Karmic Profile: Artist and Writer Robert Motherwell

I know what you’re thinking.

There’s that Jacobs again, digging out the chart of someone no one knows anything about.

But there’s always a point. And I’m sure some of you have heard of Robert Motherwell. He was, you know, famous.

Tomorrow is his birthday, and he is perhaps, or perhaps probably my favorite painter. Each time I’m in a museum and come across something of his, I’m happier than when I got there, and often I feel relieved. I feel like he’s an old friend. I’ve also written a handful of pieces in response to his paintings, and that’s a mark of the favorite category re me.

I’ve seen the chart a few times before but for some reason tonight noticed this very important Jupiter, which is conjunct the North Node. Motherwell did an undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in philosophy, and then continued on with his studies before beginning painting at around age 25. He was entirely self-taught, and eventually helped define the abstract expressionist movement. But he also was able to speak about art.

He became the unofficial spokesman for that group of artists because he could. He could cogently explain what he was doing and how it fit in with the history of art, and how it reflected artists’ concerns and interests. None of the others could really do that, nor did any of them want to.

Data: January 24 1915, 10:45 PM, Aberdeen WA (rated AA).

Birth chart for Robert MotherwellWe can see an interest in philosophy with that Pluto conjunct Saturn in the 9th house. With each of them retrograde, we can know that whatever he did with those two energies in his life at first, he would have to develop his own way of doing them. Retros always indicate that an individual needs to develop his or her own way of doing those energies. In Motherwell’s case, it was natural to attempt to develop into a mature person by pursuing higher education, but where he became an authority was in another field entirely.

Square the nodal axis is Moon in Taurus in the 8th house, which indicates that choices surrounding happiness are the grounds for karmic confusion. Moon square the nodes always says that a person needs to learn to make new choices about self-care and self-interested action so that he or she can become happy. It also can indicate pressure from family sources to make certain choices. Couple this with the South Node itself, in Leo in the 11th house – there’s a lot of conformist possibility with that nodal setup. He in his soul’s various lives might be yielding to family and social pressure about what he should do with himself.

But it’s that Jupiter so tightly on the North Node, in Aquarius in the 5th house that tells the story of leaving academia and picking up painting. A 5th house Aquarian North Node says that one needs to individuate and break free from conditioning and other forces in order to creatively express the self. Don’t get confused by the Leo South Node and the 5th house North Node, thinking they are the same thing. They’re not. This South Node is about approaching social realities (11th house) in a Leonine way, while the North Node is about approaching individual expression (5th house) in an Aquarian way.

Jupiter conjunct any North Node says that the person needs to recover the ability or capacity to believe in something. Usually the self, life, divinity and everything else. It is a marker of feeling that hope and faith are not available to one, and it can leaded to being jaded, seemingly devoid of life force, depressed, and other unhappy states. Think of the expansive, hopeful, joyous, buoyant energy of Jupiter (it’s really okay that you’re thinking of Santa Claus right now) and know that access to those modes, those kinds of feelings, are not part of his soul’s multi-life journey much of the time. Living without Jupiter can make life such a drag, and the literal opposite of fun.

Motherwell needed to make a choice to believe in his own creativity in that life. His soul has many lives along the earth time line where he utterly fails to do Jupiter. This kind of set up can lead to three possible scenarios: Being determined to have it because one feels it was denied in the (karmic) past, feeling undeserving of it because it was denied and so not trying, or vacillating between the two. Most people with a planet conjunct the North Node fall in the 3rd category.

Note the age when Motherwell picked up painting on his own: 25. The second Jupiter return takes place around age 24, and he would have felt a boost of Jupiterian energy during the return that part of him might not have known what to do with. It took about a year for another part of him to figure it out and pick up a brush.

Doing so, and following through with it and giving it a chance, was giving himself a chance – very important for a 5th house North Node with Moon square it. With the karma (beliefs) surrounding being denied Jupiter (conjunct the North Node), it was really important for him to make such a choice and run with it. He needed to make a personal mark, to set himself apart, and to bring out the innovation that tapping into his imagination would bring.

It didn’t have to be painting. But that was a great vehicle for his recovery of the capacity to have faith in something, meaning himself, and his ability to make a creative, personal mark on the world.

If you dig this style of karmic analysis of charts, check out my book The Soul’s Journey I: Astrology, Reincarnation, and Karma with a Medium and Channel. In it I explain my four-step method for seeing and understanding the karmic, multi-life journey of the soul in a chart simply and easily. Knowing about that journey, you know about how a person has been energetically and emotionally imprinted in his or her soul’s many lives. And honestly, we’re ready to start dealing with that level imprinting! It makes astrology even more useful to helping people to understand themselves.

Tom Jacobs is an evolutionary astrologer, medium, channel, author, and coach offering insight into why your soul is here and guidance about how to make it happen. Contact him via his site for private readings and to learn about intuitive coaching. Tom is the author of five books on metaphysics and astrology and two volumes of channeling the Ascended Master Djehuty, available via his site, Amazon, and Kindle. Chiron, 2012, and the Aquarian Age: The Key and How to Use It is his groundbreaking new 11-hour MP3 course, also available through his site. In short, just go to his site. It’s a playground for the curious astrologer and student all about soul, reincarnation, free will, and other really good stuff.