The car parked marked with an R,
as if your spirit had hovered
for half a millenium to mark
the deconsecrated spot.
A few inches either side
and you may have been lost forever,
though there was little chance of that,
so precisely did you engage with the living,
the aggrieved who wished to dig up
your true reputation
with those poignant bones.
The sight of that curved spine,
it touched our hearts,
wincing at the thought of you
holding a sword and swinging it,
yet swing it you did
to save your country, your soul.
The wounds so clear,
graphically revealed the ignominy
of your passing, the blood lust
and hate of those thrusting
at the legally occupied throne.
History is just a story, after all,
to which most of us consent,
but I think of you often, Richard,
the bloody white rose
cut too soon on a dark August day.
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.
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.
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.
We recently visited Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, and one of the venues on our list was The Game of Thrones Exhibition.
It appears relatively new and situated outside the city centre, about a 15 minute bus ride. The Titanic exhibition centre is also close by.
Not the Biggest Fan
So what did we think? Well, I did watch the show, although I’m not the biggest fan. It would be pointless for me to enter a quiz about it, for example.
The GOT exhibition centre is about another ten minute walk from the Titanic exhibition. From the outside it has the appearance of a large warehouse in an industrial quarter.
Nearby are some of the scene constructions from the show, though these are partly hidden from view behind a fence which you can’t get through.
Not Very Busy
On the day we went, it wasn’t very busy. It was wet and the school holidays are still a little way off. We were greeted by friendly, enthusiastic young people, most of whom we were told, were either extras in the filming or had been involved in some other way.
In fact, it turns out that a significant percentage of the Belfast population have had some involvement in the making of the biggest TV show ever.
Boon for the Local Economy
Many millions of pounds have been generated for the local economy and one of the largest and continuing benefits is tourism.
Once we had got our tickets – £17 pounds each, I might add – we were shown a short film, like a precis for the whole 8 series. We were the only people watching it.
Large – and Dark
Then we were ushered through and entered the exhibition itself. Inside it’s large and dark, so dark that taking pictures (allowed) is not easy, as they don’t like flash photography.
What we saw were basically numerous sets of costumes of the individual characters of the show, from the white walkers to Daenerys.
There were also large dragon skulls, which made the best use of the darkness within the huge hall; there were reconstructions of scenes from the Stark crypt and also interactive areas where you could, for instance, have your picture taken on the Iron Throne – at extra cost, of course.
What I enjoyed best, however, was the map. I’ve always been fascinated by maps and spent a significant proportion of my youth making up fantasy islands or lands – maybe I should have had a pitch at writing a story about them!
We got around the whole exhibition in around half an hour, though a real enthusiast, which I’m not, might take 45 minutes. At the end there was the usual gift shop with the inflated prices which we quickly bypassed.
So, overall, what did I think? It was OK, but I think we both left feeling a little underwhelmed.
Don’t get me wrong, Belfast and Northern Ireland in general deserves all the benefits this show has brought, the employment, the massively increased tourism, but I had the feeling that the exhibition had been put together quickly and it showed.
That said, how elaborate should it be? It could be argued that the large dark space of the centre/warehouse was the perfect setting, complementing the dark mood of the show.
Ultimately though, having been around it now, I don’t think it’s worth what we paid. Ten pounds would have been more reasonable, I think.
If you are a real fan, however, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it – whatever the cost.