Adolf Hitler’s Demon & the “Acorn Theory” of James Hillman
As astrologers, we’re often cast in the role of oddballs, out on the fringe of society’s “healing arts” professions. Unconsciously or not, this has given some of us a collective insecurity complex, such that we’re frequently found clinging to the hem of the Establishment’s skirts, pleading for recognition like some little kid in need of a hug.
Little wonder that, when the least evidence of our legitimacy comes to light, we embrace it with all the fervor of a re-born Christian who hears the Messiah is coming to town. The last time this happened was in the 1970s, when the research of French statisticians Michel and Francoise Gauquelin turned up “significant” evidence that the angular positions of planets had a bearing on professions. Since then, however, we’ve wandered in the wilderness with little more than faith to keep us going.
Today there is, if not a Messiah, at least a kindred voice on the scene, in the person of James Hillman — Jungian psychologist, scholar, and author of twenty-plus books, one of which should be required reading for all astrologers. The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling was first published in 1996, and since reprinted in a trade paperback version. On the copyright page, its catalogue headings are listed as: (1) Individuality, (2) Individuality in children, (3) Fate and fatalism, and (4) Gifted persons.
Hillman’s central thesis, illustrated by several fine biographical sketches, is that “remarkable” people, ranging from serial killers to renowned artists, are born, not made. This flies in the face of conventional psychological wisdom which says that early childhood conditioning is the greatest determinant of what a person will make of themselves years down the road. To the contrary, Hillman asserts that it is “neither nature nor nurture” (neither genetics nor environment) that dictates the outcome of a life. Rather, it is an innate quality possessed by each person, the spark of individuality that, like a master code for a person’s life, determines the direction in which he will pursue his destiny.
Hillman favors the Greek term daimon as a substitute for the complementary notions of “guardian angel”, spirit, or soul, all of which imply an over-arching intelligence that provides a road map for the life. This is the “soul’s code”. Thanks to the daimon, the adult’s true fate is already known to the child, and it is this knowledge that guides the child unerringly, despite all the obstacles imposed by parental and societal norms, in the inevitable direction of its fate.
Hillman calls this his “acorn theory”, which proposes that each life is animated by a particular image that calls it to its destiny. Plant an acorn in a corn field, it produces an oak, not a corn stalk. Let mother encourage or discourage, it makes no matter, the little child-soul knows where it’s going and will have its way in time. The daimon is in the driver’s seat.
Readers with an appreciation for astrology might well wonder whether the “soul’s code”, this animating image conferred by fate, could be an academic euphemism for the astrological birth chart. Although Hillman never gives his readers an explicit nod in this direction, his occasional references to astrology encourage us to believe that he is familiar with its basic principles and practices. He is perhaps even sympathetic when he says, “There is in each of us a longing to see beyond what our usual sight tells us. A revelation of the invisible in an intelligible form leads us to the astrologer.”
Hillman devotes a whole chapter to a discussion of Hitler, and how the major themes of the dictator’s personal life epitomize the key features of a soul driven by its internal code to meet its fate. Hillman’s exposure of Hitler’s character, in a chapter called The Bad Seed, focuses upon several psychological elements that symbolize typical descriptions of evil, death and destruction — manifestations of the demonic.
Each of these themes are briefly summarized in the following sections. By standing on the shoulders of Hillman’s thesis, I’ve attempted to link each of Hitler’s demonic traits to its astrological correlate, thus demonstrating what all astrologers implicitly believe — that the soul’s code is indeed locked in the chakra of the birth chart. In Hitler’s case, his particular daimon manifested via these vital signs:
Adolf Hitler, 20 April 1895
The Cold Heart
In the paradigm of the demonic, the cold heart beats slow but sure. According to Dante, the pit of hell is a realm of ice inhabited by the arch-criminals of mankind. The Devil has an icy penis and cold semen. Hitler greatly admired Goering, who even in the toughest of times, remained ice-cold. In one of his last speeches, Hitler proclaimed that: “Come what may, my heart remains ice cold.” Psychologically, an icy heart manifests as rigidity, an inability to change. Throughout his life, Hitler was obstinate in his opinions, tastes, behaviors, and habits. He wore the same clothes until they disintegrated, watched the same movies over and over again, and followed his daily routines with a slavish consistency that bordered on the obsessive.
Astrologically, the heart is seen in the 4th house. Its lord is Saturn, a cold and distant planet. From its vantage point in the 10th house, Saturn aspects the 4th house, the ascendant lord Venus, and the Sun, karaka (significator) for the heart itself. In the navamsa (9th harmonic chart) where Saturn occupies its own sign, the ascendant and seven out of nine planets are in fixed signs. Hitler was also born on a Saturday.
Fire is a more common image of hell, one in which the demonic character revels. Hitler’s career is backlit by flames — the Reichstag fire, the torch-lit night marches of the Brownshirts, the ovens of the Holocaust, the firebombing of Dresden, even his own gasoline-charred body at the end. Fire was unleashed in all its destructive fury through the agency of his destiny.
Astrologically, his chart glows with fire. In the rashi (birth) chart, seven out of nine planets reside in fire signs. His ascendant lord Venus is in Aries, the epitome of fire, along with the two warrior planets Sun and Mars, one exalted, the other in its own sign. Along with Mercury, all four planets in the 7th house aspect the ascendant. The Moon is also in fiery Sagittarius in association with its lord Jupiter. The planetary war between Mars and Venus takes place in Aries.
If every spirit has its animal familiar, that of the demon is the wolf. In his early days, Hitler called himself Herr Wolf. “Adolf” itself was derived from Athalwolf, or noble wolf. His favorite pets were Alsatians, also known as wolfshunde. He referred to the SS as his pack of wolves, and his U-boat wolf packs were the scourge of Allied shipping.
In astrology, the bestial signs are Aries, Taurus, Leo, the second half of Sagittarius and the first half of Capricorn. In Hitler’s rashi chart, six out of nine planets are placed in these sign zones. Both pets and military forces are seen in the sixth house, whose lord is Jupiter, associated with Ketu, the karaka for dogs, in the bestial half of Sagittarius.
In the realm of the demonic, the anus is the center of the erogenous universe. The Marquis de Sade relished anal eroticism. The devil’s face was often depicted on his rear end in medieval woodcuts, and the interrogators of the Inquisition frequently coaxed confessions from devil worshippers via “the back door”. As a vegetarian chocaholic, Hitler suffered from meteorism, a severe form of flatulence. He also gave himself enemas and was rumored to engage in coprophilia with his sexual partners.
In the rashi chart, the anus is signified by the 8th house. The ascendant and 8th lord Venus is, as noted earlier, severely afflicted in the 7th house, including a planetary war with Mars and aspect from Saturn, karaka for the anus. The 8th house is further hemmed by malefics. From the Chandra lagna (moon = ascendant), karaka Saturn occupies the 8th, wherein it is in mutual aspect with Mars.
Suicides of Women
Caution: exposure to the demonic can be hazardous to your health. Hitler had few intimate relations with women, but almost every one of them paid a heavy price. Six of them either killed themselves or made desperate attempts to do so. Mimi Reiter, a teenage girl, tried to hang herself when the 37-year-old Hitler broke off their relationship. His niece Geli Raubal, reputedly the love of his life, killed herself. Eva Braun shot herself unsuccessfully in 1932, but recovered to die at his side in 1945. After loving the devil, was it all downhill after that?
In Hitler’s rashi chart, the 7th house is powerfully afflicted. Although the 7th lord Mars is strong, it is afflicted by Sun and Saturn. It is also associated with dusthana (houses 6-8-12) lords Mercury and Venus, and receives the aspect of the other dusthana lord Jupiter. Venus as karaka for relationships is hammered by a trio of malefics, including Mars, with whom it engages in planetary war. Venus in the 7th house also constitutes a case of karako bhavo nashto (a planet which is both karaka and occupant of the house that signifies a person — in this case, spouse), thus spoiling relationships. From the Chandra lagna, the Rahu-Ketu axis occupies the 1st and 7th houses, and the 7th lord Mercury comes under overpowering affliction from three malefics.
The history of demonology depicts half-human figures, eg, gargoyles and the grotesque creations of Hieronymous Bosch, as menacing figures that threaten our normal world. For Hitler, however, they served as icons of a new world order. His two favorite movies were King Kong and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. His staff and entourage included a huge number of freaks. Within the upper Nazi echelon, Goebbels had a club foot, Bormann was an alcoholic, Hess was a paranoiac, Goering was a morphine addict, the commander of the labor camps had a speech defect, and the Brownshirt leader who succeeded Roehm was one-eyed. Further down the pecking order, his personal chauffeur was a midget, his press manager was one- armed, his assistant press chief was deaf, and his official photographer was an alcoholic with a deformed back. Meanwhile, the whole country was drilled to perform weird goose-stepping and stiff-armed salutes.
Staff and subordinates are seen in the 6th house. Its lord Jupiter is in Sagittarius in the 3rd house with Moon and Ketu. Sagittarius, as noted earlier, is one of the half-human, half-bestial signs. Ketu represents the mleccha of society, the outcasts, the diseased and the deformed. If we take the 6th house as ascendant for Hitler’s staff, we note four planets in Aries occupy the 2nd with multiple malefic influences, which suggests substance abuse and defective speech or vision, as exemplified by his coterie of drug addicts, alcoholics, the one-eyed and the speech-impaired. From the 6th house, Venus becomes the severely damaged lord of the relative 3rd, which suggests upper limb and hearing problems, as exemplified by the one-armed and deaf.
The Devil takes himself seriously, and damned be those who don’t accord him respect. As Jagger sings in Sympathy for the Devil: “If you meet me, have a little courtesy, have a little sympathy and a little taste. Use all your well-learned politesse, or I’ll lay your soul to waste.” Under the sway of his own particular daimon, Hitler had absolutely no sense of humor, for it was antithetical to his general bias for the grandiose. He scarcely ever enjoyed a hearty laugh, and forebade risqué jokes in his presence.
Astrologically, humor or word-play is seen via Mercury, the 2nd house and the 5th house. In Hitler’s chart, Mercury is severely afflicted in the 7th house. Among the malefics assaulting it are Mars and Saturn, lords of the 2nd and 5th respectively, who are themselves involved in mutual antagonism. From the Chandra lagna, Saturn and Mars are again the lords of the relative 2nd and 5th, reinforcing the theme of suppression. On a more esoteric note, the lords of all three lagnas are in fierce nakshatras (27 sub-signs of the zodiac) suggesting a further bias towards (deadly) seriousness.
The Soul’s Code is about one’s calling, fate, character and innate image, notions encapsulated in the term daimon. Hillman’s “acorn theory” suggests that “each person bears a uniqueness that asks to be lived and that is already present before it can be lived.” Doesn’t this sound remarkably like prarabdha karma, that portion of our total karma that has ripened, and is ready for manifestation in this life?
In Sanskrit, the planets are called grahas, those which have the power to seize. In the birth chart, the planets are forces for both the divine and the demonic, and their respective conditions determine which way the balance tips. Hitler was seized by his daimon from an early age. Indeed, his whole life appeared to have been mapped out for him to such an extent that he himself commented: “I go the way Providence dictates for me with all the assurance of a sleepwalker.”
As Hillman notes, the old Greeks said of their gods: “They ask for little, only that they not be forgotten.” And in practice, this is why many Vedic astrologers, prior to an astrological analysis or consultation, invoke the navagraha (the nine planets) via a brief mantra, thus honoring the planetary deities in the birth chart, within whose chakra we read the soul’s heart and purpose.