Revealing the prophet: Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran, January 6th 1883 04:00 Bsharri (I used Tripoli) Lebanon.

Kahlil Gibran was a complicated man who experienced an abundance of Sagittarius good fortune. His chart shows Sagittarius rising with Moon and Venus conjunct the Ascendant. Sagittarius is the philosopher poet of the Zodiac, who looks to understand the spiritual longings of humankind and who often draws followers, helpers and disciples to their warm, joyful embrace. Many gurus are Sagittarian, because they embody that spiritual seeking, together with the fiery people skills to attract a loyal following. Throughout his life, Gibran was supported and encouraged by the women in his life, from his sister, who supported him financially, to Mary Haskell and others who became patrons and inspired him.

Gibran’s chart shows a spiritual seeker (Sagittarius) with his feeling life and need for love and friendship clear to all (Moon and Venus on the Ascendant). He has a serious and super-ambitious Sun, Mars and Mercury in Capricorn in the second house of wealth. Although he may not have amassed a fortune, he lived well and was supported financially by those who recognised his genius, particularly women (Venus/Moon in Sagittarius). These planets form a Grand Trine in Earth with Saturn, Neptune conjunct in Taurus, and Pluto at a later degree, with radical Uranus in Virgo conjunct the Midheaven. He was hardworking (Virgo) and ambitious (Capricorn) and artistic (Taurus) and very prolific (the Grand Trine shows ease in the material world). Saturn, Neptune and Pluto in the sixth house may show sickness due to overindulgence (Taurus/Neptune) as well as tuberculosis (Saturn/Neptune). He would have been fascinating to women and sympathetic to their diminished status both in the US and Lebanon. His radical Uranus impelled him to confront the status quo (Lebanon was under Ottoman rule) and strive for freedom (Sagittarius). This he did with his words (Jupiter in Gemini) in two languages (Gemini the dual sign). Saturn/Neptune shows the yearning for mystical union (Neptune) rather than the stifling authoritarian Abrahamic religions (Saturn).

Gibran was born in Lebanon. His father dissipated the family wealth so his mother took him and his brother and two sisters to the United States in 1895 (June 25th) in search of a better life. On that day, Pluto and Neptune were in opposition his Moon/Ascendant, (if his birth time time is in any way accurate) at 11′ and 16′ Gemini. Both Mercury and Jupiter were opposite his Sun (12′ and 14′ Cancer) showing a rebirth. They settled in Boston. When he was 15, he was sent home to Lebanon to study French and Arabic literature, he became the college poet. In 1902 after graduating he went to study painting in Paris. 1902-3 was a tragic time for him, his sister died of tuberculosis (2.4.1902) then his brother died from the same disease (12.3.1903) and his mother died of cancer (28.6.1903) During that time Pluto (lord of the Underworld) was between 18′ and 19′ Gemini, so opposing his Ascendant and Moon (if he was born at a slightly later time), Uranus (shocks) was opposite his Jupiter at 21′-24′ Sagittarius. Jupiter is of course the chart ruler (Sagittarius) and also the almuten (the most powerful planet) so naturally these tragic deaths transformed his outlook on life (Ascendant). Gibran returned to the US to live with his remaining sister, Marianne, who supported him working as a dressmaker.

In January 1904 he held his first exhibition of his drawings. He met Mary Haskell on May 10th. Haskell became his patron and promoted his career. She offered to pay for him to study painting in Paris and aid him a stipend of $75 ($2000 today) a month. On this day, the Sun was conjunct his Saturn/Neptune in Taurus, shining a light (Sun) on his work (Saturn) in art (Neptune in Taurus) as well as energising the whole of the Grand Trine. Gibran described Haskell as

‘A she angel who is ushering me towards a splendid future and paving the path to intellectual and financial success.’

I think the ‘she-angel’ is an evocative and accurate description of Neptune in Taurus. Also his ‘financial success’ can be seen as the Sun, Mercury and Mars in Capricorn in the second house of money, which is part of the Grand Trine. They developed a passionate friendship and their correspondence shows how Haskell inspired and supported him.

I think of you today, beloved friend, as I think of no other living person. And as I think of you Life becomes better and higher and much more beautiful.” Letter from Gibran, Christmas Day, 1904, Paris.

Haskel refused to marry Gibran, reasoning that their relationship was deeper than that and would endure if they remained soulmates. Gibran was heartbroken but they continued their correspondence.

It is the most wonderful thing, Mary, that you and I are walking together hand in hand, in a strangely beautiful world, unknown to other people. We both stretch one hand to receive from Life-and Life is generous indeed.” Gibran, October 1912.

The ‘strangely beautiful world’ suggests again his mystical, dreamlike, Neptune in Taurus.

In 1908 Gibran published Spirits Rebellious (Neptune)/Uranus) in Arabic which criticised the religious orthodoxy. The Maronite Christians took offence and burned his books in the market places in Lebanon, threatening him with excommunication. Pluto had moved to conjunct his Jupiter at 23′ Gemini (explosive words) and rebellious Uranus was conjunct his Sun at 16′ Capricorn, attacking the status quo (Uranus/Capricorn).

In December 1914 he had an exhibition of his work and the artist Albert Pinkham Rider was impressed and they became friends. Gibran wrote him a poem in January 1915. When Rider died in 1917 Gibran’s poem was quoted in Rider’s obituary in newspapers across the country and brought him widespread recognition. Jupiter (luck) was transiting the Saturn, Neptune and Pluto at 23’Taurus, again stimulating the Grand Trine planets.

Poet, who has heard thee but the spirits that follow thy solitary path?
Prophet, who has known thee but those who are driven by the Great Tempest to thy lonely grove?
‘ To Albert Pinkham Rider, 1915.

Gibran wrote poems, plays, political essays and short stories, he was prolific (Jupiter in Gemini). He wrote on the themes of religion (Saturn), justice (Sagittarius/Jupiter), freewill (Jupiter) and science (Saturn), love (Moon/Venus), happiness (Jupiter), the body (Taurus), the soul (Neptune) and death (Saturn/Pluto).

Gibran was influenced both by the Bible and the works of William Blake. In April 1912, Gibran met Abdu’l Baha the leader of the Bahai faith to draw his portrait Saturn was conjunct his natal Saturn (his Saturn return- a classic time for deep fundamental shifts) and Neptune (mystical experience) at 18′ Taurus, while Jupiter was transiting his Ascendant, Moon and Venus (15′ Sagittarius).This meeting had a profound effect of Gibran and is believed to have inspired his book, Jesus, Son of Man which shows the prophet through the eyes of seventy seven contemporaries, Syrians, Jews, Romans, priests and poets of all religions (Saturn/Neptune).

You are my brother and I love you.
I love you when you prostrate yourself in your mosque, and kneel in your church and pray in your synagogue.
You and I are sons of one faith—the Spirit. And those that are set up as heads over its many branches are as fingers on the hand of a divinity that points to the Spirit’s perfection.’

The Voice of the Poet, 1914.

Gibran began writing The Prophet in 1912 after meeting Abdu’l Baha, it was published in 1923, selling over a million copies by 1957. The Prophet has been translated into one hundred languages, and Gibran is ranked the third most sold poets after Shakespeare and Lao Tzu. In the 1960’s counterculture Gibran was ‘rediscovered’ and is mentioned by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, David Bowie amongst others. In that year, Jupiter (publishing) was opposing Saturn (longevity) Neptune (mysticism) and Pluto (wealth) was opposite his Mars (9′ Cancer), which perhaps suggests delayed wealth, the book continues to be a bestseller today, 90 years after his death (10.4.1931).

The Prophet is twenty six prose fables, meditations on life. The book has its roots in Christianity, the Bahai faith, Sufism and Islam. The poetry is sublime. This extract shows the longing of the exile for his home country,

“Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn onto his own day, had waited twelve years in the city of Orphalese for his ship that was to return and bear him back to the isle of his birth. And in the twelfth year, on the seventh day of Ielool, the month of reaping, he climbed the hill without the city walls and looked seaward; and he beheld the ship coming with the mist.Then the gates of his heart were flung open, and his joy flew far over the sea. And he closed his eyes and prayed in the silences of his soul.

The prophet speaks lyrically about love,

When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

Referring perhaps to his alcoholism Gibran writes,

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.

Here, the poet gives us judgement (Jupiter/Sagittarius) passion and appetite (Taurus), the battle between his Saturn (reason) and Neptune (the soul).

Gibran was encouraged to return to Lebanon later in life, but he refused, saying his people would soon tire of him. Perhaps understanding how prophets prosper away from their homes or are destroyed (like Jesus). Gibran’s health began to decline (he was said to have suffered from an enlarged liver) and was presecribed long periods of rest in the countryside. Eventually he died at the early age of 48 from a combination of liver failure due to alcoholism and tuberculosis. He was buried back in his beloved country and the royalties from his books were given to his town Bsharri, to be used for ‘civic betterment’ (Capricorn).

The epitaph I wish to be written on my tomb:
‘I am alive, like you. And I now stand beside you. Close your eyes and look around, you will see me in front of you’.
Gibran” Epitaph at the Gibran Museum

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