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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England’s Heritage, Peterborough Cathedral Part II – Two Famous Queens

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Peterborough Cathedral in the east of England is one of the country’s biggest and most beautiful churches, with an association with two famous queens.

The long nave is quite stunning, with a beautiful roof and with a modern golden image of Christ suspended high as a focal point.

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The cathedral is dominated by Norman and early English architecture, with numerous examples of Norman arches, such as these interlacing examples above.

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Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England, is buried here.

The cathedral is also notable for its association with two famous queens.

The first was Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England when she was married to Henry VIII. Catherine was buried here in 1536 and her tomb is still something of a shrine to her memory, with pomegranates very prominent as her symbol because the fruit appears on her badge. Pomegranates are an ancient symbol for fecundity and regeneration.

Catherine certainly suffered much during her husband’s long and protracted break with Rome, in which she was the innocent victim, her only crime it would seem was not being able to produce a living male heir for Henry to perpetuate the Tudor dynasty. This was how she was treated after being completely dutiful to the king, but Henry had to have his way. Her motto, which translates as ‘humble and loyal’, is a phrase she very much lived up to.

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There is a portrait of Catherine by her tomb.

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Pomegranates have had a long association with Catherine of Aragon.

The second queen associated with Peterborough Cathedral is Mary Queen of Scots.

Mary inherited the Scottish throne after only a few days of being born, thrusting her into a world of political intrigue and shenanigans which she was never able to control.

She essentially became a pawn of more powerful rulers and some despicable characters. However, in 1559 she duly became Queen Consort to Francis II of France, solidifying Scotland’s long alliance with France.

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Scottish symbols hang in honour of Mary who was initially buried here in 1587.

Sadly within 18 months the young kind died prematurely. Had he lived, Mary’s life would have turned out entirely differently. As it was, she became a teenage widow and a long series of political and personal disasters ensued when she returned to Scotland. Eventually she fled to England and came under Elizabeth’s control.

After many years’ imprisonment in England, during which the still substantial Catholic faction within England with aid from Spain continually conspired to depose Elizabeth and put Mary on the English throne, she was finally executed at nearby Fotheringhay Castle in 1587.

She was initially buried in Peterborough Cathedral, but her son, James I of England, had her remains transferred to Westminster Abbey in London.

words and photographs copyright Francis Barker 2019

 

 

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

 

King Edward VI, The Tragic Boy King with a Mind of His Own – Astrology Musings

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King Edward VI had the misfortune to succeed his famous father on the throne of England, aged just 9.

Unlike his father, Edward was an avowed reformer and protestant, having been tutored by leading religious reformers of the day.

Staunch Protestant

What is more, Edward appears to have very much embraced the new religion, as well as being a keen student of it.

Astrologically, Edward was born with Virgo rising, with Venus and Saturn close to the ascendant. This reveals a very analytical, even highly exacting approach to life, a love of study and detail. Although not too much is known of him, he does appear to have had a somewhat ‘humourless personality’, yet it is difficult to be critical of someone so young.

A Serious Student with Strong Opinions

His ruling planet Mercury is in Scorpio in house 3, which deepens the mind considerably. Here is a penetrating mind, and probably a very good student who would get absorbed in his subjects. Like his father and sisters, he was very good at languages.

However, this Mercury is also square Mars in Leo in house 12, indicating that although he had a lot of mental energy for areas like intellectual debate, there was also tendency for it to show itself through excessive stubbornness or perhaps fits of anger, a tendency he may have inherited from his father.

Courteous

However, we must also bear in mind that he was a Sun Libran in house 2, so at heart he did have strong sense of companionship and courtesy.

It is known that despite the differences between himself and his eldest sister, Mary, especially in regard to her staunch Catholicism as opposed to his avowed Protestantism, he did show concern for her and wished they could at least get along, even though ultimately this proved to be extremely difficult.

Reticent, but Calculating

His Moon was in Capricorn square his Sun, which gave him a cool, even calculating disposition, which may have come across initially as reticence or shyness. This would underline the rather analytical and fastidious personality.

Once people got to know him, the essential charm would have become more obvious. This tendency might not have helped his reputation for being rather exacting and humourless, however, as mentioned above, and if he had lived to adulthood, he would almost certainly have had a ruthless, autocratic streak, capable of making difficult, unpopular decisions.

Practical Application of Philosophy 

Jupiter in Taurus in house 9 loosely trine his house 1 Saturn, implies an expansive, if rather conservative and very practical interest in philosophy.

After all, we have to remember that Protestantism, though in one sense revolutionary, was in essence a stripping away, an ultra conservative, radical approach to Christianity which resorted to scripture rather than saints.

He was keen to make sure that England’s Protestant transformation became permanent and took a keen interest on the detail, so much so that he agreed to the idea that Lady Jane Grey should succeed him and not his virulently Catholic sister Mary.

Social Upheaval Personally Felt

Around the time Edward was born, the Uranus Pluto cycle was in opposition, both in positive aspect to Neptune (spirituality).

This cycle is all about social change and around 1537, the fallout from the Dissolution of the Monasteries was beginning, with large numbers of monks and nuns being released into the communities and the former monasteries falling into the hands of the king.

Edward’s ruling planet Mercury and Mars are loosely connected to the Uranus Pluto opposition, forming a tense T-square, another strong indication that he was personally connected to (and took a strong interest in) the changing times he was born into the continuing change after that which enveloped the whole country.

What Might Have Been

Edward died aged only 15, probably from tuberculosis, although there were rumours of poisoning.

Had he reached maturity and lived a reasonably long life, say to around 56 like his father, it seems clear that England would have become a fully Protestant country much earlier, even though large parts of the country would remain strongly Catholic for a few generations more. This would almost certainly have led to religious turmoil.

What is more, judging from his birth chart, Edward would have taken a strong leading role in to seeing to the imposition of this new religion and would have been as vehemently Protestant as his sister was Catholic.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

King Henry VIII – Tyrant? Astrology Musings

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Anyone brought up in Great Britain, or in fact anywhere in the world, is probably familiar with the character and the life of King Henry VIII, probably England’s most famous and notorious sovereign – he of the six spouses. Does his birth chart reflect this personality and what else might it reveal?

Henry had the Sun in Cancer, Moon in Aries, with a Virgo ascendant. His Cancer Sun gave him an essentially caring, protective, yet sensitive nature, often inflamed, however, by his ardent, fiery, direct and often impatient Aries Moon loosely square to the Sun.

Discriminatory approach

Even filtered through his Virgo ascendant, which would provide him with a highly discriminatory approach to life, this could not prevent this basic dichotomy of his character from manifesting from time to time. We can see this at various times in his life, his impatience and anger.

Furthermore, his ruling planet Mercury is in Leo in the 12th house, exactly opposing Saturn.

Here is a psychologically ingrained mental pride and implacability, which except under the rarest of circumstances, finds it difficult to envisage that it can ever be wrong.

Implacable

In any everyday personality, who would have little influence beyond his family, such a mentality would not constitute a wider threat. However, when you are talking about a monarch of a powerful country, such an attitude can become epoch making, even downright lethal for many people.

It is worth remembering that Henry was no radical, but a true conservative, despite his ‘reputation’ for encouraging the Reformation in England.

Conservative

Quite early in his reign the Pope conferred on him the title ‘Defender of the Faith’, something which Henry was extremely proud of, and a quite fitting title for a monarch with such a stubborn and conservative mentality as symbolised by the quality of his Mercury. The young Henry put up a strong, reactionary resistance to reformers like Martin Luther.

However, whilst this configuration gave him the mental capacity to defend an argument to the hilt and often with great success, as he grew older this same tendency developed into an extreme implacability, far beyond mere stubbornness. This is one of the characteristics that gave him the reputation for being a tyrant.

Jupiter Neptune spiritual cycle personalised

Henry’s chart also has a fairly tight T-square involving Mars at the apex in Virgo in the 1st house, square to both Jupiter and Neptune on the Gemini/Sagittarius 10th/4th axes.

I think this is most revealing. A first house Mars in Virgo in itself represents a diverse, yet practical energy, which would probably sometimes manifest as great irritability when things were not going his way.

Add to this the tension in the Jupiter Neptune opposition, however, which in historic and transpersonal terms is related to the human religious and spiritual cycle (something which would be in all charts for those born around 1491 but made personal here through the contact with a first house Mars) and you can see what might tend to be irritable to him.

Love of scripture

Henry was the second son of Henry VII. Had his brother Arthur lived to become king, Henry might well have a pursued a religious path in some way. Henry clearly had a very strong interest in religion and spirituality, he was very knowledgeable, yet in many ways it proved to be his undoing because it conflicted with his desires as a monarch.

The fact that Mars rules the 3rd house of the mind and the 10th house Venus in Gemini is the ruler of the 9th house, only underlines this. He had a natural love of literature, particularly religious literature, plus a great ability at languages.

King versus Pope

But of course, Henry is most famous for having the six wives. Jupiter is the 7th house ruler, the house of relationships and as we have seen, his 10th house of career Jupiter is involved in a tight T-square, which appears to symbolise the constitutional crises arising from his wife’s ‘inability’ to produces a living male heir. Here we see the needs of the king vying with the fundamentals of religion.

One way around this, was to find an appropriate quotation from the Bible, in Leviticus, in regard to a man marrying his late brother’s wife and the impurity which would result from it; Henry had indeed married his late brother Arthur’s wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Head of the church

It was this argument which was used, stubbornly and vehemently by Henry, though equally opposed by the Papacy and his wife, Catherine. Henry eventually got around the impasse by declaring himself the head of the Church of England, surely equally symbolised by this tight Jupiter Neptune opposition in houses 10 and 4.

But it was something which must have weighed down his conscience for the rest of his life. For despite the break with Rome, Henry remained staunchly conservative in his religious beliefs, as befits that strong Mercury opposite Saturn in the Leo/Aquarius and 12/6 axes.

Vicissitudes in love

So moving on to his love life, we have already noted that his Venus is in Gemini, making him something of a natural flirt (not that all Venus Geminians are like this!), but when we also look at his 5th house of love, we have Uranus present and Saturn is the 5th house ruler.

Uranus would tend to bring sudden, unexpected changes in his love life and Saturn, being ruler of this house, as we have already seen, is in close opposition to Mercury, bringing to bear all his stubborn, arrogant mentality in this area of his life too.

The continual vicissitudes after his first divorce, the sudden demise of Anne Boleyn, the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour, after giving birth to a son, the farce of the ‘courtship’ and marriage to Anne of Cleves etc… are all shown by this 5th house Uranus and the tense quality of the 5th house ruler Saturn.

Sympathy for Henry?

At the end of the day, I have some sympathy for Henry. He never quite came to grips with the circumstances that he was presented with.

His deep sense of faith, his natural conservatism, were tested to the utmost by the needs of his dynasty, the difficulty he and his wives had in producing a living male heir.

This was the classic conflict between church and state, something which he thought he had solved by ‘marrying’ the two together by becoming head of the church in England. I am quite sure, at the end of his life, he never dreamed his life would turn out the way it did.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

 

The Day in History – Henri the Fourth of France Assassinated

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By Frans Pourbus the Younger – from web, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8918292

Today in 1610, King Henry the Fourth of France was assassinated.

Henri, although baptised as a Catholic, was brought up as a Protestant. Due to the inflammatory religious situation in France and his background, he was at times considered an enemy by both Catholics and Protestants alike. As a result, there were many previous assassination attempts.

Despite often being unpopular during his reign, he was nevertheless considered a successful king, in economic, cultural, military and diplomatic terms, but only achieved his current status as a great king posthumously, when a virtual cult arose in his memory.

He was assassinated on May 14 1610 by a fanatic called Ravaillac in the Rue de la Ferronnerie, Paris.

Christian Confession! – Where Did All The Saints Go?

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Which saint, one wonders, once stood here in this empty space?

The empty church spaces now vacated, were once inhabited by colourful saints, or other such noble individuals. These days it makes me sad.

I am not a Catholic, yet, somehow our culture seemed to be somewhat lessened by their disappearance during the Reformation.

I think we lost more than just colour and ceremony in our lives at the time; these events seriously hastened in the modern materialistic world, which despite its obvious benefits, has stripped us of all our innocence now.

Just like the monasteries, creators and supporters of communities, were dissolved and stripped of all their wealth which was then reduced to its base monetary value, we too over time seem to have been stripped to the core, spiritually.

That’s how I feel. I’m not saying I wish to convert – there are reasons why I would not – but we need to reclaim something from our past, to move one step back, if you will, before we can go two forward.

Sure it was a long time ago, I’ve never known anything different from bare stone and whitewashed walls – but just think how colourful our English churches once were, how rich the lives of the faithful must have been.

copyright Leo F. Tanner 2019