Leonardo da Vinci, an Astrological Profile
By Leslie Marlar
This interpretation is part of an ongoing series of astro biographies. It is a demonstration of the veracity of Astrology, in that, extremely accomplished people should have easy to find extreme corresponding astrological statements in their horoscopes. When I look at Leonardo’s horoscope my attention is drawn to four planetary configurations and three well known stars.
The first element of interest is his Pisces Moon conjunct Jupiter. Of all the places the Moon could be, it is within 2 degrees of expansive, benevolent Jupiter. The impact of this planet on his mind, which is a Moon thing, is to produce optimism, ongoing growth, philosophy, wealth, and grandness. We can note his lifelong learning, his association with the Medici and others of wealth, his family’s money, and the truly grand artistic and engineering projects that he attempted, like the bronze horse. He was not fond of the philosophers of his day but he was a bit of one himself. The influence of the Moon on Jupiter is important because Jupiter is his “personal” planet due to it “ruling” his rising sign, the strong horse sign, Sagittarius. In a personal way the Moon brings emotion to him. Raffaele Monti, in his book “Leonardo da Vince” (1), defines his work as poetically emotional. He also cites Leonardo’s view that painting is a spiritual elaboration of the natural model. This sounds like a delicate Moon in Pisces notion. Zubov, in his book with the same name (2) echoes this by noting Leonardo’s need to know the nature of what he painted. In this Moon with Jupiter in the sign, Pisces, the Moon also brings females or feminine qualities to him. He is reputed to be gay. This is not a feminine quality but the hetero male population might consider it so. Also, he was illegitimate and his mother, who did live in town, was of lower birth. Please note that the Moon and Jupiter are low in the chart, showing that he and Mom are lowly. One final correspondent of the Moon Jupiter element amazes me. Can you picture in your mind the most famous and valuable woman in Leonardo’s life?
The second element of interest is the situation of his Mercury. This planet is important because it “rules” thought and communication and has to be impressive in the horoscope of a genius. Let’s see if it is. It’s in the youthful, adventurous, enthusiastic, outgoing, leading sign, Aries. We have an active mind here. Mercury is in the playful, creative, and serendipitously lucky 5th house. This sounds good. The planet relates geometrically or aspects a number of planets. Basically, Mercury aspects Saturn and the three higher octaves, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. These three planets are noted for extreme qualities. Uranus is extremely intelligent and inventive, Neptune is extremely imaginative and artistic. Pluto is tapped into things that are inside, underneath, and generally hidden. This sounds good for a universal genius. Saturn/Mercury connections are noted for producing sound minds suited for study. You can read Aquinas in the “Summa” (3) quoting Ptolemy citing similar things. Aside from Leonardo’s artistic apprenticeship, he was unschooled and learned on his own from books and people. This sounds like the disciplined and solitary approach of Saturn in his studies. The Questar video, “The Life of Leonardo da Vinci”, notes his discontent and constant preparation. This also sounds like Mercury oppose Saturn. Please note that Uranus is 13 degrees off the square to Mercury. Many would consider 9 or 10 degrees the maximum “orb” for a square aspect. Considering how inventive he was, this seems an example of the data teaching us that our orbs are too small. As I understand it, orbs weren’t used in the distant past and this continues in Vedic Astrology.
The next area of interest is the Sun and Venus in Taurus and in the productive, work oriented 6th house. When I think of the Sun in Taurus, I think of money being important. Leonardo’s father and grandfather, both male solar figures, were notaries. They were practical men in a practical field who dealt with money. The Sun sextiles the Moon which shows that some luck operated as part if his daily life. It also squares Pluto showing that his attempts at success and producing were thwarted by powerful forces. This could be part of the reason for his not finishing projects. Many of his engineering projects were so ahead of their time and they lacked the support of advances that would come later in fields such as mathematics, chemistry, physics, material science, and engineering, etc. Some projects were too grand and costly. And although Leonardo had the support of the wealthy from time to time, there were limits. Incidentally, it is interesting that a person with the Sun and Venus in the Virgo house is defined by biographer, V.P. Zubov as a hydraulic engineer, a construction engineer, a chemist, a physiologist, and as loving work and service.
Both the Sun and Venus are in Taurus show a love of nature and a strong sense of beauty which Leonardo had. Venus sextiles Uranus which brings inventiveness to his aesthetic sense. Venus also squares Mars. Mars energizes his Venus, it brings trouble in love, and it shows a love of Mars. Now I’m thinking of his autopsies, Martial surgery. If you dropped dead in his vicinity, he would cut you up and draw your innards. How else would he learn what’s inside. He is cited by Zubov as insisting on understanding the things that he drew and painted. And while we are still in a practical sign and house, let us note that he loved to study what he could know. His Piscean element tells us that he was philosophical and intuitive. But in his actions, he rejected the pursuits of analyzing the intangible soul, which captivated his neo Platonist contemporaries, and instead preferred the dissections of the body.
The last area of interest takes us to the top of Leonardo’s chart. We note that he has late Virgo at the zenith. This suggests that he was noted for Virgo qualities, that he looked up to these qualities, and that people above him had these qualities. Virgo is mission, work, and service oriented; and is analytical and skilled. Zubov cites an example of Leonardo’s detail orientation by noting the importance of coloring peoples’ faces properly when the setting is a wet street. Neptune in Libra is within 4.5 degrees of this Virgo highpoint suggesting fame for these qualities also. Libra is balanced, refined, and artistic. Neptune is idealistic, artistic, and imaginative. Soaring imagination is a literal translation of Neptune at the zenith. Saturn in Libra is also highly placed and suggests recognition for Saturn’s qualities of discipline and practicality. Saturn near the zenith is synonymous with soaring ambition and can bring extreme fame. Mars in Aquarius trines Saturn and this shows the follow through of action. What examples can we see of Libra, Neptune, and Saturn at work in such an elevated way in his life? Monti cites the delicate and original interplay and balance of light in the composition of his paintings. This is Neptune in Libra. The fact that Leonardo wrote his notes backwards smacks of Neptune in Libra. He also felt that painting was more expressive than literature. Let’s remember that he has Neptune (images) high in the chart and Mercury (words) low. His notion that math is supreme sounds like an elevated Saturn. The cited Leonardo video notes his two goals as solitude and perfection. This is looking up to Saturn. Saturn and Neptune are next to each other and Leonardo felt that art (Neptune) and science (Saturn) were inseparable.
Leonardo has three planets in signs that they really like to be in. This is due to the planets and signs sharing a similarity with each other. Harmony between planets and signs makes a person more successful in the areas that the planets and signs represent. Jupiter, the planet that represents him, is in its home sign, Pisces. This adds soundness to him and his judgment. Venus, the planet of art and beauty, is in its home sign, Taurus. This lends validity to the Venus things in his life. Saturn is in its exaltation sign, Libra. This strengthens his ambition and reputation.
Finally, we have to look at the fixed stars that brighten Leonardo. First, we see that the Pleiades are a little more than 2 degrees from his Venus. The Pleiades are a beautiful and delicate constellation. They communicate their beautiful light to the planet that represents his sense of beauty and art. Next, we notice elevated Neptune and Saturn receive light within about 2 degrees from Vindemiatrix and Spica. This adds to his ability to receive notice and honors. Finally, we note that Antares, the heart of the Scorpion, is about 4.5 degrees from his Ascendant. The potency of the poison of the mideastern Scorpion suggests power in and coming to Leonardo. He was noted for his physical prowess and came into contact with the powerful people of his day. Zubov quotes Leonardo as saying that the Medici made him and ruined him. In later life, the French received him as divine.
1. Leonardo da Vinci by Raffaele Monti – Grosset and Dunlap, 1967
2. Leonardo da Vinci by V.P. Zubov – Barnes and Noble, 1968
3. Basic Writings of St. Thomas Aquinas – Random House, 1945 vol. 2 page 159.