Conscious Awareness: Johann Goethe via Inspiration©, Version 3
David Monroe, Aug. 20, 2016
This essay on Goethe will serve as a template for the exploration of others experiencing their own unique paths to conscious awareness. Due to Goethe’s life having been lived two centuries ago, and many being less familiar with him, extra space may be devoted to some aspects of his life and his work. The following topical areas are covered.
- Background: a general comment and specific segments of his life relative to this exploration. Goethe’s natal chart.
- Fairy tale concept: Goethe’s communications following his reading of Schiller’s essay. Two charts relating to his inspiration to write the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.
- Astrological patterns: An initial template of astrological patterns in Goethe’s charts relating to his inspiration and conscious awareness.
- Crises: A crises is Goethe’s earlier years relating to his views on spirituality, charts.
Johann Goethe was born Aug. 28, 1749 in Frankfurt, Germany. As an adult he was a writer, philosopher and recognized intellect. Plays, books, poetry, articles, ballads and letters testify to his range of interest and productivity. In his 30’s, Goethe was a minister at the Weimar Court. Another, younger German came into Goethe’s life; Friedrich Schiller. Each admired the work of the other. Schiller was not sure he personally liked Goethe while Goethe thought highly of Schiller but remained somewhat aloof, as was his nature. In time they became close friends and shared writings and critiques of each others work. Goethe’s most popular works, Faust, were started during the 1770’s and finished prior to his death in 1832. Human transience and tragedy due to a lack of stability can be said to be a primary theme of Faust.
The natal chart of Johann von Goethe indicates a birth time as being at noon. We know that the time is correct! Goethe was born at the strike of noon on the town clock. He was not breathing at first. Hence, Sun at the MC, with the Moon full in the 4th house. Saturn on the Asc. points to both his problems at birth and his aloofness in life. The square to Uranus indicates his seeking of new concepts and understanding that would reveal truths about the world and humanity.
Combine these patterns with Mercury squaring Pluto, 9th to 1st, with a square to the Part of Fortune and we might sense that curiosity about uncovering what brings change and instability into life is of great interest to him. Other patterns of note are Venus-opposite-Jupiter, Mars-trine-Sun, Chiron square N.Node. These planet-patterns will frequently activate the angles of a Return chart, contributing to a busy life full of challenges and opportunities.
The Fairy Tale Concept
The chart to the left is a t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return for Oct. 19, 1794. This date is one week prior to Goethe’s letter to Schiller. The date of Goethe’s letter to Schiller was Oct. 26, 1794. This is given in an essay by Rudolph Steiner in his essay, “Goethe’s Spirituality as Revealed in The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, originally published in 1899, but not available in an English translation until 1925, and more recently in the Autumn-Winter issue, 2015, of the Anthroposophical Society’s magazine “Being Human.” A search on the Internet of Goethe’s letters confirms this date.
The t/Moon-n/Sun Return for Oct. 19, 1794 predates Goethe’s letter by a week. This is a 10th house theme; “Leading the way, living ahead of the curve. Public spokesperson or being an icon for a program. . . . pursuing one’s goals or career.” (taken from a theme statement given in the author’s book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns 2).
t/Mercury and t/Neptune straddle the Ascendant; “. . . to open oneself to the influences coming from other people” is suggested, in part, by Ebertin for this pattern. It is quite fitting. Jumping over to n/Neptune, we find it squared by t/Sun in the 12th; exploring un-defined subjects.
With n/Mercury-MC, we can see that study, thought, writing were all part of this process at this time. Take note of t/Pluto-IC, opposite t/Chiron (unknown at that time) and n/Mercury. A ‘no return’ moment and cognition which seeks to penetrate the human condition is one such meaning for this pattern. Finally, the t/PoF (Part of Fortune) had earlier in the day opposed n/Moon and squared t/Venus, and was approaching n/Venus. A high level of pleasure and responsiveness would bring value to Goethe’s sense of satisfaction.
Goethe thought deeply about natural laws as a foundation for his beliefs and writings. Upon his reading of Schiller’s The Aestheic Education of Man in this period, Goethe immediately wrote a letter to his friend and had it delivered that day. Schiller’s blending or harmonizing of the sensory nature of man with his reasoning qualities had inspired Goethe. Oct. 26, 1794 was the date he finished his reading and considered Schiller’s view. He then conceptualized the placement of these ideas within a fairy tale, an imaginary framework that could dramatize the essence of becoming an ideal man, worthy of the best aspects of humanity. Goethe felt that a fairy tale format would be better received and understood by the German public. The letter to Schiller did not, itself, contain a copy of Goethe’s fairy tale. The letter praised Schiller and their mutual views. The letter’s content is reproduced here for those who wish to review it. The context of their frequent ongoing letters, visits, discussions and joint contributions to the papers and journals of that time add much to the letter’s thrust.
Goethe’s own thoughts about the nature of man were based on recognizing two primary issues. First, the sensory or feeling portion of man’s nature greatly governed his daily life. Pursuing satisfaction of hunger, of status, of comforts, of security drove much of one’s daily activities. Second, a logical and thinking portion of man resulted in cultural achievements, one’s maturity and guided one’s path through life’s distractions. Steiner noted in his essay that “Our deeper, inner nature strives to establish the right relationship to both these spheres for the purpose of attaining a state of soul that is free and worthy of our humanity, and of fashioning a harmonious relationship to our fellow human beings.” This depicts Goethe’s philosophy very well. The use of transiting Moon to natal Sun Return charts utilizes the relationship between the two most powerful astrological symbols, the Sun and the Moon. The Moon represents our sensory nature, the Sun or objective and thinking nature. In this sense the use of these cyclic charts fits well with the underlying pillars of Goethe’s views on the nature of man.
From this letter and letters immediately prior to and following Oct. 26, 1794, it appears that Goethe was very busy writing several different pieces for various placements. He was very impressed with Schiller’s work, so much so that he fit in the writing of this fairy tale within his busy schedule. The letter of Oct. 26, 1794 is provided in the Reference section.
The t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return shown above can be diurnally advanced by retaining the chart’s calculated time and only changing the date. This positions the transiting planets correctly while advancing the chart angles by the Sun’s daily motion. All of this is designed to link the natal Sun to the transiting Moon of the Return date, and that chart’s angles and natal Sun placement to the event-dates t/Moon and t/planets positions relative to the natal chart — the natal chart being reoriented with the Advanced chart. The continuity of the cycle is important.
This advanced chart for the date of the written letter and the initial conceptual work on the “The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly” is a highly positive chart for Goethe. It takes on great meaning when seen within the context of his life, his intent and his actions during this chart’s cyclic period.
The chart to the left is the Oct. 26, 1794 Advanced chart which marks the sharing of Goethe’s inspiration which reflects Schiller’s concepts within a fairy tale format.
In the week since the Return chart the angles of this Advanced chart have reestablished the natal chart angles at the Return chart angles. This signifies a major turning point in one’s life! The MC has advanced to 29 Leo, squaring n/Pluto, while t/Pluto is being left behind by the advancing IC. Transformation has been adopted by Goethe. This is backed up by t/Moon contacting n/Pluto, an indication of intense feelings, excitement. n/Saturn-Asc. is being approached by the chart’s Asc. Goethe is more easily impelled to act on the chart’s energies as he can express them.
t/Sun-t/Neptune conjoined in the 12th lacks the classical aspects but is semi-square t/Venus, indicating a process and effort to bring form and balance to his inspirational fairy tale concept.
At the time of this writing (summer, 2016) charts of several other people’s experiences in finding ‘conscious awareness’ have been studied. From these charts and Goethe’s chart in particular, there are a dozen criteria that seem related to what might be a spiritual connection by any description. When these criteria are reviewed relative to the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly, further confirmation of specific astrological symbolism is found.
The whole bundle of observations cannot be stated in one paragraph, page or even a single essay. Therefore, the whole review will be offered through several writings. This first writing on Goethe’s achieving conscious awareness via inspiration from Schiller’s work and his own writing of the fairy tale will be the first of several writings on this form of exploratory work.
The basis for using transiting Moon to natal Sun Return charts, and their derived Advanced charts is given in the Astrology section of this blog site.
At this point it is useful to look at the astrological factors in Goethe’s Advanced chart for October 26, 1794 to note which factors might relate to the fairy tale. This was the day when he ‘put it all together’ and shared it with his close friend. Remember, we are considering the fairy tale as Goethe’s inspiration for realizing his conscious awareness, soul-self contact and fully understanding his life’s purpose.
* n-t/Sun is angular . . . Goethe’s n/Sun conjuncts the MC.
* n-t/Moon is angular . . . both n/Moon and t/Moon are in angular houses.
* Venus is significant . . . n/Venus squares t/Moon and n/Pluto in the first.
* One/more planets are angular . . . eight planets are angular.
* Vertical and horizontal axis active . . . both are active-populated.
* n-t/PoF is significant (chance-change) . . . n-t/PoF are both angular.
* n-t/PoF angular, aspecting (crises) . . . n-t/PoF both aspect planets.
* Pluto signifies transformation, crises . . . n/Pluto in 1st, t/Pluto at IC.
* n-t/Moon-n-t/Sun in closing square phase . . . both, cross phased.
* Doubled-up angular planets . . . Moon, Mercury, Pluto doubled up.
* Relocated MC and/or cyclic chart’s MC is significant (planet in conjunction)
. . . n/Sun-n/Mercury and t/Uranus-t/Chiron at MC angle.
* Was there a crises, change or development in this cycle or on this date? Or, had a
prior crises contributed to this experience? Yes. See the following sections.
This list of factors will need to be examined relative to other charted experiences and conclusions drawn at a later point as to which of these are somewhat central or essential to an astrological signature for gaining conscious awareness.
Goethe was deeply struck by Schiller’s words giving focus to his own thoughts and writings, providing clarity and resonance. Astrologically, it would appear that the convergence of the consideration rising from Schiller’s essay, his own thoughts, and the teachings he received while gravely ill at the age of 19 all helped to provide a sudden clarity of thought for Goethe. Let us now look at the time of Goethe’s illness.
In July of 1768, at the age of nineteen, Goethe developed a condition of hemorrhaging from his lungs. At that time this condition was often fatal. Medicines to counteract this problem were not available and standard treatments were not well developed. Susanna Klettenberg, a friend of Goethe’s mother, took on the task of nursing him during his long convealescence. This nurse was a member of the Moravian Church. Their teachings on the spiritual nature of man and role of the spiritual world and life between earthly lives was shared with him. Goethe was residing in Wiemar, Germany at the time. His illness completely prohibited him from daily travel about the city and contact with his friends. Aside from his moments of suffering, only the information given by his nurse provided a focus for his fine mind.
No particular date in July, 1768 is provided for Goethe’s manifestation of this medial condition. However, the t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return charting method provides a means of searching for and identifying likely dates for any given event or condition. This speculative approach will be taken now.
Moon-to-Sun Return charting utilizes a dual cycle approach. A transiting Moon conjunct the natal Sun Return provides a personal new Moon cycle of approximately two weeks length. This is followed by a transiting Moon opposite natal Sun Return, a cycle which last another two weeks. In the creating of these charts and Returns for the month of July, 1768, the chart for July 17, 1768 seems most appropriate. This is a t/Moon-conjunct-n/Sun Return, timed at 10:40:05 AM on that date. This chart is shown above.
These Return charts are cyclic in nature. The major interpretive considerations are:
- The house(s) positions of the t/Moon and n/Sun. This position provides a ‘theme’ that applies to the whole two week cycle of the chart.
- The angles and planets at or near the angles.
- Houses and aspects of the t/Sun and t/Part of Fortune (t/PoF).
- Planets in angular houses.
Planets which are ‘doubled up.’ When both the natal and transiting versions of a planet are 1) both angular or in angular houses, 2) one is angular and the other aspects an angular planet, or 3) both are in a major aspect to angular planets, these are seen as being ‘doubled up.’ Such a condition is given strong interpretive focus.
The eleventh house placement of t/Moon-n/Sun invokes a community giving or taking period in which services or resources are shared to provide needed benefits. This relates to the care that was provided over a period of time to Goethe through a volunteer.
t/Saturn-MC; feeling constrained in the pursuit of one’s goals. Note that n/Saturn-n/Asc. is conjoined by t/PoF; struggle with a personal effort, the harshness of life is challenged. This latter pattern links the 2nd to the 10th house, indicating that his self-esteem is affected by his not being able to pursue his normal work. We can summarize this as being depressed by his developing medical condition. t/Saturn-MC opposite t/N.Node-t/Pluto-n/Mars-n/N.Node at the 4th angle indicates that his contacts with friends and associates is severely curtailed. For a man whose life is marked by thousands of letters and his circulation among government, academic and social circles, the idea of being bound to his bed was difficult to accept.
We can now move to planets in angular houses which are not close to the angles. First of all, we have the angular n/Mars at the 4th house cusp and t/Mars deep in the 7th house, giving us a general statement of being attacked in some manner. Mars is symbolically associated with blood, an issue with his illness. t/Sun conjoins n/Neptune in the 10th; the Sun’s vitality comes into contact with a dissolution process. We immediately see that the t/Moon-t/Neptune is conjoined with the n/Sun-n/MC. In essence, the transiting and natal versions of Neptune and Sun are ‘doubled-up.’ This is a ‘lack-of-vitality’ issue that is highly possible.
t/Jupiter conjoins n/Chiron suggests that one goes to extraordinary lengths to make adjustments in how one deals with life. We can note the broad linking of t/Chiron to n/Jupiter in the 6th house of the chart, mirroring and emphasizing the first house placement.
We need to keep in mind that this chart represents a theme or condition that will prevail for the following several weeks. Any specific event or development often relates to a specific date within the cyclic period of the chart.
Before we explore charts and dates within this period it is prudent to compare this July 17th, 1768 chart to the October 26, 1794 Advanced chart which marks Goethe’s inspiration to create his fairy tale, the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly.
The July 17th chart’s MC of 5 Cancer conjoins the years-later Oct. 26, 1794 chart’s t/Mars-n/Mars! The challenges of this earlier period will be drawn upon to express his goals and ideas of the latter event–the creation of his fairy tale to tell the story of his path to conscious awareness.
Less obvious is the July 17th chart’s t/PoF-n/Saturn pattern which is repeated in the 1794 chart by the reversed t/Saturn-n/PoF in that chart’s 7th house. The personal challenges of his illness in1768 is linked to his 1794 drive to give meaning and structure to the profound changes in his life — which he did through sharing those changes within his fairy tale. The spiritual teachings of his nurse would appear to have stayed with Goethe through the intervening years.
The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly fairy tale is based on the profound crises’ and changes that affect the central characters in the story.
It is now appropriate to examine dates within the two week period commencing with this Return chart of July 17, 1768. We are not so interested in determining which day Goethe may have first encountered this severe illness, but we are interested in how those charts may relate to the chart for his creation of his fairy tale.
Diurnally advancing the July 17, 1768 Return chart to July 21st brings the MC angle to 8:54 Cancer, within a degree of t/Saturn. This is a marker pointing to a severe constraint upon Goethe’s goals and life status. The t/PoF, representing ‘chance and change,’ conjoins n/Mars-IC and signals the start of an attack of some sort. Since the before-observed pattern of t/Sun-n/Neptune and t/Neptune-n/Sun-n/MC is still in play on this date, this t/PoF-n/Mars on the vertical axis of the chart strongly links into the natal MC pattern and the mirror image for the Sun and Neptune. Vitality is affected, weakened, attacked. This was likely the first day wherein Goethe’s health and vitality might have seemed unable to keep him from death’s door.
In these advanced cyclic charts, three conditions form the basis for any one day triggering events suggested by the Return chart: 1) transiting Moon, 2) transiting Sun and 3) transiting PoF. Additionally, contacts between the advancing angles and either natal or transiting planets are always looked at as being triggers of events and conditions.
t/Moon opposes t/Mars and squares t/Venus-n/Neptune. This points to being upset by conditions that have to be endured, emotional upset by a lack of balance within one’s life, feeling as if one has lost direction and control. Further, t/PoF-IC-n/Mars signifies changes in how he relates to attacks (in terms of illness) and its impact on how he deals with his associates and life’s mission (N.Node).
This date seems quite appropriate for the onset of Goethe’s health difficulties.
The initial simplicity of these charts helps to establish a focus for interpretation. As can be seen, this focus quickly expands once all of the subtle relationships with the natal chart and other charts to related events are explored. The dynamics of working with Return and cyclic charts differs from conventional approaches to natal, progressed and transiting charts. Some will find it easy to break old habits, others will not trust the simplistic approach to gaining an overview of a subjects current situation prior to learning more from subtle details. Yet as one reads the views of others relative to these charts, the simple procedure of approaching the chart and relating the key factors to simple keyword phrasing will guide one into easily understanding the chart relative to the context of the subject’s life.
End of essay.