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The Hard Horoscope

Ancient astrologers pulled no punches when it came to interpreting the aspects and placements within a horoscope that they considered “bad.” If you had afflictions involving the Twelfth House, you were going to end up in prison. The Moon in its detriment in the Eighth House and receiving an “evil” aspect from Saturn meant that a woman would bring about your death. Not exactly uplifting stuff, but these old guys weren’t interested in making people feel good. Life was hard and they were just trying to keep up.

Modern astrologer, even those using ancient disciplines like Hellenistic astrology or Indian astrology, are much more circumspect in the way they read hard aspects. After all, people generally have more options these days and better able of ameliorate difficult circumstances by making positive decisions. Still, some horoscopes are more challenging than others and more likely to present an individual with obstacles.

I was reminded of this the other day when I was doing some research on Albert Einstein. I came across the horoscope of his first wife, Mileva Maric-Einstein. While Albert’s chart was, overall, relatively positive, Mileva was born with a horoscope that could definitely be characterized as hard. (Click on Mileva Maric to see the chart.)

The most outstanding feature in Mileva’s horoscope is a Grand Cross. These configurations are rare and the one in Mileva’s  chart is particularly striking. The orb of each of the four squares involved is less two and half degrees. There is great intensity in a Grand Cross. It represents a powerful engine within the horoscope. But controlling and guiding that engine can be difficult.

People born with a Grand Cross are not interested in doing the easy stuff. They need to be challenged. As a woman growing up in the Nineteenth Century in Serbia, Mileva encounter many more challenges than her male peers. And yet, Mileva proved equal to those challenges. When Albert Einstein entered the physics program at the Zurich Polytechnic in 1896 there was only one woman in the class. That woman was Mileva Maric.

Unfortunately, with a Grand Cross, you don’t get time for a victory lap. One challenge follows another. Illness interfered with Mileva’s studies. Forced to take a semester off, she took the exam that would allow her to pursue a career as a teacher one year later that Albert, who was by this time her boyfriend. She failed that exam. She took it again the next years and again her scores were too low. However, by this time Mileva was dealing with a very different sort of challenge.

Mileva was pregnant. She and Albert were engaged but, within the straitlaced scientific community of Switzerland, a child conceived out of wedlock would have killed both their chances for a career in science. Mileva agreed to go back to Serbia to have the child. We can only imagine her feelings at this time. The proud young woman who had left home with such hope was not returning  pregnant and without a teaching certificate.

On Jan. 27, 1902 Mileva gave birth to a daughter. No one knows what happened to this child. She was either given up for adoption or died in infancy. What is known from testimony of people who knew her is that the Mileva who returned to Switzerland to marry Albert Einstein the the same ambitious young woman who had carved out a place for herself at the university. She was withdrawn, sad and maybe a bit hard.

There are positive aspect in Mileva’s horoscope. Even the other square in the chart, between her Moon and the Sun and Mercury, could be seen as a benefit. It provides for a keen mind, well adapted for dealing with practical problems. In different circumstances this configuration could have helped her rebound from the misery she had experienced. However, Mileva found it easier to stop fighting the system and slip back into the traditional role of a wife and mother.

This brings us to the big question that is often asked about the relationship between Mileva and her husband: did she contribute to the development to the theory of relativity. Historians in the field of science say no, but there is testimony from both the couple’s son and Mileva’s Serbian relatives and friends that she and Albert discussed physics at various times while Einstein was working on these ideas. However, the fact that they discussed a subject that they both understood and, to some degree, loved doesn’t necessarily mean that they were collaborating.

Mileva’s horoscope doesn’t provide an answer that question but it does seem unlikely that a person driven by a Grand Cross in their horoscope would have settled for being a passive, behind-the-scenes contributor. There’s no evidence that Mileva ever claimed credit for Albert’s historic work and I think that, if she had contributed, she would have let it be known. For people with hard horoscopes it tends all or nothing. Either you take on the challenges and break through the obstacles or you let those hard aspects become your shield against further disappointment.

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