Marie and Pierre Curie – A Plutonic Family

Married couples usually have close synastry. Planets in the chart of one partner frequently make powerful aspects to those in the chart of the other. This is particularly true if the couple’s business lives are also shared.

One real classic example of this would be Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor who married each other twice, had a very powerful and tempestuous relationship but also acted together in many films. Even in their working life they were closely entwined usually as romantic partners with difficult issues to resolve.

The aspect contacts between Burton and Taylor are as powerful as Capricorn Research has ever seen.  Burton’s Sun in Scorpio in the 8th house was closely conjunct Taylor’s Moon and both were in trine aspect to Pluto. Obviously the main thing that drew them together was sex, together with a deep seated emotional connection.

The couple in this article also had a Sun / Moon contact in Scorpio and both were in aspect to Pluto, but the thing that brought them together was their intellect and their work.

Marie Curie was a Polish-born physicist and chemist, one of the most famous scientists of her time.

Her name is now associated with the treatment of cancer through radio and chemotherapy which would have been impossible without her discoveries. She conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and discovered polonium and radium.  She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person (and only woman) to win twice and the only person to win twice in multiple sciences.

As regular readers will know, these articles about the lives of famous people are usually focused around major turning points brought about by the transits of Pluto. In many cases the subjects have the planet strongly placed in their birth charts as well.

Pluto in Astrology has rulership over many things, all of them deep and powerful transformative processes but if its said to rule one thing alone it is the principle of atomic change.

It was discovered in 1930, at a time when there were massive changes in science and in our whole conception of reality. Ernest Rutherford was credited with first “splitting the atom” in 1917 and under his leadership the neutron was discovered in 1932 and with it the first experiment to split the nucleus in a fully controlled manner.

Pluto has always been associated with atomic change, and the planet’s whole symbolism is a perfect testimony. It is tiny and a long way away, but its impact can be the most powerful of all, triggering revolution and catastrophy in equal measure, completely sweeping away all past conditions in order for something utterly new to emerge.

It is the planet of the quantum jump.

For someone like Marie Curie, who discovered the theory of radioactivity, Pluto would have to be a powerful presence in her chart.

 

Marie Curie

Marie Curie had a stellium of the Sun, Saturn, Venus and Mars in Scorpio ( the sign ruled by Pluto ). Her Sun was in exact opposition to Pluto.

Her Sun is in the 9th house of discovery and intellectual exploration.

The Sun / Pluto opposition runs right along the central axis of the chart. Pluto rules the underworld and when its placed right at the base of a chart, the person has no option but to explore the very deepest levels of life and behaviour imaginable.

With the Sun in Scorpio in the 9th opposite Pluto here, Marie Curie would be utterly driven to discover something of fundamental consequence to humanity.

The Sun / Pluto opposition plays a central role in two major planetary patterns in Curie’s chart. The first one is a T Square to Jupiter in Aquarius.

In a T square the tension that exists between the two planets in opposition is projected powerfully onto the apex planet, so Curie’s intense and powerful drive to discover something deep and fundamental through her work had a massive, groundbreaking impact ( Jupiter ) on modern scientific thinking ( Aquarius ).

The other pattern is a Grand Trine in Water between the Sun in Scorpio, the Moon in Pisces and Uranus in Cancer. This Grand Trine also forms Kite formations to both Pluto and her Ascendant.

The Grand Trine is the most beneficial aspect pattern in astrology, conveying incredible gifts through the harmonious workings of all the planets involved.

Marie Curie’s Scorpio Sun was trine the Moon in Pisces, an extraordinary combination that gives great sensitivity and an instinctive feel for things that are hidden or invisible. Above all this combination gives the ability to penetrate far into unknown realms that were previously shrouded in mystery.

The Moon in Pisces gives the ability to act, think and feel laterally and to not be confined by narrow conventional wisdom. The Sun in Scorpio gives a tenacity and intensity to go on working, digging as deep as is necessary to find the answers.

The 3rd planet in the Grand Trine, Uranus again shows her important role in scientific breakthrough and even in the making of the modern world. Uranus rules modern technology and its placing in the sign Cancer in this Grand Trine is itself the essence of astrological symbolic simplicity.

Marie Curie’s work made possible the technological breakthroughs ( Uranus ) required to be able to treat diseases such as cancer ( in Cancer ! ).

The other thing that is important about this placing of Uranus is that it is right on the 7th house cusp. The 7th is the house of marriage and relationships, and a planet here as part of a Grand Trine would certainly show a marriage partner who was instrumental to the success of Marie Curie’s life and work.

Uranus in the 7th would suggest that Marie would marry another scientist.

Marie was married to Pierre Curie, it was their mutual interest in natural sciences that drew them together. Pierre was an instructor at the School of Physics and Chemistry, and Marie was looking for a larger laboratory space, Pierre was able to find some space for Marie where she was able to begin work.

Their mutual passion for science brought them increasingly closer, and they began to develop feelings for one another and they married. According to a contemporary Marie was “Pierre’s biggest discovery.”

 

Pierre Curie

 

Looking at Pierre’s chart, this person was certainly right. He was a Sun Taurus but the fascinating thing was that he had the Moon in Scorpio opposite Pluto.

An astrological classic for marriage was always considered to be a connection between the Moon of the man and the Sun of the woman.

Not only is Pierre’s Moon in the same sign as Marie’s Sun, they are both opposite Pluto so they are basically engaged in the same fundamental themes throughout their lives.

As well as this Pierre’s Moon is in his 7th house of marriage. So he would inevitably marry a Scorpio who was engaged in Pluto type work.

There are many other important connections between their charts, not least the conjunction between Marie’s Moon in Pisces and Pierre’s Ascendant.

Marie and Pierre came together in 1894. Uranus, the planet that so clearly dominates Marie’s marriage in her 7th house was conjunct her Sun that year. Jupiter was conjunct Pierre’s Sun, reinforcing the idea that Marie was his biggest discovery.

The year 1898 was their breakthrough, when they discovered both polonium ( named after Marie’s native Poland ) and radium.  In 1898 Pluto had just begun to square Marie’s Moon and was also square Pierre’s Ascendant and conjunct his Mars.

Between 1898 and 1902 whilst Pluto was square Marie’s Moon, the Curies published a total of 32 scientific papers, including one that announced that, when exposed to radium, diseased, tumor-forming cells were destroyed faster than healthy cells, the key discovery for the future treatment of cancer.

Jupiter is often the planet that brings enhanced status and recognition and it was for the Curies in 1903 when it was conjunct Marie’s Moon and Pierre’s Ascendant. In that year they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics jointly with Henri Becquerel.

There are astrological reasons however why it was Marie’s name that lived on and became connected with radiotherapy. We don’t hear of the Pierre Curie Cancer centres.

Marie had an exact Venus / Saturn conjunction. This generally indicates some kind of loss or restriction through relationships. The fact that it is so close ( only 18 minutes of arc means that this loss will be felt acutely ) and its placing in Marie’s 10th house means that it would have a massive effect on her career.

Pierre’s Sun is in opposition to Marie’s Venus / Saturn conjunction so that places him right at the heart of this loss.

Interestingly also Marie’s Sun / Pluto opposition focuses by T Square onto Jupiter giving her the title of great scientist to be recognised through the ages. While Pierre’s Moon / Pluto opposition focuses by T square onto Saturn.

In April 1906, Pierre was killed in a road accident and missed much of Marie’s career and her later achievements. At that time Saturn, the planet that was so strongly linked to this idea of loss was conjunct Pierre’s Ascendant and Marie’s Moon.

Neptune was also conjunct Marie’s 7th house Uranus and opposite her Ascendant between 1906 – 8.

Marie continued with her work and recognition kept coming. Just as she had received the Nobel Prize for Physics when Jupiter was conjunct her Moon, she received the Prize for Chemistry with the same planet conjunct her Sun in 1911.

During World War I, Marie procured X-ray equipment and developed mobile radiography units, which came to be popularly known “Little Curies”. She became the director of the Red Cross Radiology Service and set up installation of 20 mobile radiological vehicles and another 200 radiological units at field hospitals in the first year of the war.

She produced hollow needles containing ‘radium emanation’, a colorless, radioactive gas given off by radium, later identified as radon, to be used for sterilizing infected tissue. It is estimated that over a million wounded soldiers were treated with her X-ray units. In this work she was assisted by her daughter, Irene who would later marry Marie’s assistant, chemist Frederic Joliot. The Joliots investigated the formation of electrons and positrons by the passage of hi-energy radiation through matter. In 1934 they worked on alpha rays and the radioactive isotope of nitrogen, winning a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

As Irene worked so closely with her mother and followed in her footsteps its likely that her chart would also have a strong Pluto.

 

Irene Joliot Curie

Irene Curie / Joliot had a classic scientist’s chart with Sun in analytical Virgo, Moon in pioneering Aries and Gemini rising with an extremely auspicious exact Sun Jupiter conjunction showing her wonderful inheritance.

Her Sun was also square to Pluto. Pluto was powerfully placed in her chart anyway, conjunct Neptune and her Ascendant.

The Curie’s had another daughter, Eve who did not follow her parents into science. She was a concert pianist and also a journalist working as a war correspondent in World War Two, covering the battlefields.

 

Eve Curie

Eve was a much travelled Sun, Moon, Ascendant Sagittarius, but like all of the rest of her family had a powerful Pluto aspect. Like her mother, Eve had the Sun / Pluto opposition.

The contribution of Marie and Pierre Curie to the modern world was immense. The discovery of radium made it possible for Ernest Rutherford to probe the structure of the atom which created the dawn of atomic science. In medicine, the radioactivity of radium offered a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked.

They had a Scorpio / Pluto like passion for their work and were prepared to dig deeper and go further than anyone else in their search. They were not interested in fame and often refused awards. Albert Einstein reportedly remarked that Marie was probably the only person who could not be corrupted by fame.

There is a school of thought which comes from the philosopher Plato called naturally enough Platonic Idealism. This is where everything is a reflection of a perfect ideal.

The Curie family devoted their lives to the search for the Plutonic Ideal.

 

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