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Vincent Van Gogh


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  • More than a hundred years ago died an eminent artist whose life was characterized by adversity, misery, distress, anguish, poverty etc. Whatever he did, be it as a teacher, a clergyman or as an art-dealer, it was impossible for him to obtain a firm footing. He was a superidealist, a misunderstood genius and an unappreciated artist. It is not our intention to follow out his chart into detail. What does interest us is to find out whether this new system can show us without a doubt as well the eminent artist and the genius as the schizophrenic.


  • In one and the same personality genius and schizophrenia can be closely akin. In trying to find out the most crucial factors in someone's natal chart, we give priority to factors that oppose one another. To start with we examine the layout of the planets, Ascendant and Midheaven in the signs so as to find out whether an exaggerated preponderance can be found in one of the elements. In Vincent's radix we have the following: 48% fire, 14% earth, 0% air and 38% water. This means fire against water. If you add the inner chart, you get 47.5% fire, 16% earth, 11.5% air and 25% water - which gives the same result: fire against water. This combination is responsible for strong emotional feelings and moods: now one is praising to the skies, then again one feels quite wretched. Bear in mind what happens in a steamkettle: a surplus of energy is being built up and unless it can be released in a safe way, it explodes. This means we are dealing with a passion-dynamic nature, with someone who is very likely to act on what his feelings tell him to do. Losing one's temper can be a logical result of it. There's only a bit of air in the inner chart, and none whatsoever in the radix. This must needs give a suffocating feeling, especially when one has to eat one's heart out. A chain reaction is not that unlikely.

  • We, humans, have to learn how to deal with ourselves and with our fellow-men, how to accept oneself and the other person for what one is. Van Gogh's persona, i.e. his outer appearance, his form (Asc rad), is Cancer (water). The counterbalancing factor, the inner appearance, his anima, the shadow (Asc inn) is in Sagittarius (fire). The outer sensitive, timid, shy, reserved, waiting attitude of Cancer can be levelled, counterbalanced, compensated for by the inner straightforward, energetic, enthusiastic, idealistic zeal of Sagittarius. In brief, the Shadow offers the Form the possibility to increase the feeling of self-respect and self-esteem which is exactly what Cancer is wanting in everyday reality. The inner airy, lighthearted way of dealing with other people (Desc inn Gemini) compensates for the outer dogmatic, (too) conscientious, shy and reserved attitude of Desc rad Capricorn. Remains to be seen whether that what is present in the inner life, can be made 'concrete'. More often than not such a thing proves to be a hard nut to crack. Because of this ambivalent attitude and through overcompensation one part can be repressed by the other, finally resulting in too much one-sidedness in the structure of someone's character. Jung called this enantiodromia

  • In Vincent's chart Sagittarius is clearly over-amplified. Except for Asc rad, there is nothing in Cancer, whereas its ruler, Moon rad, has an outstanding position in Sagittarius: it forms a conjunction with Jupiter rad and both of them are being inspired by the inner Sun. Moreover, Moon rad -150- Asc rad, which denies as it were its origin. Last but not least, Vincent's Ueber-Ich, Asc inn, forms a conjunction with its inner ruler, Jupiter inn, also in Sagittarius. And that's exactly how it was: he felt out of place wherever he was. Being a man who loved nature, staying for quite some time in one and the same place made him feel bad and oppressed (lack of air in his chart). He had a strong inborn urge for creativity and expansion (Sun inn) and as such working and travelling, either geographically or in thought, made him feel at ease and gave him real peace of mind (inner <---> outer). No small wonder that Van Gogh could feel so inspired by Mother Nature! His chart shows it without a shadow of doubt. We don't have to assume anything at all. Being inspired by this inner Sun, Vincent himself (Moon rad, ruler Asc rad) could manifest all the creative capacities which result from this rootcomplex. In the first instance: faith and confidence in his own ability and talent and in his own work (strictly personal factors involved in house 6). Secondly, he had a strong inner urge to prove himself in life, to get the honour he deserved, to be acknowledged for his qualities and his creative work. He was in no want of idealism or religious zeal.

  • And here's where Neptune inn -o- MC rad Pisces comes into the picture. It enhances one's sensibility and sensitivity, one's awareness of and responsiveness to the subtle undercurrents of human interactions. It gives access to higher cosmic consciousness and made it possible for him to hear, see and feel things that lie beyond everyday life. He unconsciously absorbed the ideas and mental outlook of those around him. His inner dreams and mystical qualities were aroused and easily hurt by what happened all around him, in the external and material world. His idealism and inner conviction made him feel destined to perform a mission in the world that would lift many people around him to a greater attainment and spirituality. In fact this rootcomplex stands for 'religious leader'. Neptune rad is the ruler of MC rad and as such it represents one's position in society, one's profession. In Vincent's chart vocation and profession make one whole: Neptune inn -o- Neptune rad. The still, small voice within told him what to do in the outer world. It inspired him to become a clergyman. It not only inspired him, it was also being inspired, for his father (Neptune rad, ruler MC) was a clergyman as well. Like father like son. Moreover, Neptune rad also rules house 9. Vincent can't but feel destined to speak of what he thinks to be the ultimate truth and the ideal. Neptune rad, ruler of MC rad in house 9, takes him abroad. Vincent did not become a clergyman for the rich and wealthy, for with Neptune inn -o- MC rad Pisces, he had an open heart for the suffering of mankind. Knowing that Saturn represents people who have to work hard for their daily bread, knowing that Saturn represents mines and miners, is it any wonder, then, that Neptune rad -60- Saturn rad (ruler Desc rad in house 11) took him to the paupers of the Borinage in Belgium? One should never forget Vincent wanted to be a clergyman in the first instance. This inner Shadow follewed the Form wherever he went.

  • Why did it go wrong? Here you should remember the one-sidedness of Vincent's chart structure in Sagittarius (fire!). Sun inn -o- = Moon/Jup rad -90- MC rad (and for some who don't bother for a large degree of orb, Moon rad -90- Nep rad, perhaps to be able to explain things) is responsible for his all too zealous and ambitious approach to life. Whatever he did, emotional extremism in some form was always present. Each time he had a rude awakening. His high ideals and dreams of the future did not agree with what he experienced in everyday life, with the unexpected blows of reality. He didn't make it as a clergyman and renounced his religion. On the other side, Mr. Public (MC rad) did not understand his strange behaviour.

  • Sun inn -o- South Node and o-o North Node. According to Ebertin the nodes represent association, contacts, relationship etc. In Gemini-Sagittarius there is an inner eye (Sun inn) for whatever through contacts can give scope for self-expression, self-realization, self-fulfilment. Here we see Vincent's strong inner urge to enter into a relation with like-minded people. This potential urge can be made concrete through the conjunction with Moon rad (ruler of Asc rad, so Vincent himself). Moon -o- Jup rad made him emotionally quickly roused to, all aflame for all what was new, gave him as it were inexhaustible fervour to make contacts as well on the personal as on the more mundane level. We shouldn't forget all this is situated in Yang and as such, appeasing its search and longing for contacts, friendship, love and the like is for this I an absolute must. Hence he availed himself of every opportunity to go hither and thither.

  • This whole 'contact axis' makes a nice triangle to Mercury rad (ruler of 3 and 4). If Vincent hadn't had his brother Theo, who did his utmost to understand Vincent's character and who took care of him as a real father, one might wonder whether anyone would ever have known about his existence. We wouldn't have had any letters, would we? We wouldn't have been able to read about his struggle with himself, about his life between hope and fear, about his not being able to find inner peace, about fits of madness.

  • Mercury rad, however, goes -90- Asc-Desc rad, which emphasizes once again how impulsive and quick-tempered he can be in his self-expression and communication with parents (Merc ruler IC rad), partners and the public. Overcompensation is the exact word for it. Vincent did not know where to draw the line. He exaggerated in nearly everything he did.

  • Our so-called 'contact axis' also goes -90- MC rad, Mars rad and Venus rad. Mercury is the ruler of IC rad and Venus rad is the co-ruler. All those squares indicate it was quite a problem to cope with this character. Vincent was the one who felt out of it, he was the ugly duckling. At home he did not find the affection and tenderness his Asc rad Cancer so badly needed. Moon (ruler Asc rad) -90- IC rad and -90- Venus rad (co-ruler IC rad) indicates the possibility of a mother-complex. As a matter of fact, to his mother he was but a weak replacement for her first born who died a year before he was born. At school (Merc rad, ruler 3) it was not fun. It was rather painful for him to hear pupils him call him 'the red one' (he was redhaired and he had the temper of fire). Moon/Jup rad -90- Mars/Venus rad clearly tell us he had bad experiences with love-affairs. How painful and distressful things could be for him when he had problems with his friends he made clear by his cutting off an ear of his (self-destructive tendency).

  • When this immense craving for love and tenderness in contacts and professional life cannot be appeased in a reasonable way - and the radix squares clearly prove the inherent presence of disappointing experiences - , Asc rad Cancer is but a helpless figure, quite alone and Desc rad Capricorn looks ahead in low spirits and takes a rather grave view of the future.

  • Does this prove one is insane, mad? Of course not. One need not be a psychiatrist to know that psycho-pathological symptoms have to do with one's inner structure. We are the humble opinion this system makes it possible to do the same - in a much shorter time. Have a close look at this part of Vincent's chart:


  • To simplify the drawing, we have deliberately omitted to draw the lines between Saturn inn - Neptune rad and Neptune inn - IC rad. What is clear, though, is that we have a continuous input and output, closed circuits as it were, such as Sun inn -o- = Moon/Node/Jup rad -90- MC rad = -o- Nep inn -90- Sun inn.

  • Everything what has so far been said gets a very personal character due to its conjunction with Moon rad (ruler Asc rad), MC and IC rad. These aspects tell us the following:

    • Sun inn -90- Nep inn
      • problems with one's self-expression
      • very easily influenced; over-emphasized imagination
      • avoiding individual responsibility and discipline
      • strong tendency to deceive oneself
      • distorting perception of reality; hallucinations
      • disintegration of one's personality

    • Sun inn -90- Sat inn
      • frustrations with one's self-expression; easily hurt
      • father-complex; idea of being a failure; pessimistic
      • feelings of loneliness; depressive; hypochondriac
      • wants to die [suicidal tendencies]

    • Sat inn -90- Nep inn
      • deep-rooted and hard to diagnose psychological problems
      • subject to irrational fears, anxieties, neuroses or phobias
      • chronic mental illness; schizophrenia

  • As already stated, in one and the same personality genius and schizophrenia can be closely akin - and it is very unlikely anybody will deny van Gogh's paintings show it. There are many formsof schizophrenia and nobody really knows what exactly it is. Psychiatrists themselves are in fundamental disagreement about its nature. One thing is certain, though: schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes the sufferer to act irrationally, have delusions, withdraw from social relationship. He has problems with normal social situations and with himself: he doesn't trust them any more. Thinking, feeling, willing and acting can no longer be integrated. To Ronald Laing schizophrenia is an adventurous journey in one's inner world - and that's exactly the case with van Gogh. According to anti-psychiatry environmental factors, in the first instance one's childhood in one's own home and family, play an important role, nay, are even the cause in its onset. Van Gogh's childhood wasn't exactly that pleasant!

  • Vincent van Gogh was haunted by Saturn inn o-o Neptune inn (-o- MC rad and -o- Neptune rad). Neptune spiritualizes and knows no boundaries whereas Saturn materializes and represents but boundaries. They are as opposed to one another as can possibly be. Through Sun inn Vincent oscillates between extremes of feeling, between heaven and earth, between exaltation and depression, so to speak. Through Moon rad he shows this in his outer appearance, in his personality, in his Form. No wonder nobody understood him. On the other hand, those two mighty opponents made him extremely receptive to influences from the outer world: every disappointment, every rude awakening, all pain and suffering, all misery and distress, be it in his personal love contacts or in his more social contacts, everything went deep into his inner being and stirred what was already there (In our opinion, the whole inner chart stands for the total karma-pattern of all previous lives.). Notice that Saturn, being the preeminent receptacle for all sorts of experiences, does not intend to release any of the painfully experienced ones, on no account in the sign that indulges in details! As soon as the psychic bucket is full, he and Neptune start haunting and tormenting. It has been stated that Vincent was never in want of enthusiasm, that he suffered from impulsiveness. But that was only one side of the shield. The other side had a corresponding size - if not a bigger onet The psycho-pathological description of Sun-Saturn-Neptune puts things quite candidly and plainly. How lonely this man must have felt with his Sun inn -c- Saturn inn and practically no air in his chart! It must have been an awfully suffocating feeling. In the end there was only one remedy the subconsciousness could think of to defend itself: suicide.

  • We would have liked to discuss the progressions that led to that unfortunate day. But we must adhere to space limitations (Saturn)!

  • It was not our purpose to convince anybody. All we wanted to do was to invite those astrologers who are not afraid "to explore new worlds and new civilizations and to boldly go where no man has gone before", in search of Man's True Being. And just as science-fiction is more science than fiction, so is this system. But you must dare to boldly go where your predecessors have not gone before and find out for yourself. I for one have never regretted it.

 
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Last modified: April 06, 2011