One of England’s greatest composers, Benjamin Britten composed some of the most memorable music of the 20th century.
So let’s take a quick look at his birth chart. He has Cancer rising, with a wide Mars Neptune conjunction near the ascending degree, the latter being closely trine his Sun and a retrograde Mercury on either side of the Scorpio/Sagittarius cusp. Sounds complicated?
As I have noted before, Neptune is very often prominent in some way in the charts of creative artists and composers.
I suspect this is the source of much inspiration. Britten was from Lowestoft in Suffolk in the east of England, he was brought up by the sea and had a strong connection to it. One of his most famous pieces, the opera ‘Peter Grimes’ was inspired by this.
Neptune in Cancer in his first house symbolises this, with the added emotional force of Mars, which may have been difficult to control at times.
In my own mind, I equate that wonderful sound in music of the rolling waves releasing on the beach from the ‘Four Sea Interludes‘ of ‘Peter Grimes’, to the Neptune Mars in Cancer conjunction. It’s beautiful, imaginative, and slightly disquieting. Neptune’s supportive connection to the Sun will give him further innate sensitivity.
Retrograde Mercury thinking out of the box
I am also interested by the Sun conjunct a retrograde Mercury bestriding the Scorpio Sagittarius cusp, in houses 5 and 6.
It’s almost like a confusion of identity here, where the mental processes are turned more inwardly, unusually, and ‘out of the box’, and where the sense of self (the Sun in last minute of Scorpio) is always looking beyond but never quite getting there.
In some sense this may have been another prime reason for him becoming a composer and musician, in that the challenges of expressing thought conventionally with the retrograde Mercury, can be given over to creative, musical inspiration, expressed through ways alluded to above.
Strong attachment to roots
Mars is also ruler of houses 5 and 10, giving much energetic support and a link between his creativity and career path. And it is interesting to note that he was a fine conductor and pianist too.
His ruler, the Moon, is in Virgo in house 3 but very close to the Nadir of the chart, trine to Jupiter. He clearly has a strong emotional connection to his roots, probably his mother, and he never lost that sense of ‘belonging’ to the Suffolk coast.
However, in Virgo the Moon is quite fastidious, supported by a more circumspect Jupiter in Capricorn, a quality which will certainly help the art of putting all that inspiration from Neptune down on paper.
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