Kafka

Franz Kafka had Mercury in the 11th House in Gemini. He was born in Prague in a Jewish family that, as many other Jewish families at that time, had recently left their life in the country to live in the city. Along this process, most of these families had abandoned the common use of the Czech language, and used the Yiddish to communicate among themselves. Kafka spoke Czech, German, and Yidish. He also knew French, Italian, and probably some English. He would learn Hebrew later. The Yidish language spoken in Prague in turn is thought to be a form of relexified language which integrated words coming from the Czech and the German languages into grammatical structures coming from High German and Hebrew. At the same time, the German language was used in Prague in state bureaucracy and in commerce, and thus, Kafka would need to use the German language in his work as a lawyer. The German language in Prague was already an intermixed language that had taken elements from Czech and Yiddish. In this linguistic context, when Kafka discovered he wanted to become a writer, he had to choose a language for his writing. And what he did was to choose the German language of Prague and to use it in a totally personal way, carving a language within a language that would allow him to write what he wanted to write, a minor language that would reflect his essential loneliness, isolation and alienation-in fact, he had the fantasy of living in a room where he would dedicate only to writing, and where a wife would interrupt him only to take him his meals.

Kafka had Pluto in the 10th House in Gemini, and the South Node is also in the 10th House in Taurus, ruled by Venus in the 11th House in Gemini conjunct Mercury-the planetary ruler of Pluto. The North Node is in the 4th House in Scorpio, ruled by Pluto in the 10th House in Gemini.

Solar Fire - Chart Page

Pluto and the South Node in the 10th House reflect intense pressures to conform to the existing order of his family and society, and the specific emotional impact of an domineering, abusive and sadistic father-Neptune is conjunct the South Node and Neptune is conjunct Mars, which rules the 10th House cusp in Aries (the father was the son of a shochet or ritual slaughterer). With Neptune being conjunct the South Node, Kafka also felt abandoned as a child because of his parents’ dedication to their business. With the South Node in the 10th House being in Taurus, ruled by Venus in Gemini in the 11th House, Kafka’s family of birth represented for him a fixed and rigid value structure to which he was unable to relate, and felt alienated from. “I was a timid child. For all that, I am sure I was also obstinate, as children are. I am sure that Mother spoiled me too, but I cannot believe I was particularly difficult to manage; I cannot believe that a kindly word, a quiet taking by the hand, a friendly look, could not have got me to do anything that was wanted of me. Now you are, after all, basically a charitable and kindhearted person (what follows will not be in contradiction to this, I am speaking only of the impression you made on the child), but not every child has the endurance and fearlessness to go on searching until it comes to the kindliness that lies beneath the surface. You can treat a child only in the way you yourself are constituted, with vigor, noise, and hot temper, and in this case such behavior seemed to you to be also most appropriate because you wanted to bring me up to be a strong, brave boy” (Kafka, Letter to the Father). With Mercury in the 11th House being the ruler of Pluto in the 10th House in Gemini, Kafka´s works contains a radical criticism to the bureaucratic structures of his society-a society resulting from the fragmentation and fall of the Hapsburg empire- and the loneliness and isolation those structures created for the individual. The intensity of the alienation from the parental and societal environment experienced by Kakfa is made clear in his short novel The Metamorphosis, which begins: “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug”. The original German word Kafka used which has been translated as verminous bug or insect was “Ungeziefer”, which literally means “an animal unclean for sacrifice”.  For the sake of this example, I will concentrate on the meaning of this word Kafka used in this tale. There are several reasons why Kafka would inwardly feel like an ‘animal not suited for sacrifice’, resulting in the choice of these words, which are combined in his psyche in a very dualistic and fragmented way-Mercury in the 11th House in Gemini. A first reason is based on deep feelings of impurity and guilt which are associated with the physical body and sexuality, based on the impact of patriarchal judgments of Christian and Judaic religious nature, which have created desires in Kafka´s Soul to repress an intense sexual and sensual nature, and to detach from these aspects of his own nature altogether-the South Node in Taurus in the 10th House, conjunct Neptune and Mars, ruled by Venus in the 11th House. Desires to detach from the sensation body are indicated by Venus being in the 11th House, and are restated by Uranus in the 2nd House in Virgo, square to Venus. There are of course other reasons that have created the dynamic of detachment, which relate to a variety of prior-lives traumas of collective and individual nature, traumas that involved the survival of people, groups and communities of people, and people belonging to his own family-the planets within the 11th House with Uranus in the 2nd House, relative to Neptune being conjunct the South Node in Taurus, and the Sun/Jupiter conjunction in the 12th House in Cancer which forms a trine to the North Node in Scorpio in the 4th House, with the Moon being in the 11th House also square to Uranus, and Ceres in Taurus conjunct Pluto, Mars and Juno. The memories of traumas stored within the individuated unconscious-the 11th House- have induced an orientation to detach from sensation body and the emotional body. This dynamic of repression and detachment from sensation and emotion, has contributed to the patriarchal induced repression of sexuality though negative opinions and judgments against sexuality. With the South Node being in Taurus, and Mars in Taurus being conjunct to Pluto, the sexual desire nature is intense, however fluctuating because of the dynamic of detachment of the sexual energy indicated by Venus in the 11th House and Uranus in the 2nd House. Because of the intensity of repression, the sexual desire nature has become distorted. Mars being conjunct Neptune conjunct the South Node and Virgo on the 2nd House cusp reflects desires for purity which have been conditioned by such types of beliefs, that alternate with desires for an intense immersion in ‘profane’ sexuality. Kafka had intense sexual desires and regularly visited prostitutes in brothels. He also had a collection of pornography kept at a locked bookshelf. Through these forms of sexuality he would release the buildup of sexual energy, but this orientation would however increase the feelings of impurity and associated guilt. He would refer to sexuality as “the punishment for being together” and he would write that “good attracts us to evil just like the eyes of a woman attract us to bed”. In his novel “The Trial”, Kafka wrote about an endless legal proceedings aganst ‘K.’ who never gets to know what he is being charged for. In one of his tales, “Before the Law”, he wrote about a peasant who went to the courts in search of justice but who is not capable to enter because doorkeeper that stands before the open doors of the law, who wears a fur coat, and has a “big sharp nose and long, thin, black Tartar beard”. In this pattern of guilt connected to sexuality we can see a first reason why Kafka would feel like being ‘impure’ for sacrifice.

This pre-existing orientation to sexuality has of course impacted on the Soul’s orientation to being in intimate relationships, creating a conflict between dual desires to have partners who were ‘pure’ from a patriarchal point of view, equaling not being sexual, and desires for partners who are intensely sexual. This duality is reflected in the same symbols already mentioned, and further, in Venus being in Gemini in the 11th House square to Uranus in the 2nd House in Virgo-Uranus being the 7th House ruler; the south node of  Mars is in Libra in the 3rd House; Juno is in Taurus in the 10th House conjunct Neptune and Mars, Mars is square to asteroid Lilith in the 12th House, the Dark Moon Lilith is conjunct Venus in Gemini, and the Black Moon Lilith is in Scorpio conjunct the North Node in 4th House. Interwoven with this conflict around sexuality an underlying conflict exists between wanting to be in intimate relationships and for form a family on one side, and desires to be completely free and independent. This conflict and paradox around being in an intimate relationship and being free an independent is reflected in the Nodal axis being square the Ascendant/Descendant axis, and it is also combined with resulting desires for variety within relationships: Venus in the 11th House in Gemini, Venus conjunct Mercury, Aquarius on the 7th House cusp. Most part of Kafka’s relationships with women he felt attracted to on a personal basis occurred only though letter writing, and he would at times write to these women two or three letter each day. He would even make plans for marriage with women he had only seen once or twice, with whom this intensive correspondence was taking place, but these plans would be later cancelled, because he feared that married life would not leave him time enough to dedicate to writing. More specifically, Kafka had intense fears of being interrupted during his hours of inspiration-a reflection of his own inner disconnectedness and inner shortcuts-Neptune conjunct the South Node, ruled by Venus conjunct Mercury in Gemini in the 11th House etc. When Kafka met Felice Bauer, he felt immediately attracted to her as soon as he knew she was a typewriter who enjoyed doing transcriptions of manuscripts for their mutual friend Max Brod, and he thought she could help him with his own manuscripts-a reflection of Kafka´s Venus conjunct Mercury in the 11th House in Gemini. This set in motion an intensive process of letter writing to her. At the third month of this epistolary romance, he sent her a letter quoting a Chinese poem by Yuan Tzu-Tsai, which goes:

In the Dead of Night

In the cold night, while poring over

my book, I forgot the hour of bedtime.

The scent of my gold-embroidered bedcover

has already evaporated, the fireplace burns no more.

My beautiful friend, who hitherto has controlled

her wrath with difficulty, snatches away the lamp,

and asks: Do you know how late it is?

Kafka came back to this poem several times in his correspondence with Felice, and used this reference as a means to both attract her, and to keep her apart or at a safe distance. With the North Node being in the 4th House in Scorpio, ruled by Pluto in the 10th House, we can see that the fears of being interrupted are also based on fears of true intimacy because of the unresolved emotional states existing in Kafka’s Soul. Two months later, he wrote to Felice: “That friend in the poem is not bad, this time the lamp was really turned off, the loss was not that much, there is still much joy in her. But, ¿what if she had been the wife, and that night had not been an ordinary night, but an example of all nights, and thus, not only of the nights but of all of their life in common, that life that would be a struggle for the lamp? ¿what reader could still smile?” He also wrote to her “you once told me you would like to sit by my side while I am writing; but notice that in that case I would not be able to write (…) one can never  be alone enough when writing (…) one can never be surrounded by enough silence (…) I have often thought that the best way of living for me would be to lock myself in the depth of a vast cave, with a lamp and all I need for writing. They would bring me the meals and would leave them always apart from where I would be, behind the outer door of the cave. I would walk there in nightgown across all the vaults to pick the meals, and that would be my only walk. I would immediately go back to my desk, I would eat slow and concentrated, and then I would start writing again. What I would be able to write in this way! From what depths would I take it! Effortlessly! Because extreme concentration ignores what effort is. Only that perhaps I would not persevere, and at the first flaw, perhaps unavoidable even in such conditions, I couldn’t but sink myself in the greatest of madness: what do you say to this, my love? Do not back away from the cave dweller!” With Pluto in Gemini in the 10th House, and the North Node in Scorpio in the 4th House, Mercury in the 11th House in Gemini we can see in this image of the writer as a cave dweller a reflection of Kafka’s desires for experiential depth, in which writing could serve as a vehicle for self-objectification which would promote a potential, progressive emotional integration, versus a more superficial writing which would only perpetuate the existing emotional alienation. However, this in turn demanded from him to reach a certain point in which self-objectification-occurring through the vehicle of writing and solitary thinking-Mercury rules Pluto and is the final dispositor of the chart-would prove to him the need to embrace his inner emotional reality, instead of repressing, detaching from and intellectualizing his intense emotional life. Until such realization had not occurred, the conflict between commiting or not commiting to an intimate relationship would not be possible. Kafka wrote in his diary: “from the moment I make the decision to marry, I cannot sleep, my head burns day and night, life is not life any more, and in despair I stagger from side to side”. Here we can see a second reason for not being suitable for the sacrifice implied in a committed relationship.

A third reason relates to Kafka´s dynamics of avoidance of responsibility and of his desires to assume a social role through the vehicle of a career. Pluto in the 10th House, and the South Node also in the 10th House conjunct Neptune-also the stellium of planets in the 10th and the 11th House- correlate with his Soul’s desires to embrace a meaningful work or social purpose which would contribute to the needs of others at a societal level. However, Kafka became a lawyer who would work in handling insurance claims, thus serving only to the financial interests of large companies-Pluto in the 10th House, South Node in the 10th House in Taurus. At the same time, he deeply disliked his work, and managed to have only a part-time job. Thus, he was not suitable for the sacrifice involved in serving social needs-Neptune conjunct the South Node, ruled by Venus in the 11th House. Of course this dynamic of avoidance was justified because of his desires to be a writer, however, while he in fact dedicated most of his time to writing and was quite a prolific writer, he did not want to have his writings published-he burned about the ninety percent of his writings, and the larger part of his known works were published after his death, and despite his instructions that these were also destroyed. Thus, a big part of his orientation to writing was essentially based on his desires to be left alone with his own inner thoughts-which he would share only with some close friends: Mercury in the 11th House in Gemini correlating here to writing as vehicle for alienation and detachment from reality. Again, because of the intensity of emotional repression and the nature of the unresolved traumas existing within Kafka’s Soul, such pre-existing orientation was necessary, because, even in spite of the alienation implied, writing would serve as a vehicle to objectify his inner thoughts, to have the thoughts linearly ordered in front of him so to speak, versus only revolving inside his head, which would in turn serve his Soul to objectify in a detached way the inner emotional and psychological dynamics in place-the North Node in Scorpio in the 4th House, ruled by Pluto in Gemini, ruled by Mercury in Gemini in the 11th House, etc.