The Role of the Least Aspected Planet in Astrocartography.
Planetary Symbolism in Astrocartography and Transcendental Astrology,
by Rob Couteau.
All text © Copyright 2012 Rob Couteau
Sun = 021
Neptune = 100
Jupiter = 101
Pluto = 110
Mars = 120
Saturn = 121
Moon = 122
Mercury = 201
[Least-aspected Sun] [Neptune]
Yo el Rey [I, the King].
God is really another artist ... like me.
I am God, I am God, I am God.
Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.
–Various statements attributed to Picasso.1
I suddenly realized how necessary it was for Picasso to have people around who believed in him and his work and [who] could be trusted to follow him wholeheartedly into the future.
He would switch on the magnetism and let his ego feed on whatever critical understanding, starstruck admiration, or devotion could be extracted from those around him. At the end of the day, Picasso would have made off with everyone’s energy; it would fuel a night of work in his studio. No wonder we guests would be left in a state of nervous exhaustion. No wonder Jacqueline took to the bottle.
–John Richardson, The Sorcerer s Apprentice.2
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, about eight degrees west of the vertical, midnight position of his Primary Sun. Primary Sun runs almost directly over the longitude of two cities of great importance in the artist’s life: Barcelona (2E11) and Paris (2E20). Picasso and his family moved to Barcelona in 1895, when he was thirteen years old. There, he attended art school and received his first formal training. By the time he was seventeen, he was frequenting Barcelona’s El Quatre Gats cafe, a central meeting place of the avant-garde, where he participated in passionate discussions on art and literature and was exposed to the influence of modernism. Encouraged by his friends, he held his first exhibition of portraits in February 1900, about three months after his eighteenth birthday. It was also in Barcelona that he was introduced to Jaime Sabartes, his lifelong secretary, confidante, biographer, and the subject of several of Picasso’s paintings.
Picasso made three visits to Paris between October 1900 (at the age of thirteen) and January 1903, finally settling there in April 1904. In the years preceding his "extraordinary fame" (Primary Sun), his various ateliers throughout Paris (especially the Bateau Lavoir, in Montmartre) were host to the likes of Max Jacob, Apollinaire, Rilke, Matisse, Georges Braque, and many other artists and writers who exchanged ideas and influences and who would later make significant cultural contributions. He was paid the highest cultural compliment that most chauvinistic of countries can offer, as Picasso "would come to be regarded as a French artist: a luminary of the school of Paris."3
French influences on his work include the Symbolists, the turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau style, Toulouse-Lautrec, the especially influential work of Gauguin and, later on, the French painters Poussin, Ingres, Delacroix, Manet and, of course, Paul Cézanne. Cézanne, a native of Aix-en-Provence (another location under Picasso’s Primary Sun line), eventually provided Braque and Picasso–the "leading figures" (Primary Sun) of Cubism–with an essential clue that pointed the way to the development of Cubism. Cézanne’s dictum of "the cylinder, the sphere, the cone" as the structural basis of form in landscape was heeded by Picasso and Braque and applied in a "deeply imaginative" (Secondary Neptune) manner to the human figure, resulting in Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). Considered the "first unequivocally twentieth-century masterpiece,"4 Les Demoiselles marked a radical break from the traditions of pictorial representation and served to revolutionize twentieth-century painting. In 1909, Braque joined forces with Picasso in the mutual exploration Cubism: sharing an atelier, they worked through the Analytic, Hermetic, Rococo, and Synthetic phases of painting.
In February 1917, Picasso traveled to Italy with Jean Cocteau to meet with Sergey Diaghilev, the director of the Ballets Russes. They were collaborating (along with Erik Satie) to create Parade, with Picasso designing Cubist costumes and sets. These were not ordinary ballet costumes that you would wear in a recital or on Halloween, and were actually in no way like typical Halloween costumes that we see today. These costumes were made of a firm cardboard material which made moving around rather difficult for the dancers. While sketching the sets in Rome, Picasso fell in love with one of the dancers, Olga Koklova, whom he married the following year, in Paris.
Picasso’s Italian trip brought him in close proximity to his Secondary Neptune, which runs over Italy in its vertical, Midheaven position, just a few degrees east of Naples and Rome. Biographers have noted that these cities exerted a profound influence on the artist. Picasso’s trip to Italy served to reintroduce him to the "imagery" (Neptune) of classicism, resulting in the rendition of numerous "dreamlike seaside landscapes" (Neptune) that were inspired by the Mediterranean "Sea" (Neptune). His Neoclassical period was characterized by colossal nudes; serene monumental landscapes; and mythological creatures, such as centaurs, fauns, and the god Pan. This stylistic period lasted until 1925, but the subject matter of classicism continued to make its appearance throughout his oeuvre.5
Neptune rules "imagery, in-depth imaginative processes, and the mystical themes" with which antiquity is replete. It also rules the sea. Throughout his life, Picasso’s proximity to the Mediterranean (especially in locations throughout southern France) provided a special stimulus to his "creative energy / and imagination" (Primary Sun / Secondary Neptune). He remarked that the images of such mythical creatures and gods arrived only when he ventured within the Mediterranean region. As we can see in his astrocartography, Picasso’s Primary Sun and Secondary Neptune frame the Mediterranean. This Sun / Neptune field extends from the Sun’s vertical position over Barcelona, in the west, to Neptune’s vertical position over southern Italy (two degrees east of Naples), in the east.
The trip to Rome would put Picasso back in touch with the Mediterranean. The inland sea that had cradled him would always regenerate his spirits, not to speak of his passion for the ancient world. Now that he had finally traveled to Rome and, more to the point, Naples, this passion would gradually take over his work ... Picasso would evoke that animal mix of lethargy and ferocity, priapism and tenderness that still characterizes life on the shores of the Mediterranean.6
Picasso lived in Paris until 1947. He then relocated to the South of France. By the time he died in Mougins, at the age of ninety-one, he was regarded as the century’s most influential artist and was certainly the "most celebrated" (Primary Sun) artist of modern times. He was fortunate enough to have achieved "high visibility" (Sun) early in his career. He was remembered for his "leadership, willfulness, sense of destiny and purpose" (Primary Sun); he also developed a notorious reputation for "despotism, self-centeredness, and an obsession with self-image and pride"7 (Sun). Indeed, Picasso’s prominent character traits read like a list of classic Sun themes. The keynotes of "power and vitality" that are associated with the Sun were reflected in his extraordinary outpouring of creative energy: he assembled over 20,000 works of art, most of them created in France, under the influence of his Primary Transcendental Sun.
1. John Richardson, A Life of Picasso, vol. 1, The Early Years: 1881-1906, p. 463.
2. Ibid., The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper, pp. 82, 239.
3. In the words of Picasso’s unrivalled biographer John Richardson. See A Life of Picasso, vol. 1, The Early Years: 1881-1906, p. 295.
4. Michael Batterberry, Twentieth Century Art, p. 97.
5. Richardson, A Life of Picasso, vol. 2, The Painter of Modern Life, p. 432.
7. Brau, Weaver & Edmands, Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology, p. 270.
Revised & updated: 1 January 2012
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'The Role of the Least-aspected Planet in Astrocartography.'
All text © Copyright 2012 Rob Couteau and cannot be used without the written and expressed consent of the author. Key words: Robert Couteau astrocartographer biography of Pablo Picasso Sun planets symbolism chart of Pablo Picasso in Italy horoscope astrology astrocartography