Hemingway – Moon Yogas
In Hemingway’s chart, the Moon is in the 5th house conjunct Rahu. Saturn is before the Moon. There are no embodied planets with the Moon, and no planets after the Moon. However, Venus and Ketu are on the angle, in the 7th house from the Moon.
Moon conjunct Rahu
Although the nodes are not included in the Moon yogas, it is worth noting that Rahu with the Moon would show Hemingway’s emotions were volatile and ungrounded, creating a sense of stress and lack of inner fulfilment. Much of this stemmed from Hemingway’s painful relationship with his mother. Rahu with the Moon also gave him an intuitive and eccentric mind, and an interest in exotic and foreign places: Hemingway lived in Paris and Cuba and travelled extensively.
The Moon is waxing and bright, which gave Hemingway capacity to deal with emotional difficulties. He also transmuted his difficult emotions through creative expression (Moon in the 5th = creativity).
Saturn before the Moon
Planets before the Moon show what kind of emotional experiences the person gravitates towards and they act as an emotional buffer. Saturn here shows someone who seeks solitude and looks for pragmatism and realism in life. It also indicates a sombre and mature life view and a fascination with themes of mortality, old age and fragility of life.
Love of solitude: Hemingway was described as a private and introverted person. His father used to take the family on lakeside holidays, where he taught young Ernest to hunt, fish and camp. Wikipedia says these “early experiences instilled a life-long passion for outdoor adventure and living in remote isolated areas”. Being 12th from the Moon, Saturn would indicate solitude and isolation. Camping, fishing, and hunting were seen as survival skills (Saturn is related to survival). As a malefic, Saturn desensitised young Hemmingway to inflicting pain and killing prey.
Mortality and death: Hemingway had an acute awareness of life’s brevity. He enrolled in the war in 1917 and was seriously wounded on the Italian front when he was only 18, and he described his brush with death in his work. He once said, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills”. We can feel Saturn’s influence on the Moon in his poignant words.
His suicide at the age of 61 had much to do with Saturn before the Moon. At the time, Hemingway suffered from depression and refused to leave the house, fearing that the FBI was watching him (Saturn in Scorpio and Rahu + Moon are related to fears and paranoia). During his Jupiter/Mercury dasha, which activated his Moon + Rahu in Sagittarius and Saturn in Jyeshta, Hemingway was subjected to electric shock therapy (Mars/Scorpio) to treat depression (Saturn), and felt like he was losing his mind (Saturn influence on the Moon/mind). He famously said, “What is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure, but we lost the patient.”
Saturn’s influence in writing: Hemingway’s writing focussed on themes of war, wilderness, loss, mortality, and death. Bull fighting is the subject of The Death in the Afternoon. For Whom The Bell Tolls tells a story of an American soldier in the Spanish Civil war. All these are Saturn themes, and they have a strong undercurrent of Scorpio fascination with death.
Hemingway’s writing style was unique in its succinctness. He employed short sentences, lean and hard narrative; he even famously avoided using punctuation. This economic and pragmatic style is all Saturn. He preferred to convey emotion (the Moon) through describing the bare facts of what’s happening (Saturn), rather than labelling the emotions or embellishing them through ornate language.
Venus on an Angle
Planets on angles from the Moon act as anchors. Venus is in the 7th from the Moon, which has to do with romantic partners. This shows that Hemingway’s mental support structures were based on Venusian experiences: art, writing (Venus in Gemini = creativity with words/ideas), pleasures of life, good food, attractive women. This support was especially important as he had no planets after the Moon that would allow him to integrate his emotional experiences, which bore the ungrounded quality of Rahu and the pressure of the malefic Saturn.
Relationship issues: Hemingway was an amorous man. He was married four times and was adept at manipulating the women, often getting them to put up with being part of a love triangle. Not only is Venus a disruptive planet for him, which rules the 3rd house of desires and wilfulness, but it is also with Ketu. This shows innate skill in negotiating relationships and getting his desires met. Yet it also manifests as subconscious dissatisfaction with romantic relationships, resulting in his serial abandonment of women, who never quite live up to his expectations.
This pattern and the misogynistic portrayal of women in his work likely stemmed from his troubled relationship with his mother. A wilful and eccentric woman, she dressed young Ernest in frilly pink dresses to make him look like a girl so he could pass for his sister’s twin. This quote from Bernice Kert aptly states: “Ernest’s lifelong assertion of masculine power grew out of his emotional need to exorcise the painful memory of his mother asserting her superiority over his father”. A fitting description for Venus conjunct Ketu influencing Hemingway’s Moon.
Relationships as support: Despite the disruptive nature of Venus, Hemingway’s relationships were his pillar of support. His second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, a magazine editor, reviewed and even edited his early novels. Pauline was from a wealthy family and financially supported Hemingway early on. Hemingway’s third wife was a journalist, and together they travelled to the Spanish war, reporting from the front lines.
Saturnine layer in relationships: Aside from Venus, Saturn before the moon also influenced Hemingway’s relationships (amplified because Saturn also rules his 7th house). Hemingway gravitated towards women who were significantly older than he (Saturn indicates mature partners, especially as it is in Jyeshta or “Elder” nakshatra). His first love and his first two wives were between 4-8 years older than he. This preference for older women changed in the 1940s when Hemingway went into his Rahu dasha and married two women markedly younger: the effect of a Rahu dasha at the time of a mid-life crisis.
Interestingly, Hemingway married most of the women he was in love with – another way the traditionalism of Saturn influenced his Moon/mind. If he just had Venus on an angle, he would probably have had a string of affairs. But Saturn’s influence on his psyche demanded commitment. His second wife Pauline wrote, “I don’t mind Ernest falling in love, but why does he always have to marry the girl when he does?”
Venus in writing: Hemingway always went to great length to describe food and drink in his writing: he talks about how things taste, how people cook, how they take their meals – the everyday pleasures. Hemingway used bilingual puns and crosslingual wordplay as stylistic devices – Venus in Gemini would look for beauty and artistic expression through words, language and puns. Although Hemingway did not take kindly to his mother’s forceful attempts to teach him cello as a child, his later writing was influenced by the musical lessons. For example, For Whom the Bell Tolls has a contrapuntal structure.