Vincent van Gogh: Solar Return Charts (2)


Solar return 1876

Solar return 1876: Paris, France

In 1876, when he is fired because he could not deal with customers, the Ascendant picked up on the Saturn motif of 1869. The Ascendant of the solar return chart for this year is at 16 Sagittarius. Mercury in the solar return chart is at 18 Pisces. So, as with Saturn in 1869, it is square the solar return Ascendant. It is of course also trine the radical Ascendant, which might explain why Vincent accepted his dismissal without protest. The North Node in the solar return chart, at 29 Pisces, is conjunct radical Venus.

The 22 degree mutable sign axis, in which the Nodes and the MC/IC axis are bound, is of particular interest as the MC/IC are at the midpoints of the Nodes. Werner Haftmann, in his book on “Painting in the 20th Century” also devoted a beginning chapter to Vincent van Gogh (I will be quoting him a few times in this series) says of Vincent,

“Gaunt, awkward, red-headed, highly-strung, he took everyone but himself for a genius. Given to dreams of universal brotherhood and love, he met with indifference everywhere. Like all lonely men, he was either taciturn or over-talkative… He talked like a lout, his ideas were expressed in a hopeless muddle. The truth was that he grew muddled because he was full of ideas which got in each other’s way when he tried to express them…”

This passage describes the effects of a peregrine Moon and Mercury in impetuous fire signs, but also the effect of the conjunction of a cadent Lady of the Ascendant (Moon) along with her essentially dignified, but cadent dispositor and Lord 10 (Jupiter) to the South Node. Vincent was not capable of recognising his own genius. Even in 1890, when he was finally beginning to gain recognition and declared by Aurier in an article in “Le Mercure de France” as a renewer of the art of painting, he instead of thanking the author wrote a detailed letter explaining that this wasn’t his but Gaugin’s achievement!

We will see this axis activated in 1880 and 1887, two significant years in his life. In 1880 solar return Mars is at 22 Gemini and the solar return antiscion of Mercury is at 22 Virgo. In 1887 the Ascendant is at 21 Virgo 28

3 thoughts on “Vincent van Gogh: Solar Return Charts (2)

  1. Solar Return 1876 Paris: France

    Thomas said:
    “The 22 degree mutable sign axis, in which the Nodes and the MC/IC axis are bound, is of particular interest as the MC/IC are at the midpoints of the Nodes”.

    ~~ CarO ~~ Nice catch Thomas! So Vincent’s natal MC was at the ‘bendings’ of the 1876 solar return Nodes when he was sacked from his job as an art dealer! :0)

    I was rather ignorant about Van Gogh’s life and so looking at the 1876 solar return and eyeballing the return NN conjunct radical Venus I had assumed that he took up painting seriously as a profession that year. But Wicked-pedia says that 1876 was the year that Van Gogh was imbued with religious zeal and he became an unpaid Methodist missionary and teacher! That s.r. NN seems to have pushed his radical exalted 10th house Piscean Venus really ‘over the top’ n’est ce pas?!

    What do you think?


  2. Hello Caroline,
    Yes indeed! The seeds for “art” were also laid in this period.
    Although written in 1881 the following excerpt from a letter to Theo gives us some idea of what role Venus has in Vincent’s life:

    “You see, for me that God of the clergy is as dead as a doornail. But does that make me an atheist? Clergymen consider me one – que soit – but you see, I love, and how could I feel love if I were not alive myself or if others were not alive, and if we are alive there is something wondrous about it. Now call that God or human nature or whatever you like, but there is a certain something I cannot define systematically, although it is very much alive and real, and you see, for me that something is God or as good as God. You see, when in due course my time comes, one way or other, to die, well, what will keep me going even then? Won’t it be the thought of love (moral or immoral love, what do I know about it?)

    And good heavens, I love Kee Vos for a thousand reasons,

    but precisely because I believe in life and in something real I am no longer as given to abstractions as before, when I had more or less the same ideas about God and religion as Kee Vos seems to have now.

    I am not giving her up, but that spiritual crisis with which she is perhaps struggling must be given time, and I am prepared to be patient about it and nothing she says or does now makes me angry. But while she cherishes and clings to the old, I must work and keep my mind clear for painting and drawing and for business. So I did what I did from a need for affection and for reasons of mental hygiene.”

    The whole letter can be found here;


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