|You’re nothing but a pack of cards.|
One of the cleverest and most enchanting heroines in all literature was born on a sultry afternoon 160 years ago on the banks of the River Isis right here in Oxford.
It was the 4th of July, 1862. Charles Dodgson rowed up the river with his friend the Reverend Duckworth and the three little daughters of the Dean of Christ Church, and as usual, the girls demanded a story, and as usual Charles obliged, and so Alice went down the rabbit-hole.
The rest would not have been history at all if Alice Liddell had not demanded later that evening that Mr Dodgson write the story. He’d told the children dozens of extemporised stories before, but Alice in Wonderland was the first one that he wrote down.
And so it is twice thanks to the real Alice that we have this bold fictional Alice, a heroine who inhabits the wonderland of our collective imagination.
While we read, we see the world through this clever seven year old’s eyes, with all the clarity and crazy logic of childhood. Reading it as an adult, you see layers of meaning and jokes that you miss as a child. Yet for children, the story works, despite the fact that abstract concepts like time, truth and perception are tackled. This is because of the humour and sheer eccentricity of the cast of characters, and especially because of the character of Alice herself. The main thing about Alice is, of course, her beautiful mind (Venus in Gemini).
She is inquisitive (Gemini again) and tries very hard to be polite (Moon in Libra), but every now and then she just can’t help blurting out the truth (Pluto on the Descendant inconjunct the Moon.) and quite a lot of the time, she is rather cross, and occasionally manages to hurt someone’s feelings. Then she feels guilty. (Mars in Pisces opposing the Moon).
|Alice feeling pretty irritated by the
foolishness of the Mad Hatter,
the March Hare and the Dormouse.
The book is full of her hilarious musings about the strange world in which she finds herself, about what the correct etiquette might be in particularly bizarre situations (like being a giant trapped in tiny house with your foot up the chimney or drowning in your own tears).
“Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alice to herself, rather sharply; “I advise you to leave off this minute!’ She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it), and sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once she remembered trying to box her own ears for having cheated herself in a game of croquet she was playing against herself, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people. “But it’s no use now,’ thought poor Alice, “to pretend to be two people! Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable person!”
|Through the book, she learns most
from her encounters with other characters –
the Duchess, Bill, the Caterpillar –
and so her Moon is in the sign of
Oho – pretending to be two people, eh – Gemini again. Venus in Gemini is a little girl, Gemini being the sign of children. And this is an eccentric child: Uranus in Gemini too.
She has a stellium there conjunct the South Node. The Sun (self) and Mercury (mind) in Cancer the most impressionable, sensitive of signs, the sign of memory and nostalgia, impressions and imagery. That very personal stellium is opposed by the North Node in Sagittarius. From the particularity of Gemini mind we are drawn up to the universality of Sagittarian mind.
And oh joy, I wrote that sentence before checking out the Pallas placement in the charts. Just look at that baby. Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson’s pen name) has Alice’s Pallas (Athena) smack on the MC.
On the day she was born, Neptune (imagination) was on Carroll’s IC, his deepest mind, sending a perfect trine to his Moon, his inner child in Sagittarius. And transiting Mars was conjuncting that Neptune, adding more fuel to the imaginative fire from dreamy Pisces. The whole story is, of course, a dream on a hot summer’s day: Mars in Pisces, Neptune in Aries: heat and dreams, dreams and heat. These two planets are in mutual reception in July 1862. Both are opposing Pallas – pushing Alice into the public eye like a cork out of a champagne bottle right across the chart.
The North Node was touching Carroll’s Mars, action, in Sagittarius. He actually took some action to write Alice instead of just spinning tales.
But the outer planetary power does not stop there. Lewis Carroll was having his Saturn Return during that hot summer of 1862. His Saturn is in the writer’s sign Virgo, which can be a difficult placement. It is very self-critical. It is ameliorated in this chart though; Saturn is in mutual reception with Mercury (the storyteller) in Capricorn, and in perfect trine. These two planets are both trine to Chiron (the wounding) in Taurus in the fifth house of children. This creates an Earth Grand Trine, very close. Carroll was very shy man with a terrible stammer, a stammer which he lost when he was telling stories to children. Grand Trines flow smoothly, but often within a closed circuit. As soon as he broke out of the story telling, the stammer returned.
|Dodgson’s stammer was so
bad that his nickname was Dodo
Now, we’re not done with the transits of Alice’s birthday to Carroll’s chart. Pluto was exactly on Carroll’s Chiron – and the story poured out that day, again uncorked. Story-telling must have been a way for Carroll to assuage the pain of his own childhood, but on that summer day it poured out with such fluency. So this is a Pluto transit that helps heal a wound by stimulating it directly.
Finally, and fantastically, on that day July 4, 1862, the Sun was opposite Carroll’s Mercury. So Alice’s Sun is a reflection of Carroll’s words. Alice is Carroll. Her beautiful mind is his beautiful mind. On one level, you could say it’s sad that this young man could only express himself truly through a fictional seven-year old girl, on the other: how marvellous is the creative mind.