Giacomo Girolamo Casanova

The world's most notorious lover was born in Venice in early April 1725. For the first eight years of his life his parents (who both worked in the theatre) were frequently absent on tour, and he was brought up by his maternal grandmother. He suffered in childhood from constant nose bleeds, which miraculously ceased on the death of his father - a man who Casanova later asserted was not his father at all. Although I can claim no scientific support for this theory, I have always believed that nose bleeds are one of the physical manifestations of emotional stress in young people, but the sudden cure was claimed by his grandmother to be the work of a Venetian witch to whom she had taken the boy when he was 8 years old.

He was then sent away to school, and his first amorous adventure occurred in Padua at the age of 9 (seduced by an older woman) which was the first of 122 love affairs conducted throughout Europe over a period of 58 years. He studied for the Church, was something of a 'con man', served in the Army, wrote prolifically, and took great risks to make money. Many of his gambles failed to pay off, but some undoubtedly succeeded.

His reputation as a controversial lover was built on a liking to share his bed with more than one woman. He had a penchant for the ménage a trois and certainly indulged in at least one ménage a quatre. Later in life he occasionally dressed as a woman.

Could his conduct have been predicted by astrology? In Western terms he was born an Aries - the sign of the Ram - whose love of a challenge often leads them to enjoy the thrill of the chase rather than the relationship itself. Arians sometimes lack self-discipline, and are inclined to leave tasks unfinished when the expected results are not immediately forthcoming. But they are courageous leaders with a bit of an ego problem, and that might have attracted Casanova to a period in the Army.

And what does Chinese Astrology have to say about a man born in April 1725?

1725 was the Chinese year of the Wood Snake. Said to be pleasure loving, anything mysterious appeals to men born in a Wood Snake year. Utterly without morals they are full of charisma and charm, partly because they suffer from a lack of confidence in their popularity. The male Wood Snake is romantic and hedonistic, and wants to indulge his passions. He can be a terrible gambler who will not learn from his losses. He particularly likes to indulge his lack of morality in bed, and will think of trying many things that would shock the rest of society. Whatever he does, he prefers it to be naughty, and preferably forbidden.

According to Chinese Astrology, every man born in a Wood Snake year will display those characteristics to a greater or lesser extent. In our Western calendar, (the Gregorian calendar) the most recent Wood Snake year ran from the 2nd February 1965 to the 20th January 1966.

No Chinese astrological assessment is complete without also examining the 'Animal' that relates to the subject's month of birth. Born in the fourth lunar month, Casanova's lunar moon sign was the Yin Metal Snake. So he was a double Snake - thus doubly debauched, and very raunchy. Metal Snake men are also noted for their desire to have more than one partner.

The Snake is a Yin creature, and 1725 was a Yin year. His lunar moon sign was also Yin, so in constructing an 'Element Chart' for Casanova, at least 3 of his 5 'elemental' slots were Yin. He was born on either the 2nd or the 5th April, but without knowing his time of birth we cannot know if the last two slots were Yin or Yang. However, we can say that the Yin aspect was dominant in his character. Yin is the feminine or introverted aspect, and a man with 5 Yins in his 'element chart' is someone who may question his sexuality. It is therefore no surprise to find that Casanova indulged on occasions in a little 'cross dressing'.

Of course one has to see character in the context of the times in which someone lived, and there's no doubt that in Venetian high society of the 18th century orgies were not uncommon. Rather naturally, the Church took a fairly dim view of these lax moral practices, and Casanova's sexual conduct led to his expulsion from ecclesiastical office on more than one occasion. It's also relevant to note that Casanova saw his mother only rarely during the first 8 years of his life, and had little or no contact with his real father. Those formative years would have had a profound effect upon his relationships with both men and women during adolescence and adulthood, and would have enhanced a natural predilection to the negative characteristics of a Wood and Metal Snake.

Both Western and Chinese astrology have much to say about basic human characteristics and behaviour, enabling us to define successful and failed relationships with a reasonable degree of accuracy, and to predict how people may lead their lives. Never forget that nurture in a child's early years will always have a profound effect that can radically alter any prognosis for the future, and with the benefit of hindsight, it's not so difficult to see why Casanova reacted to people and events as he did, and in so doing, gained a reputation that has continued to arouse interest for over 250 years.