The heroic life of Marinus van der Lubbe

Rinus van der Lubbe was born on the 13th of january 1909 in the city of Leiden. He died on the guillotine on the 10th of january 1934 after having been sentenced to death in a Nazi show trial. On the 27st of february 1933, Van der Lubbe had set the German Reichstag on fire, causing unprecedented political turmoil and 'establishing' Nazi Germany. Here's a look at Rinus' heroic life using astrological clues.

Fact and fiction
It's important to emphasize that Marinus van der Lubbe's story is controversial, in the sense that there are all kinds of conspiracy theories about the Reichstag fire. The source used for this post is a well researched biography by Dutch journalist Martin Schouten titled 'Marinus van der Lubbe - a biography' (Bezige Bij 2008). It contains the full psychiatric report that was made during the Reichstag-trial, which is invaluable because of the level of detail, and also many of his letters and a travel diary. 

About Rinus
Before he sets the Reichstag on fire, Rinus van der Lubbe has already been a fairly fanatical political activist for some years. In his hometown Leiden he is well known as a defender of the proletariat. He visits the places where Dutch left wing politicians like Henriette Roland Holst speak. Later he starts to organize meetings, write communist pamphlets, newspapers and plays and he founds a 'Lenin House' in the poorest and dirtiest part of town to teach his own flavor of Marxism to the kids on the street.

Rinus is quite fearless and very strong, he'll fight any policeman. His nickname is Dempsey, after the world heavyweight boxing champion. Not really equipped for abstract political theory or philosophy, he still is a bit of a 'gadfly' in the Socratic tradition. He enjoys selling atheist ideas to religious folks like reverends and rabbis. Or he fights a policeman and steals his bloody sword, to show it to his communist brethren. He spends some time in jail because of various subversive activities but he's no criminal. Also no alcohol or tobacco for Rinus. He can be very disciplined and steady, especially when he's on a mission, but he also dreams big, sometimes a bit too big.

He leaves the Dutch Communist party because he doesn't buy the Stalinist propaganda they are spreading by now. Around the 14th of april 1931 he starts a hitchhiking journey to Russia, to find out first hand how things are going with the labourers in the motherland. After five days he reaches Berlin alone, a travel companion who is less motivated than Rinus has left him at the German border. In Berlin Van der Lubbe smells a bigger revolution than the one that's brewing in his hometown. But since a visa for Russia is way too expensive for him, he returns to Leiden.

Swim across the Channel and walk to China
His next plan is to swim across the Channel from Calais to Dover and earn a prize of 5000 guilders. He will do it in a red swimsuit with a hammer and sickle on it. He starts training on the Dutch coast, swimming from Katwijk to Noordwijk. By the time he reaches Calais he makes a very good impression. He could win the challenge but he doesn't get a chance to prove himself because of bad weather conditions. Tough luck.

And so, Rinus decides to go on a foot journey to China, alone. He thinks he can make it to Constantinopel in about three weeks if he keeps walking steadily. He figures walking to China and back should be doable in about three or four months. OK, so Rinus isn't very good at estimating a distance from looking at a map (and his eyesight is very bad). In october he reaches a place somewhere in the middle of Yugoslavia, but since Yugoslavia is a lot bigger than he had thought, he decides it's time to return to Leiden, because he wants to be ready for another Channel crossing challenge next summer. 

Looking for action
Strictly grass roots, he doesn't return to the Dutch Communist Party when he's back in Leiden. Instead he joins the Linkse Arbeiders Oppositie, or Spartacus group, led by the now forgotten Eduard Sirach. Rinus talks to friends about political actions that would have real impact, like for example killing Adolf Hitler. His friend Piet van Albada mentions that setting the Reichstag on fire would also be a good idea. A few weeks later, Rinus talks to some friends about setting the Dutch parliament on fire. He needs some help, but his friends refuse to join him on this mission.

On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany. Soon the newspapers write about strikes in Germany. Rinus knows a revolution when he sees one: he's not going to sit and wait in Leiden. On friday morning the 3rd of february 1933 he leaves Leiden for his last trip to Berlin. The next day he's in Düsseldorf. He has read in the newspapers about revolutionary scenes in the Ruhr region but when he arrives, the party is already over. He moves on to Berlin, arriving on the 18th of february, looking for action. The rest is history.

Astrological data
Marinus van de Lubbe, born on 13 January 1909 at 05:30 in Leiden, Netherlands (52n10, 4e30) rating AA

The amount of astrological data that's available nowadays can be a bit overwhelming. For this short overview of dramatic moments in Van der Lubbe's life we've looked at the classic planets, but also at dwarf planets, asteroids and black holes. We look at two sets of aspects: classic aspects and golden aspects, and we look at the natal chart and transit data for the Reichstag fire, and for the day of Van der Lubbe's execution. If you want to review all the stuff that was used/selected, scroll down to the bottom of this page.   

From an astrological point of view, the key moments in Van der Lubbe's life are pretty much an open book. Starting with his natal chart, there's an obvious central 'karmic' axis. Pluto conjunct the South Node opposite Venus conjunct the Galactic Center conjunct the North Node. The North Node/Galactic Center conjunction is just two hours from exact. That's some real heavy karma right there. With a lot of stuff going on in Sagittarius, Van der Lubbe is destined to search for Truth with a capital T. Venus conjunct the Galactic Center can perhaps be seen most clearly in the beautiful lines of poetry he sometimes wrote, while Pluto on the South Node in Taurus makes him both stubborn and sensitive to ~ or even obsessed with ~ power-related issues, including political power, communism and nazism.

The Monument

There's an official monument for Rinus van der Lubbe. It has a deep, mystical poem on the subject of Beauty. Rinus wrote it in 1933 during his imprisonment, seemingly as a kind of spiritual testament.

Sun conjunct Uranus makes him individualistic, and a freedom fighter (communism as liberation of the working class). Moon opposite Saturn is an emotionally challenging aspect, leading to loneliness. The negative effect of this aspect is balanced by Moon trine Mercury, which is much more practical and down to earth. Mercury trine Saturn gives him his ability to organize and lead, his overall seriousness and discipline and a good memory for details. Mars in Scorpio accepts any challenge. The general Uranus - Neptune opposition may point to disruption of collective ideals. 

Phi-angles (Golden Aspects)
The interpretation of Phi-angles, a concept developed by Theodor Landscheidt, is based on a homegrown technique; a project you can read about here. Looking at the geocentric Phi-angles in Van der Lubbe's birth chart, the strongest influence comes from Chiron and Neptune. This points to suffering (extreme poverty, some loss of eyesight, the suffering of the working class, martyrdom) and to a nebulous blend of high ideals (collective, communist) and crazy dreams, or even pure confusion. The heliocentric Phi-angles on the other hand point to his destiny, which was more Uranian in nature: the sudden rise to fame of the communist freedom fighter who stole the fire from the Gods and used it to incinerate the Reichstag, combined with a Jupiterian impulse to leave a really big mark. 

Dwarf Planets and centaurs
Eris conjunct Nessus is T-squaring the main karmic axis. Van der Lubbe definitely has a kind of Eris thing going on in the way he provokes the establishment. And Nessus may point to the exploitation of the labourer in general, and also to the exploitation of Van der Lubbe ~ in various ways. Pholus shows up in the mundane chart of the Reichstag fire, trining the Mars/Neptune/South Node conjunction and indicating that 'the lid has come off'. This meaning is closely related to the meaning of the asteroid Pandora. 

The most important asteroids for Van der Lubbe are probably Karma, Moira (fate), Bratfest (young rebel), Pandora (the political after-effects of the fire), Hybris (challenging the Gods), Socrates and Justitia (the trial), Red Queen (off with his head!), Atropos (death/the end) and Aeternitas (eternal fame). Most of the natal transits of these asteroids during the day of the Reichstag fire and/or the day of the execution are remarkably precise. Asteroid Chaos is activated on the day of the fire: Chaos conjunct Sun conjunct North Node opposite Mars conjunct Neptune conjunct South Node.

Fixed stars
Report made with Bernadette Brady's Starlight software.

Star on angles at birth
Vindemiatrix - Culminating at the Mid-heaven - An organised person, tidy, with a structure to their lives

Heliacal rising star
Aculeus - Understanding that rough stones can be polished by life's difficulties

Heliacal setting star
El Nath - A confronting attitude, a desire to deal with real life, real issues

Rising/Stars of youth
Sadalsuud as Mars is Culminating - To enjoy a challenge, a lover of gentle conflict
Fomalhaut as Mars is Setting - An idealistic warrior, mystical hero, or blind fanatic
Alhena as Jupiter is On Nadir - The scholar or explorer; the person with a mission
Markab as Sun is Rising - A person who is consistent in their beliefs, an unchanging person

Culminating/Stars of prime
Murzim as Saturn is Setting - Being able to influence others through one’s words
Procyon as Sun is On Nadir - Exceptionally skilled, but needing to diversify this talent
Alpheratz as Moon is On Nadir - Emotionally independent; a self-contained individual or a loner
Antares as Mercury is Rising - Mental obsession with a subject or a person

Setting/Stars of latter years
Bellatrix as Mars is Rising - A person who takes up a proletarian fight
Markab as Saturn is Setting - Seeking respect by endeavouring to build reliable structures and ideas
Acumen as Sun is Culminating - Personal attacks on one’s credibility
Sualocin as Mars is on Nadir - One who can motivate others, a person who can sell an idea
Acubens as Mars is Culminating - The craftsperson; to create or build ideas or objects
Zuben Eschamali as Mercury is Culminating - Imposing one’s views on others
Betelgeuse as Moon is Culminating - An empowered person who is concerned with the quality of life
Ras Algethi as Mercury is Setting - Inquisitive about the nature of objects, people, or the laws of creation
Spica as Saturn is Rising - To be a prime mover of an idea, a founder, an originator
Sadalmelek as Mars is On Nadir - A person who makes their own luck; auspicious events follow concentrated effort

On Nadir/Stars of foundation
Procyon as Sun is Culminating - Exceptionally skilled, but needing to diversify this talent
Al Rescha as Venus is Rising - Insights into the hidden patterns of society, ideas, or places
Antares as Jupiter is Rising - The engineer, a person who can envisage a structure, material or social

Birth chart data

planets in constellations (IAU borders)
Sun conjunct Uranus in Sagittarius
Moon in Virgo
Mercury in Capricorn
Venus conjunct Galactic Center and North Node in Sagittarius
Mars in Scorpio
Jupiter(r) in Leo
Saturn in Pisces
Chiron in Capricorn
Neptune(r) in Gemini
Pluto(r) conjunct South Node in Taurus

classic aspects (geocentric)
Sun/Uranus opposite Neptune
Moon opposite Saturn
Moon trine Mercury
Mercury trine Saturn
Venus/North Node/Center of Galaxy opposite Pluto/South Node

golden aspects geocentric (total 26)

8 CH
7 NE
6 MA, UR
5 PL
4 JU, GC
3 MO, VE, SA
2 ME
1 SO

golden aspects heliocentric (total 25)

7 UR
6 JU
5 SA, PL, GC, CH
4 VE, MA
3 SO, ME, NE

other black holes besides galactic center (geocentric, tropical)
Mars on BHs 3,4 & 5 Sagittarius
Uranus on BH 19 Capricorn

dwarf planets and asteroids (geocentric)
Eris/Nessus square North Node/Pluto
Eris/Nessus square South Node/Galactic Center/Venus/Ceres/Fortuna
Red Queen sextile Uranus
Red Queen trine Justitia
Justitia sextile Uranus
Socrates conjunct Saturn
Fraternitas conjunct Mars
Solidarity sextile Mars
Hybris sextile Jupiter
Hybris trine Karma
Bratfest sextile Sun

27 february 1933 ~ Reichstag fire

Birth chart transits
Sun square Uranus
Sun opposite Pluto
Sun trine Chiron
Venus/Galactic Center/South Node square Mercury
Chiron sextile Uranus
Uranus square Moon
Uranus trine Jupiter
Neptune square Moon
Pluto/Galactic Center/North Node square Mercury
Pandora opposite South Node
Pandora square Aeternitas
Pandora semisquare Uranus
Pandora sesquare Pluto
Hybris sextile Mars
Hybris sesquare Pandora
Moira/Aeternitas square Pandora
Moira/Aeternitas square Fama

Planets and asteroids (mundane geocentric)
Chaos/Sun/North Node opposite Mars/Neptune/South Node
Pholus trine Mars/Neptune/South Node
Bratfest conjunct Mars/Neptune/South Node
Nessus/Uranus square Pluto

10 january 1934 ~ execution

Birth chart transits
Sun square Uranus
Sun opposite Pluto
Sun square Jupiter
Venus square Red Queen
Saturn semi/sesquare Nodes
Saturn opposite Pandora
Chiron trine Jupiter
Chiron biquintile Red Queen
Neptune quintile Red Queen
Pluto opposite Hybris
Karma opposite Mercury
Karma semisquare Chiron
Moira sextile Chiron
Moira opposite Red Queen
Moira sextile Fama
Moira sesquare Karma
Hybris semisquare Red Queen
Hybris square Atropos
Hybris square Karma
Red Queen square Nodes
Red Queen sextile Sun
Red Queen sextile Leviathan
Atropos trine Aeternitatis
Atropos trine Pax