Henry Miller – A Kick in the Tropics

Henry  Miller was an American writer who was known for developing a semi-autobiographical novel that was also fictional where his  “actual and imagined experiences became indistinguishable from each other.” His two most famous novels were the astrologically intriguing pair, Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. His writing is best known for containing explicit accounts of his own marital and sexual experiences, and his novels were banned for 30 years in The United States.

Miller married 5 times and had numerous affairs including one with Anais Nin. As his own love life is so obviously the focus of his life’s work, we would expect to see that clearly pointed out in his chart.

Henry Miller

It was only natural that Miller’s most famous novel would be ‘ Tropic of Capricorn ‘ as he had an elevated Sun in that sign but the real emphasis in his chart was the powerful Moon / Mars / Uranus conjunction in Scorpio in the 7th house of marriage.

A very close Moon / Mars conjunction in Scorpio shows the depth, range and intensity of Miller’s own sexual experience and the conjunction with Uranus indicates the controversy that his writings about his love life would cause.

As so much of his writing was based on his own marital experience, its not surprising that his Pluto turning point came when he was first married to Beatrice Wickens in 1917 with the planet opposite his Sun.

Whilst someone with such a strong Scorpio 7th house would inevitably have an intense love life, the combination of Sun and Moon signs might point to his keeping these experiences to himself. Miller’s assertive Aries rising ensured that this would not be the case and when Pluto came to square the Ascendant by transit, Anais Nin became his lover and his first major novel, Tropic of Cancer was printed.

Miller was born with an exact conjunction of Neptune and Pluto in Gemini in square to Jupiter. While its true that Neptune and Pluto move so slowly that this is not a unique aspect by any means, the coming together of these distant planets tend to have an impact on generations. Miller’s books were an important contribution to freeing the discussion of sexual subjects from both legal and social restrictions and he was an inspiration to a generation of writers that followed, including Jack Kerouac.

Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter are all planets that demand freedom in one way or another and the conjunction in Gemini, the sign of the writer, is interesting. But perhaps the most important indicator is that Pluto made the only transit of Miller’s life to this conjunction between 1961 and 64 and Uranus was in the same place at the time.

The eventual publication of Tropic of Cancer in 1961 led to a series of obscenity trials that tested American laws on pornography.  In 1964 the Supreme Court overruled the state court findings of obscenity and declared the book a work of literature. It was one of the notable events in the sexual revolution.

For someone whose most famous novels were included Cancer and Capricorn in their title, its not surprising that Henry Miller could teach us all a lot about astrology. With one quote he aptly summed up the astrological role of the birthchart as destiny and transits as fate when he said

” Destiny is what you are supposed to do in life. Fate is what kicks you in the ass and makes you do it.”

Scorpio has ruler ship over the ass and the sexual organs, but the physical body is governed by the Ascendant and a kick in the ass galvanises one into action so the equivalent would clearly be Pluto’s transit square to an Aries Ascendant.

So with The Moon in Scorpio conjunct Mars and Uranus in the 7th shows that Henry Miller was destined to write Tropic of Cancer but it was Pluto’s kick up the Ascendant that made him do it.



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