Kathe Kollwitz: Dragon on the Doorstep (2)

In her diary Käthe Kollwitz devotes many passages to her relationship with her husband, Karl. An entry made in December 1910, after 19 years of marriage, describes her experience quite well:

“Nicht, daß ich ihn nicht doch lieb hätte— ich weiß, daß ich ihn lieb habe — aber es ist ein Wissen, es ist kein Gefühl für ihn da, dieses himmlische, durchströmende, produktive beglückende Liebesgefühl schrumpft immer mehr weg…Karl schrumpft…zusammen, er wird immer kleiner, seine Glieder kürzer, die Haltung eng und unfrei. Das Gesicht verknüllt, faltig, nervös. Ebenso wirke ich.”

“It isn’t as if I didn’t love him – I know that I love him – but it is known and not felt. It is not that heavenly, flowing, productive, feeling of delight that shrivels ever more and more. Karl is dwindling, he gets smaller and smaller, his limbs shorter, his posture narrow and unfree. His face is crumpled up, wrinkled, nervous. I am the same.”

To say that her husband, her partner, seems to shrivel away is a very precise description of the diminishing quality of the South Node. And as the North Node is the complement you can feel her pain that this is so.

She and her husband struggled with this, there are entries where she says they considered separation, but they stayed together.

Seven years later she writes:

“Vorgestern kam er (Karl) überraschend nach dem Atelier. Seit Jahren wieder zum ersten Mal. Es war so sehr nett.”

“Day before yesterday he made a surprise visit to my studio. The first time for years. It was so very nice.”

In the context of this particular chart we see that Jupiter, the dispositor of the South Node is also Lord 7, in his own sign but cadent. Jupiter is in Mercury’s detriment and fall. Mercury is not only Lord 1 but also Lord 10. So Jupiter, the husband, has some real difficulties with his wife and her calling as artist. Although he is cadent, Jupiter is in his own sign and so has some essential dignity. I think the visit described above shows something of her husband coming to terms with her work and bringing recognition.


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