Harmonic Case Studies: 7H (Charles Baudelaire)

Alex Trenoweth uses the chart of Charles Baudelaire to demonstrate the astrological techniques of Midpoints and Harmonics.

Hamblin indicates that the number 7 is traditionally viewed as a magical or mysterious number.  As he writes:  “Human order may be found in the number Five, but cosmic order is sought in the number Seven.”[1]  Charles Harvey adds that 7H chart is about what turns us on and that it “will lift us into a higher order of vision and understanding.  It shows our receptivity to the influx of supernal energies and circumstances, which can thus open us to the “breathing in” of the Divine.”[2]  However, Hamblin attributes the sense of Divine to the 9H chart and the 7H closer to ever-changing flights of fantasy and of romance.

Mathematically, the 7H chart brings together the septiles of the natal chart together.  Septiles are difficult to spot at a glance as they are one-seventh of a circle or 51.43 degrees so I think there is a hidden facet in the 7H charts too.

Baudelaire’s romantic life was one that was far from the convention of his time.  Why did he choose to conduct his love life like this and how is this reflected in his H7 chart?

The shaping of the H7 chart changes from a concentration of planets in the western hemisphere of his natal chart to a concentration of planets in the eastern hemisphere, suggesting he was independent,  individualistic and strong willed (I don‘t think the women in his life would have disagreed!).  The 7H chart also shows a grand trine between Pluto, Uranus/Neptune and N. Node, indicating a flow of outer planet energy connected to his perceived sense of romantic destiny: did Baudelaire see his romantic life as a sort of sacrifice for the collective? A problem I thought I would struggle with in the 7H chart was that it seemed to be guessing what the native fantasies about–it didn’t seem to me that there would be anything in the biography that could be drawn upon.  It seemed it would be very much like grasping at straws!  In the 5H chart, we can see the results of the creativity because there are clues left in what was created (in Baudelaire’s case, it was his writing).  To what conclusions can we draw of someone’s fantasies if we can’t see them?

In Baudelaire’s 7H chart, there is a beautiful kite formation with Venus as the tip.  The spine of the kite is the nodal axis.  Venus falls on the S node.  Although Hamblin does not consider the nodes, this appears to be relevant in Baudelaire’s case:  Baudelaire did not see women (Venus) as being a part of his fantasized destiny in the conventional sense.  However, Hamblin notes that a Venus-Pluto connection indicates being “romantically moved by ideas of dedication, ruthlessness, transformation, death and re-birth.”[3] (NB: Though too far out of orb to be considered conjunct to Venus in a harmonic chart, I would consider Pluto to be drawn in to the configuration by its sextile to S Node.)   Also forming this kite configuration is a grand trine in water signs: Pluto trine Uranus/Neptune trine N Node.  The element of water adds a sensitive, emotional depth to what inspires him.  Hamblin notes that the Neptune/Uranus contact is being “inspired by the combination of excitement and brilliance. . .and being inspired by the individual becoming a symbol of a wider truth.”[4]  Uranus’ connection to Pluto in the H7 chart adds a measure of ruthlessness to the configuration.  Hamblin notes that Neptune’s contact to Pluto on H7 not only adds ruthlessness but also an element of being able to express this dedication to universal truth creatively.  My own interpretation of this chart would point towards Baudelaire’s inspiration:  his so-called “muses,” so clearly seen at the point of the kite.  He needed a muse (Venus) to inspire and express his profound (Pluto) themes of sex, death and re-birth found in his poetry.  But what kind of muse would turn Baudelaire on?  A couple of poems, “Allegory” and “Metamorphoses of the Vampire” are enough to answer the themes of the muses in the H7 chart. In “Metamorphoses of the Vampire,” the woman is beautiful on the outside but transmutes into a “Putrescent thing, all faceless and exuding pus”[5] as she sucks the life out of the poet.  In “Allegory” the woman is also beautiful but unmistakably a prostitute: “She laughs at Death and snaps her fingers at Debauch”.[6] Both examples fly in the face of what would normally be considered conventional beauty.

It is well known that Baudelaire suffered for his art.  In his H7 chart, there are three squares to Chiron: to Saturn, to Uranus and toNeptune. It’s almost as if he had to be in pain to be inspired (Saturn) and he needed to feel he was both shocking as well as selfless—although it caused his to suffer—in order to feel inspired. An example of the work I think expresses this in a slightly different manner is his poem “The Dog and Scent Bottle.” In this poem, the narrator offers a dog a bottle of perfume—but the dog rejects the perfume, preferring to smell the rotting garbage and excrement.  The unexpected rejection of something which is usually regarded as pleasant also seems to express Baudelaire’s feelings for being rejected by the general public.  Baudelaire’s poetry was new to the literary scene of the time and his contribution, as an individual was undeterred by the law (Saturn) which tried to suppress his work.  The H7 chart seems to indicate Baudelaire was somehow perversely “turned on” by the pain this rejection caused.

In addition to the themes of death and re-birth, there is no getting around Baudelaire’s ideas of sexuality.  In the H7 chart, Mars is square to the MC/IC axis.  Hamblin indicates planets on this axis represent the romantic goals the native feels he is moving.  My own interpretation of the square to this axis would be that Baudelauire felt his role of the romantic hero actually repelled the public or disempowered him personally. I could find no examples of overt violence in Baudelaire’s work.

One final aspect worth noting in the H7 chart is the Moon-Jupiter conjunction.  Hamblin notes that this indicates being “inspired by the idea of grand and uninhibited response to events. . .a very creative aspect, often leading to art which is full of grand emotion.”[7] Though Baudelaire seemed steeped in misery and self destruction in life, it is a relief to see that, according to his H7 chart, he never became disengaged from his emotions in his search for inspiration.

Copyright: Alex Trenoweth 2008

Contact Alex Trenoweth on Skype (AstroAlex1984) for your tarot, palm or astrological consultation

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