Hans Remembers- Thursday October 8, 1970- 50 Years ago. Soviet author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was announced as the Nobel Prize winner in Literature. He would not be allowed to leave the Soviet Union to accept the award. Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers in 1968. The Soviets were not happy with his winning […]
After the mysterious William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens is probably ranked second in the all time greats of English writers — though to compare them is difficult as they lived more than two centuries apart and wrote in differing genres.
Neither is it possible to do a credible analysis of the Bard’s birth chart as we don’t know when exactly he was born, whereas we do know when Master Charles Dickens arrived in this troubled world.
It must have been pretty cold that late winter evening in 1812, in the famous port of Portsmouth on the south coast of England. At the time, the mutable earth sign of Virgo was rising on the eastern horizon. I think this pretty much correlates with a known part of the great Victorian writer’s character.
Virgo is always seen as analytical and critical, fussy and fastidious, with the keenest eye for detail and thereby a quick learner. The rising sign gives a good idea as to our approach to life, not necessarily revealing our inner nature.
As the young Charles grew up, this grasp of minutiae was serve him especially well, though this same quality might have led him along many different routes, not necessarily along a literary one. Virgo’s approach could be said to be scientific, though Charles basically lacked a full formal education of the time, for which we perhaps ought to be grateful; had he received one, he might well have chosen a different path and we might never have heard of him.
A Tale of Two Writers
Intriguingly, this may be one of two factors which the young Charles shared with Shakespeare of Stratford Upon Avon, who also appears to have not finished his own formal education. We do know that Dickens worked for a time in a law office in London, which some suspect the young Bard also did back in his day, when he too arrived in London during his so-called ‘missing years’. Dickens was a keen theatre goer too and may have grasped ideas of characterisation from that colourful arena. Virgo is a very keen observer indeed.
With Virgo rising, its ruler, Mercury, becomes the ruler of the chart. Interestingly, Hermes is placed in the cardinal earth sign of Capricorn in the 5th house. Mercury in Capricorn is practical, realistic, systematic and ambitious.
A Serious Mind — With a ‘Twist’
But this Mercury is also in a positive aspect with Uranus, ‘the magician’ in the 3rd house, also associated with the mind. In other words, his mind was practically inventive — with a twist of genius, one would suspect.
Mercury in Capricorn denotes a mind which must see definite results from the considerable effort put in, mentally. The 5th house is the creative arena, where children of the mind are hewn, served by the brilliance of Uranus from the third house.
Saturn is also in its own sign of Capricorn in the same house. He is powerfully placed here, underlining the seriousness in which he applied himself to his creativity. At times it must have been a joyless experience — but he was determined to succeed.
Here then is part of the root of his ambition as a writer; what he may have lacked in education, he made up with in sheer graft and more than a little invention. His prodigious output is testimony to that, with 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, as well as countless letters.
But this is only the beginning of the extent of what was a very well developed mind. If Mercury gives an indication of the general everyday quality of mind, then Jupiter reveals the more expansive and aspirational side.
Dickens’ Jupiter is found in the mutable air sign of Gemini, high up in the tenth house of goals and career. Here is great flexibility, plus a curiosity and restlessness, a quality which he could apply to his career as a journalist, writer, as well as a lecturer and performer. There was something of the showman about him.
The 3rd and 9th houses are also indicative of the quality of mind. A Scorpio 3rd house in the whole sign house division method, reveals a mental intensity and investigative quality, bolstered here, as I have already stated, by the presence of the eccentric Uranus.
A Well Developed Mind
What is more, the ruler of Scorpio, Mars, is found in fiery Aries in the 8th house. Here is a person of some energy and verve, even a quick temper, but who applies it in the area of shared security, deeper concerns, such as investigation. Had he pursued his early career as a journalist, he might well have reached great heights there too. But he had his own path to follow.
His 9th house (higher mind again) is Taurus, ruled by Venus, which is found in sensitive and sentimental Pisces in the 7th house, closely conjunct the then undiscovered Pluto. Venus in Pisces has strong feelings, an almost spiritual ability to empathise with others, especially so in the 7th house of relationships. He definitely had the ability to put himself in other people’s shoes.
The Pursuit of Social Justice
Pluto here only deepens this tendency; this may well correlate with his lifelong pursuit of justice for the poor and particularly poor children, whose plight he described so movingly in many of works. To say this man had a social conscience would be an understatement.
Equally, we also know that Dickens’ was a very fine mimic, able to take on the persona of others that he came across; this also correlates with his Venus/Pluto conjunction in Pisces in the 7th house. There is little wonder that when it came to portraying characters in print, he was able to make them seem so realistic, his Virgo ascendant giving him the ability to fine tune those intrinsic qualities of character.
I have said a lot already, but not yet mentioned the Sun or Moon, two of the key factors in a birth chart. His sun in Aquarius in the 6th house describes his basic inner nature. Here is a man, who despite his deeply felt compassion for others, could also detach himself if so wished and thereby do greater good. He identifies with work and service to others in this regard, too.
Aquarius is said to be unusual, but I think this has only grown over the past two centuries after an increasing number of astrologers have made Uranus the prime ruler of this sign. I think this is an error.
Emotionally Expressive and Sentimental
Aquarius is ruled by Saturn, but the side of Saturn which plans for the longer future, at a time of late winter in the north of the world when general preparations are made for the onset of spring. Aquarius is a carer too, but not in the same way as the deeply personal uniting principle of Venus in sensitive Pisces.
His Moon is in Sagittarius, very close to Neptune in the 4th house. So here is yet another facet of this multi-dimensional character. He can be emotionally expressive, sometimes overly so and gushing. He is also deeply sensitive and sentimental about issues regarding home, family, women and the past.
A Host of Characters
Here may lie another facet of his ability to write so convincingly about the lives of people in the mid 19th century, aided by several other sensitive areas of his chart I have alluded to above. He writes so well because he feels so strongly. Yet none of this may have been possible if he hadn’t got the ability to compartmentalise, using his considerable intellectual gifts to formally present us with those wonderful creations in print.
Charles Dickens, like all of us, was several characters rolled into one. But his particular chemistry was one which gave sublime literary expression to the troubles and the characters of his time — and for that we must all be eternally grateful.
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. PREVIOUS TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS: July 14: Books That Make Me Smile […]
Elena Trimble was a young astrologer. It was an unusual career but she loved it. While studying psychology at university, she had done a brief course on the ancient art of astrology – and was hooked. She did individual birth charts, a kind of modern psychological astrology, you might say. She didn’t believe in the mumbo jumbo prediction aspect of it, that the future can be clearly seen.
“So what’s this about today’s date, then?” Michael was speaking around a rather large piece of toast he was chewing.
“I’m pretty sure it’s to do with the dream. Dreams can speak to us in symbols and allegory.”
Elena had written down everything she could remember. The dark place she had found herself with this man could have been a church, or perhaps a chapel. Dreams were ruled by the Moon and perhaps the planet Neptune, she figured, hence the allegories, signs and symbols. She was trying to get a clearer view, not only of whom this person was, but what he was trying to say. And why did he kiss her?
She sipped her morning cup of tea, looking out onto perfectly still day, the sunlit grass, the frost slowly dissipating. “Let’s say we were in the chancel end of a church. There was a window ahead of us, though it wasn’t letting in much light, like it was nearly dark outside. There was a book open.”
“A bible, perhaps?”
She shook her head. “It was more like some kind of…parish record?”
“Yes, very likely a register. I felt sure he was directing me toward this book, as if to an entry in it. I remember the number twenty three quite distinctly, you see. I didn’t see it in the book, it just popped into my head out of nowhere.”
“Hm. Maybe he whispered it into your ear after kissing you.”
“Funny, ha ha.”
Elena began to surmise that twenty three could have been either a christening, a birthdate, or a burial. The fact that today was February 23 might be meaningful. There didn’t seem to be much else to go on. There was his general appearance, she supposed, slightly taller than her five feet four inches. It was the eyes she remembered, large, chocolate brown and loving. She didn’t recall being at all scared by him.
“Elena, you need more to go on than just a number.” Michael was placing the breakfast dishes in the sink.
She joined him with her own dishes. “I know, that’s why I’m making sure I take my notebook and pen to bed again tonight.”
Michael looked at her, seriously. “You’re expecting him again, are you?”
“I don’t know, but I’d better be prepared, hadn’t I? I get the feeling he’s got more to say, that’s all. I’ve never had a dream of this clarity.”
Michael had that pretentious little boy lost look in his eyes. “So should I be worried?”
“Hm.” Elena took his hand and kissed it. “Worried? About a figure in my dreams, maybe only figment of my imagination?”
“Nevertheless,” he said, examining her hand, “he evidently makes a good impression.”
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.
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
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