Monday, 30 May 2016

Walt Whitman: Song of Myself

Walt Whitman was born on 31 May 1819 at 1:45 am (Rodden Rating: A; Collector: Rodden) in Huntington New York with Jupiter in Aquarius and Saturn in Pisces. I have often said there is usually wonderful synastry between a fan and their idol and there is no disappointment here! This Walt Whitman lover shares her ascendent on Whitman's Sun, the same Moon and Saturn degree and natal Venus in opposition to "The Good Gray Poet's" Neptune!!  However, I will have to concede that Abraham Lincoln  (12 February 1809, 6:54 Hodgenville KY, Rodden rating: B; Collector: Rodden), the object of Whitman's admiration, had better synastry: Lincoln's Venus is bang on Whitman's ascendant.

Jupiter in Aquarius pupils like to do things their own way and very often that can make them the centre of attention. As I wrote in "Growing Pains" : "To say Jupiter in Aquarius pupils march to the beat of a different drummer is a bit of an understatement. These pupils seem to have an internal beat that is completely off  whack to fellow pupils or to yourself and indeed seems to have no logical rhythm at all. Teaching them to read will be impossible if you have them sitting in a circle reciting the sounds of every letter the way children usually do. These pupils appreciate inventiveness, experimentation and doing what has never been done before. Stumped for ideas? Ask the pupils. Their creativity will astound, inspire and worry you all at the same time."

Right on cue for his first Jupiter return, Whitman was an apprentice and printer's devil for a New York newspaper. He learned skills that would serve him well for the rest of his life and would no doubt be an aid to his self-published book of poetry, Leaves of Grass. The collection of poetry was published during a series of three Jupiter oppositions to Whitman's Moon in Leo in the summer of 1855 and would be revised and re-published several times. Whitman's poetry was noted for its use of freestyle, without rhyme or metre, and yet it is profoundly moving, the Jupiter in Aquarius touch evident in "Song of Myself" (how Moon in Leo are we gong to get?):

CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this 
air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their 
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.


Leaves of Grass was also published as transiting Saturn opposed Whitman's natal Uranus: not only was the poetic style ground-breaking, it was also highly controversial. The 19th century world was not quite ready for Whitman's style of sensuality, the book's sexual imagery and covert (or maybe not so covert) homosexuality.

"Pupils with Saturn in Pisces fear being overwhelmed and swept out to sea. They are content to paddle on the shores of education but often won’t take the full plunge. Teaching them to overcome their fears is often as easy as reminding them to stop panicking and let their feet touch the floor. They forget the water isn’t as deep as they had feared. At the age of seven, they may have been reluctant (but not incapable) of being able to read and write. To them, letters and numbers are pathetic, meaningless squiggles. They could come up with much better symbols. Thus these reluctant pupils become wonderful artists if left to their own devices. But, of course, leaving pupils to their own devices is not part of the educational repertoire where every moment is supervised and pointless meandering is not permitted. And so the teacher feels forced to instil some serious discipline and the pupil is left with the idea that learning is painful. They are often tested in sink or swim conditions where the consequences of not passing the tests are so frightening that they have no choice but to make feeble attempts to keep their heads above water until someone feels sorry for them and rescues them. Or not. Because of their experiences in the educational system, Saturn in Pisces pupils very often become teachers as they think they can save their pupils from similar experiences."

Whilst Whitman did not become a teacher in the conventional sense, the poetry he left is still used in classrooms to demonstrate the transcendentalism movement in which he lived. 

Saturn is Pisces has difficulty maintaining order and form so it is not surprising Leaves of Grass had many subsequent re-publications with a final version, "the death-bed" version, being published in January 1892 with a flurry of transiting Saturn oppositions to Whitman's natal Saturn, Chiron and Pluto as well as a square to his natal Neptune.

When I was on Brooklyn Bridge (yes, I know, not quite Brooklyn Ferry), I couldn't resist shouting my favourite Whitman lines from "Song of Myself": 

“Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged. 

Missing me one place, search another. 

I stop somewhere waiting for you.”


About the Astrologer

Alex Trenoweth was voted Best International Astrologer, 2015 for her dynamic presentation on Astrology and Education. Her book, "Growing Pains" is an exciting development in astrology as it combines classroom teaching experience, sound research and the potential to have a positive impact on struggling adolescents, parents, teachers and those who have been labelled "at risk". For queries, consultations or syndications, please contact Alex via www.alextrenoweth.com or leave a message in the comment section.


 
 

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