Brexit Precedents No.4 – The End of the Hundred Years War between England and France

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On July 17 1453, the same year that Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire fell, England and English influence was effectively kicked out of France for good following the decisive Battle of Castillon.

It was another example of the see-saw, in-out relationship the island of Great Britain (in this case the major part of it called England) has had with the continent for a long time.

Ever since 1066, when William of Normandy conquered England and became its king, there had been strong ties to France. However, when Normandy was lost in 1204 during the reign of King John, successive English kings had hankered for its return; they were after all directly descended from the conqueror.

English invasion and victory

By the late 1330s King Edward III, who was himself largely of French ancestry, was in a position to invade France following a dispute about the long held English territory of Gascony in SW France.

In June 1340 Edward III won a decisive naval victory against the French at the Battle of Sluys, which marked the beginning of the so called Hundred Years War. By the end of the decade, following even more crushing victories at the Battles of Crecy and Poitiers, Edward was in control of large parts of France and even had the French king John II as a prisoner.

Then the so called ‘Black Death’ intervened in 1348/9. The treaty of Bretigny was eventually signed in 1360, leaving England in full charge of an expanded area in SW France. This marked the end of the first phase of the war, an often punctuated stalemate lasting fifty years, which saw France regain the upper hand diplomatically and make incursions into English territory.

The English conquest of France

Then in 1415, just two years after ascending the English throne, King Henry V re-ignited the conflict with his invasion of France. Following an unlikely victory at Agincourt that October, Henry went on, over the next couple of years, to re-conquer Normandy and push on from there to take large areas of northern France to add to those in the SW. Henry had become the undisputed master of France and heir to the French throne, once Charles VI had died. Unfortunately for Henry he was to die six weeks before Charles, leaving the throne of both England and France to his year old son, Henry VI in 1422.

Although the English held on to many of their French possessions for another generation, the loss of Burgundian support and the weakness of character of Henry VI, ensured their eventual defeat and removal from France and the continent of Europe, leaving only little Calais an English possession until 1558.

Out of Europe once again

So England and Great Britain had exited militarily and politically once again, though the monarchs of England would retain their claim on the French throne for several centuries after the defeat. England became more insular after this point, and following the disastrous Wars of the Roses which occurred immediately after the loss of France, the country became more obviously a nation with a nationalistic outlook.

The underrated King Edward IV, one of the Yorkist kings of England, attained enough stability in his kingdom to successfully invade France once more in 1475. However, he was in turn bought off by the French king Louis XI with a huge ‘bribe’ in the Treaty of Picquigny and returned home with his army.

Only the spiritual and ecclesiastical links remained across Europe and Great Britain, the power of the Roman Catholic Church. But even this, as it turned out, was not sacrosanct – but that’s another story in the list of this island’s fractious in-out relationship with Europe.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

 

King Edward IV of England, An Undervalued Monarch? Astrology Musings

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Edward the Fourth was England’s first Yorkist king and ruled, with one short intermission of six months roughly half way through, for over twenty years.

His motto was ‘method and order’, and he pretty much lived up to that. He was a daring and quite capable military commander, honing his skills as a young man in the early years of what we now know as ‘The Wars of the Roses’, an often bitter dynastic struggle between the two competing factions of the same Plantagenet family, the houses of York and Lancaster.

Able, handsome and popular

Edward was not only a handsome and popular king, he was also a fine administrator, a shrewd businessman and merchant. His royal court developed into one of the most splendid England has seen, thanks in part to the general stability which his strong reign brought in that turbulent era.

However, one weakness he had was an occasional tendency for poor judgement and a lack of foresight. At times it could have devastating consequences.

So what does his birth chart reveal about him?

Firstly he had Aquarius rising with his ruling planet Saturn conjunct Mercury and Uranus in Gemini in house 5.

A fine administrator – but with one fatal flaw

This indicates quite a distinguished, if unconventional personality with a gift for purposeful communication and also thinking ‘out of the box’. This house 5 probably links to the fine nature of the royal court which developed during his reign. Here too his fine administrative and business abilities are indicated.

However, Saturn and Mercury are also in challenging aspect to Neptune in house 8. Negative Neptune contacts can confuse and befuddle, which may relate to the poor judgement he displayed from time to time, a potentially fatal flaw in a monarch of course. He should have taken more counsel from his associates.

One example of his lack of foresight was his rather impetuous marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, which offended many of his supporters.

Impetuous generosity

Despite this, he showered the Woodville family with honours. This type of behaviour might be seen in his Taurus Venus conjunct Jupiter in house 4, symbolising a tendency for over generosity, especially towards family members. His Sagittarian Moon also indicates a naturally generous nature. (Ultimately, this would have tragic consequences for his young son, the future Edward V, who would be deposed his uncle Richard after only a few days due to doubts regarding his legitimacy to be king).

The Wars of the Roses soon began again and his enemies, the Lancastrians, won several battles. Edward found himself politically outmaneuvered and in a weak military position – he had to quickly flee his kingdom and seek refuge in Flanders.

However, despite his poor judgement, six months later, thanks to his alliance with Charles the Bold Duke of Burgundy, he was back in England with an army and won his throne back at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 in typical swashbuckling fashion. This was his strength.

Strong but with powerful enemies

But where is this strength in his chart? Firstly, his Sun in Taurus is loosely square Mars in Leo. Here is a physically strong, stubborn and probably quite prickly character when push came to shove, which is probably also a prerequisite for any good warrior. However, his Mars in house 7 is also an indication of forceful, stubborn enemies too, such as the Lancastrians and Louis XI of France.

But he also had his Moon in Sagittarius in house 11 but close to his MC of career, in good aspect to Mars, but quincunx (or inconjunct 150 degree aspect) to his Sun. Here is a man of quick response, a sense of daring, of a never say die attitude, of going beyond the call of duty and, most importantly, being able to take the majority of the people with him. He was a leader by example, despite some serious flaws.

However, the challenging aspect between his Sun and Moon, hints at a compartmentalisation in his character. Maybe this daring aspect revealed in his career seemed somewhat divorced from his private life (Sun Taurus house 4).

A man of ‘luck’ and daring who invaded France

An example of his daring attitude (Moon in Sagittarius conjunct MC), plus his more positive planning and ‘out of the box’ mental capacities as shown in his Mercury Saturn Uranus conjunction, can be seen by his often overlooked invasion of France in 1475.

Although this incursion did not lead to any decisive battles, mainly thanks to the lack of support from Edward’s allies Charles the Bold of Burgundy and Francis II of Brittany, he did manage to secure the very lucrative Treaty of Picquigny, where the French king Louis XI generously paid him off.

This may be another example of the influence of his Venus Jupiter conjunction, a certain luck factor in his favour, as these two planets are often termed the lesser and greater benefic. This conjunction too indicates his ability to remain quite popular – the people liked him, so we have to assume that he had something about him. Also, his Moon in Sagittarius close to the midheaven point, would not do his popularity any harm.

Overindulgence

However, another by product of this conjunction could be his apparent tendency to seriously overindulge in food and drink; he did become rather corpulent in towards the end of his life and this may well have led to his early death in 1483. Venus in Taurus loves the good things of the earth and Jupiter close by (but in Aries) would certainly tend to potentially exaggerate.

It is perhaps sad that Edward did not live another ten years, for England might have been spared the return of the Wars of the Roses which led to the downfall of the house of York. Edward VI might by then have become one of England’s greatest monarchs.

*If you are interested in getting your own astrological report, or would like one created for a loved one or a friend, please contact me at leoftanner@gmail.com.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Henry VI, King of England and France, Castles Made of Sand – Astrology Musings

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His father was one of England’s most legendary monarchs, the victor of Agincourt in northern France in October 1415. Henry V went on to re-conquer Normandy, to officially become heir to the French throne and win the hand in marriage of the French king’s daughter, Catherine.

But alas for England, Henry V was dead by 1422, aged just 35, too famous to live long, as Shakespeare was to put it nearly two centuries later.

A fated inheritance?

However, he left behind a son aged just one, also called Henry, sixth of that name, who on his father’s death inherited two kingdoms, England and France.

Young Henry remains the only monarch to be crowned king of England and France, yet it was to be an illusive and tragic inheritance.

By 1453, a generation later, the English were effectively all but thrown out of France, only little Calais remaining.

Lancaster versus York

Back in England, the kingdom began to implode through the strong rivalry between the houses of Lancaster and York. Henry VI, unlike his famous father, was no military leader, becoming a powerless pawn during the shifting circumstances of war and intrigue. He was dethroned and eventually died in captivity, probably murdered.

It was an ignominious end to a reign which, at its start, promised the uniting of two kingdoms and a golden age.

Pluto transforms

So, according to the birth data, Henry was born with Pluto rising in Gemini, within a degree of the ascending point. Of course, Pluto was unknown back in the 15th century and therefore no astrologer could have pointed this out to his parents or guardians.

However, with the benefit of our hindsight, Pluto on sensitive points of a birth chart, and they don’t come much more sensitive than the ascending degree, can cast a very strong influence on the individual. Pluto is said to be transformative, a bringer of drastic change, almost like a finger of fate over which we have no control.

It’s worth remembering, too, that when Henry was king, the monarch was all powerful when he was of ruling age, say from his late teens.

The English kicked out of France

But because he became king aged 1, both England and France were ruled by others, essentially his uncles and their cohorts.

And because the figure head’s birth chart is, by its very nature, said to be symbolic of the ‘destiny’ of the whole nation beneath it, this Pluto conjunct the ascendant, exactly describes what happened over the next generation: a complete transformation, the English ending up being kicked out of France (except Calais), France setting its long course to become the dominant power in western Europe. England, on the other hand, went into meltdown.

Draining the swamp?

This is very much Plutonian, the draining of the swamp, a drastic, though perhaps necessary change which completely disrespects the individual.

Poor Henry probably never had a chance, not helped by the fact that he was no warrior, and in fact appeared to prefer religious study to the involvement in power politics. Some said that he had inherited his grandfather’s (Charles VI of France) supposed madness.

A life led through others

Returning to Henry’s chart, his chart ruler, Mercury and his Sun are both in Sagittarius in his 7th house of partnerships. This means that, although he was mentally expansive, his life was usually led through others, that he was always likely to be under the influence of more powerful people than he, even though he was king of two kingdoms. This was probably a result of inheriting so young.

His Mercury in Sagittarius in beneficial aspect to Jupiter in the 3rd house, strongly hints of a keen interest in the higher mind, the areas of philosophy and religion, and I suspect that this tendency became almost like an escape for him as the full magnitude of his personal situation revealed itself to him as he grew up.

An escape in philosophy and religion

His Sagittarian Sun is also ruler of that 3rd house, underlining the idea that thinking is a good way to travel philosophically, if not physically for him, though Sagittarius in itself suggests foreign involvement – he was king and the inheritor of two countries and cultures.

Saturn is ruler of the 9th house, the planet being found in Libra in the 5th house. I think he had a keen sense of justice too and was probably very knowledgeable of the law.

Also interesting, for those who think Uranus is ruler or co-ruler of Aquarius, Uranus is found in the 10th house in Pisces. Uranus in this house more than hints of sudden changes in the ‘career’ and if Uranus is indeed the MC (midheaven point) ruler too, then we have another tie up in regard to his experience of the vicissitudes of kingship.

Spiritual solace

His Moon in Taurus in the 12th house, might have added a touch of stability to his life. The Moon is said to be exalted in Taurus, so if he ever had time to engage in activities such as gardening, he might have found some quiet solace, especially as the Moon is in good aspect to Neptune, which would tend to add a spiritual, or unworldly edge to his character.

Mars is also involved in this configuration, nicely trining Neptune from the 6th house in Scorpio, adding energy and, I should imagine, some religious zeal to his already mentioned philosophical interests.

However, the Moon Mars opposition, would have also been a source of much psychological irritation, too, which would always tend to find release through this Neptune – this may have been one of the key indications of his love of religion and spiritual issues.

A victim of circumstance

Finally, his Chiron is in the 8th house of inheritance, almost exactly in aspect (quincunx) to Pluto on his ascendant and loosely opposite Neptune. Here is a very strong indication of his early circumstances, inheriting so young the newly founded empire of his father, plus his difficulty in coming to terms with it later on as circumstances began to change beyond his control. In his more lucid moments, he might have been able to give others some succinct advice about death and inheritance.

Looking at this chart, I do genuinely feel sorry for Henry, for there are few better examples of a king being a victim of circumstance.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Au Revoir Summer?

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Summer doesn’t officially begin until June 1, or June 21 with the Summer Solstice, according to some.

But a few warm days in early May lulls you into that typical false sense of security, leaves you thinking summer may have come early.

Then, of course, the heavens opened and May returned to its usual, not entirely unexpected mixed bag of meteorological mayhem.

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And that’s just it, the downpour reminded me of many previous Mays, and by all accounts the temperatures will be almost back down to single figures by the weekend. This is a normal May.

Great.

That’s why I said ‘Au Revoir’ at the start. So, like the French might optimistically put it, until we meet again, dear summer…

Here’s hoping.

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