John Audubon
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2006


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

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John Audubon—Ornithologist, Naturalist

April 26, 1785, Les Cayes, Haiti, 2:00 PM, LMT. (Source speculative as per Marc Penfield)

(Speculative Ascendant, Virgo; Speculative MC, Gemini with Venus in Gemini conjunct MC; Sun and Mercury in Taurus; Moon in Sagittarius; Mars in Pisces; Jupiter in Aries; Saturn, Pluto and NN in Aquarius with Pluto conjunct NN; Uranus in Cancer; Neptune in Libra)


A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.
Saturn in 5th house?

In Pennsylvania, a beautiful state…, my father, in his desire to prove my friend through life, gave me what Americans call a beautiful "plantation," refreshed during the summer heat by the waters of the Schuylkill River, and traversed by a creek named Perkioming. Its fine woodlands, its extensive acres, its fields crowned with evergreens, offered many subjects to my pencil. It was there that I commenced my simple and agreeable studies, with as little concern about the future as if the world had been made for me.

Immediately upon my landing" in the United States in 1806, he later wrote, "prompted by an innate desire to acquire a thorough knowledge of the birds of this happy country," Audubon resolved to devote his spare time to drawing each American bird in "its natural size and colouring."

I am at work and have done much," he wrote in early October 1829, after leaving the Great Pine Forest, "but I wish I had eight pairs of hands, and another body to shoot the specimens, still I am delighted at what I have accumulated in drawings this season. Forty-two drawings in four months, eleven large, eleven middle size, and twenty-two small, comprising ninety-five birds, from Eagles downwards, with plants, nests, flowers, and sixty different kinds of eggs. I live alone, see scarcely any one, besides those belonging to the house where I lodge. I rise long before day and work till nightfall, when I take a walk and go to bed.

I had no vices, but was thoughtless, pensive, loving, fond of shooting, fishing, and riding, and had a passion for raising all sorts of fowls, which sources of interest and amusement fully occupied my time. It was one of my fancies to be ridiculously fond of dress; to hunt in black satin breeches, wear pumps when shooting, and to dress in the finest ruffled shirts I could obtain from France.
Venus in Gemini? – dressing up. Sun in Taurus – grounded pursuits.

“I ate no butcher's meat, lived chiefly on fruits, vegetables, and fish, and never drank a glass of spirits or wine until my wedding day.” “All this time I was fair and rosy, strong and active as one of my age and sex could be, and as active and agile as a buck.
Mars in Pisces?

Before I sailed for France, I had begun a series of drawings of the birds of America, and had also begun a study of their habits. I at first drew my subject dead, by which I mean to say that after procuring a specimen, I hung it up, either by the head, wing, or foot, and copied it as closely as I could.
Virgo Ascendant. – {copying closely) Pluto conjunct North Node in 6th house – drawing dead birds as a contribution to the world?!

I sent a draft to my wife, and began life in New Orleans with forty-two dollars, health, and much eagerness to pursue my plan of collecting all the birds of America.” “My best friends,” he says at this time, “solemnly regarded me as a mad man, and my wife and family alone gave me encouragement. My wife determined that my genius should prevail, and that my final success as an ornithologist should be triumphant.
Jupiter in 7th house

Audubon somewhere says of himself that he was “temperate to an intemperate degree—
Neptune in Libra in 2nd house?

I seem in a measure to have gone back to my early days of society and fine dressing, silk stockings and pumps, and all the finery with which I made a popinjay of myself in my youth.... I wear my hair as long as usual, I believe it does as much for me as my paintings.

One year, in the month of August, I was trudging along the shores of the Mohawk river, when night overtook me. Being little acquainted with that part of the country, I resolved to camp where I was; the evening was calm and beautiful, the sky sparkled with stars which were reflected by the smooth waters, and the deep shade of the rocks and trees of the opposite shore fell on the bosom of the stream, while gently from afar came on the ear the muttering sound of the cataract. My little fire was soon lighted under a rock, and, spreading out my scanty stock of provisions, I reclined on my grassy couch. As I looked on the fading features of the beautiful landscape, my heart turned towards my distant home, where my friends were doubtless wishing me, as I wish them, a happy night and peaceful slumbers. Then were heard the barkings of the watch dog, and I tapped my faithful companion to prevent his answering them. The thoughts of my worldly mission then came over my mind, and having thanked the Creator of all for his never-failing mercy, I closed my eyes, and was passing away into the world of dreaming existence, when suddenly there burst on my soul the serenade of the Rosebreasted bird, so rich, so mellow, so loud in the stillness of the night, that sleep fled from my eyelids. Never did I enjoy music more: it thrilled through my heart, and surrounded me with an atmosphere of bliss. One might easily have imagined that even the Owl, charmed by such delightful music, remained reverently silent. Long after the sounds ceased did I enjoy them, and when all had again become still, I stretched out my wearied limbs, and gave myself up to the luxury of repose.
Does he really have Mercury in Taurus? Not Gemini? A mellifluous turn of phrase.


Audubon, John James, 1785-1851

John James Audubon, nature artist, was born in Santo Domingo (now Haiti) April 26, 1785, to Jeanne Rabine, his father's mistress. In 1788, Capt. Jean Audubon took his son and younger half-sister to France, where the children were legally adopted by their father and his wife Anne Moynet, and the son was given the name Jean-Jacques Fougère Audubon. Aside from a brief period at the Rochefort-sur-Mer Naval Academy when eleven years old, the boy was educated at home by his stepmother. He claimed also to have studied in the atelier of Jacques Louis David in Paris, but evidence for this is lacking.

In 1803, young Audubon was sent to Pennsylvania to manage an estate his father had bought, and also to shield him from the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars. There he met Lucy Bakewell, daughter of a nearby English family. They were married in 1808, and of their four children both daughters died in infancy but the two sons, Victor Gifford and John Woodhouse, lived to take a major role in their father's book projects when, in old age, both his sight and mind failed.

Audubon tried several unsuccessful business ventures in partnership with a friend, Ferdinand Rozier, including storekeeping, first in Louisville and later downriver at Henderson, Kentucky. Later, his failure at running a mill in Henderson led to Audubon's brief imprisonment for debt in 1819. After this, he gave up entrepreneurship and earned whatever he could by making crayon portraits of people.

All this while he had been painting birds, too. After a short period of employment as a taxidermist in Cincinnati, he set off down the Mississippi River, painting bird pictures as he went. In New Orleans Mrs. Audubon found employment as a governess, while her husband took whatever employment he could find, including painting street signs.

In 1824 Audubon was ready to seek a publisher for his bird book, traveling first to Philadelphia, then to Europe. While the 435 plates of the double-elephant folio The Birds of America were being printed and hand-colored section by section over the course of eleven years, first in Liverpool and later in London, Audubon traveled extensively, both in Europe and America, seeking subscriptions and adding additional birds. In 1831-39, he published Ornithological Biography, five volumes of text to supplement the bird pictures. Only institutions and a few wealthy collectors could afford the large four-volume book of bird pictures, but a smaller octavo edition of it in seven volumes issued 1840-44 became a runaway bestseller. Income from this enabled the Audubons to build their home "Minnie's Land" on the northern end of Manhattan Island.

Having traveled as far north as Labrador and as far south as Florida in pursuit of birds, Audubon's last tour took him as far west as the Dakotas seeking iimages for his only other book, two-volumes of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1846-46). Many of these paintings had to be completed by John Woodhouse Audubon because of his father's infirmity. John James Audubon died at Minnie's Land January 27, 1851. Nine of his journals were published by his granddaughter, Maria R. Audubon, in 1897.—Charles Boewe

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