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.
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.
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copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019