Scottish poet Robert Burns with a world-wide reputation was a “hot mess” according to actor Alan Cumming who is launching a new dance show to strip away the biscuit-tin image of the heroic ploughman-poet and a man of the people. Burns was a pioneer of the Romantic movement, a source of inspiration to the founders of the French and US revolutionary movements, a cultural icon in Scotland and the “people’s poet” of Russia. His “Auld Lang Syne” is sung the world over at New Year and his “A Man’s a Man for A’ That” became totemic in communist Russia; with lovers yearning for “My Love is like a Red Red Rose” “Ae Fond Kiss”. January 25th Burns Day is celebrated by the Scottish diaspora the world over.
Yet his short life was anything but straightforward and well-organised. He was born 25 January 1759 in Alloa, Scotland, unverified time of 7am, with a farming father, who could never get it together, moving the family constantly from one disaster to the next, home-schooling the children in a sporadic fashion. Burns grew up damaged physically by the deprivations of his childhood and in his adult life was constantly getting knocked over by carriages, falling off his horse and scrabbling around financially; with a chaotic and ramped-up love life. His first child was born out of wedlock, one lover tied of typhus, seven of his 12 children also died. He struggled with poverty, illness and mental issues all his life. Deemed bipolar he dealt with deep depression though it didn’t stop him lurching from one affair to the next.
He became an exciseman to keep his family afloat, which involved being out in bad weather, exacerbating his already fragile health. When he developed a heart complaint, he was recommended as treatment to “take the waters”. Walking into the freezing cold Solway Firth up to his neck killed him at 37. He died the same day a son was born.
He had a humanitarian Aquarius Sun which fits his ‘brotherhood of man’ egalitarian views; and he also had the revolutionary Uranus in Pisces square Pluto in Sagittarius as he threw his support behind the promoters of the approaching liberal and socialist uprisings in France and the USA. His Sun was conjunct a Venus Mars conjunction, which is often the sign of an over-active libido. His Jupiter in Capricorn on his Ascendant would bring him confidence and luck. If his birth time is accurate and it may be there or thereabouts, an 8th house Neptune makes sense of a poet with a superstar reputation.
When he died tr Saturn moving through his 6th house of health was opposing his Moon and Pluto. And both his Progressed Moon and Solar Arc Jupiter were in hard aspect to his 8th house Neptune forming a T Square – perhaps a hint of the richness of the creative legacy he left behind.
Relocating his chart to Moscow puts an honoured Jupiter in the 10th so it would be a success zone for him with an influential, communicative Moon Pluto in the 9th and a social-influencer Sun, Venus, Mars in the 11th.
His world-wide reputation 22nd harmonic is heavily aspected as well as his leaving-a-mark-on-history 17H.
Alan Cumming, 27 January 1965, may well feel a resonance with him since he has an Aquarius Sun conjunct Burns’ Venus and both have a Sagittarius Moon and Saturn in Pisces. Burns had a Uranus square Pluto and Cumming has a Uranus Pluto conjunction. Nice symmetry.
‘To a Mouse’.
Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!