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Natal Chart Study: Leonardo Da Vinci

Natal Chart Study: Leonardo Da Vinci 

21:40 23rd April 1452 (14 April Julian Calendar)

Vinci, Italy

Tropical Placidus

Leonardo Da Vinci was born in Vinci, Tuscany, to a somewhat wealthy Italian notary and a young peasant woman. In traditional astrology, the 10th house signifies the mother and the 4th house the father. In Da Vinci’s chart, his parents are clearly portrayed. The 10th house of his mother falls in Virgo, the sign of the young maiden ruled by Mercury who signifies young people also. Mercury here is Peregrine, indicating his mother’s lack of social status. The 4th house of his father falls in Pisces, ruled by a dignified Jupiter who signifies lawyers and councillors. It was Da Vinci’s father who took custody of him after his birth, provided for him and arranged his education.  

As for Leonardo himself, the ascendant is an important starting point. The Sun rises in the East which allows light and life to enter our planet. The part of the ecliptic rising on the Eastern horizon shows the soul entering this world and under what conditions the physical form is charged with life. The physical body is the vehicle of the soul, it is our centre from where we perceive the world and how we respond to it. Fundamentally, traditionally sources agree that the ascendant signifies the body and life of the person. 

6 degrees and 39 minutes of Sagittarius rise on the ascendant, indicating the foundation of Da Vinci’s essential life force. According to al-Qabisi, the qualities of Sagittarius are ingenious and clever.(1) The natures of Sagittarius are fiery, masculine and mutable which portray Da Vinci as passionate and expressive yet changeable. Sagittarius is symbolised by the mounted archer, notably the only sign in the zodiac with a weapon. Da Vinci was ambitious and just like an archer aiming at a distant target, he aimed for higher and higher standards of precision in his work. He was forward and futuristic in his inventions and creations.

Attributed to Francesco Melzi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In Jyotisa, the zodiac signs are the unconscious limbs of Vishnu, whilst the planets are the conscious manifestations of God. Therefore, more importantly, the planetary ruler of the ascendant provides the details into the consciousness of the polymath. 

The planetary ruler of the ascendant is Jupiter in Pisces, his nocturnal sign of domicile. This dignified Jupiter gives Da Vinci the authentic natures of the greater benefic: optimism, growth, expansion and boundlessness. Da Vinci was particularly keen on freedom; he was known to buy caged birds just to release them back into the wild. Like Sagittarius, Pisces is also a mutable sign, which contributes to his changeable nature. The Moon in the 3rd house conjunct Jupiter amplifies this; Lilly states that the Moon in the 3rd house signifies “oft moving from one place to another”(2) which is more in reference to a traveller, but it also seems applicable to Da Vinci who was so frequently moving from one unfinished project to the next. The 3rd house also holds signification for inland travel (3), and he did in fact move residence within mainland Italy throughout the course of his life. 

The Moon has traditional associations with the brain. Accordingly to William Lilly she has signification for the vegetative strength of the brain more near to the senses (4), referring to involuntary bodily functions, affections and emotions. Other traditional astrologers like al-Qabisi state the Moon signifies the quality of mind depending on which planets she is involved with. In Da Vinci’s natal chart, the Moon is with a dignified Jupiter which indicates someone of an expansive mental attitude directed towards kindness, magnanimity and generosity but also perhaps also someone who experiences augmented feelings and sensations. The Moon and Jupiter both in the fertile sign of Pisces indicate a proliferative and creative mind primed for growth and creation. Not only this, but the Moon and Jupiter are also in a sextile with the Sun in the 5th house of the arts. The Sun rules the 9th house of wisdom and advanced knowledge, so this combination highlights the focus and centre of Da Vinci’s occupation. The Moon is also “pushing virtue” onto the Sun who is located in her exaltation sign of Taurus, adding more strength to Da Vinci’s creative nature. Finally, the Luminaries signify the eyes, so this harmonious combination also describes Da Vinci’s extraordinary observational skills.

Da Vinci’s designs of vehicles and transportation can also be linked to the Moon and Jupiter located in the 3rd house of travel. The 3rd house is also associated with messages and communication, plus the shoulders arms and hands. Not forgetting that his 3rd house ruler is the strongest planet in the chart: Saturn exalted in Libra in the 10th house and that the Moon is in Joy in the 3rd house. Mars is found on the cusp of the 3rd house of which he has natural signification and is in a received trine with Saturn. This aspect intensifies and strengthens the relationship between 3rd and 10th house matters for Da Vinci. Therefore, with a powerful emphasis on the 3rd house we can see how he was so strong in writing, drawing and designing.

Saturn exalted in the 10th house of public reputation is a major testimony for a successful career and a lasting public impression. Yet Saturn is naturally malefic, slow and heavy in influence plus it is retrograde, so it will characterise accordingly Da Vinci’s career and third house. He left dozens of paintings and projects unfinished and was an incredibly slow worker. It took him three years to paint the Last Supper and five years to complete the Mona Lisa, always returning to make minuscule adjustments. Saturn is also in opposition with the 10th house ruler, a very slow in motion Mercury in Aries. Traditional sources assign Mercury to signify the quality of mind, and so with this combination we can begin to understand how deliberate, slow and pensive was Leonardo. These two planets are indeed also angular, so they dominate the chart and Leonardo’s life.  

According to Lilly, the most dignified and well placed planet in the charged becomes the Lord of the Geniture and that the native will play a role in a way most akin to the nature of that planet. Lilly goes onto say that any other planet nearing the same dignity and strength of the Lord of the Geniture will also be evident in the nature of the person. Jupiter, even though cadent and not as powerfully positioned as Saturn, is the essentially dignified ascendant ruler and is therefore qualified to be considered in combination with Saturn. Therefore Saturn and Jupiter’s influence will be almost equally evident in Da Vinci as seriously multi disciplined and wise. 

Da Vinci’s career is signified by the 10th house in Virgo. Virgo is symbolised by a young maiden and is therefore associated with purity. Combining this signification with its planetary ruler Mercury characterises Da Vinci’s career with work of fine detail and technical precision. Da Vinci’s commissions for weapons and fortifications can perhaps be seen by several factors. As noted, Saturn the planet of boundaries is placed in the 10th house and therefore becomes a co-significator for his career. Firstly, Saturn receives a trine from Mars the planet of war and the lord of the 5th house of the arts. Secondly, the 10th ruler Mercury is placed in the 4th house of land and is in a received sextile to Mars. Da Vinci was also commissioned to design crossbows, alike to the archer of his Sagittarius ascendent.  

Finally, attention must be paid to Venus, the planet of art and beauty as her influence is strong in Da Vinci’s chart. She is essentially dignified in her domicile of Taurus. She is also the dispositor of the Sun, Saturn by domicile and the Moon and Jupiter by exaltation. Her essential dignity is supportive to all of these planets. She also forms a close trine to the 10th house cusp and is within orb of a square to the ascendant ruler Jupiter. 

It can’t be ignored that Venus is placed in the 6th house of illness and is also the planetary ruler of this house. Whilst a conclusion cannot be drawn in retrospective nor through these astrological signatures alone, Venus’ role in the chart is suggestive that Da Vinci experienced something that may have physically or psychologically taxed him, as the 6th house also signifies stress on the body. He was rumoured to sleep very little in sacrifice to his work. 

In analysing Da Vinci’s chart I found myself spiralling deeper into the details of his natal planetary placements. His philosophy has inspired me to realise that there is always something more to see and that astrological analysis is endless. If I was to sit with Leonardo himself we could go further into the heart of his chart, perhaps it would be long and philosophical conversation of going down rabbit holes and jumping from one idea to the next. It would also very likely be a conversation left with more questions than answers, an analysis unfinished yet remaining open to future possibilities. 


1 Dykes, Benjamin, Introduction to Traditional Astrology, Minneapolis, The Cazimi Press, 2010  p.37

2 Lilly, William, Christian Astrology p.52

3 Lilly, William, Christian Astrology p.52

4 Lilly, William, Christian Astrology p.543


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