Lisa Morpurgo

From the first time I met Lisa Morpurgo, whom I, and not only I, consider the greatest astrologer in Italy, I have been struck by her duality, a characteristic I actually later confirmed in the few letters we exchanged, one that is apparent in her books and which is also present in her birth chart.

Lisa Morpurgo was born in Soncino, Cremona, on the 19th of May, 1923 at 9.30 am, which means she is a Taurean with Leo ascendant, a combination that creates some tension between individuality, the inclination to obtain the primary requirements of life and to satisfy the inner need for warmth and security, and the way in which that need is shown, the inclination to put forward with confidence her own ideas, her own self. The essence of her duality is in fact symbolised by the Moon-Pluto conjunction in Cancer in the twelfth house, which receives quadrature from Saturn, exalted in Libra, in the third house (quadrature that, by locomotive effect, also involves the luminary even if, for the sake of accuracy, there’s a distance of 1º).

In addition, the conjunction is trigonal to Uranus, lodged in Pisces (exaltation of the Moon, domicile of Neptune) in house 9, and a further trigon with Jupiter, placed in Scorpio in house IV, co-significant Cancer, domicile of the Moon. In this very beautiful stellar triangle, the lunar-Neptune values predominate, reflecting Lisa’s considerable sensitivity, which at times can actually become prescience. A perceptiveness that allows her to absorb all the emotions, which, on the one hand, urge her to follow unusual paths, but, on the other, hold her in check, and in fact she herself has written to me: “…. I am forever enmeshed in emotions, memories or by the fear of hurting someone.”

Such sensibility pushed her towards research, towards new and wider horizons, from which, thanks to the conjunction of the luminary with Pluto, she succeeds in devising, creating and then breathing life into new astrological theories. These lunar-Neptune abilities are contrasted by the strong Saturn in Libra, which allows Lisa to channel them positively, since it forms a trigon to Mercury in Gemini, master of the third house, spurring her to put down on paper and so make concrete all her intuitions, working and reworking them until the logical thread of her argument is perfected, as in a puzzle in which every link is in the right place. Here I’m referring to her amazing untangling of the domiciles and exaltations, and her theory of the existence of two other planets. In addition, the quadrature that Saturn forms with the Moon-Pluto conjunction creates in her an interior duality, which is also apparent in her outward behaviour. The hypersensitive Moon would tend to make her open to all her own emotions and those of others, always ready to help, but would also, however, put her at risk of losing her way, something that Saturn prevents. The planet, is its symbolism of relationships with others, in Libra in the third house, which is also concerned with social life, spurs her to develop a defensive attitude towards the outside, preventing interference in the elite circle of people who surround her and within which she feels secure, a typically Taurean strategy, moreover. If someone tries to get close to her, they come up against an extremely harsh, sour and, at times, scornful (negative Saturn) attitude, as she exposes the weaknesses or the mistakes of her interlocutors, who are thus discouraged from making further approaches.

“My terrible character is a legend that doesn’t correspond to the truth but this legend is fed by a very common, simple-minded attitude, and that is the conviction that it is enough to make a request of someone who is moderately well-known (like me) for them to be automatically obliged to respond to it. This is very childish, believe me. Notoriety, especially notoriety in astrology, unleashes such a whirlwind of requests as to force one to become ruthless in self-defence in order just to survive.”

 

The quadrature of Saturn with Pluto-Moon indicates the impositions which she has had to get used to and that have caused her mental frustration, confirmed in her books. Lisa graduated in literature in 1944 at the State University of Milan and worked for the publishers, Longanesi, as translator, being able to speak as many as four languages, thanks to her very beautiful radix Jupiter, which also forms dissonant quincunx with Mercury and the Medium Coeli, and later she took responsibility for foreign rights for the same firm. In translating a text by François-Régis Bastide on the images of the Zodiac, a keen interest in astrology was awakened in her. 

In ’68, she made her writing debut with her first novel, “Madame Round Trip”, which she followed in ’75 with another work in the science-fantasy genre “Macbarath”, but, for her, success really came in ’79 with the publication of “The Guest of Stone”, which is considered her best book. 

Notwithstanding her awareness of the importance of her revolutionary astrology, which has drawn a line of demarcation between classical and modern astrology, her inner unease is tangible in her books, perhaps caused by the frustrated desire to be a writer of fiction while becoming, instead, a writer of astrological texts, a discipline that is considered by many intellectuals to be of a lesser order. She employs the same fury with which she defends herself to demonstrate the irrefutable scientific basis of astrology, as can be seen from the extreme and severe language she sometimes uses, almost as if, unconsciously or otherwise, she wanted to say: “By raising the profile of Astrology, I also elevate myself”.   

 

“A few days ago, I delivered “The Nature of the Transits” to my publisher and it will be my last astrological work. From now on, I will devote myself only to fiction, with the great joy of all my writer friends (and they are many) with whom I can finally talk of Tolstoy, Anacreon and Proust instead of listening to the barely literate talking to me about red or black Moons. And if someone should dare complain, I can happily quote a line from Molière: “Tu l’as voulu, George Dandin”.

 

I think this frustration (Saturn in quadrature to Pluto-Moon) was the spring that always drove her forward and that provided the basis for the displays of fighting spirit, creativity (Pluto in trigon to the Moon) and mental fulfilment (Saturn in trigon to Mercury) she felt in confirming the truth of her insights, which spurred her to carry on. 

by Carla Pretto

Translated by Nick Skidmore

© 2023 Carla Pretto