Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi

The prolific Italian Baroque composer, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, was born in Venice on the 4th of March 1678, at ‘sunset’. (1)

To this day his name is widely recognized, even amoung uncultured brutes, as the composer of the perrenial ‘Four Seasons’ violen concertos, but during his lifetime he produced a vast amount of work; many dozens of operas, concertos, sonatas and various compositions of religious music are credited to him. His music enjoyed the appreciation and patronage of society’s elite; he played and composed for nobility and royalty, and while living in Rome, he was invited to perform for Pope Benedict XIII.

Antonio’s father, Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, himself a professional violenist, taught his young son to play violen and the pair toured Venice performing together.

In 1703, at the age of 25, Antonio Vivaldi was ordained into the priesthood, and in September of that year he was appointed maestro di violino at an orphanage in Venice where he provided musical education to orphaned girls. He remained associated with that institution for much of his productive life, he produced a great deal of his life’s work there.

Tropical/Placidus on the left, Sidereal/Whole Houses on the right

Amoung the features of his chart that catch my eye at a glance are the Conjunction of Sun and Jupiter, a tight Conjunction of Mercury and Mars, and, in the Jyotish chart, Moon in Cancer in the 12th House.

The Sun/Jupiter Conjunction shows that he is regal somehow, as his Leo Ascendant in itself implies. In fact, this Sun is the Sidereal Ascendant ruler, Angular, and in fact Conjunct the Descendant, Conjunct Jupiter. There’s nobility there, and the ennobling and educative role of the father figure could be seen in a Sun/Jupiter Conjunction alone.

Sun Conjunct Jupiter enables you to believe in yourself in enough to step into the role of ‘celebrity’, genius, teacher, priest. In fact Jupiter’s influence seems clearly implicated in the timing of his inititiation into priesthood and the commencement of his teaching work at the orphanage. Progressed Jupiter was Sesquiquadrate his Moon between 1703 and 1705.

When Jupiter is close to your descendant, it suggests you manage to come into personal contact through friendship or partnership, with people more distinguished, learned and wealthy than yourself. People who may have seen more of the world than oneself, and yet these people tend to mentor you, they may materially support you, patonize you, advise you soundly and guide you well, and ultimately you will attain to some of their greatness. In other words, in Vivaldi’s chart he has not only the faith in oneself that Sun Conjunct Jupiter bestows, but through this descending location of that regal combination it is pointing directly to benefits and upliftment through association with eminent persons.

Mercury combining with Mars is seldom a good mix,according to Cardano’s aphorisms, since it makes people ‘naughty and impudent, yet industrious in Art, whence it comes to pass that the best Artists are too often the worst men‘. Mercury/Mars combinations can make for dazzling feats of dexterity and prowess, mental incisiveness, a quick and cutting wit. No doubt Vivaldi’s ‘industriousness in art‘, his intellectual productivity, and his technical skills as a violinist owe much to this naughty Mercury/Mars Conjunction, and it seems plausible that some of the less agreeable traits that come with Mercury Conjunct Mars were also in evidence:

His relationship with the board of directors of the Ospedale was often strained. The board had to take a vote every year on whether to keep a teacher. The vote on Vivaldi was seldom unanimous, and went 7 to 6 against him in 1709. After a year as a freelance musician, he was recalled by the Ospedale with a unanimous vote in 1711; clearly during his year’s absence the board had realized the importance of his role

Useful as it may be for any task that requires mental acuity and agility, Mercury Conjunct Mars does not specifically make you a musician, but Saraswati Yoga certainly can; and then Mercury Conjunct Mars will make you, technically, better at it! Mercury/Mars sharpens the mind and can even be translated, I dare say, as ‘prowess of the fingers‘.

Saraswati Yoga is formed when Mercury, Venus and Jupiter are all located in Kendras (Angular Houses), Konas (‘fire houses’, the 1st, 5th or 9th) or the 2nd House. The stronger the planets are by sign the better, but for the yoga to be present, the key factor is that all these cultured planets should be locate in any number of these desirable houses.

Saraswati, the goddess of music, learning and the arts, is literally depicted holding a book and a stringed instrument. When it is present in a chart it bestows the blessing of Saraswati’s in the matters over which she presides. It can produce savants and often indicates a capacity for cultivating and mastering several branches of the arts and academia, musical gifts being on of the key manifestations. (2)

This intimate relationship he developed with an orphanage, serving orphaned girls in particular, is of course a beautifully poetic and natural way for Moon in the 12th House to manifest. In the Sidereal/Whole House view that’s Moon in Cancer in the 12th House. The Lord of the 12th occupies the 12th in it’s own sign, thereby enabling a full, and very likely constructive, expression of 12th House matters. Of course the 12th House is a ‘grief producing house’ whichever way you look at it, and the Moon suffers here through emotional melancholy and martyredom in some form, probably at the best of times, and it is recorded that Vivaldi suffered from strettezza di petto, or ‘tightness of the chest’, most likely asthma. On account of this malady he was exempted, as a priest, from certain regular priestly duties, such as saying mass, and yet remained officially a member of the priesthood. This 12th House Cancer Moon seems implicated in this element of physical frailty of the chest that Vivaldi suffered from and arguably points to some sorrowful or ‘renounced’ aspect of his emotionl life that he may have struggled with.

Even so, the Moon as a royal planet gains notable dignity by being located in her own Sidereal sign, Cancer, along with that royal Leo Ascendant, there is this suggestion of ‘upper class’.

Taking the Moon for a moment as a ‘lagna’, as an ‘ascendant’ in itself, we find Venus in the 10th from the Moon. This creates Amala Yoga (when a benefic occupies the 10th House from Moon) which specifically references the idea of fame lasting long after death. It gives you a sterling and ‘stainless’ reputation. This yoga alone may not suffice to ensure pothumous fame, but with support elswhere it can have this specific implication. Beyond the fact that Amala Yoga is formed thereby, Venus in the 10th from the Moon of course supports the idea of an artistic career, social poplularity, public geniality, effective diplomacy.

Saturn occupies Vivaldi’s 10th House, viewed through the lens of the Jyotish chart. Whichever way you look at it, Saturn is elevated and not far from the Midheaven. Vivaldi would have been acutely aware of the gravity of his social standing and his social obligations, and also, certainly as a priest, of the precipituous consequences of indiscretion. (3)

Venus in the Vedic chart is lord of the 10th House, located in the 9th House, and by any measure this is in itself a notable boost to Vivaldi’s career and social standing. It immediately points to the possibility of being a teacher, and an inspirer.

Some Jyotishis believe that Venus ‘matures’ in the 25th year, between age 24 and 25. Venus blossoms then and her role in the chart is awakened, bringing to light that which Venus as lord of the 10th in the 9th means, along with Venus being located in the 10th House from the Moon. His being ordained into the priesthood (Venus in Jyotish is a priestly planet) and also being appointed as maestro di violino at the orphanage in this phase of his life, is neatly fitting.

Notes:

  1. astro.com’s astrodatabank rates the birth data ‘B’ and in the source notes states: “Lescaut quotes a biography for ‘sunset.’ “
  2. It is interesting to note that Saraswati Yoga would not be formed using the Tropical Zodiac, whether you use Placidus, Equal or Whole Sign Houses.
  3. Oscar Wilde also has Sidereal Leo Rising with Saturn in Taurus in the 10th House. In Wilde’s case Venus, lord of the 10th and dispositor of Saturn is debilitated in Virgo in the 2nd House, whereas in Vivaldi’s case Venus is located in Aries in the 9th House. Vivaldi’s exceedingly personal and intimate relationship with his protege, Anna Tessieri GirĂ², raised some eyebrows, although Vivaldi’s claimed the relationship was purely professional, though friendly- but strictly platonic. We don’t know.