Goethe’s Inspiration and Attainment of Conscious Awareness

Goethe looking rightConscious Awareness; Johann Goethe via Inspiration.  

Version 3,  Oct. 16, 2016


  • Reference material for non-astrologers
  • Other suggested readings
  • Background
  • Goethe’s inspiration
  • Developing a profile for assessing the ‘conscious awareness’ stories of others
  • Why was Goethe’s fairy tale re-written?
  • Why are Moon-to-Sun Returns appropriate vehicles for this exploration?
  • Goethe’s ‘conscious awareness’ astrological profile for comparing to other charts.


Reference material for non-astrologers

The menu of the Green Snake Retold blog has a “Basics Explained” choice.  Presented are several short essays on ‘understanding basic astrological charts.’  These writings are not intended to educate one in becoming an astrologer but to help one follow discussions which include astrological material.

Other suggested readings

The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily Retold is a modified version of Goethe’s fairy tale which more fully presents some of the characters and their individual roles, presents a deeper contrast in the highs and lows they experience in the tale, and presents astrological symbolism in a more blatant form.  The astrological symbolism of Goethe’s inspiration will be compared to the astrological charts of current publically known subjects who have also had their own versions of conscious awareness.  The Role of the Characters comments on each character in the fairy tale as well as various settings that make up the environment of the characters.

It has been found in the study of other ‘conscious awareness’ experiences that a prior crises plays a significant role that leads to their spiritual awakening to one’s life purpose.  Goethe’s own crises is detailed with astrological charts and comments in another essay, “Goethe’s crises at age 18.”


Johann Goethe was born Aug. 28, 1749 in Frankfurt, Germany.  As an adult he was a writer, poet, philosopher, government official, natural scientist and a 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 early 1794 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 (shown above) 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 Ascendant  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 1) Venus-opposite-Jupiter; an appreciation of beauty and personal values that can be found within larger vistas and perceived opportunities, 2) Mars-trine-Sun; a boundless energy and striving to find meaning in everything, 3) Chiron square N.Node; making adjustments and evaluating the actions of those around him.  These patterns will frequently activate Return chart angles, and indicate a complex character.

goethejohannvongoethemtos10-19-1794letterThe chart above is a t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return for Oct. 19, 1794 prior to the date that Goethe wrote his letter to Schiller after receiving and reading his writings on the Aesthetic Nature of Man.  These two poet-philosophers shared their work with each other, offering suggestions and encouragement.

Goethe felt that Schiller’s writings could be better appreciated by the German public if couched within the simple format of a fairy tale.  Thus came about the concept, the writing, and the publishing a few weeks later of the “Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.” The t/Moon-n/Sun Return for Oct. 19, 1794 predates Goethe’s reading of Schillers work and his writing of his 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 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 undefined 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 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 with any creative effort he engaged in at this time.  From his letters we know that he had several projects underway; writings, stories, screen plays.

Goethe’s Inspiration

Upon his reading of Schiller’s The Aestheic Education 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 with reasoning had inspired Goethe to create the fairy tale.  This date, Oct. 26, 1794 was the date he finished his reading and considered Schiller’s view.  He conceptualized an imaginary framework that could dramatize the essence of becoming an ideal man, worthy of the best aspects of humanity.  The letter to Schiller did not, itself, contain copy taken from Goethe’s fairy tale.  The date, the inspiration, the communication with Schiller is all noted in the essay written decades later by Rudolph Steiner, a primary researcher and commentator on Goethe’s life and work. The letter praised Schiller and their mutual views.  The letter’s content is reproduced on this blog site for those who wish to review it.

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 and polishing of this fairy tale within his busy schedule.

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 inital 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.

Comments on this Advanced chart for Oct. 26, 1794 follow the chart.


The chart above is the Oct. 26, 1794 Advanced chart which marks the sharing of Goethe’s inspiration to reflect 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 as it is a significant feature in Return charts for natal chart angles to be reestablished in a Return or Advanced chart.  The MC has advanced to 29 Leo, squaring n/Pluto, while t/Pluto is being left just 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.

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.

Developing a profile for assessing the ‘conscious awareness’ stories of others

At the time of this writing (spring, 2016) several charts of 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 is 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 sentence, one paragraph or one page.  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 writing of this body of exploratory work.

Why was Goethe’s fairy tale re-written?

Goethe’s writing was done within a short span of time with the purpose of presenting concepts developed and written by his close friend Schiller and which were shared between them.  Their purpose was to educate others in an approach to life that was both noble and designed to improve humanity by bringing individuals closer to their spiritual selves.  The re-writing of the fairy tale has the aim of illuminating the astrological nature of the tale and the creative event that resulted in its writing, of Goethe’s awareness, and of others following a similar path to achieving conscious awareness of their spiritual nature.  Finding astrological continuity between the charts of different people on the same path seems fruitful to pursue.  More attention has been given to deepening the characters roles and their individual conditions of elation-versus-despair as they move through the story.

Why are Moon-to-Sun Returns considered as appropriate vehicles for this exploration?

The two most proximate bodies in the sky, the Sun and the Moon, have come to represent the core dynamics of human nature.  The Sun represents the logical mind, as espoused by Goethe. The Moon represents the unconscious and mysterious inner self as well as the more superficial emotional, physical and feeling nature of man.  The changing patterns of the Moon and its light reflects the dual role of the Moon in this manner.  Goethe postulates the need to balance these powerful natures of human beings.  Moon-to-Sun Returns are astrological tools that allow us to chart balance, un-balance and re-balancing of everyday life.

Consider the words of Dane Rudhyar, one of the twentieth century’s great astrologers.

“Life is an interplay between two polarities or forces.  One releases energy (light, heat and other less-known types of radiations); it is the Sun.  The other distributes this solar energy wherever it is needed to meet the demands of a living organism striving to maintain, reproduce and expand or transform itself in its earthly environments: it is the Moon.  The Moon alters its countenance, symbolically speaking, because the needs of the organism constantly change.  The organism has not only to face ever-renewed challenges in its environment or outer life; it also must grow from within, unfold its powers and faculties, mature — and eventually decay.”  This has been excerpted from the Rudhyar Archival Project in a small publication, “A New Type of Lunation Guidance” by Dane Rudhyar.

To belabor the point, Rudolph Steiner’s many writings include references to the importance of the Sun and Moon in terms of being primary factors driving the life and spiritual experiences of man.  As reference material is added to this blog site we will see the role of Steiner’s research in helping us better understand Goethe.

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 roadmap to conscious awareness and soul-self contact.

The following simple table is presented; it relates to Goethe’s ‘Advanced’ chart.


The above factors are derived from the fairy tale, from Rudolph Steiner’s commentary on the fairy tale and my 40+ years of astrological work.  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.

Having examined other examples of charts for those who have had their own versions of events involving conscious awareness, I have modified the above list of signature patterns to better accommodate a later and wider comparison.  For example, Goethe’s natal Sun conjuncts the MC angle.  I have instead noted that the natal or transiting Sun is angular, not necessarily the MC alone.   Goethe’s natal Sun placement fits within this broader definition.  One listed factor is more difficult to assess; ” Was there a crises, change or development in this cycle or on this date?”  Many of the ‘conscious awareness’ charts and subjects examined have all had crises that play into their ‘awaking’ experience.  Yet, these may predate by many years a conscious awareness event, or they may lead directly into such an event.  Such is the case in the event of a health crises or accident.

As other charts are explored this listing of signature patterns relating to the attainment of conscious awareness will be modified to fit what we have found.  In the early stages of this project, having a dozen or so patterns consistent with many people and their charts is a staggering discovery.  Let us see how this holds up.      Dave