Mask in 'Eyes Wide Shut'

Stanley Kubrick: A Personal Odyssey in Film

Stanley Kubrick quote
Stanley Kubrick on the magic of film

People born under the sign of Leo of fixed fire at the height of summer seem destined to be at the hub of the wheel of their own story, and to play it out that drama in the full hot light of midday. This is the drama of the sun in its own sign- its absolute peak. It is as if they want to roar the great ‘I am’ and in that blaze of light some of us get burned. They are creatives who sometimes shine so brightly, they block anyone else out of the picture, accidentally plunging others in to the shadows. Stanley Kubrick, born July 26th, is the finest vintage of film director who made films that mesmerise scene by carefully-constructed scene; they continue to baffle and intrigue audiences decades after they were released. What kind of light was he beaming into our eyes to blind us? Something Joseph Campbell (an Aries) said is very apt applied to Kubrick’ films, that “Dream is the personalised myth, myth the de-personalised dream.” Kubrick’s films are more intensely dream-like than the films of other directors, and repay close attention and repeated viewings as they have mythic qualities that tapped into the zeitgeist. But that Venus rules his 12th suggests the one thing that he himself was unconscious of was the power of love which rarely appears in his films in a positive light.

Barry Lyndon (1975)
Landscape from ‘Barry Lyndon’ (1975)

Purer, higher octave Leo it would seem tells us not just the narratives but how to read the narratives as we watch them – to understand the meta-narrative too.  Neptune, associated with film,  is exalted in Leo. He brought a forensic probing intelligence to the art of film making which elevated it beyond the norm. Not only did he render how to reveal natural light in ‘Barry Lyndon’(1975) in fascinating ways faithfully copying 18th century paintings, but this film was technically innovative too. He used a 25mm camera lens that captured shifting daylight and helped create atmosphere in use of candle light.  He brought a sardonic twist to the meticulous planning, the manic cumulation of details to realising his film goals with two great unmade projects ‘Napoleon’ and ‘A.I’ which was eventually made by Spielberg. His was a stellar achievement in terms of depth of research for which he was famous. He accumulated mountains of items for the archives that others felt was too much. Pluto, planet of depth is conjunct Mercury of communication in the 9th house of belief sets, so there is a no-stone-unturned feeling in his method that some said went to the point of obsession.

Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick

His Scorpio rising made sure of mystery was essential to his personal modus operandi, adding spikiness, intensity and depth of penetration first to his dark, dishevelled appearance, more like a grizzly bear than a proud lion.  But then also it applies also to his reticence to speak, his tendency to be secretive and reclusive. He avoid ever being put in a box which was anathema to him.  On top of that his Moon is also in Scorpio, so I think on this point, we will be scratching the card in the hope of a win for years about where the feelings are hidden in the films as he rarely let anyone in easily.

But he also had a dark sense of humour which is layered into the films teasing the viewers into a voyeuristic world. His films are open to infuriating multiple interpretations. Did ‘Lolita’ (1962) condone paedophilia or dissect it for the viewer’s better judgement as Nabokov did?  Did ‘Clockwork Orange’ (1971) incite violence or attempt to diagnose its insidious roots in surveillance society? Writer, Stephen King ( a Virgo) accused Kubrick of deliberately wanting to make a film that hurt people in the ‘The Shining’ (1985). Perhaps he said that because Kubrick saw a parallel story in King’s book that King had not seen and thus it was a critique by an equally powerful storyteller.  ‘The Shining’ is that, a wholly unnerving experience, or it is a great masterpiece of horror layered with hidden meanings.

Stanley Kubrick in 1960
Stanley Kubrick 1960

Masterly in fact is a word that suits Kubrick. His Saturn is in Sagittarius so a little dogmatic, but it trines his Venus/Sun/MC so he had the authority and the disciplined skills to feel he was worthy of attention by the best. There is a thoroughness to his art that few directors can beat. Neptune in Leo in the house of career made photography and cinema for him the natural choice in which he could shine and demonstrate his creative urges. He said of film-making that “The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.” He had a powerful trine of Uranus in Aries, Saturn in Sagittarius and the Sun.Venus/MC- this is a triad of pure fire that probably fuelled his inspiration.

Ritual magic scene from ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ (1999)

Leos are ‘big picture’ people, often but not always centre-stage. Kubrick’s films are designed to be seen on a giant screen. His Jupiter on the Descendant would make him loom large in the minds of others. But there is also Chiron conjunct, and then Mars close by, and he definitely both wanted to teach us to appreciate the ambiguous, and to provoke controversies with his art. His films are orchestrated like pieces of music evolve change tempo, and unravel themes and moods and of which the storytelling is only a part. British Composer,   Jocelyn Pook wrote probably the most menacing and macabre theme for a baritone voice for ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ where Dr. Bill enters the inner sanctum where the ritual orgy takes place in the house once owned by the Rothschilds. Kubrick gave her free reign and just said ‘let’s make sex music’.  She said he was ‘fatherly’ and ‘encouraging’- typical Leonian traits as she was unknown and at the start of her career. But classical music takes on renewed vitality from Kubrick’s use of it in his films. He puts the capital M on meticulous and the word ‘Kubrickian’ has now entered the lexicon, meaning where life becomes like that icy menacing style that is controlled down to the last detail. But this is only one of his modes of being- each film contains a world of its own.

Kubrick's birth chart
Stanley Kubrick birth chart

A notable gap in his chart is that he had had no planets in air which can produce a massive overcompensation – like being recognized as a great intellectual where you would expect to find abundant planets in Air.  Kubrick has a  concentration  of planets is in  fire, water and earth. He was phobic about air travel, and recreated the entire scene in lower East side  for ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ in the studio in England, rather than go to film on location in NYC. This was in spite of having a pilot’s licence. 2001 has almost zero words. Image, mood and music triumph over the script, perfectly demonstrated in ‘2001 a Space Odyssey’(1969) and so this film occupies a category all of its own. He maintained that the narrative should be abandoned in favour of a few ‘non-submersible scenes’. Sometimes they gel but sometimes not so much. Kubrick took the longest time to build these scenes, extending production to 440 days on ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ (1999) and this clinical detachment and chopped narrative can still be immensely puzzling yet so thoroughly absorbing. Watching his films is a transformative experience. He does however have his North Node in Gemini and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ is full of Burgess’s word play drawn from Russian sources, and even Malcolm McDowell’s was allowed to make up his own ‘eggy-weggy’ for the character of Alex.

Alex in 'A Clockwork Orange' (1971)
Alex in ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1971)

Malcolm McDowell ( a Gemini) also said he was talented director if only he trusted you, and you trusted him ( Scorpio rising). He allowed actors freedom, but was experimental. He knew more about what he didn’t want than what he wanted. There is a lot of fixity in Kubrick’s chart- it is the predominant modality. Once on track with a project, he rarely deviated. He delivered the goods and while open to choices, the primary vision for a film was his and his alone.  He did not over direct actors. But he belongs in the top ten of film directors most feared by actors for being a perfectionist. He asked actors to do scenes multiple times to the point they were utterly exhausted and Kubrick captured them in that delirious, semi-trance state. ‘A Clockwork Orange’ was a complete world. When you watch you are immersed in an almost hallucinogenic virtual reality like a video game.  But this is true of each one of his films. He knew about experiential identification that could entice the viewer not to sympathise with the protagonists, yet to still be highly involved.

Mask in 'Eyes Wide Shut'
Mask in ‘Eyes Wide Shut’

The Sabian symbol (Janduz version) for the 3rd degree of Leo of his sun position chimes in with Kubrick’s personality as it is “By the bank of a pond, a cat watches a prey” and Kubrick had endless patience to reach his goals. He lures us in with his magnetic art form until we are in his hands. And asteroid Photographica conjuncts his sun, an added felicitous synchronicity that only astrology can provide.  As to the question of his death upon  the release of ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ in 1999, which many believe pulls the rug on the corrupt corporate elites, and whether it was a natural death by heart attack as claimed, it is better to be silent and put on the mask, as perhaps this mystery-loving director would have wanted. There is a film script here waiting to be written to unravel all the myriad connections. His Pluto is at 17 degrees of Cancer exactly where the North Node is currently, so he still has a message for today’s world embedded in his films like a code. A book on codes and decoding was his favourite book. The fascination with his work will continue and we will unpacking the meanings of Kubrick’s work for a good few decades to come.

©Proteus Astrology, July  26th, 2019

Kieron Devlin

 

www.proteusastrology.co.uk

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