Thursday, December 23, 2010

CHARLES DICKENS ~ Socialist? Nobleman? Moody?

An article and string of comments touching on Charles Dickens set me thinking about this famous author the other day. The Spirit of Scrooge by Caroline Hamilton (Article and comments HERE).

One commenter had Dickens down as "a socialist", another as "one of the rich nobility". Both ideas are understandable but in truth way off the mark. Astrodatabank offers an outline biography, highlighting aspects of his personality.

He was certainly not born into a noble family. His father worked in the Navy Pay Office and spent time in debtor's prison. Charles had to do a stint in a shoe-blacking factory at one point in his young life, and found out first-hand what life was like for poor working-class people in 19th century London - and in a newly industrialised England generally. What he experienced and saw must have affected him deeply because reflections of it appear in many of his novels, written decades later.

Dickens became independently wealthy through his writings, and a husband and father of 10 (though 1 child died). He abandoned his wife and family for the company of younger women - so he was not exactly the paragon of socialistic virtue we might like to imagine. Astrodatabank's research led to a picture of him as "a moody man". His moods may have been rooted in an uncertain life as a child, or in an inbuilt weakness of character which led him to abandon his large family and his wife who was also prone to bouts of depression (quite understandable, I'd say, after bearing 10 wee ones!)

Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 at 7:50 PM ("A" rating for birth time at Astrodatabank, so it's reasonably reliable).

His natal Sun in socially-conscious Aquarius lends credence to an underlying concern about the injustices of his time - in spite of his questionable characteristics with regard to wife and family.

Moon in philosophical Sagittarius conjunct creative Neptune is a helpful position for a writer.

Mercury, the writer's planet, is in helpful sextile to Uranus (the rebel) and both planets make quincunx (150*) aspects to Jupiter (publishing) forming a configuration known as a Yod (Finger of Fate). This Yod describes his professional life well - writer with rebellious/socialistic ideas funelling through to millions of readers via (Jupiter) publication, in his lifetime and for long, long after.

If time of birth is near correct, Virgo was rising as Dickens came into the world. Virgo is ruled by Mercury, planet of writing and communication.

Pluto and Venus were both close to the Pisces descendant angle giving them significant strength in his personality, especially with regard to relationships.
Pluto has dark connotations, Venus relates to love and the arts. Perhaps his moodiness stems mainly from Pluto's strong position - or perhaps from the challenging square aspect between Saturn and Mars. These two planets have some negative attributes, and when found in antagonising angle to one another are unlikely to bring forth much comfort and joy.

Speaking of comfort and joy - leading us on to Christmas, Dickens featured the festival in a couple of his best known novels A Christmas Carol and The Pickwick Papers. His Saturn square Mars describes Scrooge from A Christmas Carol quite well, and Mr. Pickwick is, for sure, Jupiter personified (at the apex of that Yod)!

"External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty......
Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it."

- A Christmas Carol.

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!"
- The Pickwick Papers.


Wisewebwoman said...

How often is it that we see a highly defined social conscience in such as Charles Dickens, translate into "street angel, house devil"?

Also I think he was profoundly affected by his favourite child's death. I haven't looked that up.

But I often wonder how the other 9 children feel about that?


Gian Paul said...

Intriguing to me is that Marx read Dickens but not the other way round. Astrologically Dickens has a rich natal horoscope - and the YOD formation explains a lot about his impact as a social writer and critic of his time.

Jupiter (R) in Gemini, mercurian, guided by Uranus in Scorpio (sarcasm and keen sense of perception) and Mercury in Capricorn, disciplined in manipulating words, onto it's point of impact in Sagittarius.

Right to the point for such a reflective Jupiter! And thus red all over the world, and still today.

Thanks, T. for having presented him to your readers.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes, agreed. There are probably dozens of our 21st century current "idols" who fit the pattern.

The view I usually put forward on this is that all such people owe us, their "customers", who put our bums on seats, buy books, records, paintings, etc. is to give US good value. What they do in other areas of their lives shouldn't concern us, unless their doings become very nasty and extreme (Mel Gibson is getting there!)

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ Well - I suppose that Marx's writings, however valuable were pretty hard going, and Dickens being a busy writer, father of 10, and lover of young ladies had plenty of other distractions. ;-)

Thanks for your further notes on his natal chart GP. Much appreciated.

I've always felt a fondness for the old rogue - I'd probably not have liked him "in the flesh", but his talent and insight into the wrongs of his times cannot be denied.

Rossa said...

You'll love this then. The Doctor Who Christmas Special tomorrow is based on A Christmas Carol with Michael Gambon playing the Scrooge character.

Though with a twist as it is set on an alien planet with fish that swim through the air...a shark in there somewhere from the trailers so far.

And Katherine Jenkins, the opera star, has a cameo part.

Watch out for it on iPlayer. 6pm Christmas Day on BBC1.

A Happy Christmas from a sunny, freezing cold, snow covered, West Yorkshire. Average temp this month -9.8c !!

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Thanks for the heads-up on that, Rossa. No doubt we'll see it this side of the pond on PBS in a couple of years' time.

I'll investigate BBC i-player with regard to TV - haven't tried it yet. Radio works wonderfully, but whenever I've tried to view videos of clips from TV shows the message appears "not available in your country" - or suchlike.

Have a good one - amid the snow!
Looks as though we'll be rather dank, grey and cold, though forecast says "sunny at times" for tomorrow. :-)