Gustav Stickley: Man with a Mission

The word that is best loved in the language of every nation is home, for when a man’s home is born out of his heart and developed through his labor and perfected through his sense of beauty, it is the very cornerstone of his life. — Gustav Stickley

I was recently doing some research on Stickley furniture, which is still manufactured in Manlius, N.Y., outside of Syracuse, and I discovered an interesting blog. It’s called Gustav’s Groupie and it’s at http://gustavsgroupie.blogspot.com

Not everything that furniture maker Adam Wall blogs about has to do with Gustav Stickley, one of the towering figures of the American Arts & Crafts movement. But the fact that Stickley, who was born in 1858 in Osceola, Wis., and died in Syracuse, N.Y. in  1942, is being discussed on the Net in this day and age made me think he might be having a Uranus transit to his Sun.

And indeed he is: He was born on Mar. 9. Right now, he’s not just having Uranus conjunct Sun, he’s also having Jupiter trine natal Sun.

We don’t know what time Stickley was born. Instead of putting his chart on the 90-degree dial, as is traditionally done when no birth time is available, I’m going to take a wild guess and say he was a Capricorn rising. Why? Because his first job was a stone mason, like the protagonist in “Jude the Obscure.” A Cap rising seems appropriate for such a profession and also for his rejection of the fussy fashion of the Victorian age in favor of clean lines and furniture design that showcased the beauty of wood. 

Because Stickley had such a lasting influence on design and architecture with his Mission oak furniture, housing, and his magazine “The Craftsman,” I’m going to put him on the world axis with a 0 degree Cap rising.

Making this assumption and by playing around with Astrodienst’s excellent astrology program, I get a birth time of 2:39 a.m. Regardless of what degree was on the Ascendant when Stickley was born, you can’t miss the powerful kite formation in this chart: http://www.astro.com/cgi/chart.cgi?rs=3;btyp=w2gw;cid=41laaaa19347-s971800598;nhor=188;nho2=188

A kite is a grand trine, but adds a fourth point that sextiles two points in the trine and opposes the third point. In Stickley’s chart, the bottom part of the kite is Uranus at 25 degrees of Taurus. Also in Taurus, though not tight enough to be part of the kite, is a Pluto/Jupiter conjunction in Taurus.

Talk about a craftsman! The Taurus stellium practically guaranteed that he would make money by selling furniture and indeed his first commercial venture appears to have been a cane chair factory not far from Binghamton that he operated with his brothers.

Another stellium — North Node, Sun, Venus, and Neptune — is in Pisces, forming a sextile to the Taurus lineup. This predominance of Pisces planets was no doubt quite inspiring, but it doesn’t always bode well for business ventures. Stickley was a victim of overexpansion and changing tastes. He was ultimately forced to file bankruptcy in 1915, not long after selling his beloved Craftsman Farms in New Jersey, where he planned to establish a boarding school.

Stickley’s Pisces stellium is one part of the grand trine in water signs. The second is Mars at 26 degrees of Scorpio, and the third is Saturn at 21 degrees of Cancer.

What does Stickley’s kite mean in laymen’s terms? It means all these planets are communicating with each other and translating each other’s energies.

If you’re a Stickley fan, why not plan a trip to Cooperstown, N.Y.? The Fenimore Museum there is hosting the show “Gustav Stickley: The Enlightened Home,” which runs from  Apr. 1 to Aug. 10.

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One comment on “Gustav Stickley: Man with a Mission

  1. If you’re a Stickley fan, why not also plan a visit to the Stickley Factory in Manlius, NY and the Stickley Museum in nearby Fayetteville, NY. Be sure to call first to be sure both are open. As do most factories, the Stickley factory is closed for 2 weeks in July for re-tooling and maintenance.

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