An appreciation of the author Colin Wilson (1931-2013) - philosopher, critic, novelist
Colin Wilson horoscopic profile
by Laurence Breedon
Born in Leicester,
June 26, 1931, 3.30am BST (2.30am GMT)
The horoscope or natal chart is a map drawn up of the heavens for the exact time and place of a person’s birth, and it shows the planets as they appear in the sky in a belt of stars the ancients called the zodiac.
The horoscope provides a uniquely informative guide to the potentiality and likely destiny of it subject, called the ‘native’ of the chart. Astrology, as a serious field of study, has been revolutionised in the last century thanks to the pioneering work of Marc Edmund Jones (1888-1980), a remarkable American occultist and astrologer whose books and writings have placed astrology in a modern framework while preserving its most useful traditions. Indeed, his outstanding body of work is probably the reason why the art will one day gain a wider and more general acceptance. What follows is based very largely on Dr Jones’ ideas and terminology.
The three principal building bricks of the horoscope are the Planets, Signs and Houses, and modern astrology employs special keywords to describe them. These keywords represent a summary of the nature of the Planet, Sign or House concerned, and are an accurate guide to overall meaning. The elements in a chart are put together in the manner of a jigsaw or mosaic. The whole view thus obtained is, simultaneously, a portrait of the man and the life.As Heraclitus succinctly puts is: ‘Character is Destiny’.
The astrologer is faced with a wealth of detail when he looks at a chart, and interpretation can go on almost indefinitely with no appreciable gain in understanding. As a general principle, it may be said that with a horoscopic profile, less is usually more, as long as that less is sharp and pertinent. This is the method used in this analysis.
The Sun, keyword Will, in Cancer, keyword Expansion, gives notice of an exacting individual who is self-consummating and wilful with insight into the possibility of things. His energy is devoted pretty exclusively to expanding the possibilities of his own world, which in practical terms is what the sign of Cancer is about. The Sun’s position in the second house, keyword Possession, gives him a fine sense of the richness of life as an arena where he may use the very best of everything as a personal resource.
The Moon is in the sixth house, whose keyword is Duty. Since the Moon’s keyword (Feeling) pertains to the native’s general receptive capacity, it stands to reveal much about the native’s social attitude. The house, broadly, is the house of social adjustment; it is the crossover point bridging the lower, subjective or private world of the individual, and the upper, public or objective world. It is to be noted that the Moon here is ‘intercepted’. Interception in astrology shows a kind of insulation from immediate circumstances, thereby indicating an added or re-emphasised tendency for the native to be inwardly directed in his generalised response to outer experience, which is the province of the Moon (as distinct from his response to inner experience, which is the province of Saturn. See below).
The Moon’s presence in this house underlines a sharp consciousness of social differences. Its presence in Scorpio, keyword Creativity, shows an insatiable desire on the part of the native to enjoy and complete whatever activity or interest he initiates or adopts as his own and he is almost devoid of ordinary sympathy or surface feeling.
The planets of standout significance in Colin’s chart are Mercury and Saturn, whose keywords are Mentality and Sensitiveness respectively. Mercury is rising in the first house of Identity, in Gemini, or Vivification, which shows the author’s characteristic writing style, his amiable chattiness and engaging liveliness. Saturn is the elevated planet in the chart, the planet standing nearest the Midheaven or zenith. Saturn, in the ninth house of the intellect or the higher mind, points to the major scope and the profound nature of the author’s subject matter. Saturn’s position here shows a particular affinity for vicarious experience, such as one might readily associate with a voracious reader of books. Saturn is ‘retrograde’, a term describing its apparent backwards motion in the sky, and this suggests an introspective slanting in the working of the native’s Sensitiveness, or his inner response to experience. Saturn is in the sign of Capricorn, whose keyword, Discrimination, describes the author’s penetrating method of enquiry and his persistent quest for meaning, which is characteristic of Saturn’s lean to matters of ultimate concern; and indeed meaning could be described as the ninth house’s major theme or field. On a personal level, the ninth house is Consciousness, and anyone with planets here knows a more-than-ordinarily rich mental life.
Modern astrology puts the planets in four distinct groups, or departments, with each compartment containing two planets. The Sun and Moon make up the department of Vitality and shows the link between underlying Purpose (Sun) and generalised Feeling (Moon). Mars, keyword Initiative, and Venus, keyword Acquisitiveness, make up the department of Efficiency, which rules the native’s practical affairs, or how he disposes things in the more superficial spheres of activity in a way that suits his needs and convenience. In this department, Mercury, keyword Mentality, serves in a supplementary role, serving to monitor and give a framework to perception. Jupiter and Saturn are paired similarly in the department of Motivation, which deals with the wholly personal realm, where one strives to find fulfilment through building or discovering meaning and purpose.
Uranus and Neptune make up the department of Significance, showing the extent to which a person may become part or even a player in the greater scheme of things, and thereby achieve a degree of public recognition. Pluto, keyword Obsession, shows the potential for a whole or transcendent awareness, a potential coming into being ultimately though the rapid expansion of societies and technology since 1930, the year of Pluto’s discovery and coming-into-effectiveness. Thus it parallels the supplementary role of Mercury in the department of Efficiency, suggesting s cosmic rather than an individual perspective in understanding in the department of Significance.
* Colin Wilson's birth chart, and astrologer Laurence Breedon
Trine between Sun and Moon
Colin’s Vitality shows a trine between the Sun and Moon, and for the native with this indication there is a wonderfully smooth momentum in the planning and follow-through of anything. The trine in Vitality bestows a characteristic exaltation of being and, except when distracted by some particular anxiety or concern, the native enjoys a remarkable depth of psychological satisfaction.
A possible downside is the tendency to settle into too-comfortable psychological grooves, which may lead to complacency. Generally speaking, the trine is a favourable aspect, especially if one is clear about one’s aim, for it produces a healthy momentum, the result of a smooth, co-operative working of Will (Sun) and Feeling (Moon).
There is a functioning line of Efficiency in this chart, which shows itself in the square between Mars and Venus. This gives the native a decisive if somewhat headstrong ability to organise his life and practical affairs.Nevertheless it is only by going his own way that the native achieves his best.
The square gives the ability to grasp and order any set of complex relations, something which is very evident in the author’s writing. Mercury’s sextile with Mars makes an important contribution to this all-round practical efficiency, lending to the mental capacity a tireless stamina and an exceptional ease of operation.
Mars, keyword Initiative, is also important because of its conjunction with Neptune. The three outermost planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, are the planets of the modern age, which began with Uranus’s discovery in 1781, and culminated in Pluto’s discovery in 1930. Neptune was discovered in 1846 and marked Europe’s great sea-change in politics in the form of the upsurge of ‘people power’ and the coming to the fore of Marxist theory. Hence Neptune’s position in a chart shows how a person assimilates himself to society, either indirectly or by way of a specially enhanced emotional or spiritual interest, or through a consciously directed ‘responsibility’ to the new world community.
The Mars/Neptune conjunction in the fifth house of Offspring is the reason for the major status and social relevance of Colin’s intellectual concerns. Astrologically speaking, Colin’s offspring are his books; the fruit of his primal self’s out-spilling in self-expression.
The Jupiter/Saturn opposition integrates the line of Motivation, and this is a key feature in the understanding of Colin’s chart. It tellingly diagrams the line of force that underpins his creative drive and literally comes to a head in the powerful Uranus (see below).
Oppositions always mean enhanced awareness but in this case the planets involved are especially well-blessed, since Saturn rules Capricorn and Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, dignities which increase their beneficial functioning. Saturn in the ninth house is the more active or stimulating partner of the two, acting almost like a lightning conductor for the native’s intellectual interests and, as it were, firing his enthusiasms (Jupiter’s keyword). This opposition, gaining more importance from being the only one in the map, is a kind of backbone, lending the chart patterning, force and a purposeful dynamism.
Though there is not a functioning line of integration between Uranus and Neptune in the department of Significance, Uranus, keyword Independence, is of stand-out importance in the chart because it is the focal planet of a formation called a T-cross.
A T-cross occurs when an opposition linking two planets has two squares leading off it coming to focus on a third. The opposition concerned is the all-important Jupiter/Saturn, which is Colin’s motivational fulcrum. The T-cross is in Cardinal signs, which show the author’s purposeful drive and, with Uranus at its head, dramatically illustrates his willingness to court controversy and go out on a limb.
Uranus it should be emphasised is the planet of high individualism. Discovered at the end of the eighteenth century it signalled the arrival in the world of an entirely new spirit of human progress and innovation. It stands for radical non-conformism, the great inventor, the breaker of new ground.
A T-square indicates a persistent life-effort of some sort, and here Uranus is in the twelfth house, that of the subconscious mind. In this house is a person’s psychological roots and most deep-seated stirrings; it is the house of subjective self-sustainment. This gives an important clue and insight into the author’s highly active drives and inner compulsions. Most emphatically, this author is what he writes.
Laurence Breedon, June 2011