Thomas Mann - astrology in the hands of the magus

Thomas Mann had shown interest in astrology. When he lived in Munich he met up at different times with his fellow writer, and astrologer, Oskar A.H. Schmitz to discuss, among other things, astrology. In his diary he wrote on March 5, 1920: “Rendevous with O. Schmitz in the Cafe Luitpold where we had dinner. First, we addressed astrological matters, my horoscope and that of Heinrich (his brother, C.C.) Then we discussed other matters, philosophy, medical issues and psychoanalysis.”

In many of his works one can find astrological allusions. In “Joseph and his Brothers”, for instance, Jaakob, the father, asks his son Joseph: “How come that your speech has so much wit, that it cascades in such lighthearted way over the cliffs of truth and finds its way into the heart that then starts to beat in rapture?” And Joseph answers: “... because it is of the nature of the messenger through and through”. This messenger being none other than  Hermes - Mercury, the messenger of the gods, the Babylonian Nabu, the Aegyptian Thot, known for his craftiness and cunning with words. And Joseph explains: “This is a god, light and swift, bringing about a good outcome and furthering exchange. This all Eliezer taught me, your wise servant, when he described to me the planetary cosmos and the relation among the stars and their power over the hour as to their aspect at that moment. And he calculated the hour of my birth at Charran in Mesopotamia when schamasch” - that was in Babylon the name of the sun - “was at the Midheaven in the sign of Gemini, and the sign of Virgo was just rising in the East.”  

What Joseph tells us here is none other than the birthchart of Thomas Mann himself.

Adrian Leverkühn, the composer in the novel ‘Dr. Faustus’ was born, as the author tells us early on, in the late spring 1885; in later chapters we get to know that his birthday is June 6: the birthday of Thomas Mann.

Thomas Mann, ‘Tagebücher 1918 - 1921’, 1997

Thomas Mann, ‘Joseph und seine Brüder’, 1928

Thomas Mann, ‘Dr. Faustus’, 1947

Lorenz Jäger, ‘ Die schöne Kunst, das Schicksal zu lesen’, 2009

Thomas Mann (right), 1875 - 1955, with his brother Heinrich

Thomas Mann (right), 1875 - 1955, with his brother Heinrich