The only major military engagement of the so-called ‘Glorious Revolution’, the Battle of Reading, took place today in 1688.
James II of England had come to the throne in 1685 despite being a Catholic, a religion which was very much out of favour in Great Britain at the time due to the conflicts over the previous century and a half.
At first his monarchy was tolerated, perhaps because the populace did not want a repeat of the Civil War which had brought such destruction, resulting in the death of King Charles I in 1648/9.
William and Mary
However, probably due to the birth of an heir in 1688 and the possibility of the creation of a Catholic dynasty, public opinion soon began to turn against James II. His daughter Mary, who was married to his nephew William of Orange, were promoted as obvious replacements and this is how it eventually turned out.
The Battle of Reading itself provided the incongruous spectacle on English soil of King James’ Irish troops pitched against the Dutch forces of Prince William of Orange. Even so, the people of Reading did all they could to support the Dutch.
History Repeats – Two Williams from Abroad
Casualties were relatively few despite the decisive victory of William, who was soon to become the second king of his name to win the throne of England via a foreign invasion, albeit a very different one.
King James very quickly saw the impossibility of his position and abdicated, fleeing the country for France and then Ireland, where he was still largely supported.
This was a major turning point for Great Britain, where the superiority of Parliament over the Monarchy was truly established. For good – or ill – the birth of modern Britain, politically, culturally, economically, can be traced to this period, and it relied on a Dutch ruler.
Queen Mary the First of England, popularly known as ‘Bloody Mary’, because of the great numbers of Protestants she had executed by burning at the stake, is one the country’s most notorious monarchs.
She became Queen after the attempt to install the unfortunate Protestant Lady Jane Grey on the throne failed.
Mary proceeded to turn England back to the Catholic faith, a religion which was, however, still very much ingrained in most of English society, particularly in the shires and in the north.
What does her birth chart reveal?
Autocratic, reactionary personality
We must remember, especially in the days of absolute monarchism, that the ruler’s influence was all pervasive and so their personality (birth chart) would have imposed itself upon the character of the country.
When she was born Capricorn was rising with Mars and Pluto close by on either side of the ascending degree.
In many ways, this symbolises her reputation as ‘Bloody Mary’, Mars (representing fire) rising in Capricorn suggests a powerfully autocratic and rather conservative personality and with Pluto working in tandem, she wasn’t afraid of implementing drastic changes, even if they were ‘reactionary’ in nature, namely the burning of over 300 Protestant martyrs.
Ingrained sense of spirituality
What we must remember is that even though her father Henry VIII broke with the church of Rome, he remained essentially a Catholic.
Her brother’s rule over the ensuing six years did see a full blown attempt to make England a Protestant country – but it was only six years. As said earlier, most of the country would have probably welcomed a reversion to the old faith, at least at the beginning of her reign.
Mary’s ruling planet was Saturn and was found in Sagittarius (sign of religion) in house 12 (inner life), in good aspect to a Mercury (mind) Neptune (spirituality) conjunction in Aquarius.
Impressionable and sensitive
Mary had this sense of spiritual sensitivity ingrained within her mentality and obviously had a very intimate connection to the numinous, quite clearly inherited from her mother, Catherine of Aragon, the former queen.
To strongly underline this, she was a Sun Piscean too, with Venus also in that sign in house 3 (also mind). She was highly sensitive and impressionable with an instinctive love of deeper, spiritual, ritualistic things which she liked to talk about and to simply be around.
Dichotomy in the character
However, most importantly, she was born at the exact time of the full Moon, which was found in Virgo in house 9. Here is an essential dichotomy in her nature.
Her deeply spiritual essence was at odds with her naturally fastidious manner, a strong tendency to be critical and to analyse.
This must have made her a very difficult person to deal with at times and this must have contributed to her increasing unpopularity among her underlings and the people at large at the reign went on.
One of the most controversial things she did was to marry King Philip II of Spain, another staunchly Catholic monarch ten years her junior, which brought England very strongly under the influence of this great emerging world power.
Many thought that this would undermine England’s independence, but Mary would have seen this a natural consequence of the marriage, which, had she lived another fifteen years, might well have guaranteed England’s future under what she would see as the wing of Catholicism.
False opportunities – castles made of sand
Looking at Mary’s house 7 of marriage, she has an exalted Jupiter (but retrograde) in Cancer in good aspect to the tension created by her Sun and Moon opposition. This hints at good opportunities through marriage and alliance.
Here we can perhaps see symbolised a way out of her predicament of being one of the first female monarchs, with Jupiter representing an opportunity through marriage not only to secure her throne because of her apparent inability to deal with the situation she was in, but to also produce a Catholic heir and secure the faith within the country.
Sadly for her, none of this came to fruition. With Jupiter retrograde, she was only ever likely to ‘succeed’ inwardly in some more roundabout or spiritually satisfying way, not in the grand manner of marrying the most powerful man in the world at that time.
Her reign lasted just five years and with the accession of her canny sister, Elizabeth, England began the long, slow road to becoming a truly protestant nation.