Tag Archives: The God of Dance

The Dance of Truth Part 2

Vaslav Nijinsky

In Part 1 I wrote of my own involvement in dance, my interest in Nijinsky, and alluded to a sort of destiny appointment with him through transiting Pluto aspects to my natal moon. In Part 2 I will explore his early life and career using his birth chart and transits to illustrate pivotal points. As this is not intended to be a scholarly work, my citations appear as they do.

Please note that I am a sidereal astrologer, using the placements of the stars and planets where they actually are when one looks at the sky. If the Astro-jargon makes you glaze over, just ignore the technical details and take in the information it reveals. It is beyond the scope of this article to instruct readers in the astrological assessment of the birth chart.


Vaslav Fomitch Nijinsky was born on March 12, 1889, in Kiev, in the Russian Empire (Ukraine) of Polish parents. His sister tells us that their mother often repeated that Vaslav was born in the caul”, (Early Memoirs, 1981, Bronislava Nijinska p12) something that is very rare, and presages greatness. 

A young Nijinsky in his practice clothes

Online I found that there were at least three different years, two different dates, and two different times associated with his birth. This vagueness feels linked to the chameleon glamour of his character portrayals and indicates that no one can really decide who he was nor pin him down in any concrete way – try as they might. He embodied each character portrayal fully loosing himself in each role, and when not onstage could be somewhat of a blank slate according to some who were in a position to have an opinion.

However, we do have his journals in which he states twice in 1919, when writing them, “I am 29,” (Diary p19) and further says, “I was born in 1889” (Diary p236). I wonder if some feel he didn’t know how old he was nor when he was born, which is absurd. I believe him. 

Nijinsky had two siblings: an older brother, Stanislav (Stassik), and younger sister, Bronislava (Bronia), also a ballet dancer. Stanislav fell out of a third-floor window when Nijinsky was still a baby, survived but was never the same afterwards. By the time he was a teen, Stanislav had to be placed in an asylum. Nijinsky, like David Bowie in our time, who also had an institutionalized brother, was always fearful of his own potential insanity.

Looking at his chart it is painful to see such a remarkable destiny paired with opposition, destructive choices, and outer (subconscious) obstruction at every turn. Not everyone with these placements would exhibit similar life patterns. A chart only shows tendencies and there is a broad scope of how these tendencies may play out. We have many witnesses, through books, who can tell us exactly how these tendencies showed up for Nijinsky. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Nijinsky’s North Node (hereafter NN), or destiny point, is at the very top of his chart in 9th area of life Gemini. The moon, (mind, deep feeling and sensitivity) is in the 10th area Cancer and conjunct the NN. This is someone who will communicate strongly through their chosen field; someone who is deeply, perhaps painfully, sensitive and possibly prone to paranoia, deep hurt and a nervous disposItion. Also in Cancer are his Mid-Heaven conjunct natal Saturn in the 10th: a career where discipline will be of paramount importance. I cannot immediately think of any other career at that time so exacting as that of a classical ballet dancer.

12th house Uranus points toward institutions (and being institutionalized) and the subconscious generally being a big potential issue this life. Uranus is square his NN which indicates a destiny that is unique, a lightning flash of genius, and an innovator. It was realized 20 years after his death that he was actually the father of Modern Dance. Nothing like the four ballets he choreographed had ever been seen before. 

Nijinsky’s parents were both dancers making a living by touring a circuit of various entertainment venues, and he first began ballet classes with them as his teachers. At the age of 9 Nijinsky entered the Imperial Theatrical School (a respected institution) and joined the lofty ranks of other students such as Mikhail Fokine, Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and Georgiy Balanchivadze, or George Balanchine as he became better known. 

Bronislava Nijinska, a dancer-choreographer in her own right.

Bronislava was devoted to her brother, joined the Ballet Russes and toured with him. In her teaching career she taught Nijinsky’s technique and style to her students. It seems that she was the only one who understood what he was attempting with his art. Nijinsky was a typical good big brother of the times and looked after Bronia with regard to appropriate suitors – not always to her liking.

Nijinsky’s father left the family for his pregnant mistress when Vaslav was about 8, and poverty was then a big issue. Even before graduating the Imperial Theatrical School, Nijinsky was lauded as a prodigy, and upon entry into the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet (another respected institution), became a coryphée, which was a rank above where most start, in the corps de ballet. He was soon promoted to soloist.

as Albrecht in Giselle

Nijinsky danced many of the famous classical ballets, often partnering the great Anna Pavlova: Raymonda, Giselle, Le Pavillion d’Armide, Sleeping Beauty (unforgettable as The Blue Bird) (Memoirs p209), La Bayadere, Les Sylphides, and more. 

According to Joan Acocella in her fine introduction to the unexpurgated Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky, Russia at that time did a heavy sex trade with ballet dancers, whose ‘patrons’ helped advance their ‘protégé’s’ careers (The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky, 2006, p.VIII). At the age of 18, Vaslav entered into probably his first such relationship with Prince Lvov who in turn gave the Nijinsky family much needed financial assistance.

Nijinsky was raised a Roman Catholic and had exposure to the Russian Orthodox Church as well. At a very young age questioned the necessity of the priesthood and felt rather he himself would speak to God directly (Memoirs p158). His wife mentions in her biography of him that as a teen he had wanted to be a monk –  that he had always had a spiritual inclination (Diary pXVII).

He expressed in his Diary extreme discomfort and guilt around masterbation (which he willed himself to discontinue), his homosexual relations, and his use of prostitutes both before and after marriage. He had Pluto and Neptune in his 8th area of Taurus, so this comes as no surprise. Neptune often presents a confusion in the area of life in which it appears in the birth chart and Pluto represents deep underworld taboos and obsessions. The 8th area deals with sex, death, deep truths, the occult, and secrets. 

His Mercury in the 5th area Aquarius, (unique and ahead of his time in creative communication and mental processes) is square Neptune (confusion/delusion/illusion and also dreams/visions/revelations). He was known for not being able to adequately verbally communicate what he required of the dancers to whom he was teaching his unique choreography. There often ensued, according to first-hand accounts, screaming rages of frustration. 

Nijinsky’s difficulty in getting across what he envisioned has been tentatively attributed to dyslexia along with the possibility of a type of stammering (Leap p.188), though his sister does not mention such an obvious issue in her memoirs. But what Nijinsky did communicate, through movement, was said to have been absolutely unique. He was soon hailed as The God of Dance, and called the Eighth Wonder of the World. 

An astrological fine point here is that Nijinsky’s moon is in the Vedic Nakshatra* of Pusha ruled by the Gods of the Gods and is under Saturn’s influence. This indicates a difficult childhood, but also someone who has a deep sense of who they are, a potential spiritual leader and truth teller; someone that may have little patience with people and perhaps could be more humble. But this is a very blessed placement, and echos the worldly epithet of The God of Dance.

There is no great genius without a touch of dementia. – Seneca

Prince Lvov ‘introduced’ the young dancer to many others, and in 1908 the impresario Sergei Diaghilev became Nijinsky’s lover and companion for the next five years. Nijinsky states in his diary that Lvov “forced me to be unfaithful to him with Diaghilev because he thought that Diaghilev would be useful to me. I was introduced to Diaghilev by telephone.” (Diary pIX)

It seems clear in Nijinsky’s Diary that he did what he had to do to survive: “I trembled like an aspen leaf” he states of his first sexual encounter with Diaghilev. “I hated him, but I put up a pretense, for I knew my mother and I would starve to death….I realized one had to live and therefore it did not matter to me what sacrifice was made.” (Diary p104)

Nijinsky with Sergei Pavolvitch Diaghilev

Prior to meeting Nijinsky, Diaghilev brought a variety of Russian art to the West via Paris. For the 1909 season ballet was the next art form to be introduced back to the country where it had originally been created. La Saison Russe premiered May 19, and was so successful that a permanent company was formed. 

Bronia captures the moment as she watches her brother’s first Paris performance from the wings: “While Nijinsky waits onstage holding his pose, his whole body is alive with an inner movement, his whole being radiant with inner joy – a slight smile on his lips….his long neck bound by a pearl necklace…. a light quivering of his small expressive hands among the lace cuffs. This inspired figure of Nijinsky captivates the spectators, who watch him spellbound, as if he were a work of art, a masterpiece.” (Memoirs p270)

Nijinsky in Le Spectre de la Rose

Thus the great Ballet Russes was born, the most glamorous and avant garde theatre company of the time, and Nijinsky was its star. He brought the declining male ballet dancer (male parts often were danced by female dancers) back into prominence with explosive artistic aplomb!

As the lead male dancer of the Ballet Russes, Nijinsky danced many new ballets: Scheherazade (as the Golden Slave), Narcisse, Le Dieu Bleu, Le Festin, Le Spectre de la Rose (created specially for him), and Petruska (said to have been his favorite character portrayal). (A Leap Into Madness, 1991, Peter Ostwald, p47).

as the golden slave in Scheherazade

Nijinsky was a diminutive 5 feet 4 inches tall with a slender torso and massive thighs. But he had tremendous upper body strength, too; he worked with weights and could lift 72 lbs with one arm. (Memoirs, p400) With large, dark eyes rimmed in thick lashes, and sensuous lips, he embodied the androgyne incredibly well. Reactions to his dancing were never ambivalent. Those who witnessed his art often compared his movements to an animal – “he seemed ‘half cat, half snake, fiendishly agile, feminine and yet wholly terrifying’; ‘undulating brilliantly like a reptile’, ‘a stallion, with distended nostrils’, ‘I never saw anything so beautiful.” (Leap p42) 

Once he was asked how he appeared to stay up in the air a little bit longer than seemed natural. Nijinsky replied, “No! No! Not difficult. You have just to go up and then pause a little up there.” (Leap p34)

Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those
who could not hear the music. -Friedrich Nietzsche

I once lived with a brilliant man who thought it very natural to astral travel. He said to me, “you just have to project yourself up into the corner of the room and then take off”. He fully believed that everyone knew how to do this. This, like Nijinsky’s explanation, is remarkable in that the person does not realize that they have any unusual skill. 

There is so much written about Nijinsky’s dancing, the ballets he performed and so forth. It is way beyond the scope of this article to fully give any kind of suitable and satisfying attention to it. You can delve into his life in any number of excellent publications. I will briefly touch upon the four ballets he choreographed, three of which he starred in. 

Nijinsky’s first choreography was L’Apre-midi d’un Faune (The Afternoon of the Faune premiered May 29,1912, at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris). Set in ancient Greece, it is the story of a ‘mythical’ faune being attracted to a nymph who declines his advances, and featured an ‘orgasm’ at the end of the performance. 

Poster for the Ballet Russes 1912 Season by Leon Bakst

The steps and shapes the dancers made broke completely with tradition in Faune. Bronia was the only one who understood what he was trying to do and even she found it very challenging to execute the choreography. Faune is the only ballet of Nijinsky’s that survives intact as he originally created it. He worked to fully notate this particular ballet during his incarceration in Budapest during WW1, and so we fortunately have the original form he intended.

Nijinsky and Bronia in L’Apres-midi d’un Faune

Bronia played the sixth nymph, and Nijinsky the principle male, in Faune. Even though she was always very close to her brother, when she saw him dance, he became something else altogether. We read in her Early Memoirs: “Before my eyes was le dieu de la danse…. Nijinsky is onstage, and he extends upwards, a barely perceptible quiver runs through his body; his left hand close to his face, he seems to be listening to sounds, only heard by him, which fill all his being. He radiates an inner force that by its very radiance envelops the theatre, establishing a complete rapport with the audience.” (Memoirs, p517)

His second ballet, entitled Jeux (Games, premiered May 15, 1913), a danced poem, was set on a tennis court, danced in modern sports clothing (never done before), and was the story of a menage a’trois. Originally it was supposed to feature three men, but was changed (by whom, is not recorded) to one man (Nijinsky) and two women. Both of these first two ballets were choreographed to music by Debussy with set designs by Leon Bakst.

The third ballet Nijinsky choreographed was to Stravinsky’s original score, Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring, premiered May 29,1913) with scenery and costumes by the artist/explorer Nicholas Roerich. What a magnificent collection of talent the Ballet Russes had at its disposal! The choreography created much dismay among the dancers when in rehearsals because it was the opposite of everything they’d learned: feet turned in, dancers stayed close to the ground; it was pronounced ‘ugly’. 

The inspiration came from Russian pagan primitivism. It is the story of a ‘tribe’ celebrating the annual renewal of life, and culminates with a chosen maiden to dance herself to death. At the premier in Paris, the audience so disliked what they were seeing and hearing, they rioted; the police were called. Nijinsky had to scream tempo to the dancers from the wings so they could keep time as the noise was louder than the orchestra. Prior to curtain, they were told to keep dancing no matter what – there was definitely an inkling as to the reception of such an innovative piece. It ran for only 9 performances – only 4 in Paris. A year later when World War One exploded upon the world stage, this ballet was seen as a direct expression of the subconsciously felt nihilism and chaos that was manifesting into 3D reality.

Move through, rather than to, the music. – Nijinsky

Nijinsky’s fourth and final staged choreography was Til Eulenspiegel, based on the story of a German fool in the 1300s who bothers the townsfolk so much with his mischievousness, that he is finally hung. Richard Strauss supplied the music, and Robert Edmond Jones, was the set designer. Nijinsky danced the lead on October 23, 1916 in New York City. Til Eulenspiegel was never performed by Nijinsky anywhere but during the 1916/17 ballet season in America. One notable thing about this production was that it was unfinished at premier, and had to be improvized in parts – the first improvisational ballet at the time!

As long as Nijinsky was dancing with nothing else encumbering him, he was healthy (Sun in 6th area Pisces). The Sun is our vitality, that which we need to thrive. Pisces is the dancer. He also had Mars in Pisces – drive and motivation, but also enemies. He was certainly born to dance, and he certainly had many who were jealous and resentful of is abilities, and who took pains to express this whenever possible. His Mars also opposed Uranus in the 12th: a set up if ever there was one for the unconscious to come forth as inexpressible desire which may manifest as sudden onset of illness (6th area) as a consequence. In Ostwald’s book, A Leap Into Madness, this had been common since childhood.

Nijinsky’s natal Sun is in the nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada. Purva Bhadrapada is the apex of Jupiter energy, a yang energy. The sun is also yang energy and Nijinsky has Mars (more yang) also in Pisces (but not in Purva Bhadrapada). The fierceness of this collective energy can produce a powerful spiritual pull and selflessness without expectation of reward. Nijinsky ruminates on these things in Diary. Dance was his spiritual path. He performed for the Ballet Russes without pay for years. It was only later  that Romola, his wife, wrangled payment from Diaghilev for her husband. Later when dance was denied him, his soul withered.

A curious aspect of Purva Bhadrapada is that it relates to the activities of adepts and spiritual masters which are difficult to understand from our material perspective. It presents the energy that the observer is unable to understand if the person in question, in this instance, Nijinsky, is a spiritual being, a con-artist or just crazy. No one understood him on any level. 

Nijinsky also loved photography, but he realized he needed to focus on dance.

This is exactly the dilemma Nijinsky was inevitably faced with. The jealousy and rage flung against him was projection at a time when that complex was little understood. And there is also the spiritual benefit, through the conflicts that Purva Bhadrapada brings, that one can annihilate the ego and the person turns toward Enlightenment. Not a pleasant, easy Sun position to have, but ultimately rewarding from a spiritual perspective.

I don’t feel that choreography was as nourishing to Nijinsky as dancing certainly was, though he was obviously talented and innovative in this area. His inability to express himself clearly was a huge handicap. He could demonstrate what he wanted, but the movements were so counter to what a classically trained dancer was used to, it looked to everyone too bizarre. Nijinsky was very sensitive to being seen in a negative light, and found it frustrating to know that virtually no one understood him or his art. This is common for artists and creatives generally, but for him it was not just uncomfortable, it was crippling. 

Nijinsky’s nodal axis is worth mentioning here to set the stage for the next ‘act’: His NN as I said denotes a 10th area destiny – public notice. The NN is the life’s compass point, something new to accomplish, and Nijinsky’s was in the area of career and public personae. 

The South Node (hereafter SN), always precisely opposite the NN, indicates where we’ve been, what is familiar; past life experiences we’ve already got down. When one is stressed, one typically heads toward SN experiences when what more productively should be happening is moving toward the NN experiences. It is counter to one’s intuitive feeling because we want soothing when we’re under stress not challenging, unfamiliar experiences. His SN is in 4th area Capricorn: safe, structured home and family. That is what he was seeking, but not what he should have been going toward. His life was a mobile one of the theatre: living in hotels and never in one place permanently. It is very difficult to raise a family on the road as his parents discovered. When one habitually heads toward or lives in the SN experience, one will always feel they are spinning their wheels and not getting anywhere. 

In August of 1913 Nijinsky and the Ballet Russes headed to South America – without Diaghilev. Diaghilev stayed in Europe because he was supposedly afraid of death by drowning. Nijinsky would be without his familiar protector, lover and helper in a new place and situation for the first time. Even though he felt controlled by Diaghilev, he was always taken care of and didn’t have to deal with the mundane realities of life. The feelings of relief and freedom may have been somewhat intoxicating and the stress may have increased his longing for a home and family, which he sorely missed in Russia.

Romola de Pulszky

Enter Romola de Pulszky. She was the daughter of a famous Hungarian actress mother, and politician father . She was what we would call these days, a groupie of the Ballet Russes. Once she saw Nijinsky dance in her hometown of Budapest in Carnaval, she called off her engagement and set her sights on him, always arranging to be wherever he was dancing in Europe. Therefore, Romola was on board The Avon to Buenos Aires sans Diaghilev, and was formally introduced to Nijinsky on the voyage out. After only a month’s acquaintance, Nijinsky proposed. They did not speak a common language, and had to use an interpreter! They married soon after they entered port.

Dance is the hidden language of the Soul – Martha Graham

Nijinsky’s marked decline, in my opinion, started with his decision to marry on September 10, 1913. This is the date that I felt absolutely corroborated the birth chart data I finally chose (I hadn’t yet read Nijinsky’s own mention of his age and year of birth). Transiting Uranus opposed his natal moon (sudden, unexpected, sometimes catastrophic, events triggering deep feeling and rash decisions) while transiting Neptune (illusion, delusion and confusion) was conjunct his natal moon, making this seem like a good idea at the time. Transiting Pluto was semi-sextile his natal moon and transiting Neptune: a potentially transformative time, and definitely a transforming event. This date, for me, is the turning point, the defining choice of the rest of his life. Nijinsky realized after only a few days that his marriage was a huge mistake, but he couldn’t take it back. He was Catholic, after all, and divorce in those days was not seen as it is today.

The events that Nijinsky’s marriage then triggered completed his break from Diaghilev, the man who organized everything in Nijinsky’s life. He states in his Diary, “I was afraid of him (Diaghilev) because I knew that all of practical life was in his hands.” (Diary p103). Nijinsky received a telegram letting him know that his services were no longer required. It was not even signed by Diaghilev, but by the regisseur of the company. A double insult. (Memoirs p482) No longer associated with the Ballet Russes left him out on his own, and no other ballet company was doing anything other than the old style of classical ballet. There could be no artistic explorative innovation for him except in the Ballet Russes.

Perhaps he felt that by marrying Romola, he could escape his feeling of being utterly under Diaghilev’s control. Bronia says their relationship was already worn thin as Nijinsky strained to reach for artistic sovereignty before this voyage. Nijinsky wrote to Stravinsky later about how upset he was when Diaghilev had fired him. Stravinsky remarked that Nijinsky’s letter to him was “a document of such astounding innocence – if Nijinsky hadn’t written it, I think only a character in Dostoievsky might have.” (Diary pXV)

Little did Nijinsky know, that through his marriage he had set in motion events that would change the course of his life and career for the very worst. Years later when Romola was planning to institutionalize him, Nijinsky said to her, “Femmka (little wife), you are bringing me my death-warrant”. But in a very real way, that had already happened. 

He hardly ever spoke to anyone, and seemed to exist
on a different plane.” – Lydia Sokolova, Nijinsky’s dance partner

One option for Nijinsky now that he was no longer a part of the Ballet Russes was to return to Russia. Kaiser Wilhelm was fomenting war, and the Russian Imperial army would not give Nijinsky a deferral from the military. Taking this option, he faced three years of infantry service!

It has already been stated that the option of joining another ballet company was not a possibility. They would have been too restrictive and conservative for Nijinsky’s vast, expanding creativity.

The third option would be to start his own company and that is what he attempted. He’d had an offer to perform for 8 weeks at the Palace Theatre in London, a vaudeville theatre. This was an unwelcome compromise for Nijinsky who considered himself, and rightly so, a fine artist, not an entertainer. It was after a period of crippling indecision, and depression that he decided to take this option. Given that he was a dancer-choreographer with no experience organizing and running a ballet company, this is another glaringly questionable choice he made. 

Bronia and her husband left the Ballet Russes after discovering that most of her roles had been given to another dancer thereby breaking her contract. They came to London immediately to dance and help with the monumental task at hand. Rehearsals went well, but from the opening night onward the Nijinsky Season was beset by long-simmering petty resentments, law suits, and the owner of the theater insisting on including Russian folks dances in the repertoire. By the second week Bronia noted how tired Vaslav looked. “He danced as superbly as ever. But even so I noticed that the usual spark, the enthusiasm that always filled his being, the elation felt in each dancing movement, was no longer there.” (Memoirs, p505) This will have marked the first outwardly visible commencement of Nijinsky’s retreat inward. 

The engagement resulted in Nijinsky’s illness, and his first ‘breakdown’. He found himself in breech of contract for missing 3 consecutive days of appearances due to high fever, and lost his place at the theatre. This was the spring of 1914, and transiting Mars was bearing down on Nijinsky’s NN in 9th area Gemini (a destiny appointment of impulsive energies).

One of the big impediments Nijinsky always faced was communication issues. He only spoke Russian fluently, and therefore often didn’t understand the ‘fine print’ of contractual language. He knew he could miss three days of performance during his run at the Palace Theatre, but hadn’t realized that they could not be contiguous days.

An American newspaper report of April 4, 1914, stated that Nijinsky’s illness was “much more serious than is generally realized….He is said to be suffering from a nervous breakdown, induced by overwork in the planning and rehearsing of new dances.” (Leap p113) Romola was also seven months pregnant.

The candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. – Blade Runner

There were some private performances, and an offer to be artistic advisor as well as dancer, for the Paris Opera four months out of the year from 1915 through 1917. The contract stipulated that he could not dance on any other stage other than the Theatre National de l’Opera. Other clauses troubled him, too, and negotiations were ultimately unfruitful. Nijinsky was now beset by depression, fear, sleeplessness and was clearly wary of being chained to restrictive contractual conditions given his precarious state of health. 

He and Romola went to Vienna, and there Nijinsky’s first daughter, Kyra, was born in June 1914 (Leap p125). He became so absorbed in the child, that everything else ceased to exist for him. He lived exclusively in that world for a time. The family moved to Budapest where Romola’s mother and step father lived. In August World War One broke out, and as a Russian citizen, Nijinsky became a prisoner of war. Under house arrest, he had to report to the authorities weekly. This was his ‘world’ for the next 18 months.

Nijinsky and daughter, Kyra

During Nijinsky’s incarceration, Diaghilev, the American Embassy, the Emperor Franz-Joseph of Austria-Hungary, the King of Spain Alfonso XIII, and Pope Benedict XV all made effort for his release. Nijinsky and his family were eventually allowed to leave Budapest and subsequently moved to Vienna in January of 1916. Jupiter in Aquarius was trining the NN destiny point positively expanding what it touches, and quintile natal Uranus in the 12th area of the subconscious and imprisonment. This line up signaled his release from house arrest in Hungary and freedom to dance once again.

Great dancers are great because of their passion.
-Martha Graham

He now began planning his next ballet, Till Eulenspiegel, and connected with Richard Strauss in Vienna to provide the music. At this point Nijinsky only had a diagnosis of neurasthenia (nervous weakness) with depressive states. It is thought he may have been cycling in and out of depression for some time before ‘going mad’ (not a technical term).

An interesting quote from A Leap Into Madness (p134) follows: “As long as an exalted state of mind provides fulfillment and leads to successful achievement, it seems unwarranted to call it an illness. But when a manic or depressive episode results in maladaptive behavior and leads to breakdown, it must be clinically evaluated and treated.” 

What this is saying, in essence, is that as long as you ‘produce’ something deemed to be valuable to others you can act as crazy as you wish without consequence. But as soon as you stop producing work that is seen as useful to the greater whole, you will be diagnosed as a lunatic. Is there a real definition of sane vs. insanity? Or is it actually a spectrum of bandwidth with an arbitrary criteria, depending on how many others reside in one’s particular bandwidth, that decides one’s diagnosis. Part 4 will address this topic.

Nijinsky driving in America, most probably New York

Nijinsky, with the Ballet Russes, crossed the Atlantic in March of 1916 bound for New York City, arriving April 4th. They would be performing at the Metropolitan Opera, as well as some private performances. There was a delay as Romola negotiated fees for Nijinsky with Diaghilev for the American tour (he had not yet been paid for two years of work with the Ballet Russes prior to his being dismissed in 1913). Finally the premier of the Ballet Russes in America occurred on April 12th. The US tour was an artistic success, but not a financial one. 

On many an occasion when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar
and become one with everything that exists. – Michael Jackson

It was during this time that Nijinsky made friends with two Russian dancers who re-introduced him to the philosophy of Leo Tolstoy. They discussed the fine points deeply and Nijinsky began to dress in less formal attire, became a vegetarian, practiced sexual abstinence, and felt a desire to return to Russia and get back to the land. This distressed Romola so much, as she did not intend to live like a peasant, that she actually left Nijinsky for a short time. They reunited before returning to Europe and the war. 

Till Eulenspiegel era (1916), possibly rehearsals in New York

The Ballet Russes arrived in Spain in March of 1917. There were performances in Madrid and then Nijinsky got a two month holiday while the rest of the company went on to Italy and France. Nijinsky fell in love with the Gypsy flamenco dances he saw there and wanted to incorporate them into his repertoire of postures and gestures. He was taken to a bull fight, but as they got close, Nijinsky’s eyes were terribly distressed and he said, “Let’s go back. I couldn’t stand that.” This was seen, at that time, as the first signs of madness. 

At the end of March 1917 transiting Uranus in Capricorn trined his natal Uranus in 12th area Virgo. This aspect can make one seem irresponsible as one rapidly and intensely changes to reach one’s goals (whatever one perceives those to be). It is a very rebellious energy that happens around the age of 28 for everyone. During this transit one begins to deeply question what one has been told and life can seem very inadequate in view of the internal changes taking place. 

Nijinsky’s first Saturn Return was also in progress during this time and was exact in July 1918. This is often a challenging time of reassessing goals, priorities and the basic structure of our lives, as we step into more maturity (whatever that means for the individual). 

In Vedic Astrology there is an approximately 7.5-year event called the Sade Sati which involves Saturn and the moon. It commences when Saturn enters the constellation prior to the one the natal moon is in, and ends when Saturn leaves the constellation that follows the moon’s natal placement. At the time of this writing I am in my second Sadi Sati with 3 years yet to go. It is entirely and wholly challenging. My life has completely changed from what it was prior to commencement in 2017.

Nijinsky began his first Sade Sati in July 1914 (his daughter was born in June, a big additional responsibility) as transiting Saturn entered Gemini in his 9th area of life. Later, transiting Saturn conjuncted his natal Moon September 1916 and his natal Saturn, as stated above (the ‘return’), in July 1918. Transiting Saturn left Leo for good in August 1921, completing this massive transformative process. You can see by what happened to him during this period, how transformative it was for him, having come on the heels of his marriage which set the entire chain of events in motion. From being regarded worldwide as the premier male dancer, seeing the fraying edges begin to come further undone, to being institutionalized – all within that 7.5-year period!

Meanwhile, back in Spain in 1917, Romola organized a liaison between her husband and the Duchess of Durcal who was infatuated with Nijinsky. He was very upset with this and said to her mournfully, “I am sorry for what I did. It was unfair to her as I am not in love, and the added experience, that perhaps you wanted me to have, is unworthy of us.” (Leap p159) This was probably also seen as a sign of impending lunacy.

At this point Nijinsky just wanted a long rest but Diaghilev had him contracted to more performances and he couldn’t get out of it. The Ballet Russes returned to South America for another tour. I wonder if, when you read all this, you are getting a deja vu of a ‘rock star’ being milked for all he’s worth until he drops dead or looses his mind. Exactly so. Nijinsky did even this before anyone else.

When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you.” – Paulo Coelho

It was during this tour that people began to take Nijinsky’s deteriorating condition seriously. He was very anxious and nervous; he visibly shook and profusely sweated when he was so. Before a performance he procrastinated interminably, pacing up and down on the stage before curtain. Finally the stage director was so fed up, he had the curtain raised whereupon Nijinsky fled into the wings in full view of the audience. The director shouted at him to start dancing! Nijinsky performed flawlessly. The company left South America for Europe on September 26, 1917.

On the voyage back to Europe Nijinsky designed a new rural home in Russia for his family with the hopes to be able to finally live a simple, quiet life (the spinning wheels of the SN). Before landing in Europe, news of the recent Soviet takeover was received. There was no going home for him now. The Nijinsky’s moved to mountainous St. Moritz, Switzerland (Nijinsky hated the mountains – he preferred open vistas). In December of 1917 he signed a one-year lease on the beautiful Villa Guardamunt situated on the alpine slopes.

Nijinsky and Romola

In Part 3 I will cover Nijinsky’s journal writing, and institutionalization; the next 30 years of his life.

*Nakshatra – a Vedic Astrological term. Each of the 12 constellations along the ecliptic are further divided into 27 segments of 13° 20’ each and are aligned with a particular fixed star. This gives greater detail when reading a chart. 

The Dance of Truth Part 1


Creatives come in all shapes and sizes. They express themselves through many disciplines. The one thing I believe they all have in common is an ever expanding bandwidth of perception. That is, they go way beyond the approved fives senses and protocols.

Creatives are labeled and categorized as painters, musicians, writers, dancers, scientists, inventors, and more recently Contact Experiencers. Creatives use their expanded bandwidth of perception to bring in new ideas, and explore through their chosen medium.

Another thing that many creatives have in common is a history of abuse, trauma or other severe psychological and physical pressure that blows the lid off their previous reality and opens them to More. Whitley Strieber writes knowledgeably about this in his explorative books as a Contact Experiencer. I believe the Nazis also knew about this link between expanded consciousness and trauma and were actively exploring this, specially in their experiments on twins. There is dark stuff, here…..

Creatives are not necessarily artists and artists are not necessarily those who make a living through their art. An Artist is someone who has no choice but to explore reality through their personal creative lens of expanded bandwidth. They may never make a penny from their art, they may never be recognized for their contribution, even posthumously. Yet, they risk all – material stability, meaningful relationships – and sanity – to continue seeking Truth.

Truth is the operative word here. Centuries ago artists had patrons who supported those whom they considered worthy. This system necessitated the creative individual doing what the patron wished. It was also a system that didn’t churn out artists. Not many people were able to become working artists. These blessed few made a living, were able to create masterpieces, but rarely had true artistic freedom. They did however become very creative at getting their vision out there within the perimeters drawn for them. Often a win/win scenario.

In the early 20th Century this form of art patronage began to dissolve along with the monarchies of Europe. What replaced individual patronage became what we see today: Art as mass commodity. As we see, the brilliance of the potentially highly Creative is subjugated beneath corporate profit through the sales of a product: the artist’s explorations become a means to an end (money), rather than the end itself (creative satisfaction).

Today we find ourselves as bereft of Truth as we are of inspired, enthused (filled with God) artists. Money is the driving force, technology the new ‘art form’, and we are all starving for a connection to our inner creative motivating life force. We recognize, at best, past successful (money making) forms of entertainments crafted to keep us collectively quiet, dumbed down and above all, not personally Creative.

This, then is the antithesis of True Art. This is where we are now. A creative revolution needs to take place, in my opinion, in order to access much needed guidance forward. That revolution would look like art for art’s sake – to feel the Soul – and a non-commoditized tsunami of creative inspiration toward a natural way of life with Mother Earth.

And art often jumps off into the deep end: forging a link between the highly creative individual and what is termed ‘insanity’. Throughout history we see great artists subject to what we term, mental illness. The list is petty impressive: 

Michaelangelo, Van Gogh, Hogarth, Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollack; Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf and Silvia Plath; Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Schoenberg, Wagner, and Satie.…. there are endless more.

In our own time we seem to have an endless list of casualties as well: Marilyn Monroe, Woody Alan, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, and Poly Styrene. There are many who are living with their creative-life challenges such as James Taylor.

So, my leading question with this introductory discussion is what is mental illness? Is it pathological, i.e. does it have a physical origin (organic disease, physical impairment, etc.) or only a physical (noticeable by us) manifestation. Is it really a ‘mental’ illness, something of the mind, which we cannot see, only apprehending physical evidence of the mind (i.e. speech patterns, tendencies, personal ethics, choices, attitudes, etc.). Or is it of an entirely different nature, something that modern science (our current religion) doesn’t even take into account: a spiritual illness caused by disconnection from our Source which that very science insists does not exist. 

In Russian, the word to denote insanity literally means ‘soul sickness’. 

If it is a spiritual disease, (we are indeed spiritual beings living in a physical human form using a once-natural system of hard- and software to perceive the world around us), how can science in all its attainment hope to help, cure or otherwise banish a spiritual illness in which it will never believe? Quite the conundrum!

Daryl Anka (channeller of Bashar) gives a perfect analogy from his own personal experience. I paraphrase here: say that higher consciousness is a gear spinning incredibly fast, and our body-mind unit is a gear spinning quite slowly. When these two gears connect, the slower one’s gears get stripped. (Translating Infinity podcast no. 4)

I came to this deep pondering over decades of personal spiritual exploration without the use of drugs or anything outside of my own innate technologies. One historical character that exemplified this deep questioning for me was the early 20th Century dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky. It is he with whom I will explore these deep questions that it seems I’ve been moving inexorably toward over the past 40 years: I take a look at his life as the Artist-creative who dove deeply and didn’t come back.

I start this exploration with Part 1 and how I came to be involved in dance and the trajectory on which dreams can send one. In Part 2 I write about Nijinsky’s early life and career; Part 3 covers his gear-stripping experience and subsequent institutionalization. And in closing, Part 4 looks at the concept of sanity vs. insanity.

Part One: Why am I writing this?

I am a Contact Experiencer*. It is a lens I use, not an identity. My first memory of meeting ‘the Others’ was when I was 2-1/2 years old. I have been a desperate seeker of the true nature of Reality ever since: I am 65 at this writing. I‘ve been here a lot longer than I thought I’d be…most of the time I’m glad I decided to see the Mission through. But it was touch and go for decades.

I’ve experienced visitations by ‘the Others’, heard recurring non-discernible murmuring up until puberty, had dreams that were much more Real than ‘reality’ and many more experiences. Later in life, I now receive Transmissions from ‘the Others’, my Team I call them, and speak Star Language. But this is not the subject of this exploration.

I am now predominantly a visual artist, in the realm of art expression that is, but when I was younger, dance was a large part of my life. I remember dancing in front of the TV at a very young age, copying the movements of ‘hula-girls’. Around the age of 6, I saw my first full-length classical ballet on PBS – The Nutcracker. I was totally smitten. I never took ballet classes as a child, although that was a ‘thing’ for many young girls back then. I was not encouraged toward extra-curricular activities in my family. 

At 9 I was again dancing in front of the TV set –  this time, to the Beatles. I found that when music moved me, and so much of it did, I would dance. I often feel so fortunate for having been born at a time of great music, and great dancers, too: Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova, Alexander Godunov, to name but a few.

In 1972 I was taken to see my first ballet by a dancer-friend and her mother. I don’t remember what ballet was performed, but I do remember the star: Edward Villella, America’s premier male dancer at the time. I was 16 and we had front row seats. 

When we went backstage afterwards to get our programs autographed, Villella warmly greeted me, saying he’d noticed me in the front row. I was thrilled beyond belief! But when nothing was said to my friend as she stepped up, I was mortified. She suffered from scoliosis and wore a body brace most of the time. I plunged into feelings of deep unworthiness, which rather set the tone of life, an on going painful struggle.

In my late 20s I began to have recurring dreams of dancing with Nureyev. I cannot adequately describe the feeling of freedom in these dreams; being unfetter by the physical. It was otherworldly, and magnificently wonderful! I had the incredible experience of see him dance, not once, but three times in London in 1977. I will never forget the dramatic feeling of Presence as he came onstage. It rolled out over the audience and palpably hit me with a physical force.

The Spirit of the Rose, watercolor, © Zuzanna Vee

In 1982 I came across a biography of Vaslav Nijinsky by his wife, Romola. Pluto* was squaring my moon. It was then that I was introduced to a being of incomparable beauty both inside and out. Someone who was used and projected upon; seen as ‘the god of dance’ and is still considered the best male dancer of the 20th Century. After about only a 10-year career, he was said to have suddenly gone mad. Soon after reading this book, my life took off on a course of my own unconscious devising. I entered a hell-state for quite some time as I endeavored to remember who I was. Entering my first Saturn Return*, in many ways I often felt as if I was loosing my grip. But I was never really sure I wanted to be here anyway.

By 1992 I had returned from 15 years abroad and was living in Durham, NC. One day I received a paper in the mail advertising the American Dance Festival, held annually at Duke University nearby. I clearly remember the large print across the page: 

This is the summer that will change your life!

Message received – I immediately signed up for a week’s intensive Dance Therapy Workshop with Marcia Leventhal, now president elect of the American Dance Therapy Association. I was then also taking twice-weekly modern dance classes at Duke University with Carol Child, enjoying weekly swing dance lessons with Richard Badu, and attending weekly dances held locally. Dance, at this point was my life. I was 36.

The week of dance therapy was an amazing and life altering experience. It started at 10am each morning, and ended in the late afternoon, after which we were expected to attend performances in the evening. It was a hectic, but joyous schedule. Our classroom was an old wooden building, and not air-conditioned. It was July in the South. Needless to say, I sweated profusely, something my body didn’t do easily. I loved this total experience so much and my body had never felt so fit.

The Saturday morning after the week of dance immersion finished, I was on the phone telling a friend about my experience. Suddenly, seemingly out of no where, I began to shift in consciousness so dramatically, that I recall vaguely saying into the phone, “I have to hang up now – something’s happening.”

I then experienced a two-day period of my third eye opening. I could feel a pressure in the center of my forehead as if something was forcing it to split in two. I sat most of that time on the screened porch and just observed. My entire representational orientation to the Divine altered, and I ‘knew’ in those moments how the Divine created everything: through projecting an image out from Herself. 

Fortunately I had a long-standing background of personal yoga practice and as a trained instructor, so I was not afraid. I had also had a similar experience in Italy in 1989 involving my heart center and crown. I knew what was going on: the intense, sustained physical activity and cleansing I had just undergone had opened one of the portals within my body.

It was around this time (though I can’t pin point the exact date) that I had another important experience. I was on spiritual retreat with a friend and her son, and because we came as ‘a family’ we got to stay in a house that I never would have gotten to stay otherwise. On the Saturday afternoon, I was alone in the house when I began to perceive what I could only describe as the Spirit of Dance communing with me. It was such a deeply moving experience and lasted for quite some time. All that night I felt held in the arms of love by the Spirit of Dance.

Later, when my friend returned, I told her of the experience. She didn’t know that I didn’t know, but this had been the house of Margaret Craske a famous dancer in the early 20th Century who went on to teach Cecchetti technique until in her 90s. She had died in this house before it had been moved to the retreat center. I only discovered now, as I research for this article, that she actually danced with the Ballet Russes’ production of Les Sylphides in London in 1920! Very soon after my experience, the house was hit by lightning and burned to the ground. No other damage in the vicinity was done. I guess the business of the Spirit of Dance had been completed.

I continued to dance for several years after the Dance Therapy week. In about 6 months time, my life’s orientation changed. During a routine yearly exam in early 1993, I was told I had cancer. I swiftly booked a 3-week stay at a spiritual ashram in India. I mostly slept, waking only for meals or the bathroom. I felt I was being healed quietly and thoroughly on the inside. When I got back, not only did I not have cancer, but I took up the study of herbalism formally, and began to paint more than I ever had previously. My dreams also became much more enlightening. I have never been back to the doctor since.

Concurrent to my dance interests, I was also a visual artist as mentioned. I finally got the technical training I’d been sorely missing (being self-taught up till then) when I was in my early 50s, and living in New York City. I could now finally bring out of my depths all the visuals and visions that previously were stuck inside. Words could not render my experiences. Without a model or photograph, it was often impossible to effectively translate my inner life. Now a method, a means of expressing my rich inner life was available to me for the first time; this contributed greatly to the progressive excavation of Authentic Self I had embarked upon. 

I have had a full and varied life, but I will now jump ahead 40 years from Pluto squaring my Moon to Pluto conjuncting my moon in February 2022. It all started with a dream….

On January 26, 2022, I dreamt of Nureyev again after many, many years. In this dream I was at the foot of an old fashioned bed looking into a mirror that hung over the headboard. In the mirror I could see Nureyev leaning backwards onto the bed. I was given to know that he had once slept in this bed, and I was happy that I was going to be able to sleep in the same bed as he once had. The mirror showed me the past.

As I do with my dreams, I research them online when that feels appropriate. I watched films of Nureyev dancing, and some bio-pics and documentaries just to see what this might bring up in me. I got The White Crow out of the library to watch – a very worthwhile retelling of the lead up to Nureyev’s defection from the USSR in 1961. During this immersive research, the event with Edward Villella and its link with my underlying feelings of unworthiness came to light. 

Then, on February 6th I began to ‘connect’ with Nijinsky again. I felt not quite obsessed, but driven to find out more about him. I discovered much new research material that was not available to me 40 years ago. 

There was never any film footage taken of Nijinsky dancing or of the early Ballet Russes. He was one of the first to recognize the importance of cinematography and urged Diaghilev to preserve all their great ballets on film. Alas, Diaghilev felt the technology of the times was too crude, and he didn’t want the dancers graceful, fluid movements to be recorded as the jerky scenes he saw at the cinema (A Leap Into Madness, by Peter Ostwald, 1991 p139). But there are many beautiful photographs. Christian Comte has created short digital reconstructions from photographs to produce a sort of movement-illusion from a few of the ballets Nijinsky danced. You can find these on Youtube. They are mesmerizing. 

This deep dive began a series of ‘connections’ with the feeling of Nijinsky and I painted a watercolor of him as Le Spectre de la Rose, from the ballet by the same name. Then I began feeling that I was spending all my DreamTime with him, though I couldn’t remember much in the mornings – just the feeling. 

On February 11th I dreamt that two blue beings walked through a door into the room where I was. Then I saw a black and white stripped bed spread or table cloth. As I awoke, these three images (two figures and the patterned cloth) melded into synthesis, and I painted it. I based the figures on photographs of Nijinsky’s portrayal of The Blue God (Krishna) ballet because in the dream that was what these blue figures felt like. Two days later I dreamt that Spirit of the Dance was giving me an involved demonstration that showed a heart being placed between the two blue beings on the painting.

The Blue Beings dream, watercolor, © Zuzanna Vee

I began to feel that there was something I was supposed to do for Nijinsky, though by this time I couldn’t quite think of the Spirit I was feeling as him exactly. It was him, but in a more expanded sense; and neither male nor female. Very hard to explain. I began feeling a deep love for him; a very deep connection of communing. And this is where this article comes in: Was there more to be discovered about his life? Or my life through discovering more about him?

In my life-time the left brain characteristics of analytical, logical, computing, rule-followers has largely been the praise-worthy part of our brain functions. For millennia this was the direction we all happily moved toward. It is called the patriarchy. We reached the pinnacle of left-brain experience at the very point in time when the Earth reached a crisis point of devastation. No coincidence there. The insistence upon the logic of domination by the most ‘intelligent’ has created our present, dire global circumstances.

But what happens when one, or some, do not fall in line with this way of being? What happens when a very few, perhaps unknown to one another, are operating from a predominantly right brain ‘logic’? When feeling-emotions, and creative motivations are one’s predominant approach to living; when not money, career or relationships, but Art as Truth, is one’s driving force? 

I can tell you first hand what happens: unless one is highly financially successful, one is reviled, and misunderstood, often deliberately; denigrated, ignored, ridiculed, shunned, and labeled: crazy. Contact Experiences are very, very familiar with the Collective’s method of dealing with their own discomfort. So are Artists.

When one runs counter to the accepted, prevailing left-brain logic, following the heart’s feeling-knowing instead of head-logic, life here can be brutal. It is only when one has contact with others of like-heart and experience that one can obtain the much-needed validation, corroboration, and the necessary mirroring to feel safe, sane and able to thrive.

This has only been available to the contemporary Contact Experiencer of late, though many of us had been told for years that this time was fast approaching. For me, when it finally arrived in early 2020, all previous suffering was felt as well worth it. The expanding circle of Expanded Humans is now quickly realizing that our lives as the avant garde were the template of a future that is now. We were trained, formed, molded – often kicking and screaming – as we were taught how to be True Humans in isolation, often, but not always, in obscurity. 

And now, imagine the dear Souls who volunteered to come here a hundred years earlier to begin the creation of the energetic template for this new paradigm in which we now find ourselves. Imagine no psychedelic context, nor shamanic journeying, nor even the context of the ‘New Age’ of the 1980s and 90s, let alone the era of Love & Peace of the mid-1960s. What do you feel life would have been like for one so destined? 

I am going to show you, in the next installment…..

Vaslav Nijinsky, about 21 year of age

*Contact Experiencer: a person who has a broader bandwidth of perception than the average person acceptably experiences. We receive information from unrecognized and unquantifiable sources. A person, for instance, who has ‘imaginary friends’; a muse, such as Carl Jung’s Philemon. Someone who sees what others don’t, can’t or won’t see: angels, ETs, light ships, Beings, Faeries, dead people…… Someone who hears messages or ‘knows’ things intuitively. Those who speak Star, Light or Mother Tongue languages. Those who journey and bring back needed information that does what it is purported to do. In other words, creative individuals who are open to more than the five perceptual senses. Religion calls this the work of the devil; conventional science calls it insanity, pseudo-science, quackery, Venus, or swamp gas because they cannot capture and measure the experiences of others. Who, I ask, can?

*Pluto is the planet of transformation. Whatever it activates through astronomical aspect, gets changed dramatically. It is often experienced dramatically because most of us have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. When Pluto affects a person by transit it is wise to let go and allow the process to proceed unhampered.

*Saturn Return is when the transiting planet of Saturn comes back to the same place that it was at birth. It signals an opportunity to step into further maturity and happens roughly every 28 years. Like Pluto, Saturn exacts certain necessities of change and we will suffer less if we accept what happens during this transit with equanimity, and allow the change to advance. 

My deepest gratitude to Florentina, Liz and Prem for reading my first drafts of all four parts of this lengthy article. Your support of the project and my process, as well as your stupendous editorial suggestions are appreciated beyond words.

For years of on-going support, mirroring and acceptance, I wish to thank Daphne and Eileen. I couldn’t have made it to ‘now’ without your Presence in my life.

And a deep karmic bow to Judith who has housed me over this last 14 months. I would not have been able to write this article, nor the many other creative projects I engaged in, without the shelter, and comfort this afforded me. I will forever be grateful for this selfless gift you gave me.