Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mercedes de Acosta - Writer, Lesbian, Lover of the Stars.

While searching for, perhaps, a poet to feature on this February/March cuspy weekend, I came across mention of one Mercedes de Acosta. I'd never heard the name before, but read through a little of what's available about her on the net. Well...poet she was, and author of books of prose, and scriptwriter - but her gifts in those spheres must have paled in comparison to her sexual attraction - and to her own gender. She's remembered, these days, for her many passionate love affairs with some of the most celebrated and beautiful women of her generation, including Isadora Duncan, Marlene Dietrich, Eva Le Gallienne, and Greta Garbo. She was openly bisexual years before what has become known as the sexual revolution . In 1920, she married painter Abram Poole, the marriage survived for 15 years, though perhaps with husband and wife living apart for much of that time.

It is reported to have been a boast of Mercedes de Acosta that she could "get any woman from any man." I guess it could be said that Mercedes' sexual prowess was aided by her hot Latino bloodline. She was born into an affluent New York family , youngest of eight children, on 1 March 1893 in New York City. Her father, Ricardo de Acosta, was of Cuban and Spanish descent; her mother, Micaela Hernández de Alba y de Alba, was Spanish and reportedly a descendant of the Spanish Dukes of Alba. The family lived in a wealthy area of the city; the good and the great of those times were often entertained as family guests. Her sister, Rita Lydig, became a well-known, fashionable socialite.

During the 1920s, Mercedes was a well-known figure in New York's high society circles, but also in some of its lower dives - drag clubs and speakeasies. In her own words: “These were years guided by the spirit of the New. We were on fire with fire, with a passion to create and a daring to achieve.” She became a student of eastern religions, a strict vegetarian and an early feminist. Mercedes would have none of the era's uncomfortable female fashions - she quite often favoured trousers.

According to a source :
As a young child, Mercedes firmly believed she was a boy. She was raised Roman Catholic and tended toward the extremes. Mercedes played with boys, believing she was just like them, until age seven, when she realized her anatomy differed from her friends'. According to Hugo Victors, author of Loving Garbo, de Acosta recalled of that moment, "[E]verything in my young soul turned monstrous and terrible and dark." She was sent to a convent to adopt more feminine ways. She often ran away, claiming she could not be defined as either boy or girl but perhaps as both. This flexibility extended to her spirituality, whereby she proclaimed to have no belief or faith in dogma, but rather is reported as saying, "I believe in taking the essence from all religions and arriving at your own creed." Unfortunately, her confusion often led to bouts of depression.

Robert A. Schanke, Mercedes' most recent biographer, after extensive research, acknowledged that Mercedes was "flawed and imperfect, a complex woman who impaired several of her relationships and failed to achieve her professional and romantic aspirations." But the author also reveals her to have been an exceptionally lively, intelligent, and dynamic person who had many devoted friends. She was, he argues, a brave lesbian of her times and a person of integrity who remained kind and loyal to most everyone with whom she crossed paths. He suggests that the many denigrating portrayals of her may derive from the deep homophobia of her generation. (See here)

Mercedes spent her last years poor and lonely. Paying many medical bills resulting from various illnesses and surgeries, had impoverished her to the point where she'd even had to sell her diamonds. Her 1960 autobiography, Here Lies the Heart, alienated many of her friends, who claimed the book to be wildly exaggerated and even blatantly untrue.

Mercedes de Acosta died in May 1968, aged 75.

A very good website of biographer Robert Schanke has lots more detail in several sections, and many photographs.


Born on 1 March 1893 in New York City. No time of birth is known, chart is set for 12 noon.

Pisces Sun (self) was in harmonious trine to Uranus (avant garde) in Scorpio (sex, eroticism) - a clue!

Sun also sextile Mars (the masculine), with both planets linking via quincunx (150*) to Saturn - possibly indicates an innate but scratchy relationship of a female/masculine self funnelled through Saturn (work - her writing)? Saturn in Libra, the apex of that Yod, also links harmoniously to the generational Pluto/Neptune conjunction in Gemini, combining creativity and sexiness/darkness.

What else? We can't know Moon's position without a time of birth - was it Leo or Virgo? Leo seems most fitting, but Virgo is ruled by Mercury and Mercedes was a writer. So - take your pick!

Venus, planet of love and art in Aquarius links to her avant garde nature and Venus lay in helpful sextile to Jupiter in Aries, which, being translated = a whole lot(Jupiter) of love (Venus).


mike said...

There was something peculiar in the air or water back then! Schanke provides that there was "a deep homophobia of her generation", but I disagree. From the late 1800s through about 1930, there were many homosexual artists and authors providing definitively homosexual materials as their creations for public display. Isherwood, Wilde, O'keeffe, Stein-Toklas, et al...way too many to list. Berlin was the hotspot, but most large cities around the globe were centers of gay culture. The gay era coincides with the decline of the Victorian into the art nouveau and Art deco periods...decades of rather decadent sexual behavior and openness whether hetero or homo.

Lesbianism has always been more easily digested than male-male, I suppose it's because hetero men are titillated by the notion and find it sexually exciting. It's been socially fashionable since around 1900 for women to don men's attire or some variation.

I can't say that there is any astrological indication of homo-hetero behavior, except for the generic relational aspects predicated mostly on Moon-Venus-Mars positions and aspects, with all other planets and aspects to a lesser degree...some say that Uranus and Pluto play a strong role, too. Genes, nature, and nurture, as is said. Sexuality is such a private and personal endeavor, that it's very difficult for individuals to discuss possibly embarrassing or guilt-ridden details. Bisexuality is probably more common than openly accepted. History is replete with individuals that have expressed their sexuality on one side of the coin, but are known to have flipped for the right person.

Jesus' sexuality has been questioned, if he existed at all. If he did, I suspect he had a sexual proclivity of some form, and fluidity of sexual choice was accepted in that era.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I'm not very well informed on the homophobic atmosphere of that period - but what immediately sprang to mind as I read your comment was the current movie "The Imitation Game" - I haven't seen it yet, but the story of Alan Turing is quite well known.,_Alan
Turing didn't move in the right circles, obviously. I suppose that if one were part of the arty-farty crowd (whether in music, literature or art) one was accepted, in fact often celebrated. Outside that sphere though, in everyday life for ordinary folks, it'd be cold comfort.

I agree - sexual orientation will not be indicated in a natal chart in my opinion. In some cases it might seem to be, but however it seems to be indicated (signs, aspects) could equally apply to some other area of life. I believe seeing sexual orientation in a chart is nothing but wishful thinking on the part of the interpreter.

In Mercedes' case, due to her rather extreme carryings-on with the brightest, best and most beautiful of her era I'd expect there might be a hint of something in the chart - she was certainly not yer average everyday Lesbian - more of a predator I'd say...just happens she was gay.

Jesus? No idea. Doesn't matter though, any more for him than for anyone else. Just another shade of being, I've always thought.

mike (again) said...

I still think that homosexuality was better tolerated from late 1800s until about 1930. 1920-1930 started a decline in acceptance and various legal aspects were enacted against homosexuals, predominately males. We know that the Nazis didn't approve via the pink triangle movement coincidental with the Jewish eradication of the 1930s and the decadence of Berlin was subdued.

Astrologically, November 2 and December 2, 1899, had the stelliums in Scorpio and Sagittarius, with only Neptune & Pluto in quincunx (Nov) or opposition (Dec) in Gemini. The roaring 20s had Uranus trine Pluto. This led to the Uranus-Pluto square of the early 1930s and the decline of social-cultural tolerance of gays.

Turing outed himself to the police in the 1950s, due to a burglary at his residence. The early 1950s were peculiar for extreme social-cultural conformity (anti-gay). Here in the USA, we were under the guise of McCarthyism, anti-communism, and anti-socialism. This era coincides with the Saturn-Neptune conjunction, Uranus square Neptune, and immediately followed by Saturn square Pluto. The dust settled waiting for the winds of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in 1966, which brought many changes, the sexual revolution being one.

mike (again) said...

Acosta is a member of the Neptune-Pluto conjunction...her conjunction is less than one degree. Obviously, there were many individuals born with that conjunction, but it's significant:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Hmmm - I'm sure you're right on this. Perhaps Mercedes' biographer, Robert Schanke was actually confusing "her generation" with the homophobia of the 1950s, when critics probably turned against her in her later years and fell into denigrating her in writing and gossip.
I guess her generation was still considered a part of the 1950s.

Interesting astrological correlations, thanks for pointing those out.

Yes generational Nep/Plu conjunction for Mercedes links to personal planets, (as I mentioned), so more applicable to her than to many others of her generation.

PS - How's GiGi doing now, mike? A little better I'm hoping?

mike (again) said...

Jury is out on GiGi...we've gone to the other extreme of no waste output! We just came back from one of many walks in the light rain today, but still no output. No Pepto-bismol yesterday, so that isn't the cause of the clog. She's had a good appetite and eating. I'll assume tomorrow morning will bring relief.

Sonny G said...

Hi Annie..

I'm still working on my health issues and these meds have me slightly foggy of mind and emotions..
I know you said to post the link to my chart a few weeks ago but I forgot to..

here is it.. if you have time could you look through it and see if you find anything of importance for my life..thank you

mike (again) said...

A good, solid movement from GiGi today and she ate breakfast! I'll keep my fingers crossed that this episode has come to an end.

Hello, Sonny...wishing you the best!

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh good for GiGi! Very pleased for her, and for you! Fingers crossed. :-)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Hi there! Nice to see you - even through that bit of misty fogginess. :-)

The link sent me back to an older post of mine, where you'd entered it previously - but I did eventually get to your detail.

Rather than reading the astro blurb there I set up a chart from my own software from birth data, to have a quick look.

The most important point (as mike had mentioned in that previous comment thread )- it's here

- the crux and core of your present and recent difficulties has been that pesky multi-hit Uranus/Pluto square in cardinal signs.

For anyone with personal planets in the middle degrees of cardinal signs ( Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn, )
the period from around mid-2012 to this month, March 2015, will have seen some extraordinarily challenging events and situations.

There was a hit (6th of the set) in mid-December. The seventh and last of these pesky aspects/hits will form this month, exact on around 17th March, at 15 degrees of Aries and Capricorn. You have personal planets in mid-sign in Capricorn and Cancer, though not exactly on 15 degrees. Your natal Sun isn't close though, but if your time of birth is accurate natal Moon is within range, so it's not surprising you are feeling another "swipe" currently - but this is the last one of the series. Things should start to improve for you as the square aspect dissolves gradually. So hang in there luv, strong and determined to keep on keeping on, into easier and brighter months ahead.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I've just noticed while curiously looking to see who else had that close Neptune/Pluto conjunction - and had it linked to a personal planet - there's Mae - at one point she ended up in prison on morals charges, then having written a play about homosexuality, tried to put it on Broadway but was prevented from doing so.
Her next play, The Drag, dealt with homosexuality, and was what West called one of her "comedy-dramas of life".[35] After a series of try-outs in Connecticut and New Jersey, West announced she would open the play in New York.[36] However, The Drag never opened on Broadway due to efforts by the Society for the Prevention of Vice to ban any attempt by West to stage it.[37] West was an early supporter of the women's liberation movement, but said she was not a feminist. She was also an early supporter of gay rights

Maybe a kind of mirror image of Mercdes de Acosta?,_Mae

mike (again) said...

Thanks for the Mae West information, Twilight! I knew she was a supporter of sexual rights for gays and women in general. I didn't realize she wrote a play, "The Drag" and punished.

Related information to Acosta, is that according to Wiki, Dorothy Parker was her classmate. Both share the Neptune-Pluto conjunction. Parker was a great influence of social and political causes (and blackballed for it during the McCarthy era). I see that you have several posts on Parker.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Re Dorothy Parker - yes, I had meant to mention her in the post, then forgot. I used to be very keen on her poetry - still am - haven't read any for a while though.

mike (again) said...

Sonny - a slight divergence on your astrology is that your sixth house of health is highlighted favorably right now, even though it's involved in the Uranus-Pluto square.

Might I once again recommend you consider magnesium supplementation? It has been strongly correlated toward alleviating depression, bipolar, ADHD, and other mental conditions. Most daily vitamins do not contain the daily requirement...most have about 10 to 15% MDR...most contain magnesium oxide, which is the least absorbable. Stomach acid reducers inhibit absorption of magnesium. If your sleep pattern is disturbed, 2-5 mg of melatonin prior bedtime is also recommended.

This supplementation may help reduce the sharp edges of your anxiety.