Of all the books that have had an enormous impact on mankind, most of them have been to do with religion. The Bible obviously and the Koran along with many from the Hindu tradition. But one that scared a whole Victorian generation to death was the version of Dante’s Divine Comedy with its frightening illustrations of Hell.
The Divine Comedy was written in the early part of the 14th century and is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language. It is written in the first person and describes Dante’s journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso).
The word “comedy” in the classical sense refers to works which reflect belief in an ordered universe, that results in an ultimate good. The progression of the pilgrimage from Hell to Paradise begins with the pilgrim’s moral confusion and ends with the vision of God.
So Dante’s work is so obviously a story about Pluto, both in terms of the journey through the underworld but also of path that leads from the deepest of all agonies and suffering in hell to the highest states of bliss and union with the Creator.
As Dante was the person to communicated this vision, what kind of chart should we expect for him. Exactly this kind.
As the writer he has the Sun conjunct the Ascendant in Gemini. Both of these are in opposition to Pluto right across the horizontal axis of the chart.
The opposition aspect is very appropriate. Conjunctions of planets in someone’s chart indicate that the coming together of the energies depicted by the planets occurs very much within the person. Oppositions operate more as an external force, so the person experiences this energy as happening to them as the result of external fate.
So if the Sun is conjunct Pluto, major personal transformations would be expected but the person would feel that these are being prompted from themselves.
The Sun opposite Pluto suggests that they go through just as profound a transformation but it is more likely to be forced on them by external circumstances.
Gemini is the sign not only of writing and communication but also of journeys so with the Sun and Ascendant in Gemini opposite Pluto, Dante has to go on an external journey through hell in order to pass through to heaven.
One particularly powerful feature in Dante’s chart is the exact Mercury / Saturn conjunction in Gemini in the 12th. This not only reinforced the harrowing nature of his journey but also shows an obsession with the structure and ordered arrangement of his version of hell, purgatory and heaven.
Numbers and levels are prominent throughout the Divine Comedy.
The first and most frightening stage, the passing through the Inferno represents the Christian soul seeing sin for what it really is.
Each level is the place saved for those souls who are guilty of the particular sins of action in life.
Level 10 is Satan himself.
Levels 8 and 9 are reserved for those who are guilty of sins of malice (fraud and treachery).
Level 7 for the sins of violence.
Level 6 contains the heretics who contradicted the doctrine and confused the spirit of Christ.
Levels 2 to 5 are for the four sins of indulgence (lust, gluttony, avarice, anger).
Level 1 is Limbo containing the virtuous pagans who were not sinful but were ignorant of Christ.
Having survived the depths of Hell, Dante ascended to the Mountain of Purgatory on the far side of the world. The mountain has seven terraces, corresponding to the seven deadly sins, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth,Wrath, Envy and Pride. These are the sins of thought rather than those of actions in the Inferno.
These 7 realms join with 2 others, one for those who repented their sins late in life and the other for those excommunicated by the church.
The Garden of Eden at the summit of Purgatory’s mountain makes ten.
After ascending through these levels, Dante is guided through the nine celestial spheres of Heaven. The structure of the Paradiso is based on the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues.
Its fitting that the first seven spheres of heaven are all about astrological virtues.
Starting with the Moon, containing the inconstant, whose vows to God waned as the moon and thus lack fortitude.
Level 2 was Mercury, containing the ambitious, who were virtuous for glory and thus lacked justice.
Level 3 was Venus, containing the lovers, whose love was directed towards another than God and thus lacked Temperance.
Level 4 was the Sun, containing the prudent, whose wisdom lighted the way for the other virtues, to which the others are bound.
Level 5 was Mars containing the men of fortitude who died in the cause of Christianity.
Level 6 was Jupiter containing the kings of Justice
Level 7 was Saturn containing the temperate, the monks who abided by the contemplative lifestyle.
Level 8 was of the fixed stars that contain those who achieved the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, and represent the Church Triumphant, the total perfection of humanity, cleansed of all the sins and carrying all the virtues of heaven.
Level 9 was the Primum Mobile which contains the angels, creatures never poisoned by original sin.
Level 10 contains the essence of God.
The Divine Comedy finishes with Dante seeing God. In a flash of understanding, which he cannot express, Dante finally understands the mystery of Christ’s divinity and humanity, and his soul becomes aligned with God’s love
” But already my desire and my will
were being turned like a wheel, all at one speed,
by the Love which moves the sun and the other stars. ”
Dante’s journey was a perfect reflection of the two oppositions in his chart, the Sun / Ascendant in Gemini to Pluto and Mercury / Saturn in Gemini to the Moon in Sagittarius.
If we were looking at Dante’s chart in the usual way and asked when would this journey be most likely to occur. The answer would be when Pluto makes its only transit to the Sun / Pluto opposition.
Pluto reached the T Square point in square to both the Sun and its natal position in 1321.
Alighieri Dante died in 1321.
It may well be that our experience at the moment of death is the result of our thoughts feelings and actions throughout our life. If so Dante would be acting out the Divine Comedy for real.
Astrology, like karma is just so simple and beautiful, it would have given Dante what he expected and thought during his lifetime.
But just in case we astrologers get a bit complacent about his medieval view of life and death, he had some words of warning for us.
Each sin’s punishment in Inferno was a symbolic instance of poetic justice for example, fortune-tellers have to walk with their heads on backwards, unable to see what is ahead, because that was what they had tried to do in life.
So that we will be our fate then.
But Capricorn Research has devised a cunning plan to avoid this fate. To deliberately avoid talking about the future and have a whole website using hindsight devoted to the power of Pluto. Appeal to the lord of the underworld’s pride, and you get safe passage onto the next level.
I don’t generally subscribe to the Catholic view of life after death but a pragmatic Capricorn always keeps all his options open.