Last night I went to see a production of Les Miserables put on by a local high school. What a marvelous production! I was blown away by the talent of the cast and was especially proud of my dear friend's son, who was one of the leads.
I don’t know about other astrologers, but I am always seeing things in astrological terms. (I probably drive my friends crazy with this at times.) I couldn’t help but think about how the themes expressed in the musical correlate with the symbols of astrology.
Take Valjean and Javert, for instance. Somewhere in the middle of Act II it struck me that Valjean was Jupiter (Mercy) and Javert, Saturn (Justice, in the harshest sense). The comparison also works well with Valjean as Venus and Javert Mars, but we’ll stick with the first planetary pair for now.
Valjean serves a bitter term of 19 years on a chain gang for stealing a loaf of bread. He is a victim of the rigid laws of his society--early 19th century France--which Javert enforces at every opportunity. Valjean experiences mercy himself when, once freed from the gang but marked as a convict for life, a saintly Bishop forgives him for stealing some silver. The Bishop lies to the police and gives Valjean the gift of two silver candlesticks, thus enabling him to start a new life.
After experiencing this act of mercy, Valjean becomes an agent of mercy himself. He helps a dying Fantine, saves a man’s life and rescues Cosette, Fantine's little daughter, who has been languishing in the hands of a crooked and abusive innkeeper and his wife. (That’s just for starters.) However, Valjean must always hide who he is because of the relentless pursuit of the rigid police chief Javert.
Valjean is like Jupiter because, again and again, he chooses love and mercy to guide his actions. He is a strong Jupiter; Jupiter in Pisces fits well because Pisces is about compassion and putting others before oneself. Pisces is also the sign of Venus’s exaltation, Venus being love and right relationship. Valjean’s great solo in the musical is a prayer in which he asks God to save Marius, who is destined to marry Cosette, rather than himself. (If by some chance you have never heard this gorgeous song, look it up on YouTube, and be sure to have some tissues handy.)
Javert is like Saturn, a nasty Saturn, because all he can see is the letter of the law. If you commit a crime, you deserve punishment. There is no room for mercy in Javert’s mind or heart. He is unforgiving and relentless. To him, Valjean is simply and forever a convict who has broken his parole and must be made to pay the price. Saturn in Leo (detriment) fits, in that Javert seems to take great pride (Leo) in his role as the iron fist of the law. Saturn peregrine in Scorpio also works well, as Scorpio is warlike and tends to see things in black and white, as Javert does to the extreme.
As the story reaches its climax, Valjean has the chance to kill Javert but once again chooses mercy and lets him go. A few scenes later, Valjean falls into Javert’s hands yet again. This time Javert allows Valjean to escape with a wounded Marius, thereby saving Marius’s life as well. His rigidity shattered, Javert is unable to reconcile this act with the man he has been his whole life, and so kills himself.
With his pursuer permanently out of the way, Valjean is able to live out the remainder of his days in relative peace. Cosette and Marius marry. Mercy has triumphed over Justice, and we are left with great optimism (Jupiter) for the future, having been reminded of the eternal and invincible power of Love.
Here are a few song links for your enjoyment. First, Javert's suicide:
and next, the wonderful Lea Salonga as Eponine singing, "On My Own":