Jude's Threshold

A Tapestry Blog of Astrology, Politics, and Social Concerns

The paintings of poet, e.e. cummings

This morning I listened to a lovely feature on NPR (make that ‘npr’) on the paintings of e.e. cummings which may be accessed here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=76095288  and which provides you with a SlideShow of 11 of cummings’ paintings and drawings. Yes! Paintings and drawings!

By his death in 1962, cummings had produced over 1,600 oil and watercolor paintings and drawings. This seldom seen collection of 72 of his works at State University at Brockport (SUNY Brockport) has been damaged through the years and is in need of more restoration.

Well known and loved for his quirky poetry with its dispensing of capital letters, cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Oct 14, 1894. The Rodden rating of his natal chart is ‘A” for accurate so let’s take a quick peek at his birth chart.

ASC 5Gem01, first planet to rise: Pluto 11Gem35 Rx, Neptune 15Gem38 Rx. As you probably know, he was a volunteer Red Cross ambulance driver in WWI, and came under suspicion by the French government of harboring ‘treacherous views’ (as cited in his Biographical details at http://www.astrodatabank.com) and was incarcerated in a detention camp for three months.

Neptune-Pluto’s Great Conjunction of the 1890s reflects this vast dissolution of society’s power structures and his having both outer, transpersonal planets in first house of Self affected cummings directly. You could almost say he “was” Neptune-Pluto.

Yet he used the sad, frustrating experience to good effect when writing his first novel, ‘The Enormous Room.’ Natal Midheaven (Mc–the Aspiration Point of any chart) is at 9AQ58, sign of the Collective.

Moon is conj Mars which is at a critical 29th degree, in the 12th house of the Unconscious. A Moon-Mars conj indicates a touchy, oversensitive nature with an imagination that works overtime. This is the “imagined slights” aspect where one defends oneself against imaginary insults which results in being emotionally abusive toward others. It’s the “sore loser” aspect, too, with a jealous influence.

Yet the implied emotional immaturity of this aspect may be part of why he’s been described as “childlike” and his Sun-Moon blend, as you’ll see below, added some counterbalance to the picture bwo Libran diplomacy.

Many awards for poetry came to this independent-minded, eccentric man including the National Book Award in 1955 and the Bollingen Poetry Prize in 1957.

He was known for being an unabashed romantic, yet being a romantic doesn’t automatically make love run smooth as evidenced by his marriages, divorces, and other partnerships, with only one child (it is believed), a daughter born out-of-wedlock with Elaine Thayer, wife of his friend and patron, Scofield Thayer. They later married and divorced.

As a **Full Moon personality (born with Sun 182 degr 42 mins Moon), cummings possessed objectivity and a clear consciousness which illuminates but can bring divorce and relational difficulties. Yet relationships mean everything to the Full Moon type–hence a lifelong dilemma, for Sun and Moon are in opposite signs, showing an inner split in the male-female principle–a learning process which must be internally resolved for harmony in relationships to manifest.

There may have been a chasing of the “ideal” partner which most people should admit is nonexistent, and his off-on-again partnerships seem to show problems in this area. And sometimes people search for the “ideal” person because they don’t want to bother with the compromising necessary to make relationships deepen–so they flit to the next rose.

The painter-poet’s Prenatal Eclipse Series (4 South) occurred in Libra, sign of partnerships, and indicates strong feelings concerning money and relationships, with much frustration, inhibitions, lust, and anger. One feels caught up in relationship events over which one has no personal control and must deal with a sense of fatedness; rash actions never have the desired effect with this difficult Eclipse Series. (Brady’s ‘Predictive Astrology.’)

North Node, with its connection to the public, is conj the Aries Point, a place of connection to the world, and is considered a point of Fame and Prominence.

With Mercury (writing, communication; The Scribe) conj creative genius Uranus, cummings possessed an original mind. This natal aspect indicates that he reveled in shocking people and shaking things up.

This is supported by three *Quindecile aspects (165 degr) of obsession-compulsion which often lead to fame: Mercury QD Mars; Mars QD Uranus; Moon QD Venus.

All are related to creativity and risk-taking, and Moon-Venus may indicate mother-anima confusions.

Quarreling Mars QD disruptive Uranus also has a “living on the edge” flavor with a tendency toward sexual irresponsibility and unpredictability. All in all, not the stuff happy marriages are made of!

NPR’s feature relates how seriously cummings took his artwork, painting all day in his NY studio then switching to writing poetry when the light failed at the end of the day.

Son of a Harvard English professor, this feisty but cool-headed crusader graduated from the venerable college himself, and liked to emulate the works of great painters such as Cezanne, Picasso, and Degas. His Sun Libra-Moon Aries personality blend gave him a fun-loving, cheeky nature with an enthusiastic sense of justice. (Perhaps the Libran “That’s not fair!” exclamation was heard from him quite often–it’s a common battle cry of Librans everywhere.)

Gentle and diplomatic, cummings was a champion of the underdog (remember his ambulance driving in the war) yet may have tended toward rash judgment which could masquerade as astuteness. Sun Libra-Moon Aries makes for a well-developed aesthetic sense which was used to good purpose.

~Image for Integration: A little girl and a little boy barter whilst playing on a see-saw. She wants his toy gun; he wants her creamcake. They decide to share. (‘Sun Sign-Moon Sign’ by  Chas & Suzi Harvey.)

Well, I hope this tiny thumbnail of e.e. cummings has given you a smidge of insight into this complex genius of a man. I can’t resist closing with one of my favorites of his quotes which has certainly lost not a bit of its aptness in 2008:

“A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man.”

*Ricki Reeves’, ‘The Quindecile.’

** ‘The Lunation Cycle’ by Dane Rudhyar.

Further reading: ‘Dreams in the Mirror: A Biography of e.e. cummings’ by Richard S. Kennedy.

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