Date: Tue, 05 Nov 2002 15:43:41 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] TD10: Saint-Saens

Camille Saint-Saens was born October 9 1835 in Paris. His chart appeared in Sabian Symbols #816, done for 6:45 a.m., and Gauquelin Vol.4 #2260 gives "7 a.m.":

       Sun = 22,48 Virgo (sidereal)
       TD10 = 23,12 Virgo
       Venus = 23,55 Virgo

TD10 is half-way between the Sun and Venus. One must add Pluto in a separating opposition in 21,21 Pisces, but here it is weaker than and over-ridden dynamically by TD10.

He is a difficult or paradoxical example of TD10, at least of the TD10 that I perceive from the orbital symbolism. He was a successful, popular composer, received many honors in his life, was a very social "man of the world", fond of friends, and parties, the polar opposite of a personality such as that of Silvia Plath (to be examined later). His music is always balanced, delightful and "easy", inspired by life and with no traces of any inclination towards death, such as, for example, Mahler's. It is full of an <<extreme Gallic charm and joie de vivre>>.

His friend Gounod wrote of him: "He is neither finicky, nor violent, nor emphatic. He has no system, he belongs to no party, to no clique; he does not pose as a reformer of anything; he writes as he feels and with what he knows" (Hervy, 42)."

For these reasons he is not a favorite of mine, although I enjoy enormously the "Danse Macabre" or the "Bacchanale" of Samson et Dalila, or the "Carnival of the Animals", or his "Organ" (3rd) symphony, which has one of the most noble slow movements I've heard. But the joy comes from their formal beauty and  their radiance, not the emotional impact. He never reaches the heights or the depths of emotion like other romantic composers. He was strongly criticized for superficiality, but maybe what one finds in his music is a strong rationality as a defense mechanism against extreme sensibility.

The paradox of TD10 can be seen in different ways:

1- my feelings about TD10 are all wrong
2- TD10 is here inactive
3- TD10 is here a defensive "wall" against Sun/Venus excesses
4- he is expressing the more positive side of TD10

My opinion is that he is incarnating "3", and maybe "4". What follows is my personal interpretation.

He developed a strongly rational personality as a defense mechanism against an excess of sensitivity, and this shows in his music. This may be the action of Pluto, the opposition of which represents the role of her mother in his life. His father died when he was not yet 1 year old and she never married again; he always lived with her even after his marriage when he was almost 40.

the following allows us a more intimate look into his "TD10-over-Sun/Venus" aspect:

<<Saint-Saens private life was less than completely happy. He was homosexual and understandably showed little sign of wanting to marry. However in 1875 at the age of almost 40, he fell in love with nineteen year old Marie-Laure Truffot. His infatuation did not last long. After their wedding, Saint-Saens declared that he was too busy for a honeymoon, and took Marie straight home to live with his mother. Thereafter the composer treated his wife with deep disdain until the arrival of children brought out his more sympathetic side. But even this was tragically short lived, since in 1878 both children died within six weeks of each other: André, aged two, fell from a fourth floor window, and soon afterwards his baby brother Jean became ill and died. Saint-Saens blamed Marie for the children's deaths, and a few years later he walked out on her in the middle of a holiday. Marie never saw him again.>>

here are the exact dates:

<<Le 3 février 1875, Saint-Saëns épouse au Cateau (Nord) Marie Truffaut, de vingt ans plus jeune que lui. Deux enfants naissent de cette union.
<<Le 28 mai 1878, l'aîné, André, ågé de deux ans et demi se tue en tombant d'une fenêtre de l'appartement de la rue Monsieur- le-Prince.
<<Le 7 juillet suivant, son frère Jean-François, ågé de sept mois, le rejoint dans la tombe.

<<... also remained very close to his mother, who had opposed his marriage. When she died in 1888, the composer fell into a deep depression even contemplating suicide for a time.>>

I think this shows the influence of Pluto, which apparently is what determines the way in which he represses deeper feeling and pain, i.e., the outward manifestation of TD10. His style of composition is therefore:

<<Not overly exaggerated, or extreme
<<Often optimistic sounding, and when expresses grief, only does so to a certain extent; not overly dramatic in this respect.>>

If one analyzes the implications of what is described above, I think one will grasp TD10 in action, particularly in the way he treated his wife, later dramatized in his inability to face the death of his 2 sons. Saint-Saens, in my personal opinion, was "alienated" from himself, from his Sun/Venus, and was willing to live only the superficial aspect of Sun/Venus in his personal life. The deeper, dramatic part, was absorbed by his mother, leaving critics very often with a feeling of hollowness after listening to his music, complaining for its lack of emotion.

<<His public success and prodigious intellectual activity notwithstanding, Saint-Saëns was nevertheless a rather acerbic and lonely man. His strongly voiced musical opinions ultimately cost him many would-be supporters. His enemies claimed that the music did not live up to its promise, and that the admittedly elegant creations were devoid of the spirit and substance that was embodied in more "progressive," dramatically conceived music. His bitterness over this assessment only reinforced his tendency towards misanthropism (it is well documented that he much preferred the company of animals to that of people).
<<Heaped on all this is personal and domestic tragedy: in 1878 he lost both of his young children to an accident and illness. Holding his wife responsible, he walked out on the marriage without formal separation or divorce, never to see her again. The frame of mind that these situations engendered contributed, no doubt, to the pessimism expressed in the Saint-Saëns book "Problems et Mysteres", in which atheism is advocated. It is no surprise then, that much of Saint-Saëns' music is tinged with 
melancholy, albeit an asthetically transmogrified melancholy that is exalted, bittersweet, and profoundly touching and pleasurable.>>

The challenge in the Saint-Saens case, I think, is to differentiate between the action of TD10 and that of Pluto. Difficult thing to do at this stage. This post took me much longer to write than I had imagined when I realized the presence of Pluto.



Date: Tue, 05 Nov 2002 23:55:09 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] TD10: Saint-Saens, 2

Some reflections on Saint-Saens, before passing to other cases.

One can perceive in his music what an author called <<extreme Gallic charm and joie de vivre>>.  These are Sun/Venus characteristics.  However, what is peculiar about this is that TD10 is apparently "missing", i.e., Sun and Venus are completely mediated by TD10 in his chart, yet his music appears as "pure" Sun/Venus, including its often criticized lack of deeper emotional content.  One author referred to it as <<music is tinged with melancholy, albeit an aesthetically transmogrified melancholy that is exalted, bittersweet, and profoundly touching and pleasurable>>.  These in my opinion are clearly the characteristics of the Sun/Venus conjunction.

Another characteristic of his music and of his personality, was described by a friend as <<neither finicky, nor violent, nor emphatic.  He has no system, he belongs to no party, to no clique; he does not pose as a reformer of anything; he writes as he feels and with what he knows".  See the "no's" in the way of expressing: "not emphatic", "no system", "no party", "does not pose", etc.  This shows that Venus is overpowering the Sun. This is consistent with what many critics and music lovers agree upon: his music is brilliant, noble, and delightful, it shows wit and humor, it is harmoniously and artistically crafted and rationally balanced, but there is something lacking, something missing, and that is the dramatism and "pathos" of the Sun.

One can generalize and say that he was so rational, so unwilling to surrender himself emotionally, he was always in control, never left his emotions take hold of his musical expression, something that has been described as a style that is <<not overly exaggerated, or extreme, often optimistic sounding, and when expresses grief, only does so to a certain extent; not overly dramatic in this respect.>>. The Sun is here "softened" by Venus, it is not "heroic", it is not striving to be or to assert itself through emotional or dramatic outpourings.  This is conspicuously negated, denied, absent.  This, I think, is the first clue about the way TD10 is manifesting in his case.

Instead of letting his feelings and emotions flow freely to compensate or to "sublimate" the frustration or denials of his personal life, he is using his art rationally and deliberately to perpetuate his emotional self-control.  One author puts it like this: <<Although Saint-Saëns could be an ardent and persuasive champion of "progressive" music (Wagner, Liszt, Schumann, Moussorgsky, et al) his own music epitomizes the French taste for "classically" impeccable craftsmanship, moderation, clarity, and balance: "I ran after the chimera of purity of style and perfection of form... The artist who doesn't feel completely satisfied with elegant lines, harmonious colors or a fine series of chords, does not understand art.">>

We will not find "the secret" of his Sun/Venus conjunction (i.e., TD10) in his music.  It is concealed.  The conjunctions seems to be "pure" with nothing hidden inside.  This is the clue.  I have suggested that TD10 has resulted here in a defensive "wall" that conceals Saint-Saens' deeper feelings from himself, that it "alienates" him from his own depths: he ends up advocating atheism, he disdains his young wife 20 years younger than him and forces her to live with his mother, later blaming her for the death of their 2 sons, and one day simply walks away from her, never to see her again.  This shows cruelty and manipulation, and there is a very strong pattern of neglect which finds expression or is projected on her.

We see TD10's "alien" sdo characteristics in the death of his 2 sons in 1878. These deaths are not isolated, they come after 3 years of disdaining his wife.  His life is controlled by his mother.  He manages to get away from that control by never surrendering to his own feelings and necessities, never sharing them in equal terms with another adult.  He remains a perpetual child (another characteristic of Sun/Venus), but expresses this side of his personality only by projecting it on his relationship with children and with animals.  When his 2 sons are taken away from him in a fatal blow of destiny (TD10), he "gives up".  He has no love for his wife --nor for anyone except his mother-- and walks away forever, travelling extensively.

We have then a pattern of neglect and alienation from his own depths.  We have loneliness and misanthropy, and a rationalization mechanism that does not allow the flow of strong or overbearing emotions.  When these depths flow, they are not poured into the music, but appear related to death and alienation: the death of his children (TD10 over Sun/Venus, TD10 brutally "kills" what gives him life), and 10 years later the death of his mother that sends him on a path of deep depression nearing suicide.  But he is relentless in his negation, he is "sealed" (Sun/TD10), and doesn't give up the demands of rationality and balance in his musical expression.  His music is used to seal the cracks of his life, and as a consequence he could never be an innovator.

The "emotional emptiness" many contemporary critics found in his music is another clue of TD10's alienation.  This is the opposite, the contrary of a Sun/Venus conjunction that is being lived fully.  TD10 will trigger mechanisms of "disconnection" between the head and the heart.  In Saint-Saens these mechanisms are ingrained in him, and are the result of living under the domination of his mother: he has no father image, so he is totally invaded by his mother in childhood, as he is invaded by music.  He uses a "uterine" expression: he says he lives in music like a fish in water.  The paradox of TD10 here is that "mother music" never let him live or break the emotional shield he had to develop to defend against her.



Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 07:47:08 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] TD10: Saint-Saens, 2 - Amy


... his compliance with pleasing is another manifestation of his Sun/Venus, which I characterized as being --apparently-- "pure", as if TD10 were not there, whatever TD10 is.

... I perceive or interpret a negation related to what TD10 represents.  One author mentions:

<<Once called a second Mozart he was at the end of his life declared by a sharp-tongued wag to be a composer of bad music well written.  He had made many enemies with his success and his sarcasm.  In old age he came to be mocked for his rabid conservatism, his dislike of modern music, the campaign he mounted against Debussy, his shocked disapproval of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and his insistence, during World War I, that all German music be suppressed.>>

I can imagine the suffering that the "Rite of Spring" would have meant to a rabid conservative with an exact Sun/Venus conjunction...!

Lack of innovation power and compliance with the public tastes can be seen as Sun/Venus characteristics when Venus has overpowered the Sun, or when the Sun is weak.  Is he like this because this is how French music is at his time, or is French music of his time like this because he and many others lack innovative power and want to be compliant with public tastes?

Orbital symbolism offers a clue here: TD10's "long-wave", "dark", and "invasive/evasive" gesture is overshadowing both the Sun and Venus.

At this point, it is useful to compare him with a contemporary and close friend of his: Grabriel Faure, who also had a Sun/Venus conjunction.  Faure was born May 12, 1845 at noon in Pamiers:

      Venus = 27,58 Aries (sidereal)
      Sun = 28,59 Aries

In Faure's case, there is (apparently, would like feedback) no well-known centaur or sdo in conjunction or opposition that stands in-between the Sun and Venus.  Here the conjunction is more "pure", he doesn't have to deny anything.  Another French composer (of a previous generation) with the Sun conjunct Venus was Cesar Franck, born December 10, 1822, at 7 a.m. in Liege:

      TL66 = 21,43 Sco (sidereal)
      Venus = 22,11 Sco
      Sun = 25,26 Sco

In Franck's case, the conjunction happens in the 1st house, but Venus is overshadowed by TL66 (is this why he was a Wagnerian?), so it is a more complicated case, like Sain-Saens who has a strong separating Pluto opposition.  This is why the example and comparison with Faure looks so interesting or promising, because it can be used to put away what is merely a national characteristic of French music at the time.


National and historical character (and differences) can be used to explain, for example, my personal approach to the centaurs, to astrology, to life, to music, etc.  By necessity I will not produce the interpretation of Astrology or of the centaurs typical of an American or a German.  Maybe those national characteristics are *not* inherent in the astrological configurations.  There is a line of unresolved matters here pertaining to the field of astrology.

My tendency is to think that the national character and national history are inherent in the astrological configuration, they are not something different or apart, they will always appear in the interpretation.  For example, you can find in my chart why I am so "Hispanic" and "Tropical" in my approach to Astrology.  One could say that Faure is considered by some the "quintessence of Gallic refinement" not because he was French, but because he was a French who had such an unadulterated Sun/Venus conjunction.


Homosexuality was probably a much more difficult and painful way of living then than now.  But what I was trying to explain is that, for example, in Tchaikovsky's case the pain and the depth can be easily found in the music, and that this is what normally happens in all artists.  Is Tchaikovsky's music like this because he was not French but Russian?

This strikes me as Saint-Saens' characteristic, that TD10 is not directly apparent in his music.  This is not common.  The challenge is to find it there, and the clue I have used is its *apparent* absence.  The hypothesis for the moment is that there is something empty or missing both in his music and in his intimate life, and that this emotional emptiness is one of the manifestations of TD10.

It is not very realistic to imagine that an artist's life is disconnected or inconsistent with his artistic production.  For example, when gathering material for Tchaikovsky, I read some authors who pretended that Tchaikovsky's mood during the time he wrote and premiered his 6th Symphony, 9 days after which he committed suicide, had no relation to the sentimental tone of the music, which I find absurd....




Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 09:54:04 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] TD10: Saint-Saens, 3

Sain-Saens loved children (and animals).  According to one source, <<after the tragic events of his marriage, Saint-Saëns developed a fondness for Fauré and his family, acting as a second father to his children.>>. We can imagine, then, what his own children meant to him, and must have meant their death separated by only 6 weeks.  For a homosexual more than 1 century ago who never married again and never had any more children, his children's death is a pivotal point of his biography.

Consider this: the exact mathematical midpoint of his life, from birth to death, was November 1878, only a few months after their death, i.e., they died at exactly the center of his life, their death divided his life in 2 virtually exact halves.  We may assume, then, that their death is central to understand Saint-Saen's life experience, even if he didn't think that way.  I don't know how he related to this event later in life, or if he ever thought or talked about it.  How did he relate to this pain?

1878 is also the year when a progressed total solar eclipse occurred (1878.0 calculated by Riyal).

All this is related to TD10 here.  In his chart, TD10 is 0,10' from the exact midpoint between the Sun and Venus, which are separated by 1,06' from the exact conjunction.  So TD10 is completely central in his life.  We see that, at the exact center of his life, the most painful experience a person can have, the death of a child, appears.  So, it is not unreasonable to assume that TD10 has to do with it, and we have seen that it is consistent with the orbital symbolism: the "take away", and the traumatic and emotionally violent way of acting.

I gave earlier the dates when his children died: 28 May 1878 (2 year old Andre falls from a 4th floor window), and 7 July 1878 (7 months old Jean-Francois dies of disease).

      28 May 1878:
      Venus = 29,44 Pisces (at 12h GMT)
      TD10 = 28,25 Virgo
      TD10 marriage = 28,47 Virgo (closer)
      secondary converse Moon = 28,03 Virgo

I don't know at what time the accident occurred, but we can see that there is a "coincidence" here.  Just the day before the opposition was exact.



Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 11:15:26 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] TD10: Saint-Saens, 4 - The Requiem

The Requiem of Gabriel Faure is one of my favorite musical pieces, but I have never heard Saint-Saens' (I would like to hear it now).  The reason why I bring it here is because this Requiem, composed in only 8 days in April 1878, was 1st performed with Saint-Saens as conductor a few days before the accidental death of his 2-year old son:

<<1878 composed a Requiem, which was performed on May 22.>>

<<The sorrow in the music, particularly in the opening pages of the Requiem, and again in the Agnus Dei (where the same theme is reprised), takes on an added poignancy when we learn that not long after Saint-Saens returned from Switzerland, his young son fell to his death from the fourth floor of the family's Paris home.  This tragedy was compounded even more horribly when his other child died of an illness only a few weeks later.  One can almost hear in Saint-Saens's deeply-felt music a premonition of the pain that was to come.>>
It is interesting and exceptional to see words such as "sorrow" and "deeply felt" regarding Saint-Saen's music...

Now we have a more complete picture of the Venus/TD10 transit of 1878.  The Requiem is 1st performed in Switzerland with the composer as conductor, on May 22, 1878.  I use for reference 20h GMT, which in Switzerland would be around 7:30 p.m.:

      natal Sun = 22,49 Virgo
      natal TD10 = 23,12 Virgo
      Requiem Venus = 23,37 Pisces
      natal Venus = 23,56 Virgo

and less than 6 days later his 2-year old falls from the window and dies:

      Venus = 29,44 Pisces (at 12h GMT)
      TD10 = 28,25 Virgo
      TD10 marriage = 28,47 Virgo (closer)
      secondary converse Moon = 28,03 Virgo



Date: Fri, 08 Nov 2002 09:02:42 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] TD10: Saint-Saens, 5

I finish here my reflections on how TD10 *may* be manifesting in Sain-Saens' case.  They refer to this case only.

Strong solar aspects have a relationship to the father.  Here there is no father.  Saint-Saens' father died of tuberculosis when he was 2 months old.  His mother-image became "phallic" (all-powerful, emasculating).  But my inclination is to think that this domination by the mother is related to the strong Pluto opposition.  This opposition makes things complicated for the analysis of TD10, because like most centaurs and all transneptunians, TD10 is probably very "plutonic".

Saint-Saens' music and life shows very strongly the more superficial characteristics of the Sun/Venus conjunction.  His Sun is debilitated, and his music has no emotional "density".  Amy's comparison with Faure is very helpful here:

<<Faure and Saint-Saens might be compared to the difference in depth of expression between Mozart and Salieri.  While still encompassing French 'elegance', Faure is emotionally much more accessible and introspective; you could say "it has more soul."  The idea of 'flow' is interesting here, for it is also present, but in a much more direct way - there is much more rhythmic interest, and it is the rhythm of the piece which gives it direction and purpose.  I feel that this purposefulness is lacking in Saint-Saens.>>

... lacks purposefulness, lacks "soul" and introspective power, lacks depth and "rhythmic flow".  Amy had said earlier <<it goes nowhere>>.

These are characteristics of a prominent but very weakened Sun, and in my opinion are incompatible with what one would expect from a Sun/Venus conjunction in opposition to Pluto.  I don't know how introspective he was in his personal life, but he wasn't in his music, and I feel this is a special feature of Saint-Saen's personality which is related to TD10.

My hypothesis is that TD10 is strongly "blocking" the Sun and Venus.  TD10 is working very deeply and radically through a mechanism of "disconnection" and alienation.  Technically, it is controlling Saint-Saens life and artistic expression (the partile conjunction), but what comes out is a void, an emptiness, a denial, a lack of "presence".

As a consequence "the shadow" takes control of his life.  This is seen, for example, in the following:

1- he always lived with his mother, and when she died when he was 53, he became suicidal.
2- his children's death, violently cutting his life in 2, controls his life history
3- he blamed his young wife of 22 for these deaths, feels no compassion for her
4- his music lacks soul, has no innovative power, lacks introspection and depth

Nothing happens isolated in a person's life.  The death of his children are accompanied by many conscious or unconscious features of Saint-Saens' life and personality that are compatible with this death, and are focused on what his children meant to him: life, love, purpose, and emotional fullness.  Like the father that he never had, they were "taken away" from him by Death.

Saint-Saens develops a personality and "builds a destiny" that gyrates on his defense mechanism against the intrusions of TD10: death, mother, homosexuality (which, as I said, we can assume was more of an issue and much more painful than now).  He tries to live by disconnecting himself from his own depths of feeling, and he manages to do it very well: he was very successful and popular as a musician, but the price he paid was emotional alienation, later dramatized by the death of his children.

I think I am ready now to go to other cases.  I leave Saint-Saens in peace.



Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 05:12:11 -0600
... As I perceive it, the TD10 characteristics are not being allowed to manifest, except indirectly through the emotional superficiality of his music, and in his personal life they remain unconscious and are projected and seen as coming from the outside: the hostility of his critics, his extreme conservatism,  the death of his children and blaming his wife for this, his extensive travelling and living abroad (he died in Argel), the homosexual lifestyle (whatever that was, probably related to concealing it).

Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 09:58:17 -0600
... How does a keyword help explain the piece of evidence presented, i.e., transit of Venus in opposition to the natal, marriage, and transiting TD10, which marked the performance of the Requiem and the death of his 2 year old child in the lapse of 1 week (followed by the other child), and which divided Saint-Saen's life in 2 exact halves?
The Venus/TD10 opposition indicates to me that the potential of the conjunction is being released or objectified by the events at that point of his life. The moment and the right transit reinforce each other, one speaks about the other.


Return to index page