Another Way of Looking at the Lord of the Geniture: Ernest Hemingway again

In my articles on “Looking for the Lord of the Geniture” and on Ernest Hemingway’s Lord of the Geniture I proposed Saturn as Lord. In this article I would like to look at his chart from the Jyotisha perspective. Remember that Jyotisha uses the constellations and not the signs of the zodiac called by the same name. This means that through precession of the equinox the placements, as compared to a tropical horoscope are roughly 23 degrees earlier.

The first thing we want to do is to examine the condition of the ‘personal’ sensitive points of the chart. These are the ascendant, Sun and Moon. Let us begin with the
ascendant. We have a Leo ascendant joined by Mercury and Mars. The first house shows ones entry into the world, ones appearance and the impact of the personality on the
environment. Mercury, lord 2 the natural significator of writing is also lord of the 2nd house, the house of literary gifts. Mercury is joined by impatient Mars, which influences the writing style, making it abrupt and terse. Mercury and Mars are both aspected by Saturn (Mars fairly closely) from one of Mar’s houses, the 4th. So the literary themes, which are basic life themes for the native, will be of conflict and heroism. No steamy romance novels here. The Saturn aspect is rich in complexity. On the one hand Saturn is a friend of Mercury, so he will help with the discipline of getting the daily word quota done. But Saturn is also an enemy of Mars and in Mar’s house. So Saturn and those represented by Saturn will not be perceived as pleasant guests and will probably take on a nagging quality. It should be noted that this doesn’t encourage marital bliss (Hemingway was married four times). The difficulties provided by partnership are reflected in the Navamsa chart which shows among other things the quality of married life. Sun in its own sign in the first aspected by Saturn in its own sign in the seventh. Sun and Saturn are mutual enemies. And the partner will surely perceive the native to be self-centred and egoistic.

What is the condition of the Sun and Moon? Not so good. The Sun lord of the 1st is in the 12th house and unaspected. This shows isolation. The Moon is with Rahu, the north node, in the 5th, also unpleasant. This is only mitigated by an aspect from Venus. The Moon in the 5th encourages imaginative skills and this certainly helps him as an author. But the Moon as lord of the 12th doesn’t necessarily bring a happy and stable emotional life. True there are moments of beauty and inspiration (Venus) but there are also sudden dark and tempestuous moments as well (Rahu).

Now back to our question about the Lord of the Geniture. In the above chart we once again have three main contenders; Mercury, Mars and Saturn. According to the Jyotish method of weighting the strength of a planet (shad balla) Mercury is immensely strong. It is true that Mars and Mercury are strong by their placement in the 1st house. But, and I think this weighs strongly, Saturn, the only other angular planet, is the planet which has
enormous influence on the first house. He actively aspects the first house and its planets but is not aspected in turn. So in the Jyotic chart I would suggest that Saturn is the Lord of the Geniture, just as I suggested he was in the western chart. Of course, as always, I
welcome arguments that might favour the Moon or Mars. 🙂

Vincent van Gogh, his Chart

It is quite appropriate that Andrew has chosen Vincent van Gogh to demonstrate his thoughts on the Part of Fortune. For my European readers, there is a major exhibition of van Gogh’s work at the Albertina in Vienna.

The proposal of using a phasal Part of Fortune is not conclusive. It is, however, an idea worth considering.

Let us look more closely at Vincent van Gogh’s chart:

First we need to discover the Temperament. The Ascendant is cold and moist Cancer. Its ruler, cold and moist Moon is in her cold and dry third Quarter and in the hot and dry sign of Sagittarius. There are no aspects to the Ascendant The trine of Venus ( hot and moist) and Mars (hot and dry) and the square of Mercury (dry) warm and dry things up considerably. So we have a cool and dry melancholic Moon with a phelgmatic Ascendant (cold and moist) that through the above-mentioned aspects becomes tepid and moist, giving it a more sanguine touch. But we have also to consider any aspects made to the Moon as well as the season and the condition of the Lord or Lady of the Geniture. The Moon is conjunct a hot and moist, oriental Jupiter, this is cooled and dried a little by the conjunction to the South Node and also the trine to occidental Mercury. The season is hot and moist Spring and the Lady of the Geniture, Venus is oriental and also hot and moist. These other factors bring a strong sanguine factor to the forefront. So Vincent van Gogh is basically sanguine with some melancholy. I have chosen Venus as Lady of the Geniture as she is not only in her exaltation and triplicity but also angular. Jupiter would also be a candidate as he is in his own domicile. Unfortunately he is cadent and so I think the accidental dignity of being angular gives Venus precedence.

There is another factor that should not be ignored. The pre-natal eclipse on December 11, 1852 was at 19 Sagittarius in conjunction to the natal Moon. This is very important as it gives a strong lunar focus to the chart. It is not an easy situation as the natal Moon is peregrine, cadent and along with her dispositor, Jupiter conjunct the diminishing and unfortunate South Node. To complicate matters further this cluster of planets is square the Venus/Mars conjunction in the 10th house. Venus as LoG will have a hard time making her influence felt. Mars and Venus are also disposited by Jupiter. It might also be of interest that both the Moon/Jupiter and the Venus/Mars conjunctions are intensified by the planets of each conjunction also being parallel to one another. This is like a double conjunction, and very strong. The planet that is the “bad guy” in the chart, the one that Vincent van Gogh had difficulty in accessing is Mercury. Mercury is peregrine. What makes him difficult is that he is either ignored because of lack of reception (Sun and Saturn) or detested by the other planets. The Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter are all in signs of his detriment. Venus and Mars are also in his fall. Mercury is also Lord 12. Mercury is trine the Moon and Jupiter. Is this good? If we look at the biography we can see that the easy reception of Mercury into his detriment brought many difficulites, not only professionally but also healthwise. Particularly since both Jupiter and the Moon are in the 6th house. Jupiter also Lord of the 6th along with the 10th. We could say that Vincent’s nervous system could not handle the intensity with which his chosen profession was passionately lived. He suffered from nervous exhaustion towards the end of his life.

Vincent did not have an easy time finding his profession. He decided to become a painter fairly late in life. He was twenty-seven. Before that he tried unsuccessfully to establish himself in two highly mercurial professions. The first was as an art dealer for Goupil and Co. and the second as an evangelical preacher in the Borinage (Vincent’s father was a calvinist clergyman). At Goupil he was considered unsuitable because he had problems dealing with customers. Vincent hated, in his eyes, flattery and hypocrisy. While preaching in the Borinage he literally gave all of his possessions to the poor until he only had the clothes on his back. This was considered unacceptable and even shocking to his superiors. It was Venus combined with martian drive that eventually showed him his profession. The square to Moon/Jupiter shows he wasn’t a ‘natural’. All that he accomplished was through intense discipline and hard work.

In the next article we will look at some relevant solar returns.

A Closer Look at Triplicity

Up to now I have used the ptolomaic triplicity rulerships without question. This has changed. The discussion on how different results may be arrived at when using different triplicity rulerships has given cause to pause and think about their usage. It raises questions about how one approaches established tradition. Does one accept unquestioned everything that has been handed down over the centuries from such authorities as Ptolomy or Dorotheus? Even if there are apparent contradictions? This is the passive route. There are however two other courses of action. One either tries to fathom the contradiction or one corrects it. It is clear that any discussion for or against a particular system must come out of the tradition itself.

Jean-Baptiste Morin brings some powerful arguments for their reconsideration. He points out that in a great conjunction or an eclipse one looks to the nature and condition of the ruler of the sign in which the conjunction or eclipse takes place and not to planets that lack rulership there. This means that there should be no exception, not even for the rulerships of the essential dignity by triplicity. His arguments can’t be ignored.

I went through the rulerships as given by Ptolomy, Dorotheus, Schöner and Morin and tabulated them in the following manner. First I marked them from the standpoint of dignity by domicile/exaltation and debility by detriment/fall (table 1). I also marked those planets that are foreign to the triplicities that they are placed in. For example the fire signs are ruled by Mars, Sun and Jupiter respectively. Saturn has no rulership there. He is in fall in Aries and in detriment in Leo. There can also be situations when in a chart a planet is in detriment but at the same time has dignity by triplicity (Venus in Scorpio). This is the source of some consternation.

table 1

table 1

I have also looked at the rulerships in terms of sect (table 2). This seems reasonable as this particular dignity changes by day and by night. So sect must be important here. Otherwise why make the difference? With sect two conditions of the planets can be looked at. First diurnal planets should rule by day and nocturnal planets by night. Secondly in masculine signs the diurnal planet should be masculine and the nocturnal feminine just as in feminine signs the diurnal planet should be feminine and the nocturnal masculine. There is one difficulty here. All the truly feminine planets are nocturnal. The only planet that can be used as diurnal ‘feminine’ is androgynous Mercury.

table 2

If we examine the first table we see that of the four systems only that of Morin uses the domicile rulers of the triplicities consequently. The ptolomaic system uses the Moon for night rulership of the earth triplicity and Venus for the water triplicity. Neither has rulership by domicile in this triplicity. The Moon however is exalted in Taurus as Venus in Pisces, so one might think that that is the reason, but there is a problem, the Moon is also in detriment in Capricorn and Venus is in fall in Scorpio.

Dorotheus’s system (Morin calls it Arabic ) is similar to that of Ptolomy. The day and night rulerships for fire, earth and air are the same. There are two differences however. First the triplicity is extended to three planets with a third planet as partner planet. Ptolomy has only Mars as partner planet for the water triplicity. Second the water triplicity is ordered differently. Venus instead of the Moon has rulership by day and Mars instead of Venus has rulership by night.

Schöner’s system is similar to the Dorothean, at least in the rulerships for the water and air signs. For the fire signs he has Mars as partner instead of Saturn, making use of a true triplicity ruler rather than a ‘stranger’. For the earth signs he switches the Moon to day rulership and instead of Venus introduces the Sun, which is puzzling as the Sun is a ‘stranger’ here.

Morin’s system agrees with the other systems as to choice of day ruler for the fire and air signs. For the water signs Mars as night ruler is in agreement with Dorotheus and Schöner. As noted above his system is the only one that makes consequent use of the triplicity domicile rulers. He also relegates where possible planets that are in detriment or fall to partner planets. With the exception of Mars, he makes the most use of planets that are already in dignity by domicile and exaltation. If you count the number of planets with these dignities you have 8 for Ptolomy and Schöner, 9 for Dorotheus and 11 for Morin. The other systems all have Jupiter as ruler for the night for the fire triplicity. Morin uses Mars. The same is the case for the air triplicity. Instead of Mercury he has Venus as night ruler. The rulerships in the earth triplicity differ the most. Here he has Mercury and Saturn instead of either the Moon, Venus or the Sun. In trying to understand why there are such differences it is helpful to use sect as a criterion. It won’t answer all questions but still resolves a few.

It seems that Ptolomy’s system matches the genders of the planets with the genders of the signs. The fire and air triplicities are all masculine. The earth and water triplicities feminine. The favoured sign is Taurus with one planet each in domicile and exaltation. Scorpio is the problem sign, with one planet in fall, one in detriment and Mars the only planet that is in his domicile is relegated to partner planet. The Dorothean system tries to correct this by giving Mars, a nocturnal planet, rulership by night. This is the only place where it is not in accord with Ptolomy. I still riddle why Schöner gave the Sun night rulership for the earth triplicity. The only reasonable explanation is that by moving the Moon to rulership by day he wanted to compliment her with the other luminary. Morin has tried to use sect a consequently as possible. If a nocturnal planet is available then it is used for night rulership and if possible the gender of sign and rulership is also considered. That is why Mercury is given rulership by day for the feminine earth signs.

What are the consequences? The logical step would be to apply the Morin system of triplicities immediately as they seem to make the most astrological sense. The first thing will be to look with a new eye at already familiar charts and go from there.

We can start with Ernest Hemingway’s chart. Surprise, surprise. If we use Morin’s system Jupiter is no longer peregrine! He also has the most points if we use Schöner’s method of finding the LoG. But he is cadent. Jupiter is the ruler of the 4th house and so deposits Saturn. He is significator for the father. I still think Saturn is LoG. And for my chart? Well, the planet that is LoG is no longer peregrine. Hurrah!!!

More on the Lord of the Geniture

Our exploration of the Lord of the Geniture has shown that there are many different approaches to how the Lord of the Geniture may be considered. As Caroline Allen has pointed out in a comment to the last article:

“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.”

or as Andrew Carter has pointed out (also in a recent comment):

“… (it) describe(s) the disposition and propensities…”

But deeper, more philosophical questions have been raised. One central question is to what extent is the human condition one of free will, and where do determination and Providence play a role? How can this be shown in a chart?

One approach is the remedial approach in which the Lord of the Geniture opens the way to applying determination to planetary determination! But in order to do this we must postulate the following:

  1. Every chart is a momentary reflection of the macrocosm, which is in itself held by the metacosm. (see the article Microcosm, Macrocosm and Metacosm)
  2. Because it reflects only an instant of time no natal chart can be completely harmonious.
  3. The planetary determinations in each chart are unique and must be viewed in their context. This means that each chart unfolds according to its own inner laws. This is seen in directions, progressions, profections and other prognostic methods.
  4. Essential and Accidental Dignity show planetary strength, just as Essential and Accidental Debility show weakness.

The first two premises are inherent to astrology, as it is based on a traditional cosmology and that assumes that there is God. The perfect chart is that before the Fall, when all planets were in their exaltation and remained so. So the chart of any being born in Paradise is the same, as it is rooted in eternity. The movement of the spheres begins at the Fall and so from an astrological standpoint the source of the constant ebb and flow of harmony with disharmony. Disharmony has its expression in ageing, sickness, death and other aspects of mortality. (See also the articles on the Horoscope of the World)

Astrology may then be approached as a means of correcting the general human tendency towards ‘dis-balance’. This is the source of all remedial measures that arise from considering a birth chart. Jyotish astrology makes use of Mantras for example. In western astrology the astrologer may look to the Lord of the Geniture, the most influential planet in the chart. He is that planet that shows which remedial measures may have the best possibility of success in balancing a chart. This is why planets with essential dignity are prime candidates, as they are by nature strong. It generally gets more difficult if there are no planets in a chart that have essential dignity. Here the unique determinations of the chart must be considered and the best possible planet chosen. Any planet with accidental dignity is then a candidate. It may not be essentially strong, but if its position is one of strength then it must be considered. Not only the natal chart but also the pre-natal syzygy and pre-natal eclipse are considered. Lastly the unique mesh of receptions between the planets is judged. A planet with strong dignity but without reception can have little influence. The more a planet is in a ‘hub’ of reception, the better. That is why it is possible for a planet with no essential dignity but with strong accidental dignity and reception to be chosen as the LoG, even when a planet with weak essential dignity but with accidental debility and without appreciable reception is present. The astrologer searches for that planet that can best be used remedially. Some may argue that giving a debilitated planet this role is like giving a pirate the captaincy of a luxury liner. But it depends on the condition of the chart and so other metaphors may have to be used to describe such a situation. For example, the amputation of a limb, is an extreme and damaging remedial measure, but it may be the only possibility of saving someone from gangrene and certain death. An antibiotic that doesn’t do anywhere near the same damage may be too weak to help. And that is why in this particular context I cannot exclude this as a possibility. But here skill and experience are needed. After all amputation is not necessary when an antibiotic might do!

Once Lord of the Geniture is recognized it is possible to find the means where the native’s reach can exceed his grasp (as Caroline has so nicely expressed). This is the use of a planetary determination to, with determination of will, grow out of oneself like that of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

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)

Saturn opposition to Sun