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.