Herculine Barbin – The Sufferings of Venus

The T Square is Capricorn Research’s favourite aspect pattern. This may be because I have an extremely close one myself but there is something about the aspect that appeals strongly to someone who needs clear proven evidence of an astrological effect.

The apex planet of a T Square in a person’s chart will almost without exception point to the area in life where they will expend most of their energy. The planet, sign and house will be the major focus of their life even if it contradicts the indications of the Sun and Moon.

Whilst the lights will accurately describe the personality and the paths in life that they would naturally pursue, the T Square will point to the direction that they will be forced to explore either by circumstances or by inheritance.

It is such a distinct aspect in that it is formed of 2 planets pulling in opposite directions, hence creating a challenge and a tension which is forced to seek resolution through the apex planet which is in square to the other two.

The apex or planet at the focus of the T Square naturally has a Mars like quality, because it demands to be asserted. If the Sun or Mars is the apex planet, this creates an extremely assertive type of person, someone with a strong mission that cannot be held back. A very good example is ex British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who had both Sun and Mars at the focus – see article Margaret Thatcher the Plutonian Lady.

Other planets however do not fit the typical T Square apex so easily. The Moon, Venus and Neptune will all find the singular pressurised focus of the T Square to be a difficult one to come to terms with.

Whereas the Sun and Mars are so obviously masculine planets, the Moon and Venus are feminine. Neptune has always been associated with the blurring of boundaries.

What then if someone had a T Square made of all three, particularly if Venus was the apex planet ? And if that Venus was in Scorpio, might we expect someone whose femininity and sexuality was called into question ?

Herculine Barbin


This is the chart of a French hermaphrodite, born in the eighteenth century with ambiguous genitalia but was named as a female, Adelaide-Herculine Barbin.  Her father died early in her life and she was placed in an orphanage at the age of seven.

As we can see Barbin had 4 planets in Scorpio.

Regular readers of these articles will know that most of them revolve around the life changing transits of Pluto. This is particularly significant if they have strength in Scorpio. The strongest single transit of a person’s lifetime is without question Pluto to the Sun, but in the case of a T Square it should be argued that the distant planet’s transit through this pattern would take precedence.

Pluto moved through Barbin’s T Square between 1852 and 62.

From 1853-56 as Pluto was square her Moon, she lived in La Rochelle as a boarding student.

Between 1855 and 57, Pluto was opposite her Venus as she completed her teaching certificate at the normal school of Oleron at the top of her class. During this time she cut away with scissors the light down growing on her upper lips and cheeks and kept her body concealed when the female trainee teachers went swimming.

From 1858-62 Pluto was square her Neptune as she became schoolmistress at a nearby town, falling passionately in love with Sara, another schoolmistress.

In 1860 Barbin returned to La Rochelle and confided her predicaments to a bishop who sent her to a doctor. The doctor’s reports revealed that Barbin had a man’s chest, slightly brown and hairy upper arms, hips and pelvis of a man, and buttocks and thighs covered in abundant black hair. Barbin had never menstruated. A sort of clitoris-penis was located between two prominent labia majora which were “only the two halves of a scrotum that remained divided.” Below the “penis” was an urethral opening that was “completely feminine” through which she would urinate and apparently pass sperm. Between the urethra and anus there was an orifice with recto-vaginal walls, but no cervix.

Barbin was subsequently renamed “Abel” instead of “Adelaide-Herculine” with the changes made on her birth certificate in June 1860 to officially reclassify her as a man.

The one final turning point in Barbin’s life came when Pluto opposed his Sun in 1868 when he committed suicide having left a letter saying he had killed himself in order to escape the sufferings that constantly obsessed him.

A Moon, Venus, Neptune aspect would not generally be considered to be unfortunate, but this terribly sad story is an accurate reflection of the fact that this aspect was a T Square with its apex part of a stellium in Scorpio and the inevitable impact of Pluto transits.

Venus, the goddess of love ? In our dreams maybe.



The Turning Point in Your Life ?

Astrology and Celebrity – all in the timing



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