Saturday, April 16, 2011


The quote from novelist George Orwell in the sidebar links to this re-airing of my 2008 post. His words are often quoted these days in strings of comments at political websites. His vision of the future may not ever materialise just as he described it in "1984", but his writings certainly instilled a long-lasting dread in the minds of readers. We see much in today's political scenarios that, if not exactly Orwellian - is surely headed in that direction.

George Orwell (real name Eric Blair) was born on 25 June 1903 in Motahari, Bihar, India, taken to live in England when one year old. (Natal chart and some astrology later in this post).

At Live Science this article: Study: George Orwell's Illnesses Influenced '1984' provides some insight into the darkness of his subjects:

"He suffered multiple bouts of bronchitis and other respiratory ailments, Ross writes. As a young man, Orwell had several episodes of bacterial pneumonia, and also contracted dengue fever while in Burma. He was a heavy smoker, and he suffered fits of coughing from a condition called bronchiectasis.

In 1938, Orwell went to a sanatorium because he was coughing up blood. He was eventually diagnosed with tuberculosis..............Eight years later, depressed by his wife’s death, Orwell moved to a windy and damp Scottish island. His health worsened significantly just as he was working on the first draft of "1984," Ross reports. Fever, weight loss, and night sweats sent him to the hospital, where he underwent “collapse therapy,” a treatment designed to close the dangerous cavities that form in the chests of tuberculosis patients.

Relying on Orwell's own descriptions of the treatment, Ross says it "may have influenced the depiction of the tortures of Winston Smith in the Ministry of Love" in "1984.""

Confirmation from the man himself:
"Orwell himself told his friends that 1984 would have been less gloomy had he not been so ill—it was a very dark, disturbing, and pessimistic work," Ross said. Orwell's illnesses "made him a better and more empathetic writer, in that his sense of human suffering made his writing more universal."
"1984" wasn't meant as prophecy. I suppose that having experienced the Spanish Civil War and World War2, the idea of totalitarianism was an unwelcome spectre in the minds of many people, and was played upon by this novel. Orwell once said:
The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.
Had he been aiming at prophecy, a more appropriate title might have been "2024". Perceptive minds have been noting warning signs of what I'll call 1984-ness in the USA during recent years.

Orwell was taken to England when one year old, was educated there and spent much of his life in the British Isles. So re-location would have had a bearing on where the angles of his chart were placed, in addition to the birth-time question which has already muddied the water in that respect.

Time of birth, according to Astrodatabank, was 11.30am, though with a DD rating (dirty data) so it is not reliable. I've used it anyway, in the absence of any alternative. If time of birth isn't correct, the ascending sign/degree will be incorrect, as well as Moon's exact position.

If I'd been given this chart without knowing to whom it belonged I might have guessed that the owner was a writer of some kind - journalist or novelist - he was both at various stages of his career: Virgo ascending, if time of birth is correct, and Mercury in Gemini are both good indicators of someone adept with the pen, or in today's world, the keyboard.

Sun conjunct Neptune (creativity) and Moon in Cancer (if time of birth was other than 11:30 AM Moon could be either in late Gemini, or a little further into Cancer). Lots of scope for a fertile imagination and creativity there, either way. Cancer is usually seen as a rather gentle, passive sign. I'd have guessed Orwell's writing might reflect that: historical dramas, mild romantic sagas - something along those lines. How wrong I'd have been!

Sun conjunct Neptune has a darker side too though. Creativity is the bright side of Neptune, the potential for addiction is one of Neptune's darker sides, especially when the planet is closely aligned with a personal planet - and you don't get more personal than natal Sun. Orwell was a lifelong heavy smoker = addiction. As noted in the quotes which follow, his smoking may have caused his untimely demise. His ill health may also have been one factor in the draw to darkness in his subject matter.

There's a Grand Trine in air signs (3 linked 120 degree aspects) in Orwell's chart. Air connects to intellect, ideas, communication. Mars in Libra, Saturn in Aquarius and Mercury in Gemini are connected in this "circuit", providing an excellent harmonious link-up of skills for any writer, sign-wise. However, the planets involved with Mercury in the Grand Trine: Mars and Saturn, are both traditionally labelled "malefics" (potentially negative in some way). This might reflect an attraction to subject matter less than uplifting - Orwell's dystopian novels "1984" and "Animal Farm" for instance. Had that Grand Trine linked, for example, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury, we might have on our bookshelves some Orwellian visions of a wonderful future filled with art, philosophy and beauty. Just a thought!

From "1984", and with today's mainstream media in mind:
"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… —Book 1 chapter 5.

"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is "not done" to say it... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals".
~~Introduction to Animal Farm. 1945.'

A final quote from "1984"
"It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same--everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another's existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same--people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world." —Book 1 chapter 10.


Craig said...

I found a reference to astrology in George Orwell's writings. It's from his review of a book on W. B. Yeats from 1943:

Mr Menon’s book is incidentally a short biography of Yeats, but he is above all interested in Yeats’s philosophical “system”, which in his opinion supplies the subject-matter of more of Yeats’s poems than is generally recognised ... As soon as we begin to read about the so-called system we are in the middle of a hocus-pocus of Great Wheels, gyres, cycles of the moon, reincarnation, disembodied spirits, astrology and what not. Yeats hedges as to the literalness with which he believed in all this, but he certainly dabbled in spiritualism and astrology, and in earlier life had made experiments in alchemy.

Twilight said...

Craig~~~ Hi there!
Thanks for that, and for the link, which I've followed and have read the piece. Interesting! I like that he doesn't dismiss astrology, or the occult out of hand.

This para is interesting and food for thought:

Secondly, the very concept of occultism carries with it the idea that knowledge must be a secret thing, limited to a small circle of initiates. But the same idea is integral to Fascism. Those who dread the prospect of universal suffrage, popular education, freedom of thought, emancipation of women, will start off with a predilection towards secret cults. There is another link between Fascism and magic in the profound hostility of both to the Christian ethical code.

In the piece from your link I recognised a tendency in Orwell that I came across in my reading yesterday. He had a constant urge to edit or correct someone's use of the language - almost an obsession I'd guess. ;-)

In an essay of his, "Politics and the English Language" he offers 6 rules for good writing:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never us a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

(Astrologers might relate that tendency (or obsession) of his to Virgo rising I think. Which might help to confirm that the birthtime used here was correct or near correct.)

Craig said...

> I like that he doesn't dismiss astrology

Definitely. I think he was probably very interested in astrology.

> or the occult out of hand.

That Orwell web site has a letter written by him to a friend where he talks about seeing a ghost in a churchyard. Search there for "ghost" or "halloween" and you'll find it.

Best regards!

Twilight said...

Craig ~~~ Thanks - will do!

James Higham said...

Fascinating seeing it through your eyes. I've had much to say about Orwell too but not like this.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~~ You've got me wondering now, how differently one might see him :-)

Vanilla Rose said...

I recently decided to re-read "Animal Farm" for the first time since I was a teenager. So relevant, on so many levels!!!

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~~ I must get to re-reading it myself. "1984" depressed me so much though, I went on to brighter subject matter.

Garota Psykóze said...

I think that when you add to all that a Pluto in Gemini squaring both Mars and Jupiter, opposing Uranus, and conjunct to Mercury, you KNOW his writing will be powerful, heavy, close to hell, pessimistic/nihilistic, distopic. You gotta love him.

Garota Psykóze said...

Have you seen this version of his chart? I think it looks more plausible. Mars on the 3rd house (he was very fierce with his words), Capricorn in the cuspid of the 6th (he lived in a rather cold place, that made his health worse, specially his lungs - gemini), Saturn on the 6th (also says something about his poor health. Being opposit do Venus, you can say that his health was related to the women in his life. Since he got worse when his wife died, that's a true assumption). Pisces in the cuspid of the 8th, with Jupiter in it means a broad and deep unconscious world, lots of pain, but also luck. Enlightenment from pain, fisical or emotional.
And all those planets in Gemini and Cancer are on the 11th house, the house of groups, society, collective issues... which seems to me more likely to be on Orwell's mind than his career, fame, success... themes of the 10th house.

Twilight said...

Garota Psykóze ~~ hi there!

Thank you for your observations and the link.

Yes, I think it's possible to make an argument for either birth time - - or neither!

The 8 am time is a little more persuasive for the reasons you state. I wonder where the information on 8 am came from. That website doesn't give that information.

Thanks again for your input.