Unpacking My Library: The Confessions

Friday January 20th 2012
Bascove: Reading in Bed

I found myself yesterday, rather to my own surprise, urging a client to read The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a book which was written more than 250 years ago and which I last read about 350 years ago.

This is how it begins and I think you can read a Uranian sense of uniqueness in these words:

 I have entered upon a performance which is without example, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I mean to present my fellow-mortals with a man in all the integrity of nature; and this man shall be myself. 

I know my heart, and have studied mankind; I am not made like any one I have been acquainted with, perhaps like no one in existence; if not better, I at least claim originality, and whether Nature did wisely in breaking the mould with which she formed me, can only be determined after having read this work. 

Whenever the last trumpet shall sound, I will present myself before the sovereign judge with this book in my hand, and loudly proclaim, thus have I acted; these were my thoughts; such was I. With equal freedom and veracity have I related what was laudable or wicked, I have concealed no crimes, added no virtues; and if I have sometimes introduced superfluous ornament, it was merely to occupy a void occasioned by defect of memory: I may have supposed that certain, which I only knew to be probable, but have never asserted as truth, a conscious falsehood. Such as I was, I have declared myself; sometimes vile and despicable, at others, virtuous, generous and sublime; even as thou hast read my inmost soul: Power eternal! assemble round thy throne an innumerable throng of my fellow-mortals, let them listen to my confessions, let them blush at my depravity, let them tremble at my sufferings; let each in his turn expose with equal sincerity the failings, the wanderings of his heart, and, if he dare, aver, I was better than that man.

Confessions is the first modern autobiography and if you wan to know how the energy of Uranus-Pluto conjunct in Virgo might work in the chart of a genius, read it. If you were born in the 1960s, you have exactly this planetary signature yourself.
It’s very easy reading because Jean-Jacques is such an engagingly rubbish human being with such a big mind. He got rid of his five children, he framed a fellow servant, he has various weird and disgusting health problems. All his failings he explains with scrupulous detail. There’s the Pluto exposing the truth.
So why suggest to my client to read it? And how come it popped into my head? I had been handling it when it came down from my attic but it was more astrological than that.

Uranus is just about to oppose my client’s Sun, making her question her own unique identity. Pluto has just gone past the square, so she’d already had the total exposure of the truth.

I thought she might find Jean-Jacques a helpful companion on her journey into the next phase of her life.

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  1. Julie says:

    Hmm! didn’t he write ‘Emile’, which, from my youthful, heady, separatist feminist days, contained some nasties about women? But anyone who can write this: (thank you wikipedia) has my vote:

    The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said “This is mine,” and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.

    Be interesting to see what happens with Mars conjuncting the Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo now.

  2. Christina says:

    Yeah – the Mars is interesting in the midst of all the heavy planet stuff.

    He was a terrible husband and father. And lousy to women in general. hey ho

  3. Louise says:

    This is timely for me, thanks Christina 🙂 I have Uranus-Pluto in my 3rd closely trine Sun/Mercury. Mars will be stationing 2 and a half degrees from Uranus on Tuesday then retrogrades back, to conjunct Uranus next month, on the day I’m giving a talk about Uranus-Pluto! 🙂
    I will find the Confessions for my Kindle. I’m also keeping tabs on friends with the conjunction and what’s happening with Mars now, if I can stop my brain from imploding 😉

  4. Isy Aweigh says:

    Oh lovely, another classic narcissist… As an American at the start of an election year, all I can say is, What, more? 🙂

    I love your description of this one: “an engagingly rubbish human with such a big mind.” Can’t say the current crop of contenders is all that engaging and let’s not go near the minds.