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|The Astrological Saga of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Genius before his Time
by Shelley Jordan
Introduction: The Perfect Child
Mozart was the first important free-lance artist in musical history. It was Mozart who initially broke the centuries-old bond of the artist's subjugation to the patron. That comes as no surprise when you see the powerfully independent Uranian emphasis in his chart. His massing of planets in Aquarius, with the majority of them in the 5th house of creativity, plus the prominent angular Uranus on the South Node imply that freedom and individuality were his major priorities. Mozart was eccentric, idealistic, defiant, and one of Western music's most staggeringly prolific geniuses.
Born with a sensitive 4th house Moon exactly conjunct Pluto in the musical sign of Sagittarius, Mozart immediately gravitated to the piano. He took to learning, performing and composition of music with precocious rapidity. His astounding creative gifts emerged at the early age of three, when he had his first progressed New Moon in ingenious Aquarius in his 5th house, the arena of performance. Within a short time he became the most famous child star in Europe.
His prodigious talent was quickly recognized by his intelligent and educated Scorpionic musician father, Leopold. With his developed Scorpio eye for sizing up other peoples' talents and resources, this ambitious father saw in his son a means of rising from the lower-middle class position held by most eighteenth century musicians to a place of greater status, prosperity and power. Leopold became Mozart's sole teacher and business manager, arranging performances by his gifted child before the crown heads of Europe, taking complete control of his only son's promising life.
By the age of six, as this wunderkind's progressed Moon waxed in Pisces from his 6th house of learned skills and techniques into his social 7th house, the boy was an acknowledged master at the keyboard, hailed as a miracle of nature. At that young and tender age, he began the labor-intensive performing tours that brought him the great renown that would follow him throughout his brief life.
As a result of these tours, Mozart was exposed to every type of music that was performed in Europe, an advantage that would one day contribute to his uniquely universal and humanistic style. However, these journeys were not without consequences. The configuration formed by his Ascendant-Node conjunction in Virgo involving Uranus in Pisces, ruler of his 6th, and his Moon-Pluto in Sagittarius, suggests the illnesses that young Mozart contracted during his arduous and extensive travels. This vulnerable child caught practically every form of plague raging across the Continent, from smallpox to scarlet fever. His protective father, who also had Virgo rising and was skilled in the art of medicine, would invariably pull the boy through, using the power of his love, along with mysterious remedies with names like "black powder". Sadly, these early illnesses eventually took their toll and contributed to the premature death of this great artist.
An interesting case of astrological heredity can be seen in the charts of Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart. Both father and son had an unusually complex configuration involving a Sun-Saturn-Mercury conjunction opposite Neptune in fixed signs - Scorpio-Taurus for Leopold, Aquarius-Leo for his son. They also both had Virgo rising with the Moon in Sagittarius in the 4th house. Leopold's father died when he was a teenager; Mozart would eventually lose his beloved father to estrangement. Leopold, whose Sun-Saturn-Mercury fell in the 3rd, was a famous pedagogue. He wrote his era's most authoritative text on violin instruction, which is still highly regarded today. With his solar configuration falling in the 5th house, tiny Mozart initially became famous as a performer.
Mozart rapidly became the family's chief money earner as Leopold repeatedly took his family on endless and grueling journeys across Europe to display and capitalize on the boy's astonishing talent. The precise Moon-Pluto conjunction in Sagittarius in the 4th describes the family's cramped and compulsive traveling conditions. During these extended and exciting sojourns, Mozart performed before the highest aristocratic and ecclesiastical leaders of his time. The fauning nobility was utterly confounded by this little child's brilliant playing and gifts of improvisation and composition.
Jupiter, the ruler of his familial 4th house, is in artistic Libra in the 2nd house of income and resources. It closely aspects 4th house Moon-Pluto in Jupiter's sign: Mozart made a lot of money for his family. Thanks to him, they had entry into the wealthiest palaces and homes in Europe. The Mozart family now enjoyed a much greater prestige in their native Salzburg than they ever would have gotten from Leopold's insignificant position as the local Archbishop's assistant kapellmeister.
Thrust into a world of powerful adults at a tender age, Mozart displayed the sensitivity, cooperation and desire to please so commonly seen in the behavior of highly gifted children. The psychological pressure to live up to his family's expectations, characterized by the 4th house Moon-Pluto, must have been enormous for this unusually perceptive and easily exploited child. Saturn conjunct the Sun and Mercury, the ruler of the Ascendant, describes the heavy and early responsibility thrust on young Mozart, denying him friendships (Aquarius) with children his own age. Saturn also describes the father figure whose loving but repressive and controlling tendencies grew to monumental proportion, eventually spurring Mozart's own personal revolution when he reached early manhood.
Mozart was at all times required to demonstrate his skills on command and to charm the nobility with his charismatic and dazzling virtuosity at the piano. With his 5th house predilection for performing, though, he loved the attention and opportunity to display those gifts that for him were a source of great joy. For Mozart, a keyboard was the 18th century equivalent to a modern video game, providing him with endless hours of challenging stimulation and entertainment.
His birth occurred during the historic period that witnessed the triumph of scientific experimentation, and little Mozart was the object of numerous scientific studies. He was ceaselessly tested and examined by scientists and musical experts (Saturn sitting on his Sun-Mercury in Aquarius). All were flabbergasted by the complex comprehension of this small child. He must have sensed that love was conditional, depending on his performance and achievement (Saturn in the 5th). With Venus in his 6th house, he had to work for love. He would constantly ask "do you love me?", tears welling up in his eyes if the answer, even jokingly, was "no."
Mozart's chart is dominant in the air element. Air is the auditory function, while fire is visual, earth is kinesthetic (sensate) and water is affective (emotional). Five of his planets are in air, as is his Midheaven. His auditory function was acutely developed. When he was very small, he would faint from fear and shock if a trumpet were played too close to him. One of the famous stories about the child Mozart relays his one-time exposure to a jealously guarded Church composition, Allegri's Misere. The piece was so highly coveted that anyone caught copying it or performing it outside the Vatican would be punished with excommunication. Young Mozart heard it performed once, and immediately copied the entire, complex piece from memory. Instead of excommunication, he received the admiration of all of Rome.
With Neptune in dramatic Leo, opposite his auditory air sign Sun-Mercury-Saturn conjunction, he seemed to effortlessly channel an incessant stream of inspired and exquisite music. The Neptune-Mercury aspect also describes the photographic quality of his memory, which enabled him to absorb all the music he experienced during his international travels. Mercury-Neptune combinations are seen in the charts of other wizards who shared Mozart's supernatural gifts for retention and output. A Mercury-Neptune conjunction stimulated the monumental creative deluge of J. S. Bach; the prolific scientific marvel Nicola Tesla, whose mind contained a four-dimensional holographic laboratory, had Mercury square Neptune; and the great playwright Oscar Wilde, with Mercury trine Neptune, could speed-read two pages at a time - one with each eye.
From the beginning, this 5th house boy's greatest love was opera, the most dramatic theatrical entertainment of his era. He composed his first complete opera at the age of twelve. "This boy will conspire us all to oblivion!" exploded Hasse, Europe's most famous composer at that time. His prediction was correct.
And he was said to be the perfect child. He had modest Virgo rising conjunct the North Node and Vesta, with Saturn conjunct the Sun and Mercury. These are all indicators of self-discipline, maturity and a hard-working nature, and certainly Mozart was put to work immediately, and cooperated willingly and passionately. However, as he completed adolescence, he began to receive criticism and ridicule from his family for being lazy and not living up to their expectations.
Wolfgang Mozart Superstar
How did Mozart, with his overwhelming gifts and ceaseless capacity to work, die in a state of financial chaos, ending his young life in an unmarked common grave at the tragically early age of 35? The answer is a complex one, comprised of multiple factors, some sociological, some connected to Mozart's character and family life, many of which we will see reflected in his chart, with its themes of Aquarian brilliance and rebelliousness, Piscean inspiration and impracticality, and the highest Leo theatricality and arrogance.
The chart is cerebral and inspirational. With Virgo rising and a Gemini Midheaven, Mercury rules the angles. It is in the 5th house, the analog of Leo, in cognitive Aquarius conjunct the Sun and trine the Midheaven, giving the chart an expressiveness and sense of intellectual showmanship. Early on in his life, Mozart knew his own intellectual worth. It was probably apparent to him by the age of six, when he first began his performing tours in front of the nobility, that he was, at least in the area of music, their intellectual superior. And stunned at his talent and inventiveness, the cognoscenti had to agree that this young Mercurial trickster was indeed a miracle of nature.
It is interesting to observe that Rossini and Schubert shared Mozart's Mercury in Aquarius placement. All three were masters of the linguistic factor in composition. While Schubert did not write successful operas like Mozart and Rossini, he did write hundreds of beautiful lieder, which blend poetry with music. Aquarius appears in the charts of linguists and other individuals who specialize in intellectual systems such as science, the law, accounting, and in this case, musical composition and theory.
Mozart was a born entertainer. His 5th house ability to perform brilliantly and attract the attention of the world's wealthiest and most influential people gave him an early sense of power and invincibility, an awareness of his own superiority over his audiences and fellow musicians. This sense of supremacy and 5th house pride, combined with the perfectionism of his Virgo Ascendant, eventually began to alienate others as he approached adolescence and manhood. He was critical of other musical artists, and probably projected his disapproval and dissatisfaction with those of lesser talent. When he did come across other gifted musicians, his enthusiasm was boundless. He did not like performing for people who could not comprehend his technical and aesthetic mastery.
Eighteenth century music was the most abstract and intellectual of the arts. Mozart was practically born with a mature, Saturnian comprehension of the difficult music theory of his era. This mastery of music was expressed with Neptune's emotional sensibility and a Uranian genius of invention that left the public breathless as his fame spread like wildfire.
The chart's dominant themes of Uranian high intellect and Neptunian inspiration and imagination are stated in several ways. Most obvious is the vital conjunction of Uranus to the Descendant (relationships) and South Node (unconscious patterns and processes) in Pisces. Uranus is frequently found conjunct an angle in the charts of geniuses and high-level individualists. It speeds up the mental processes and accentuates originality and abstract thinking. For instance, to name only a smattering of illustrious Uranian artists: Richard Wagner had Uranus conjunct the Descendant, opposite the Sun and Venus; Maria Callas had Uranus conjunct the I.C. square the Sun; Gustav Mahler had Uranus conjunct the I.C. semi-sextile the Sun; Robert Schumann and William Blake both had Uranus conjunct the Midheaven.
As the most utterly Uranian personality, Mozart was hyper, animated and sociable. He loved people and social situations. He could be silly, disorganized and forgiving. At a party he might be surrounded by friends, joyously interacting with the festivities, but inwardly, lost in thought and the creative process. He would then later write down a complete and perfect composition, the first time, with no corrections or revisions. His voluminous hand-written manuscripts, which he produced at warp-speed, have an immediately recognizable and characteristically Mozartean Virgo neatness. Compared to Beethoven's Sagittarian corrected and revised sloth, Mozart's manuscripts look like beautiful, artful engravings.
A kind of mutual reception exists between Neptune and Uranus. Uranus is in Pisces, Neptune's sign, and Neptune is in the 11th, Uranus' house. The Piscean influence of the Uranus-South Node-Descendant, along with the Neptune opposition to his Sun-Mercury-Saturn, adds to the idealistic inclinations of his Aquarian personality. As an adult, Mozart eventually left his repressive family of origin, seeking to fulfill his Aquarian-Pisces dream of an ideal society of equals through his loyal affiliation with Freemasonry, a powerful political and spiritual movement that embodied the democratic ideals of the Enlightenment. Of the two types of Masonic lodges in Austria, the scientific atheistic and the Rosicrucian alchemical, Mozart belonged to the latter.
With the ruler of his Descendant in aristocratic Leo in the societal 11th house, many of Mozart's associates were influential members of a pretentious nobility. Frequently, titles were purchased by a bourgeoisie finding itself newly engorged with wealth. As Mozart grew from adorable little prodigy into a rather small and unattractive young man, this store-bought aristocracy became less enamored, and at times, resentful and rejecting of his flagrant genius.
As he matured artistically, Mozart saw through the inequity of financial privilege and status. Repeatedly wounded by an elitist ruling class that became unable to comprehend the increasing complexity of his work, his cynicism grew. He developed contempt for the public performances that left him exposed to rejection by Europe's wealthy patrons of art who were not ready for Mozart's evolving depth and passionate expression. His greatest operatic masterpieces, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutte overflow with themes of victimization and sexual exploitation by corrupt, socially dominant figures.
Even as a very young child, Mozart displayed great insight into the psychological nature of the people with whom he came into contact. He possessed a Neptunian gift of characterization, variously expressed with shattering dramatic effect or hilarious Virgonian acuity of detail. The conjunctions in Aquarius and Sagittarius describe his spontaneous sense of humor and optimism. His theatrical gifts reached their climax in his sumptuously beautiful and humane operas.
As a young idealistic Aquarian born within 25 years of the discovery of Uranus, he embodied the principles of the Enlightenment, the eighteenth century's name for the pro-intellectual, anti-religious movement that spurred the major revolutions of that epoch. In his striving for the liberty to express his genius, Mozart was his century's ultimate incarnation of the power of human intelligence and invention.
To his friends and family, Mozart was loving, warm and generous, easily extending his Jupiterian Moon to anyone in need - a characteristic much criticized by his more conservative father. He was known to be kind and humorous, with the Aquarian gift for friendship and camaraderie. He lent money indiscriminately to people who couldn't repay him, and brought home stray artists for dinner.
His feisty Uranian nature, though, which was seasoned by his 10th house Mars, was unafraid of confronting authority figures (other than his intimidating and critical father). He grew from the aristocracy's charming little magician into an independent-minded genius struggling for freedom from both his controlling father and the tyrannical Archbishop of Salzburg in whose ironclad employment he and his father were trapped.
In the eighteenth century, musicians were considered second-class citizens. They were employees of the nobility who were expected to dress like servants, behave like servants, and dine with the servants. When Mozart would return home to Salzburg from his triumphant concert tours, the degradation of his position under the musically ignorant Archbishop was intolerable. And to make matters worse, there was no opera house in this provincial town.
Curiously, in spite of his gifts and try as he may, Mozart was unable to obtain employment elsewhere. Perhaps this was partly due to the inescapable presence of his overbearing father, who wanted his son to find him a job as well. Mozart was expected to rescue the entire family from the cultural and financial obscurity of Salzburg. Perhaps with his retrograde Mars in Cancer in the 10th, he projected a passive-aggressive hostility that interfered with his much-deserved success. The stifled anger and resentment which developed toward his father may have been redirected toward other authority figures, resulting in alienation rather than support.
In any event, Mozart's anti-authority attitude had grown sufficiently to prevent the mandatory groveling that was required by eighteenth century artists in order to obtain patronage and support. His Aquarian-Sagittarian instincts for freedom from subjugation demanded expression.
At the age of 25, when transiting Pluto went stationary retrograde on his Aquarius Sun and transiting Saturn conjuncted his Moon, Mozart was ready to release the bondage of his origins. The life-defining event that precipitated during these formidable transits was an explosive confrontation between Mozart and his difficult employer, Collerado, the Archbishop of Salzburg. Defiance and open hostility toward a Church official was a rare and dangerous matter, but as a true child of the Enlightenment, Mozart lost his interest in formal religion and disdained its leaders. Collerado had recently come to power while Mozart was out of the country, and took an opposite position from the previous lenient Archbishop who had allowed Mozart to travel while retaining his salary.
The Archbishop of Salzburg must have had a tin ear to have not appreciated the irreplaceable jewel he held in his employment. An unpopular pseudo-intellectual Gemini who had a problem with the Mozarts and their international success, Collerado went so far as to impose severe restrictions on Mozart's composition of sacred music, in the name of the Enlightenment.
His volatile confrontation with the "Archbooby", as Mozart called him, occurred while transiting Uranus was opposite Collerado's Sun. Mozart quit and the Archbishop fired him, ordering his majordomo to kick Mozart in the seat of his pants and out the door. This traumatic event, which permanently ended Mozart's affiliation with the Archbishop, and ultimately, with his horrified father, occurred in Vienna, the sparkling musical center of the Austrian empire. Ironically, this historic encounter occurred within weeks of the discovery of the revolutionary planet, Uranus, which was transiting Mozart's professional 10th house of father, career and authority. The emergence of Uranus into the collective coincided with the launching of Mozart's venture as history's first major free-lance artist.
Now Mozart was finally released from captivity and exploitation, finding himself positioned in one of the most exiting and musically stimulating cities in the world - free to compose and perform as he wished without the Church or his father breathing down his neck. And most importantly for this ardent young man, he was free to search for a wife - a process his possessive father had consistently interfered with.
Once he had shed the oppressive presence of Leopold and the Archbishop, transiting Pluto unleashed the virility and erotic potency of this young man's 5th house Sun, ruler of his creative and imaginative 12th house. These new conditions liberated his masculinity and the repressed contents of his powerfully dramatic emotions. From that time on, Mozart produced his great masterworks, one closely following another at an incomprehensibly rapid pace.
Mozart's Venus, his love planet, was in independent Aquarius, correlating with Uranus on his Descendant - marriage would be a major expression of his individuality and his freedom to exercise his personal
will. When he did chose his wife, naturally Leopold disapproved of her. Constanze was an intellectually average woman from a lower class musical family. Her main advantage was strictly Mozart's -- he found her very sexy. Paintings of Constanze Mozart show a petite, rather steamy-looking, sensual woman with a great figure.
With his tight Venus-Mars aspect, Mozart, like many artists, had strong erotic urges. Fortunately for him, Constanze was a willing and unobtrusive partner. His love letters to her are intimate, funny and so sexually explicit that they sent shock waves of disbelief through the Victorian musical community when they were discovered years after his death.
In spite of the two centuries of disapproval showered on Constanze Mozart by sexist musicologists for being intellectually inferior to her exceptional husband, for being the cause of his financial difficulties, Mozart himself never complained about her. He was dependent on her for affection, hated being separated from her, and was said to have loved her dearly and playfully.
Like his mother, she was a stoic and simple Capricorn from an underprivileged background. Both women were able to endure hardship and to project their own inner ambitions onto their achievement-oriented and dominant husbands. Like his mother, Constanze would bear many children (she had six, his mother seven), both women sadly suffering the loss of all but two of their children.
As for Mozart's finances, recent research has revealed that he actually earned quite a lot of money. He probably lived a feast or famine existence and was known to have had very expensive taste, particularly in clothes; he always dressed like an aristocrat. Like many creative, imaginative personalities with strong Neptunes, he was a poor financial manager, and Vienna was a very expensive place in which to live. The Viennese were fickle, with a short attention span at that time for musical artists. Undoubtedly Constanze's frequent pregnancies and chronic health problems put additional burdens on the family finances.
At first, he was a huge success in Vienna with his extraordinary performances and popular compositions. His music evolved in the direction of a complex contrapuntal richness and depth which his contemporaries had difficulty comprehending, although it was widely acknowledged that he was a supreme master. Two of his greatest operas, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni are about sociopathic aristocrats who exploit the lower classes. While they are recognized today as some of the greatest works ever produced by a Western artist, when they were first performed, people were offended or perplexed by their symphonic richness, psychological depth and Uranian depiction of class struggle.
It was observed by those who knew him well that Mozart's behavior could, at times, border on the bizarre. His brother-in-law noticed it most when Mozart was deeply immersed in the process of composition, saying that his expressions and gestures were strange and not at all what one would expect of a man possessed of such great genius. One aristocratic patron related the story of Mozart performing at the keyboard, holding everyone in the room in rapt ecstacy with the beauty of his playing, when suddenly he jumped up over the piano, landing on all fours, meowing like a cat!
Whatever the causes of his financial difficulties, close to the end of his life Mozart had problems. His old lunar cycle, which launched his career at the age of three, was dribbling to a close. He was terribly in debt, unproductive, depressed and isolated. He had lost the support of the Viennese. The decline in his once-lucrative public performances were either from his own dislike of giving concerts or from a lack of public interest. Within a year or so of his next progressed lunation, which was a solar eclipse in Pisces close to his South Node-Descendant, he came to life again. Once more he began producing gorgeous music at his uniquely rapid pace, although still under financially distressed circumstances.
Tragically, he died suddenly and unexpectedly on December 5, 1791, just as he was on the verge of considerable financial and professional success from his fairy tale opera, The Magic Flute, which he wrote for the common mass market. The cause was kidney failure induced by an immune system that was weakened and compromised by a life of excessive work and stress. His progressed Moon was waxing through his 8th house in Aries, with transiting Saturn close behind. The official diagnosis was miliary fever, an epidemic that took many lives in Vienna that winter. It is believed that he caught his final illness at the last Freemasonry meeting he attended. At the time of his death, public health laws mandated that bodies were to be buried outside the city gates in mass graves, for sanitation purposes.
Mozart's spiritual evolution took him in the direction of an Aquarian humanity. At first an intimate of the high aristocracy, Mozart's ultimate success would have come,as he left the theaters of the nobility, with the composition of his populous opera The Magic Flute. He found camaraderie and friendship in egalitarian Freemasonry, which made no distinctions between the nobility and the common man. Even his final resting place was among the nameless and the faceless. He sprouted from insignificant genetic and cultural origins, demonstrating the vast potential and hope that can emerge from a teeming humanity.
Conclusion: Mozart as a Spiritual Teacher
I want to briefly address what I have experienced as the transformational and healing power of Mozart's music, his operas in particular. Not only are they exquisitely elevating due to their sheer beauty, but unlike most other operas which deal with the lower passions, Mozart's operatic works contain a message of morality, ethics and a humanity that can be applied to everyday life. If you study them carefully, you will see that Mozart, the exploited child, teaches us what to do in cases of deception, manipulation and mistreatment. He counsels us to always tell the truth, find comrades to support us, and with our comrades, confront the offending perpetrator. His message is always truth, courage... and forgiveness.
Note: Shelley Jordan is an outspoken advocate for astrological reform. She is the first woman in the United States to receive a BA in Astrology, Loretto Heights College, Denver, Colorado, 1974; MA in South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1980. She is a consultant, educator and writer whose work on the history and psychological applications of astrology have appeared in numerous American and international publications. Currently, she is in charge of book reviews for CURA. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
All rights reserved © 2001 Shelley Jordan