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Candy Spender

Leonardo Da Vinci's Psychology of the Twelve Types by H.S.E. Burgers

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‘Leonardo Da Vinci’s Psychology of the Twelve Types” by H.S.E. Burgers

From the inside cover: ‘The book’s thesis is that the twelve signs of the zodiac constitute a symbolic account of the embryology of the human personality, and that Da Vinci brilliantly illustrated his profound understanding of these twelve psychological elements in his portraits of the Twelve Apostles in 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐿𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑆𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑟.’

It is an extraordinary book of its time, and ahead of its time in so many ways. Thick with a deep understanding of Astrology, psychological and spiritual values, my grandmothers work is a rich tome of confluences in a time between the world wars, when the world was going through massively transformational and precarious times, not unlike what we are currently experiencing. 

ISBN 0-87212-184-4

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Some words from Candida Spender-van Rood:

Helena Sabina Eurydice Burgers 1 November 1884- January 1966 Pretoria, South Africa.

After the death of her father, her mother (who was Dutch) returned to Holland, with her children, Helena was five.

She is my Dutch grandmother. My father’s mother, and was way up on a pedestal, an icon and legend in my family of origin. 

An unusual woman for her time, one of Holland’s first female psychiatrists, she was a student of Professor Carl G.Jung for a time, and came back from Switzerland with Astrology as one of her tools for understanding the human psyche. 

She was also deeply curious about Eastern philosophers, and as far as I know, travelled to India many times, and was friends with Rabindranath Tagore. (I have letters he wrote to her).

As a small child, she seemed like this tower of daunting wisdom and knowing, somewhat inaccessible (she didn’t like small children) and often with a cigarette clamped on the side of her lips, with a thread of smoke rising slowly upwards as she sat at her bureau writing. 

The only time I remember seeing my father being deferential was in her company.

Her last major work was published two years after she died, and my father Peter van Rood translated it into English in 1985.