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
Pluto = 110
Moon = 111
Mars = 121
Sun = 122
Mercury = 210
Jupiter = 211
Saturn = 221
Neptune = 222
Uranus = 311
[Least-aspected Venus] [Pluto]
Attain death with all your appetites.
–Rimbaud, A Season in Hell.
This language will be soul for soul’s sake, summing up everything: perfumes, sounds and colors, thought latching onto thought and pulling.
–Rimbaud, Letter of the Seer.
One of the world’s most influential writers, “child-poet” (Secondary Moon / Primary Venus) Arthur Rimbaud, né Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud, was born in Charleville, France, almost directly under the setting position of his Primary Pluto. His equally underaspected Primary Venus rises over the northwest corner of France, thereby placing his entire native land under a Primary Venus-Pluto Transcendental Midpoint-Field.
Rimbaud completed his first collection of verse when he was only sixteen years old, then he ran away to Paris. As we can see in his astrocartography, the French capital lies precisely in the center of his Venus / Pluto Transcendental Midpoint-Field.
After his Paris escapade, he briefly returned to Charleville to complete "Le Bateau ivre" (1871; The Drunken Boat, 1941). Considered a "revolutionary / work of creation" (Pluto / Venus), it "vividly portrays / ‘visions teetering on the brink of the incomprehensible."1 (Venus / Pluto) and evokes the powerful emotions of the "childhood / psyche" (Secondary Moon / Primary Pluto).
Rimbaud submitted several poems, including the sonnet, "Voyelles," to the Parisian poet Paul Verlaine, who was so impressed that he invited Rimbaud to Paris. After “provoking” (Pluto) the older poets with his cynical wit, Rimbaud later traveled with Verlaine to London, which lies in the center of his Venus-Pluto TMF.
After returning to Charleville in the summer of 1873, Rimbaud completed Une Saison en enfer (1873; A Season in Hell, 1932): "one of the first modern works of literature to show that experiments with language are also investigations into the self."2 He self-published the book at about the time he turned nineteen. Just a few years later, while in his early twenties, Rimbaud - arguably the greatest modern French poet - stopped writing poetry altogether.
Turning away from literary concerns, he embarked on a series of adventurous travels, attempting to amass a fortune by working as a trader, exporter, and gunrunner. During the period of Rimbaud’s disappearance from France, Verlaine, assuming he was deceased, published a collection of the poet's later work that he titled Les Illuminations, "by the late Arthur Rimbaud" (1886; trans. 1932). Although these prose poems enhanced his reputation, Rimbaud continued to distance himself from the affairs of literature.
His business affairs initially led him to several Transcendental Locations, such as Germany, Sweden, and North Africa, but they later placed him in the vicinity of his most aspected or Leading Planet region: in northeastern Africa, the Middle East, and the east coast of Africa. Although he achieved success as a trader and explorer, he often traveled great distances in less than optimal conditions, and he eventually developed a severe medical problem with his leg, which became swollen and severely infected.3
Rimbaud’s trade routes were framed by a midpoint-field extending from his most aspected or Leading Planet, Uranus, which curves over east-central Africa, setting directly over Egypt, to his Secondary Leader, Neptune, which runs in a vertical, midnight position along the coast of Ethiopia, precisely over the easternmost-tip of Africa, near his trading headquarters, in Harer (9E18; 42E08), and through the center of Saudi Arabia. His third most aspected or Tertiary Leader, Saturn, sets along the eastern coast of Africa and forms a Leading Planet Midpoint-Field with Neptune off the Ethiopian coast.
Indeed, his sudden and extreme reversal of roles (from poète maudit [cursed poet] to gunrunning fortune hunter) reflects the influence of his most aspected or Leading Uranus. His "physical depletion due to infection" (Secondary Leader Neptune) and the "tragic reversals of fortune" (Leading Uranus; e.g., the loss of all his unpublished manuscripts in Africa; contracting syphilis; his fatal illness)4 so early in life reflect the keynotes of the final phase of his biography. He was badly disabled by the time he sailed from Harer to seek medical treatment in France. After the removal of his "infected" leg (Secondary Leader Neptune), the thirty-seven-year-old poet died in a hospital in Marseille.
Rimbaud’s Primary Transcendental, Pluto, is traditionally associated with processes of in-depth transformation, such as the extinction of outmoded forms of being and the regeneration and rebirth that follows. Pluto symbolizes profound reorientations of consciousness that alter the course of a person’s life. It is the ability to remake oneself: to symbolically die, to purge the past, to be reborn. Such things form a central theme in Rimbaud’s poetry (e.g., “I is somebody else”) as well in his life.
Primary Venus is the ruler of the arts, the muse of creative inspiration, the symbol of beauty and harmony. Rimbaud’s inspired contributions forever altered the traditions of modern poetry. His work attracted the admiration of artists as diverse as Picasso (who drew on the theme of the poète maudit in his early portraits and whose Symbolist-influenced paintings owe an indirect debt to Rimbaud) and Henry Miller, whose study of Rimbaud, The Time of the Assassins, is an impassioned, subjective appreciation in which the author interweaves his own tale of délire into that of his subject.
1. Graham Robb, Rimbaud. A Biography, p. 103.
2. Ibid., p. 232.
3. See Robb for a reassessment of his success as a trader and his renown as an explorer.
4. The cause of illness remains uncertain. “There is a drastic sense of exertion throughout Rimbaud’s life….his health was always vulnerable. […] these hardships and fatigues began to exact a terrible cost.” Charles Nicholl, Somebody Else, p. 283.
Revised & updated: 1 January 2012
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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 Arthur Rimbaud Pluto Venus planets symbolism chart of Arthur Rimbaud horoscope astrology astrocartography