Kathe Kollwitz: Dragon on the Doorstep (2)

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In her diary Käthe Kollwitz devotes many passages to her relationship with her husband, Karl. An entry made in December 1910, after 19 years of marriage, describes her experience quite well:

“Nicht, daß ich ihn nicht doch lieb hätte— ich weiß, daß ich ihn lieb habe — aber es ist ein Wissen, es ist kein Gefühl für ihn da, dieses himmlische, durchströmende, produktive beglückende Liebesgefühl schrumpft immer mehr weg…Karl schrumpft…zusammen, er wird immer kleiner, seine Glieder kürzer, die Haltung eng und unfrei. Das Gesicht verknüllt, faltig, nervös. Ebenso wirke ich.”

“It isn’t as if I didn’t love him – I know that I love him – but it is known and not felt. It is not that heavenly, flowing, productive, feeling of delight that shrivels ever more and more. Karl is dwindling, he gets smaller and smaller, his limbs shorter, his posture narrow and unfree. His face is crumpled up, wrinkled, nervous. I am the same.”

To say that her husband, her partner, seems to shrivel away is a very precise description of the diminishing quality of the South Node. And as the North Node is the complement you can feel her pain that this is so.

She and her husband struggled with this, there are entries where she says they considered separation, but they stayed together.

Seven years later she writes:

“Vorgestern kam er (Karl) überraschend nach dem Atelier. Seit Jahren wieder zum ersten Mal. Es war so sehr nett.”

“Day before yesterday he made a surprise visit to my studio. The first time for years. It was so very nice.”

In the context of this particular chart we see that Jupiter, the dispositor of the South Node is also Lord 7, in his own sign but cadent. Jupiter is in Mercury’s detriment and fall. Mercury is not only Lord 1 but also Lord 10. So Jupiter, the husband, has some real difficulties with his wife and her calling as artist. Although he is cadent, Jupiter is in his own sign and so has some essential dignity. I think the visit described above shows something of her husband coming to terms with her work and bringing recognition.

Käthe Kollwitz: Dragon on the Doorstep (1)

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Käthe Kollwitz* is best known for her graphic art. The pure human depth of her work moved many in her lifetime and does so even now, almost 60 years after her death. She was the first woman to become a member of the Prussian Academy of the Arts (1919) and was expelled from the Academy in 1936, after the national-socialists came into power, for anti-Nazi activism.

As you can see in the chart, Käthe Kollwitz has the Dragon sitting directly on her doorstep. The North Node is one degree inside of the first house. Morever. what is very important for an understanding of the chart is that the Sun/Moon position of the prenatal eclipse (March 6, 1867) at 15 Pisces is exactly conjunct the Descendant. The central theme of this eclipse is focused on “the other”. But with the axis of the Dragon, south node and north node, this takes on increased significance. Her son, Hans Kollwitz in the Introduction to her Diary, “Ich sah die Welt mit liebevollen Blicken” (I saw the world with loving eyes) writes:

“Käthe Kollwitz wird oft nur als ‘die große Mitleidende’ gesehen. Wie oberflächlich aber wäre dieses Mitleid, wenn es nicht gespeist würde durch die Einsicht in die eigenen menschlichen Untergründe und Traurigkeiten.”

“Käthe Kollwitz is often seen as ‘the great compassionate’. But this compassion would be superficial if it weren’t fed by a deep insight in one’s own human depths and sorrows.”

It is the theme of “the other” that is central to her work. And this theme finds expression at a basic existential level. Hunger, Death, War, Pain, Social Unjustice. But as her son says this is not without a cost to herself. The pain she depicts is not merely as an observer but out of a pain experienced out of the depths of her soul. We will find in our later discussion how much the nodes play a role here.

* born in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Poland) on July 8, 1867 at 9:30 am.