Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Vaclav Havel – The peaceful revolutionary and a truly great man of our age.
This is a very, very emotional piece for me to write, as I count him as the most influential and greatest man (so far) that I have encountered in my life. I was living in the magical city of Prague at the time, and on 17th Nov 91, a freezing cold evening I remember, my girlfriend at the time spotted a small crowd of people walking up Wenceslas Square. Being inquisitive, we wandered over to see what was going on. It was Vaclav Havel and a few colleagues making their way to the top of the square. Of course this day was the 2nd anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution, and Havel was there to pay his respects. There was virtually no security, no announcement that he would make such a gesture and no fanfare. Here was the President of Czechoslovakia walking down the street like a normal citizen, with a wreath of flowers to lay at the statue, St Wenceslas on the square where the revolution had taken hold two years earlier. The act of remembrance, and the manner in the way he did it was typical of the man. After he laid down the flowers, my Czech girlfriend and I moved to the front of the throng of people and shook his hand. We said simply thank you, Mr President “děkuju Vám, pane Prezidente” and then he departed.
Vaclav Havel was born on 5th Oct 1936 in Prague at 15.00hrs. He was a Sun sign Libran, with an inquisitive Gemini Moon and an early Aquarian ascendant. The Gemini Moon needs to communicate, to diversify and often has several projects on the go at the same time. Gemini Moons do lack emotion but see things in a rational logical manner. Combined with the social energy of the Libran Sun, here is a sociable, articulate man who needed to be heard and preferred an audience to hear his ideas. Libra can be quite a romantic sign as it is associated with Venus, and will always like to settle any arguments in a civil and peaceful way. Looking at the ascendant sign Aquarius, there was a revolutionary yet gentle quality to Vaclav Havel. Aquarius needs change, but the Libran and Gemini energy here urged change through communication and peaceful methods. The seeds of the Velvet Revolution were inbuilt in the three main planks of his natal chart.
The chart has a mutable grand cross at it’s heart, connecting Saturn in the 1st house to the Moon in the 4th, Neptune in the 7th and Jupiter in the 10th. Think of this cross as one structure. Here we see a grand vision and dream (Neptune) or plan for freedom of expression (Jupiter in expansive Sagittarius opposite Moon in Gemini) for the administration and government (Saturn) of the people in their homeland (Moon in 4th house) through one’s creative work (Saturn in Pisces), communication and information (Gemini Moon), in a strangely spiritual and idealistic way through group participation (Neptune) and using wisdom and education (Jupiter). Put it another way, Havel always had a powerful ideal (Jupiter/Neptune) for the government of the people (Saturn/Moon). To achieve his social revolution Uranus opposite Venus, he had to be openly and forcefully critical (Mars in Virgo) but he was imprisoned (Pluto opposite Ascendant) before he reached a position of power and influence (Pluto trine Midheaven). It is all there if you look.
Of course Havel was ostensibly a writer, shown vividly by the quindecile between his Libran Mercury and his Saturn in Pisces and the sextile between Mercury and his Midheaven. His creativity was a serious one with social overtones, plays about the common man (Mercury sextile Pluto in the 6th) and his struggles in everyday life. That open criticism of his enemies (Mars in Virgo in 7th house) appeared in his work and in his rise to prominence after the Prague Spring of 1968 culminating in his publication of Charter 77, a human rights publication that he co-authored; an open and defiant act of criticism which the ruling Communist regime took great exception to. Through Mars’ position you can see his public struggles against the police and those openly opposed to his views. This he did in a humble and polite manner. Mars in Virgo may raise it’s voice, but rarely resorts to violence and aggression. His Sun sat hidden away in the 8th house in Libra. Here was a quiet fascination with a deep interest with social power with distinct accent on fairness, the rule of law and equality. The Sun in the 8th will not stop until one’s aims in life are achieved, and his determination to continue to fight the unfairness he saw in his society, sustained him through his imprisonment. Pluto in the 6th house shows a man who would compulsively work, and also showed a flaw in his health. It is ironic that during his imprisonment, he contracted pneumonia which affected his health from then on. Pluto rules death and found of course in that 6th house of personal health, his health went slowly downhill from that point.
With the Moon in the 4th house, Vaclav would have had a deep bond with his culture and homeland, the Czech people and nation, and through a quindecile between the Moon and Midheaven, one can see a focused link between this love and his public role. Wether he wished it or not, Havel became the focus of the movement for change in his country. He was a seriously minded man, quite shy and reserved with Saturn in the 1st house with a quirky manner and I think an impish sense of humour with Uranus in the communicative 3rd. With a trine between Mars and Uranus, he was an adventurer and willing to take risks with affairs of the heart. The connecting wedge formation between Uranus, Mars and Venus shows a romantic and impulsive man who could fall in love at the drop of a hat, but all too often that excitement would soon fizzle out leading to emotional and disruptive break-ups. With Neptune in the 7th house too, Vaclav was a romantic wanderer, forever searching out that perfect love.
We find Jupiter in the 10th house of worldly progress. This is a kingly position, one where your wisdom and vision can touch the lives of many people. This he achieved on 17th November 1991 as the Czech people under Havel’s vision swept away years of restrictive communist rule. He brought with him freedom and a wisdom which was recognised the world over, even after he left mainstream politics in 2004.
I personally hold him up there with the greatest people of our generation. With Martin Luther King, with Nelson Mandela, with Aung San Suu Kyi. Maybe his humility and quiet nature did not bring him the worldwide acclaim that his achievements in helping to tear down the Iron Curtain fully deserved. He was a reluctant, peaceful revolutionary. His motto was “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hate”. He was so so right. He wandered, he wrote, he loved, he changed and he achieved. I felt that I had a personal connection with the way he lived his life. Not only did I meet him, but my girlfriend worked in the Divadlo ABC (ABC comedy theatre) in Prague behind the scenes, just as he did years earlier. I had many lovely times in the theatre mixing with the actors, many of whom were contemporaries of his. Had he not done what he had done and taken the risks he did, my life in Prague (times I treasure) would never have happened. He is a true hero of mine, and always will be.
All my love and condolences to his family and to the wonderful Czech and Slovak people. You have lost a great man.