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Random Sagittarians: Joseph Stalin

Photo of StalinWhen I first started learning astrology it was generally accepted that Stalin was a Capricorn.  This made sense.  He was a methodical and ruthless operator who carefully alienated and destroyed his rivals.  I could then associate him with other Capricorn politicians – such as Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong. In fact I was so confident that Stalin was a Capricorn that in the 1990s I co-wrote a book in which I highlighted him as being typical of the sign.

Unfortunately Stalin was not a Capricorn.  He was a Sagittarius, born on December 18 1878, in Gori, Georgia.  We don’t have a reliable birth time.  Until now I have never given Stalin’s chart much thought, and to be honest, I don’t find it very interesting.  At least using regular methods of interpretation.  However, if it shows anything, it shows how important it is to focus on the main features of a chart, and not to get distracted.  Anyway, here’s the wheel:

Stalin's horoscope

The first thing to notice is that Stalin has his Sun in Sagittarius.  He could certainly be rude, and he liked playing practical jokes – for example throwing senior communists in ponds, or putting tomatos on their chairs just before meetings.  Yet I wouldn’t say that he was a typical Sagittarius.  Saturn makes an exact square to his Sun, and this brings him down to earth.  He knows that life is a serious business, and that there’s little time for relaxation.

It is also worth noting that Stalin had Venus in Sagittarius, which was conjunct the Sun and Square Saturn.  Venus is the planet of love and warmth: it is burnt out by its proximity to the Sun, and frozen out by Saturn.  In other words, Stalin would have found it difficult to form close relationships.  Yet Venus is square the Aries point, which represents the world at large.  He could win the affection of his country, in spite of the purges and famines.

Stalin’s Moon in Libra gives another side to the story.  The Moon in Libra is about compromise, and putting people at their ease.  Indeed Stalin could be very charming.  During the 1920s and early 1930s, as he consolidated his power, Stalin would come over as the moderate, mediating between rival groups.  This would allow him to use one group to destroy another, until finally there was no one left to oppose him.

Stalin’s Mars was in Scorpio, making an 120-degree aspect to Saturn, and an opposition to Pluto.  Mars is in the sign of its rulership.  This means that he was able to assert himself, with the Saturn aspect giving him great discipline.  You destroy your enemies when the time is right, not when you’re in a bad mood.  However, the destruction is total, as indicated by the Pluto aspect.  Pluto wants to get rid of everything that might conceivably be a threat.  One also has to remember that Mars is opposition Pluto.  We get the idea of a struggle, a feeling that one has to keep pushing, keep purging.

The importance of the Mars-Pluto aspect is demonstated by Stalin’s transits on June 22 1941, the day that Germany invaded the Soviet Union.  At the time of the invasion, there was a conjunction between Saturn and Uranus, in late Taurus.  To be precise, the two planets were respectively at  23 26 and 28 11 Taurus, with the midpoint being 25 48 Taurus.  This was exactly opposition Stalin’s Mars, which was at 25 51 Scorpio.  This illustrates, when using transits, that one should use transiting midpoints as well as transiting planets, especially if the points forming the midpoint are in aspect.  Reinhold Ebertin wrote of Mars on the Saturn-Uranus midpoint “…the stage of challenging others for a decisive contest or fight…”.  I can’t put it better than that.

At this stage, you might be wondering what made Stalin so evil.  I personally would not regard Stalin as being evil, not in the same way as some of the top Nazis, like Hitler, Himmler and Heydrich.  He was a product of history, and unlike the Nazis, killing people was not an end itself.  Nonetheless, Stalin was responsbile for some horrible things, and at times he had very little compassion.  So how do we see this in the chart?  There is no configuation that in itself will make someone an unpleasant person.  Other factors have to release the full malefic potential.

I have already discussed Stalin’s Venus – conjunct the Sun, square Saturn.  Furthermore, Venus is in the last degree of Sagittarius, and is therefore in the terms of Mars.  This suggests a general lack of emphathy, which at times may border on the sociopathic.  Also, Mars is trine Saturn, and this might mean that acts of malice came easily to Stalin.

If you’re into fixed stars, then you’ll probably have noticed that Stalin’s Pluto was close to Caput Algol, the worst star in the book.  It is true that many people born in the late 1870s had this configuration, but not many of them had the opportunity for wreaking destruction and chaos that Stalin had.  Torture, death, murder, strangulation and suicide are all part of the Algol complex, and Stalin was able to manifest this energy within the areas of his rule.

One can, if one wants, move from the sublime to the ridiculous, and look at the hypothetical planets of the Hamburg School.  Or perhaps not so ridiculous.  Just because something is illogical doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be used.  Alfred Witte and his co-workers “discovered” eight hypothetical planets, and they incorporated them into their system.  I describe how they were discovered in an earlier post.

One of the hypothetical planet is Hades.  This planet is associated with garbage, death and decay.  Another is Zeus.  It is about fast action, military assaults and gunfire.  And another is Kronos, which is a higher octave of Saturn.  It is authority, and the power of the state.

Stalin had his Hades at 15 degrees 4 minutes Aquarius.  In other words, it was making an exact 45 degree aspect to the Aries point.  Hades moves at an even slower pace than Pluto, so it is another situation where many people born in the late 1870s would have this configuration.  Yet Stalin was in a position to actualize the potential – bringing the power of Hades into a global environment.  Through him, the Hades energy could manifest.  In other words death, destruction and poverty.  It was not just about the purges, but also the famines, especially in the Ukraine.  Hades is also connected with the underworld – people being arrested, and never being heard of again.  They might be sent to the Gulag, shot, or both.

Stalin’s Zeus-Kronos midpoint was at 14 52 Taurus.  In other words 45 degrees from the Aries point, and 90 degrees from Hades.  The principle of Zeus-Kronos is massive power excercised by the state, as well as militarized government.  With Aries on the Zeus-Kronos midpoint, Stalin was able to bring this to bear on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.  And with Hades also here, he was able to create misery through overwhelming force.  Witte wrote of this midpoint “Great efforts under trying and difficult circumstances.  Overworking.  Surprising and grave events in war.  Fire catastrophes.  Ordered war atrocities”.

Overall, I think Stalin’s chart captures his personality very well, even if we don’t have a birthtime.  There are other aspects of his personality that I don’t have space to cover – for example the frustrated idealism connected with his close Jupiter-Neptune square.  He trained to be a priest, but he discovered a different religion.  Or as Langston Hughes put it, in his poem Goodbye Christ:

Goodbye,
Christ Jesus Lord God Jehova,
Beat it on away from here now.
Make way for a new guy with no religion at all –
A real guy named
Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME –
I said, ME!

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