It was a dark and gloomy day. A normal occurrence in this part of the world. However, it was a lot more cloudy than usual. To my surprise and ignorance, it started to rain hard. Like being hit with a garden hose, I was soaked. I had to find a store that sold ponchos and…
It is remarkable when one looks at a map of the entire earth and notice how insignificant the island of Great Britain appears, hovering as it does off the north west coast of Europe, neither separate from that continent, nor totally attached to it. Perhaps there is something prophetic about that island’s geographic position, looking westward out to the bleak Atlantic Ocean.
According to the historical narrative, relatively small nations had formed huge empires previously. Taking the accepted history of Rome being founded in 753 BC, this small city state expanded to rule much of the then known world by the second century AD. It is said that the influence of this empire is still strongly conspicuous today, especially in language, culture and government.
More recently, towards the end of the fifteenth century, the unification of the two Iberian kingdoms of Aragon and Castille, formed the more powerful kingdom of Spain, which went on to prosper the most from the ‘discovery’ of America by Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) in 1492. Within a mere few decades the Spanish empire dominated the new continent, north and south. Spain became very wealthy indeed during the sixteenth century.
Similarly and perhaps even more remarkably, Portugal, Spain’s feisty neighbour and rival on the western fringes of the Iberian peninsula, not only carved out an empire in South America (Brasil), but went on to dominate trade in the East Indies and to extend its empire to that part of the world and into Africa and its influence as far as Japan.
There are other examples, like ‘Holland’, more accurately called the Netherlands, or The United Provinces at one time, which also was an early beneficiary of trade and settlement in the Americas and the Far East.
Colouring the World Pink
However, no empire was ever as grand as the British Empire. By the end of the nineteenth century it was the empire upon which the sun never set. A schoolboy of the time could look at a map of the world and reflect upon the predominant colour of pink – all those lands, as far afield as Canada and New Zealand, where the British flag flew and the English language was spoken.
It is easy to think of empire building as organic, though this is never the case. A nation, or a people, often have a common purpose, though the vast majority are unaware of it. Nations and empires are steered, often by a few notable individuals and families with ambition and vision.
John Dee, Queen Elizabeth I’s astrologer who chose the timing of her coronation in January 1559, was one such man. I will merely allude to him here, but suffice it to say that he the first to talk in terms of a British Empire, even though technically the notion Britain was only a geographic, not political reality when he was alive.
Nevertheless, it was during Elizabeth’s reign that the first tentative steps were taken by English explorers to establish an empire in the name of the queen. Sir Walter Raleigh was one such remarkable individual who made attempts at settling in North America.
By 1707, the crowns of England and Scotland were legally united, officially creating the Kingdom of Great Britain. At the same time a highly significant war was being fought in large parts of Europe. This was a result of Charles II of Spain dying without an heir in November of 1700. The ensuing war is called The War of the Spanish Succession.
The British fought this war essentially to prevent either France or Austria uniting with Spain, and thereby creating a European superpower. Such an eventuality would have been clearly detrimental to Britain’s ‘interests’. It is an early example of a way of maintaining the balance of power – at least that’s the official line.
After ten years of warfare, the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I died in April 1711 and was succeeded by the Archduke Charles, which effectively ‘solved’ the succession crisis, at least in the eyes of the British who began peace talks. This eventually resulted in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which established Great Britain as a naval and European economic superpower. Out of all the belligerents, only Britain could be said to have emerged from this conflict financially intact.
1710-11 – A Major Turning Point
This period centering around 1710 to 1711 was clearly a major turning point in British, European and world history. Astrologically too, we can see clear signs of the turning of a page, or the planting of a seed.
I draw your attention to the three then still undiscovered planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, all representing other (perhaps higher) dimensional (invisible to the naked eye) aspects of the mind, unity and power. As far as we know, these forces were not known at this time, remaining hidden somewhere in the collective human unconsciousness.
Nevertheless when Uranus met Pluto in September of 1710 and remained close, especially during the spring of 1711 when the Emperor Joseph I died, we see the beginning of a new historical cycle, with Great Britain seizing the initiative at an important time of opportunity. Uranus brings new ideas, change, Pluto the idea of collective power.
The Seed of Power Planted
This Uranus Pluto conjunction happened to be in late Leo, also conjunct the fixed star Regulus, which has had a long association with royalty and royal power.
Equally fascinating, the other remaining undiscovered outer planet, Neptune, was for a time in conjunction with the benefic Venus and in very good aspect to Uranus and Pluto from Aries. I think this gave a kind of other worldly blessing to the birth of the new enterprise. It’s fascinating to think that the god Neptune traditionally ruled the seas and from this point on Britannia certainly did rule the waves.
I think the relationship of the three outer planets at this juncture perfectly symbolise the sign of the times, the changing of the guard and setting the scene for the next century or so.
Other significant events at around the same time were, among others, the founding of The South Sea Company on March 3 1711. This was a public/private company created to consolidate and reduce British national debt, something which none of the other participants in the War of the Spanish Succession would have. Remember that important conjunctions are good for starting something new.
The Origins of Steam Power?
Another intriguing development was the invention and application of what was called the ‘atmospheric engine’ by Thomas Newcomen in 1712. This steam driven device was initially used to successfully pump out water from tin wines in the south west of England, particularly Cornwall. It is not difficult to grasp the significance of this invention and its later use in the first steam locomotives later on.
There were also reports of the first successful hot air balloon flight at this time by a certain Bartolomeu de Gusmao. Although this occurred indoors, the fact that it happened at all is highly significant. Uranus, after all, is said to rule the air and scientific invention.
I think there is evidence here of the burgeoning ‘power’ of the three outer planets and their generational influence on human culture, an influence which would gain in impetus as each one was subsequently discovered over the next two hundred years.
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
The contention hurts
whichever side we’ve taken
Bells of joy and doom
copyright Francis Barker 2020
The Beeching Review and cuts of the British railway system from 1963 were simply catastrophic.
They encapsulate the ludicrous notions and false economies of the time, executive decisions which were and are still made without due thought of the social, environmental and economic consequences.
After all, the British railway system had been nationalised since the late 1940s; the system as a whole, if run properly, was surely highly profitable and the whole idea of nationalisation (to my mind) is for the ‘stronger’, busier, more profitable areas to help out and support financially the ‘weaker’ ones – common sense, one would think, part and parcel of joined up thinking of governments which, one would hope, were doing the bidding of the people who elected it. Not a chance.
Instead, large areas of Great Britain were left devoid of rail services, especially the outlying areas.
But it seems to me and hosts of others that Wales was the most hit, where only three major lines were left and none connecting the highly populated south to the rest of the principality.
Wales became a nation divided, without any efficient road link connecting north to south. The effects of these cuts, from which we have not recovered from even yet throughout the United Kingdom, were simply devastating.
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
He had been king for less than a year and hadn’t had a coronation.
Edward VIII officially gave up his kingship, his rule over an empire which spanned the earth, on which the sun never set. All because, we are famously told, for his love of an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, a situation which could not be tolerated by the highly conservative establishment of the time. But of course it was a bit more complicated than that.
Like quite a few Britons at the time, Edward was an admirer of certain European dictators. After the abdication he became more than a mere acquaintance of one of them, something which didn’t go down too well in certain parts of the British establishment, as Europe and the world was led inexorably towards war.
As Prince of Wales he had been quite popular with his people back home and throughout the Empire and Commonwealth. He was able to relate to them despite the most privileged upbringing one could get. He was, however, quite shy and perhaps felt somewhat unworthy of the role fate had given him, something which led to several bouts of depression.
For these reasons and perhaps others too, he probably never felt he was not cut out for being a monarch of a vast and populous empire.
Falling in love with Mrs Simpson was only one reason among several which made him feel incapable of carrying on as king, a heavy responsibility which in the end he was forced to leave behind.
copyright Francis Barker 2019
So finally the United Kingdom has an election to ‘clear the air’ surrounding Brexit and Parliament. But will it solve anything?
The chart set for the opening of the polls at 7 am, December 12 2019 at Westminster, London, is fascinating, not merely for the fact that a full Moon has just occurred, a sign of culmination and change.
In this chart Sagittarius is rising. The first house in mundane astrology is usually indicative of the nation as a whole. I would tentatively state that this indicates that the nation is in a good, expansive mood, ready to move on, make positive progress, Sagittarius being the mutable fire sign. The sun is also in Sagittarius, underscoring this point.
A nation more informed and expansive?
Mercury is within orbs of a conjunction with the rising degree, perhaps a sign that the nation is at last more fully informed, open minded and conscious about all the pros and cons of Brexit, what type of Brexit it wants and where the country as a whole should be going. Mercury is, however, in the sign of its detriment, which traditionally is less positive.
Interestingly Mercury is ruler of the 10th house, which (along with the MC or midheaven) is to do with the government. Maybe this is a further indication that the government has succeeded in tapping the mind of the nation and its people during the campaign.
With Sagittarius rising, Jupiter is the ruling planet. Jupiter is found in Capricorn (the sign of its fall) in the 2nd house of the economy and finance. This would, by and large, seem positive (despite the fact Jupiter is in the sign of its fall), that practical (Capricorn) considerations have been made and discussed and that there may be serious potential for some important trade deals (2nd house) in the offing, for example.
Jupiter makes a fairly tight positive trine aspect to Uranus in the 6th house, which may indicate that the government could pull certain surprising ‘rabbits out of hats’ in regard to trade and the economy in general, perhaps with the promise of securing large numbers of extra jobs in its manifesto, for instance – a usual ploy though.
That said, Jupiter is also ruler of the 4th house which stands for the opposition parties, who therefore may also benefit, or give a much better showing in terms of results than anyone predicted. It’s difficult to say which will come to fruition, although at present I would favour the government, especially as Neptune is found in the opposition’s house (4th), which implies a confusion of ideas and ideals.
Venus in the pit – a positive effect?
The MC or midheaven is also a strong indicator of the government’s standing. In this chart it is in Libra, whose ruler is Venus, which, very interestingly, is making a tight triple conjunction with the daunting Saturn and Pluto ‘diabolical double act’ in Capricorn in the 2nd house.
Venus is termed the lesser benefic and actually sits nicely between baleful Saturn and penetrating Pluto, perhaps acting as a kind emollient, softening influence, maybe even allowing for more positive change politically (Capricorn) and economically (2nd house), as a result of this election.
What is more, returning to the full Moon, or the sun and Moon opposition, which I talked about in the previous post, this Venus, along with Saturn and Pluto, form an interesting semi sextile (30 degrees) aspect to the sun and is also inconjunct or quincunx aspect (150 degrees) to the Moon.
To my mind this shows Venus (in conjunction with Saturn and Pluto) having the potential to positively offload the great tension of the situation in the election, the full Moon, and plough it into beneficial news and results politically and economically, along with Pluto’s potential to ‘drain the swamp’ and Saturn’s ability to begin to build again. We shall see, it’s tempting and all too easy to read too much into this, but fascinating nevertheless.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
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The Proms begin today, July 19, perhaps the quintessential British cultural event, held each year in several venues in London between July and September, though most notably at The Royal Albert Hall.
The word proms is in fact a shortening of the term Promenade Concerts, a cultural phenomena which had its origins in 18th century London, which took place in pleasure gardens where the spectators were allowed to move around the orchestras. The word promenade is a borrowing from the French language, meaning to walk.
Music for the masses
In the 19th century this style of concert moved indoors as well, leading eventually to the establishment of ‘The Proms’ on August 10 1895 at the Queens Hall, Langham Place by the well known impresario, Robert Newman.
The idea was to offer the experience of classical music to the general public, with lower ticket prices in an informal setting. It has to be said that the idea worked, with a comprehensive schedule of performances spanning over two months.
However, the Proms do have their detractors. For instance, I have heard it said more than once that they are too English. Whilst there is certainly a great deal of flag waving, a cursory look at the famous ‘Last Night of the Proms’, will reveal flags from all over the world.
What is more, much time and energy has been put in to diversifying the content, with the inclusion of world music, as well as folk music from all over Great Britain and Ireland.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I mean, who would want it – really?
One of the names touted around for some time is the former Lord Mayor of London, former British Foreign Secretary, leader of the Brexit campaign in 2016, prominent journalist, editor and author, Mr Boris Johnson MP.
Does he have what it takes, astrologically speaking, to lead United Kingdom PLC? Well now he’s thrown his hat in the ring, here’s my take on it, my musings.
Lots of Air – but where’s the Fire?
Let’s begin with the chart basics. There’s lots of air: Libra on the ascendant; Sun, Mercury, Venus (the chart ruler) and Mars in Gemini in a pretty full ninth house; Moon in early Scorpio in second house, but still trine the Sun and Venus conjunction.
There is a lack of the fire element.
So what might all this mean?
Obviously the birthchart of any leader will necessarily apply itself to the fortune’s of that nation. So who do we have here?
Libra rising and all that Gemini; the affable, likeable, quick-witted, humorous fellow we all see. Nevertheless, this outer affability should not disguise the significant substance within: this is no ‘shallow’ Gemini.
He’s obviously great company, as well as a serious intellectual, with a penchant for foreign matters and history, especially classical history – all ninth house affairs.
He is a particular operator from the higher mind, though always approachable (Libra, Gemini), intelligent, able to give full, well argued, discursive answers, probably without notes, all delivered with humour (lots of Gemini), argumentative fervour if need be (Mars in Gemini ninth house) but with grace (Libra rising).
He’s charming, a naturally enthusiastic communicator, who could make you be interested in virtually anything. He might have been a salesman in another life.
But he’s also a diplomat, a negotiator (Libra) and probably a very good one, too.
And at the end of the day, that Sun conjunct Venus in Gemini will always make him likeable, even to many of his political enemies. The Sun Venus trine the Moon also means he’s pretty much at peace with himself, too, I think.
But let’s look at that lack of fire. As a potential leader, I would be happier to see some Aries or Leo, or a prominent Mars, so this may be a problem. I don’t see here a natural leader, but he understands both sides of an argument, with persuasive, intellectual power in droves. He’s very comfortable in the heady world of intellectual debate (Air signs, ninth house): He may have to rely on it.
So what might a Johnson premiership be like?
Well, with all that ninth house activity, he will naturally gravitate towards foreign affairs, and this area of UK policy is not going to change very soon. No surprise there, you might say. The difference being, I’m pretty sure, is that the EU negotiators this time would know they’ve been danced with, so to speak. He’s no pushover when it comes to arguing over a point.
Libra (on his ascendant) has a reputation for indecision, yet it is often prominent in charts of leaders and generals. The key factor here is weighing up, literally the balancing of options, a fundamental part of deciding on any action.
His ruler (Venus) in Gemini might even seem to exacerbate this tendency for fence sitting; maybe this is why he’s waited until now for what he sees as the appropriate time, rather than trying to oust the incumbent premier earlier.
With the emphasis on Gemini and the ninth house, he would be able to respond quickly to events, have a broad grasp of any situation. These are good qualities.
In recent times he’s published a biography about Winston Churchill. Most interestingly both men have a prominent Saturn Uranus opposition, Boris Johnson’s almost exact.
Here we might see the fundamental problem that would face any leader at the present time though, and perhaps particularly a Johnson premiership. Saturn represents the existing order, Uranus stands for a radically new one that may be thrust upon us without warning. They are fighting each other, and we can see similar situations in Europe and the world, as well as within individuals.
Not a Firebrand
In his own chart, this plays out in the sixth/twelfth house axis, but could be highly significant for the country’s health if he’s leading it, how it functions as a nation, and whether it can face the deep psychological rifts that may be going on with Britain’s changing status in the world.
There is another near exact opposition also between Jupiter and Neptune in the second/eighth house axis. This hints at financial and security instability, confusion.
So to summarise, he’s not a firebrand, inspirational type leader. He leads with reasoned argument, persuasion and oodles of wit and charm.
And sometimes luck comes strongly into play. If Mrs May could be described as being unlucky, maybe taking the job at precisely the wrong time, perhaps Mr Johnson’s timing is spot on. We shall see.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
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‘Manifesto’ is due out on amazon and kindle imminently!
Taking a break from crime fiction, Milly Reynolds’ new ebook is an imaginative and quirky take on the state of current affairs as well as the meandering course of history.
Eleanor Cross, a disaffected Tory MP, takes us with her as she rides on the waves of destiny towards the formation of a new political party which will challenge old ideas.
Written as a very loose prose poem, this book sets down the policies that some might put in place if given the chance to take over the country.
Aiming where novella meets prose poem, Milly Reynolds has really pulled out the stops with this unusual new ebook. Both mysterious and funny, contemporary yet timeless, Milly’s head strong heroine, a disaffected MP, is challenged to ride the transformative waves of destiny towards a new future for herself and her country. An imaginative and quirky take on the state of current affairs and the long course of history.
History is nothing but irony. Seventy years ago the few saved the many in England from the enemy without. Today the few expose the many in England to the enemy within.