Astrology Musings: the Creativity of Victor Hugo

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Writer, poet, dramatist, novelist, essayist, painter, architect, critic… his creations include ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, and the novel ‘Les Miserable’. Few creative geniuses of the 19th century – or at any time – were as eclectic as Victor Hugo.

So what made him tick, astrologically speaking?

I have homed in most particularly to his 5th/11th house axis: love, luck, life (creativity) versus hopes, dreams and wishes – if you will. These themes were to dominate his creative life and his political interests.

Compulsively creative

Here we have the Sun, Pluto and Venus in a loose conjunction in Pisces in the 5th, opposed by Saturn in Virgo. Mercury is also in Pisces in the 5th house in aspect to the expansive Sagittarius Moon and inspirational Neptune.

The 5th house is largely to do with creativity, the children of the mind as well as the body. Pisces is hugely imaginative, sensitive, intensified by Pluto and beautified by Venus in the sign of its greatest flowering – its exaltation. He had a compulsive need to create, an energy which also extended into his emotional life.

Add that inspiring Neptune in his first house in good aspect to communicative Mercury in the 5th house, and we can see just why Hugo was so creatively multi-faceted; he seemed to be able to draw on a vast well of inspiration from all the ages as well as his own.

Social justice ‘warrior’

However, as I said earlier, the triple conjunction of Sun, Pluto and Venus is opposed by a very strict, disciplined Saturn in Virgo in the 11th house of societal issues, and is in a loose conjunction with Jupiter in the last degree of Leo.

This great conjunction occurs every 20 years and is often tied to the ‘birth and death of kings’. It certainly relates to political cycles and, so tensely personalised in his birth chart, is an indication that he was always in tune with, or perhaps we should say troubled by, the great political issues of the day, which indeed he was.

His Saturn is also ruler of his 3rd and 4th houses of communication and home and family. So this may also relate to the fact that his parents never seemed to get on, a lingering dichotomy in his life which must have had deep psychological effects.

Controversial yet popular

All this, plus his ruling planet Mars in ‘off beat’ Aquarius in good aspect to revolutionary Uranus in Libra, may also be indicative of the themes he used in many of his writings; he was an outspoken and harsh critic of the political and social injustices during his life and was not afraid to court with controversy. He went into exile in Belgium and then the Channel Islands in the 1850s.

Despite such controversy, he was a hugely popular writer amongst the people, even in his own lifetime and there was a massive outpouring of grief when he died in 1885.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

source: Astro-Databank

*Contact me at leoftanner@gmail.com if you would a personal astrological report.

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2020 Vision: Astrology Musings

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Much has been made of the up and coming conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, exact on January 12 2020 – and rightly so.

Jupiter ‘joins the party’ in 2020 too, to finally form its 19+ year or so ‘great conjunction’ with Saturn at the very beginning of Aquarius on December 21 next year. Mars too will be involved in the spring, probably ruffling a few feathers and possibly causing some serious conflict along the way.

There are other things I could mention but these are mere musings. So what does it all mean and why all the fuss?

Rare astrological line ups

Well, ‘meetings’ of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn are pretty rare, the last one being nearly four thousand years ago (as far as I can see), but we can’t say for sure what was happening then.

Capricorn is a pretty important sign for us all. It’s all about structure, the political and to some extent economic structure of the world and in our own lives. Capricorn is pretty important to certain countries to, the UK and China, for example, so all this activity is likely to affect these countries especially.

Saturn is very powerful in his own sign (he rules the Goat) and wants to set things straight. He’s fairly conservative, strict, maybe cruel at times, but usually fair. There may be a ‘karmic’ side to him, presenting us with what we have reaped, so to speak.

Sword of Damocles

Pluto, on the other hand, is the very slow moving ‘minor’ planet, with the big impact. He is at best transformative, which is probably an overused word. He brings change, sometimes drastic change and can present the truth to us, warts and all, dragging up stuff some people you’d rather not see or know about. Pluto has been in Capricorn since 2008 doing exactly this kind of thing and it hasn’t been pretty.

Put Saturn and Pluto together, as they are now and will be throughout most of next year, and you get a Sword of Damocles situation, where those in power seem to face imminent ruin, replacement or both.

The upsurge in alternative politics and perhaps in ‘right wing’ parties too, is probably a symptom of this, like a return to some form of fundamentalist belief which necessarily wants to clear the ground and start again… though this might well interest the ‘left’ as well. I think we are entering a period in history in which the old labels of left and right are becoming meaningless.

January 12 2020, hold on to your hats?

So whether we are to expect some crystallising event around January 12 2020, which might encapsulate all that which is deemed ‘wrong’ in the political/economic world, I’m not sure.

Some think we may see a huge economic crash (Uranus is in Taurus as well, indicating financial change), or another big political scandal which could envelope more than one country. It’s always difficult to predict such things and I’m not into prediction. Suffice it to say that we are likely to see more of the same political shenanigans but with the heat cranked up to eleven.

After this we have Mars (in the spring especially) and Jupiter joining the fray. Mars entering the stage in an already volatile situation is not a good sign, and at worst could lead to some kind of conflict, quite possibly arising (or used as an excuse) from a very serious political and economic situation.

Crisis brings opportunity

However, I think Jupiter’s involvement in Capricorn next year is key. Jupiter is fundamentally expansive and may represent a real opportunity amid scenes of potential panic in places like stock exchanges and governments.

It’s difficult to see what this might be, but perhaps a few years down the line, we might see that some ‘organisation’ founded next year as a result of the chaos begins to play a clearer and more beneficial role in steering us forward.

What is more, by the end of the year 2020, namely on December 21, both Jupiter and Saturn shake hands in early Aquarius. This is the so called ‘great conjunction’, a meeting of the two so called planetary giants, symbolising some kind of course correction, or minor reset which we go through every twenty years.

Silver lining

I might be wrong but I can’t help but see this as a possible silver lining of the year, a year which might go down as a whole as one of the most momentous in all our lives.

When I was a child there was much talk of the Age of Aquarius and this is (apart from a brief conjunction in Libra in 1980/81) the first time it has occurred in air since the late middle ages, a long time ago.

This begins an extended run of great conjunctions in air signs for the next century or more, following on from a period of well over a century with the great conjunctions occurring in earth signs. So what am I saying?

A less materialistic era?

Whilst this may not be the inception of the Age of Aquarius, what it does symbolise is the end of a particularly materialistic age and the true inauguration of a more rational, even more ‘spiritual’ age, where there will be a free flow of information and huge leaps in thought – maybe a new ‘renaissance’ of some kind.

So that’s my take on it. 2020 is likely going to be difficult, but we’re used to that. Yet, by the year’s end the light at the end of that long tunnel we’ve been travelling along, may be just that little bit brighter.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Tanka: 2020 Vision

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The super fun ride
Saturn conjoining Pluto
Hold on to your seat
The world is about to change
I hope your view will be good

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Arthur Storer – First known American astronomer, ‘discoverer’ of what became known as Halley’s Comet

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Photo by Francis Barker

We recently visited the small market town of Grantham in Lincolnshire in the east of England and found out something new and interesting.

Among the notable people associated with Grantham are Sir Isaac Newton, who was born nearby and former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was raised in the town in her father’s shop.

Astronomer and Mathematician

Walking through the town and by the wonderful church, we came across the old school building, upon which is a notice, bearing the name of Arthur Storer, identifying him as an astronomer and mathematician. I have to confess, up to that point, I had never heard of him.

It turns out that he knew Isaac Newton and probably had a fight with him when they were boys. However, the two later became friends and scientific associates, Newton recognising Storer’s contribution in his most famous work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. 

Fine Reputation

What I did not know was that Storer effectively became the first known astronomer in America and he developed a reputation for accuracy which outlived him.

Storer seems to have initially trained to be an apothecary, the profession of his step father, William Clarke of Grantham. However, it would appear that his real interests lay in the science of astronomy.

Journeys to Maryland

He would later travel to Maryland in North America, to observe all astronomical phenomena there. Later he would make a second trip to Maryland to do more astronomical work, sending his calculations to Isaac Newton.

A consequence of this work was that one comet he observed, in 1682, would later turn out to be Halley’s Comet, named after Edmund Halley who became the first to forecast its next appearance.

Sadly, Storer did not live to be an old man, dying in early 1687. He is buried in Maryland.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Tanka: Which Way The Wind?

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Where is this heading?
Where have I been before this?
Some things I don’t know
Wind causes the flag to wave
but no one can see the wind

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Birth of the USA: Astrology Musings

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July 4 is rapidly approaching and as mundane astrology is one of my most favourite fields within the discipline, I thought it about time to take a look at the ‘birth chart’ of the most powerful country on the planet – The United States of America.

Now in any birth chart the exact time is critical and the timing of this event is disputed. Independence was formally declared on July 2 1776.

So which chart?

What did occur two days later on July 4 was that Congress finally approved the declaration’s wording, possibly around 5:10 PM in Philadelphia. This is the information often used to calculate the USA chart. However, it would appear that the actual signing took place on August 2 1776. So what do we use?

I’m going for the one that I’ve seen most commonly used and am most comfortable with, July 4 5:20 PM in Philadelphia.

On this chart, the mutable fire sign Sagittarius is rising.

Go West

I think this is quite fitting, Sagittarius likes to push boundaries, always moving on and exploring.

It also suits many of the national myths, the Louisiana purchase, the pushing westward, the continual expansion of states, plus America’s strong interest in the world – and beyond. It also suits the nation as a whole, being a ‘nation of immigrants’ so to speak, with a vast mix of cultures and peoples. Very Sagittarian.

Family Values

Nevertheless, the ruler of the chart, Jupiter, is in Cancer in a very full 8th house. Jupiter is exalted in Cancer and is also conjunct Venus, bringing images of happy, emotive and serious patriotism, and a love of home and family – and Mom’s Apple Pie.

This could explain the enduring sense of pride most American’s have in their homeland, despite more modern trends.

Investment of Sentiment

The full 8th house also includes the Sun and Mercury in Cancer. This indicates just how deep these patriotic sensibilities go, that much time has been invested in this over two and a half centuries. American identity is very much wrapped up in this.

Interestingly too, the strong 8th house emphasis in a wider sense is indicative of America’s strong involvement in international finance and multi-national corporations.

Jupiter also rules the 4th house of this chart, showing that in areas like the rural and agricultural communities, there will always likely be a strong investment in the patriotic cause and the promotion of home and family values.

With all the Cancerian influence in this chart, a look at the Moon is essential. It’s in Aquarius in the 3rd house, which shows the ‘humanitarian’ ideals brought to bear in education, in local communities and the systematic promotion of the family and home.

The Patriot against Hard Business

However, there is a challenging square aspect between the Sun and Saturn in the 11th house. The overall course of the nation, this strong sense of patriotism, often clashes with more hard headed, conservative or otherwise, trends in the elected assemblies and legislature.

Neptune in the 10th house reveals the strong idealism of national aspirations, though it is in difficult aspect to Mars in Gemini in the 7th house. In diplomatic matters there often a tendency to high verbosity, which may not smooth the course of negotiations to say the least, and this would tend to clash with the higher ideals governmental institutions effuse. The latter also symbolises the kind of conversation going on at the time of the agreement of the Declaration text.

Intriguing future

Looking to the near future, transiting Pluto will soon complete its 248 year cycle in the 2nd house in Capricorn. In other words, it will be reaching the point it was when the Declaration was being created. Maybe it could symbolise the slow, albeit painful, rebirth of the nation?

It is quite clear that the next few years will be fundamentally difficult in governmental, financial and security issues and will mark a major turning point for the nation, with many changes, much intrigue and political skullduggery. 

Even before then, sometime around January 2020, when Saturn and Pluto conjoin in Capricorn, it’s also likely to culminate in some major event or decision affecting these areas.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Haiku: Deliverance

Shout to the four winds
ask for your deliverance
Is anyone there?

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

*If you would like a personal astrology report, please contact me at: loef