Blaise Pascal

All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”

~ Blaise Pascal

This is the third of my new  series of occasional philosophy blogs.   I started with an Aries, Rene Descartes, a true Aries in every sense of the word, an individual and an initiator.  I then looked at a philosopher of the next sign Taurus, David Hume.  The next sign of the zodiac, Gemini, is one which would seem naturally compatible with the subject of philosophy, being logical and being ruled by Mercury, the planet of thought.  I scoured the   panoply of philosophers, and could find only one prominent Geminian: Blaise Pascal.  He is not even principally known as a philosopher, but as a mathematician.  However, religious philosophy was one of his “hats”, and that is good enough for me!

Birth Chart

We can straightaway see one of his sayings, in the squared relationship between his Sun (conscious mind) and Moon (subconscious mind): “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of…”.  The Sun is exactly square his Midheaven, showing great individuality in his career and breaking the mould in that respect.  The Sun also exactly trines his North Node, showing leadership and creativity as part of his karmic mission.  In his chart the Moon in Pisces was conjunct his Midheaven and trine closely his Ascendant from the 9th House of Religion (the “religious philosopher”). Mars trine exactly Pluto gave him a powerhouse of energy. Jupiter conjunct Saturn helped to balance his ideas and judgements. Saturn conjunct Uranus in Leo in 1st House meant that he was a groundbreaker: in 1647 he disputed Aristotle’s idea that nature abhors a vacuum, which caused conflict (Mars opposite his Ascendant was prone to this). With Uranus square Pluto he understood the necessity and energy of Change.

Life and Career

Blaise Pascal, born in 1623 in Clermont-Ferrand, was a child prodigy, and  while still a teenager he engaged in pioneering scientific and mathematical work.  One example was a short treatise he wrote aged 16 on a “Mystic Hexagram” (Pascal’s theorem).  Descartes was most scathing about it, claiming that it was written by Blaise’s father Etienne.  Blaise also worked with Fermat on probabililty theory (which led to Leibniz’ work on calculus), and was most prolific in his areas of expertise, until he was changed by a religious or spiritual experience, which caused him to give up work on mathematics.

Religious Philosophy

A profound religious vision between 10.30 and 12.30 on the night of 23rd November 1654 changed the course of his life and thought (Descartes also had an epiphany, as mentioned in the first blog in this series).  Blaise and his sister Jacqueline had subscribed to the Christian movement of Jansenism since 1646 (when he was 23).  But between 1648 and 1654 Pascal had slipped into a more material way of life.  He wrote about the visionary experience in a note, which began “Fire. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and the scholars…” and kept his memoir of the experience sewn into his coat.

The transits at this time included Saturn sextile his Mercury (a solidifying of thought) and Pluto trine his natal Neptune (deep psychological and spiritual change).  His progressed Sun squared his Nodal Axis, bringing him firmly on his karmic path.

The nature of his work changed after this experience, and he began to write Provincial Letters and Pensees (fulfilling his more literary and poetic side). His style incorporated humour and influenced the writings of Voltaire and Rousseau.  In the Provincial Letters he cheekily apologized for writing a long letter by saying he had not had the time to write a shorter one.  His letters were hailed by one commentator for their purity of language and solidity in reasoning [qualities of Sun in Gemini].

However it is his Pensees, which were unfinished at his death aged 39, which are quotable as being outstandingly poetic.  The work was a defence of the Christian religion.  In a fulfilment of his natal Mercury square Neptune (confusion of thought) he would pit against each other Pyrrohonism and Stoicism until a state of high confusion resulted in turning to God, through the faculty of intuition.  In 1661, Louis  XIV tried to suppress Jansenism, and Pascal wrote a defiant piece on the subject.


Pascal’s health was frail from the age of 18.  Mars seems to have been an important planet in terms of his health; when his progressed Sun opposed his natal Mars (inflammations) in the 6th House of health, at the age of 18.  His illnesses became more extreme, until on 18th August 1662 he experienced convulsions, and died the next day at the age of 39.

For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.”

~ Blaise Pascal


The aspects will be keeping you busy this week!  We start today with a lovely trine between Mercury and Jupiter, expanding our minds and philosophies.  This is an upbeat vibe mentally, one that takes in great wads of information, produces good ideas and may incline one to travel (except that in the current climate we are being asked to rein in that impulse).  The actor Alan Cumming has this aspect in his natal chart, and in a recent interview said:

“I’m an optimist at my very core…Any time when you’ve got to be away from everybody, to contemplate, meditate and be made to understand how your behaviour affects other people, I just can’t help but think that must be a huge positive.”

Later this afternoon the Sun will be sextile Neptune, another positive vibe.  This confers inspiration and spiritual harmony.  So today could be very productive.

Tomorrow (Monday 11th), Saturn will be Stationary prior to turning Retrograde, the first of several planets to turn retrograde in a season of retrogrades.  Turning inward for contemplation is one of the results of a retrograde period.  Saturn is turning retrograde in the first degree of Aquarius, and we have had to get used to some new social positionings as a result.  But first, we are going to go through a period of revision when it returns to Capricorn: a lesson all about patience and timing, and one of those lessons is that you can’t rush things.

The same morning Mercury will be square Mars, and that is another lesson in not rushing things.  Except that you may want to rush things, because that is the nature of Mercury combined with Mars.  But mistakes can be made under this aspect, and the phrase “more haste less speed” may be applicable.  You may have to guard against minor cuts and bruises, if you are doing some DIY during lockdown.

In the evening, Mercury will enter Gemini (the first of two ingresses this week).  This will quicken our mentality and curiosity, and stimulate our communications during its stay in this sign, which will be a fairly short stay until 28th of this month.

On Tuesday evening (12th) Mercury will be trine Saturn, which will help you apply your mind to exacting tasks and documentation which may be outstanding.  It favours list-making, planning, and practical productivity.  Constructive serious conversations can also take place under this aspect.

The second ingress of the week takes place on Wednesday (13th), when Mars enters Pisces. While its placement in Aquarius was humanitarian, and looked after the underdog (how well we have pulled together since the beginning of its stay there at the end of March), Pisces is even more compassionate, and very empathetic.  Pisces is also a very charitable sign, so we will see more appeals in that respect, and more people attempting feats which stretch them, in order to support the NHS.

There is also a second retrograde event that day, with Venus Stationary prior to turning Retrograde, a fairly rare retrograde.  This may put a question on money and love, a re-orientation or revisioning on these factors in our lives.  You may need to start sifting over old ground, or look inward into your truest and deepest feelings, in order that a relationship may be enriched.

The third retrograde occurs on Thursday (14th), with Jupiter Stationary prior to turning Retrograde.  You may have been working along a particular line and making steady progress, but now have to re-assess.  There is a possibility of a U-turn by the government on the relaxation of rules.

A strengthening trine between the Sun and Pluto ties up the week nicely, on Friday (15th).  It is time to consolidate all the learnings  of the week and construct a new psychological mindset: one which is creative but also bears in mind the changes and cycles which are transforming our lives at this time. You may have felt that you haven’t got very far with a goal, but may receive an indication in this period that you have done better than you thought, your patience is rewarded, or that a pipe dream could become a going concern.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – thinking positively; spiritual inspiration
  • Tomorrow – turning inward; trying not to rush; a quickened mentality
  • Tuesday – a slowed, more precise, mentality
  • Wednesday – compassion in action; revisioning relationships and money
  • Thursday – more revisioning
  • Friday – consolidation and psychological progress