12 Feb 2009

Charles Darwin's Search Figures

There are probably not too many other bloggers who have played the piano, pictured here, which belonged to Charles Darwin and his wife Emma. I was invited to play it whilst on a school trip to Down House, where Darwin lived. The guide asked if anyone could play the piano and as I'd said yes I was taken past the rope barrier and into the parlour where I played Fur Elise rather badly, much to the amusement of my friends. However, it's an experience I've never forgotten and it came back into the forefront of my mind as the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth wss being celebrated in 2009.

Charles Darwin was born on 12.2.1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK. No time of birth is available, so I've set up his chart for noon. Even without a time of birth, much useful and interesting information can be found in the chart (but it's not possible to use Age Progression reliably with no time of birth). What grabbed my immediate attention was the presence of two Search Figure aspect patterns in his chart.

Search Figures are triangular, and are composed of blue/green aspects. As no time of birth for Darwin is available, it's not possible to say where these figures would be accurately located in his chart (that would be interesting as they'd indicate the areas of life where they operated) but we can still infer quite a lot from them from the pinning planets involved. Triangular aspect patterns have a mutable motivation. They behave fluidly rather than rigidly. Composed solely of green and blue aspects, they are bound up with thought, ideas and an on-going search which has an "if only I can find the answer to such and such, I will be happy and satisfied". The search is the spur and the drive. The Hubers say in their book Aspect Pattern Astrology that people with this figure "are suited to working on long-term projects and can wait patiently until success comes of its own accord. They work continuously with the same dedication as at the start and know that everything takes time" - a description which describes the drive behind Darwin's scientific study of evolution.

Darwin's Search Figures cross over each other - look for the crossed green/blue "dagger" shapes. One figure is pinned by Sun, Jupiter and Mars, the other by Saturn/Neptune, Uranus/Node and Venus. There is a scientific flavour to both figures, with Darwin's Aquarian Sun in one and both Saturn and Uranus in the other. It has always been my understanding and experience that the planet at the blue/green corner of this figure is the one which offers possible outlets and expression for the searching involved. In Darwin's Search Figures these planets are his Aquarian Sun and the Saturn/Neptune conjunction. Uranus is also involved in the Search figure and is representative of creative and scientific thought. Uranus is the researcher who breaks boundaries and seeks new horizons; Saturn the methodical scientist who grounds and forms the theories. An Aquarian Sun is unlikely to want to pinned down and if the Sun is working at a conscious level within the individual, there will be a strong urge to explore ideas in a creative way. The presence of Jupiter in one of the Search Figures, and Darwin's lengthy exploration on board HMS Beagle, reflects his drive to study, search and eventually form his theory of evolution.

For a brief biography of Darwin follow this link.


Patrick said...


Wouldn't the points at the blue-green corner of the Venus search figure be the Saturn/Neptune conjunction, not the Uranus/Mode, or am I mistaken?

(NB: This wouldn't change your interpretation much, since Saturn conjunct Neptune could certainly be seen as breaking, or more like dissolving, the conventional boundaries of scientific thought at the time.)


Joyce Hopewell said...


Thank you so much for pointing this out. I'd clearly looked at the wrong corner of that Search figure and in my enthusiasm to write the post hadn't checked!

Yes, Saturn/Neptune are at the blue/green "outlet" corner and I've adjusted what I've written in the interpretation, although as you say Saturn/Neptune would also be indicative of breaking through the conventional scientific barriers of those times.