The name of Bernie Madoff is now inextricably linked to the largest financial fraud in history. At its peak the massive Ponzi scheme, wherein Madoff claimed through fictitious reports that the $18 billion contributed by investors had enjoyed handsome annual returns though shrewd investments, had a paper worth of a staggering $64 billion. When the subterfuge was finally made public in 2008, the fraud decimated the financial hopes of thousands of investors, small and large. (Note: A Ponzi scheme works by paying “profits” to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors, and continues so long as contributions exceed payouts.)

The collateral damage was personal as well as financial. Madoff was sentenced to a prison term of 150 years. His brother Peter, who had functioned as senior managing director and chief compliance officer in Madoff’s investment firm, received a 10-year prison sentence. One of Madoff’s sons, Mark, who had worked in Madoff’s legitimate brokerage company, hanged himself on the two-year anniversary of Madoff’s arrest. Madoff’s second son Andrew later died of cancer, attributing his illness to stress caused by the double whammy of his father’s crime and his brother’s suicide. Madoff’s wife Ruth was eventually stripped of most of her financial assets, retaining only the wealth that could be attributed to Madoff’s legitimate brokerage business.

Bernie Madoff was born 29 April 1938 at 13:50 in New York. His family was Jewish, his father a plumber and stockbroker. Madoff went to university, received a BA in Political Science, then briefly attended law school before dropping out to start his own company in the investment sector, in which he ultimately made a name for himself.

His horoscope contains several prominent yogas, the most obvious of which is a Kala Sarpa configuration wherein the Rahu/Ketu axis (RKA) runs through the 4th and 10th houses, respectively. Since both Mars and Venus lie beyond the degree of the RKA, this is a Class 4 Kala Sarpa, which appears in roughly 6.5% of the general population, or one person in 15. One basic premise of Kala Sarpa is that it acts as a magnifying lens to amplify whatever else is found in the horoscope.

Kala Sarpa can manifest as either a yoga with attendant benefits, or a dosha with underlying problems. Determining which way the wind blows is sometimes a tricky matter, but we can assess the likely bias by examining the nodes themselves, and the grahas whose influence they absorb by association, aspect, rashi dispositor and nakshatra dispositor.

For starters, the RKA is in mixed condition, since Rahu is exalted in Scorpio while at the same time Ketu is debilitated in Taurus. Both Rahu and Ketu absorb the influences of benefic Venus (in its own sign) and malefic Mars (with digbala) because both planets lie on the RKA. In addition, Ketu is also aspected by malefic Saturn in ordinary condition. Rahu is disposed by its sign lord Mars, Ketu by its sign lord Venus. Rahu’s nakshatra lord is malefic Saturn, while Ketu’s star lord is the exalted malefic Sun.

Overall, the influences on the RKA are predominantly malefic. Notwithstanding the strength of Venus, three malefics compete for influence, so this generally presaged worldly success through Venus, yet accompanied by complications and misfortunes.

His horoscope also features one of the esteemed Pancha Mahapurusha yogas, namely Malavya, formed by Venus swa-rashi in a kendra. This typically bestows the generic benefits of a powerful and well-placed Venus in the form of wealth and luxury, while its occupation of the 10th house also provides status and power.

Venus also participates in a Dharma-Karma Adhipati yoga through its association with 9th lord Mars, which enjoys digbala in the 10th. This is a true Raja yoga involving lords of the 9th and 10th wherein both have strength. The additional presence of Ketu in the 10th also creates a nodal Raja yoga wherein Ketu, despite its debilitation, acts as a proxy for its sign dispositor and 10th lord Venus to pair with 9th lord Mars.

The combination of these three yogas in the 10th house made for significant professional success, and yet Ketu’s debilitation in a Kala Sarpa configuration also contributed to his fall from grace.

The simultaneous occupation of kendras by Venus and Jupiter, both Brahmin-caste planets, bestowed upon Madoff the role of “guru” in the guise of financial advisor, and yet the influence of both Mars and the nodal axis ultimately dirtied his reputation in light of his fraudulent activities.

For a Cancer lagna, Mercury becomes a double dhana lord, ruling both the 2nd and 11th houses. By virtue of its association with lagnesh Sun, it thereby forms two Dhana yogas. It is a powerful combination because both participants have strength – the Sun because it’s exalted, Mercury because it’s retrograde and therefore brighter than normal. The Sun and Mercury also form a Budhaditya yoga, an intellectual cleverness that initially manifested as an early adoption of computers to facilitate stock market trade execution in his legitimate brokerage business, but also manifested as financial chicanery in his fraudulent investment firm that duped his clients of billions.

Madoff also has a Parivartana yoga involving mutual reception or sign exchange between 7th lord Saturn and 8th lord Jupiter, each occupying the other’s sign. This typically incurs problems in relationships, especially if/when it involves joint finances. Although we might naturally think of a spouse or business partner in this regard, the broader context here is that of a financial advisor and his thousands of clients whose investments he misrepresented over a period of decades, eventually to the ruination of many when they finally discovered that their paper profits from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme were fictitious, fabricated by his staff of accountants and programmers.

One final yoga is worthy of note. Although infrequently found because it’s relatively rare, appearing in only 3% of all horoscopes, a Mahabhagya yoga is considered very auspicious. Aside from bestowing upon the horoscope owner a considerable amount of luck, as its name suggests, it also creates something of an archetype, a larger-than-life personality. Mahabhagya arises when a man is born in daytime, while his lagna, Moon and Sun are all in male, ie, fire or air, signs. In Madoff’s case, his lagnesh and exalted Sun are one and the same. The dark moon, although fulfilling the condition, is technically a weak graha. As a consequence, his luck could not last forever, and the weak/malefic Moon’s lordship of the 12th house likely contributed to his financial collapse and ultimately, his incarceration for fraud.

Madoff enjoyed great success during the sequential dashas of Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu and Jupiter. During Sun dasha he opened his brokerage business. Aside from the Sun’s primary participation in Mahabhagya, Budhaditya and Dhana yogas, it also gave results for its nakshatra lord Venus, which forms Malavya and Raja yogas.

Moon dasha also invoked the Mahabhagya yoga and, through its nakshatra lord Ketu, activated the nodal Raja yoga with Ketu and Mars. Mars dasha directly activated the Raja yoga with Mars and Venus, and the nodal Raja yoga with Mars and Ketu. During this era, from the mid-60s into the early 80s, Madoff created an enviable reputation as a market-maker, becoming such an admired figure of the brokerage world that he held prominent positions on the governing board of the NASDAQ stock exchange.

His Rahu dasha was the turning point in his checkered career. Primarily, it activated his Kala Sarpa configuration; secondarily, it summoned forth the benefits of other yogas (Malavya and Raja yogas), yet laid the foundation for complications to come. Although his brokerage business was generating a fantastic income, during this era he quietly created a private investment firm, but failed to register it as such, thus eluding the scrutiny of investment regulators like the Securities Exchange Commission. His investment fund soon showed impressive and steady growth, creating an irresistible track record that brought wealthy investors flocking to him, coming not only by word of mouth but also via massive feeder funds throughout the USA and Europe. With billions at his disposal, Madoff bought multiple condos, mansions and yachts, meanwhile living a life of splendor while showering his family and key staff with magnificent salaries and bonuses.

The wheels began to come off the cart during his Jupiter dasha. Jupiter participates directly in the Parivartana yoga, involving the exchange between 7th and 8th lords. Jupiter also invoked the results for its nakshatra dispositor Mars which forms two key yogas as discussed earlier. The end came quickly in Jupiter dasha, Ketu bhukti. Courtesy of debilitated Ketu, ugly truths came to light. By then a few financial journalists had begun asking awkward questions of Madoff and his accountants, and one had even sent the SEC a laundry list of red flags that unambiguously suggested Madoff was running a massive Ponzi scheme.

When Madoff’s sons confronted him regarding an early payout of massive bonuses to staff in December 2008, Madoff admitted his investment fund was a fraud, and he was teetering on the verge of discovery. His sons immediately informed the SEC, and the next day Madoff was arrested by the FBI.

As the news spilled out to investors around the world, the phones began ringing nonstop at Madoff’s office…


Alan Annand is a Vedic astrologer, palmist and author. He’s a graduate of the British Faculty of Astrological Studies and was for many years their sole tutor for students in USA and Canada. After being introduced to jyotish, he was certified by the American College of Vedic Astrology, and went on to enjoy advanced instruction from Hart de Fouw. Aside from consulting and tutoring, he has long been a professional writer, straddling the corporate and creative worlds. His New Age Noir crime novels feature an astrologer protagonist whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.” His books on Vedic astrology — Kala Sarpa, Parivartana Yoga, and Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1-3 — have been praised for the quality of their research and writing. His latest book — Kama Yoga: Love, Marriage & Sexuality in Jyotish — can be found on Amazon.