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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

David Foster Wallace

It's the 2d anniversary of the suicide of writer David Foster Wallace. In my experience, 2d anniversaries suck worse for the grieving than the 1st ones do, but I feel things slowly. American Society generally gives a griever about 1 week for public display, 6 months for emotional display among close friends, and up to a year to hit bottom with some sort of problem which requires a 12 step program to recover from. Grieving embarrasses Americans. If it's ever possible to invent a vaccination to eradicate grief, I'm sure the inventor will become the richest American ever.

The media is now celebrating Wallace's writings in preparation for marketing Wallace's final book which was left unfinished at his death. It's called The Pale King. Sounds awesome, main theme is about boredom but it looks at boredom through the eyes of employees institutionalized at the IRS. Last night NPR devoted a show to Wallace. Interestingly PC show, they tried to discuss his emotional problems without actually saying anything because he was obviously let down by the psychiatric profession. And enticing as always they gave off some dates about Wallace's life, work, and mostly prescription psychiatric drug intake which got me all curious. I thought I'd look at what might indicate a bad date to stop taking meds since this is what happened to Wallace. Wallace was a Pisces whose Sun was conjunct Chiron and Venus which most astrology buffs understand to show hyper sensitivity to any type of drug, or anything mind altering and escapist.

I didn't know who Wallace was until a week after his death when I picked up a book at a library book sale which included his short story "The Depressed Person." I became sort of obsessed with the story so looked him up on the Internet. And that's about the extent of it. I was amazed by his writing and amazed by the coincidence of how the book opened directly to his story and how I actually stood there and read the story.

The NPR show got some dates wrong, at least they don't line up with The New Yorker article on him (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/03/09/090309fa_fact_max?currentPage=all).

David Foster Wallace
b. Feb 21, 1962 Ithaca, NY

Sun 4 Pisces; Moon Virgo or Libra; NN 19 Leo

First thing I noticed was the conjunction of Sun-Chiron and Venus in early Pisces. This will show a person who is lovable and charming, who thrives on dealing with others on the surface, but who because of the Chiron will suffer greatly from wanting to understand the deeper meanings of his relationships and of beauty. Chiron represents wounds we can't really heal. Sun working with Venus will probably add to a sense of yearning for more and the sign of Pisces always feels a sense of sorrow. Of course, Sun-Venus-Chiron is also a very creative aspect. In Pisces it shows a hyper sensitive person who struggles between feeling isolated and needing isolation from others. Pisces has no boundaries.

This Sun combination was further complicated, and strengthened, by oppositions to both Uranus in Leo and Pluto in Virgo. This shows that there is a great empathic relationship between the artist and his generation. It also shows a sort of obsessive (Pluto) and erratic (Uranus) personality. Sure would be interesting to see which houses in Wallace's chart these planets figure.

Second thing is to look at in this chart are the Nodes which are in contact with the planets Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Neptune. With North Node in Leo, Wallace was creative and would have enjoyed the spotlight. Leo is a performer, artist and teacher. The karmic path was to head toward drama, maybe melodrama, and romance. The Nodal Axis (life path, spiritual path, karmic destiny) is stressed by some heavy aspects. Wallace had a lot of planets connected with his South Node showing that he struggled to break away from the Uranian shadow side of his path. He had a conjunction of Mercury-Mars-Saturn on his South Node and this was squaring his natal Neptune in Scorpio. Mercury shows communication skills and styles. With Mars there is a speeding up of the energy, and just basically a great energy to the words. Wallace's famous book, Infinite Jest, was more than 1000 pages.

Saturn conjunct Mercury and Mars adds great concentration and discipline to see things in reality but on the other hand fear, caution and of course, depression and inferiority complex. Some astrologer out there calls Mars-SAturn conjunctions "driving with the brakes on." Mars wants to act on impulse and Saturn wants to plan and hold back until the right moment. This will brings times of emotional frustration. The conjunction to Mercury and square to Neptune can bring the thinking processes and feeling processes into play. Saturn-Neptune combinations are connected with creative success in life but can bring depression. They are also related to drug use and abuse.

Third thing we'd want to look at is Wallace's Moon Sign and placements due to his emotional problems and I don't have that information because lack of birth time. His Moon at noon of date of birth is too close to the Virgo-Libra cusp to know which sign placement he would have had. His emotional struggles began right before his first secondary progressed Moon return so this will be key to understanding his depression, maybe someday.

Fourth thing I noticed was that his chart looked a lot like Chuck Palahniuk's chart which I've looked at before on this blog. Turns out the two great genius writers were born on the same day. Pretty big finding for astrology buffs considering how similiar these two writers are. Both write with satire and irony, a sort of grotesque portrayal of human nature. And both were/are obsessed with their dogs. Their childhoods were completely different, though. Wallace was raised by two college professors in the Mid West and Palahniuk grew up in a trailer park and was raised by parents who divorced.

According to the New Yorker story Wallace's first breakdown occurred while he was living in Tucson, Arizona in 1987. It would have probably been around late Spring of that year I think. After returning to the Mid West to live with his family Wallace attempted suicide for the first time later on that year after watching the Karen Carpenter Story on TV. (proof that he was indeed a Pisces.) As I said before this was right before his first Progressed Moon Return. The prog. Moon may have been passing over natal Uranus in Leo and Pluto in Virgo which as I said earlier was opposing natal Sun-Chiron-Venus. It could also have been opposing his Jupiter which I'm about to bring up as maybe being a significant.

Wallace struggled with his mental illness over the next couple of years while also struggling with writing. Pluto was transiting over his natal Neptune in Scorpio, what Noel Tyl calls "Wipe Out", a very stressful indicator in life especially when placed at the apex of a t-square as in Wallace's chart. Wallace found a successful treatment with the anti-d called Nardil which seemed to help him a lot.

At this time Wallace's progressed Sun was changing signs into Aries and was on the very first degree of that sign. That's sort of the birthing point of the Astrological Wheel. That's the point which marks the Spring Equinox and the beginning of a growth period. Perhaps he would have become more and more agitated without the drugs. Aries rules total impulsiveness. I'm not a Medical Astrologer, but imagine that Mars, ruler of Aries, plays a strong part with committing suicide as well, it will represent "The Act" of doing such a thing.

At this point, transiting Pluto's conjunction with natal Neptune 14 Scorpio was beginning to separate, so Wallace perhaps would maybe have begun to pick up the pieces anyway. During this year (1989-90) there was also the big outer planet conjunction of Saturn-Uranus-Neptune in early Capricorn. Capricorn in the sign of Management and empirical science and ambition and development of discipline to become successful.

Progressed Mercury and p.Mars were also in conjunction with the Sun-Chiron-Venus in Wallace's chart during this year so this was a time of great consolidation of energies for him concerning his daily personal life and personal expression. The NPR show said that the general audience basically connects mostly with the writing which he began at this time.

Wallace went off the Nardil 22 years later around June 2007 because he was feeling fine and had had a reaction to the drug, perhaps connected with some food he ate. (Food = Moon.) There was an opposition of Saturn to Neptune over his natal Jupiter so perhaps there were problems with his Liver. Jupiter's placement is actually the one connector between the charts which follow Wallace's treatment. The Nodes were passing over his natal Jupiter 22 Aquarius when he started the Nardil around 1989-90. The Saturn-Neptune opposition was taking place on it when he quit. That's interesting because those two planets can indicate a time of depression, bad idea to go off at that point. And, then tragically, the Moon and Neptune were conjunct Wallace's natal Jupiter to the degree when he killed himself. (So, whatever ails Jupiter in Aquarius emotionally, spiritually or physically could possibly have been at the root of Wallace's illness?).

Jupiter in Aquarius seems to show up prominently in Wallace's biography. It seems that Wallace, who was raised by two well educated professors type parents, found that he preferred to live around ordinary people rather than academics and psychiatrists. Even so he remained in Academia his whole life. The article says that he was frustrated with his work because he wanted to show "capacities of spirit" yet he is probably better known for his gifts with language and his ability to write with irony. He is said to have felt limited he was in his expression, that's the Mercury-Mars-Saturn conjunction on the South Node I suppose along with the Sun-Venus conjunction with Chiron in Pisces. It might also bring in the Jupiter trauma. Boundlessness would be a major theme for him.

It is interesting to compare Wallace's life with Chuck Palahniuk's bio and life (what we know about either one, that is). Not sure if it would be possible at this point to get a real idea of Palahniuk's life at this point because people are probably mythologizing him more and more every day. But Palahniuk was the one with the difficult childhood. He grew up in a trailer park. His parents divorced. He didn't start writing until he was in his 30s. He worked as a truck driver for years (I think I read that). For some his life would be considered the least healthy and hopefully he's doing ok. It's as if this type of spirit is maybe in a weird way more comfortable in these elements. Palahniuk has admitted to going on anti-d's because his Father was murdered in a love triest (same year that Fight Club came out in movie theaters).

Interesting to note about Wallace's death. The t. Sun was exact opposition to t.Uranus in Pisces (this mirrors same aspect in natal chart). The t.Moon was conjunct t.Neptune-Chiron-NN which I've said before was right on his natal Jupiter in Aquarius. This lines the major elements of his chart (minus Ascendant Ruler which don't know w/o birth time) up with the rulers of the Uranus-Neptune mutual reception. Wallace's chart was heavily loaded with Aquarius and Pisces planets so this Moon-Neptune conjunction was basically passing through the middle of that stellium.

Oh yeah, and t.Saturn and Lilith were in conjunction with natal Pluto and t.Sun. That would have been the danger signal for the Doctor, especially so soon after the Saturn-Neptune opposition. Bad Saturn aspects can bring great fear of failure and self-consciousness. And bad Pluto aspects will go ahead and manifest the fears. Supposedly one big problem that Wallace was suffering from was insomnia and fear of being seen by his students in his state.

Lilith is involved in most of the problem points in Wallace's life. It's so amazing how she is so connected with problem spots.

David Foster Wallace Suicide
Sept. 12, 2008 afternoon-early evening?

Sun 21 Virgo; Moon 22 Aquarius; NN 17 Aquarius

Beginnings of problems 1987
On Nardil Nov. 1989? or 1990

Off Nardil June 2007

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