Catholic Missionary to the Leper Colony at Molokai, Hawaii
3, 1840, Tremelo, Belgium, 12:30 PM, LMT. (Source: Speculative from
Marc Penfield; and from “Le Verseau, April, 1945) Chart speculatively
adjusted to 12:25:48 PM, MDR.
Died, April 15, 1888, Molokai, Hawaii.
Ascendant, Taurus; Proposed MC and Sun in Capricorn; Moon in Sagittarius
with Mercury conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius; Mars conjunct Neptune in
Aquarius; Jupiter in Scorpio; Uranus in Pisces; Pluto in Aries)
Damien (the Belgian Roman Catholic Priest, Joseph de Veuster) was a
man who gave his life to the care of lepers in a colony at Molokai,
Hawaii. He lived a life inspired by selflessness and sacrifice and his
work, like that of Mother Teresa and Albert Schweitzer, stands as a
radiant example to all who wish to follow in the footsteps of the Christ—“the
Man for others”. The name, “Damien”, reminds of the
historical Damien, friend of Pythias. Damien was a friend so loyal and
so loving, that he rejoiced in the opportunity to offer his own life
for the life of his friend.
by the horrendous plight of the lepers of Molokai island, Father Damien
(who had gone to Hawaii in 1864 for more normal pastoral work with the
islanders) responded when his bishop asked if there might be any priest
who would minister to the needs of the lepers. In 1873, at his own request,
he was sent to the lepers’ colony on Molokai, where he labored
(initially with very little help or support) until his death from leprosy.
Damien was a vigorous, zealous robust man, and he labored intensively
and without respite to improve the quality of the lepers’ religious,
cultural and ordinary life. A remarkably practical and even earthy person,
he threw himself tirelessly (and often, ingeniously) into this work.
He made flutes for the fingerless, held races with children that had
only stumps for feet and had holes cut in the floor of St. Philomena
to allow the sick to spit on the ground. He spoke the Hawaiian language.
Assisted by patients, he built houses—by 1888, it is said that
he and those he supervised were responsible for constructing 374 buildings
on Molokai). He constructed a water system and planted trees. He also
organized schools, bands, and choirs. He provided medical care for the
living and buried the dead. He expanded St. Philomena Catholic Church.
Not a “retiring” personality, Damien did not hesitate to
badger the Hawaiian government and his church for more resources. These
efforts attracted worldwide attention, resulting in a heightened awareness
of the disease and the plight of its victims.
Father Damien, his labors at Molokai were undertaken with an attitude
of great trust:
for me, since I am coming to the leprosy settlement, I have confided
to Our Lord, His Holy Mother and St. Joseph the matter of health.”
at length he contracted disease (reports stated that he constantly touched
and comforted the lepers to meet their physical, psychological and spiritual
needs, paying little attention to sanitary considerations), he thanked
God, and continued his work with as much vigor as his progressively
debilitating condition would allow. He refused to excuse himself from
the onerous duties he had undertaken. He accepted his fate with full
faith and died contented that he had performed his duty.
name and work of Father Damien was relatively unknown during his life-time.
Shortly after his death, on April 15, 1888, he was, (for unworthy political
and religious reasons) accused of immorality (sexual misconduct) and
his character maligned in various ways by a certain Reverend Dr. Hyde,
a Protestant divine. At that time there was no established consensus
about the true cause of leprosy, and it was theorized by some, that
the disease was sexually transmitted—a theory proven false even
in Father Damien’s day but still current and accepted by those
less informed. The famous author, Robert Louis Stevenson, came to the
aid of his reputation by writing an “open letter” which
addressed in the strongest terms Dr. Hyde’s accusations, and bringing
Father Damien to the attention of thousands who had not yet heard of
his heroic service. An investigation conducted shortly after his death,
exonerated Father Damien of any such misconduct.
letter is an excellent source of information about Father Damien—the
man. Several other sources are purely laudatory, and fail to understand
the human side of this remarkable priest. While Stevenson justifiably
regards Father Damien as a true hero and outstanding human being, but
he does not overlook his faults, yet somehow even his imperfections
(as Stevenson presents them) do credit to the man—and vilify in
a manner only just, the meanness of heart of his leading critic. It
is amusing to realize that the name of the Reverend Dr. Hyde was the
source of the infamous character “Mr. Hyde” in Stevenson’s
classic tale—Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde.
few quotations from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Open Letter
to Mr. Hyde” will reveal what no encyclopedia or academic article
more than a hundred years after his sacrificial death—it is said
that he refused treatment for the leprosy he had contracted because
it would have necessitated leaving the lepers under his care—he
has been declared “blessed” by the Catholic Church, and
is in the process of being declared a saint.
the occultist’s point of view, the following statement by Stevenson
says aloud, what the Tibetan Master suggests, and what student’s
of Father Damien’s life have concluded—that in his most
recent incarnation he was passing through the fourth degree, the “great
renunciation”. It is of great interest that Stevenson, who was
not a student of Theosophy (as far as the author knows), used exactly
the words by which occultists designate this most demanding initiation.
In the following except, Stevenson, who visited the place for one week,
compares the relative cleanliness of the present Molokai Village with
the condition of the place when Father Damien first arrived:
observe: that which I saw and suffered from was a settlement purged,
bettered, beautified; the new village built, the hospital and the Bishop-Home
excellently arranged; the sisters, the poctor, and the missionaries,
all indefatigable in their noble tasks. It was a different place when
Damien came there and made this great renunciation [bolding, MDR] and
slept that first night under a tree amidst his rotting brethren: alone
with pestilence; and looking forward (with what courage, with what pitiful
sinkings of dread, God only knows) to a lifetime of dressing sores and
even at that early date, predicted that one hundred years from that
time, Father Damien would be made a saint—and so it has been.
Damien was already dead when Stevenson came to Molokai in search of
the real Father Damien—the character, the man. He talked with
many people who knew Damien personally, many of them Protestants who
were not numbered among his friends. The following diary excerpt frankly
remarks on certain of Father Damien’s qualities.
is dead and already somewhat ungratefully remembered in the field of
his labours and sufferings. 'He was a good man, but very officious,'
says one. Another tells me he had fallen (as other priests so easily
do) into something of the ways and habits of thought of a Kanaka; but
he had the wit to recognise the fact, and the good sense to laugh at
‘[over]’ it. A plain man it seems he was; I cannot find
he was a popular.”
following diary excerpt is the most frank assessment of all, demonstrating
that a “saint” need not fulfill the usual, naïve conception
of a saint.
Damien I begin to have an idea. He seems to have been a man of the peasant
class, certainly of the peasant type: shrewd, ignorant and bigoted,
yet with an open mind, and capable of receiving and digesting a reproof
if it were bluntly administered; superbly generous in the least thing
as well as in the greatest, and as ready to give his last shirt (although
not without human grumbling) as he had been to sacrifice his life; essentially
indiscreet and officious, which made him a troublesome colleague; domineering
in all his ways, which made him incurably unpopular with the Kanakas,
but yet destitute of real authority, so that his boys laughed at him
and he must carry out his wishes by the means of bribes. He learned
to have a mania for doctoring; and set up the Kanakas against the remedies
of his regular rivals: perhaps (if anything matter at all in the treatment
of such a disease) the worst thing that he did, and certainly the easiest.
The best and worst of the man appear very plainly in his dealings with
Mr. Chapman's money; he had originally laid it out ‘[intended
to lay it out]’ entirely for the benefit of Catholics, and even
so not wisely; but after a long, plain talk, he admitted his error fully
and revised the list. The sad state of the boys' home is in part the
result of his lack of control; in part, of his own slovenly ways and
false ideas of hygiene. Brother officials used to call it 'Damien's
Chinatown.' 'Well,' they would say, 'your Chinatown keeps growing.'
And he would laugh with perfect good-nature, and adhere to his errors
with perfect obstinacy. So much I have gathered of truth about this
plain, noble human brother and father of ours; his imperfections are
the traits of his face, by which we know him for our fellow; his martyrdom
and his example nothing can lessen or annul; and only a person here
on the spot can properly appreciate their greatness."
we really see the man in such a way that the interpretation will make
more sense, for in it can be found a number of the less virtuous qualities,
as well as those which are superb.
was not much left of the Reverend Dr. Hyde once Robert Louis Stevenson
was through with him. Stevenson certainly demonstrated the presence
of Scorpio in his own chart! No where is Stevenson better in his defense
of Damien than when he admits the failings of his hero and compares
them to the qualities of Damien’s ungenerous critic Dr. Hyde.
Again, we learn much about Father Damien from this defense. Stevenson
takes Hyde’s criticism point for point and rebuts it. Hyde had
said that Damien was “coarse”, “dirty”, “headstrong”,
“bigoted”, that he “was not sent to Molokai, but went
there without orders”. To all of these Stevenson admits and finds
the virtue within each quality. When, however, the Reverent Dr. Hyde
stooped to say that Damien “had no hand in the reforms”
on Molokai, and “was not pure in his relations with women”,
Stevenson unloosed a barrage of truth and vindication which cannot have
but caused the deepest shame to Damien’s detractor.
or two resounding lines will convey the impression. Addressing the accusation
that Damien had no hand in the reforms, Stevenson writes:
was his part, by one striking act of martyrdom, to direct all men's
eyes on that distressful country. At a blow, and with the price of his
life, he made the place illustrious and public. And that, if you will
consider largely, was the one reform needful; pregnant of all that should
succeed. It brought money; it brought (best individual addition of them
all) the sisters; it brought supervision, for public opinion and public
interest landed with the man at Kalawao. If ever any man brought reforms,
and died to bring them, it was he. There is not a clean cup or towel
in the Bishop-Home, but dirty Damien washed it.”
the accusation that Father Damien was sexually immoral, Stevenson writes:
I must not even seem to deceive you. This scandal, when I read it in
your letter, was not new to me. I had heard it once before; and I must
tell you how. There came to Samoa a man from Honolulu; he, in a public-house
on the beach, volunteered the statement that Damien had "contracted
the disease from having connection with the female lepers"; and
I find a joy in telling you how the report was welcomed in a public-house.
A man sprang to his feet; I am not at liberty to give his name, but
from what I heard I doubt if you would care to have him to dinner in
Beretania Street. "You miserable little -------" (here is
a word I dare not print, it would so shock your ears). "You miserable
little ------," he cried, "if the story were a thousand times
true, can't you see you are a million times a lower ----- for daring
to repeat it?" I wish it could be told of you that when the report
reached you in your house, perhaps after family worship, you had found
in your soul enough holy anger to receive it with the same expressions;
ay, even with that one which I dare not print; it would not need to
have been blotted away, like Uncle Toby's oath, by the tears of the
recording angel; it would have been counted to you for your brightest
righteousness. But you have deliberately chosen the part of the man
from Honolulu, and you have played it with improvements of your own.
The man from Honolulu - miserable, leering creature - communicated the
tale to a rude knot of beach-combing drinkers in a public-house, where
(I will so far agree with your temperance opinions) man is not always
at his noblest; and the man from Honolulu had himself been drinking
- drinking, we may charitably fancy, to excess. It was to your ‘Dear
Brother, the Reverend H. B. Gage,’ that you chose to communicate
the sickening story; and the blue ribbon which adorns your portly bosom
forbids me to allow you the extenuating plea that you were drunk when
it was done. Your ‘dear brother’ - a brother indeed - made
haste to deliver up your letter (as a means of grace, perhaps) to the
religious papers; where, after many months, I found and read and wondered
at it; and whence I have now reproduced it for the wonder of others.
And you and your dear brother have, by this cycle of operations, built
up a contrast very edifying to examine in detail. The man whom you would
not care to have to dinner, on the one side; on the other, the Reverend
Dr. Hyde and the Reverend H. B. Gage: the Apia bar- room, the Honolulu
is clear that Father Damien, like H.P. Blavatsky, on different rays,
but both, arguably, passing through the fourth degree, had their slanderers
and detractors. False accusation seems to be one of the best means of
ensuring that knowledge of the good works and character of initiates
spreads to the awareness of those who will become inspired by that knowledge.
Slander assures recognition.
Rays of Father Damien
Ray of the Soul: When one considers the courage of Father Damien, his
single-minded devotion, his commitment to the lepers of Molokai and
to the colony, his zeal, persistence and total self-sacrifice, the sixth
ray of devotion and idealism recommends itself as the most likely choice
of soul ray. He seems, very much, to have been a disciple of the Master
Jesus. The second ray is clearly in the background, and Father Damien
did, indeed (as many on the sixth ray must) “learn the invocation
of a Saviour”. (EP II 171—Law of Repulse, R6) There is an
advanced point upon the Path at which time, the soul refocuses itself
from a Ray of Attribute to a Ray of Aspect—for instance, from
the sixth ray to the second ray. This refocusing seems to have been
in process for Father Damien. In this case, we could say that he was
refocusing the ray of the soul upon the probable ray of the monad.
we consider the manner of his sacrifice and the place upon the Path
at which he stood, we can with justification say that he chose the course
of “self-immolation”—the method by which those upon
the sixth ray soul destroy the causal body.
Conduits for the Sixth Ray: Conduits for the sixth ray energy are many
and powerful. Both Sagittarius and Pisces are tenanted—Sagittarius
by the stellium of Moon, Mercury and Saturn, as well as the asteroids
Ceres and Pallas Athene, and Pisces by Uranus, squaring the Sagittarius
stellium. As for Virgo, the third of the signs/constellations that distribute
the sixth ray, it holds the South Node, indicating a past focus. From
a planetary perspective there is a tremendous conduit for the sixth
ray in the conjunction of sixth ray Mars and sixth ray Neptune in Aquarius
at the top of the chart. This conjunction in the sign of “universal
love” and group consciousness, was instrumental in ensuring the
great and generous sacrifice for the sake of the “group”—the
lepers of Molokai
Ray of the Monad: As the monad is the “unknown quantity”
for every individual, we can assess it with no great certainty and,
in fact, with great possibility of error. One thing can be said, however,
that at Father Damien’s stage of evolution—the life of one
who was proposedly living through the “Great Renunciation”—the
ray of the monad would be effective. Of the three possibilities for
the major or primary ray of the monad, the second ray (Love-Wisdom)
seems to the most probable. Though he had much of the first ray in his
nature and though he was not considered unintelligent, his progress
seems to be leading him towards development as a “Lord of Compassion”—just
as are Master Jesus and Master Serapis. The third ray is not especially
detectible and the first ray appears secondary. Only a profound love
of the Christ and of one’s fellow human beings could motivate
an individual to make so great a renunciation. We note the same spirit
of renunciation in the life of Albert Schweitzer, another Capricorn
individual, who gave up the benefits of European culture, and the great
recognition of his many academic and artistic accomplishments, to go
to Africa (Lambarene) as a physician to the natives who lived in that
region of Africa.
Conduits for the Second Ray: While one can speak only tentatively of
the manner in which the ray of the monad might be represented in the
chart, there are some interesting possibilities presented here. The
only strictly second ray sign is Pisces, and it does hold transformative
Uranus which is in exact trine to the angular second ray Jupiter (orthodox
ruler of Pisces—a second ray planet ruling a second ray sign).
The second ray of Jupiter is very prominent due to its angularity (at
the Descendant), and due to the fact that, at Damien’s stage of
evolution, the sixth ray focus will be in process of transfer to the
second. We must also note the importance of second ray Jupiter in close
(harmonious) sextile to the inherently second ray Sun, increasing both
faith and optimism, and essential contentment with one’s fate—no
matter how horrendous it might appear to the uninspired observer.
Neptune (the planet of universal compassion) is upon the second ray.
The importance of Neptune as a conduit for the sixth ray has already
been noted. The “monadic point” in the chart (effective
only in the charts of those who are highly developed spiritually) is
found opposite the Sun Sign. If the influence of the monad can be detected
in the life, this is only place to look. For Father Damien, the monadic
point is placed in Cancer (conjunct Chiron). The monad would work through
the sign Cancer—in relation to the masses. Father Damien was involved
in the healing of the corrupted lunar nature ruled by the lunar sign,
Cancer. The esoteric and hierarchical ruler of Cancer is Neptune, placed
with Mars in the eleventh house ashramic service and brotherhood. Second
ray Neptune is square to second ray Jupiter—the square calling
for something concrete to the manifested on behalf of the heart—represented
by the second ray of both planets. Monadically, this Neptune is truly
significant, and relates Damien strongly to the selfless, Christ-impulse,
making him, like the Christ, a “man for others”.
Ray of the Personality: Father Damien was strong, robust and domineering.
There was about him a great directness. A number of his personal attitudes
made him unpopular with the residents of Hawaii. His immediate superiors
considered him a demanding and difficult person. In the service of his
definite mission, he probably was so. He needed that great strength
if there was to be any hope of success, for the obstacles ranged against
him would cause lesser men to quail, despair and retreat. Even Father
Damien was victim of “black thoughts” and great loneliness,
which he begged his superiors to relieve by sending him help (and companionship).
a first ray personality seems a suitable choice. He was self-willed,
head-strong, frequently overbearing, and extremely obstinate, (though,
according to Robert Louis Stevenson’s report, cheerful and good-natured
in his stubborn refusal to do as others wished him to do). We can see
the power inherent in the proposed combination of a sixth ray soul and
first ray personality (like that of John Calvin, but with an entirely
different effect. Perhaps a fundamental difference in the monadic ray—a
possible third or first for Calvin, and a possible second for Damien,
indicates a fundamental difference in their psychology and approach,
even though their ray structure may be similar. Their astrology, however,
is very different.)
Conduits for the First Ray: Of the three first ray signs, Capricorn
holding his Sun, and Aries, holding Pluto, which is square to the Sun,
are both very important. This square shows that his life would be a
life of sacrifice, renunciation, deep transformation and death. Indeed,
death was his constant companion. We note that Pluto is in H-12 (esoterically,
its own house) and that it is closely square the MC. Pluto is the planet
which Father Damien’s decision to go to Hawaii (he never returned—alive,
though his remains were later brought to Europe), was Plutonic, and
during the years in which it was being made, transiting Pluto was crossing
the proposed Taurus MC.
terms of the ease of expression of the first ray, we find sometimes
first ray Saturn (in Sagittarius) in exact trine to Pluto in Aries.
The first ray flowed through Father Damien and supported the straight
and narrow path which defined his mission (Saturn in Sagittarius).
first ray indicator which is certainly important is Vulcan, both the
esoteric and hierarchical ruler of the Taurus Ascendant. Vulcan is theorized
as being within eight degrees of the Sun, which, in Damien’s chart,
would place it in Capricorn, a partially first ray sign. The Sun is
already placed in the ‘missionary’ ninth house, and Vulcan’s
powerful placement here would add to the strength of that mission and
the unwavering responsibility with which it was carried out. There is
also the possibility that a Vulcan/Pluto square exists, which would
contribute mightily to the presence of the first ray in the chart. There
are probably methods to ascertain whether this is so for those who may
be interested in following this line of inquiry.
Ray of the Mind: Father Damien was not an intellectual (though is reported
that he was not considered unintelligent, and had learned his Latin
well from his brother, a fellow priest). He was not a student or scholar
of the fifth ray type, nor a metaphysician upon the third, nor was he,
apparently, indecisive, impractical and intent upon compromise and harmony,
as are frequently seen upon the fourth ray. Again the direct, often
offensive, first ray seems the logical choice for the mind. (This is
different from the case of Albert Schweitzer, whose scholarly, technical
mind was almost certainly on the fifth ray. Had Damien’s mind
been on the fifth ray, he might have been more cautious, in general,
and, in particular, have paid more attention to ensuring sanitary conditions—as
regards his own person, especially.) Damien, however, was quick, blunt
and plain-spoken, and probably made a number of enemies (even within
his own Church) due to his directness. Stevenson remarks that he was
“capable of receiving a reproof if it was bluntly administered”—a
mark of respect for the first ray in conversation. He was a man in a
hurry—there was so much to do for so many—and he had little
time for niceties.
Support for the First Ray Mind: If the ray of the mind is the first,
it certainly has significant astrological support, for Mercury, one
of the major planets of the mind, is conjuncted by Saturn (with its
strong first ray component and its generic relation to the concrete
mind), closely trined by first ray Pluto, and squared by Uranus (which
has its own fair measure of the first ray). The Saturn/Mercury conjunction
(and the definite Pluto influence) would certainly contribute to the
“black thoughts” with which Father Damien was, justifiably,
afflicted). Mercury is also in the eighth house, where Plutonic issues
must be confronted. Venus, the other planet closely connected to the
mind (because of its inherent fifth ray nature) and important because
it is the exoteric ruler of the Ascendant, is also related to Pluto
because placed in Scorpio. Thus, first ray Pluto is connected to both
of the usual mental indicators.
Ray of the Astral Nature: This was probably variable, though initially,
and mostly, the sixth ray of devotion and idealism. Father Damien was
a one-pointed man with a mission. We can imagine him moving at high
speed from one responsibility to another, driven by necessity and with
no thought of the impact of his actions upon himself, personally. The
tensity of the sixth ray was present. He was said to be narrow in his
beliefs and even bigoted—another way of saying that he believed
in his faith entirely. The major indications point to a devoted sixth
ray focus, though relieved by moments of genuine warmth, profound generosity
and good-naturedness—evidences of a primary second ray of Love-Wisdom.
Support for the Sixth Ray Astral Nature: The elevated Mars and Neptune
conjunction in the sign Aquarius (associated with the fluctuation of
mind and mood) is a significant reinforcement for the sixth ray. The
square between Jupiter and Mars/Neptune would contribute to the zealous
enthusiasms which are characteristic of the sixth ray emotional nature.
Ray of the Etheric-Physical Nature: Stevenson tells us that Father Damien
has “slovenly ways” and “false ideas of hygiene”.
His body was powerful and robust. Clearly, it was not upon the seventh
ray. It was more likely a third ray body, active, and full of endurance
(influenced by Taurus), with a significant first ray coloring coming
from the proposed ray of the personality, and from the influence of
Vulcan—which, more than Venus, would be counted the ruler of his
Support for the Robust Physical Nature: A powerfully Vulcanian Taurus
is rising, conferring a strong, earthy nature, supported by the Sun
in the Taurus decanate of Capricorn—in which Vulcan, too, may
be placed, for Father Damien was a great builder—a gift of Vulcan,
Taurus and Capricorn. Orthodoxly, the Ascendant indicates the physical
body, and Mars (which, planetarily also represents the physical body)
is closely square the Ascendant. Mars is strong and vigorous, and in
conditioned by both the third and first rays (at various levels of its
own energy system). Suffice it to say, that Damien’s vigor is
increased by this square, but Neptune is also square, indicating his
Choice of Horoscope for Father Damien
chart used for Father Damien is speculative, but corresponds well to
the nature of his character and the events of his life. The speculative
approximate time is offered by Marc Penfield as 12:30 PM. It is quite
close. Using this time puts the 12th degree of Taurus on the Ascendant.
If one gives some credence to the value of the Sabian Symbols, the symbol
for the 12th degree is far less appropriate than the 10th degree (the
last minute of which occurs at 12:25:48 PM. The 12th degree reads: “A
YOUNG COUPLE IS WINDOW SHOPPING”. Keynote: “The fascination
of the youthful ego with the products of its culture”. “THE
SOCIALIZATION OF DESIRES”. The 10th degree (which is equally good
in relation to timing and often better) reads: “A RED CROSS NURSE”.
Keynote: “The compassionate linking of all men”. “CONSECRATION
TO HUMANITY”. There could hardly be a symbol more appropriate.
Given that births often occur somewhat before a recorded time, a time
of 12:30 PM, exactly, is unlikely. One can find ways in which the 12:30
chart works for certain transits and eclipses, and indeed, many astrological
timers work for both charts, but in the majority of cases, the timers
for the slightly earlier chart work slightly better, and there is the
question of the significance of the rising degree.
there will be some fair-minded astrologers who, in all good conscience,
would opt for the later degree. Not much would be lost if exactly 2:30
chosen. Only the rising decanate and its ruler would change (the earlier
time giving Saturn and the later time, Mercury), and the symbols of
the degrees of the angles. As tempting as it is to give great weight
to the Sabian Symbols in the matter of rectification (and some weight
should be given), equal or greater weight must be given to the progressions
and directions of and to the angles. In any case, it can with reason
be said that both charts are very close to what appears to be the truth
of Father Damien, and both can be interpreted esoterically with equal
facility. It is the esoteric interpretation which is of particular importance
when considering the chart of one who is in the process of taking the
fourth initiation—the “Great Renunciation”
Some Specific Features of Father Damien’s Astrological Chart
Father Damien’s Sun sign is Capricorn. Capricorn is the sign of
the initiate, The hypothesis proposed, is that he entered this incarnation
as an initiate of the third degree, well accustomed to the practice
of sacrifice. The Capricorn Sun is proposedly placed in the ninth house
where long journeys, questions and missions are undertaken. We can say
that Damien’s life was a great quest, and that he followed his
quest with the ‘missionary zeal’ befitting his sixth ray
square of Pluto to the Sun forced sacrifice and death. The Sun also
sits almost exactly at the midpoint of the beneficently reconstructive
trine between Uranus and Jupiter (two planets which feature prominently
at the fifth degree). The Sun/Jupiter aspect conferred largesse and
great generosity; the Sun/Uranus aspect conferred the ability to act
independently and bring a great improvement (“a better way”)
to the lives of the lepers of Molokai.
Sun (in the Taurus decanate of Capricorn) is also trine to the Taurus
Ascendant, bringing the capacity to align the personality and its objectives
easily with the forward-looking demands of the soul, indicated at the
ninth house is the house of philosophy and higher mind, but in Father
Damien’s case, it was the house of faith.
orthodox and esoteric ruler of the Capricorn Sun is Saturn in Sagittarius—the
sign of quests, journeys, crusades and missions; it is predominantly
a sixth ray sign. This Saturn position steadied his footsteps along
his chosen path—the path of sacrifice, transformation and redemption—indicated
by the eighth house position of Saturn.
Sabian Symbol for the degree of the Sun is compelling: “A FIRE
WORSHIPER MEDITATES ON THE ULTIMATE REALITIES OF EXISTENCE”—a
symbol most apt for an individual undergoing the destruction of the
causal body and the resignation of his will to the higher will (of God).
The Keynote is: “The subjective quest for ultimates beyond the
interplay of life and death processes”. “THE WILL TO TRANSCENDENCE”.
cannot know the subjective life of Father Damien, but we can imagine
its extraordinary intensity—its fire—given the extraordinary
self-chosen tasks of his outer life.
The proposed Ascendant is Taurus, either the first (Taurean) decanate
or the second (Virgo) decanate. There are reasonable justifications
for either. If one seeks to discriminate between these decanates by
consulting the planetary rulers (respectively, according to the Tibetan,
Saturn and Mercury—for the disciple or initiate), we find that
Saturn and Mercury are conjunct within three or so degrees in the same
sign, Sagittarius. So we cannot easily separate their influences.
of course, is important—more because it is the hierarchical ruler
of Capricorn (his Sun Sign) and therefore a legitimate ruler for initiates,
than because it is the orthodox ruler of Taurus (and, apparently of
the first decanate—though not according to the Tibetan, Who often
assigns unexpected decanate rulers. Father Damien was a man for whom
the esoteric and hierarchical ruler of Taurus (namely Vulcan) was equally
as important as Venus. The relationship between Vulcan as esoteric and
hierarchical ruler of the Ascendant and Venus as hierarchical ruler
of the Sun would be important, but cannot presently be discerned because
we cannot with certainty, determine the position of Vulcan, except that,
according to the most acceptable theory, it would have to be in Capricorn
in this case.
is Scorpio (the latter degrees, ruled, some say, by Pluto) and Vulcan
in Capricorn. These are indications relating to the light. The light
and love of the soul is brought to a very dark place (Scorpio—in
its last degrees) and Vulcan (the blazing light of transfiguration)
is placed in the sign of transfiguration. Because Father Damien knew
the inner light in his own subjective experience, he was able to carry
it to one of thee darkest and most forsaken places on the Earth.
Capricorn is a sign associated archetypally with the third initiation
(though all five of the first five initiations are related to it), then
Taurus is related to the fourth. Its ruler Vulcan brings upon the initiate
the depths of isolation (for Vulcan is a first ray planet). Vulcan is
also a, hypothetically, a fourth ray planet (in relation to its highest
or monadic aspect—closely identified with our Sun, which is of
the fourth order). The fourth initiation is taken on the fourth ray,
and the destructive first ray is inescapably important as well. We can
see why Vulcan and its sign/constellation would be one of the influences
important at this degree. Krishnamurti, who was also undergoing the
fourth degree (on a different ray and in a different way) was born in
Taurus (not under Taurus, as Father Damien). Krishnamurti also had a
powerful presence of Aquarius and Sagittarius in his chart.
is important for many reasons in Damien’s chart. It relates to
the buddhic plane (of which buddhas are representative). It is a great
carrier of the light, a giver of prana, health and the “treasures
is also an earth sign and under many conditions, practical, earthy and
full of will (sometimes self-will). Father Damien’s life was not
a life of abstraction. He was faced with the most concrete demands and
whatever spirituality was his had to be manifested in a way that made
a tangible difference in the lives of people who were suffering horribly.
Taurus confers the ability to touch the earth and be grounded; Capricorn
(for all its loftiness) also does so. Father Damien’s work was
in the matter of humanity. He was one of those above whom “the
mark of the Saviour” appeared as he “toil[ed] in Pisces”.
The Moon is exalted in Taurus, and it was in the lunar realm that Father
Damien had to focus—a realm ruled by the number four, the same
number as the initiation for which he was, proposedly, a candidate.
The number four can be most concrete. The fourth degree initiate must
prove concretely, and before all humanity, what he or she is internally.
Father Damien did this, and his earth signs helped him do so.
is also a sign of tactility, of contact. There was no possibility of
separation or separativeness for Father Damien. He could not hold himself
apart from the lepers. His psychology demanded that he touch them, which
he did for all manner of benevolent reasons. This Taurean need to touch
may have been one of the outer reasons why he finally contracted the
is also a great builder. Father Damien reconstructed the lives of the
residents of the colony—spiritually and tangibly, building (with
his assistants) hundreds of buildings. This attitude of the builder
(a quality of the second ray) points to the importance of Taurus, the
second sign, and of the Capricorn Sun in the second or Taurean decanate.
He did not leave Kalawao (the actual name of the colony) as he found
it, but totally reconstructed. Uranus, the planet of reconstruction
is in redemptive Pisces (reconstruction for redemptive purposes) and
sextile the Taurus Ascendant.
it should be remembered, is a sign of acquisition, under the influence
of which the wherewithal needed for any condition is sought. Father
Damien constantly importuned the authorities to more effectively heed
the needs of the unfortunates, and he, himself, spend his later life
meeting those needs. He became for them, a source of supply, serving
the destitute and impoverished on many levels.
We find the Moon placed in Sagittarius with Mercury, Saturn, Pallas
and Ceres. Nurturing Ceres is conjunct the Moon. This is the sign of
one who takes nurturance as his mission. The Sagittarian Moon clearly
contributed to Damien’s missionary zeal, and to his fundamentally
high spirits (regardless of his Capricornian realism, and the dark thoughts
which occasionally arose). It is interesting to see that the adventuring,
missionary Sagittarian Moon is the orthodox ruler of the fourth house
of “home”, almost guaranteeing that for Father Damien, “home”
would become other than the place where he was born—distantly
other. The Moon is also trine his Part of Fortune (where energy flows
smoothly and happily). He was doing what he was suited (and destined)
to do. In the Placidus system, and in this proposed chart, the missionary
qualities of the Sagittarian Moon are strengthened by being placed in
the house allied with Sagittarius—the ninth. Through this position,
Damien’s high-minded idealism could work, making it possible for
him to follow his vision, wherever it might lead.
is a very close semi-sextile between the Moon and Venus contributing
to geniality and good-naturedness, despite the fact that he was a genuinely
difficult character with those who cared more themselves than for the
needs of others. This semi-sextile also facilitates the manner in which
the light and love of the soul represented by Venus could flow through
the fourfold lunar nature, represented by the Moon.
we speak of the Moon, we speak of the fourth ray, and the inherent conflict
between soul and personality, or between spirit and matter. We have
already seen how important is the number four for Father Damien and
in the chart of an initiate of the fourth degree. The fourth ray sign/constellations
are strongly represented with fourth ray Taurus Ascending, fourth ray
Scorpio holding both Jupiter and Venus (two planets of soul abundance),
and fourth ray Sagittarius holding the Moon, Mercury and Saturn—all
in all, six major astrological indicators in fourth ray signs, as well
as three of the larger asteroids. Certainly every initiate passing through
the fourth degree is possessed of the ‘gift’ of conflict
and struggle. Father Damien’s life shows him fighting for the
lepers, and contending with many on their behalf. Just as the fifth
ray will be found pervasively for those in process of taking the third
initiation, so will the fourth ray for those taking the fourth degree.
Mercury in Sagittarius, gave a mind convinced of the value of faith,
and Saturn further confirmed this conviction. As well, Mercury in Sagittarius
gave providence and foresight—much needed when overseeing the
care for so many desperate people. The 20th degree of Sagittarius in
which Mercury is placed is extremely interesting in view of Damien’s
practical responsibilities on behalf of the colony. “IN AN OLD-FASHIONED
NORTHERN VILLAGE MEN CUT THE ICE OF A FROZEN POND FORF USE DURING THE
SUMMER”. Keynote” The foresighted use of natural resources
to supply future human need.” Keywords: “ASSURING SUPPLY”.
ray one is proposed for the mind. One-pointed Sagittarius can promote
this, as also the Pluto trine to Mercury. Damien’ shrewdness and
practicality are reinforced by the conjunction of Mercury with practical,
economical Saturn. This combination may also cause a limitation within
the mind or a kind of willful ignorance which comes for focusing on
only those matters one chooses. Some have called him “ignorant”;
rather, it could be said, that he chose to entertain only certain thoughts
and considerations. The Saturn/Mercury conjunction made it impossible
for him to doubt his faith, though it certainly could contribute, as
well, to depression.
Father Damian came to Molokai as an emissary of the soul and of the
Christ. Venus, representing the Solar Angel, and the Christ as “Son
of the Morning”, is placed in the seventh house, where it is strong.
Damien’s, despite his rough and sometimes coarse manner, offered
from his heart a pure form of altruism (Venus in the seventh house).
Of course, in Scorpio—one of the signs of its detriment—Venus
can suffer much. There were not many beauties connected with the human
condition on Molokai, however beautiful the island may now be regarded.
He was surrounded by ugliness and repulsiveness—there are few
diseases capable of producing more horrific results on the physical
appearance of the human being. But his mission was to bring light and
love (Venus) into hell (Scorpio) and this he accomplished.
Mars is powerful, squaring the Ascendant/Descendant, and thus bringing
trouble and contention to his relationships. Mars in Aquarius strengthens
the idealism and can make of one a kind of revolutionary. Certainly,
Father Damien, revolutionized the lives of hundreds of afflicted individuals,
giving them hope where, before his arrival, there had been mostly despair.
The established order did not always take kindly to his initiatives—even
within his own Church, where opposition was often difficult. With Uranus
in Pisces, it can be seen how he would be perceived as a revolutionary
(Uranus) within the Piscean Catholic Church.
in Aquarius gave him the ability to stir the group, to move the group,
and to spread his influence forcefully. It probably also contributed
to a degree of nervous energy and nervous intensity. This position constitutes
one a fighter on behalf of the group—a forceful group advocate,
idealistically motivated (see also Neptune conjunct Mars).
Sabian Symbol for this important planet is telling: “DURING A
SILENT HOUR, A MAN RECEIVES A NEW INSPIRATION WHICH MAY CHANGE HIS LIFE”.
Keynote: The need to rely upon inner inspiration and guidance at the
start of new developments.” Keyword: “OVERSHADOWING”.
We can well imagine the intensity of Father Damien’s inner life,
and how his decisions must have been taken as a result of deep inner
prayer and communion with the energy of the soul (and perhaps of his
proposed Master, Jesus, working under the Christ Energy).
square aspect from Mars (and Neptune) to Jupiter, contributed to ambition—not
for himself, but for what could be done for the residents of the colony.
No doubt he wanted to make a “big difference” and was often
stopped by harsh reality.
aspect would also contribute to a somewhat careless, improvident attitude—overly
hopeful, careless of detail, too expansive, and was probably responsible
for a number of missteps.
an esoteric perspective we can see in this square a strong dynamic operative
between the solar plexus center (represented by Mars and Neptune) and
the heart center (represented by Jupiter and Neptune). The battle would
be one between zeal and love, between the sixth ray and the more encompassing
second ray into which the sixth ray was being translated.
Jupiter in Scorpio is a planet of great importance—strongly angular.
A generous planet in the house of altruism This position serves as a
testimony to how much heart (Jupiter rules the heart) Father Damien
invested in those he ‘met’—those under his care. Dedicated
Vesta, also in Scorpio, is conjunct Jupiter and the seventh house cusp.
He met the world as one who uplifts, enlarges, and brings new opportunity.
Scorpio is a sign of transformation, of the conquest of negativity,
and Jupiter gave the hope and optimism that this could be accomplished.
Father Damien was not a “fair weather friend”. He entered
into the depths—in fact was devoted to facing the worst and lifting
it into the Christ Energy which Jupiter represents. This is the Jupiter
position of someone who would give you the “shirt off his back”,
though not without a little grumbling, as Stevenson suggested.
Sabian Degree for the Jupiter position (the 14th degree of Scorpio)
is significant: “TELEPHONE LINEMEN AT WORK INSTALLING NEW CONNECTIONS”.
Keynote: “The need to establish new channels of communication”.
Keyword: “THE WILL TO ASSOCIATION or COMPREHENSION”. We
see Father Damien entering fully, enthusiastically, redemptively, abundantly
into the lives of his charges. We see him meeting them openly with no
other motive than that their lives should be bettered. The Jupiter position
connects Damien closely to the Hierarchy and its motivation. In a way,
Hierarchy, is a great ‘Body of Redemption’, entering a dark
place (Scorpio) for purposes of giving and uplifting. The Scorpio position
of Jupiter also shows that he was surrounded constantly by death—much
death. It makes of him the true priest seeing to the welfare of his
flock—all aspects of their welfare—spiritual and material.
As well, it makes him the teacher undertaking the spiritual education
of those in his care.
Of Saturn in Sagittarius we have already spoken. It represents the treading
of the “strait and narrow path”—completely dedicated,
undeviating, one-pointed discipleship. In the eighth house of death
and rebirth, it meant the facing of all those difficult situations while
steadfastly retaining one’s faith and purpose. Saturn’s
degree is inspiring: “AN EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE DRAWS A LARGE
CROWD”. Keynote: The culturally stimulated longing for group participation
in a process of rebirth”. Keyword: “REBIRTH”. Father
Damien there was no escape into insignificance or futility. He was held
by his overpowering sense of duty and commitment. One can only imagine
how many have stepped upon the Path and wavered less because of his
Uranus is in Pisces in the Placidus twelfth house. What is a saint?
What is a holy man? Father Damien shattered many misconceptions. The
kind of “saint” he became was not the kind people expect
when they think of the term.
Uranus in the twelfth, the redemptive mission is undertaken in a new
way—unconventionally and effectively. The Keyword for the 14th
degree of Pisces is “PROTECTIVE SHIELDING”. The Keynote:
“The use of intelligence and mental subtlety as a protection against
storms and trials”. Here is Father Damien’s ingenuity at
work, as he devised new ways to regenerate lives.
Neptune has been discussed. For Father Damien, it is transcendental
influence. It allowed him to spread the influence of the Christ/Jesus
through his unfortunate group and, eventually, both during and after
his life, through the world. Neptune in Aquarius is the Christ-Energy
redeeming all, beyond any notion of boundaries.
is a sign very much connected with the fourth initiation—the sign
in which many take their last compulsory incarnation. This sign has
much to do with Damien’s group work. With Neptune it speaks of
the more abundant life of the spirit which is freely available to pour
forth on all through grace—at least in the realm of motive, this
influence was operative. The horrific reality of life within a leper
colony belong more to Pluto and Saturn, than to Neptune, but the freely
flowing compassionate love for all, impersonally, is the gift of this
position, and, as already stated, can be understood as having a monadic
Of Pluto there is no more need to speak. It rises exactly on the Anti-Vertex,
where will is at its freest. If the Vertex is fate, then the Anti-Vertex
is unconditioned freedom. We have the planet of death at the point of
unconditioned freedom. Father Damien freely choose renunciation and
death to work with the dying. This planet is of immense importance in
his life and contributed significantly to his initiatory opportunities.
Now we must speak of Chiron—all alone at the base of the chart.
None of the normally used planets is below the horizon, and among the
asteroids, only Vesta, which is so close to the Descendant as to be
considered at one with it. Chiron’s position is, therefore, remarkable—solitary
as the handle in a “bucket” pattern.
is the “wounded healer”, the guide, the mentor, inspirer,
teacher. Chiron and its position shows the healing mission of Father
Damien more than any other indicator. Opposing the Sun and trining transformational
Uranus and committed Vesta (and benevolent Jupiter), Chiron is the reason
why the world knows who Father Damien is. The entirety of the chart
focuses through this planet, placed in the sign of the human “mass”—Cancer.
It is the substance of the “mass”—the lunar substance
which, unguided by the light of the soul, is the source of disease.
Whoever takes the fourth degree is confronted with humanity itself,
its desperate condition, and one’s ties to humanity’s lunar
nature. Father Damien’s mission was part of the healing of this
planet, and especially of its unredeemed lunar substance.
Chiron, he “went his own way”, and blazed a new trail. He
learned from deep experience about the ravages of Hansen’s Disease
(leprosy). He went through everything his ‘patients’ had
to suffer. His experience as a ‘healer’ was direct and earned.
One can only imagine where it will lead in lives to come. The “wounding”
process administered by Chiron was, with the Pluto’s gift of deep
regeneration and purgation, an invaluable contributor to Father Damien’s
position of the heliocentric earth, as it relates to the “monadic
point”, must be considered in relation to Chiron. Let us say that
the monad was, indeed, active in Father Damien’s life. The monad
is the “highest” and Cancer, archetypally found at the base
of the chart, represents all that is “lowest”. Spirit (monad)
seeks to express itself in matter. The “highest” seeks to
work through the “lowest”. We can conceive that Father Damien’s
monadic mission was deeply involved with healing (Chiron) of the masses
(Cancer and the Earth). We cannot say whether Father Damien is upon
the Path of Earth Service; such knowledge is too high, too inaccessible
for us. But were he upon that first and most humble Path, his experiences
on Molokai Island would be a brilliant beginning. It impresses the author
that the Monad of Love was involved in setting a great example before
the world. The Path of Earth Service demands an understanding of “Identification”.
It is a supremely non-separative Path, calling for patience, humility
and profound self-forgetfulness. From the monadic perspective (and it
is the monad which treads these greater Paths), it would seek that Father
Damien had achieved much, in embryo, as a healer of the planet.
the Trans-Neptunian planet, Apollon, is conjunct Chiron, ensuring that
the world would hear of Father Damien and his mission. Apollon publishes,
multiplies, informs and spreads—in this case, information, related
to the third house in which Chiron is placed. We shall see how Chiron
is involved with the progressed Ascendant when Father Damien, himself,
contracted the disease.
allows the mention of only a few other factors of interest among many.
The frustrations of repetitive Admetus conjunct the two planets of idealism,
Mars and Neptune. The grinding reality of everyday life in the leper
colony had to be opposed by an unceasing idealism.
There are a number of “fixed star” positions of note. Zubenel-Genubi,
the star of “positive social reform” is conjunct Jupiter
in Scorpio, adding testimony to Damien’s effect as a benevolent
reformer of human society—a reformation which occurred by courageously
dealing with the “dregs” of society—the outcasts,
The spontaneous Moon (proposedly veiling Neptune—the planet of
the Christ) has a number of stellar aspects, from Acumen (enduring attacks
successfully), Alpheratz (moving with speed), Betelgeuse (good fortune
through abundance and largesse of heart), and Polaris (never forgetting
one’s sense of direction).
The Sun is involved with Canopus and Sirius—in opposition. These
are stars of education, guidance and initiation—the two visually
brightest stars in our local heavens. The opposition shows Damien working
in the “dark” so that the greater light promised by these
amazing luminaries, might come.
Saturn is contraparallel Zosma showing the sacrifices of the Path and
the hardships to be undergone.
Perhaps, most interesting are the stellar aspects to Chiron—for
Damien, that all-important planet. Chiron is exactly to the minute of
arc parallel Aldebaran, the star of integrity—in Damien’s
case, an integrity maintained (though slanderers did their worst). Chiron
also is conjunct Alhena—to have a mission. It opposes Facies,
which is considered a malevolent and at best, difficult star, having
a deadly effect. Damien’s ‘life-healing-power’ (not
of a trained physician, but of a close affiliate with Hierarchy and
its healing energy), confronted a mass of human evil, which had precipitated
as this dread disease. Master Morya hints at the karma of leprosy, associating
it with all that is filthy and degraded—a final outworking of
a very heavy karma.
There are a number of parallels of declination of note—the Ascendant
with Jupiter, Chiron contraparallel Venus; Vesta, the North Node and
Pluto; the Sun with nurturing Ceres, and the Moon at an extremely high
declination. Damien’s confrontation was with what we might figuratively
call, ‘the terminal illness of the Moon’—the worst
that can befall humanity’s lunar nature. To face this is the ultimate
Some Factors of Astrological Timing
is in consulting the cycles for transits, progressions, directions and
eclipses that we can see if the charts proposed seem valid in terms
of the actualities of the life.
Joseph de Veuster took the habit under the religious name, “Brother
Damien”, on February 2, 1858.
progressed Moon had recently moved into self-disciplining and abstemious
Virgo, T-Jupiter was just about to cross the Taurus Ascendant, the Sun
had the year before progressed into Aquarius, the sign of true friendship,
and the progressed Ascendant and Descendant were squaring the Nodal
Axis. If the birth were a little earlier, the square would be more exact,
but then other eclipses would not be quite as exact. On September 7,
1857, less than six months before taking the habit, there had been a
lunar eclipse on the Nodal Axis. This is a fated decision.
Brother Damien was admitted to the religious profession on October 7,
Uranus is conjuncting his progressed Ascendant in Gemini. There was
a lunar eclipsed on August 1, 1860, conjunct the progressed MC/IC in
Aquarius. If the birth were a little later, the conjunction would be
more exact, but it is still just a degree away. T-Pluto, a planet having
so much to do with the nature of renunciation and abnegation, is hovering
near the Ascendant. Two months later, on December 28, 1860, there is
a lunar eclipse involving the exact degree of his natal Chiron. His
mission was already taking shape.
In 1863 he asked to set sail for Hawaii in place of his brother who
was too ill to go.
December 6th of 1862, there had been a lunar eclipse involving both
his progressed Ascendant in Gemini and natal Saturn. On December 21st
of 1862, there was a solar eclipse only three degrees from his Moon.
His Moon rules the Cancer IC. He was about to take a long journey.
Probably in October of 1863, he set sail for Hawaii—a voyage that
was to take five months.
Chiron was conjuncting his North Node. The progressed Moon was in Scorpio
conjuncting, during the voyage, both natal Jupiter and progressed Jupiter.
Jupiter is a planet of travel and orthodoxly rules for Damien, the ninth
house of “long journeys”. There was a solar eclipse exactly
opposed to Venus in Scorpio, on May 17, 1863. Venus is the orthodox
ruler of the Taurus Ascendant. T-Pluto has passed the proposed Ascendant,
but during the voyage, is less than a degree away at times. Brother
Damien was cutting his ties to all he knew, and beginning an entirely
new life (and identity—Pluto at the Ascendant). It is clear the
Pluto transiting the Ascendant was decisive for changing Brother Damien’s
life. The astrologer must decide whether a late tenth degree Ascendant
or a twelfth degree Ascendant seems more suitable.
at the sea voyage was beginning, there was a solar eclipse on November
11, 1863, conjuncting both natal and progressed Jupiter—a planet
indicated as vitally concerned with travel and with hope.
the voyage, the progressed Ascendant was exactly opposed natal Saturn,
and remained in close orb when Brother Damien arrived and was ordained
as a priest. He was confronting great responsibility.
Brother Damien arrived in Hawaii on March 19, 1864 and was ordained
a priest either on May 21 or May 24, 1864.
progressed Ascendant opposing Saturn is most important in this formal
consecration. A time of birth just a little earlier, would see the progressed
Ascendant exactly opposed Saturn, but the time proposed 12:25:48, sees
the P-Ascendant only about half a degree from exact. We are quite close
he arrived in Hawaii and was shortly made a priest, the progressed MC
in Aquarius was conjunct both the natal and progressed Neptune. This
is a strong indicator. His career was in spiritual service of the Christ/Jesus,
and this voyage was decisive in advancing that career.
the same month as the ordination, there was a solar eclipse on his Ascendant—closer
if the 12:30 PM time is used for birth, but still close enough with
12:25:48 PM. The focus was on his identity—who he was becoming
as a soul, indicating by the first house.
T-Chiron was conjuncting both natal and progressed Uranus in Pisces
at this time. His unusual work as a healer was foreshadowed.
transiting Saturn was conjuncting the N-Vertex. This further indicated
The years which followed were important, but less eventful in terms
of Father Damien’s reputation than the years following May of
On May 10 1873, Father Damien, at his own request and with the sanction
of his Bishop, arrived at the settlement as its resident priest.
P –Moon was in Pisces, indicating he was answering the Bishop’s
call through self-sacrifice. When he arrived at Molokai, the P-Moon
was exactly conjunct P-Uranus, and had been conj N-Uranus when he was
deciding. It was still conjunct N-Uranus.
for his work as healer, T-Chiron exactly conjunct N-Pluto. His task
was to minister to and heal, as best he could, the most deep-seated
and deadly of physical conditions.
importantly, progressed Mars in Pisces was exactly on the progressed
North Node. With the religious zeal characteristic of Mars and Pisces,
he was undertaking that which he must, if his soul were to grow.
well, and also very importantly, the progressed Ascendant in Gemini
was opposing his natal Moon in Sagittarius. A birth a little later and
the opposition would be more exact, but it is still within less than
a degree .
of deep seriousness, progressed Saturn is closely conjunct natal Mercury,
though this was characteristic of many years. It is fascinating to see
that transiting Saturn is exactly conjunct progressed Mercury as well.
It must have been a more serious, sobering moment.
is also a lunar eclipse exactly conjunct progressed Vesta. His commitment
In 1882, he began to experience pain in his left leg and his feet, yet
he still had not contracted the disease after ten years.
disease was, however, beginning. The P-MC entered into Pisces early
in that year. Transiting Saturn was crossing his Ascendant—indicating
the beginning of a new period.
importantly, the progressed Ascendant in Cancer was starting is conjunction
of progressed Chiron.
Mars was conjuncting natal Uranus. Big changes were beginning, involving
the nervous system. The progressed Moon had entered Cancer and was moving
through the fourth house of the chart. A condition involving fate, karma
and the form was precipitating.
the end of 1882, there was a solar eclipse opposing progressed Jupiter.
By 1883, Father Damien had lost the feeling in his leg and redness appeared
on his foot. He had contracted leprosy.
there was a solar eclipse on the Ascendant, just as there had been when
he first arrived in Hawaii. This occurred on May 6, 1883. A karmic cycle
We note that at this time, as the disease is beginning, the progressed
Ascendant is involved with both the progressed and natal Chiron. Father
Damien’s role as the “wounded healer” is developing.
His mother died apparently in 1885. He had written home telling he had
the disease. It is said that the mother died of a heart attack as she
opened the letter.
Saturn is opposing its own natal position that year and later in the
year, opposing natal Moon—represented the mother. A bit later
in 1885 (the date of the mother’s death is not given), the transiting
Moon was crossing the progressed Ascendant and also natal and progressed
well, on March 16, 1885, there is a solar eclipse in Pisces squaring
the natal Moon in Sagittarius. This square is also indicative of the
advancing condition of the disease during that year. Leprous lesions
appeared on his ear and his eyebrows fell off.
transiting Saturn position involving the progressed Ascendant and progressed
and natal Chiron also indicated a worsening of his condition.
Hundreds of people, hearing about the plight of Fr. Damien, offered
to come to help him. One such person was Ira Barnes Dutton, who had
fought in the American Civil War, separated from his wife, had been
a heavy drinker, and who still wanted to come. He had entered the Catholic
Church and desired to do penance for the rest of his life. He was of
considerable help to Father Damien. His arrival appears to have occurred
Juno was crossing the Ascendant of the proposed chart.
The years that followed were very difficult, but Father Damien refused
to stop his service.
was near the base of the chart, imposing its penalties.
Father Damien was bedridden on Mar. 23, 1889 and on Mar. 30, 1889 he
made a general confession and renewed his vows. On April 1st, he received
Holy Viaticum and on April 2, he received Extreme Unction. He died at
8:00 AM on April 15, 1889.
January 1, 1889 there was a solar eclipse within less than a degree
of his Capricorn Sun. Solar eclipses on the Sun are always fateful.
T-Jupiter, bringing release, was near Sun.
Father Damien’s death occurred on an exact Chiron return, with
T-Chiron less that 10 minutes of arc from the natal Chiron position.
He was indeed the “wounded healer” and died exactly at the
conclusion of one Chiron cycle.
are influential both before and after a given event. It is no surprise
to see a solar eclipse exactly on Father Damien’s natal Chiron
on June 28, 1889, two months after he died.
In 1936 his body was removed in great state from Molokai to Antwerp.
is most interesting, as transiting Uranus was conjuncting the proposed
Ascendant, and there were two lunar eclipses that year—one involving
the exact degree of his Capricorn Sun and the other involving the exact
degree of his all important Chiron. The chart was still working.
About one hundred years after his death (for the chart continues to
‘work’) he was beatified by Pope John Paul II, a preliminary
step toward sainthood as declared by the Church. This occurred in the
summer of 1995.
we see a solar eclipse at the Ascendant, this time quite exact, at 8Taurus56.
We remember that such eclipses occurred when he first arrived in Hawaii,
and when it was confirmed that he had leprosy.
These later events, concerning Father Damien’s reputation, relate
very well to the proposed chart. Indeed, if the degree of the Ascendant
is not exact, it is very close.
Damien’s life has not been analyzed exhaustively. So much of his
life process was internal, and too little in known. But enough has been
given to show the manner in which his proposed rays and proposed astrological
chart elucidate the major themes of his life and support the idea that
he was in individual passing through the fourth initiation—the
is not always that we can use esoteric and hierarchical rulers with
confidence, because we are not sure of the true spiritual status of
the individual concerned. But when the Tibetan pointed to the great
difference between the death of a Father Damien and the death of a Hitler,
He was making an important statement about the spiritual value of Father
see in this great though humble man and out-picturing of profound sacrifice;
we see the life demonstration of a member of the Hierarchy of Love and
Light, for all fourth degree initiates (though not full Masters) are
members of the Hierarchy. We see an example that brings reality to the
many words we read about the truly spiritual life.
the student of Father Damien’s life will be both inspired and
horrified. To sacrifice and renounce so completely is shocking to the
usual personality-centered individual, and even to those who are learning
somewhat of soul culture. Father Damien’s life was a great challenge
to us all—to see whether we can follow through on our training,
and drain the “cup of karma” to its dregs, while, simultaneously
offering the gift of our life to humanity.
lived through or beyond the fourth degree—the life of the Dalai
Lama, Krishnamurti, Yogananda, Vivekananda, Mother Teresa, and Father
Damien and others that will be found here and there throughout the pages
of this book—are extraordinary. This level of accomplishment lies
far beyond the capabilities of most, because the degree of love required
is far greater than animates the hearts of most spiritually inclined
individuals. Yet, once the sounding note is recognized, the inevitability
of renunciation presents itself. Then, it is only a matter of time,
will and, mostly, an intensity of love—no matter what the major
ray of the individual.
study Father Damien’s life is astrologically illumining, because
the planets supposedly associated with the fourth degree are indeed
profoundly related to his life process. We can see them in action. We
can understand the trials they present, and the rewards they bring.
is far from just an academic study. It is meant to help us live more
spiritually, beautifully and scientifically. Perhaps, something of its
value will emerge as we study as closely as possible the lives of great
initiates and their astrological charts.