Ernest Hemingway’s Lord of the Geniture or the “Old Man and the Sea”

You may have noticed the struggle to find a Lord of the Geniture in the example chart in “Looking for the Lord of the Geniture”. Some charts and the lives they represent are characterised by struggle and so you won’t find some benevolent planet in the background. You may however find, however imperfect, a planet that may show how the native can master adversity.

Our example chart is that of Ernest Hemingway. One glance at his chart shows that this is a ‘difficult’ nativity and even if one skims through his biography it is clear from the beginning that this is so.

I would like to begin with the premise that the Lord of the Geniture may be seen as the guiding planet, whether his influence is recognized or not. He may be Lord of the Ascendant but it is more likely that this will be another planet. In fact he may work contrary to the character traits and predispositions that the Lord of the Ascendant may show. This is the case in this chart. There are three dominant planets in this chart. The first two, Mercury and Mars, Lord of the Ascendant and planet posited in the first house show character and predisposition. The third planet is Saturn. We have chosen him as Lord of the Geniture.

Saturn presides as guiding planet both at Ernest Hemingway’s birth and death. He is the only planet that focus’ on the pre-natal eclipse. He is in opposition to the eclipse postion of the Sun and the Moon. To underscore this, the eclipse position of Saturn’s antiscion is conjunct the radix Moon. This is an opposition, so there will be adversity and the key virtue is endurance. This is just that virtue that Ernest Hemingway describes in the Novella that he wrote about his Lord of the Geniture, “The Old Man and the Sea”. If we look at the transits and directions at the time of his death we will also find a Saturn/Sun or Saturn/Asc opposition or square. [ transiting Saturn in opposition to radix Sun, antiscion of Saturn by converse direction in opposition to the Asc. (in the Solar Return directed to the day of his death) Saturn in the lunar return for June 1961 in opposition to radix Sun, directed square of Saturn to the Asc. on July 2, 1961 – I will compile the directions and other notable planetary conditions at the end of this article, for those who would like to have an overview, any well versed astrologer should then have a complete picture]

Saturn is the guiding planet, and he is beset with adversity, not only from the pre-natal eclipse. He is also at odds with the two other strong planets Mars and Mercury. The mutual detriment between Saturn and Mercury as well as the separating square to Mars show that his influence won’t be received easily. Mercury, Lord of the Ascendant in the 12th house in mixed mutual reception with Mars does not bode well. Ernest Heminigway is said to have suffered from a hereditary condition known as haemochromatosis, a disturbance in the metabolism in which an excess of iron becomes concentrated in the blood and in such vital organs as the liver. It is in a sense a form of metal poisoning, and like other metal poisoning (mercury or lead for example) can be accompanied by neurological/psychiatric disorder. If we were looking for an astrological determination for this, in this chart, then Mercury/Mars is it.

There is one planet in the chart that forms a positive reception with all three of these planets. The Moon. She is in Saturn’s domicile, in the exaltation of Mars and in the terms of Mercury. Too bad she is in detriment. Weakened as she is, we might consider her as acting as Saturn’s helper. (She is disposited by Saturn) She is the Lady of the 11th house, that of hopes and wishes and friends. She also disposits both Venus and the Sun, who are both in the 11th house. She represents the imaginative faculties that accompanied Ernest Hemingway’s terse (Saturn) writing style. He used the image of an iceberg to describe his style. Use few words, but be evocative so that the reader fills in the rest (the 80% of the iceberg that is hidden in the water).

Now to “The Old Man and the Sea”, Ernest Hemingway’s description of his Lord of the Geniture. Saturn in his natal chart is in the 4th house, retrograde in Sagittarius. In the novella the old man is described as, salao, the worst form of unlucky. He has gone eighty-four days without taking a fish. He is thin and gaunt and has blotches of benevolent skin cancer on his cheeks and his hands are scared from handling heavy fish on the cords. But they are old scars, as “…old as erosions in a fishless desert.” The old man is a hunter in the wrong element. But nevertheless a hunter, with the same endurance and ambivalence toward the animal he is hunting. He both respects and praises the beauty of the Marlin he has caught and at the same time wishes its death. A hint of his true element is given in the last line of the novella when the old man dreams of hunting lions in a desert. This is the true home for Saturn in Sagittarius. The story is not called “The Old Man and the Marlin”, but “The Old Man and the Sea”. In a sense the old man is out of his element, and all of his bad luck is a reflection of this. The story tells of his battle with the sea, which takes on a heroic character. It is a story about endurance.

A well dignified Saturn would have been in his element and not peregrine. But then a well dignified Saturn would have told another story.

I would like to return to the question, “What quality must the Lord of the Geniture have?” And it is here that it becomes clear that birth charts have different qualities. Some lives are like a classic comedy, in spite of initial difficulties everything unfolds into a happy-ever-after. Other lives are tragic. Initial difficulties get worse, and in the end the protagonist perishes. The great tragedies move us the most. Why? They demonstrate that part of human nature which struggles to master adversity. It is Faustean and may even have a ‘devil’ as a companion or if you wish like Job, with the ‘devil’ as taskmaster. So the Lord or Lady of the Geniture may not or cannot be (as the chart doesn’t offer the least possibility of this ) the fairy-godmother that makes everything work out in the end.

*****************************************************
solar return (relocated) for 1960:
Mars conj. Algol conj. Asc.
Mars in detriment in sextile to Mercury who receives him in his fall.
Mercury conj. Pollux
antiscion Moon conj. radix SN

July 2, 1961 solar return directions:
opposition of antiscion of Saturn directed to Asc. (converse)
conjunction of antiscion of Saturn to MC

lunar return (relocated) for June-July 1961:
Saturn lunar return in opposition to radix Sun

July 2, 1961 lunar return directions:
square of Saturn directed to Asc.

secondary progressions:
Mercury conj. radix Mars
antiscion of Sun opposition radix Saturn (by 1 degree)

transits:
Saturn opposition to Sun

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6 thoughts on “Ernest Hemingway’s Lord of the Geniture or the “Old Man and the Sea”

  1. Dear Thomas

    Thank you so much for this, and whilst agreeing with everything you say regarding countless debilitated charts not possessing a fairy godmother, I can totally understand why finding the ‘correct’ Lord of the Geniture is such a hotly contested subject. I am beginning to think it all depends upon ‘creative’ accounting, in that depends upon just what Table of Dignities we use!

    If I hadn’t just read your last article promoting Saturn, I think I would have suggested Venus as Ernest Hemingway’s LoG. But this would be because unlike you, I have used Schoener’s table of dignities, which like the Dorothean ones, puts Venus in her own triplicity, thus taking away her peregrine status. This, added to the 15 points she scores from Schoener’s hylegical points, together with Venus’s succedent house position, her conjunction to the pre-natal sysygy, and her conjunction by antiscion to the pre-natal eclipse, puts her in a pretty strong position as a contender for the LoG n’est ce pas?

    Or do you think that the above is because I still want to believe in fairy godmothers?

    Love
    CarO

  2. Dear CarO,

    Joh. Schöner’s method is of course not failsafe. It is useful for orientation when one is confronted with a difficult chart.

    To arrive at 15 points you must have used all of the triplicity rulers. I reduced this to only one ruler, that of the time, so as to reduce the number of ‘hits’ for each planet. The reasoning being, try to reduce the possibilities so that it is clearer which planet is stronger. If we use Schöner’s table then it is the Moon that has the most dignities followed by Saturn. Then it is a question of judging whether the Moon or Saturn are the guiding planet! Saturn is still in a better condition than the Moon, although as pointed out in the article the Moon may be considered, weakened as she is by detriment, to be a helper. Being in detriment does not mean a planet is evil. It is weak.

    If Saturn hadn’t been in exact opposition to the pre-natal eclipse then Venus’ conjunction to the pre-natal syzygy might have been a point in her favour. I think however that an eclipse may be said to ‘trump’ the syzygy. Also the conjunction by antiscion is close but not to the degree. Again this would have been another point in her favour.

    I think the conclusive testimony for Saturn as LoG comes from Ernest Hemingway himself! “The Old Man and the Sea” is autobiographical and far more intimately than he realized! There is nothing feminine in his writing, nor choice of content. His inspiration comes from elsewhere.

    Fairy Godmothers are nice but I don’t think he had one and quite honestly I don’t think he would have accepted one!

    Thank you for your thoughts. Perhaps someone might like to argue that the Moon should be LoG?

    love,
    Thomas

  3. Dear Thomas

    (Th.) To arrive at 15 points you must have used all of the triplicity rulers. I reduced this to only one ruler, that of the time so has to reduce the number of ‘hits’ for each planet.

    ~~ Caro ~~ I used only the most commonly accepted Dorothean Triplicity ruler of the time for Schoener’s 5 Hylegical points. I normally use these for my own natal work where I also include the MC as a factor which Schoener unaccountably doesn’t, so I have left it out here.

    Ascendant: In Triplicity and Term of Venus = 5 points
    Sun: Venus’s Triplicity = 3 points
    Moon: Venus’s Triplicity = 3 points
    Fortuna: Venus’s Term = 2 points
    Syzygy: Venus’s Triplicity = 3 points

    Which shows I can’t count as this adds up to 16 😉

    (Th.) I think the conclusive testimony for Saturn as LoG comes from Ernest Hemingway himself! “The Old Man and the Sea” is autobiographical and far more intimately than he realized! There is nothing feminine in his writing, nor choice of content. His inspiration comes from elsewhere.

    ~~Caro~~ Agreed.

    (Th.) Fairy Godmothers are nice but I don’t think he had one and quite honestly I don’t think he would have accepted one!

    ~~ Caro: No. Maybe he wouldn’t have come to such an untimely end if he had? I just thought I would offer this to show how using different factors throw up totally different LoG’s. I wonder why Schoener didn’t include the MC like almost everyone else did?

    Looking forward to your next :0)

    Love
    CarO

  4. Hello CarO!

    Well then I can’t count either !!

    The following link will take you to the original text from Joh. Schöner’s Opera Mathematica:

    http://digital.slub-dresden.de/sammlungen/werkansicht/265482437/87/

    As you will see he includes both the ptolemaic and chaldean rulerships! Only the upper table is in the translation.

    CarO -I just thought I would offer this to show how using different factors throw up totally different LoG’s.

    Point taken. Yes you are quite right. That is why I suggest the use of his table as a means of orientation, for those difficult cases. This is one. Even then it is up to the judgement of the astrologer to weigh all of the factors and come to reasonable conclusion. But after weighing the factors I find that Saturn is the best choice. I don’t want to exclude another possibility, some readers are probably shaking their heads with amazement at such a choice, but it seems the most plausible. And if a better argument is found than it is welcome!

    Your bid for Venus is good. The question is would she have been able to have pulled Mercury out of his difficult situation? What lesson would she have given him? How would she have guided him?
    The receptions speak against it. Mercury ignores her and Mars is in her fall. This chart is really tricky.

    The real question is why search for a Lord or Lady of the Geniture in the first place?

    Perhaps this should be addressed.

    love,
    Thomas

  5. Dear Thomas

    (Th.). . . Your bid for Venus is good. The question is would she have been able to have pulled Mercury out of his difficult situation? What lesson would she have given him? How would she have guided him? The receptions speak against it. Mercury ignores her and Mars is in her fall. This chart is really tricky.

    ~~ CarO ~~ OK, I will give up on Venus then! You are right, she looks a bit moodily self-indulgent sitting there comfort-drinking whilst the Moon glares balefully back!

    (Th.) The real question is why search for a Lord or Lady of the Geniture in the first place?

    ~~ CarO (putting hand up!) ~~

    We need a LoG for several reasons.

    1) Because the LoG is one of the basic factors taken into consideration when assessing the temperament!

    2) It is usually the most ‘influential’ planet in the birthchart, being the planet whose dignities are most occupied by other planets, and therefore will have a very strong effect on the character and behaviour irrespective of other configurations.

    3) Because a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. The LoG can provide an ideal to aspire to, or a fairy godmother to guide us, depending on our needs, and also depending on us identifying the right planet of course!

    (Th.) Perhaps this should be addressed.

    ~~ CarO ~~ Yes please Thomas, I am all ears. 🙂

    Love
    CarO

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