This amazing anecdote about a classic Pluto-Mercury transit is from the fabulous super-Fish subscriber, Louisa Deasey
This needs to be a movie already! Pluto to Mercury transits do, as Louisa points out, often involve some of the grottier Pluto ‘sewer’ themes. I have Pluto square Mercury at the moment – my daughter has it opposite her Mercury by transit. We spent several hours at the police station last night beginning the process of tracing and identifying a phone harasser/stalker type person.
But the haute aspect of Pluto-Mercury transits is a radical transformation and deepening of your consciousness – it all begins with a message.
When Pluto knocks…
It’s hard to believe it was only three weeks ago I received a Facebook message from Paris. I remember waking that day and thinking “this year I’d like to go to Paris again”. I even wrote it in my diary, changing my profile picture to one of Le Louvre.
Pluto was conjunct Mercury in my 8th house, and all the ‘dark side’ things we associate with Pluto had combined with sudden, intense messages: A stalker, a psychotic neighbor, a call to the Police, a funeral, a trip to the ER, an identity thief, a painful revelation that a friend was not so trustworthy… the intensity was so strong I was having heart palpitations upon waking.
But then, this. Immediately, I knew it was something special. My stomach flipped and flew like an aeroplane was whizzing past and I had to catch something being thrown at me, quickly.
Dear Louisa, forgive me if this is disturbing you, but we are wondering if you are any relation to Denison Deasey…
The Frenchwoman’s beloved grandmother Michele had just died, leaving behind a pile of letters from 1949, in which she writes about an Australian man — Denison Deasey — she met on a train in London. In her final months the granddaughters would often find her sitting with a secret sort of smile on her lips, re-reading the letters, all written in French to her parents when she was working as an Au Pair in London, age 20. My dad would have been 29 at the time.
The children were keen to find what had become of this man she referred to as “Deasey”.
I replied: he is my father, he passed away when I was six. I will try to find anything we have of his from 1949, to find any mention of Michele. Thank you. Thank you. It felt like they had raised him from the dead, some kind of miracle seeing his name there in handwritten pen, a thread to his life still active, with this beautiful French family who had so boldly gotten in contact with me.
I raced to my sisters the next day, and she told me to try the State Library, where hundreds of dad’s letters and notebooks are currently stored.
I knew he had letters at the State Library, but after a miserable attempt to look at them ten years ago, where all I found entries of pain and sadness during the separation from my mum (who is also now passed on), I’ve never had the strength to go back, thinking all of it must be filled with such gut-wrenching sadness (they separated when I was 6 months old).
Also, the size of the material is Sisyphean. The inventory of the material alone is 45 pages! Dad, a writer, kept a journal every day of his life, wrote dozens of letters, essays, fragments, mostly typed, and some of it is out of order. They didn’t have laptops back then, and he only dated half of what he wrote on typewriter.
But, this time I would just stick to 1949, so I marched to the library, making a special appointment to see six folders out of about 100, folders which included diaries and letters and essays from that year. The French family had by now sent me a beautiful tribute to Michele, so I would understand her better, but I realized, while watching it, I knew less about my own dad, and we have no photos of him from that time. I needed to know more.
It’s hard to describe the importance of what I found, while looking for Michele. Try to imagine never knowing anything about your father and then not only discovering he had the most intense, crazy, interesting life, but also that he writes like you, feels like you, struggles with the same dilemmas, and is driven by the same things..? I feel like I’m in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are. He talks of places I’ve always felt strangely drawn to, and it’s all this big filling feeling, like a sea filling in all the rivers of me that were empty.
I’d get happy tears in the library day after day, the shock of recognition and the feeling of complete understanding and closeness.
There are things he wrote in his diary I have written in my diary. There were complete passages in one of his essays that I have written in my book. And then learning of how he lost his own dad when he was away at War, and his own mum when he was in London, (not long after meeting Michele). Searching for Michele led me to find dad. How interesting that she was French, France was his paradise after the war!
He loved to talk to strangers, I love to talk to strangers! He was impulsive and friendly and funny and got in bizarre situations, such as being mistaken for M16 spy Donald Maclean and being arrested in his underpants, shrugging the whole thing off as ‘fun’ because that night the hotelier opened a bottle of Veuve Cliquot in his honour!
I found that Albert Tucker had helped him travel to Europe, Arthur Boyd had written him sweet notes from Melbourne, and dad had been part of a ‘poets villa’ in the south of France where he met the writer Henry Williamson and learnt that Nightingales also sing during the day.
And so much more. A twenty page essay on his horrendous time in the commandos in World War Two where they lived like Prisoners of War because of the botched job of the government.
An account of his trip to England by boat, where he contracted Tuberculosis (they were eight to a cabin and the captain was apparently “insane”, shouting abuse at all Australians on the loudspeaker, not letting them out on deck).
After dad had escaped the hospital in Dublin! The seven years following he lived in France, first in the Hotel Floridor for a year, with a cast of fascinating characters like something from a Wes Anderson film.
Hours passed in the library. I didn’t eat, drink, or go to the toilet, I felt like I was watching a movie that got more and more interesting with every sheet of paper. I battled between wanting to read as fast as I could and writing random notes down (only in pencil. Nothing else allowed in special room. Not even photos).
I kept looking for Michele. My god he wrote so much. For just one date, pages and pages in his diary, many letters, snippets of an essay.
And then this week, an even bigger miracle.
I have always had the impression dad was never a ‘successful’ writer. I knew he had a book published, and a couple of small stories, but I had no idea there was more. Dad is mentioned in another man’s memoir as “an amateur”, and other quite cutting statements, which I’m embarassed to say now, I had just accepted as the truth. I’d never actually seen how much my dad produced.
He wrote every day of his life until his death in 1984.
In his unpublished manuscripts are two memoirs, a children’s book, dozens of short stories and essays about the war and the time in Europe, numerous radio plays and film proposals, two biographies (one, which was under contract for publication when he died), and much more. From a publishing perspective, I have such admiration for him, working so prolifically in a time when everything had to be typed by hand, redrafted by hand and posted by air mail. And through it all he also worked: as a translator, a teacher, always battling the tuberculosis, his life a balancing act of money, art, love and energy expenditure, much like my own.
And, I did find photos, too. Beautiful photos of him recovering from his tuberculosis in the south of France in St Clair, at the Poets Villa where he was so happy as the wine was unrationed! And photos from the War, and others, too.
And there, in scrawled handwriting, “Lunch with Michele, dinner with Michele” in June 1949.
I can just picture their date. She’d never given him her phone number, but still he found her, and took her to his ‘club’, and to the art gallery, and to the theatre, and Westminster Abbey, to watch the King and Queen go past.
Dad was a Scorpio, they specialize in secrets.
Last night I dreamt he is able to email me, and I him, even though he is on another plane. I sent him a photo of my sister’s children and he replied with a Shakespearean quote. I woke and realized I’m the messenger. I need to get his messages to other people, like the families of the men he served with in the Commandoes, the children of the writers he lived with in the south of France, but mostly to my brother and sister, who never knew any of this, like me.
When Pluto knocks it’s not always bad. This time he really did bring a gift from the other side.
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