“Life is never fair… and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.” Lord Goring in An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde
This week-end (today is Sunday February 3rd 2019) sees the Celtic festival of Imbolc, the beginning of the year. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that as a neo-pagan you get a second chance at all those resolutions.
Here is a new project which I’m calling Drama by Transit. Each month for the next year I’m taking a look at a significant piece of the astrology of the life and times of a prominent theatrical figure. I have chosen as a starting point the twice-in-a-millenium conjunction of Pluto and Neptune which sounds a cultural base note every time it happens. This mighty lineup of the Lord of the Underworld and the Lord of Illusion last occurred in the 1890s and, (would you agree?), ever since, there has been an ongoing explosive expansion in communication in all its forms; from use of language itself to all the many mediums of expression which have never been as widely available as they are today.
Below is the natal chart of Oscar Wilde. Take a look and see if you agree with my observations below… I have emboldened and italicized the astrology so you can skip it if you prefer.
Virgo ascends at 15 degrees, and Saturn in Gemini in the 10th is almost exactly square, within 12 minutes of arc. Mercury is the chart ruler. It’s no surprise then, to know of Oscar Wilde’s use of language. The witticisms of his plays exactly express Saturn in Gemini, the humor is frequently sardonic, and the verbal jousting his characters engage in is full of contradistinctions and fanciful analytics.
Mercury in Scorpio in the 3rd suggests an intensity and early facility with learning, the South node is here too, also in Scorpio, suggesting someone at home in the mental realm and with native talent for deeper understanding. Mars in Sagittarius in the 3rd lends vigor and playful expansiveness to an intellectual quest and Uranus in Taurus in the 9th opposite Mercury, while carrying a love of surprises and challenges made manifest on the physical plane, stimulates original expression.
Venus un-aspected in her dignity in Libra in the 2nd which she rules, also rules the 9th while Mars her erotic counterpart rules the 3rd, one can imagine this is someone who gained sensual pleasure from intellectual pursuit.
Straddling the 5th house cusp at 16 and 19 degrees respectively we find Chiron and Jupiter conjunct in Capricorn. This conjunction is the apex of a yod with Saturn in the 10th sextile the Moon in the 11th. That Oscar Wilde’s point of greatest sensitivity should land almost exactly on his 5th house cusp indicates that his romantic activities would render him extremely vulnerable. The same Chiron/Jupiter conjunction is trine Uranus and forms a mini grand trine with Neptune in Pisces conjunct the descendant. We see here a flair for the unconventional, the extraordinarily sensitive and probably highly romanticized attitude to relationship, with a strong tendency to play either victim or redeemer. The Mercury Uranus opposition is the base line of a T-Square to the Moon in Leo in the 11th. This is someone who needs to be seen as a maverick, who needs to entertain, and must find a way to do it in a public forum.
I mention all this because: on 14th February (Valentime’s Day) 1895, the opening night of the original London production of The Importance of Being Earnest, the aforementioned conjunction of Pluto and Neptune was connecting significantly with Oscar Wilde’s personal chart. Pluto was at 9′ 48″ Gemini and Neptune at 13 ‘ 01″ These points are within a little over 1 degree, and just over 2 and a half degrees of his Midheaven and his Saturn respectively.
So on the opening night of The Importance – surely Oscar’s greatest masterpiece – Pluto, the great transformer was close to his point of highest aspiration, and Neptune who bestows glamour was sprinkling frivolous glitter on the Lord of Form (Saturn) in the arena of language (Gemini) precisely in Oscar Wilde’s 10th house of career and reputation.His success as a playwright (he’d already had three plays in the West End), was enormously enhanced and he was, for a brief time, the most celebrated dramatist of the English language.
What a difference a few months can make, and how a seemingly beneficent influence can turn. When Oscar Wilde’s trial for Gross indecency began in early May of that same year 1895, Pluto (ruling taboo and disclosure) was exactly conjunct his midheaven, and when sentence was passed a few weeks later Neptune (ruling illusion and disillusion) was then exactly conjunct his Saturn, both conjunctions to within less than one degree of arc.
Oscar Wilde’s fall from Grace finds echoes today. Homosexual orientation and practice is no longer forbidden in England or the English-speaking world, but at the time of writing Pluto (ruling upheaval and the rising to the light of hidden things) is at work in Capricorn (which rules institutions generally: government, churches, banks …), and Neptune is in Pisces, where we find myth, storytelling and entertainment – consider the sudden fall of many celebrities and/or politicians who are suddenly made into burnt toast through accusation and disclosure.
Fast forward now 122 years (almost exactly half the orbital period of Pluto, and almost exactly one quarter of the Pluto/Neptune cycle…)
Below is a bi-wheel with Oscar’s chart as the inner circle, the outer circle shows the transits on January 31st 2017 when the British parliament singed into law a pardon for 50,000 homosexual men, among them Oscar Wilde.
The really significant transits are:
- The Pluto/Mercury conjunction sitting closely over Oscar’s Chiron/Jupiter and straddling the 5th House cusp.
- Neptune by transit has almost completed exactly one orbit of the Sun since Oscar’s birth year and is now closely conjunct his Descendant.
- Pluto the great transformer, Lord of death and rebirth, re-visits Oscar Wilde’s most sensitive, most wounded place, and through Mercury (who alone of the Gods may go to the underworld and return to the light) communicates his new status.
- The sacrificial adventure, which required Oscar to give his life, is completed. The orbit of Neptune closes the circle and Oscar’s relationship to the rest of us is restored as a master of language. One that challenged convention, but tasted life’s bitterest trials.
All of the above is a long way to wonder if Oscar Wilde, one of the greatest dramatic wordsmiths of all time, performed a singular service in his destiny. From our present perspective his treatment at law seems primitive at best, barbaric at worst, and highlights the long awaited restitution in law of generations of injustice.
Meanwhile, the mighty outer planets beam their influence to the Earth in ways unacknowledged by science. The same dramas occur in different guises and they lose no power to surprise us.
The astrology seems exact.