Friday, December 12, 2014

Arty Farty Friday ~ Two Sagittarius-types: Emily Carr & Eileen Agar

Two female artists today, both with natal Sun in Sagittarius, both born in the second half of the 19th century when women had to really strive to achieve recognition for their talents.


Born 13 December 1871 in Victoria, British Columbia. Her style developed from post-impressionism, via Fauve and cubism to expressionism with focus on the scenes and traditions of the Canadian Northwest. Her outstanding characteristic is love of the land and its people - but mainly the land. Almost as strong though was her independence in the face of Victorian prejudices, and her thirst for adventure.

Passionately committed to her art, a lover of wild places who saw with great intensity of feeling, Emily was independent, strong willed, and fiercely energetic. The tasks she set for herself demanded nothing less. Yet she was also cantankerous, peevish, hotly intolerant of hypocrisy, narrowness, and prejudice. She was an intentional outsider, almost a misanthrope, yet a lover of those in the margins of society. These characteristics naturally brought her into conflict with three forces antagonistic to her leanings: a culture that discouraged artistic vitality or experimentation in women, a pious family dominated by rigid proprieties, and the conventional mores of late-Victorian society.

Despite these counterweights, she challenged the prohibitions of her family by crossing the invisible line into Native culture. She engaged in a rare cross-cultural friendship with a Squamish basket maker, a relationship unacceptable in Victoria's polite white society in the early twentieth century, traveled alone by canoe, steamship, trading scow, and wagon, slept in a tent, in mission houses and grave houses in isolated Native villages at a time when tribal culture was being crushed, and even attended illegal potlatches raided by the Provincial Police.

She experienced everything with uncommon intensity, a factor which fueled her frenzied periods of enormous output, yet contributed to her self-doubt which led to a lengthy and marked slowdown--some would call it a regenerative hiatus--in her painting. Nevertheless, she pulled herself up out of depression, came to ignore public disregard, surrounded herself with pets, sang hymns to her half-finished paintings out in the forest, and, at fifty-seven, won her way to her most productive and original period of painting, producing the works for which she is most known.


Emily Carr born 13 December 1871 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, at 3:00 AM (data from - 'A' rating))

Sun in Sagittarius, conjunct south node of the Moon, a sensitive point in the natal chart adding emphasis to the placement. Emily had four personal planets in Cardinal Earth Capricorn, the source of her love for the land, I reckon. Saturn in Capricorn (the sign it governs) is conjunct Mercury, planet of communication - perhaps a hint of the cantankerous part of her nature? Uranus the rebel and Jupiter the expansive traveller are conjoined, though in different signs, and link by harmonious trine to Venus, planet of the arts. So here, combined, are a thirst for adventure and a rebellious determination to fly against the status quo.

Examples of her work:





Born 1 December 1899 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a Scottish father and American mother. The family moved to Britain during Eileen's childhood. Her style is generally categorised as surrealism, her aim in life seems to have been to enjoy it to the full!

One summer, with her husband and a group of famous artists, she travelled to Picasso’s house at Mougins in the South of France - just weeks after Picasso had painted Guernica, and it was, it is reported, a wild summer of partner-swapping and relaxed exhibitionism. There's a photograph of Eileen dancing in a transparent skirt in Mougins. She wrote in her biography that in the South of France that summer there was “Surrealism on the horizon, Stravinsky in the air, and Freud under the bed.”

She liked to see surrealism as "the interpenetrating of reason and unreason", and valued it for its wit, irreverence and joke-making. She was interested in making shapes, visual metaphors. Art, she said, ought to be playful. She saw her art as an "imaginative playfulness". "I've enjoyed life, and it shows through," Agar said ...... "Like a transparent skirt, or something like that."


Eileen Agar born on 1 December 1899 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. No time of birth available - chart set for noon.

If someone asked which zodiac sign best represents enjoying life to the full, I'd answer "Sagittarius!" No surprise then to see that Ms Agar had so many personal planets in that sign, all of 'em in fact - except for Moon (whatever her time of birth), and Jupiter (Sagittarius's ruler) both next door in passionate Scorpio. Sun and Uranus (planet of the unusual and unexpected) are conjoined, indicating her gravitation to surrealism.





Sonny G said...

I'm sure both were very interesting women . I prefer the art of Emily Carr.

mike said...

Carr's Jupiter-Uranus form a square to Venus and oppose Mars...a T-square...the call of the wild!

Agar's stellium in Sagittarius is opposed by either Neptune or Pluto, and at least her Jupiter, possibly Moon, are inconjunct Neptune and Pluto. Certainly one not to be constrained by social mores and probably on the radical edge of exploring the norms!

The Victorian era was such a weird period of conformity expectations and social propriety. The superficial image of correctness that cloaked the true personality. Reminds me somewhat of the post-WWII McCarthyism of political and social conformity, but without the paranoia.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ I do too.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for the additional astro-pointers.

Both Sun in Sagittarius women, but so different. Agar was part of the in-crowd (mostly male), a social butterfly and non-conformist.

Carr also non-conformist but no social butterfly.

Shows how different two with same Sun sign can be.

They both had a streak of wildness in them but it manifested in very different ways.

jpbenney said...

Agar’s birth on the 1899 “Great Sagittarius Conjunction” is fascinating even without a known birth time. Of all people born nearby only Bruno Hauptmann and Frances Yates are at all well-known. Nonetheless, this conjunction, as I show at ‘’, certainly related to trends in the twentieth century’s culture.

Not only in terms of the moral debates I note on that old-but-valuable blog post, but also it is symbolic of desires to eliminate the social formalities that had developed over many centuries – in the belief formal niceties hid unpleasant realities, as shown by Jupiter in passionate Scorpio next door.

Twilight said...

jpbenney ~ Hi again! Thank you for this, and for your other comment elsewhere today. We're about to go out for the day, but I shall definitely read your own piece, as linked, later.

I've wondered if it could prove interesting to seek out a group of charts (it'd have to be of well-known characters, I guess) where there is a heavy cluster of planets in one sign. The Aquarius cluster in Feb 1962 is a well-known instance. This Sagittarius cluster is another. These clusters do seem to reflect more clearly in the general culture of the times rather than in most personalities who own the charts. Though we can never really know "well-known" people well, just from what we read about them - that's always a problem!