Martin Luther, Passionate Reformer – Astrology Musings

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If the Christian Reformation could be said to have a starting date, it must surely be the day of October 31 1517, when Martin Luther, Augustinian Doctor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg, is said to have nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints Church in that German city.

What is not generally acknowledged is the hard work and mental torture that this man must have gone through to get to that crucial point, basically becoming exasperated with such practices as the selling of indulgences, which supposedly reduced a person’s time in purgatory.

A passionately intense man

According to the birth data given, Luther was born with Leo rising, making the Sun his ruler, which is found in Scorpio in house 4. Essentially, here is a lover of life, a deeply passionate and intense person who is interested not only in his family and background but also the fundamentals of life – what he saw as the truth, stripped back to brass tacks.

His Sun is in good aspect to Chiron in house 8, indicating that he suffered much through his deeply penetrating attitude, his wish to get to the fundamentals, but which also put him in to a positive position to help others later.

This can be seen through his encouragement to look to scripture, rather than the other teachings of the then Catholic church. This would necessitate the translation of the Bible into the native tongues of Europe, something which Luther also encouraged.

Black and white

His character is also moulded strongly by the elements; he has no planetary activity in earth and lots in fire and water.

He clearly saw things in black and white, he was emotional, intense, and with the Moon in Aries in house 9, he could be a bit of a firebrand, reacting quickly, strongly, angrily at times, especially in mental pursuits, perhaps most particularly in higher mind/philosophical areas. This was only exacerbated by the Moon’s opposition of Pluto in house 3. He clearly often felt blocked by the intransigence of the Catholic authorities, who were not supportive of his wish to reform and sweep away.

Strongly defining conjunctions

His character is also strongly defined by two important conjunctions. Mercury is almost exactly conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius in house 5.

He had a free thinking, creative mind, able to quickly grasp ideas and philosophy, but behind all this was a strong sense of spirituality, a connection to the numinous (Neptune); it’s almost like having a direct line to God, or believing that you have. I think this was a most important trait.

The other highly symbolic conjunction was between Venus and Saturn in Scorpio in house 4. Though deeply and powerfully emotional, he was also mightily controlled, willing to endure suffering, loss, privation even torture for what he believed.

He certainly did not ‘get his kicks’ from any run of the mill enjoyment and would probably view most earthly pleasures as pointless and tedious. The strength of these two conjunctions alone, are a prime indication of his motivation to become a priest/friar in the first place.

Cutting zeal

Add to this the cutting zeal of Mars in Scorpio (aided by loose conjunction with Jupiter) in house 4, being the ruler of house 9 of philosophy and religion, plus the above said conditioning of Venus, being the ruler of house 3 of the everyday mentality, and a picture of him fully emerges as someone of complete determination and belief that his deeply felt spiritual cause is correct.

Most interestingly, the north node in house 9 is exactly opposite Jupiter in house 3. The north node shows where are meant to go in life and in his case it is towards a more outer, philosophical direction, a direction which he certainly led.

The harder – but only choice

It would have been much easier for him to have continued as a Doctor of Theology, which, although clearly religious, is very much more house 3 activity than 9, especially in the way the Catholic church was structured then, where he stood to glean much, even materially, from his position in Wittenberg University. Such was the strength of his belief and conviction, he decided to take the harder route and thus became the historical figure he is now.

Few other people, especially common people, have had such an impact on history, a fact which I believe is fully shown in the quality of the chart of his nativity.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

*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.

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Poem: ‘The Return’

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She was sat
on the old porch, a piece
of me I’d left
behind
in some spring
long ago. I knew it
in an instant, as
soon as she looked up—
our minds dovetailing as if
nothing had happened
in those draining,
intervening years. A part
of me wanted
to leave,
to move on and deny
what my heart was insisting, but
the spark was still there,
some sweet, indefinable
thing.

She tapped
the space beside her and
I sat down
on the creaking pinewood. The air was
still,
a low September sun
buttering the track
in front of us
and the turning trees
all around us
and the pale skin
of her arms, her legs,
and that gentle,
dappled face.

“Do you remember
when we were spring?”

I nodded, watching
her lips break
into that dimpled smile. In
her eyes I saw again
the boats
and the blossom,
like promises, journeys
only taken in our minds

poem © copyright Francis Barker 2012

King Philip II of Spain, A Man of Power & Charm – Astrology Musings

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King Philip II of Spain effectively became the most powerful man in the world when he inherited the crown from his even more powerful father, The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who abdicated in 1556.

Nearly all reports of his personality describe him as dutiful, serious, methodical. He was certainly extremely organised and was a passionate defender of Catholicism, promoting and financing what we now call the Counter Reformation, with some degree of success.

Rebellion and Conflict

Spain was engaged in a long running conflict fighting the Dutch Rebellion, and sent more than one armada of ships, also using Spanish troops based in the Netherlands, in an attempt to invade England and re-establish Catholicism in that country.

Ultimately, however, both of these failed, the Northern Provinces of the Netherlands effectively becoming independent in 1581, and England successfully fending off the most famous Spanish Armada in 1588.

Looking at his chart, Philip would appear to have been a much more rounded individual than the one generally left to us by posterity, or at least in English books on history.

A Man of Refinement and Grace

He had Libra rising, with Venus, his ruling planet, in Gemini conjunct Jupiter in house 9, in good aspect to a Moon in Aquarius and Saturn in Aries. Jupiter was also technically conjunct Mercury which had just moved into Cancer. His Gemini sun is also in house 9.

Put all this together and I would venture that here is a quite charming, diplomatic, sociable, affable, responsible and very generous individual, with a strong interest in philosophical and religious issues. The Moon’s south node is also very close to the Venus Jupiter conjunction, indicating that he was at his most natural in the realms of diplomacy, culture and philosophy and was probably highly knowledgeable about them.

Married and Widowed Four Times

Philip II was described by at least one ambassador as being highly attractive, charming and courteous, a fact often overlooked in the English speaking world, it would seem.

We should also remember that he was married four times, one of his wives being none other than Queen Mary I of England, who was absolutely besotted with him. I think from all this, we can see that the ‘stars’ did not lie, he was indeed a very charming and gracious individual.

One surprising apparent fact was that he was not a great linguist. All the above indications suggest that he would have made a great scholar of foreign languages, but appears to ‘only’ have spoken Spanish (Castilian) and Latin.

Not a Linguist but a Defender of Faith

I think we can put this down to the fact that he devoted himself to the pursuit of religion and diplomacy (and foreign wars), at a time when Spain was the most powerful country in Europe with a vast and still growing overseas empire, negating the need for him to speak such languages as French and German at a time when the accepted lingua franca was still Latin.

At that time, England, for example, was still rather insignificant with an even more insignificant language. Rulers like Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth, who had undoubted linguistic gifts as revealed in their birth charts, would have certainly benefited from being able to converse in several foreign languages.

Philip and other Spanish rulers of that time, did not need to do this and so he became the champion of the Catholic cultural dominance of Europe and the then known world.

A Well Developed Mind

If we probe a little deeper into this man’s mentality, we see his Mercury in Cancer in house 10 loosely conjunct Jupiter. Both of these planets are rulers of house 3 and 9 respectively, which between them signify the everyday and higher mentality.

Mercury in Cancer might tend to let emotions impinge upon logical thought at times, though I suspect he could always be relied upon to put up a good defensive and emotive argument when it came to such issues as religious belief and faith, especially as Jupiter, ruler of house 3 conjunct Venus in Gemini indicates a flexible and persuasive aspect to the mind as well, able to grasp and use detail.

When Philip died in 1598, although he had failed to secure the Northern Netherlands and defeating England, he had secured the throne of Portugal and seen Spain’s oversees possessions reach nearly their greatest extent.

Virulent Enemies

The fact that his ambitions in Europe were always confronted by virulent opposition is shown by his house 7 (opponents and relationships) ruler, Mars in passionate and resolute Scorpio in close square aspect to the Moon, his house 10 ruler of ambition and career. The Dutch Protestants and Queen Elizabeth of England were certainly strong and determined opponents.

Looking at this in another way, his house 2 Mars in Scorpio is in a quincunx (or inconjunct) aspect of 150 degrees to the Venus Jupiter conjunction.

A Ruthless Streak

Traditionally, this points to two virtually irredeemable areas of his life, like a kind of compartmentalisation, something which would actually be quite useful, one would think, with such a powerful statesman as this.

In other words, the man of charm and sophistication symbolised by Venus/Jupiter, might have been able to easily divorce itself, when needed, from the deep driving energy and ruthlessness of the Scorpio Mars, particularly in regard to financial matters and security (house 2) and also in certain areas of diplomacy (Mars ruler of house 7).

Finally, as house 7 also rules marriage, and as we find limiting Saturn housed there in his chart, I note that ‘poor’ Philip was married four times and widowed four times, something which would affect anyone deeply, even the most powerful man in the world, whose obvious grace and charm has sadly eluded most of us in the telling of history.

*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

 

Gustav Holst and ‘The Planets’ – Musings

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English classical composer Gustav Holst’s most famous work, The Planets, is a testimony to his lifelong fascination for and interest in astrology.

From an early age, his step mother’s involvement with theosophy, inspired him to look beyond perceived reality and examine philosophy. Apart from being a composer, he was primarily a teacher and a trombonist.

Aquarius and astrology

When Gustav was born he had the Moon and Saturn rising in Aquarius. I think this says so much about him. Aquarius tends to be the individualist of the zodiac and anyone with a strong showing of this sign can be somewhat unusual. Holst’s fascination for astrology is quite typical in this regard.

Interestingly, in The Planets Suite, which was completed towards the end of the First World War, it is Saturn which I think is the most successful.

Saturn’s pain and peace

When I was younger I was an avid listener to this work and it was Saturn which most moved me, and I sense that it moved Holst too. This piece is composed like a musical poem and is subtitled ‘The Bringer of Old Age’.

It begins slowly, bleakly, mournfully, then panic sets in to a point of acceptance, which is followed by an unexpected peace as death approaches. It is still quite stunning to my ears, and I think Holst felt this very strongly – fitting then that Saturn should be so prominent in its own sign and on the ascendant. He was ‘in tune’ with Saturn.

Powerful higher mental capacity

That he was very much into philosophy and the higher mind is shown by the powerful Mercury Jupiter conjunction in Libra in house 9, nicely trine his Saturn rising in Aquarius. From this too, I think we can see the composing potential, the all round mental functioning of seeing the small intricacies, and also the big, full picture, plus the hard graft needed to succeed.

Jupiter also rules the midheaven, showing that the above qualities can be chanelled into his life path and career too.

Teacher and composer

His Sun in Virgo gives him a strong central dose of analytical and critical ability too, of course, which would certainly have aided him in composition and Virgoans in general make excellent teachers and worriers.

Venus in Scorpio in house 10 hints at an in depth career in the arts. This Venus is square Uranus and although it may have interrupted his career and relationships with sudden changes from time to time, here too with this tense link, I suspect, lies another indication of a leaning towards astrology; Uranus in some sense ‘rules’ astrology, although personally, I think Saturn is just as important.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Spalding’s Unique Ayscoughfee Hall

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Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding Lincolnshire is simply an architectural gem.

However, I don’t believe it’s known for sure how it got its name (it’s pronounced ‘Ascoffey’ folks).

Nevertheless, recent archaeology has discovered much that was once hidden; stairs, passageways, tiles… all of which are included in the comprehensive museum illustrating the history, not only of Spalding, but of the whole South Holland region and its wonderful agricultural heritage.

Leofwine Tanner 2019

Haiku: Gatekeeper 1

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Gatekeeper unseen
fates are exposing, like Oz;
look, no hiding place

 

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Days of Innocence and Eternity

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Summer is not far away, fickle though it may be in England’s northerly reaches.

To us as children the good days were glorious; down at the beach the sun was our friend, the sea and sand our playmates through the days which would last forever. Eternity was within our reach – then.

In reality nothing much has changed, only our perception of reality.

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paintings by Francis Barker