Richard Wagner: Composer

Richard Wagner: Composer, Music-Dramatist, Author
Michael D. Robbins © 2002

May 22, 1813, Leipzig, Germany, about 4:00 AM, LMT. There is a rectification to 4:11 AM LMT by Bailey from “sunrise” given in a biography by A. Ellis. Appears in BJA 10/1928. The author proposes consideration of another rectified time of 4:02:35 AM. Several charts are shown, each having different features worthy of consideration.


Listed below are four charts for Richard Wagner. They are as follows:

  1. The chart for 4:02:35 AM, provisionally rectified by the author, provides an Ascendant in the last degree of Taurus and retains a Capricorn MC.
  2. The chart for 4:11 AM, rectified by E.E. Bailey in 1928 from a “sunrise” time given in a biography on Wagner by Ellis, has a Gemini Ascendant and a Capricorn MC.
  3. A original chart for “sunrise”, 4:00 AM has a Taurus Ascendant and a Capricorn MC.
  4. A chart for 4:11:15 AM is offered; at this time the MC changes from Capricorn to Aquarius. Given Wagner’s status as a musical revolutionary, the possibility of an Aquarius MC must be examined. The Sabian Symbol for this degree is “An Old Adobe Mission in California” and reveals, according to Dane Rudhyar, “the power inherent in all great human works to endure far beyond the workers’ life span”. It further signifies “The Concretization of an Ideal”. The aptness of this symbol is apparent given Richard Wagner’s lasting impression upon the psyche of humanity. Again, however, if the time is unsupported by other evidence, it cannot be used with confidence. The ascending degree necessitated by the choice of an Aquarian MC is, however, less appropriate, and even, inappropriate as it suggests “formalism” rather than the expansive, romantic, revolutionary spirit.
  5. Somewhere within this time span, however, if not shortly before, Richard Wagner was, in all probability, born.

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(Some probable and some definite positions are as follows: Ascendant, Taurus or Gemini Midheaven, either Capricorn or Aquarius; Sun, Gemini; Moon and Mars in Aquarius; Mercury and Venus in Taurus; Jupiter, Leo; Saturn, Capricorn; Uranus, Scorpio; Neptune, Sagittarius; Pluto, Pisces.

The probable times of birth are within an approximately fifteen minute range, but significant changes of the Ascendant and Midheaven occurred within this short period.

The major questions to be answered are the following:

  1. Was Wagner’s Ascendant Gemini or Taurus? Both of these signs are well represented in his chart. Gemini, the Sun Sign is ruled exoterically by Mercury and esoterically by Venus. Both Mercury and Venus, however, are in Taurus, thus giving him a strongly Taurean coloring even if the Ascendant were not Taurus.
  2. Should the Ascendant be Taurus, then Venus in Taurus is the exoteric ruler. The Taurean emphasis would then be very strong. Vulcan would be the esoteric ruler, but because of the placement of the Sun in the first degree of Gemini, there is no immediate way to tell whether Vulcan was to be found in Gemini or in Taurus. To detect the influence of Vulcan in his music (which one can certainly do with reference to his powerful use of brass and percussion) is not, necessarily, to be assured of a Taurean Ascendant. Even if the Ascendant were Gemini, given the restriction that Vulcan must be within eight degrees of the Sun, Vulcan placed in Taurus would not be far from Venus in Taurus, and would thus still be very prominent and effective. If one must choose between Vulcan in Gemini or Taurus, there is an intuitive appeal to the Taurus position. The great (almost overpowering) orchestral effects, the resounding brass, and the thunderous percussion suggest Vulcan in the sonorous sign, Taurus.
  3. These two signs, Taurus and Gemini are so intertwined that it is impossible to find a physiognomic solution; Wagner’s face reflects the presence of both signs and would whether the Ascendant were Taurus or Gemini.
  4. Psychologically, as well, there is no way to differentiate. Wagner displayed the brilliance and versatility of the advanced Geminian, expressing himself outstandingly in two contrasting artistic fields—music and the written word (as seen in his libretti, essays, autobiography and several volumes of aesthetic philosophy, prophecy and criticism). As well, his understanding of sound (the domain of Taurus) was masterful, and his expression through that medium, gloriously sensuous. Sensuousness and sensuality are a particular gift of Taurus.
  5. Wagner was a remarkable example of what the Tibetan calls the “Mercury-Venus mind” (EA 362). Both of these planets were placed in the sign of illumination, Taurus, and both would be emphasized regardless of whether the Ascendant were Taurus or Gemini.
  6. One might have recourse to the Sabian Symbols as discriminators of quality, but this approach is not entirely reliable. The Sabian Symbols, though revelatory in many instances, are not always so, and, thus, the accuracy of a rectification cannot be judged by them alone.
  7. Probably, then, the timing of progressions, directions and transits must be closely studied, and within a very narrow range. Ingresses would be especially important, and aspects to or from the progressed angles. This, however, would require a most subtle, exacting and time-consuming study.
  8. While either Gemini or Taurus could be justified as an Ascendant, the question arises as to whether both Capricorn or Aquarius are justifiable as signs qualifying the Midheaven. Wagner was a great musical revolutionary, and there is much to suggest that revolutionary Aquarius (especially in its first degree) would be a convincing sign to rule the MC. However, Uranus, the planet of revolution and reformation is natally opposed to both the Gemini Sun and Venus in Taurus, and this might be sufficient cause for Wagner’s powers of to revolutionize the music (and musical practices) of his era.
  9. We must also ask whether Capricorn would be a suitable sign for the MC. Saturn would then be ruler of the MC, and Saturn is already placed in Capricorn in the ninth house, demanding the formulation of a highly structured world view, emphasizing duty, responsibility and professionalism, and giving a rigidly purposeful approach to the following of his destiny and the fulfillment of his fate. But is Capricorn a sign too conservative to ruler the MC of an artistic revolutionary?
  10. Again we have ambiguity through a blending and merging of qualities. Whether the MC is Capricorn or Aquarius, both Saturn and Uranus would be powerful and influential in the chart. In either case, Wagner would be a musical revolutionary (Uranus opposed Venus and the Sun) with a painstakingly conceived and tightly structured (Saturn in Capricorn) world view (ninth house).

Defense of a Taurus Ascendant

  1. Although the time 4:00 AM seems very “rounded off”, there is a good possibility that the birth occurred between that time and 4:02:35, a very short window—the first time resulting in the 29th degree of Taurus rising, and the other the 30th degree.
  2. It is important to know how the Bailey rectification was accomplished. If the Pre-Natal Epoch was used, it can be arbitrary and is not always reliable.
  3. It is hard to ignore the probable correlation between the transit of (then undiscovered) Pluto across the Ascendant and Wagner’s sudden death. In the Taurus rising charts that transit had been achieved by the date of death, and in the 4:00 AM chart Pluto rests within twenty-three minutes of arc of the Ascendant on the day of death. In the 4:02:35 AM chart, Pluto is within thirty-four minutes of arc—both positions of Pluto, thus being less than a degree from the Ascendant. In the 4:11 AM chart (which has the second degree of Gemini rising), however, we find that Pluto has not yet reached the ascending degree even though it did venture slightly into Gemini. Thus, the full death-dealing effect would not yet be felt in either the Gemini rising chart with a Capricorn MC or a Gemini rising chart with an Aquarius MC—and yet the death had occurred.
  4. Given the unstable and even shocking (Uranus) quality of Wagner’s relationship life, the closer Uranus is to the seventh house cusp, the better. With a Taurus Ascendant, Uranus is placed in the same sign as the one that rules the seventh house cusp—Scorpio. The effect of Uranus upon the seventh house and all that it rules would, therefore, be greater.
  5. The Gemini rising chart for 4:11 AM places both Venus and the Sun in the twelfth house. Wagner’s life was both very public (first house) and very private (twelfth, as the lives of all serious composers must be). The Taurus Ascendant brings both Venus and the Sun into the first house, taking them into a more expressive and less retiring position.
  6. The years beginning 1857 were very important for Wagner. He discovered the world-renouncing philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, had composed more than half of the four operas which constituted the tetralogy called Der Ring des Niebelungen, had renounced the old operatic forms, and was about to embark on the adventure of composing Tristan und Isolde for which he was evolving an more advanced and complex harmonic language. During this eventful period, as well, he fell hopelessly in love with Mathilde Wesendonk (the wife of a rich patron) and this led to a separation from his wife.

If the Ascendant were late Taurus, then solar arc directed Neptune would be making a two year ‘direction’ over Wagner’s MC, relating him to world renunciation (Schopenhauer was a Piscean—ruled by Neptune), to hopeless love (Neptune is the planet of disappointment), and to the transcendental romanticism expressed in that famous yet difficult opera about doomed love, Tristan und Isolde. Should the Ascendant be the second degree of Gemini, as proposed by Bailey, solar arc directed Neptune would not have been making its passage over the MC during this period, the transiting Neptune (T-Neptune) would have been contacting natal Pluto and Ceres by conjunction, raising issues of attachment to and separation from that which is loved.

As well, in middle 1857, transiting Uranus begins its conjunction of the Ascendant. Wagner was embarking upon an entirely new tonal experiment with his new opera. He was breaking from the past—Uranian qualities. If the Ascendant were Gemini, it would be necessary to wait until the middle of 1858 before the effect of Uranus began to be felt.

With regard to the passage of Uranus over his Ascendant (and Venus) and the concomitant upheaval in his relationship life, much would depend upon when the affair with Mathilde Wesendonk actually began.

Whichever the proper Ascendant, this period would have been a time of extraordinary transformation, because Wagner’s Sun in the first degree of Gemini would have received the conjuncting transit of Uranus in 1858 as well.

  1. Although Mercury as the ruler of Wagner’s Sun Sign, Gemini, is, of course, tremendously important in his chart, Venus, orthodox ruler of Taurus is even more important when considering the major value of Wagner’s life.. The Taurus Ascendant would give even more prominence to Venus. Of course, as the esoteric ruler of a Gemini Ascendant Venus would also be very significant, and in a still higher way. But it is the importance of Venus in relation to Taurus and not as the esoteric ruler of Gemini which must be accented. If the Ascendant were Gemini, the immediate emphasis of the chart would go to Mercury and, temporarily, bypasses Venus (only to emphasize it on a higher turn of the spiral—but differently). However, the extraordinary majesty, grandeur, and sensuality of Wagner’s music (and also its sheer power) seems to require the depth of an accentuated Taurus with its direct rather than more remote relation to Venus.
  2. The self-admitted sensuality of Wagner’s life and his obvious self-indulgence are more consistent with the Taurus Ascendant. He appears to have had a strong sexuality (however infused with romantic motives), and Taurus (with Libra and Scorpio) is a sign emphasizing sexuality.
  3. The awesome sonority of the Wagnerian orchestra is far more Taurean than Geminian. It is doubtful that his compositions could carry such overwhelming power if Gemini were the Ascendant as well as the Sun Sign.
  4. Wagner was often is financial difficulty. When money was available he spent lavishly (Jupiter in Leo combined with Taurean self-indulgence). He was always in need of more, and his problem was to substantiate and manifest his great ideas. Substantiation is a theme related to Taurus.
  5. The Sabian Degree for the last degree of Taurus is unusually apt when considering Wagner’s character: “A Peacock Parading on the Terrace of an Old Castle”; “The personal display of inherited gifts”; “Consummation”. Considering the royal patronage lavished upon Wagner by Ludwig II of Bavaria (as well as Wagner’s visits to Ludwig’s world-renowned castles) the symbol could hardly be more appropriate. Moreover, as Dane Rudhyar reminds us, the “peacock is the bird consecrated to Venus”—ruler of Taurus, and exactly on the Ascendant if the 30th degree of Taurus is used as the ascending degree, for Venus is also in the 30th degree.
  6. Either of the Taurus ascending degrees (the 29th or the 30th) preserve the 28th degree of Capricorn on the Midheaven. The symbolism for this degree is: “A Large Aviary”; “The enjoyment of spiritual values by the soul able to familiarize itself with their implications”; and most significantly—“Clairaudience”. Given Wagner’s sensitivity to what might be called the higher ‘sound currents’, or the ‘voices of angels’, this symbol too (note, another bird symbol) is rather persuasive. Birds are related to the Deva Kingdom, by whom Wagner was so inspired, and some of his most evocative music portrays the singing of birds (as in the opening of the second act of Siegfried).
  7. The Pleiades are a symbol of the “Divine Feminine”, by which Wagner was so captivated—both personally and artistically. The 4:00 AM time places Alcyone of the Pleiades within less than a degree from the Ascendant, the 4:02:35 AM time, within approximately a degree and a half. A late Taurean Ascendant still maintains the Pleiadian ‘touch’, which would be relinquished with a Gemini Ascendant. Wagner’s great devic inspiration can be related to the influence of these beautiful stars, for the Pleiades are closely connected to devas or angels.
  8. Wagner was, in a way, a great pantheist, and Germanic “Nature worship” resounds through his scores. Taurus is a sign, far more than Gemini, which places the individual in close communion with Nature and its mysteries”. There is in Wagner’s operas the intimation of a great Force, a natural Presence of “God” in the very substance of our being—a Presence in matter and form more fittingly associated with Taurus than with Gemini.
  9. The progressed Ascendant had not yet emerged into Leo in the Taurus-ascending charts when Wagner died. It did so, however, in the 4:11 AM, Gemini rising chart. It can be questioned whether the Leo ingress was ever actually reached. The fourth house, and by extension, its cognate sign, Cancer, in which the progressed Ascendant would still remain (where the Taurus Ascendants chosen) represent the “end of life”.
  10. It can also be asked, which planet is more representative of Wagner’s scandalous relationship life—Jupiter in Leo in the house of home, the fourth, (which would the ruler of the seventh house cusp if Gemini were used as the Ascendant), or aggressive Mars (ruler of Scorpio seventh house cusp in the Taurus rising charts), prominently placed in the very visible tenth house of reputation where scandal will out? Mars in Aquarius (trine to Venus in late Taurus) can indicate his promiscuity and his lack of respect for boundaries—especially in relation to the wives of his patrons and sponsors. Even with a Scorpio Descendent, Jupiter will necessarily be a co-ruler of the seventh house, and, through its position in the fourth house and as ruler of the eighth house, would relate to the patronage he received from wealthy benefactors and even royalty (Ludwig II). But with Sagittarius as the ruler of the seventh house cusp, Mars would not be a co-ruler of that house. Sexual Mars in diffusive Aquarius can be correlated with promiscuity, and with the lower mantram of Aquarius, “Let Desire in Form be Ruler”.
  11. There is a tremendous quality of persistence in Wagner’s operas. He is not in a hurry, and many have considered his marathon creations as ponderous and tedious in many sections. Taurus is a sign which (often self-indulgently) “takes its time”. Gemini moves rapidly from point to point, often fleeing boredom. Wagner was the master of the slow build-up to a tremendous sonic climax. His power to sustain suspense, to prolong intensification, was remarkable (and demanding upon his audiences). Clearly, this characteristic mode of expression (advancing slowly and relentlessly towards a glorious orgasm of sound) is intimately related to Taurus rather than to Gemini. Think of the music of Gioacchino Rossini, so light, nimble, so humorous, so Geminian! Wagner’s operas are renowned for their heaviness—clearly the influence of Taurus and Vulcan. To the author, this admittedly subjective reason for choosing Taurus as Wagner’s Ascendant is very convincing.
  12. Wagner’s operas provide a continuous vocal-symphonic texture, an unbroken flow of psychologically evocative melody and motif vividly portraying the meaning of not only the outer events in his narrative, but, especially, of the inner psychological strata implicit in those events. The great continuity of symphonic-melodic flow (“endless melody”) points to a sign (and its ruling planet) the essential nature of which is persistence and continuity. Taurus and Vulcan both represent the “Will-to-Persist”, and are sharply contrasted with a major sign of discontinuity—Gemini. Gemini, however, would provide the complexity and interweaving which characterized the fabric of this persistent melodic flow. In all fairness, Gemini in relation to conversation, is capable of going “on and on”. But then, Gemini is well represented already by a first degree Geminian Sun.
  13. If we evaluate Wagner’s greatest contribution to the evolution of human consciousness, and we (albeit, dividing that which should not be divided) seek to compare his voluminous flow of words (Gemini) with the thrilling cascade of sound (Taurus) which he lavished upon his listeners, reasonable judgment would, in the opinion of the author, inevitably decide in favor of sound. Wagner would not be especially well-remembered for his words alone (or only to a much lesser extent), but his music represents one of the great achievements of the human soul. Of course, there is already sufficient Taurus to account for the great sounds he created, but the Ascendant is that point in the astrological chart which indicates the will and direction of the soul in any one incarnation, and Taurus (the sign of the voice, and hence, intimately affiliated with opera—his only real medium of musical expression) is the sign more fittingly establishing the soul’s intention.
  14. Interestingly Wagner’s final philosophic position appears to have been a mixture of world-renouncing Buddhism (inspired by Schopenhauer) and compassionate, universal Christianity—embracing the redeeming quality of the Christ Force. Taurus is the sign most connected with Buddhism (for the Buddha, a Taurean, renounced the World of Maya and achieved freedom from desire). Wagner’s final home was called “Wahnfried” (“Freedom from Illusion”). Gemini is, as esotericists will recognize, more related to the Christ. As ever with Wagner, there was blend between the two.

Defense of a Gemini Ascendant

  1. A Gemini Ascendant calculated for the time 4:11:15 AM will place Aquarius on the Midheaven. Some feel that rulership of the MC by Aquarius (and its ruling planet, Uranus) is the only way to explain Wagner’s revolutionary effect in the field of music and, especially, opera.
  2. Wagner was also a social revolutionary. Uranus, the planet of revolution, would be placed quite near (within seven or so degrees) of the seventh house cusp, were Aquarius the MC, which would occur if the early third degree of Gemini were rising. In the period of 1848-1849, when Wagner became preoccupied with ideas of social regeneration, he wished to take control of the opera away from the court and create a national theatre whose productions would be chosen by a union of dramatists and composers. This all sounds very Aquarian. The question is, is the position of Uranus opposite Venus and the Sun (in all charts), and the even closer proximity of Uranus to the seventh house cusp in the Taurus rising charts, plus Mars in Aquarius near any of the Midheavens, sufficient to arouse this revolutionary spirit, or is an Aquarian MC also needed? We have to remember that Uranus is exalted in the sign Scorpio, and since it is quite angular as well, it would be sufficiently powerful regardless of whether it was the ruler of the MC.
  3. The Sabian Symbol for the first degree of Aquarius, which would rule the Midheaven at a time sufficiently advanced (namely 4:11:15 AM) is, “An Old Adobe Mission in California”; “the Power inherent in all great human works to endure far beyond the workers’ life spans”; “The Concretization of an Ideal”. This symbol is certainly convincing in the light of Wagner’s amazing and enduring creative achievements.
  4. Many times in his life Wagner had to take flight for one reason or another—whether to escape his debts and creditors or to escape imprisonment, or simply to escape public censure and adverse public opinion. It can be asked whether a Gemini Ascendant (adding its tendencies to a Gemini Sun Sign) would not be more in keeping with his tendency to run when under pressure.
  5. Wagner’s life was one of startling contradiction; he was at once a transcendent genius and yet a man whose morals and good faith with others hardly lived up to even a mediocre standard. Perhaps the Gemini Sun would be enough to incline towards this blatantly hypocritical pattern of behavior; the inconsistencies, however, would surely be multiplied if both the Sun and Ascendant were found in Gemini.
  6. When one considers the major themes of Wagner’s last opera, Parsifal, it is strongly Christ-centered. Gemini is the “Head of the Cosmic Christ”, and a sign in which the Christ, Maitreya (or any Christ) makes a great achievement, a profound identification with the dual Love-Wisdom Ray of the Solar Logos. If we think of the goal of Wagner’s life as an achieved identification with the Christ and the Hierarchy, then a Gemini Ascendant is entirely appropriate. To choose Gemini in this manner would be a qualitative solution, and from a certain high metaphysical level, it is convincing; however, strict observance of the timing of transits, progressions and directions is a more trustworthy method of ascertaining the correct time of birth..

Conclusion Regarding the Rising Sign

  1. It is impossible to conclude with utter certainty whether Taurus or Gemini was the sign rising in Wagner’s chart at the time of his birth. Thus, it is impossible to conclude whether Capricorn or Aquarius was the sign ruling his Midheaven. Even if Gemini were the Ascendant, only a time sufficiently advanced (4:11:15 AM) would yield an Aquarius MC.
  2. The preponderance of evidence, however, (at least in the estimation of the author) points to the likelihood of Taurus. If Taurus is chosen, however, one has to live (a bit uncomfortably) with a few progressions and eclipses which would more neatly fit the Gemini Ascendant and even the Aquarius MC, but discomfort cannot be avoided simply by choosing Gemini, because of still other progressions, directions and eclipses which would more suitably fit the Taurus rising chart.
  3. In our search for certainty we are faced with an annoying ambiguity (after all, we are dealing with the Geminian energy), but can console ourselves with the thought that both Taurus and Gemini are inescapably important in Wagner’s life, and that either type of chart (whether Taurus or Gemini rising) will account in its own way for the influence of these two signs.
  4. Given the preponderance of evidence in favor of a Taurus rising chart (and despite the rectification of the notable astrologer E.E.) Bailey, the interpretation of Wagner’s chart will proceed as if Taurus were the most suitable Ascendant.

Chart Analysis

Richard Wagner was a great genius—a consummate music-dramatist to who carried German Romanticism to it fullest expression. A controversial and fascinating figure, he inspired generations of musicians to come, yet he was notorious for his flagrant disregard of the moral and ethical standards of his day. Ever convinced of his own artistic and literary gifts, he had a revolutionary impact upon the music of the nineteenth century. Whether loved or hated for his musical innovations, he became impossible to ignore.

It is said that even the Masters of the Wisdom were amazed by Wagner’s creativity, wondering how any human being could possibly produce such extraordinarily beautiful music—music so reflective of the higher, fiery worlds. Some esotericists have said that Wagner was inspired by great devas, and increasingly lost touch with behavioral standards expected of normal human beings. Surely he life was committed to the expression of his own genius, in which he implicitly believed; skillfully and insistently, he availed himself of every opportunity to advance his artistic cause.

Wagner was a romantic in the truest sense. His psychological universe was vast. He longed for the indefinable, the transcendent, and pursuing his will to express the highest mystical and unitive experiences of human-divine love as well as the terror of the hellish psychic depths, he broke through conventional musical forms and developed an unprecedented musico-dramatic language entirely his own.

His operas almost always revolved around supernatural, mythological or religious/spiritual themes. His subtle, intuitive thinking led him deep into the collective psyche of humanity (Jung’s Collective Unconscious), and he was seized by a fascination for eternal archetypes themes belonging more to the realm of the “gods” than to the dramas of ordinary human life. His operas bring these two worlds (the numinous and the human) together, always giving greater depth and significance to the little affairs of mere mortals. Always some greater, universal power is attempting to express itself through his protagonists—so often the power of ecstatic, divinely-inspired, redemptive love, but equally, the terrible, baleful, malevolent forces of the underworld—standing ever opposed to the promised ascension in love. Many of his operas are tragedy on a grand scale; the protagonists are merely pawns of the gods and are doomed to destruction by the fates, by laws and curses for which they bear no responsibility and which they can neither understand nor overcome. A great war is raging between the gods and men. Man is hero-victim of divine and infernal agencies which relentlessly demand the frustration of his human happiness and almost always the forfeit of his life; but with super-human fortitude, the hero rises undaunted against these overwhelming forces and, though doomed, proves through self-sacrifice the nobility of his spirit.

Is man a god? Are the gods but men? There is no clear line between them—both wrestle with the same grave issues, and both are doomed. In Wagner’s psyche, the ancient gods of the Germanic Races struggle with the redemptive power of love—harbinger of a new relationship between man and the great, unitive “God”. The ancient fateful psyche (from which man-as-man finds no ready escape) is in dire contest with the new forces of deliverance released by the Christ—the Savior and Redeemer.

Wagner’s spiritual pilgrimage was long and full of agonizing turmoil, but by the time his last opera, Parsifal, was completed, his life mission had been accomplished, and redemption had come. The ancient gods had been defeated, and man was free in his new-found innocence nourished by purity, brotherhood and love. The journey had been tragic—full of loss, disappointment and grief—but, at last, salvation was the reward. Richard Wagner died less that a year after the first performance of what many consider his greatest and most spiritual work—Parsifal.

A List of Wagner’s Major Operas

  1. Die Feen (The Fairies—1843)
  2. Das Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love—1835–36)
  3. Rienzi (1838-1840, performed 1842)
  4. Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman—1841, performed 1843)
  5. Tannhaüser (1843-1844, performed 1845)
  6. Lohengrin (1846-1848, performed 1850)
  7. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nurnberg—1862-1867)
  8. Tristan und Isolde (composed 1857-1859; performed 1865)
  9. Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung—1853-1873) including: Das Rheingold (The Rhine-Gold—1853–54); Die Walküre (1854–56), and two acts of Siegfried (1856–69); the third act of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods—1872-1874)
  10. Parsifal (1877-1882)

An Estimation of Richard Wagner’s Rays

Monad: Undetermined, but the subray of the monad is likely to be Ray Four

Soul: Ray IV, possibly transiting to Ray II

Personality: Ray 1

Mental Vehicle: Ray 4 with elements of R1 and R3

Astral/Emotional Vehicle: Ray 6

Etheric-Physical Vehicle: Ray 3

It is always difficult to assess the monadic ray—the so-called “x-factor” in the energy structure of a human being. With highly developed and prominent people, the soul ray is seen to be emergent (but still caution is required). The monadic ray is even more remote and only comes into quite full manifestation in the case of an initiate of the rank of Master.

It is unlikely that Wagner’s monadic ray is the first. First of all, the odds are against it, only five billion of the sixty-billion human monads being on the first ray. Further, the majority of those with first ray monads incarnated in Atlantis and so have had little time, relatively, to pursue their development. The most probable rays are the third or second with the fourth ray being a very reasonable monadic sub-ray. These monadic subrays can be highly important in determining the line of hierarchical service. For instance, since the major monadic ray can be only the first, second or third, we can assume that the sub-monadic ray of the Master Jesus is the sixth and that the sub-monadic ray of the Master Hilarion is the fifth, yet these subrays are sufficient to empower them to be Chohans of the sixth and fifth ray ashrams respectively. With regard to the third and second rays in relation to Wagner, there can be no doubt of his great intelligence aligning him with the third Ray of Creative Intelligence. We also see, however, that his yearning for transcendental love was profound, and his last and climactic opera, Parsifal, is, of all his operas, written and composed upon the redemptive second ray.

The astrological conduits for the second ray are several, but only one sign/constellation. The constellational conduit is his Sun Sign, Gemini, which transmits (in any obvious way) only the second ray—at least from the sign/constellation level. Jupiter, the major planet of the second ray must also be considered, and significantly, Jupiter is found in Leo, the sign of the heart—a sign particularly associated with the manifestation of the causal body and of the Solar Angel through that body. Both the causal body and the Solar Angel are, regardless of the ray which may specifically condition them, generically upon the second ray. Further, Jupiter is placed in a house congenial to its expression—the fourth—which is the house of its exaltation (though Jupiter is not in the sign of its exaltation). Venus, which distributes the second ray (probably in its personality nature) is exactly on the Ascendant of the proposed chart (and very near the Ascendant of the other charts), so it is significant as a second ray distributor, especially as it is found in the second sign, Taurus, associated with the wisdom aspect of the second ray. A close gathering of parallels also promotes the expression of the second ray, as we find Venus, the Ascendant, Jupiter and the Sun all within thirty-five minutes of arc of each other. Each of these planets has a strong second ray component, and the Ascendant is signally an indicator of soul intention in the astrological chart of any advanced individual. The soul, regardless of its ray, represents the second aspect of divinity.

The soul of Wagner, like that of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms (all of them consummate German composers) appears to have been focused on the fourth Ray of Harmony, Beauty and Art—the soul ray of Germany. Is it the fourth ray soul of Germany that has caused it to produce so many of the world’s greatest musicians? Are its soul sign Aries and its personality sign, Pisces also involved—for Pisces, especially, is a sign much related to music.

Wagner considered himself to be as much as dramatist as a musician, and his music was of an exceptionally dramatic nature—often sublimely delicate and diaphanous, shimmering and transparent; but as often thunderous and overpowering. He portrayed the entire range of possible emotions—from the most noble and aspiring, to the most dreadful and malignant. His relation to the soul of Germany was on a deeply mythological level. Within his psyche the great conflict between the archetypes of good and evil battled for supremacy. His operas are a spectacular outpicturing of the of his tortured, warring psyche longing for peace and redemption. In view of his conflicted nature and its consummate expression on an heroic scale through his art, the Ray of Harmony through Conflict seems the most suitable choice for soul ray. The soul ray is the ‘Ray of Contribution’, and surely the music-dramas of Richard Wagner were his great legacy to humanity.

The conduits for the fourth ray are significant. Three signs/constellations convey the fourth ray: Taurus, Scorpio and Sagittarius. Wagner has significant planetary placements in each of these: Mercury and Venus (brilliant planets of the mind) in Taurus (which sign may as well be the focus of the Ascendant); Uranus (the “Revolutionary”) in Scorpio and there exalted; Neptune (the “Transcendentalist”) in Sagittarius. These planets (all of them) are not far from the Ascendant/Descendent axis (giving them added power), with both beautiful Venus and shocking Uranus being on or virtually on that axis. The Ascendant/Descendent is the axis of identity and relationship—both outstandingly important dimensions of Wagner’s life. He was ever aware of who he was and the nature of his soul mission; he was ever involved in the most intense, challenging and transformational relationships and friendships. The strong representation of the fourth ray in the astrological chart made it possible for him to bring his soul quality vividly and vibrantly (but rarely comfortably) into the midst of his personality life.

There is some reason to believe that his fourth ray soul may have been refocussing upon the second ray—especially near the end of his life. The themes which preoccupied him in Parsifal related more to the second ray than the fourth, though the fourth (indicating the constant drama of the conflict between good and evil) was never far from the surface. Perhaps, Wagner, genius that he was, was passing through the third initiation, and becoming responsive to the ray of the monad (the major ray of which is possibly the second). The Tibetan speaks of those who transfer from the fourth ray to the second; it is one of the usual modes of soul ray transfer, but the fourth ray can, equally, transfer on to the third. The conduits for the second ray have already been examined.

Many studying the personal life of Wagner conclude that he was a supreme egotist—a man full of himself, selfish, careless of the rights of others and maddeningly ungrateful. Of course to his true friends (and he was a good and loyal friend to some), he was entirely otherwise—further evidences of Geminian duality. His demanding and overbearing nature and the foregoing catalogue of negative qualities can all be attributed with reason to a first ray personality. There were many positive qualities equally associated with the first ray: artistic integrity, the ability to work alone and without psychological support, unwavering purposefulness on the level of his mission, persistence and an unrelenting drive towards the fulfillment of his artistic objectives (all these strengthened by the idealistic sixth ray which is hypothesized as the ray of his astral vehicle).

The first ray, like the fourth, has important conduits into the chart. Constellationally, Leo (holding grand, or grandiose, Jupiter) is one; Capricorn containing Saturn, and endowing Wagner with strong discipline (at least in the area of philosophical thought and the formulation of a coherent world view) is another. Juno, a relatively minor influence, is found in the other first ray sign, Aries. Forceful and revolutionary Mars (a partially first ray planet) is in Aquarius and elevated quite near to the MC. Electric Uranus (monadically upon the first ray) is in the sign having much resonance with the first ray, Scorpio. Since Scorpio is, archetypally, the sign of the great first ray hero, Hercules, and near the Descendant, it would be another powerful conduit for the first ray. If Taurus is the Ascendant, then first Vulcan would be the esoteric ruler, and, necessarily, very close to the Ascendant. Wagner loved to write about Vulcanian characters—his Nibelungen, dwarves who live in the interior of the earth. The anvil and the hammer are also strong iimages, especially in the Ring Cycle. Wagner’s Vulcanian “Will-to-Persist” has already been noted. One can see how much a Vulcan placement near the Ascendant would strengthen a first ray personality.

Wagner’s mind was wide and versatile—in short that of an advanced Geminian. It may be hard to put any single ray upon it, but the fourth ray (manifesting with Geminian fluidity) and the first ray (impressed from his personality) both characterized his thought process. One of the key planets of mind, and the orthodox ruler of his Gemini Sun Sign, is Mercury found in the twelfth house in fourth ray Taurus. Because of the Sun’s position in the first degree of Gemini, Vulcan, which can never be more than eight degrees from the Sun (on either side) could not be conjunct Mercury, though a conjunction of Vulcan with Venus is possible. Mercury is strengthened however by its conjunction with one of the alternative Ascendants (the Equatorial Ascendant), and by the fact that forceful Mars (a carrier of the first ray) squares it from the tenth house. So, Wagner for all his poetic fluidity, was forceful in the expression of his opinions—a first ray quality. The third ray as well, cannot be ignored because of the complexity of Wagner’s mind as reflected in the complexity of his verse.

There can be little doubt that Wagner’s astral vehicle was upon the intense, aspiring and inspiring sixth Ray of Devotion and Idealism. There is little of the emotional serenity and relaxed detachment of the second ray. It is not possible to think that the longing, exaltation and depression expressed in his music could have been composed were the astral vehicle on the second ray. Probably, since the fourth ray was so strong (hypothetically the sub-monadic ray, the ray of the soul, and a major ray of the mind), it would have been influential in the astral field as well, since the astral body is archetypally reflective of the soul.

It is difficult to assess the ray of the physical-etheric body (perhaps close personal contact and observation are necessary), but one gets the sense of Wagner as a man with an active outer form. Certainly, he moved from place to place, either visiting, fleeing, or frequently taking up a new residence. Third ray Saturn in sometimes third ray Capricorn are important conduits of the third ray, as is Gemini the third sign of the zodiac. He also had a particular gravitation to Paris, France (thus resonating with the third ray personality of France). If Gemini were rising as well as being the Sun Sign, third ray mobility would have been increased; if Taurus were the Ascendant, it would have been decreased accordingly.

Significant Astrological Features in Richard Wagner’s Chart

  1. The Ascendant in Taurus, ruled exoterically by Venus and esoterically by Vulcan, and being quite close to the Pleiades (either conjunct or within a degree and a half), would relate Wagner to what might be called the ‘flow of celestial song’. No sign/constellation of the zodiac is more intimately related to the manifestation of sound. Taurus rules both the ears and the vocal apparatus.
  2. The Sun is in the first degree of Gemini, the Sabian Symbol for which is: “A Glass-Bottomed Boat Reveals Undersea Wonders”: “The revelation of unconscious energies and submerged psychic structures”; “A New Dimension of Reality”. The tremendous fertility, fluidity and prolixity of Wagner’s mind are revealed through the sign Gemini and through the symbolism of its first degree. Mentally and intuitively he could soar into the heights of superconscious perception, and plumb the depths of the archaic psyche—either domain being usually sealed to the average inquirer. He not only created magnificent opera, but he demanded that his audience rise above a desire for mere entertainment and being really to think (Gemini) about the great issues facing every aspiring human being.
  3. The entire system of “leit motifs” (“leading motifs”—short, expressive musical phrases) through which the orchestra and/or the vocalist communicates both the overt and subtle meanings of the stage action, and the normally invisible psychological complexity of the characters, is facilitated by the Gemini Sun Sign position—especially in the first degree which promotes contact with elusive and intangible “wonders” of the heights and depths—normally undetected. Throughout the continuous flow of his music (Venus in Taurus), Wagner is communicating (Gemini) his multi-layered thought (Gemini). The complex weaving of these motifs inclines one to search for a third ray component to the mind.
  4. Note that the Sun is trine to a nervously intense Mars in Aquarius (providing abundant vitality generated through thought), and sextile to splendid Jupiter in Leo, giving breadth, scope and grandeur to his thought. Jupiter and Mars are opposed, giving ambition and the desire to accomplish great things. Jupiter is further related to the Sun by a close parallel of declination. Taken together they indicate a great expansion of the heart center; or they can manifest as an inflated self-opinion—conceit.
  5. That Wagner was a revolutionary—not only in the arts but in relation to society can be seen by his opposition of Uranus in Scorpio to his Gemini Sun. That Uranus is in destructive regenerative Scorpio and angular, adds power and intensity to his revolutionary intent.
  6. Mars represents the solar plexus center and Jupiter the heart. Clearly there is an opposition between them, and thus an activation and a transference of energy from Mars to Jupiter. Jupiter is clearly the more important and spiritual planet in this pattern, and triumphs in fulness towards the end of the incarnation.
  7. One must point to an all-important conjunction between the Sun in Gemini and Venus in the last degree of Taurus. This conjunction is frequently found in lovers and creators of beauty. In these two signs, the conjunction magnifies light and intelligence. It bestows the capacity to write about (Gemini) the arts (Venus). Wagner was certainly a great aesthetic philosopher and articulate advocate of his revolutionary aesthetic theories.
  8. Wagner’s Moon is found in the seventeenth degree of Aquarius, and it is conjunct the South Node—a union of two astrological indicators of past conditions. The Moon in this position bestows upon Wagner the ability to relate to many people and groups of people. It gave him skill in as an theatrical director and orchestral conductor, and allowed him to distribute his energies widely. It probably contributed to considerable diversification and over-extension, especially in the early days. On a mundane level, it contributed to Wagner’s susceptibility to heart and circulatory problems.
  9. We might say that Wagner inherited (from his previous incarnations) a wide diversity of contacts. His world renown is favored by this Moon position. Which of the three veiled planets did the Moon veil? The Moon in Aquarius is, after all, the hierarchical position, and is related to all three—Vulcan, Neptune and Uranus. There is much of universality which comes through this elevated Moon position, and the probability is, that it accessed each of the planets at different times.
  10. Mercury is found in Taurus in the twelfth house. It is not that Wagner was inarticulate or unexpressive as sometimes accords with a twelfth house position of the planet of communication—quite the contrary. The luminosity of the Taurus Mercury was, however, focussed upon the deep psyche of humanity (twelfth house). A powerful T-square between Mercury, Mars and Jupiter reveals something of the quality and intensity of this thought. Mars and Jupiter together give ambition, and the refusal to limit one’s scope. Mars square Mercury confers a sharp and aggressive mind given to argument and polemics; critical and even cruel speech may result. Jupiter square Mercury contributes to great thoughts—perhaps too many of them—vast in scope. Prolixity may result—writing too much, speaking too much. There were many verbal attacks and counter-attacks in Wagner’s life, Controversy (Mars square Mercury) raged around him, and of him, much was said (Jupiter square Mercury).
  11. The close sextile of Chiron (mentor, healer and guide) to Mercury, accounts for the teaching function of Wagner’s approach to the arts, and to the healing potential of his music. Chiron is found in Pisces where it can be powerful to heal through compassion. Wagner, like Shakespeare had, in many lives, seen much and understood much about the joys and sorrows of the human condition. Through his later works there flows a great compassion for humanity—even as in Shakespeare. There is no sign more capable of identification with the human condition than Pisces (a sign partially upon the second ray). Chiron, as well, partially upon the second ray, has its deeper potentials drawn forth within this sign.
  12. Venus was one of Wagner’s favorite themes—whether as a seductive, almost irresistibly alluring character in Tannhaüser, or in his song to the “Morning Star” (O, du holdes Morgenstern). So many of Wagner’s heroines have positive Venusian qualities; the more alluring and dangerous Venusian qualities belong to the Rhine maidens and to the tantalizingly beautiful women of Klingsor’s Garden.
  13. In his own individual and psychic life, Wagner fought a prolonged battle with the allure of Venus. Like the woeful knight Amfortas, in Parsifal, he had fallen into the “Garden of the Flowers”, and been wounded in his spirituality. Chiron, who inflicts the wound, is square to Venus. Wagner, himself, was on the way to spiritual transcendence, but his love of beautiful women provided a severe test. Yet, the transformation would come, as Uranus (the Transformer and co-ruler of the sacral center) is opposed to Venus. Through his creative art there was already a tremendous elevation of sacral energy to the throat, and Uranus in that position would ensure the increase of the upward flow.
  14. To sing Wagner’s music is both strenuous and demanding (Mars trine Venus, Vulcan prominent, Jupiter calling for full expression), but his melodies are undoubtedly extraordinarily beautiful—the gift of Venus in Taurus.
  15. The opposition of Uranus in Scorpio to Venus in Taurus is one of the most significant aspects in the chart. Wagner single-handedly transformed (Uranus in Scorpio) the nature of opera (Venus in Taurus). In this aspect we see his revolutionary aesthetic theories, and the new melodies, harmonies and textural innovations which appeared in his mature works—from the early 1850’s onwards.
  16. We also see in the Venus/Uranus opposition his dramatic and often disastrous relations with women: his sudden affairs, his pursuit of other men’s wives (mostly the wives of patrons and benefactors!); his sudden breaks in relationship; his flouting of moral convention whenever he fell in love. That this opposition, having so much to do with relationship in the first place, lies on the relationship axis (Ascendant/Descendant) only increases its power and prominence.
  17. Venus is also quintile the midpoint of the Ceres/Pluto conjunction, thus, in a sense, quintile to both. Here we see enacted a drama of attachment (Ceres/Venus) and detachment (Pluto/Venus). Pluto severs; Ceres nurtures. That the aspect connecting these three is the creative quintile shows that Wagner was able to deal with such troubling psychological issues in his creative works—his operas. Questions such as—Who is mother? Who is lover? How are they different? How are they the same? To which am I more attracted? From which must I sever myself?—are all involved in this quintile relationship. Issues surrounding love (Venus) and fatality (Pluto) are also suggested.
  18. That Mars is in an harmonious sextile with Venus shows Wagner’s natural and healthy appreciation for the beauty of women. Though his sexuality was no doubt complicated by complexity thought and romantic, transcendental idealism, on a purely physical level, he was very much the “natural man” (Taurus).
  19. Mars and Venus, harmoniously, related also tell why so many of his operatic plots are love stories, in which great passions are fully and uninhibitedly expressed.
  20. Mars and Venus also represent soul and personality. The excitable passions of Mars (the personality) are mastered by the beauties of Venus (the soul). In Wagner’s life, though passions were strong (prominent Mars and strong Taurus), the sublime and redemptive Venusian love (often the love bestowed by a pure and beautiful woman) won the day.
  21. The position of Venus conjunct the Ascendant (whether in-sign with a Taurus Ascendant, or out-of-sign, with a Gemini Ascendant), shows the power of the soul in Wagner’s life. This position represents not only his aesthetic inspiration, not only his vulnerability to beauty, but the transfiguring effect of his music. Was Wagner a true initiate—an initiate of the third degree? As a musician he was. Whether or not his personality measured up to the requirements by the end of his life is only for him to know.
  22. Mars is potent in elevation. It is a sixth ray planet (principally) and can make the radical idealist. Certainly it contributed to Wagner’s revolutionary fervor and his dream of the overthrow of reaction regimes. He was an activist, and actually participated in the 1848-1849 revolution in Dresden; its failure forced him to flee to Switzerland or face arrest. One can see Wagner as an agitator (Mars in Aquarius conjunct the MC) whether in the field of music or in politics. Uranus in drastic Scorpio at the social seventh house cusp surely stimulated the rebellious Martian tendencies.
  23. Jupiter in Leo is of great importance in the chart. It is accidentally dignified in the home of its exaltation—the fourth house. Jupiter is in harmonious aspect to the Sun, Venus and, loosely, to Uranus. It makes harmonious aspects to the Ascendant and Descendant as well. Wagner had a great mission to fulfill for the sake of music and culture; Jupiter protected him, guaranteeing fulfillment. Since Jupiter is placed in the house of the inner ashram, this can be seen as ashramic-protection. This position also symbolizes the patronage he received and the comfortable working conditions which eventually came his way. Note that Jupiter is the orthodox ruler of the eighth house which is associated with the resources of others. It represents, above all, the lavish (Leo) patronage of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who not only saw to Wagner’s domestic comfort by providing him with a home in Bayreuth called “Wahnfried” (“Freedom from Illusion”) but contributed large sums to help create a theatre in Bayreuth, Bavaria dedicated especially to the performances of Wagner’s opera. In the estimation of the author, this patronage came directly out of the fourth ray ashram. Though he was a king, Ludwig was, like Wagner, very probably a fourth ray soul with a devoted sixth ray personality. Thus, Jupiter in Leo, by whatever agencies it operated, ensured the embodiment of Wagner’s ideals.
  24. The liabilities of Jupiter in Leo were also evident: egotism, inflation, extravagance and grandiosity. No matter how much was lavished upon Wagner, he always spent more than he had, never managing to live within his means. A few more significant aspects of disciplinary Saturn in Capricorn would have helped. Perhaps Jupiter in this position, signifies an attitude that “the universe will provide”, and support will inevitably come. For the most part, it did.
  25. Incidentally, it is this placement of Jupiter in Leo, strongly connected to the Sun, Venus and Ascendant which makes Wagner’s operas grand operas—more grand than any operas written before his time; and still more grand that many operas written in imitation of his style—operas which may have been larger, but never grander.
  26. Saturn is strong it its own sign Capricorn and placed in the ninth house of higher mind. Though Wagner may have been careless or casual in many things, he was not careless about his thought or philosophy, or his perspective upon musical composition.. He shaped his world view with exactitude. Interestingly, this position may have much to do with the initial rejection of his music in strictly academic circles which have a hard time accepting revolutionaries—when they are alive.
  27. Though Wagner was a romantic, rather than a classicist like Brahms, his sense of musical structure was profound. Saturn in Capricorn confers this structural sense. He had carefully studied the scores of Beethoven, and knew how music was put together on a grand scale. One can see that he applied rigorous discipline to his work, if not to his personal relationships. One can also see through the loose square of Saturn to Juno, that although he probably entered many relationships impulsively, his sense of duty, dharma and sheer hard work did not give him the time to pursue them further.
  28. This Saturn position no doubt contributed to Wagner’s sense of fate and destiny, as it is the ruler of the proposed Capricorn Midheaven. The idea of being compelled by fate to compose; the thought of working under demanding time restraints; the thought of being a servant of one’s greater destiny—all these must have been part of his world view.
  29. The Saturn in Capricorn also has an interesting connection to Wagner’s relationship to the Jewish people. Capricorn is the personality sign of the Jews, and third ray Saturn is very much their planet. The Jews are strongly under the law. Saturn is both a third ray and a first ray planet. The “Soul of Judea” is upon the first ray, and its personality upon the third.

A number of Wagner’s friends were Jews, and in personal life he was not especially known for anti-Semitism. There are actually stories that Wagner was uncertain of his own parentage, and that his father may actually have been a Jew. His later writings, however, contain passages which are re overtly anti-Semitic, and his second wife, Cosima, promoted this attitude. We can see in the important Saturn/Capricorn position (especially if it is the ruler of a Capricorn Midheaven) that Wagner has a karmic link to the Jews. His portrayal of Mime in Siegfried¸ and Beckmesser (“back-stabber”) in Die Meistersinger, were thinly disguised Jewish caricatures, and some say, projections of aspects of his own character very much resembling them.

  1. Uranus has already been discussed in relation to its opposition to Venus and the Sun. So close to the seventh house cusp, it transforms Wagner not only into a musical but into a social revolutionary. His impact upon those he encountered was fascinating, mesmerizing. Among his friends were great geniuses—Liszt, Nietzsche and others. His relationships were shocking in a sense both good and bad, and their termination was often abrupt (Uranus). It was impossible to be related to Wagner without passing through a profound transformation—or as Nietzsche might say, a “revulsion”. Wagners operas portrayed what might become of a man and woman if they were deeply related within the field of transcendent love. One can imagine that he sought to live out these transformative possibilities in his numerous love affairs and especially in his marriage to Cosima Liszt (the daughter of his friend and advocate, pianist-composer, Franz Liszt).
  2. Neptune is the planet of romanticism, and it is placed in Sagittarius, the sign of aspirational desire, and elevated idealism. If Wagner held high hopes for the power of love, this Neptune position certainly fanned the flame. Neptune, at the present time, is predominantly a sixth ray planet, and Sagittarius is the foremost sixth ray sign. Together, in the seventh house of relationship and marriage, they are potent to create a longing for sublime and idealistically perfect union. Note the opposition to Vesta, the asteroid of commitment (an asteroid with a potent sixth ray). Note too that Juno (the asteroid of partnership) is placed in impetuous, impulsive Aries, trine to Neptune and sextile to Vesta. The Moon is also involved in this configuration, sextiling Neptune, trining Vesta and widely sextile Juno by translation of light. The Moon is also an indicator of the feminine and the unconscious.
  3. In this aspect pattern, therefore, we see one of the key descriptors of a recurrent and insistent theme in Wagner’s life—redemption through love. One can see Wagner on an endless search for the ideal woman—one who embodied the ideal qualities portrayed in his operatic heroines. One wonders whether in Cosima he found his ideal. Certainly, few could equal her devotion to him, both during his life and after his death.
  4. Pluto’s principle aspects are several: a conjunction with Ceres, a semisquare, to Mercury; a semisquare to Mars; a sextile to Saturn; a sesquiquadrate to Jupiter and a trine to Uranus. Wagner was a radical who went to the roots of matters in which he took an interest. He had the power to deeply and permanently change what he touched (exemplified by the harmonious Pluto trine Uranus)

A Few Parallels

  1. As has already been mentioned, Venus, Ascendant, Jupiter and Sun are all parallel within less than a degree. This is a very successful combination for soul expression—especially for the expression of the energy of love. By translation of light, Vesta enters this configuration, and is still within the one degree limit. Thus devotion and commitment are an added ingredient to the radiant, expansive, beautiful expression of soul love—in music and in cherished relationships focally—not in general.
  2. Interestingly, Chiron and Juno (already in a decile or semi-quintile relationships) are contra-parallel. This aspect indicate something of the hurting and wounding (Chiron) which occurred in Wagner’s relationships (Juno) and the attempt to bring understanding and healing to them (Chiron—in compassionate Pisces).
  3. The Moon is not only conjunct the South Node, but parallel to it, emphasizing the importance of the lunar legacy. The lower mantram of Aquarius, “Let desire in form be ruler”, must have had its application, especially in Wagner’s earlier days. Mars in Aquarius would reinforce this indiscriminate tendency.
  4. Pluto is also parallel the South Node, showing the depth and psychological acuity brought over from the past.
  5. The MC is contraparallel to the aggregation of Venus, Jupiter, Sun, Ascendant and Vesta, ensuring that the huge radiance of this ‘stellium by parallel” had a professional application.
  6. Finally, Saturn, Mars and Neptune are all parallel within forty forty-four minutes of arc, with Saturn and Mars within ten minutes of arc. Saturn and Mars combine to produce frustration, but also great labors, especially in the manifesting of Neptunian ideals. One thinks of Wagner’s output—the tremendous labor it represented. His Saturn in Capricorn was a very useful position.

A Few Fixed Stars

  1. Depending upon which chart is used, different fixed star contacts emerge, but some are constant in all charts.
  2. Both the Sun and Jupiter are closely parallel Arcturus. These parallels are highly significant. This star embodies the tendency to take a new path, to try a new method, to do what has not been done before. We have already seen the important sextile between the radiant Sun and grand Jupiter, and their reinforcement by parallel. Now we see that they are parallel the same powerful fixed star. Surely these parallels added originality and daring to Wagner’s creative life, and reinforced his Uranian iconoclasm.
  3. Mercury is conjunct to the forceful star Hamal, expressing as independence of thought.
  4. Schedir is also conjunct Mercury. Schedir is the Queen representing female power, though it is a power bound and chained. Wagner’s mind was preoccupied by his relationship to the feminine—a force which he sought to liberate, and, from which, as an aspirant to the higher Mysteries, he sought to liberate himself.
  5. Both Venus and the proposed Ascendant are conjunct to Mirfak, a star representing a courageous one who is willing to rise to a challenge or do battle. We can at least be sure of the conjunction to Venus, further showing the boldness with which Wagner approached artistic innovation.

Chakric Indications

  1. Sometimes, the dynamics of the chakras can be seen through planetary relationships in the astrological chart.
  2. Jupiter exactly opposed to Mars shows the close and vital interplay between heart and solar-plexus. This is certainly reflected in his operas during the developmental course of which, passion is, at length, transmuted into compassion.
  3. There is a strong throat center emphasis. Taurus rules the throat center; Mercury, ruler of speech and thought, is in Taurus, again implicating the throat; Venus, also related to the throat center is rising in Taurus; the Earth (a third ray planet related to the throat center) is angular, and heliocentrically, in its own sign, Sagittarius.
  4. The Mars/Venus trine and Taurus hypothesized as rising, suggests strong sacral center activity. Mars, sometime ruler of the sacral center, is conjunct the MC and thus angular, and so is Uranus (in the sexual sign Scorpio) conjunct the seventh house cusp, thus bringing the sacral center strongly into the relationship life. Venus in Taurus (rising) can be highly sexual, though it naturally has higher interpretrations.
  5. A most important indicator is Venus, ruler of the ajna center, in Taurus, a sign of light, and on the Ascendant (which is the astrological point especially related to soul direction and expression). Venus is also the planet of the love and light of the soul. Venus’s angular position in a sign very friendly to its nature, suggests its luminous influence in the life, and confers a very strong power to visualize, imagine and hear in the inner worlds. Interpreted at a high turn of the spiral, this position could be the signature of an initiate of the third degree. It certainly represents the “light-bearer”—in Wagner’s case, in the field of music, drama and the arts.
  6. As for the crown center, we know that in a disciple/initiate, it has to be active. The presence of the Sun so close to the Ascendant may be considered an indication of considerable activation, because the cusp of the first house (Ascendant) rules the head, and the Sun is the fulness of synthetic radiance.
  7. Close examination reveals every center active except the base of the spine. Pluto, however, is relatively strong, and so there may have been moments of great inspiration which caused an upsurging of the lower fires—kundalini. This possibility is indicated by the trine of Pluto to Uranus (the ruler of electric fire).
  8. A particular problem may be indicated by the square of Mars (solar plexus) to Mercury (throat and ajna centers). Mercury takes over an ajna function near the time of the third degree. The Jupiter/Mercury square introduces the struggle to speak (Mercury) from the heart (Jupiter in Leo—the sign of the heart). The Mars/Mercury relationship shows speech and imagination motivated by solar plexus desire. We see in these three planets and their T-square, a struggle between the solar plexus, heart and throat centers, and the solar plexus, heart and ajna centers. The solution lies in the cultivation of the latter triangle (which will be familiar to some students of esotericism as the triangle presented by DK in His first two group meditations found in DINA II).
  9. One of the distinguishing achievements of an initiate of the third degree is to move solar plexus functioning (Mars—which is also the ruler of the personality to be subdued) into the heart. Illumination of the ajna center is another necessity. It is clear that Wagner had the astrological potential for both.

A Few Important Life Events and their Astrological Concomitants

  1. Below are two solar eclipses which occurred just before and during the year of Wagner’s first marriage to Minna Planer. Note that the first solar eclipse occurs very near the seventh house cusp.

Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr Nov 20 1835 NS 19:31 27°Sc26′ D
Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr May 15 1836 NS 23:02 24°Ta42′ D

  1. On October 22, 1842 his first representative opera, Rienzi, was triumphantly performed in Dresden. Note that the lunar eclipse shortly before this performance falls close to his proposed Capricorn MC.

Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Jul 22 1842 NS 19:48 29°Cp09′ D

  1. In 1843 Wagner was appointed conductor of the court opera. Transiting Jupiter (T-Jupiter) was crossing his MC at the time his Flying Dutchman was performed in Dresden, January 2, 1843. Note the lunar eclipse on January 16th, 1843 which puts the Sun at the proposed Capricorn MC. The transits of Jupiter would work very well for a 4:11 AM time with Gemini rising, however, the eclipse would not work so well.

Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Jan 16 1843 NS 17:14 25°Cn37′ D

  1. Wagner was involved in the social revolutions of 1849-1849 centered in Dresden. He wrote inflammatory articles (Mars in Aquarius) and visibly pushed for reform. When the revolution failed he was threatened with arrest and fled Dresden. T-Saturn had entered the twelfth house of exile. T-Pluto from the twelfth house was squaring the proposed MC/IC axis at 27° Cap/Can 55’. Note in the eclipses listed below, the solar eclipses occurring on or opposite natal Chiron, and the lunar eclipses involving destructive Pluto, one on the exact degree and one only two degrees distant Sun. From these positions, it appears that his life was in danger.

Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr Aug 29 1848 NS04:18 05°Vi33′ D
Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Sep 13 1848 NS 15:18 20°Pi33′ D
Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr Feb 23 1849 NS 10:38 04°Pi23′ D
Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Mar 9 1849 NS 09:56 18°Vi23′ D

  1. From 1849-1852 he produced his basic prose works Die Kunst und die Revolution (Art and Revolution), Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (The Art Work of the Future), Eine Mitteilung an meine Freunde (A Communication to My Friends), and Oper und Drama (Opera and Drama). Saturn had entered the large twelfth house (Placidus) for a lengthy transit forcing a kind of retreat or retirement. The progressed Moon was traveling through Gemini (writing) and Cancer (staying at home). Most importantly, progressed Mercury in Cancer (P-Mercury) was rapidly approaching P-Venus also in Cancer, achieving conjunction in 1852. He was writing (Mercury) his aesthetic theory (Venus). By 1852 he had written the poetry for the Ring des Nibelungen.
  2. By 1853, Wagner had begun the composition of The Ring, which was to put his new aesthetic theories into practice. Note that Saturn begins its transit over his Ascendant indicating the initial steps at concretizing a new cycle.
  3. In 1857, he suspended work on the Ring Cycle, putting it aside without hope of ever seeing it performed. Inhibitory Saturn was transiting his progressed Sun in Cancer.
  4. From 1857-1859 he was deeply influenced by the world-negating philosophy of the Piscean/Cancerian philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer; experienced a deeply disappointed love affair with Mathilde Wesendonk; and composed his opera, Tristan und Isolda, which revealed a new and revolutionary subtlety in his use of leit motifs. His music became at once more complex and more profound.

During this period we see P-Moon passing through the sign Libra, putting a focus upon relationship (the Wesendonk Affair), and upon the theme of his new opera—hopeless, unattainable love. Significantly solar arc Neptune (SA-Neptune) was passing over his MC, increasing his subtlety, his receptivity, his compassion and his longing for transcendental love. Uranus was transiting opposite its own natal position (in Scorpio), activating his seventh house of relationship, and causing great upheaval. During this period, as well, T-Uranus crossed the Ascendant signaling not only the turmoil in his relationship life, but the fundamental innovations he introduced in Tristan and his innovative break from the past. He had risen into his full stature as a composer, and was, from that time forth, to express himself with complete authenticity. However, in the years immediately ahead, there would be no production of Tristan,(it was not performed until 1865) because the artists were bewildered by its revolutionary stylistic innovations. Neptune (planet of bewilderment) was so active during its composition, and revolutionary Uranus had been transiting the planet of art (Venus) as well as the Ascendant and the Sun.

  1. In 1861, an amnesty had been declared allowing him to return to Germany. P-Venus was conjuncting the fourth house cusp of home and native country. The P-Vertex had progressed into freedom-granting Sagittarius. During that year, P-Moon was crossing natal Uranus (liberation) and later entering liberating Sagittarius. Note the eclipses involving Jupiter (reprieve) in the fourth house of homeland, and on the MC/IC axis, which has to much to do with where one lives and where one works.

Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Jan 27 1861 NS 01:53 06°Le48′ D
Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Jul 22 1861 NS 08:49 29°Cp06′ D

  1. By 1864, however, his expenditure on a grand scale and inveterate habits of borrowing and living on others had brought him to financial disaster; he had to flee from Vienna to avoid imprisonment for debt. The P-Moon had entered Capricorn (the law and accountability) and was passing through the eighth house of debt (the resources of others).
  2. He was suddenly rescued from his desperate financial straits by the intervention of the young King Ludwig II, who had just ascended the Bavarian Throne. Ludwig had been a fanatical admirer of Wagner (soul ray four, personality ray six), had read the Ring Cycle with great enthusiasm, and invited Wagner to come to Munich to complete his work on these operas.

Note the transiting nodes (karmic connections) crossing first the Ascendant/Descendant axis and then natal Uranus (the element of suddenness—the “bolt out of the blue”); T-Jupiter also crossing N-Uranus (the benefaction). Uranus and Jupiter together allow what the Tibetan calls a “beneficent organization” (or, shall we say, re-organization). T-Jupiter crosses the seventh house cusp (partnership), and transits the P-Vertex position (the beneficence {Jupiter} of fate {Vertex}); P-Venus (the arts) begins its conjunction of natal Jupiter (abundance). Note that Jupiter is the ruler of the natal eighth house (the resources of others), hence patronage. In rapid order, Wagner passed from a penniless state, also involving the eighth house, to a condition of financial abundance which would allow him to complete his great tetralogy. Note the lunar eclipse which conjuncts his first degree Gemini Sun and his Venus position as well.

Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr May 21 1864 NS 22:11 00°Sg40′ D

  1. The King set him up in a villa, and during the next six years there were successful Munich productions of all of Wagner’s representative works to date. During these six years, Jupiter makes its sweeping transit through the upper hemisphere of the chart, beginning at the seventh house cusp and ending at the Ascendant. Progressed Venus is in Leo, and passes between natal Jupiter in Leo and the North Node. It was a time for Venus, the Goddess of Beauty, to reveal Wagner’s full gifts, and he was completely supported (Jupiter) in this revelation.
  2. During this Munich period he became the lover of orchestral conductor Hans von Bülow’s wife, Cosima, the daughter of Liszt. She bore him three children—Isolde, Eva, and Siegfried—before her divorce in 1870 and her marriage to Wagner in the same year. The progressed activity of Venus was, it appears, favorable not only to art but to love. In the marriage year, T-Jupiter crosses Wagner’s Ascendant and natal Sun. Below are eclipses involving Wagner’s Moon, his MC/IC (an axis often found involved in marriages, which, in a way, are matters of state), and, most importantly, a solar eclipse on his Jupiter—a planet which with great frequency, is an indicator of marriage. This marriage was a great consummation (Jupiter). Additionally of note is the transit of transformative Uranus conjunct the progressed Sun in Cancer. Solar arc Uranus is also within less than a degree of the progressed Descendant.

Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Jul 23 1869 NS 23:03 00°Aq41′ D
Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr Aug 8 1869 NS 07:01 15°Le21′ D
Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Jan 17 1870 NS 23:47 27°Cn22′ D Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr Jul 28 1870 NS 20:02 05°Le07′ D

  1. Although it was agreed with King Ludwig that the tetralogy in its entirety should first be performed in Munich, Wagner broke the agreement, seeking a more suitable site where a new opera-theatre, especially for that purpose, could be built. The king supported this idea and in 1872, the foundation stone was laid in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth. It is most interesting and convincing that all during 1872, the planet associated with archetypes and their grounding (Uranus) was conjuncting the proposed Cancer IC, and Jupiter (the planet of fulfillment) was transiting there also. This would apply, however, to all the charts under consideration—i.e., whether the IC is later Cancer or very early Leo. Certainly the ‘grounding’ or manifestation of Wagner’s great ideals was were in process. These dreams and ideals were prepared by two solar eclipse conjunctions on (or opposed) visionary Neptune and committed Vesta, immediately preceding and during this period. The lunar eclipse involving the Sun is also indicative.

Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr Dec 12 1871 NS 13:03 19°Sg44′ D
Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr May 23 1872 NS 08:17 02°Sg05′ D
Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr Jun 6 1872 NS 12:19 15°Ge40′ D

  1. The Ring received its triumphant first complete performance in the new Festspielhaus at Bayreuth on Aug. 13, 14, 16, and 17, 1876. The progressed Sun had entered Leo less than a year before. T-Jupiter (fulfillment) was conjuncting both natal and progressed Uranus (the realization of the “pattern in the heavens”). This Jupiterian transit conjunct Uranus had occurred twelve years earlier when Ludwig first met Wagner—and rescued him from poverty.
  2. In 1877 Wagner began composition on his last, and, perhaps, greatest, work—Parsifal. He completed it in 1882 and it was performed in Bayreuth that year. All during this period, the progressed Sun which had emerged into Leo was active in the area of his natal Jupiter. During this phase it can be presumed that he underwent a tremendous expansion of heart understanding. He had entered a new era of thought and dharmic initiative with his progressed MC now in Aries. Further, solar arc Uranus (the Hierophant) was crossing his MC. This has to have been a spiritually climactic period indicating a great transfiguration of the psyche through the power of love and compassion. In the year Parsifal was performed, transiting Jupiter again crossed in Ascendant, Venus and Sun, and once again the transiting Nodes crossed his Ascendant/Descendant axis, and Venus and the Sun also. Note the solar eclipse very close to his proposed Ascendant during this year. The progress Vertex entered Capricorn. There was a fulfillment of soul purpose.

Sun SEcl (X) Tr-Tr May 17 1882 NS 16:37 26°Ta15′ D

  1. Richard Wagner died of heart failure, at the height of his fame, and was buried in the grounds of Wahnfried in the tomb he had himself prepared. Transiting Pluto had already crossed the Ascendant in late Taurus about a half year before, and had even touched, briefly, the degree of the natal Sun in Gemini. The process of abstraction had commenced in 1882, presumably, once Parsifal had been performed. The Solar Angel keeps good time. Transiting Uranus moved opposed to natal Pluto, also in 1882, thus intensifying the focus on the “Planet of Death”. On the actual day of this death, T-Pluto was within a trine of the natal MC, and still within a one degree orb of the proposed Ascendant. Decisive was the rapid transit of Mars in Aquarius in exactly the same degree as progressed Mars in Aquarius. Aquarius rules the circulation of the blood, and reciprocally, the heart. Wagner was still in a period when his progressed Mars in Aquarius was opposed his progressed Sun in Leo (the heart). On the day of his death, transiting Mars exactly opposed the progressed Sun as well. There had been a lunar eclipse on Wagner’s Sun just a few months before. The soul had achieved its purpose.

Mon LEcl (X) Tr-Tr Nov 25 1882 NS 10:51 02°Ge44′ D

Initiatory Status

  1. Richard Wagner was clearly an advanced (very advanced) human being. He was largely Self-educated, and the success of that process indicates his Self-inherited power as a soul.
  2. One sees brilliance of thought and the capacity to experience the entire range of humanity’s emotional possibilities.
  3. As is the case with so many of those upon the fourth ray, his flights of imagination and intuition outstripped his mastery of his personality nature. In many ways, he, as a personality, was rebellious, unethical, separative, proud, critical, etc. A host of vices demonstrated through the way he treated his fellow human beings.
  4. Yet the scope of his thought and the greatness of his loving-understanding expressed through music, clearly reveal him as one who knew the reality of divinity—a living reality which must be revealed at and after the third degree.
  5. The disciple is initiate before he is initiated. Wagner’s greatest works are initiate works. Are they, equally, the works of an initiate? That is another question.
  6. For so many years of his life he seemed to be passing through the torments of one who had not yet subdued his personality. He acted in a manner too erratic and infringed the rights of too many people. His own struggles entered his music, but so did the idealized resolution of those struggles.
  7. One is reminded of Master D.K.’s thought about those who attains initiation and those who do not:

“A steady, unshaken perseverance, that recks not of time nor hindrance, but goes on. This capacity to persevere explains why the non-spectacular man so frequently attains initiation before the genius, and before the man who attracts more notice. The capacity to plod is much to be desired”. (LOM 340-341)

Wagner was the spectacular man; Wagner was the genius. But Wagner was also gifted with great powers of persistence and endurance—gathered from Vulcan and Taurus.

  1. In so many cases the development of the mind and creative faculties outstrips the moral development and the subduing of the personality. The errors are blatant because of the proximity of greatness to those errors.
  2. What was Richard Wagner if not the “rich young man”—abundantly rich? There can be no question of his gifts and talents, and of his world impact. Is this not the indication of an initiate upon the fourth ray—to inspire millions with the transcendent beauty of one’s creative work (as a test for the third degree)?
  3. Thus, it may be that Wagner was initiate (in many ways) before he was initiated. He struggled towards initiate status (in all aspects of his energy system), wrestling with his nature, morally imperfect, flagrantly deficient of what some would call simple decency, yet possessed of an artistry capable of raising and transforming the consciousness of many.
  4. Had Wagner remained as he had been during his thirties and forties, one might question whether the transition into transfiguration had been made. It might justly have been said that his art was in advance of his individual attainment—that he rose into the initiated state to create his operas, and fell into ordinary personality reactions for the remainder of the time. But, it seems, something of profound spiritual significance began to happen. Uranus crossed his Ascendant; Neptune by solar arc direction crossed his Midheaven, Venus and the Sun by progression contacted his natal Jupiter. As his spiritual development unfolded, he sent the ancient gods to their destruction; Valhalla fell, leaving in ruins a world view based upon struggle with and fated submission to the chthonic and demonic forces of the unconscious psyche. Wagner, as the hero of his own psycho-mythological journey, no longer sought to conquer by strength alone (as Sigmund had, as Siegfried had) but rather through faith and innocence—as the character Parsifal triumphantly demonstrated.
  5. Thus, there occurred a great redemption and it took place, it would seem, within the energy field of the Christ Force. Thus, it may be that the rebellious personality (Mars) succumbed to the power of Jupiter (second ray ruler of the causal body), and at last, the ancient authority of the personality was broken. Perhaps, the lunar man entered at last the realms where its soul had soared in divine realization for so many years. Perhaps, under the fourth ray, “Two Merge(d) with One”, and the power of the Ray of Love Wisdom supervened. It would seem that this was the case.


One would like to follow the life of Richard Wagner carefully through, from year to year to give a more complete account of the astrological and spiritual unfoldment of one of the worlds great geniuses. All disciples could learn much from such an analysis; time and space, however, do not permit.

The majority of students who will read these astrological profiles are found upon the first and second rays, with some upon the third and seventh. Few will be upon the fourth or fifth. It is always possible that, when confronted with souls upon rays which are different from our own, we may fail to interpret their lives properly, misunderstanding true achievement; remaining blind to their true spiritual status because misled by superficial indications. This is a danger when studying the life of the great fourth ray/second ray initiate, Richard Wagner. His personal deficiencies may loom too large and disguise the greatness of his inner nature.

In assessing Wagner’s contribution to the elevation of human consciousness, we discover that he changed forever the manner of operatic composition. He created intoxicatingly beautiful masterpieces, which, even today, inspire in us admiration, awe and wonder.. He synthesized the operatic traditions of the past, and took them in an entirely new direction, immeasurably deeper and more revelatory of the extremes of the human psyche. Perhaps, through his music-dramas, he showed the way for man to become more than man; for man to recognize the battle of the gods raging within his conscious, unconscious and super-conscious life, and to transcend that battle through the power of love. Wagner’s major masterpieces can be understood as leading in a steady progression towards redemption. What was the deepest meaning of his life? Only he could answer that, and those on the inner side who see and know. Perhaps the significance of his extraordinary contribution to humanity be expressed in these words: “Redemption through Love expressed thorough music, poetry and drama which, at their best, are a glorious embodiment of the victory of that Love”.

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