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