Emerson--America's Great New Age Mystic
Surely the spring of 1803 was a most benefic time for America. In April
the Louisiana Territory, called the biggest real estate bargain of all time,
was acquired, greatly enlarging its boundaries. And in May there was born in
New England one destined to become a New Age pioneer.
Even the pulpit of one of the most forward-looking churches was not
sufficiently progressive for him. He resigned, and travelled to Europe to
meet some of its avant garde thinkers like Wordsworth, Carlyle, Coleridge.
On returning, he founded (in 1836) with Margaret Fuller, Henry Thoreau, and
others, the movement that came to be known as Transcendentalism, no doubt
the nation's most influential New Age initiative of the time.
At first glance, his chart does not appear at all unique. It seems to be
just another Splash pattern with the planets scattered in seven signs. He
himself is credited with the saying that concentration is genius' essence,
yet his own planetary energies seem widely dispersed. (Of course he also
said that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.) For his
activity was broadly focused: he travelled, wrote, and lectured widely, yet
he was a genius nevertheless.
Our big clue to understanding his chart is in the 3rd house. Neptune is
closely conjunct the Part of Fortune; this symbolic point's closest aspect
often points to where the emphasis is. The configuration's meaning: "A sense
of participation in vast social or spiritual movements."1
It is well to remember that in charts where Neptune is prominent, much
is submerged, subtly concealed. After all, Neptune is "monarch" of the
maritime; we must look deeply. In doing so, we find Neptune and Pluto in
mutual reception. Uranus' solstice point is also with them: all the three
New Age planets are together in the 6th house of work.
Too, they are linked by (minor) aspects. Uranus and Neptune form a semi-
square; Neptune and Pluto a biseptile (103 degrees, small orb allowed) of
destiny. The extra-Saturnian orbs are very strongly interconnected, even
though in a somewhat concealed, typically Neptunian manner. They have
congregated in Neptune's sign that, greatly increasing its importance. Even
though Gemini is the Sun sign and chart signature, Pisces is the real basis
of Emerson's achievements.
We have his own words for this: "The greatest genius is he who offers
fewest obstacles to the illumination from above."2 Pisces is the sign most
capable of self-abnegation, giving itself away. Only an empty vessel can be
filled. How regrettable that the sign of the fishes is at times referred to
with such disparaging remarks as "dustbin of the zodiac" when potentially it
is most capable of responding to divine dynamics.
This goes along with the 8th cusp of regeneration, bringing out the
best, whose degree symbol is "An empty hammock."3 Nature Ä incidentally,
this is the brief title of the book that helped launch Transcendentalism Ä
abhors a vacuum. It will eventually be filled by something, in the spiritual
realm either by demons or divinity.4 Surely Emerson emptied his own
"hammock," or vessel, for an inflow from above, and with the strength of his
New Age planets as noted above, his bent was to respond to their positive
All the more because we also glimpse two Finger of God configurations.
Even one in a chart is quite rare; what comment would be adequate when there
are two? Especially when their components are so exquisitely harmonious? In
one, Venus, Jupiter, and Neptune are all in some way tied to Pisces: Venus
is exalted therein, the other two orbs dignified. In the other, Mars,
Uranus, and Pluto are all related to Scorpio: Uranus is exalted, the other
two dignified. The more harmonious the components of a configuration, the
greater its potential. The apexes of the two figures of destiny are in the
6th and 8th houses; esoteric work was his appointed assignment.
And esoteric astrology further helps explain his success. In addition to
the regular mutual reception already noted, he has an esoteric one. Venus is
Gemini's esoteric ruler; Mercury that of Aries; they're in each others'
signs.5 Hence, special emphasis and relationship. Gemini is the logo of
communicating where Emerson excelled. Aries is not only the symbol of
forcefulness (here Venus removes abrasiveness), also of simplicity. It was
said of a preacher, Six days a week he's invisible, the seventh he's
incomprehensible. By contrast, Emerson was highly visible and just as
comprehensible, a fact supported by these important degree meanings:
The Ascendant: "Vibrant simplicity."
The M.C.: "Warmth of simple living."
The 12th cusp: "Death of useless things."6
Mercury: "A man trimming palms."7 In the sense of getting rid of the
unnecessary, this surely is a step in the direction of simplicity.
"Trimming" also implies making something short, brief. Emerson could not be
accused of being long-winded. When lecturing, he would put his watch on the
lectern and always stop at the time promised.
There was a self-authenticating naturalness about Emerson's message.
Though rightly called New Age, it was part of the Ageless Wisdom. This is
clearly indicated by the chart. Straddling the Ascendant are Saturn,
Jupiter, Uranus. The first represents the old, the last the new; since
Jupiter is almost exactly in their middle it ties them all together even
though no actual aspect exists.9
Emerson once said, "Astrology is astronomy brought to earth and applied
to the affairs of men."9 It can similarly be said that the New Age Message
is the Ageless Wisdom adapted and applied to this age.
1. The Lunation Cycle, Dane Rudhyar, p. 116.
2. Emerson, Lillian A. Maulsby, p. 14.
3. The Sabian Symbols, Marc Edmund Jones, p. 166.
4. Matthew 12:43-45.
5. Astrology, The Divine Science, Moore and Douglas, pp. 697, 699.
6. Astrology of Personality, Dane Rudhyar, pp. 360, 351, 357.
7. Marc Edmund Jones, op. cit., p. 234.
8. Astrology, Ronald C. Davison, p. 111.
9. A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator, Llewellyn George, p. 255.