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Heliocentric Astrology & The Artist Signature

Rudhyar recognized a specific type of astrology to deal with Sociological questions. In fact, he later names heliocentric Astrology as belonging to this 'astrology of the collective'. He further elucidates this distinction in his article 'Heliocentric Astrology and Human Nature'. Here, Rudhyar argues that the geocentric chart, with its retrogradations and other distortions, represents the bias of the individual approach which is a result of the ongoing growth and transformation as an individual with Karmic requirements. In this sense, the geocentric chart can be seen as the merging of both the Psychological and Evolutionary forces: both the effect and the cause. This Rudhyar calls 'the realm of personality'.

Heliocentric Astrology, on the other hand, represents 'the realm of Life'. The heliocentric chart is the 'human nature, as this human nature is in itself before it becomes subject to the stresses and pressures of an individualized personal consciousness and destiny.' As Rudhyar later puts it: 'He (the individual) must stop saying: 'My way is the way'. He must say instead: 'My way 'of what use can it be to humanity' How does it fit into the evolution of humanity''' This underscores yet again the distinction that personal idiosyncrasies really have no bearing on what the collective role of the individual is, only on how they carry out the role. 'The heliocentric approach reveals the way in which the life energies'operate if they are left free to develop according to their natural rhythms, without any interference from the individual's ego and its frustrations or complexes.' In other words, this is what we do best after we learn to get out of our own way!

Rudhyar believed that each person's birth represents a potential answer to a need of the greater whole--the tribe or nation, humanity-as-a-whole, planet Earth. Where else but from the Sun would we look for such an all-encompassing vision'certainly not in a geocentric, locale-specific chart! If one accepts the Gaia hypothesis, that the Earth is a living being, then her source of life -the Sun-must also be alive. To me it is natural for the Sun to represent spiritual, creative energies which guide humankind. After all, we are made of the 'stardust' which forms in the last moments of a Star's life as it fuses all the heavy elements in its last gasp and spews the seeds of life across the Universe.

Indeed, as I investigated heliocentric charts, I began to find a relatively simple 'vocational' indicator. Often one of the closest angle (smallest orb) in the chart -particularly to a personal planet -reflects the 'calling.' For instance, one often finds close Venus or Neptune contacts in the heliocentric charts of artists. To quantify this, I completed an analysis of some famous artists using Astrodatabank software. I found that over 80% of these people had Venus or Neptune involved in one of the three tightest heliocentric aspects. Over 70% had one of the 'art planets' as at least the second tightest aspect. In more than a third of the charts, Venus or Neptune formed the tightest aspect.

Obviously, this method is not completely straightforward. To tease out which of the aspects is the most applicable, we must look at the inter-relationships between aspects for what I call a 'closed circuit.' A classic example would be the grand trine, but I feel that any formation where all the angles are inter-related and contact is mutual between 3, 4 or more planets is significant. This is because I do not feel signs or houses are applicable in heliocentric, thus the aspects are of utmost importance. I use any aspect which divides the circle by twelve, the 'astrological alphabet' 'as well as the octiles. So, rather than saying that the semi-sextile is a 'minor' aspect, (this would be like saying Taurus and Pisces are 'minor' Signs in geocentric) I pay special attention to them, as they relate to letters 2 and 12 'which are associated with Venus and Neptune.

To simplify, I would define the 'classic' or ideal signature of the artist as a chart where one of the closest heliocentric aspects is Venus/Neptune and this aspect is part of a 'closed circuit' or formation of inter-related aspects where each planet (Venus/Neptune) is linked to 2 or more others -forming a sort of 'aspect chain' around the chart.

3 out of 4 of the Beatles had this signature as well as many other musicians -including (so far): John Bonham, Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton, Chris Cornell, David Crosby, Roger Daltrey, Bob Dylan, Glen Frey, Jerry Garcia, Art Garfunkel, Stone Gossard, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Phil Lesh, Steve Miller, Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, Van Morrison, Graham Nash, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Page, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Lane Staley, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Joe Walsh, Ron Wood, Neil Young.

My research has been mainly focused on musicians so far, but I have noticed this signature also in writers: Churchill, Robert Hunter, Thoreau, Thomas Paine -and classical artists such as Cezanne, Dali, Mattisse, Toulouse-Latrec, Renoir and Van Gogh.

Perhaps the most classic example of this signature is the heliocentric chart of Vincent Van Gogh. Though not recognized in his own time, Van Gogh was a natural born artist whose painting 'Irises' set a record at auction in 1987 as the first painting to break the 50 million dollar mark. Painting, however, was not Van Gogh's first 'vocation.' He started out as a preacher to impoverished coal miners. Interestingly, the closest heliocentric aspect in Van Gogh's chart is the closing semi-square of Mars/Pluto. Mars is also in aspect to Saturn. These aspects do not form a 'closed circuit' however. The second closest aspect is part of the classic "artist signature." The Venus/Neptune conjunction is part of at least two 'closed circuit' aspect patterns. The simplest pattern is the Yod  -also called "the finger of God" aspect -from the Earth to the sextile of Uranus with Venus/Neptune. This marks Van Gogh as a "Visionary" -a focal point of a major cultural movement (Uranus/Neptune). Though he died too young to receive the attention he deserved, other Impressionists recognized his talent. Degas collected his work and Cezanne proclaimed that he painted 'like a madman!'

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