In this article, Jorge Luis Borges takes us on a walk through the maze of his consciousness. As a master of the fantastical, his interpretation of his consiousness might not always meet the demands of reality. [See also previous post on Borges.]
Here is my chart on which you can get an insight into aspects of my consciousness. There are signposts at every planetary energy, also called the Gods in Greek myths, to take us through the labyrinths of my mind.
Mercury conjunct Venus and the Sun.
I was still a child when I walked into my father’s library in our house in Buenos Aires. Inside, I saw over a thousand books on shelves lining the walls, right up to the ceiling. In the silence in that room, I imagined I could hear the voices of writers over the centuries, all contributing to the development of human consciousness. I would read many of those books, plus hundreds of others for half a century – till my eyes could focus no more, but my mind would forever see the imprints left by Mercury, of learning, coloured by the creativity of Venus and the brilliance of the Sun. And my voice would still be heard at lectures across the world. Of course, the irony of a writer who can’t see, never escaped me, but as reality fades to black, the fantastical becomes blindingly bright.
Venus is closely attached to Mercury and it is her energy that enables me to create beauty in my writing and communicating. I never married, other than when I was blind and needed a woman to look after me, that is, when my mother was no longer there to care for me, read for me. So why do I need a Venus in the flesh when I have her in me, in all matters of the mind where she gives birth to the countless creations of Mercury? No, it would be foolish of me to act out Venus in earth, my bodily sensations, or in water, my emotions, when both elements are weak in my nature. Which is another reason why I don’t write about local, Argentine traditions like the gauchos do in their gauchesque poetry. Or frequent brothels to put out all that fire in me. No, I have always been in love with books and writing. At the cost of feeling, of course, deep feeling. But then, I am not known for my depth: fire and air have no depth as any geologist will tell you.
Trine to the Moon in Aries
I have incurred divine favour – what with the Large Talent Triangle in my chart – thanks to the above planets, as well as to the Moon and Saturn. Mercury lifts my heart so high with its elevating facts and learning and knowledge that it soars up to the highest point of my consciousness, to the burning Moon – which is what they call a blood moon when it is eclipsed by Mars. There’s no way out for my fiery emotions in the outer world, as Aries is intercepted. I can certainly feel there is too much hot air here. I never get the bigger picture unless I hasten down to the reality most people live in, via the long red route which will eventually cool down my heart bursting with all the learning. What to do with all the facts and knowledge I constantly acquire?
You will have noticed there are many blue routes in this maze. But my learning and my existential issues aren’t always easy-going. The three red oppositions running through my core – one on the Learning Axis, two on the Existence Axis – present me with many challenges. The most difficult one of all is getting to the synthesis beyond the thesis and antithesis, the third pole beyond the opposites which come from the two and then results in the four which, according to the Alchemists, is called the squaring of the circle – the philosopher’s stone.
Opposition to Mars in Libra
Now that we’ve left the heat and made haste to Mars in Libra’s cooler air at the deepest point in my chart, once again there’s no way out. Libra is also intercepted, so we can only rise along the blue line to more air in Gemini, more specifically to Pluto who drives me to transform thought in yet another alchemical refining process that, at times, turns lead into gold.
Now the man in me acquires a more level-headed, balanced learning; not just South American, but also European in nature. My learning has to span the world – north, south, east and west – much like the triangles in my chart spread their wings in all four directions. My consciousness now no longer inclines only towards the south and the west, but also the north and the east. It has to be universal.
Trine to Pluto in Gemini
The transformation of my learning is done in my more hidden world, my imagination. But we can’t stay here for too long – I spent a past life caught up in my inner world as the South Node testifies. The strong Saturn energy in me demands that I follow the rules of discipline and put my universal knowledge into work so that I can give as much to the writers and thinkers of the world as they have given me. That is what this life is about for me.
All the fire and air in my temperament propel me forward on my soul’s journey. It is also why I write short stories. I have to condense everything to its essence, with a little help from Pluto. Which is why my thriller, Death and the Compass, complete with plot and denouement, is only six pages long.
Opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius
Pluto’s transformation of my imagination teeming with details and facts can now be put to good use in my literary adventures, in my short stories and poems and essays, as well as in my translations of numerous other writers into Spanish. All this work makes not only the Great Teacher, but also my heart proud, as the trine to the Moon suggests. But my emotional nature is not as strong as my discipline in the physical act of reading and writing, or the workings of my mind, which is my most prized personal value, so writing love stories will never be for me.
Trine to Mercury in Leo
We follow the long but easy flow to Mercury. (Somehow my consciousness always returns to Mercury.) Here we find a forking path, like that in one of my stories. But rather than go right – to the left brain, we now go left – to the right brain, to creative Neptune.
Sextile to Neptune in Gemini
Of course, in my life, I sometimes went right to the Moon, sometimes left to Neptune, most often ‘though, I went in both directions at the same time. Not without Saturn’s disenchantment as she always wants me to put all the thought into my work; to do something with it for others, to bear in mind the collective where most of my planetary energies operate. But I need to tap my inner resources of creativity to do so.
At this juncture, I always feel drawn to the North Node pulling me from my inner to the outer world. But we haven’t completed the maze of my consciousness yet, so it’s best to take the short blue route back to my mind, to the Sun that favours me with the gift of thought.
Sextile to the Sun in Virgo
There are still many things to be learnt and my mental ego is constantly involved in the process. I’ve walked the Small Learning Triangle countless times and each time, I learnt something new. It’s the subtext to the text of my life: learning and more learning. There is always more to be gleaned from books and interesting conversations with other writers and thinkers.
But we can’t tarry here too long; we must make haste to Uranus where innovation in self-expression awaits us. All the limelight of the 5th house always conjures up the dark side, thanks to the broad-mindedness of Jupiter in a Scorpionic netherworld where darkness is soon dispelled by the brightness of the Sun.
After going around, not in circles, but in triangles, and not directly, but in a retrograde fashion returning to the same issues with different solutions at every turn, I can finally proceed on my soul’s journey: my writing.
Of course I can’t do this without the input of Neptune, that energy that dissolves the opposites, the magic and the real. Its suspension of boundaries results in the magic in the real, or the real in the magic which, after my death, will translate into the literary movement of Magic Realism in South America.
Finally, walking the maze of my consciousness with you has been a successive exercise, step by step. But consciousness is not successive. Everything happens at the same time much like The Aleph in my short story of the same name. Just like the Aleph’s small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance contains everything, all space in this universe, making each thing in it infinite, so too consciousness is infinite.
As a memento of our walk, I’m giving you this card to remember me by. It is a painting from the 16th Century by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, called The Librarian. It could be a portrait of me.