Joan Miró was born on this day in 1893 at 11:30am in Barcelona, Spain.* To me, Miró’s work is always a sort of translation of a dream consciousness, as he painted landscapes populated by symbols both organic and fantastical, playful and a bit menacing. If in a dream you play with a snake or a flower that incidentally is also a serrated knife that bends in figure-eights, it might be a creature from Miró’s imagination.
Associated with the European Surrealist painters in the 1930s, Miró is a painterly poet, a diviner of the unseen, and an artist who sought to break with tradition. He did this formally, by inventing his own style of painting, and in terms of his content, as he depicted dreamy and comical universes that function according to their own logic, untethered to the reality we find ourselves mired in at this very moment.
Astrologically, Miró is a solar Taurus with a Moon in Gemini and Leo on the ascendant. Immediately this gives us indications that Miró’s ego is wedded to his senses, as Taurus’s ruling planet is Venus, goddess of the body. His Gemini Moon gifts an intellectual bent, and we know from his biography that he voiced “contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and declared an ‘assassination of painting’ in favour of upsetting the visual elements of established painting.”** Combine this intellectually critical disposition with his Leo rising, and we have the portrait of someone who leads with their own unique sense of self-expression, not to mention artistic vision, as Leo is the artist of the self.
In the natal charts of artists, certain principles or astrological energies are often more potent, harmonizing together in their own kind of cosmic song; though no two natal charts are alike, there are often patterns that can be discerned in the natal astrology of artists. In the chart interpretation of artists, we can look for the influence of principles 3, 5, and 12, specifically the symbolic order, the imaginary, and the real, or the sublime. Principles 3, 5, and 12 are connected to Gemini, Leo, and Pisces; the 3rd House, the 5th House, and the 12th House; Mercury, the Sun, and Neptune. Let’s take a look at Miró’s chart and see which of these principles are engaged, and how his natal astrology gives indications of his artistry.
A painting such as Miró’s is a dream. And a dream is the underworld, a place where all of the laws of ordinary life are undermined, distorted, reversed. In order to dream, principles 3, 5, and 12 must come together, but unlike in waking life where 3 and 5 lead, in dreams it is 12 that leads. This undoes the symbolic order as well as the ego. 3 and 5 are Apollonian principles, while 12 is the Dionysian principle. But 3 and 5 combined are the very medium through which dreams can happen, by which I mean to suggest that 3+5=8, 8 being the 8th principle—the underworld.
The astrological 3rd principle is associated with Gemini, the 3rd sign of the zodiac, the twins. Principle three is associated with the 3rd house, and talks to us about reason, the symbolic order, speech, writing, grammar, signs, and symbols, among other things. But unlike Mercury as expressed through Virgo, Gemini’s Mercury is irresponsible Logos, unconnected to labor. With it, the gods Hermes and Thoth come to mind, those patrons of intellectual exploration who move in the daylight world and underworld alike, symbolizing the stream of consciousness or symbolic language that often inspires and empowers our more rational form of speaking, writing, and learning.
Miró’s Part of Fortune sits in House 3 in the sign Virgo, loosely conjunct his Saturn in Libra. While Saturn may not be an artistic planet in and of itself, a healthy Saturn is valuable not just for fame and career success but (more importantly) for artistic success, as a healthy Saturn is an absolute precondition for the consistent production of successful artworks. A well-used Saturn gives self-discipline, tenacity, and the ability to face adversity over the long term, something every artist needs, even under the most favorable conditions.
Miró’s Saturn beautifully trines his natal Mars, Neptune, Pluto, all situated in House 11, the house of social progress. There is also a wide trine aspect made to his natal Moon, which sits at the edge of his Gemini House 11 stellium. Miró sought to create a new style of painting that not only made critique of, but rendered obsolete, older styles of representation.
This seems natural given the presence of this stellium in the 11th House, the house which talks about breaking with tradition to create one’s own. It is an individualistic house, and his is populated by the artistic Moon in Gemini (3rd principle), luminary of mythos, as well as Mars, planet of action, Neptune (12th principle), planet of dreams and inspiration, and Pluto, planet of power-struggle, obsession, and revolution. Significantly, all of these are in the sign Gemini, well-aspected by Saturn in House 3, the house of Gemini. The 3rd principle here is extremely strong, thus producing an artist who is focused on the symbolic power of the unconscious mind. Hermes/Thoth governs the ordered world of symbols that make up our unconscious, and presides over Gemini and the 3rd principle.
All of this powerful planetary energy in House 11 is colored by an immense desire to express Miró’s unique vision. This is because the ruler of the 5th House of self-expression, Mars, is found in the 11th House stellium. Here we find a blending of 11th principle with the 5th principle. House 5 is like Leo, and the art of self-expression, performance, and theater. We can understand the 5th principle as the imaginary order, the will to make images, dramas, fictions. Miró’s Gemini placements as such take on a Leonine expression, further pushing him to express his utopian, anti-establishment values concerning both art and the world at large.
Miró’s Gemini Moon strikes a sparkling sextile to his Venus, Sun, Midheaven, and North Node, all of which together is extremely important for several reasons. The Moon is a crucial component in the charts of artists, and is aligned with the 4th principle. Think back to the earliest poetry we have, and pre-Christian poets were writing (more likely singing) about the Moon in all her glory. The Moon is an expression of the heart, the womb, myth, inherited dreams, ancient traditions—the subject matter of art. And so we must pay careful attention to what the Moon does in the artist’s chart.
With his chart ruler, the Sun, conjunct Venus, the ruler of his sun sign, both of those conjunct the midheaven in the 10th house, all sextile his Gemini stellium, there is little doubt that this is the chart of someone who will be determined to make his mark on the world, specifically through the force of artistic rigor.
As a solar Taurus, Miró is indeed influenced by Venus, goddess of bodily rather than cosmic aesthetics. When we talk of aesthetics, we speak of materials. Surfaces, textures, colors, fabrics, paint, paper, mirrors, candlelight. All of these are of great interest to Venus, and Taurus therefore. With his chart ruler and solar ruler conjunct the Midheaven, or the angle of the public path, Miró’s life seems to have been destined to be lived publicly, and in dedication to the arts.
* Astro Databank gives Miró’s birth information a AA rating, making this a trustworthy chart for our purposes: https://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Miro,_Joan
** M. Rowell, Joan Mirό: Selected Writings and Interviews (London: Thames & Hudson, 1987) pp. 114–.116