P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman and the Sabian Symbols

Throughout P. T. Barnum’s formative years, Pluto had not yet been discovered. A look at Barnum’s chart after the planet’s discovery in 1930 reveals that Pluto had been in the prominent position of High Focus as the handle of a Bucket Temperament from birth. From the beginning, Pluto was the covert force behind the gathering of human oddities and animal acts brought to the imagination of world audiences. Pluto’s characteristics include a compulsion to make an impact on present and future generations. Barnum’s enterprise, characterized by a collection of society’s outcasts, would ultimately become known as the Greatest Show on Earth.

Barnum made no bones about declaring his intent to make a profit from the attractions that he gathered at the beginning of his career as Ring Master par excellence and creator of the P. T. Barnum Circus, initially called Barnum’s Grand Scientific and Musical Theater.

Actor, Hugh Jackman plays the role of Barnum in the spectacularly competence 2017 film, The Greatest Showman. The plot follows the general guidelines of real-life events, and the movie simulates, on the limited screen, the awesomeness of the grand and lavish performances that were even far more compelling in real life. What started as a bazaar conglomerate of exhibitionists, eventually evolved into the famous traveling three-ring circus. Although there are those who criticize Barnum’s audaciousness in exploiting the handicapped and disfigured, he did give them work and credibility at a time when society was extremely harsh to those unfortunate types. This again is defined astrologically by the High Focus Pluto.

The movie debut on December 8, 2017, pays tribute to a special time in history and encourages a penetrating look into the chart of the man who is known for more than just the show as he became the icon of the creative American spirit of entertainment and success. This great success is represented in the chart by a Grand Water Trine (shown in the chart in pink) that includes the High Focus Pluto in Pisces, and that gathers up the energies of the highly unusual, represented by Uranus in Scorpio, and completes its momentum with the power of the Sun in Cancer, the sign with the keyword

Expansion. There is a T Cross (shown in green) coupled with the Grand Trine that puts Pluto in Point Focus as well as High Focus. This super powers the meaning of the planet that testifies to the long-lasting impression the man and his ideas have in the field of entertainment.

At birth, the chart was the Bowl Temperament Type which was more suited to the person who had to think things through time and again before taking action. With the discovery of Pluto, however, the chart becomes the revelation of the Bucket Temperament elevating the dynamic to a  more direct display of compulsively driven ambition, with a touch of softness because of Pluto’s placement in the compassionate sign of Pisces.

With or without Pluto, the chart’s Natural Disposition is Mutable. So in spite of the accusations of abuse and misuse of others, because of a dependency on their talents for his success, Barnum was at heart a humanitarian, interested in other people’s welfare and well-being.

The chart’s dynamics include the progression of Mercury (shown by the orange arrow) opposite natal Venus throughout the filming of the modern movie. We often see historical figures having planetary aspects in present time when there are developing activities associated with their historical lives. Jones’ alternative Sabian symbol for natal Venus is, Japanese lanterns, music from a string ensemble, and an animated interweaving of colorful figures mark a garden party. Here is where we begin to see that the “variety show” potentials were well defined in the natal chart itself, and are brought into focus with the modern documentation and release of the celebrated movie.

But the Sabian symbols play an even more fascinating part in mirroring the characteristics of this particular life, with the symbol of the all-important High and Point Focus Pluto in the degree of A gigantic tent of all things! The use of a tent to stage the circus was brought into being because of several devastating fires that caused an economic crisis in the show’s production. The symbol’s astounding literal confirmation in the chart testifies once again to the magic of the Sabian imagery and its importance in a thorough study of astrology. 

PISCES 18 A gigantic tent This is a symbol of the completeness with which man is able to see his experience both steadily and
whole, dramatized here by the circus as representing an utterly naïve intensification of self-consciousness. The totality of life is
brought to some single center in every moment of true excitement or total sharing of skills and risks, and each individual at such times has a renewed insight into his capacity for putting his world in order for his ultimate on-going as well as for his immediate entertainment. The keyword is APPORTIONMENT. When positive, the degree is a genius for organizing divergent capabilities in a common cause, and when negative, delusions of grandeur and unamusing bombast.

It is unlikely that the exact time of birth would be known in 1890, so the houses and positions of the Moon in the natal and progressed charts are not taken into account in this chart analysis. However, there is a transit of Venus (shown at the bottom with an orange arrow) that does stand out as significant by its conjunction with natal Saturn at the release of The Greatest Showman into public movie houses in late 2017. The Sabian symbol for Saturn is, A golden-haired goddess of opportunity, and it speaks for itself. Fast-moving transiting planets are relatively short-lived, but in this case, transiting Venus does support the potential of the natural good fortune available to the entrepreneur, however, its connection with Saturn brought the limitation of only one Academy Award although nominated for eight.

Natal Venus (circled in orange) receives a Lunar Eclipse at 12 Leo, pointing to early 2018 for the time of reward and gratification for the refined craftsmanship and work well done on this highly entertaining feature film.