copyright 1983-1999 by Adele E. Barger [Wilson]

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William Blake's Soul's Purpose Formula:

Cancer rising, ruled by Neptune in Leo in the second house with Leo on

the cusp, ruled by the Sun in Sagittarius in the fifth house with Libra on the cusp

       In 1757 William Blake began his incarnation, not in a rural setting as was

so often the case with poets and artists prior to his time, but in the inner city of

London where his soul could better understand and be involved with the

consciousness of the masses, as dictated by his Cancer ascendant.  (See Esoteric

Meanings of the Rising Signs.)  At the same time, young Blake enjoyed

communing with nature and often took walks through the country to nearby

villages.  On one of these walks, at the age of ten, he experienced a vision of a tree full

of angels.  So we see that even early in his life, he was drawing upon the energy of

the esoteric ruler of his ascendant, the mystical Neptune, placed in his second

house of appreciation of inner beauty and the Divine Light.

       Neptune in Blake's chart was in Leo, the sign of self expression of the

Divinity within.  With this combination of Neptune in the house of inner beauty

and in the sign of self expression, Blake's boyhood desire to be an artist resulted

in his attending a drawing school as a child.  At age 14 he was apprenticed to an

engraver, and at age 22 he entered the Royal Academy.

       The second house is not only the house of learning to appreciate the

essential beauty of all things, but it is also the house where we must focus on our

own resources and how to rightly use them.  Therefore, it is no surprise that

Blake found himself turning to his art for self-sustenance in his early twenties

when he began selling his engravings as a means of livelihood.  Upon settling into

a marriage, he set up a printing business, but soon had to abandon it for reason

of financial failure.  Again he had to return to selling his own engravings to

support himself and his wife.

       Ruling Leo both traditionally and esoterically, the Sun is the third element

in Blake's Soul's Purpose Formula.  With the Sun in his fifth house of creativity,

Blake's spiritual service to the world, and his legacy, was his art.  Blake's Sun was

in Sagittarius, the sign of variety.  Therefore, his art took the forms of poetry, prose,

paintings, and engravings.  Sagittarius is also associated with publishing, an activity in 

which Blake engaged early in his life with the publication of his first poetry book 

when he was only in his twenties.  At the age of 32 he self-published the next of what

would be several books of poetry, all of which he would illustrate with his own

engravings, printing and coloring them by hand.

       In his early years at the Royal Academy, Blake had become part of

a circle of politically liberal intellectuals who had helped him cultivate

the progressive philosophies which he would later express in his art and writing.

During those years as a young adult in the late 1700s, Blake had found himself

steeped in discussions and news of the political oppressions and mass revolutions

that were occurring in both in France and in America.  The budding philosopher/poet, 

with his Sagittarian Sun, thus had the perfect opportunity to understand the common

human dilemma of that time which transcended national boundaries. From this he

developed an view of human nature that would later be expressed in his works of

poetry and engravings.  With Libra on the cusp of the house containing his

Sagittarian Sun, Blake's works would address not only the philosophical principle

(Sagittarius) of human dignity and Divinity (Sun), but also the need for

integration of this principle into one's psyche in order to restore the wholeness

(Libra) of one's essential nature.

       Blake himself was a revolutionary at heart, sympathizing with those who

were being oppressed by their authoritarian governments.  He perceived both

church and state to be too restrictive, and he saw the birth of the industrial 

revolution as a threat that would reduce humans to the status of animals working in

a mill.  He felt that over the centuries, Christianity had destroyed human

dignity to a point where the human being had come to be regarded as basically

stupid, sinful, and almost hopeless.  His argument was that all of man's "lower"

traits were as much a part of the Divine scheme as anything else, and that these lower

traits did not necessarily contradict the harmony of nature.  Asserting that it was

natural for people to fight for causes in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, he

referred to "the wrath of the lion" as "the wisdom of God," using the imagery of

the Lion of Leo, the sign of his Neptune, the esoteric ruler of his ascendant.

Blake also preferred the symbol of the courageous and aggressive tiger to

the meek and withdrawing Christian lamb, as reflected in the following well

known example of his poetry:

Tyger, tyger burning bright in the forests of the night

       Leo, the sign of Blake's esoteric chart ruler, is generally associated not only with

the lion, but with all members of the cat family.  Three other elements of his

Soul's Purpose Formula are also expressed in the poetry:  (1) the Sun, which is

the brightest burning orb in our sky;  (2) Sagittarius, which is the sign of the

expansiveness of nature, with its encompassing forests;  and (3) Cancer, which is

the "midnight" sign, symbolically the darkest, as it corresponds to the fourth house

of the horoscope, the place where the Sun is at midnight.  With these astrological

correspondences, then, we have:

Tiger, tiger (Leo) burning bright (Sun) in the forests (Sagittarius) of the

night (Cancer).

       As is often true of Cancer-rising people, William Blake had a strongly

visual mind which was capable of "eidetic" imagery;  that is, he saw, in his mind's

eye, not just flat images, but three-dimensional figures as if they were standing in

front of him.  He was a highly original artist and, true to his strong fifth house

and Leo, laid more emphasis on his individual creativity than in catering to public

taste.  A true mystic in the Neptunian sense, he refused to be persuaded by facts

and reality, and thus is been regarded as one of the poets best representing the

Romantic era.

       Blake's paintings are unusual in that they depict human bodies which are

muscular and corporeal (second house), while the paintings themselves, and often

the bodies, also partake of Neptune's energy by having a certain ethereal quality

to them.  His art conveys a certain spirited "fieriness" (Leo, Sagittarius) in

meaning and imagery, while retaining the flowing lines and more subtle colors of

the water element of Cancer.  Fire and water are blended in an ingenious way

throughout his paintings, reflecting the strong fire-water emphasis in his Soul's

Purpose Formula.  One of his paintings, Nebuchadnezzar, depicts an animal-like

man on hands and knees with a long beard and anguished expression, which gives

him the appearance of a lion (Leo).  This combination of man and animal is

reflective of Blake's Sun sign of Sagittarius by being analogous to the Sagittarian

centaur, the torso of a man joined to the body of a horse.

       The Sun, as the center of our solar system, can symbolize the center of

anything, and Sagittarius is the sign associated with publishing.  True to his Sun in

Sagittarius, the third element of his Soul's Purpose Formula, Blake was the center

of his own publishing company, personally producing his own illustrated books of

poetry.  Again, the placement of his ascendant's esoteric ruler, Neptune, in his

second house shows that his spiritual purpose involved developing, and learning

to rely upon, his own resources without becoming entwined in the resources of

other people.

       The soul-oriented person with Cancer rising has an above-average

sensitivity toward the needs and predicaments of ordinary, everyday people, giving

an innate ability to tune into mass consciousness.  The highest expression of a

Cancer ascendant is to use this natural ability to tune into the masses in order to

somehow help raise the general awareness of the entire culture, both in the

present and in the future.  This is often accomplished on a subtle level, appealing

to people's subconscious minds through the use of imagery or the development of

new archetypes of consciousness.

       William Blake was especially attuned to the human predicament because of

the prominence of the signs of Leo, Sagittarius, and Aquarius being so abundantly

represented in his chart.  He had Neptune and Mars in Leo, Saturn in Aquarius,

and the Sun, Jupiter, and Pluto in Sagittarius.  On top of this, he had the South

Node in Aquarius and the North Node in Leo.  These three signs, Leo,

Sagittarius, and Aquarius, are the signs, according to the Tibetan Master Djwhal

Khul, more closely connected to Humanity as a whole than are any of the other

signs.  The reason for this is that Leo, Sagittarius, and Aquarius are the signs that

transmit the Fifth Ray of Concrete Knowledge and Science, the Ray upon which

the personality of Humanity manifests.

       Based on my perceptions of Blake's chart, one expression of his Soul's

Purpose Formula might be:

Create beautiful imagery portraying the body/spirit dilemma of Humanity

in order to make the masses more aware of their need to achieve wholeness and

greater autonomy through personal expression of their innate Divinity.

With the astrological symbols added:

Create (Leo) beautiful (second house) imagery (Neptune) portraying the

body/spirit dilemma of Humanity (Sagittarius) in order to make the masses more

aware (Cancer ascendant) of their need to achieve wholeness (Libra) and greater

autonomy (Sun) through personal expression of their innate Divinity (Leo).

       In The Zodiac and the Soul, astrologer C. E. 0. Carter noted that Blake was

less immersed in the physical world than was the ordinary human being of his time.

Perhaps this speaks to Blake's Neptune being in his second house.  In expression of

this Neptune placement, Blake once said that "man has no body apart from his soul"

because that which we call the body is merely the "portion of soul discerned by

the five senses."  Here Neptune, the great dissolver of boundaries, dissolves the

boundary between the physical body (second house) and its point of origin

(Cancer) the soul.  (The sign of Cancer is said by Djwhal Khul to represent the

anima mundi, or the soul of the world, the essential Divine consciousness of all

manifested things.)

       William Blake is seen today as having been a prophet of the twentieth-

century physical and spiritual repercussions of the mechanization which had begun

in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Neptune, the esoteric ruler of his chart,

dissolves the boundary of time, while his Sun sign of Sagittarius is esoterically the

sign of intuition and, therefore, prophecy.

       Having lived and died as a pauper, William Blake was not recognized and

acclaimed as an artist until well after his death.  It was not until the early

twentieth century that Blake's name was popularized by T. S. Elliot in an essay

written about him.  With his relatively recent increase in popularity, William

Blake continues to fulfill his Cancerian purpose of raising mass consciousness to

higher levels.

Book by Adele Barger Wilson:






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