Stellar Wheel
strological map at birth


Lotte Reiniger

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10 minute read
Ingenious Expressiveness of the Thinking Hand

Once upon a time in 1899, in the grey city of Berlin, active forces spread wide across the sky and pushed a beloved soul into physical incarnation. Her name was Charlotte “Lotte” Reiniger. She was a girl with magical hands who went on to create a revolutionary motion picture camera that made her the leading film animator of the twentieth century. This young girl had talent, cutting paper to create figures that would come to life, as if by magic.
At the age of six, Lotte started cutting silhouettes and staging shadow puppet plays in an imaginary theatre where she performed for family and friends. The family quickly noticed that Lotte, their darling Gemini 1, possessed all qualities of someone born to entertain and tell stories: an excess of mental force, a large imagination, and fine artistic ability. Lotte’s parents and grandparents nurtured her interest in silhouettes and her immense passion for learning. They encouraged her to approach fairy tales with the awe and wonder reserved for the innocent 2.

With Lotte, we enter a territory where the life force of Gemini draws its breath. The spirit of the Gemini is constantly evolving, calling for whole-hearted attention and entertaining education. The cosmic ideation of the Celestial Twins is a playful child that curiously devours, interprets, and disperses information. Lotte embodied this notion; she was whimsical and childlike. She observed, perceived, and relentlessly expressed the immediate environment using her sharp Mercurial senses 3

Gemini’s guardian angel Mercury 4exerts a mystic and direct influence over the cosmic twins, supervising them while they are learning, with intellect, with all their powerful imagination, and with all enthusiasm of their being.

As their galactic chaperon, initiator, and divine teacher, Mercury holds the key to unlocking the mysteries of Gemini’s ethereal form, whose true source of power lies in the first Hermetic principle of mentalism “The all is mind; the universe is mental.”

By its very nature, the messenger’s primary mission is to invoke the unawakened mind and illuminate the consciousness. With a sudden flash of knowledge, Mercury calls forth the neurotransmitters within the “eye of Horus,” the superconscious part of the psyche, and brings about a specific phenomenon. The phenomenon of ‘Divine Blueprint activation’ where 5th-dimensional energies are calibrated and anchored within the 3rd-dimensional energies. During this sacred "trip," one begins to view all things through the lens of the ‘eye.’ Everything comes forth from the ‘eye,’ for the eyes are the window to the soul and all aspects of our soul experience.

But back to our Lotte because, after all, that is what this write-up is about. Indisputably, Lotte’s life-long practice of silhouette animation tantalizingly embodied the energy of her Sun’s ruling planet. After revealing the essence of her creative intention, Lotte took possession of her Mercurial learning and forged artistic alchemy that was profoundly humanizing 5 6 and closely aligned with her playful spirit. 

“Your aim must be to find what kind of talent you really have and to develop it. Animation is basically not so much a technical implement as the expression of the spirit behind it. To see that the spirit goes into your shooting must be your overriding ambition.”

Her career in animation started at the young age of sixteen. During her studies, she was inspired to pursue work in the theatre. At the theatre, while waiting for scene changes, she would entertain herself by cutting silhouettes of actors and their performances. Her silhouettes were admired, receiving praise not only from her peers but also from eminent directors. After receiving praise and support for her work, Lotte decided to pursue silhouette animation further, leading to much success and many awards recognizing her talent 7   

“The silhouettes were very much praised. Did anyone warn me as to where this path would lead? Not in the least, I was encouraged to continue”.

She had a venturesome spirit 
and was fond of animals. She would often take herself to parks to observe wildlife and imitate their movements.

“I remember well, when I was studying animals at the zoo, how people looked at me astounded when I tried to imitate the animal’s movements in front of the cage, trying to memorize its timing, and how my husband burst out laughing when he discovered me on all fours in the floor at home, to get the feeling of the animal’s movement into my bones.”

While she was encouraged by everyone, Lotte was primarily motivated by personal determination
9 10Lotte was the product of a time when a woman who stepped outside the home and paved a career in a male-dominated field was rare. Being at the forefront of a new, twentieth-century art style 11 in Europe wasn’t always simple. She would be the first to say that surviving and thriving through the ups and downs depended solely on her strong will. 

Ah, yes! The willpower. The invisible force weaved within one’s sense of self. This willpower can be observed within the fiery trinity of Lotte’s Moon, Mars, and Saturn.

The divine embodiment of these forces empowered Lotte with a bold, unstoppable, and fiery temperament with flames that go upward and outward, reverberating warm rays of light. Whether interpreted literally or metaphorically, the dynamic trinity of fire allowed her to realize her dreams. Metaphorically, the element of fire asks for boundaries and pleads for self-discipline. Boundaries and self-discipline help reduce the flame so that the focus can be prosperously carried out 12 13

Her art was complex and fused with a force that was magnificent, yet effortless. Lotte constantly trained herself to improve her silhouettes, so when all pieces were put together, the final work was seamless.

She planned every detail, from the shape of a hand to the number of frames used in each scene. After cutting the silhouettes from their tracing, she would join them together, placing them on a light table. Frame by frame, she would minutely move each character to create the final animation. Indeed, when it comes to the art of focus, this daughter of Mercury always succeeded in channeling a loving touch to her delicate and aesthetic Art Nouveau inventions  14 15.

With the support of her husband and collaborator Carl Koch, an art historian turned filmmaker; Lotte created Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed), the first feature animated film. The film was universally regarded, garnering praise from critics, intellectuals, artists, and audiences who lauded the work’s exquisite aesthetic craftsmanship.

Her marriage was a happy one. She shared visions, values, and goals with her husband 16
17 18. They were both devoted to each other and their work, with their successful careers supporting a successful marriage. Lotte often said she lived a fairy-tale life and wanted to project that into her work.

During the 1930s, Lotte and her husband fled Germany. They moved regularly, eventually settling in London after the war. It was in Britain that Lotte’s career flourished again. In the proceeding years, Lotte created beautiful films that would impact audiences on a deep emotional level 19 20. She made over 40 films, collaborating with artists, including her husband, Jean Renoir, and Walter Ruttman.

“I believe in the truth of fairy-tales more than I believe in the truth in the newspaper.”

Ah, such was the loveliness of this candid soul. With every experience firmly engraved in her heart, this pioneer of silhouette animation celebrated things that have a life of their own; art, music, and the written word. She undoubtedly came forth to download the stars and wake up the soul of animated films. 

In closing, if you were to ask anyone who invented the multiplane camera, you are likely to hear the name Walt Disney. Contrary to popular belief, while talented himself, this ‘jolly good fellow’ did not invent the multiplane camera. It was Lotte. Lotte was first. 

Literary source:

Currell, D. (2007), Shadow Puppets & Shadow Play, The Crosswood Press: UK.

Film: The Adventures of Prince Achmed by Lotte Reiniger (1926)

Grace, W. (2017), Lotte Reiniger: Pioneer of Film Animation, North Carolina:McFarland & Company, Inc

Schönfeld, C., Lotte Reiniger and the Art of Animation,

Whitehead, M. (2004), Animation, Cox & Wyman Reading Berks: Great Britain, 2004.

Image References:

1. Augustin von Moersperg 1592 The oldest picture of the Pied Piper copied from the glass window of the Market Church in Hameln/Hamelin Germany Wikipedia

2. Edward William Lane translator, Frances Jenkins Olcott editor, Willy Pogany illustrator Illustrations from More Tales from the Arabian Nights 1915 Wikipedia

3. Doudney, Sarah 1888 The Vicar of Redcross; or, Till Death us do Part, British Library digital image 

4. Ondine Illustrations by Lotte Reiniger for the Christmas Number of The Illustrated London News, 1960

Kabbalistically, Gemini represents the hands, arms, lungs and nervous system of the Grand Human. Gemini's hands successfully execute all mechanical forces generated within the body.
4th house in Aquarius tells us about Lotte’s childhood home atmosphere. She was surrounded by friendly people and lived a utopian home life. Lotte needed lots of personal space to be able to invent her art. 
Mercury in Taurus tells of one who gets their maximum sense-contact with the world through sight. Taurus in the 8th house is ‘third eye’ minded. Their sense of self-worth is tied to the perception of how to get their ideas to produce tangible results.

Mercury divides its heavenly awe between glittery Gemini who gathers the seeds and heavenly Virgo who anchors the seeds and collects the wheat.
She possessed a raw brilliance that pushed against the barriers of her mind (Mercury square Mars). Her ambitious personality pushed her to create a searing vision as an artist.​ With Mercury/Mars placement we find someone who has an energized intellect, an individual who is super fast to act. 
Mars in Leo sparks and energizes other planets, it is a symbol of assertiveness, energy and courage. Lotte had a lot of physical force which helped her dynamically push into new ground. Her achievements (Mars conjunct Fortuna in the 10th house) were destined to be noticed and praised by the prominent figures in her industry.
The nature of the Gemini archetype in the 8th house has a single-minded desire. In this house, the Gemini archetype is neither bored nor restless.  Scorpios house makes sure that imaginative twins create through invention and strong intention. In this house, Gemini is not scattering their energies, they are laser-focused on one thing at a time. 

Un-swayed character (Sun conjunction Pluto). There is an intense focus on personal transformation where one is able to see more deeply into their own inner motivations
Lotte ‘walked her talk’ she led by example and found joy in being a source of inspiration for others (P. Fortune in Leo/10th house). With Part of Fortune in the 10th house, a person knows they will be fortunate in the public eye.  
Part of Fortune trine Saturn, a sense of responsibility and a sense of determination is enhanced here. Saturn crowns effort, patience and persistence. 
Pioneer of the new art style (Uranus in Sagittarius/2nd house). This placement helped Lotte in the development of new attitudes towards her own values and personal resources.
Moon in Aries /5th. In Aries, Moon tells us a story of someone who relies primarily on themselves. Mars, the ruler of Lotte’s Moon is located in the 10the house of career and mastery of skills, indicating her inherent desires to rush into uncharted territories.
She was not only good at sparking the fire in her projects, but she was also good at keeping the fire burning brightly (Moon conjunct Vesta in the 5the house). She had an abundance of energy and stamina to complete her tasks (Sun trine Pallas).
3rd house in Capricorn gifting her mental abilities with persistence and striving. Application of discipline and patience (Saturn trine Vesta).
A personality that is involved in work (Sun sextile Midheaven). Lotte’s terrific sense of positive value influenced her work at large (Saturn in Sagittarius /2nd)
Juno in the 2nd house indicates that a partnership brings an increase in one’s wealth also an increase in one's own sense of worth. Lotte felt sheltered and loved in her marriage, she felt a sense of comfort. Her beloved Carl (Sun in Leo) dreamt with her and together they knew how to ground these dreams in the physical realm. 
Lotte's Juno is in Sagittarius. This archetype looks for a partner who would offer them a sense of adventure. Someone who is optimistic, humorous, intellectual and respects the freedom of thought. 
Her Venus in Taurus in the 7th house means that she was someone who thrived within the sphere of a traditional partnership. With this placement of Venus, Lotte enjoyed collaborations and relationships of all kinds. She was loved by others. 
South node in Gemini in the 8th house is someone who, in previous life, has experienced profound mind-training and deep spiritual initiations. Lotte has her South node conjunct Neptune, Pluto and Sun indicating that she inherently was a far-seeing, spiritual visionary with dream-life qualities. 
The placement of Lotte's North node in Sagittarius conjunct Saturn & Uranus shows that she early on understood the blueprint of her life. North node, here was urging her to feel, and act in accordance with the nonvisible double called the Higher Self. Both in her work and her character she gathered tressures and sought a distinction for her silhouettes (Uranus). She worked with patience (Saturn conjunct North Node) and gradually advanced. She was destined to receive her reward through sustained effort (Uranus, Saturn and North Node in the 2nd house). There was no rushing of things, she need to be diligent and constant (Mars trine Saturn).