrest. 

Still, his status as an immigrant remains shaky and Peña is not free to move about internationally - to his birthplace, Venezuela, for instance - without risking being permanently barred from reentering the States.

(Peña's probation is set to end in May 2016. On a side note, he has of late been getting some recognition for his artwork, holding a individual art show as recently as March 2015 in Florida, where both he and Randi live together.)


Now, with this background information in hand, let's take a look at Randi's Vedic chart to see what shows up. I should begin by saying that the birth information I am using for Randi (August 7, 1928 at 1:20 am in Toronto, Canada) is rated 'C' by the Rodden system. This means that the accuracy of the birth date and time is only mildly reliable, at least according to the people at AstroDatabank.

The reason for the 'skepticism' around this birth data, which was given by Randi himself, is that Randi had previously issued a birth date that was patently false. However, I noticed in the recent documentary that there is a scene in which Randi, Pena, and friends are celebrating Randi's birthday. The date given onscreen for this party is August 7, so at the very least we have some reason to believe that the birth day is correct.

And after looking at Randi's Vedic chart, and using the 1:20 am birth time given by Randi, I also have some confidence that the chart is probably correct. While we have to be careful when doing chart rectification that we don't hyper-focus on one aspect of a chart, I find that many things 'line up' with this horoscope, including and especially the nature of Randi's long-term relationships, to which we will now turn.

                                                                                                                                                                                The Amazing Randi's Vedic chart                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                              The Amazing Randi's Vedic chart                                                                                                                                                           

I want to begin by going directly to Randi's 7th house in the Vedic chart, the house of marriage and long-term relationships (among other things). You'll notice first that there are two grahas (planets) occupying that house – Saturn and Ketu. Let's examine Saturn's placement first.

Standard interpretations of Saturn in the 7th house include things like:

1) There will be a delay (until after the age of 35, usually) in finding the right marriage or long-term relationship partner. In Randi's case, this was definitely true, as he did not meet Peña until 1986, when Randi was 58 years old. This delay was also reinforced by the fact that Saturn is retrograde in Randi's chart, which further slows down the manifestation of the partner into one's life.

2) The partner may be from an 'alien' or 'foreign' background, that is, from an upbringing that is quite different from one's own. Again, in Randi's case this was true. Peña was born in Venezuela and was raised in a cultural climate vastly different from that of Randi's Canadian childhood.

3) Saturn gets 'dig bala' or directional strength in the 7th house, which means first that the qualities of Saturn are strengthened in Randi's character. As far as relationships go, though, dig bala Saturn suggests that there will tend not to be too many 'one-night stands', as Saturn prefers permanence. It also suggests, again, that the more stable relationships will come after the age of 35 or so. However, because Saturn is a 'separative' planet, it might also mean that the relationship itself will be characterized by periods of separation, perhaps due to travel or some other circumstance that calls one of the partner's away from the home. Indeed, we know for sure that Randi's career as a magician and lecturer often required that he travel frequently. And as we will see later, Pena himself was forcibly separated from Randi by the Feds at the onset of Randi's Saturn dasha (planetary cycle).

4) If Saturn is in good dignity and is aspected by benefics (Jupiter, Venus, Moon, or even Mercury) in the 7th house, then the marriage partner may be older or very serious or mature in his bearing, and/or may be an authority figure who is likewise practical, pragmatic, and 'grounded' in his personality. He or she might furthermore have 'hard' and/or 'noble' facial and bodily features that reflect the Saturn qualities of structure and solidity. He or she may also tend towards non-emotive 'coolness' in self-expression.

In Randi's case, however, despite Saturn being dig bala, it is also a bit 'afflicted'. First, it is situated in the house of a great enemy, Mars, and is also closely conjunct the 'great dissolver', the mystical Ketu. Mars also aspects Saturn from the 1st house, adding to the disruption of Saturn's trademark stability. This combination of malefic influences would suggest that the typical Saturnine qualities would be subverted and that the marriage partner would, at the very least, not be so obviously or positively Saturnine.

In fact, Randi's partner, Pena, was neither older than Randi nor very mature when he and Randi met in 1986. The then art student Pena was only a tender 22 years of age when he bumped into Randi at their local public library. Furthermore, Pena was/is very non-Saturnine in his demeanor. He appears in the documentary as somewhat ethereal, warm, soft-spoken, bright, and cheery with a gentle, child-like demeanor.

Pena's artwork work similarly reflects non-Saturnine qualities. His paintings tend to be fantastical, somewhat psychedelic/cosmic/aquatic, brightly colored, 'trippy' microbial-floral forms. There is nothing solid or 'heavy' (Saturnine) about them. They are abstract, multicolored dreamscapes. As it turns out, these qualities of Pena and his artwork are more connected to Ketu (which will be discussed shortly) than Saturn.

While much more could be said, I want to conclude this section on Saturn (though Saturn will return later) by sharing a relevant story regarding the initial encounter between Randi and Pena.

As mentioned above, the young Venezuelan was in the States studying fine art. He was at the library researching images of space when Randi noticed him and invited Pena back to his place to get a first-hand look at the cosmos through his personal, home telescope.

And here is where things get interesting, astrologically speaking. According to a March 6, 2015 article in the Los Angeles Times, Pena recalls that when he got to Randi's place and looked through the telescope, a very specific image appeared:

"So I went to his place, and he'd calibrated the telescope so that I could see Saturn with the rings," Alvarez, 53, recalled. "Then Saturn left the viewfinder, and I said, 'It moved.' Randi said, 'No, the Earth moved.' And at that moment I thought, 'I want to get to know this man more.' "

Now, is it just a coincidence that the planet Saturn was the focal point for the first, earth-moving, romantic encounter between Randi and Pena? Perhaps. But I think this little vignette nonetheless nicely captures some of the the symbolism of Randi's 7th house Saturn. It also indirectly illustrates another aspect of Randi's 7th house, namely the presence of Ketu in that house.

What I mean is that the 'telescope incident' not only literally brought Randi's 7th house Saturn into focus, it also materialized his 7th house Ketu in the form of Pena himself. I will explain this latter claim next, but for the moment just ponder the image of Randi's telescope as a metaphorical 'bridge' between Saturn and Ketu.


Done pondering? Okay, good. Now let's look at Ketu in Randi's 7th house. What does it mean when one has Ketu in the house of marriage?

                                                                                                                                                                           The Amazing Randi's Vedic chart

                                                                                                                                                                          The Amazing Randi's Vedic chart

For starters, it often (but not always) means that one's sexual desires (7th house is a kama, or desire, house related specifically to one's sexual desire nature) will be 'unusual' or non-traditional in some way. (Saturn in the 7th house can similarly indicate an 'atypical' set of sexual preferences.) What tends to be the result, then, is that the person has homosexual or bisexual tendencies and. Though he only 'came out of the closet' in 2010, Randi has acknowledged an awareness of his homosexuality at an early age.

Next, Ketu in the 7th house can indicate one of two sets of character traits in regards to the character of the marriage partner. Much depends, of course, on the dignity of Ketu and the aspects it receives as to which set is likely to predominate.

If Ketu is in poor dignity or poorly aspected (debilitated, in the sign of a great enemy, in close aspect or conjunction to a malefic) then the partner is more likely to be an escapist who seeks asylum from reality through drugs, alcohol, black magic, fantasy, false gurus, and general self-delusion and self-deception. He is also likely to be a liar or truth-stretcher', be overly critical, and be deceptive in his personal dealings. However, he can often get away with these things for a while because the cloud of Ketu obscures not only the mind of the person himself, but also the minds of those who come into close contact with him. Ultimately, though, a poorly placed Ketu in the 7th house means that the marriage partner will be deeply insecure and lacking in self-awareness, and because of this will attempt to escape the pain in delusive and ultimately destructive, dissolutive ways.

A well-placed Ketu in the 7th house, on the other hand, can give a marriage partner who is highly spiritually evolved and who may understand the nature of reality at a deep level. He may also have powers of intuition that border on or cross over into psychic ability, and it will therefore be difficult to 'put one over on' him. His escapism, too, will tend to be played out in positive or creative ways, such as through some form of art or spiritual practice. A 'good' Ketu marriage partner will likely be very supportive as well, since, being 'headless', he will have no problem merging the agenda with his significant other. Despite this merging tendency, though, the 'good' Ketu partner will not be clingy – he is, after all, supremely detached and therefore has a 'live and let live' attitude. Lastly, the 'good' Ketu partner can be highly imaginative and healing, since he is both open and receptive to his environment (immediate and cosmic) and concerned to 'correct' those elements that are out of alignment with 'the truth'.

So which of these 'two Ketu's' shows up in Randi's horoscope? Well, rarely does any planetary placement manifest in a 'pure' state, and Randi's Ketu is no exception to this general rule. But if I were to speak in terms of percentages, I would say that Randi's 7th house Ketu is about 65% 'good' and 35% 'bad'. (Good and bad are meant here to reflect the way the effects are generally felt or experienced, rather than as absolute claims to their 'inherent' qualities).

Why do I say this? Well, for starters we have to recognize that Ketu is placed in its exaltation sign, Scorpio, and therefore is more likely to bring 'good' Ketu qualities to the marriage partner. Indeed, as we have already seen, Pena is by all accounts a very spiritually-oriented man who, as is revealed in the film, likewise strongly supports and is deeply committed to his partner, Randi. He is also very imaginative and creative and is deeply interested in mystical subjects, which his scientifically-minded partner Randi, ironically, accepts.

Second, Ketu is in conjunction with Saturn, the 'rajayogakaraka' (royal-union indicator) for Randi's lagna, or rising sign (Taurus). A rajayogakaraka planet is very powerful in that it can bring a certain 'giftedness' or luck in the areas associated with the house in which it is located. It can also confer some of these positive 'vibes' onto the planets an houses it contacts, either through conjunction or special aspect. A planet becomes a rajayogakaraka when it rules both the trinal (like the 1st, 5th, or 9th house) and a kendra, or angular (such as the 1st, 4th, 7th, or 10th) house. Randi's Saturn rules the trinal 9th and kendra 10th houses. 

While by itself the placement of rajayogakaraka Saturn in the 7th house would indicate the likelihood of an eventual 'great' and stable long-term relationship (and the strong chance that the partner would be involved with one's career, which Pena was/is for Randi), its conjunction with exalted Ketu both enhances and challenges the qualities of Ketu.

What I mean is that as rajayogakaraka, Saturn 'elevates' exalted Ketu even higher than it already is, and therefore increases the positive side of Ketu vis-a-vis the marriage partner. Again, this points to Pena's deeply spiritual, ethereal, and imaginative nature as well as to his unwavering support of Randi.

However, Randi's 7th house Ketu is also 'under attack' from two first-class malefics – Saturn and Mars – and is therefore harmed. Because Ketu is in good dignity and in conjunction with the rajayogakaraka, though, the damage it receives is offset, or 'diverted', in a sense.

And here we come to what is perhaps one of the more challenging aspects of a 7th house Ketu – the strong potential for scandal involving the marriage and or marriage partner.


This post began with a brief recounting of the 'deception' engaged in by both Randi and Pena regarding passport fraud and identity theft. As we have seen, the tendency towards deception of some kind in long-term relationships is strong when Ketu is placed in the 7th house and is aspected by malefics. In this case, however, the deception did not take place within the relationship or between Randi and Pena, but rather it involved a deception of the government.

For those familiar with the symbolism of Saturn, it will be almost laughably obvious how Ketu's close conjunction with Saturn in Randi's 7th house points to a deception of some kind that would be connected to the 'authorities' or government, both of which are associated with Saturn.

But it is also remarkable that that deception did not come to light until 25 years after the original 'crime'. I chalk this 'good fortune' up to those positive conditions surrounding Ketu and the 7th house that I noted earlier: exalted Ketu and rajayogakaraka Saturn in the 7th house conjunct Ketu.

Nonetheless, despite the protection those things provided Pena and Randi, the roughness of Mars and the steadfastness of Saturn eventually caught up to them. That 35% weakness of Ketu was always there in the relationship, waiting to be 'revealed', in other words.

On one level, though, the deceptive nature of 7th house Ketu had already manifested in Randi's tight-lipped attitude regarding his homosexuality; he was, after all, 'deceiving' the outside world about his true sexual orientation. While this is certainly understandable and even defensible, the deeper deception involving Pena and his identity theft may require more rigorous justification.

And apparently, such justification was given to the judge hearing Pena's case, since he was let off with a relatively light punishment, as noted earlier. Once again, the strength of rajayogakaraka Saturn and exalted Ketu brought the results Randi and Pena desired.


In any case, it might be fitting here to end this post with a very brief look at the timing of the final 'revelation' of this deception-cum- scandal.

According to Randi, on September 8th, 2011 the Feds showed up at the home he shared with Pena. They surrounded the home and knocked on the front door. Once Randi opened the door, the Feds forced their way in and demanded to see Pena, who was then whisked away, leaving Randi standing alone, bewildered as to what had just happened.

While all of this is covered in the film and numerous articles, what is not discussed is the astrological details surrounding the incident. Without going into all the particulars, which would make an already long post even longer, I want here only to say that according to the Vedic chart based on the latest Randi birth data, something quite interesting was happening at the time of Pena's arrest. In particular, on August 7, 2011 (or thereabouts, given some leeway on Randi's actual birth time) Randi had just entered his Saturn dasha!

                                                                                                                                                                                       Randi's Saturn Dasha

                                                                                                                                                                                      Randi's Saturn Dasha

Given what was discussed above, this would indicate that the long-term relationship would, during this dasha, become a strong focus and that there would be a strong potential for separation in the relationship (Saturn as a separative planet). Because Saturn also rules the 10th house, the onset of the Saturn dasha would also suggest that aspects of Randi's relationship would become more 'public' and that the marriage partner himself might even experience a 'rise' in his career. Both of these things, of course, have happened.

Though much more could be said about Randi's 7th house (such as the fact that its lord, Mars, is placed in the 1st house and therefore indicates Randi's deep attachment to his relationship partner, and the fact that rajayogakaraka Saturn brought longevity to the relationship between Randi and Pena), I will stop here with a final remark regarding the Saturn-Ketu conjunction: If Saturn is (among other things) a symbol of integrity, forthrightness, and directness, and Ketu is (among other things) a symbol of deception, magic, and illusion, then one might also say that their conjunction would likely produce a tendency to be 'an honest liar'.

Source material for this post includes the following:

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