What we have to share with others is rarely as tangible as a piece of fruit. ‘Basket of Apples’ By Levi Wells Prentice {{PD}}

Part 1 is here. In continuation, a couple of quick examinations will make it clear that it’s not always easy to distinguish between our actual talents and those things we are, one way or another, obligated to share with the Collective–and then there’s what we want to be in life, the image we want to have in the world, our ideas and beliefs about who we are, and what the social order tells us we are or expects us to be. All these cloud the talent picture and contribute to confusion over how we best fit with and serve the Collective–and it almost goes without saying, what genuinely serves the world serves us as individuals, as well.

Individual Distortions Can Affect the World: Adolf Hitler

Politicians make good fodder for this study, simply because what they do and are affects so many others—they’re the rare individuals whose personal abilities matter to the largest number of people. Though he’s been studied relentlessly, Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 6:30 PM Braunau am Inn, Austria) is still a great example of what happens when an identity crisis, and confusion about gifts, takes on serious proportions–and if you’re sick of Hitler, just skip ahead to the next example.

He has Scorpio on the 2nd, the House holding Earth, ruler Pluto in Gemini in the 9th (and co-ruler Mars in Taurus in the 8th); on the 11th we see Leo, with the House holding Saturn and the Midheaven, ruler Sun in Taurus in the 8th. Talents revolved around a serious ability to make a material impact through intense communication that goes far and wide (Pluto in Gemini in the 9th), with personal action supported by others in aesthetics or by offering security or comfort—and obviously he showed this with flying colors, by extreme negative example. (And we note, Pluto is conjoined Neptune, a classic contact of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, confusion–which directly affects his own interpretation of his talents, since Pluto rules the 2nd).

With an Earth element Sun at 00 of Taurus (and with ruler Venus also in Taurus, retrograde), Hitler was almost bound to confuse the just-budding aesthetic sensibilities to which his Soul was then turning attention with the Scorpionic intensity of the House of talent and its ruler placements, which likely made him feel (along with Mars in the 8th) that he was perpetually in danger of having his sense of identity, his manhood, and his Will totally subsumed by others, and specifically by their teachings or philosophies (Pluto in 9th plus potent 8th)—not to mention the way others disregarded his attempts to create a career as an Artist. The ‘too soon’ placement of the Taurus Sun, plus the too heavy emphasis on the ‘permission’ of others—the 8th—or of schooling—the 9th—tell us he was unlikely to make headway as an Artist no matter what—this is in spite of the ‘look what the world could have been saved from’ assertion that laments how, if Hitler had only been accepted into Art School, the Holocaust never would’ve occurred.

This line of thinking is typically offered as if merely giving someone what they want will make them a kind and cooperative individual–and anyone who’s tried to appease another knows this ain’t so. The chart proves Hitler’s frustration was inevitable—(and that it was his choice not to learn artisanship—Taurus—that would’ve begun cultivation of and development of genuine artistic abilities). Because Hitler’s attention remained largely focused on himself, in real terms he may never have consciously addressed why he might be here, and what he might have to offer; he was too caught up in the sense of personal struggle (Mein Kampf, and those 8th and 9th House connections) to get beyond that. But what did he really have to share with the world?

It could be said that Hitler came equipped to share the difficulties fostered by vanity and intricacies of how to ‘shine’ in the social sphere, and what the need for Self-regard, both Self-esteem and Self-awareness (all Leo), will do to someone who doesn’t have that genuine Leonine regard for the Self (and so seeks to form the world around them to supply the esteem they lack). The ability to wield power, to make and re-make, to rise from the ashes (Scorpio/ Pluto), especially mentally (Gemini) and philosophically (9th), is there; he could’ve served as an example of how to find one’s place in the larger order, to cooperate and support others (11th, 8th House Sun), but the insecurities plus the Leo energy seem to have overwhelmed any potential positives–he went straight to bully for and grab the personal glory, as soon as his initial impulses weren’t valued–a childish response that unfortunately had the power of Pluto behind it, to the detriment of so much and so many.

Too, consciousness about what every individual contributes to the Collective, and of the role of an effective group leader (MC In 11th), as well as awareness of the virtues and dangers of elevating a sense of discipline and rules above common sense (Saturn) appeared to have been part of his potential offering—and all these he did share, in one form or another—but until he embraced the individual role within reality and the established order (Saturn in Leo) and the interconnectedness of all people (ruler Sun in the 8th), especially through their interdependence materially (Sun in Taurus) he would live and die unfulfilled—and I think he did just that.

Food For Thought: Anthony Bourdain

The late chef, author, and travel host Anthony Bourdain (25 June 1956 8:35 AM New York New York USA) carved a career not just from his love of and expertise in the world of food, but from his presentation of first the culinary world (in books like ‘Kitchen Confidential’), then the world at large (in several shows such as ‘No Reservations’), through his restless and very particular personal viewpoint, focused through food. The Cancer Sun of course fits someone for whom food occupies an outsized role in the life, and its placement in the 12th House might suggest he would’ve been destined to thrive behind-the-scenes, in the kitchen rather than before the camera–so what happened?

When we look at the 2nd of talents and personal assets in Bourdain’s chart we see an empty House filled by Virgo, with ruler Mercury strong in its own sign of Gemini in the 11th of what one has to give the world, goals, friendship, and group involvement. Now, we know that an empty House doesn’t mean ‘no talent’, but it does place an exceptional amount of importance on the situation of the House’s ruler. We might translate this as a talent for critique and communication (Virgo)–a strong one, with Merc in a sign it rules–with the signal that the ruler landing in the 11th means this is the real talent, the one he was meant to share, no matter how otherwise nurturing life in the kitchen may have been.

The 11th also holds the South Node, which is conjoined Mercury, suggesting past knowledge that can be applied to talent expression, and Venus, which is not only retrograde but is also major body of latest degree in the chart. Venus in Gemini reads as communicating beauty and values, but when we factor in the retro condition and the latest degree position, we may find someone who always ended things, especially relationships and weighing the worth of things, at a mental stalemate; too much mental activity, too much musing over the meaning of things, may have short-circuited his relationships with the things and people he loved–so the world could’ve felt to him a very lonely place, as his own mind created distance with others, or a too-critical note with values or interactions better just enjoyed.

This is important to the talent picture as Venus is both the rewards we receive and the enjoyment we partake in–and Self-expression suffers, nay, doesn’t even happen, if we’re not getting those pay offs. Venus rules the 3rd of thought/ communication, linking it even more firmly to the Mercurial/ talent energy, and also rules the 10th, making it vital to the career–and this latter may carry the implication that the career would never offer the Venusian rewards and good feeling we all look for, considering the connections it has to overthinking and the inevitable disappointments of a naturally critical assessment of things.

Venus is part of two Fingers of God: one sees Venus sextile Sedna, apex Saturn=combining the desires, love, assets with what one ‘knows but doesn’t know’, what the instincts inform of, can successfully shape the real world and the reality picture–that’s hopeful, and certainly one of the ingredients behind his success; the other has Venus in 11th sextile Pluto-Jupiter-Zeus in the 1st of Self, apex the Moon-Hygeia combo in Capricorn in the 6th=at least some of that thinking and re-thinking about relationships, what’s worthy in life, about values may be stirred by ambitions, knowledge of the wider world, and all the fears, sensitivities, and destructive elements he’s seen on a day-to-day basis.

Relationships themselves, even money (Venus), may have felt like the thing that brings opportunity (Jupiter) and allows ambition fulfillment (Zeus), and also promises destruction and power struggles (Pluto)–though the optimistic potential for transformation (Pluto) may have helped him go forward for quite awhile. And, Venus trines Neptune-Vesta in Libra=easy to be misled, to lie to oneself, to imagine things are ideal–and that violates a genuine belief in the sacredness of human interaction (Vesta), especially at an intimate level. Essentially, this may bring cycles of disappointment if ideals or creative perfection aren’t reached. So, lots of conflict inherent in the way the psyche processed relating to others, even as there may have always been a spark of inspiration and hope for the ideal in relationships.

And we haven’t even talked about Mercury much yet! Only two more things here I think might apply to the talent and asset picture. Mercury is apex to a Fist of God with base of Neptune-Vesta square Hygeia-Moon. That suggests there was a basic conflict between maintaining a healthy emotional state and pursuing creative ideals, making ‘the dream’ happen (and this in any area, career, relationship, and so on), with the stress likely coming from the Neptune in Libra tendency to over-romanticize intimate relationships, and Vesta insisting on seeing every close connection as sacred. The continual tension (the square of the base) that arose from knowing that loving relationships aren’t fantasy-perfect (Venus in Gemini trine Neptune-Vesta), that such an ideal wasn’t healthy (square to Moon-Hygeia) pushed the Mercury apex for an answer–but does an unsolvable problem, or maybe a wish like this, have an answer?

The Geminian Mercury outlet probably saw the mind as the ‘way out’, believing it was up to him to sort it out, get his head on straight, so to speak, with belief in the responsibility of the Self strong (Jupiter–the belief system–in Leo in the 1st). With Merc in the 11th, this was a line of thinking (that probably felt like a life-line!) that said pursuit of dreams and goals would almost magically (Neptune is involved, after all) resolve the ongoing tension–and though reaching goals or achieving positive relationships may have temporarily alleviated the dilemma, it wasn’t a permanent answer, as the ideal vs. healthy/ real dissonance continued (Merc sesquiquadrate the base square).

Mercury is also conjoined the South Node and part of a T-square with the North Node, with all squared by Mars in Pisces in the 8th. That Mars placement could put a lot of pressure on a man to live up to his ideal of the ‘perfect man’–and in the 8th his short-comings in this regard could’ve felt very public, with a tendency to project his own beliefs and expectations of perfection onto others, making him feel they were judging him, or pressuring him to meet their standards–and that’s a tough complex to go through life with. The square between Mercury-South Node and Mars could indicate an elephant-like memory for things said to him in the past by others, especially friends or in group situations (8th and 11th)–and we all know how judgements made of us, even casually, can echo for the rest of our lives, sometimes crippling our Self-image unnecessarily.

The T is of course a tense aspect, with the thinking and perceptions melded to the past in some form (in his case, maybe a constant awareness of his own past, which included addiction), and by sheer placement, somewhat contradictory to the idea of progress, of going forward into the future (NN). Mars in square adds stress to every thought (Mercury) and action (Mars)–is this the right thing to do, considering my past, and looking toward, and trying to move into, my future? Again, a refrain that doesn’t have an answer–though a sense of traveling and learning certainly helped him cope (Mars rules the 9th).

Perhaps surprisingly, what Bourdain had to give the world was his unique way of thinking, processing, his critical eye on the world around us, and the way that world is reflected through culture and a culture’s choices about food. That’s a pretty wonderful legacy, opening our eyes, giving us a greater sense of what’s out there to be explored, and emphasizing how no matter our differences, food connects us all.