Friday, December 13, 2013

Arty Farty Friday ~ Xul Solar's draw to the Occult, Astrology and Language.

Casting around for an artist to feature - one born around this date - I discarded a couple, no doubt worthy ones too, but they didn't stir up sufficient enthusiasm for me to wade into preparing a post on either: Kenneth Patchen, from the Beat era and Roger Fry, one of the pretentious (my opinion) London Bloomsbury Set. Then I discovered Xul Solar.

Xul Solar (Oscar Agustín Alejandro Schulz Solari), born December 14, 1887 in San Fernando, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. He died in 1963.

From this Spamula link: ".....painter, sculptor, writer, and inventor; a visionary utopian; an occultist and astrologer who yet remained catholic; an accomplished musician who was fluent in seven languages, two of which were of his own devising...."

Some of Solar's paintings are shown at that link; lots of others appear in the video below, and for the best collection see: Taringa - El mejor post de Xul Solar

Considering the artist's list of diverse interests and accomplishments I decided this guy must surely have Gemini prominent in his natal chart as well as its opposite sign Sagittarius - where natal Sun and Moon lay (Moon would have been in Sagittarius whatever his time of birth). Or, I wondered, is this an instance where a person born in the southern hemisphere shows signs of "flipped" zodiac sign syndrome?


In order to fully understand the concepts within Xul Solar’s magical realist, baroque paintings, it is important to know specific details about his life. Xul solar happened to be a very curious man who studied Buddhism, the Jewish Cabbala, philosophy, anthropology, astrology and the duodecimal system. To top it off, he was fluent in Sanskrit, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, English and Greek (Hommage). Given this information, it is clear that Solar was obsessed with knowledge and understanding the world around him in all of its diversities and complexities. Solar viewed a fusion of various irreconcilable worlds as the key to understanding the world around him. He would fuse these worlds through language. His love of knowledge and understanding of the importance of unity led him to create a language of his own. His emphasis on unity and language was even seen in his paintings that often contained words. One example of this is in his painting titled Façade Project. His emphasis on the importance of unity was shown in small-scale paintings that contained larger than life concepts in order to stress the importance that each small detail of life played in unifying to create and understand the whole. Solar’s use of language as a unifying force will be discussed throughout this essay.

Solar viewed language as the main vehicle for unity. Solar states, “I am the creator of a universal language ‘pan lengua’ based on numbers and astrological signs that will help people to know each other better(Solar).Solar’s newly invented language represented a fusion of various languages to invent one ambiguous and unifying language that crossed cultures, artistic genres, religious concepts, and sciences.........Solar’s intent was to create a new language that would erase boundaries existing between opposing worlds........something that all cultures were able to connect with.
Language = communication = Mercury = Gemini. A more clear indication of Gemini leading a person's nature would be hard to find, yet only generational Pluto and Chiron are in Gemini. With Sun, Moon and Mercury all in Sagittarius, the southern hemisphere zodiac flip would be a tempting theory in this case.

What particularly interested me, as well as trying to understand some of his paintings, was his gravitation to study the occult and feature it in his work. He designed a tarot deck, at least one painting represents the I-Ching, cabalistic symbols, and representations of zodiac signs can also be found here and there.

From here again:

".... the San Signos (Holy Signs), a collection of sixty-four visionary texts based on the hexagrams of the I Ching. These texts were written at the request of Aleister Crowley, after a series of meetings between the two men in Paris in 1924. In a letter he wrote to Xul five years later, Crowley reminded him that ‘you owe me a complete set of visions for the 64 Yi symbols’ and added ‘your record as the best seer I ever tested still stands today.’ "

Venus and Jupiter in Scorpio, with Jupiter linked by opposition to Neptune and Pluto in Taurus/Gemini could well be reflecting this draw to the occult.

There are lots of examples of this artist's work, at the links provided above, much of it really needs translation - not from foreign language - from his symbolism - but here are a few items which are very clearly related to the individual occult or astrological.

Solar's version of the Signs of the Zodiac

Desarrollo de Yi Ching, tempera on paper, by Xul Solar, 1953.

Designs from Solar's Tarot Deck - stays fairly close to traditional versions, I think.


mike said...

A very fascinating dude, Twilight...another that was an unknown til your post! I'm surprised that he hadn't come-up in some occult reading references of mine in the past.

He seems to embody a lot of Sagittarius, re your post yesterday. He had a strong need to not utilize pre-existing tools and methods in common use...I'm not quite sure what motivated that in him. Sorta like he was the master of his own game, with rules unknown to others:

"I am a world champion of a game that nobody yet knows called panchess (Panajedrez). I am master of a script that nobody yet reads. I am creator of a technique, of a musical grafía that allows the piano to be studied in a third of the usual time that it takes today. I am director of a theatre that as yet has not begun working. I am creator of a universal language called panlingua based on numbers and astrology that will help people know each other better. I am creator of twelve painting techniques, some of them surrealist, and others that transpose a sensory, emotional world on to canvas, and that will produce in those that listen a Chopin suite, a Wagnerian prelude, or a stanza sung by Beniamino Gigli. I am the creator, and this is what most interests me at the moment, apart from the exhibition of painting that I am preparing, of a language that is desperately needed by Latin America.”
Solar quotation from Wiki (

Re: Solar's version of the signs of the zodiac

Did you catch his numbering sequence in that painting? Gemini starts at 1, Taurus 2, backward through Scorpio 8...then it becomes fuzzy. Libra appears to be "4", but maybe that's a weird "9" (there are nine stairs up)...Leo is 8, Cancer is 10, Virgo appears to have the Leo glyph and no number. Hhmmm. It's a bit like your reverse houses post, "Moving Astrological House" (11-14-2013). What do you think?!

According to Wiki, the guy did a lot of traveling and was well connected. Must have had rich parents or a financial connection.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I suppose he was obscure to us in the northern hemisphere partly due to there being less easy communication and air travel in his day, and the fact that "the occult" wasn't/isn't mainstream anyway. Language translation from the Spanish is needed too....though language didn't prevent most European artists from becoming known in the English-speaking world.

I did notice the peculiar method of numbering the zodiac signs.
I wonder if he started with Gemini because that's where the longest day (shortest in the southern hemisphere) falls - though right at the end of the sign.

Yes, I see what you mean about the "Moving Astro House" post.
That theory came from theosophy - with Capricorn as 8th house.
Xul Solar has Cap at 7th, so while not the same the method of counting, his might stem from some other ancient doctrine he studied?

He has given a nod to the elements. Earth signs have the structural cross hatching pattern, Water signs have little wavy lines, Fire signs are not as clearly linked. 2 Air signs have little dots, but he has given Aquarius a watery symbol - has he fallen into the trap of assuming it's a Water sign? Surely not. And why an elephant for Aquarius?

I agree, he must have had wealthy parents or influential connections to have done so much travelling. I haven't found anything indicating this, so far.