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: A Landmark Year? Astrology Musings

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In the extraordinary and at times unbelievable worldwide political climate, astrologically symbolised by the up and coming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn in mid January 2020, we have got used to expecting the unexpected.

Saturn and Capricorn stand for the existing political structures. Pluto, by its very nature, is said to be transformative, at best a difficult though necessary cleansing, at worst a drastic enforcer of change which threatens to bring down, or rip up virtually everything – root and branch.

Intriguingly, this conjunction falls close to the Moon’s south node, which has strong karmic associations. What might this mean?

A pivotal year – a time to nurture more

Well, the south node represents where we have come from as a civilisation; being in Capricorn, it shows our satiated materialism, almost to the exclusion of anything else. Pluto involved here shows that we must change, transform, ‘drain the swamp’.

In karmic terms, we must begin to look towards the north node in Cancer, to begin to redress this imbalance.

Cancer stands for nurturing, our family, our origins: in other words, I believe it is telling us to go one step back to allow us to go two forward. We need to understand where we have come from and what we once had, which is now in danger of being lost forever. This period, around the beginning of 2020, may well be the ‘dark night of the soul’ time, in which many of us realise we must change – events may force us into doing so throughout the year.

Dangerous soup

Add to this ‘dangerous soup’ the on going transit of Uranus (sudden change/innovation) in Taurus (finance), another earth sign, and the political and economic instability for the next few years seems assured.

The next few years are very likely to see many serious ups and downs in financial markets, which might well bring ‘innovations’, such as digital or cryptocurrencies, more quickly into the mainstream. Whether such changes actually bring good and long lasting benefits to humanity, however, is debatable.

A spring of conflict?

2020 also sees Jupiter in Capricorn for most of the year and will be joined by Mars in the spring for a few weeks, the latter period quite possibly being the most volatile, politically, economically, even militarily, of all.

However, by the end of the year, most particularly around the exact ‘grand conjunction’, which occurs every 20 years, between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, we might, just might, begin to see a light at the end of the long tunnel.

Apart from one instance in 1980/81, when this conjunction occurred in Libra, this marks the beginning of a century long stay in air signs for the first time in hundreds of years, since the end of the Middle Ages in fact. What does this mean?

A new age dawning?

For most of the last hundred years or more, the grand conjunction has occurred in earth signs, symbolically encapsulating our materialistic culture, where we have seen huge advances in material science, but not an accompanying positive philosophy to go with it, to make meaning of it. The inception of this ‘new age’ of air, beginning at the end of 2020, might well mean the end of this materialistic age and the final ushering in of a more ‘spiritual’ era.

However, Pluto remains in Capricorn until 2024 before finally entering Aquarius. In 2026 Uranus moves into Gemini and Neptune moves into Aries. In other words, by around the mid 2020s, a far more positive vibe begins to resonate in the world. Perhaps, in some real sense, if the so-called Age of Aquarius has a true beginning at all, then it might just be around 2025/6.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

If you would like your own personal astrology report, or would like one for a family member or friend, please contact me at leoftanner@gmail.com

 

Mozart – Sheer Genius – Astrology Musings

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was no mere child prodigy. In his short life he produced 41 symphonies, 17 piano sonatas, 20 operas… in fact around 600 works in total. He is, perhaps, the greatest known musical genius of all time.

He was born with Virgo rising, very useful for artists of all kinds, especially where attention to detail is paramount.

Astonishing talent, inherited genius

Astonishingly, the north node of the Moon – which along with the opposing south node, is often regarded as a karmic point in a birth chart – is virtually exactly conjunct his rising degree in Virgo and almost exactly opposite Uranus on the descendant in Pisces.

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Uranus is often equated with genius, amongst other things, and being exactly conjunct the south node, it symbolises a born genius, someone who has inherited some astonishing, unusual gift. However, it is one thing to have the potential, quite another to realise it. Thankfully for all of us, his talent was spotted early.

In astrological terms, one is supposed to head more towards the north nodal position in the ‘present’ life, in Mozart’s case, right on the ascending degree, meaning that he had to push himself forward, realise his unique ability in music and composition.

The Virgo Pisces axis is particularly symbolic here, with Uranus and descendant (DC) in vast, inspirational Pisces and the ascendant (AC) in exacting, attention to detail Virgo, the perfect axis for bringing spiritual dreams into earthly reality, in his case in the form of music.

A wellspring of inspiration from the subconscious

His ruling planet, Mercury, which is also house 10 and MC ruler (career/life direction), was found in Aquarius conjunct his Sun in house 6 – opposite Neptune in house 12.

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In many ways this substantiates the nodal position above on a different level. Here is the unconventional person (Aquarius), a natural workaholic too (Sun conjunct Mercury with Saturn nearby in house 6), but in contact with the spiritual numinous (Neptune) from the subconscious (house 12) in the form of music.

I find this remarkable and may attest, in astrological terms at least, to his genius and what the nature of it might be. His Venus trine Mars will also give him much creative energy and potential.

Another interesting feature of his chart, is the exact conjunction between the Moon and Pluto in Sagittarius in house 4, in good aspect to Jupiter in Libra in house 2. I think this basically represents an open, friendly manner, but probably with caustic edge at times. He would appear to have had a good sense of humour and keen on the odd bawdy joke. This aspect might also represent an interesting family and home life, plus ancestry.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

A November ‘Brexit’ Election? Astrology Musings

*Reader beware – due to the combustible political climate, symbolised astrologically by up and coming Saturn Pluto conjunction in Capricorn etc., circumstances are likely to change at a moment’s notice.
In the often bizarre British and European world of Brexit, which somewhat mirrors political circumstances elsewhere, things have now reached new levels of incredulity. New British PM, Boris Johnson, recently installed as premier to finally deliver on the referendum result of some 39 months ago, is already floundering under the weight of the political impasse.

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Stockhausen: Neptune, Uranus and the Nature of Genius. Astrology Musings

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Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the most important composers of the 20th century, was also one its most controversial. The outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are generational in influence, but if one or more of them touch sensitive parts of our birth chart, they can put us in touch with powerful trans-personal energy.

According to his known birth data, he was born with Leo rising, with a Leo Sun exactly conjunct Neptune.

A fount of inspiration

Here is a powerful, creative individual, with a personal connection to the numinous through Neptune, with all the inspirational, spiritual qualities associated with that planet. He was certainly a major visionary in musical terms and has had a huge influence on jazz and popular music as well as classical.

As we have seen previously, Neptune is invariably prominent in some way in the birth charts of creative artists, but he was clearly no idle dreamer.

Practical application

With Mercury and Venus in Virgo in house 2, the latter trine Jupiter in Taurus in house 10, he was very keen to apply his undoubted inspiration practically, effectively, in detail, and to disseminate it, not only in way to earn a living, but in building a successful career out of it. Indeed, he was also a fine writer and communicator too, teaching his ideas successfully. Without this grounding effect, his genius may well have been lost to the world.

What is more, revolutionary Uranus was very close to the MC (midheaven) in Aries in house 9.

The shock of the new

This midheaven point is traditionally associated with the career or life direction and with Uranus in Aries activating this very personal angle of his chart, we can see the unusual, avant-garde, revolutionary and pioneering qualities he brought to bear in his career. Revolutionary literally means turning upside down: he essentially did this, being a pioneer in the sphere of electronic music.

More than once, his music has been described as ‘disruptive’ (Uranus) and unfathomable (Neptune). He also has Mars in good aspect to Uranus, bringing much supportive, instigating energy and (in Gemini) variability to his repertoire.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Gustav Holst and ‘The Planets’ – Musings

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English classical composer Gustav Holst’s most famous work, The Planets, is a testimony to his lifelong fascination for and interest in astrology.

From an early age, his step mother’s involvement with theosophy, inspired him to look beyond perceived reality and examine philosophy. Apart from being a composer, he was primarily a teacher and a trombonist.

Aquarius and astrology

When Gustav was born he had the Moon and Saturn rising in Aquarius. I think this says so much about him. Aquarius tends to be the individualist of the zodiac and anyone with a strong showing of this sign can be somewhat unusual. Holst’s fascination for astrology is quite typical in this regard.

Interestingly, in The Planets Suite, which was completed towards the end of the First World War, it is Saturn which I think is the most successful.

Saturn’s pain and peace

When I was younger I was an avid listener to this work and it was Saturn which most moved me, and I sense that it moved Holst too. This piece is composed like a musical poem and is subtitled ‘The Bringer of Old Age’.

It begins slowly, bleakly, mournfully, then panic sets in to a point of acceptance, which is followed by an unexpected peace as death approaches. It is still quite stunning to my ears, and I think Holst felt this very strongly – fitting then that Saturn should be so prominent in its own sign and on the ascendant. He was ‘in tune’ with Saturn.

Powerful higher mental capacity

That he was very much into philosophy and the higher mind is shown by the powerful Mercury Jupiter conjunction in Libra in house 9, nicely trine his Saturn rising in Aquarius. From this too, I think we can see the composing potential, the all round mental functioning of seeing the small intricacies, and also the big, full picture, plus the hard graft needed to succeed.

Jupiter also rules the midheaven, showing that the above qualities can be chanelled into his life path and career too.

Teacher and composer

His Sun in Virgo gives him a strong central dose of analytical and critical ability too, of course, which would certainly have aided him in composition and Virgoans in general make excellent teachers and worriers.

Venus in Scorpio in house 10 hints at an in depth career in the arts. This Venus is square Uranus and although it may have interrupted his career and relationships with sudden changes from time to time, here too with this tense link, I suspect, lies another indication of a leaning towards astrology; Uranus in some sense ‘rules’ astrology, although personally, I think Saturn is just as important.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Time and Transformation, ‘Draining the Swamp’: Saturn and Pluto Musings

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Saturn and Pluto probably have the darkest associations in astrology.

In mythology Saturn or Chronos (Ancient Greek), devoured his own children for his own protection. Yet it didn’t help him in the end.

Saturn was, until the discovery of Uranus in 1781, the outermost known planet. He sat on the limit, marking time, he was perhaps the ‘lord of karma’, taking nearly 30 years to return to the same part of our birth charts. This is the Saturn return, probably a testing time, but also one of re-evaluation, growing up, taking stock – and looking forward too.

Underworld

Pluto or Hades, has obvious associations with the underworld of myth, leading astrologers to signify such words as ‘deep working’. Further analysis has led many to associate Pluto with Scorpio, the 8th house, though there is still much debate.

In recent years Pluto has been demoted astronomically to minor planet status, along with his twirling sibling, Charon. Yet, despite this there does not seem to be any lessening in the interest and conjecture on Pluto’s astrological significance.

Generational

Like a growing number, I stick to Mars being the ruler of Scorpio. I think the outer planets, so called, are significant but not as fundamental as the Sun to Saturn. They are generational influences.

Yet if Uranus, Neptune or Pluto are prominent by aspect or placement, then these apparently deeper influences come in to play and can be hard to understand and difficult to come to terms with.

Unsettling

Take Pluto’s present transition through Capricorn. At the very least, Pluto’s ‘influence’ can be unsettling, wherever he is found. And right now Saturn is in Capricorn too, approaching conjunction in January 2020.

In mundane astrology, as Capricorn is all about culmination, the establishment, politics, so we perhaps should not be surprised with the political chaos we witness all over the world at the moment. Established parties and political structures do seem to be under threat. In the final analysis, they either change – or die.

Pluto may also be asking us fundamental questions about what politics is for. Who does it serve? Isn’t it all just a charade, a game? If so, get rid of it.

The up and coming conjunction next year might well signify that most of the political crises will reach their apogee early next year, though it will all take years to fully work out, like it has taken years to get to this particular point.

Revolutionary Times?

It is interesting to note that the last time Pluto was in Capricorn was in the lead up to the American Revolution.

But what about Pluto in personal birth charts?

I know someone who was born when Saturn and Pluto were exactly trine, that is, in a harmonious 120 degree aspect. Saturn happens to be her ruling planet too and is angular, strongly placed.

Transformation

We could say that she was born with the potential to harness practically Pluto’s deeply ‘transformative’ influence in her life. Pluto is in her 9th house, so there is a deep interest in different cultures, philosophical matters, like religion and spirituality, a yearning for the quest, so to speak.

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Nevertheless, right now, both Pluto and Saturn are transiting together in Capricorn, in her first house. I have explained to her about the forthcoming conjunction next year. Here we see symbolised the coming together of the stock taking nature of Saturn and the deep seated need for change, as represented by Pluto.

This has not been easy for her. Some astrologers use words like ‘elimination’ for Pluto; politicians may use phrases like ‘draining the swamp’. But who is to judge?

Existential Need

Yet, I have talked to her about this ‘existential need’ (as she describes it) for readjustment in her life. Saturn is cautious, especially in Capricorn, the sign it rules; Pluto, it would seem, insists on change. So what gives?

Is Pluto really about necessary change? This person is uncomfortable, every avenue that seems open to her appears daunting. So if we do ‘drain the swamp’ in our lives, it is likely to be most uncomfortable. Even bad things, like bad habits, can give us comfort. Routines are Saturnian. The tried and tested.

Have you noticed how quickly time goes with a routine? When you go on holiday for a few days, somewhere different, where you’re doing different things, notice how slow the time appears to go those first few days.

Pluto won’t leave Capricorn until around the middle of the next decade. Our world will be quite different by then. And so will the world of the person I’ve mentioned here. But it will probably be a better world for her and all of us.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019