Laurens van der Post was a South African writer, philosopher, conservationist, close friend of the Swiss therapist Carl Jung and mentor to Prince Charles, godfather of Prince William, adviser to Margaret Thatcher. He was much praised for his initiative when a prisoner of war of the Japanese during World War 11, maintaining the morale of prisoners of different nationalities, organising a “camp university” and a camp farm to supplement nutritional needs. His later books about his experiences were turned into the film ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’.
Wiki quotes him: “It is one of the hardest things in this prison life: the strain caused by being continually in the power of people who are only half-sane and live in a twilight of reason and humanity.”
His reputation in later years was dented when it was revealed he had fathered a child on a 14 year old girl, who had been put into his care on a sea voyage. He paid her family a small amount of money but never publicly acknowledged the daughter. After his death the accuracy of his claims about his life were questioned with examples published of where he had embellished the truth in his memoirs and travel books. One biographer claimed he was “a fraud, a fantasist, a liar, a serial adulterer and a paternalist. He falsified his Army record and inflated his own importance at every possible opportunity.”
He was born 13 December 1906 at 2am (unverified) Philippolis, South Africa, and was a Sun Sagittarius in a controlling opposition to Pluto in the far-travelled and opinionated 9th. His Pluto was also in a determined and courageous trine to Mars in Libra. But what dominates his chart is a healing Water Grand Trine of Jupiter Neptune in Cancer in the 9th conjunct his Midheaven trine Saturn trine a Scorpio Moon, with Neptune Jupiter opposition an innovative, reforming Uranus.
Water Grand Trine individuals can operate within their own little bubble and be detached from reality – which in appalling circumstance can be a blessing. Jupiter Neptune can also indicate a Pollyanna-like tendency of head in the clouds and hoping for the best; and it has a reputation as a guru-chaser which might well apply to his relationship to Carl Jung whom he idolised.
He was a complicated man, half saint and in typical Jungian fashion half not. He was anti-apartheid and although his credentials as a guru and sage were challenged he did spread the word about Jung and African conservation to a wider public.
His relationship with Prince Charles was an influential one with a three quarter Grand Sextile in their relationship chart tying together the composite Sun, Saturn, Moon, Uranus and Jupiter. Van Der Post’s Sun fell in Charles’s 5th house conjunct his Mars Jupiter so his enthusiasm would be an inspiration for Charles; and LVP’s leadership North Node in Leo was conjunct Charles’ Ascendant for another motivating lift.
Van der Post’s relationship with Jung was very Neptune Pluto with the composite Sun trine Neptune Pluto which also sat on the focal point of a Saturn opposition Jupiter. Neptune Pluto has an interest in the paranormal and what lies beyond reality.
When he had to surrender to the Japanese in 1942 the tr Saturn Uranus in Taurus were just moving into his 8th house, bringing a phase where he needed to develop inner resilience and would be thrown back on his inner resources. Tr Pluto was exactly conjunct his 10th house Node at that point, arguably sparking off his latent talents for showing the way to others.
Talented, influential and flawed.