I posted this article in October, but according to the statistics on it, there didn’t seem to be much interest. Now I am not sure whether they are dull or whether the time at which they were published was not opportune. Please be so friendly as to give me some feedback so that I know whether solar return charts are of interest. I had planned to go through the following 6 years in detail, but will only take the time if there is an interested public!
I examined six critical years in Vincent van Gogh’s life:
- 1869 Vincent begins his apprenticeship with Goupil
- 1876 Vincent is fired
- 1880 Vincent decides to become a painter
- 1887 Vincent moves to Arles in this solar year
- 1888 Vincent’s fateful meeting with Gaugin and his first nervous breakdown (cuts part of his left ear off)
- 1890 Vincent’s (unintended?) suicide
The major planetary clusters in Vincent van Gogh’s chart are in mutable signs; Sagittarius (Moon, South Node and Jupiter) and Pisces (MC, Mars and Venus). And so I will be concentrating my attention first on any solar return activity in these signs, where conjunctions, oppositions and squares to the central planetary configurations of the natal chart are made. It is generally a good idea to look for patterns in a whole series of solar return charts, instead of looking at each year seperately. In each of the above years one set of the mutable signs is on an axis. In 1869, 1876, 1880 and 1887 it is the Ascendant/Descendant axis. In 1887, 1888 and 1890 it is the MC/IC axis.
In 1869, solar return Mercury (14 Pisces), L1, is square solar return Saturn (17 Sagittarius), L10. Saturn is also conjunct the radical Moon. This means that the radical Moon/Jupiter and Mars/Venus configuration is activated. In addition solar return Venus conjuncts radical Venus. Solar return Jupiter (L10 of the radix) also conjuncts natal Mercury. So we have both a focus on learning the profession of art dealer, with all its accompanying communicative difficulties. Vincent also has first encounters with the art of painting, albeit passively. There are of course other aspects that are of interest. Solar return Mars interestingly enough is conjunct solar return North Node (15 Leo) and so exactly square natal Saturn (15 Taurus)*. This means that Saturn is at the midpoint between both nodes. The opposite midpoint is occupied by solar return Moon (13 Scorpio) This is interesting as both Moon and Saturn are activated in both charts, one by conjunction, the other by opposition. Both are rulers of the Asc/Descendant axis of the natal chart. I’m not surprised that solar return Mars is in the 4th house, the choice of this apprenticeship was not Vincents idea, it was made for him by his family. They were the driving force behind the decision. Vincent was after all only 16 years old.
* You might also want to note that the antiscion of solar return Mars is at 14 Taurus and so conjunct natal Saturn!