It’s possible the much anticipated publication of Dan Brown’s Inferno mid May holds significance beyond the author’s conscious intentions. Just as Stravinsky’s originally controversial The Rite of Spring with its unprecedented outburst of primitive energy belonged with the psychological build up to the WW1, it often happens that productions in literature and the arts offer unconscious prophecy of what society can expect.
The matter is relevant in view of such as the aggressive threats of North Korea which could come to the boil in the wake of April 25th’s lunar eclipse. This falls degree exact on the Mars at 5 Scorpio (Mars equals issues of war) of that nation’s foundation (Sept 12.1948). Korea’s threats should be taken seriously under such aspects. Anyway, it could be that a taste of the Inferno will become part of collective experience before the year is out. Inferno (hell) is not just an item of religious doctrine or something Dante wrote but a recurring archetypal idea which events periodically impose on persons and society.
Lunar eclipses unlike solars don’t introduce new themes. They demand resolution of existing ones within about six months of the time they hit. Korea has decisions affecting us all. This eclipse could introduce a truly Wagnerian period with perhaps a lot of solar if not missile and nuclear activity. 5 Scorpio is explosive – back in 2003 the sun on that degree produced some of the strongest solar flares on record.
Next month I shall have special things to say in relation to Dante’s vision. I shall even present some Hell Passage poetry for today. Here and more modestly I want just to capture and define Dante the man a little. I do so before, as could happen under the excitement Dan Brown seems to generate around any theme, the poet disappears behind not just a veil of riddles and mysteries but alternative theories of hell, heaven and salvation aided by the Eternal Feminine represented by everyone from Beatrice to the Virgin. For Catholics May is the Virgin’s month.
DATING DANTE AND DANTE’S POETRY FROM BIRTH
There is some, but not too much, disagreement about Dante’s birth date today. Most seem sufficiently assured like translator Dorothy Sayers it was late May, and even among the meticulous and cautious Rodden list on Swiss Astrodienst for use of astrologers, a list which tries to avoid anything uncertain, it accepts May 30th 1265 (Julian) and follows Marc Penfield’s chart. If the nativity fell at the end of May at all, the birthday is unlikely to have been a day or two earlier than the 30th because then the moon sign and its aspect would not fit such a notable wanderer and exile, nor again someone who lost his mother early. That much is obvious.
Accordingly for the purposes of astrology the main question is a birth time for the 30th. Birth was supposed to have occurred at the time Saturn was rising, but records were not super accurate. It is more likely that beyond the Saturnian gravity of the poet, which would fit with a first house Saturn, still better fitting his alienation, disappointment and working alone as an artist is Saturn already just risen and behind the ascension in the twelfth house. This gives mid Gemini rising and it is indeed likely since if around 18 degrees of Gemini is correct as Astrodienst’s chart assumes, then the DANTE asteroid follows it within the first house at 22 degrees. Names don’t have to be in that position, but they often are. We can now examine the rest of the pattern and it becomes hard to think birth date and time could be wrong especially once one starts adding the name, place and concept asteroids, a little used but very accurate tool in modern astrology. There are simply too many striking coincidences and expressive details at work.
(For Dante’s horoscope which WordPress doesn’t allow me to paste here go to this address http://bit.ly/102KzdY )
- 15 degrees of Gemini sun, itself within conjunction of FAMA (fame) at 13 Gemini, has to be correct given the improbably indelible way I find it places Dante’s identity- giving sun between two vitally important influences for him…..We can see his celebrated muses or guides represented by asteroids BEATRIX (Beatrice) at 15 Cancer and VERGILIUS (Virgil) at 16 Taurus, i.e. both making the meetings semi-sextile aspect either side of his sun. And “meetings” is the right word. Despite material or mental encounters Dante never really knew either despite their huge influence on his vision and values from the house of dreams (twelfth) and the house of values (second). LUCIA is another female guide or help. She is within conjunction of BEATRIX at 17 Cancer.
- Dante’s alienation, his exile is suggested by the opposition of the moon in roaming Sagittarius opposite natal Saturn. Here the roaming (some believe he went as far as Paris) is enforced and the response produces Sagittarian philosophy and religion. Dante’s mother (moon) died when he was five – Saturnian separation or loss.
- Dante considers himself above all a Florentine and loves Florence. Two relevant asteroids can only be FLORENCE and FLORENTINA and as asteroids were originally registered in feminine form even when the reference is male, Florentina can be male – Florentinus. So FLORENTINA seems the relevant asteroid. It closely conjuncts Dante’s Venus – what he loves – and in the sign of home and patriotism, Cancer, too. It is also conjunct his fated (South) NODES. The South Nodes are what comes easily but can be unfortunate while the opposite North Nodes show to what we must aspire, the proper values. The aim for Dante thus lies in the opposite sign from Florence and Cancer, namely Capricorn, (responsibility and politics) and (if the birth time is correct) within the eighth sector of transformations, even of death and hell. He must leave the beloved Florence, and even perhaps see hell to transform his vision and values.
- Dante’s Mercury on 3 degrees of Gemini links the poet directly to the interests that so concern him regarding Christianity. It is the religion which he will influence as perhaps the greatest or most memorable Christian poet. It was founded at Pentecost AD 30 with 3 degrees of the sun in that sign. (Dan Brown’s natal Mars here puts him in special, if rather contentious, relation to both Dante and Christianity).
- If the birth time is correct, it is wonderfully suitable that for someone who took it upon himself to represent reform for Christendom, the peculiar asteroid CHRISONSOM – surely “astrospeak” for Christendom and I have found it to work as such – conjuncts Dante’s Ascendant.
- Dante’s genius with its universal curiosity is guaranteed by his hard working Saturn conjunct Mercury in Mercury’s own sign of versatile Gemini in close aspect to brilliant Uranus. (Someone I know who came academic second in their nation had this same Mercury/Saturn conjunction in Gemini!).
- This Mercury that aspects the original and often gay-linked Uranus could reflect an admired and regretted gay teacher such as many believe Dante had in the Florentine scholar Brunetto Latini. He features in Canto 15 and Circle 7 of the “violent against God” who are oddly categorized as being sodomites and usurers. The gay connection is acute especially as this Uranus also squares Mars. Uranus/Mars is another aspect which can either accompany homosexuality or make for heterosexuals dealing with it and with gays (along with unusual, inventive ideas strongly put). Since Dante’s Mars which is square Uranus is also loosely conjunct Neptune we could suspect a touch of bisexuality (afflictions of Neptune equal bisexual potential) such as is not so uncommon among poets – Shakespeare and Tennyson notably so. Dante’s marriage was not happy while the relationship with the patron Can Grande was known to be very close.
- At another level of teaching and significance, the Jesus asteroid (Ar. ISA) also closely conjuncts Uranus. Dante’s attitude towards Jesus may thus be unusual. Certainly Jesus is invoked in a reformist way against popes and authorities, but his role is somewhat muted against that of an extreme Marian cult (on the rise in Dante’s time) and reflected in an exaggerating square of MARIA in dramatic Leo to Dante’s Jupiter, his beliefs).
- Dante’s political and power struggles are represented by the natal Sun opposite Pluto. The Sun besides is in the sign of division opposite a Pluto in the sign of organized religion. Dante’s life was riven between Ghibellines and Guelfs, the imperial and papal supporters respectively. He was born of impoverished Guelf nobility but in the confused politics of the times he drifted towards what he found most idealistic among the Ghibellines and he was often called a Ghibelline.
- Conjunctions can be very pro or con something depending. Dante’s Sun within conjunction of BABYLON reflects struggle against what seemed to him a corrupt “Babylonian” church against which he hopes a purer Italian imperial vision will arise – his sun is in opportunity sextile to precisely ITALIA.
- If the Sun/Pluto opposition properly falls across the first and seventh sectors this would correspond to a difficult, conflicted marriage. Gemma to whom he had been affianced aged twelve was not Beatrice, and Gemma did not accompany Dante in his exile…..Also someone has also pointed out to me that – whether or not the Galactic Centre and its opposite point are heaven and hell linked religion linked though we know they are – the GC at 16.37 Sagittarius opposite Sun at 15.25 and an ascendant at 18.13 Gemini seems fitting for the proposed Inferno travelling picture.
- Dante’s essentially Catholic and scholastic worldview is represented by Jupiter at 28 Taurus (same sign and degree as for the modern Vatican) and its opportunity aspect to HELL(a) at 29.58 Cancer is an indication his most famous literary output can relate this to the Inferno with his HELL(a) organized along the lines of Aristotelian and Thomist values. The HELLA asteroid almost on 0 Leo fortunately trines his voyaging, religious 0 degree moon in Sagittarius and it nearly conjuncts his 1 degree Mars in the sign. This belongs to the pride of Dante and his will to confront and dramatize (Leo) people in his Inferno. Mars is probably his gate of hell.
- Any classic and spiritual literature is of Jupiter. Since Dante began the Inferno in 1308 probably around Easter – his vision enters hell on Good Friday – we may imagine work began with tr. Mars around conjunction with his Jupiter in April that year.
- The influence of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa is suggested by asteroid THOMASAQUINAS in the same Taurus sign as Jupiter. Dante’s controversial poetizing of Aquinas’ Summa for the poetry – the Commedia has been called “The Summa in Verse” – and this may be its weakest point, is displayed by the tension-betraying opposition of POESIA to THOMASAQUINAS.
- POESIA is at 13.50 Scorpio in the sixth house, an odd position except that Shakespeare’s POESIA is in the same house – perhaps both poets regarded poetry as work! The fact that Neptune and Uranus were in conjunction in deep and “hellish” Scorpio in 1308 when the Inferno was supposedly begun and that around Easter visionary Neptune was retrograde at 14 Scorpio conjunct Dante’s POESIA, is again a strong hint the right birth date and chart has been established and for inauguration of work on the Inferno.
As a Gemini Dante is almost inevitably very social and political. He is so to the point it compromises his view of the religious and spiritual. It makes for example no sense, unless by precisely certain contortions of Thomist and Aristotelian philosophy, that Dante should place the likes of the high priest of Jesus’ crucifixion Caiaphas in Canto XX111 at Circle 6 of the hypocrites in the Malbowges section of hell above the Nether region of the inferno while placing Julius’ Caesar’s assassins at the lowest point with Judas and Lucifer himself. This is because sins have been rated more rationally than spiritually and according to social or political effect – what worse than Judas-like traitors to upset the imperial rule of Caesar – a good Ghibelline sentiment!
Dante is pre-Protestant in his willingness to condemn even Popes to hell, to regard like Luther the Vatican as a kind of Babylon and to prefer the separation of Church and State which Christianity, itself a Gemini born religion, has always preferred or assumed following Christ’s rule that God must have what is God’s and Caesar what is Caesar’s (Matt 12:17).
At the same time, Dante is very Catholic not just in being so political and philosophically scholastic à la Aquinas, but also (for his times) as trendily Marian as he is in his devotion. He is also very Catholic in accepting the doctrine of Purgatory which is not biblical doctrine but more a matter of medieval tradition. It was even the trigger of the Reformation when it was felt that buying ways through purgatory had become a source of deception and corruption. For non Catholics the Purgatorio nonetheless nicely symbolizes types of spiritual progress. Like Pilgrim’s Progress the whole Commedia is an allegory.
Ultimately however Dante’s faith is primarily mystical and God centred in the way the climax of the Paradiso vividly conveys. Dante’s THEOTES (Gk.Godhead) at 10 Aries conjuncts SALAVAT (Salvation) on the same degree. This pair then make degree exact trine to mystical Neptune at 10 Leo. (A vision of God as pure light and fire, “light that inly burns”). But the light turns out to be lights of the interpenetrating Trinity. A certain implicit Christology is present in the way the other asteroid name for God BHAGWAT (Sk. Lord) in Dante’s chart is almost conjunct the position of Jesus’ natal sun while (if his birth time is correct) Dante’s destiny Midheaven shares the religious power point degree and sign of Jesus’ 20 degree Aquarius Midheaven, a case perhaps of “he was despised and rejected” on the way to fulfilling a completely unique role.
DANTE AND DAN BROWN
Finally Dante does connect to Dan Brown or rather Brown to him in ways productive of an anticipated bestseller.
- Dan Brown was born with his sun at 1.14 Cancer (a useful position for success as anything up to 1.15 is deemed conjunct a worldpoint at 0 Cancer!). Asteroid ROBERTA (i.e. Robert since originally asteroids were registered in female form, like Nelsonia for Nelson) in semi-sextile at 1.40 Leo bespeaks Brown’s natural penchant for a Robert Langdon alter ego. More importantly, at Dante’s birth asteroid BROWN was at 1.56 Cancer. Connection across time.
- At Brown’s own birth asteroid DANTE at 26 Virgo was nevertheless in affliction square to his (Brown’s) Venus at 26 Gemini (a distinct but not perhaps an understanding artistic contact) while this same DANTE is inevitably in fortunate aspect to Brown’s GLO (a fame and controversy asteroid) at 26 Libra.
- Dan Brown then connects to Dante strongly, if somewhat contentiously, through the conjunction of his natal Mars at 3 Gemini to Dante’s Mercury/Saturn conjunction. Brown will see perhaps especially the structure (Saturn) of Dante’s very structured hell. (Dante’s Mercury/Saturn conjunction in the sign of languages is of course also very involved with his giving birth and form Saturn to Italian as we know it through his use of the Tuscan dialect).
Even so and regardless…At Dan Brown’s birth the HELL/INFERNO asteroid (i.e.HELL[a] for reasons given above) was at 19 Leo. The novel’s pre-publication eclipse at 19 Taurus on May 10th makes immediate exact square aspect to its author’s HELLA asteroid at the same time as – if we have the correct chart for Dante as we very likely do – this same eclipse squares Dante’s reputation Midheaven at 20 Aquarius. It’s all fate and connection but not an automatically illuminating, enlightening one. Will the original intended poetry, allegory and vision of Dante get lost amid the modern adventures?……
HELL WORKS….AND NEXT
In passing I must insist the HELL(a) asteroid truly works for any inferno themes. Everything which concerns my next Blog on the Hell theme and that you can read next month issues from what happened just before Easter on 27th March with the full moon at 6.52 Libra falling unbeknown to me at the time conjunct my own HELLA position on 7.30 Libra…..
Mid next month (the 15th not the 14th will do) the Blog will consider can we emulate Dante today whether poetically or in vision and offer some example through a specifically modern hell vision. Look out for it….This won’t be any normal Blog!