Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Mar 16th, - Mar 22nd, 2007

Palimpsest

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Gore Vidal photographed by Carl Van Vechten

Gore Vidal photographed by Carl Van Vechten

  Being an astrologer over the course of a lifetime has had its advantages. It puts a whole different slant on life to be able to- given the birth information- look at an individual from the inside, to peel away their layers and see their heart and soul; and of how they, in turn, look at life.

  Gore Vidal is one of those larger than life individuals. Born at the US Military Academy, his father was the school's first aeronautics instructor. As a boy, he would read for his blind grandfather, the first senator from the then new state of Oklahoma. This gave the young Vidal an insiders look at the Halls of Power and a keen interest in our national history. His half-sister, Jackie Kennedy, allowed him access to the first family (he introduced her to dark glasses), where he weaves tales of intrigue from Camelot and those turbulent years of the early '60s.

  According to his memoir, Vidal was born on Oct. 3, 1925, giving him Mars at 3, Mercury at 7 and the Sun at 9 Libra. Since Libra is a sign of the arts (ruled by Venus), it's no surprise Vidal is an author of novels, stage plays, screenplays and essays. Two works, The Best Man and Visit to a Small Planet were Broadway successes and later became movies. His Libra stellium conjuncts his Midheaven (using a noon chart) indicating he would often be in the public eye. Since Mars leads this group, it suggests that his creative works would be pioneering or ground breaking. They certainly have been polarizing.

  With Uranus in his 3rd house, what Vidal has to say is interesting, fascinating and enlightning. The critic John Keates, echoing the genral, if gruding, consenus, prainsed him as "this century's finest essayist." Even an occasionally hostile critic like Martin Amis admitted, "Essays are what he is good at... [h]e is learned, funny and exceptionally clear-sighted. Even his blind spots are illuminating."

Time's Gore Vidal

Time's Gore Vidal in 1978

  It is this ability to strip away and pierce through to the heart of the matter which draws people back, or at least those not offended in the process.

  Libra is normally the peace maker. They perceive imbalance and seek to harmonize it. With Venus in Scorpio, however, Vidal isn't afraid to challenge our sexual mores or the roots of political power. He strips away social niceties and exposes sometimes unpleasant truths. With this Venus squaring Neptune in Leo, he has felt with one exception (and a brief exception at that), he never loved anyone in his life. Framed within this oxymoron is a life (by his own admission) filled with countless affairs and one night stands, but no love or guilt. The one love he had died tragically during the war. In his memoir, he also claims no feelings for those who have passed on, as though his Venus had been deadened. To quote Vidal, "Love is death is romance." Venus in Scorpio.

  But while his Venus squares Neptune, it also trines his Uranus, which means that he will know many interesting and diverse people from every period in his life, and will have shared many exciting and unusual stories with them about their lives and loves. It is this alignment which has enabled Vidal to stay fresh, to continually hold aloft unique perspectives, and to say just what is on his mind. After 60 years in the literary spotlight, as original and entertaining though the tale may be, laced with the personalities of yester-year, Vidal's final answer might not be the one you wanted to hear.

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