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Kim Farnell

Kim Farnell

By Kim Farnell:


Giovanni Casanova (1725-98), by Kim Farnell

In looking at charts of great lovers we have no choice but to start with that of Casanova. No one knows how many lovers he had but it was thought to be hundreds. His amorous adventures started at the age of sixteen when he made love to two sisters in the same bed. He then progressed through a variety of lovers including nuns, novices, duchesses, prostitutes, peasants and rich old ladies. Although he was nearly married on a number of occasions he always escaped at the last minute, often by employing delaying tactics until the bride tired of waiting, whereupon he would retire to his bed grief stricken. His opening move in an affair was to provoke a quarrel and then he could apologise and offer comfort. His life of indulgence extended to the foods he ate and his seductions were often carried out as part of a feast.

He was born in Venice in 1725, the son of an actor and actress. Neglected by his parents, he was a sickly child suffering frequently from nosebleeds. Well educated, at one point in his early life he became a priest. Leaving the priesthood he lived largely by his wits and by the age of 20 was obsessed by gambling. He pursued women with great fervour, making advances when their husbands turned their backs. In between seductions he wrote verses for church music. Finances often presented problems and at one stage he played violin in a theatre to keep himself, and at another worked as a homeopath. His only regular income was from the patrons who gave him allowances.

His attitude of insolence towards the ruling class caused him to be hated by the establishment and he was accused of being a spy. In 1755 he was arrested because of a religious satire he wrote as a youth and was condemned to five years imprisonment without trial. He escaped from prison 15 months later but was caught due to a planned move, although the jailer kept quiet about the attempt. With the assistance of another prisoner he made successful his escape shortly after and then spent the rest of his life keeping himself out of the hands of the Venetian Inquisitors.

In Paris he was admitted to the most exclusive circles and appointed director of the French lottery. His interest in the occult and black magic fascinated women of high rank, amongst them the Marquise d'Urfe, who supported him lavishly for many years. She was a member of a pseudo religious sect and a believer in reincarnation, certain that Casanova could communicate with spirits. The scandal of Paris for some time was Casanova's attempt to transmigrate her soul into the body of a male infant by making love to a carefully chosen virgin who would then be the reincarnation of the Marquise.

He later ran a business printing patterns on silk, employing 20 girls for the work, each of whom became his mistress although his business wasn't successful. When he had money he was generous with his women and usually came out of his affairs unscathed. His worst faux pas was when he was seeking his fiancée's mother's signature to the marriage contract and on meeting him she screamed and fainted. It transpired that he had almost married his own daughter.

His decline began in England. He was involved with a prostitute who not only conned out of him 2,000 guineas, but also convinced him that he had contracted an incurable disease from her. To avoid debts he returned to Venice and became a secret agent for the Inquisitors, living a respectable life with a seamstress. After a threatened duel he left Venice for the last time. In 1784 he met Count Joseph de Waldstein and became his librarian, staying there for 13 years, spending much of his time writing his memoirs.

Casanova would cajole, insult and threaten until he got his way as he believed lack of sexual activity caused illness - his indulgence resulted in at least 11 attacks of VD. He referred frequently to the use of contraceptives to counter this as well as pregnancy. He refers casually to 'running his sixth race' and in his prime was capable of having sex anywhere, with anyone, in any position. Rather than wishing to prove his virility he was one who enjoyed sex as much for pleasure as for seduction. Contrary to popular belief his affairs were not exclusively with women. He also made love to young girls saying "I have never been able to understand how a father could tenderly love his charming daughter without having slept with her at least once". It is not known how many lovers he had as he spoke in his memoirs of coupling with several partners. As he was interested in quality as well as quantity the estimated number is somewhat lower than many expect - about 200 or so.

When making a case for the 5th house to be the one associated with sexual activity we can find no better example than Casanova's chart. He has Mars, ascendant ruler, on the 5th house cusp, together with Venus and Mercury in the 5th house. Venus and Mercury are further emphasised by an opposition to Pluto. The Venus/Pluto opposition is commonly taken as a preoccupation with sex,- almost an obsession, which is certainly true here. The 5th house is relevant to other areas of Casanova's life as he was also known to be a consummate gambler.

Barbara Watters cites Jupiter dominated charts, particularly Mars opposition Jupiter, as being those of people who take action against the accepted moral code or traditional beliefs. Jupiter not only rules the 5th house cusp but also disposes Mars, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. Additionally, the 5th house is emphasised by the opposition from Pluto whilst Jupiter is in a close tine to the Uranus-node conjunction in the first house. There is a strong Jupiterian feel to this chart and this is consistent with Casanova's life. He trained .for the priesthood, was an obsessive gambler and a scholar at various stages of his life. Mars conjunct Jupiter further emphasises his rebellious nature.

The Part of Passion (ASC + Mars - Venus reversed) falls at 8 degrees scorpio, in the 1st house, conjunct Uranus and the south node, and sextile the Moon. As well as acting as a significator for his lifestyle, being in the ascendant, the Uranus conjunction adds charisma and the sextile to the Moon adds sympathy. Despite first impressions, the south node is not so badly placed as we may think. Scorpio is traditionally given as the elevation of the Dragon's Tail although some sources quote Sagittarius as a better placement. GH White quotes the first house position of the south node as representing someone who is not likely to be passed by lightly, although as it is the south rather than north node we are looking at infamy rather than fame.

The Aries Sun is a common denominator for flirtation and promiscuity and is given added strength by being in its own exaltation and face. As well as the sign most associated with leadership, there is a degree of vanity to this Sun. Casanova was rarely turned down, he got what he expected. Pisces is also heavily emphasised. It is the sign associated with intemperance and a craving for emotional excitement and sensuality. Uranus rising could go a long way towards explaining some of his more unusual tastes. He is known to have had liaisons with girls as young as eleven. Today we would take quite a different view of this and issues of child abuse would be discussed. In this context it is worth noting that the Pluto opposition to Venus and Mercury could be taken as a classic indicator. Taking Mercury as the god of the one night stand brings yet another flavour to the opposition - one night stand after one night stand after one night stand....

Do we count Venus as afflicted and so offering us the lasciviousness Raphael mentions? Well, it does sextile Saturn and oppose Pluto. And it lies in Mars triplicity. Robson promises us a strong emphasis on Neptune in charts such as these. Well, unfortunately for this theory Neptune is not highly emphasised although the prominence of Pisces can have escaped no-one.

Casanova's chart is a signature for that of a great lover. However, one factor must be borne in mind - Jupiter amongst other things is connected with exaggeration, and it is Casanova's version of his life we are examining. So although Jupiter is strongly emphasised in the charts of those classed as 'great lovers' we are left wondering what our view would be if we had access to those of his lovers who could say how great he really was.

Kim Farnell has been a professional astrologer since 1990. She has taught astrology and lectured extensively in the UK and overseas. She was a council member of the Astrological Association for nine years and is presently on the Executive Committee of the British Astrological and Psychic Society. Her work has been published in a variety of astrological periodicals, and she is the author of The Astral Tramp: A Biography of Sepharial (Ascella 1998). She has also written books published in Japanese and Serbo-Croat.

Kim is available for written work, TV and radio. Visit her website at or email

© Kim Farnell

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