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Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday at the age of 84, concluding the career of one of the most unusual writers of the twentieth century. Author of Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five among many others, Vonnegut drew from his experience as a prisoner of war when he was captured by the Nazis in 1944. He was known for his biting satiric wit and black comedy, and his books became bibles for the cultural revolution that took place in the 1960s. He was also known for his absolute lack of faith and negative thinking, although these traits were expressed through a comic perspective which made them more palatable to the reading public.

Vonnegut was born with the Sun in Scorpio, bestowing an intensely emotional nature. Mercury in his chart was also in Scorpio, suggesting that his thoughts and ideas were colored by the love of Scorpio for the dark underbelly of thought that many fear to venture into. Jupiter was conjunct his Mercury which often indicates an individual who is confident of his mental abilities and an excellent communicator, but not one who is easily convinced to change his mind. Neptune exactly square his Sun, giving him creativity in abundance but also causing him to become lost in his own drama.

The most difficult aspect in Vonnegut’s chart is the T-square involving Chiron opposite Saturn, both ends of which are square to Pluto. Chiron had not yet been discovered when Vonnegut was born in 1922, but even without Chiron the Pluto/Saturn square is a difficult one to manage as Pluto applies constant pressure for transformation and Saturn creates pain and limitation that demands change. There can be struggles for power and dominance, and an inner ruthlessness that can either create a depth of character or bestow an often cruel nature.

We are fortunate that Vonnegut’s other planetary influence softened the Pluto/Saturn dynamic sufficiently to permit us to inherit the benefit of his wit and wisdom. In his own words:

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.

Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.

Kurt Vonnegut, Cold Turkey

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.

Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus

During my three years in Vietnam, I certainly heard plenty of last words by dying American footsoldiers. Not one of them, however, had illusions that he had somehow accomplished something worthwhile in the process of making the Supreme Sacrifice.

Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus
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