Frida Kahlo: Is There a Price to Pay for Genius? Astrology Musings

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Frida Kahlo is one of the most iconic and celebrated symbolic-realist artists of the 20th century, but her short life was painful and ultimately tragic, yet nevertheless full. Is there such a thing as a trade off between genius and pain?

Such was her fame that even during her lifetime, in 1942, one of her paintings sold for over $3 million at Sotheby’s.

When I first looked at her chart I noted that the three so-called outer planets (which are invisible to the naked eye and therefore not luminaries) are in key sensitive points.

I have long thought that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and their supposed influences are something to be avoided, or overcome, even though they might put the individual in touch which certain deeper, darker and ultimately dangerous forces of our universe. Uranus may bring originality but can disrupt suddenly; Neptune may inspire but confuses and befuddles; and Pluto might provide intensity but undermines darkly.

At the age of 6 Frida contracted polio which left her with one leg shorter than the other. Later, through sports, she built up her body strength with characteristic resolve and went to one of Mexico‘s best schools.

A Life Changing Accident

Then fate intervened again when she was severely injured in a horrific road traffic accident in Mexico City in 1925. It was a life changing experience which she never truly overcame, but such was her intense lust for life and experience, she got through it, despite numerous operations, including a leg amputation later on.

During this early period following the accident, she began to paint and this was the beginning of her career which saw her later exhibiting as far a field as New York and Paris.

Due to the intense pain and the resulting depression she also developed a drinking habit but always lived life to its fullest.

‘The Heroine of Pain’ What Does the Astrology Say?

There is little wonder that in her native Mexico she is referred to as ‘the heroine of pain‘ – ‘la heroina del dolor’. She certainly seems to have had that air of greatness about her which only few achieve during their lifetime – but at what price?

She has Leo rising with Mercury in the 1st house. Here is the lust for life and creativity and to express it.

However, her ruler the Sun is immersed in the ocean of a 12th house Cancer conjunct Neptune, forming the most difficult and trying figure in the chart.

This subconsciously embedded conjunction is opposed by a practical Mars conjunct Uranus in the 6th house of health and efficiency. This activation of the 6th/12th house axis might well have been behind the motivation to seek a career in medicine in her early teens.

A Potential Career in Medicine

She would appear to have been as much interested in mental as well as physical health, especially so as an exalted Jupiter is also in the 12th house quite close to her north node; she might well have become a doctor of psychology or psychiatry if things had been different, yet other medical paths could have suited. But it wasn’t to be. Any aptitude toward practical medicine was firmly rebuked by fate, steering her toward creative art with a symbolic edge.

Whilst Neptune close to the Cancerian Sun might at best be inspirational, its major influence is to subconsciously confound and upset, affecting her psychologically. This may suggest the subconscious symbolism of her art. Sun Cancerians are family orientated but happiness in this area of her life was to prove elusive.

Opposing the Sun/Neptune conjunction, Mars/Uranus only antagonise and disrupt, the martian strength being exalted in Capricorn, yet is physically embattled and irritated by revolutionary Uranus. The exact opposition between the Sun and Mars illustrates the intense attraction to men she had but also the difficulty in maintaining steady relationships, even though she only married one man – twice.

This opposition of conjunctions effectively energises the whole chart, mimicking the explosive drama of her life.

A Ribbon Around a Bomb?

Psychologically Frida was deep, intensely emotional but had an exacting attitude too. Her Venus, ruler of the MC and 10th house of career, is closely conjuct the undermining influence of Pluto in the 11th house, challenged by Saturn from the 8th. This also reflects her intense relationships and friendships, her difficulty with them, as well as her interest in feminine identity. Venus Pluto and a Taurean MC suggest the intense realism and symbolism of her art.

Her Moon exalted in Taurus in the 10th house is also void of course in the last degree of the Bull. Whilst this might add a certain steadiness to her emotional responses, she might also have felt as if she was always fighting against time. Void of course Moons are difficult to assess in natal charts, but this is my take.

She was once described as being a ribbon around a bomb. Whether that is accurate or not, she was certainly one of the most naturally gifted, intensively creative female artists of any period. Iconic indeed.

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What the cards reveal: Centre card, consciously; left card: subconsciously; right card: manifesting.


Copyright Francis 2022

Desperado — Uncontrolled Historian (Reblog)

I’ve been hearing this song in my head for days. The F1RST man I truly fell for was an Eagles fanatic. He was also a liar, a thief, a chancer and an unfaithful soon to be married bastard. A fact that I found out when his bride to be turned up and announced herself as […]

Desperado — Uncontrolled Historian

‘Whitby’ (A Gothic Folly)

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It’s the same sounds all round the harbour,
the cries of birds immemorial, echoes
through the cliffs of stacked up buildings, over
masts of twee named boats, men’s bobbing toys.

Your voice is still fresh in my mind, I see
yesterday’s tears in your eyes — that won’t see
me again, our little talks cut off by that corporate
guillotine. It had nothing to do with me.

But didn’t I say you should come here, to Whitby?
Simply to sit, drink it in, watch the gnarled men with sticks
hobble over cobbles, their tight permed wives
with ice creams, moaning, putting worlds to right.

The goths gather here, swarming to darkness,
and the name of Nosferatu, with steampunk dress 
codes posing, mingling with transient gulls 
strutting their stuff through archaic streets,

owning the place. Enough of my platitudes,
our shared liking for Camembert. You made
your choice, it was the mortgage and the dog,
tethered to the post called debt. It was sad, perhaps

I expected more. So is it sheer folly of me
to hope you read these words? — This tired old man
who just wanted to show you Whitby,
that we might make small talk once more.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

dVerse — Poetics 427 — Mussenden’s Temple

Getting to Know You – What’s Your Sign? — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine (Reblog)

Originally posted on Jessica Bakkers: We start to get to know one another pretty well here in our little community. We share stories that come from the heart, putting our purest, deepest selves down on “paper”. But there are probably some basic things about each other that we?don’t?know – the sorts of things we’d probably…

Getting to Know You – What’s Your Sign? — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

*Zodiac colouring book — would I find it relaxing?

French Composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns — Exalted & Dignified: Astrology Musings

When we talk about classical music today, 19th and early 20th century French romantic composer, pianist and organist, Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, may not figure in the highest echelons in terms of outright popularity.

Ok, so he isn’t Bach, Mozart or Beethoven, nor Schubert, Schuman or Wagner, but in astrological terms, much deeper than the mere superfluous realm of ‘star signs’, he makes a most interesting study indeed.

Child Prodigy

This fellow Saint-Saëns was certainly a remarkable child prodigy and composer, whose musical abilities did appear to come rather easily to him. Anyone who could produce works of the quality of, for example, ‘Danse Macabre’, ‘Carneval Des Animaux’ and ‘Samson & Delilah’, must certainly qualify as being near to the pinnacle of their profession.

He went on to be a very well travelled international figure, as well as being highly honoured, receiving the French Grand Cross of Legion d’Honneur in 1913. He was also inspirational; Faure and Ravel were both strongly influenced by him, for example.

Paris Conservatoire

By the age of 6 this prodigy was already composing, performing as a pianist by the time he was 10. He entered the Paris Conservatoire aged 13 and composed his first symphony when he was 18.

Saint-Saëns became quite a scholar of musical history, too, developing a more conservative, traditional approach to compositional structure, something which set him against the more modern trends of the early 20th century, which evidently wanted to turn everything on its head, as in other artistic fields such as painting.

Controversy and tragedy affected him too at times. Marrying later in life, to a much younger woman (to the surprise of those who knew him) the relationship would appear to have always been difficult, or strained. Nevertheless, the couple had two sons. However, in 1878 an appalling tragedy struck when the 2 year old Andre fell to his death from their Parisian flat window.

Tragedy & Disappearance

Only six weeks later, young Jean Francois died of pneumonia. This effectively ended their marriage. In 1881 whilst on holiday with his wife, he suddenly disappeared, later writing her a letter of explanation — that we would not be coming back. Even so, the couple never divorced. Speculation has remained as to Saint-Saëns’ sexuality.

Overall, however, this remarkable man led a very successful and productive life. I was intrigued to come across his birth data, so that I could assess him astrologically.

One of the most remarkable features of his chart is the positive placement of most planets. In traditional astrology, a planet is said to be exalted, or function at its best, in certain signs. In Saint-Saëns’ case, he has Saturn exalted in Libra, the Moon exalted in Taurus and Jupiter exalted in Cancer. Would might this mean in terms of interpretation?

Exaltation

Let’s begin with Saturn in Libra. Saturn, often still called the Greater Malefic, signifies limitation, boundaries, structure; in Libra, the Cardinal Air sign, this function is well reasoned, balanced in the most positive way. I will return to Saturn shortly.

Then we have the Moon exalted in Taurus. The Moon represents our responses, emotions, feelings; in Taurus (also ruled by Venus like Libra), these qualities are at their most grounded and fruitful.

We now turn to Jupiter, the Greater Benefic, exalted in Cancer. Jupiter is expansion, optimism; in Cancer, ruled by the Moon, expansion is given a nourishing, homely expression, like a blessing upon the base of our lives, quite often our mainspring for success in life.

A Charming, though Dignified Bearing

What is more, Saint-Saëns had other planets which were ‘dignified’. What do I mean? Dignity in astrological terms refers to a planet being in the sign of its rulership.

Firstly, he has Venus in Libra, the principal of unity given a highly balanced and considered expression; an ideal of beauty, balance and peace.

Then he also has Mars in Scorpio, which it traditionally rules. I personally do not subscribe to the ‘modern’ notion that outer planet Pluto rules Scorpio. Mars is energy, activity; in Scorpio, the Martian energy is concentrated, somewhat emotive, and also secretive — yet even so, well placed if one wishes to achieve something deeper, meaningful.

Natural Gifts

So what are we to make of all this ‘positivity’, the level of which I haven’t come across too many times before? Overall, it may represent the positive gifts he was born with, Saint-Saëns’ ability to create, seemingly with ease and with the blessings of his local universe.

Let us now return to Saturn, which was rising conjunct the ascending degree in Libra, closely followed by his Sun and Venus in the same sign of the Scales. A Libran ascendant is courteous, diplomatic, often charming, yet with Saturn so close to this degree, one would expect a certain amount of caution too, perhaps manifesting as a kind of dignity in the manner and appearance, which might seem at times like a little shyness, reticence, even haughtiness.

Conservatism, Good Fortune & Fixed Stars

As said above, limiting and conservative Saturn is indeed ‘exalted’ in Libra, so it is not surprising that later in life he grew to be noted for his conservative outlook, plus the deliberately structured nature of most of his works. He tended to favour the more traditional compositional styles in the long run, even though as a younger composer, he accepted the then ‘modern’ trends of such men as Wagner, without truly embracing what they stood for.

At this point I would like to introduce the fixed star, Spica, which is also conjunct the ascendant and close to Saturn. I have only recently begun to reintroduce certain fixed stars (the 15 Behenian Fixed Stars) into my method of interpretation — I think they can be highly significant.

Spica, traditionally, is said to be of the nature of Venus and Mars, a star of good fortune. This is thought to confer general happiness, honour and preferment. If we take out his short lived marriage and the major life changing tragedy of his young sons, Saint-Saëns’ life in general was very fortunate.

Keen Student of Musical History

This fixed star is also close to Saturn, conferring interests in the occult and history too. It is known that he was a keen student of musical history, which had a strong influence upon his compositional style.

Saint-Saëns’ Sun conjunct Venus in the Libra ascendant, would only underline the charm, diplomacy and overall affability of his personage. There would also be a certain amount of sophistication about his presence too, attention to his appearance, probably a liking for traditional fashion (Saturn in Libra conjunct ascendant) and being ‘just so’.

With all this Libra in his chart, he would certainly have craved company too; he might not have felt whole without a ‘partner’ in life. So it is perhaps a surprise that he did not marry until he was around 40. Some have speculated about his sexuality, although it could simply be that he was rather fussy; Librans often have trouble making up their minds, being seekers of perfection with high ideals.

Humour & Magnanimity

His exalted Moon in Taurus would provide relatively stable emotions, pleasant responses to stimuli, perhaps underlining the conservative streak. However, his Moon is also in good sextile aspect to the equally exalted Jupiter in Cancer.

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I think there would have been a distinctly good humoured and magnanimous quality about him too, that would have been highly beneficial to him in his career, for Jupiter is housed in his career house and his exalted Moon is ruler of that 10th house. He was fortunate.

Jupiter is also the planet of expansion and projection, physically and mentally. Saint-Saëns became highly travelled through his lifetime, making 179 trips to 27 countries, an astonishing tally.

Much Travel & A Well Developed Mentality

This Jupiter is also close to the fixed star Sirius, generally considered another positive indication. This infers much travel in the career, usually by sea (Jupiter in Cancer), plus a generally caring nature.

His dignified Mars in Scorpio is conjunct communicative Mercury in the 2nd house, ruler of the 9th house of philosophy, the higher mind and travel. This gave him a highly powerful, penetrating, determined and energetic mentality, probably an endless curiosity too, which drove him on in his practical working life. Mars is also the ruler of this house: This was no day dreamer — he wanted practical results. As a young student he was highly proficient in many profound subjects and had a particular love of astronomy throughout his life.

That Trying T-Square

If I may turn to the less positive aspects of his known life, namely the failed late marriage and his sons’ untimely demises, it may be symbolised in what is known as a T-square formation, involving his first house Sun and Venus in Libra, opposite Pluto in the 7th house, both squaring (90 degrees) Jupiter in the 10th house. This is certainly an indication that all would not be plain sailing in personal relationships, which would certainly impinge upon his career and aims.

As I have stated before, these days I do not see the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as at all positive influences. They are not ‘higher octaves’, as they were once deemed: if anything they are lower, baser influences. They have to be overcome, indicating areas of our life where there could be potential pit falls, or worse.

Potential Disruption in Troubled Relationships

Pluto in the 7th house certainly forewarns one of marriage and/or partnership disruption, especially so as the same planet is opposite (challenging aspect) the harmony seeking Sun and Venus in Libra in his first house; Pluto is directly threatening potential termination, if one is not careful.

I would also imagine that personal relationship issues, such as those indicated by this Sun and Venus opposite Pluto, would have also threatened his career, and also the stability of home and family life: Exalted Jupiter in Cancer is in itself an overall indication of good fortune in family concerns, but maybe serious relationships, such as marriage, constituted a threat.

To Marry, or not to Marry

It is easy to say in retrospect, of course, but would it have been advisable for him not to have married? Did the conventions of the day ‘force’ him into doing what every one else did? He was, after all, quite a conservative in many ways.

Equally, we have the presence of the other two outer planets, Uranus and Neptune in the 5th house of children, speculation and creativity. The potential to have ‘problems’ with offspring are indicated here; Uranus can turn things upside down with sudden, unexpected events; Neptune confuses issues, although no one could have envisaged the tragedy that befell his young family. And whilst controlling Saturn forms a loose positive trine aspect with Uranus, which might have lessened the impact of the rebellious planet, the potential negativity of Uranus would still be there.

I found Saint-Saëns the most fascinating character to study. I have to say that I really like him; I am sure he would have been most agreeable to meet, to talk to, to be simply be around.

Most of all, we can all still enjoy the quality of his compositions.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

*The best of Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns. And a biography.