I Didn’t Know That About Lincoln… Actually I Did!

body of water
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Its strange what you forget and then remember, years afterwards.

Place names, particularly English place names can be pretty strange sometimes, testimony to all the tribes who have invaded this fair isle over the millennia.

Take Lincoln, capital city of Lincolnshire in eastern England, for example. The name that has come down us is composed of two elements, one Celtic or Ancient British, the other Roman.

Lyn or Lindum means a settlement near a pool, in this case what we now call the Brayford Pool, where the university is situated. King’s Lynn in Norfolk probably refers to a pool also.

Then the last element, coln… what is that? It’s a condensed version of the Roman word Colonia, which were settlements dotted throughout the empire where retired soldiers would go to live – Lincoln being one them. So the full Roman or latin name would have been Lindum Colonia. In later times the name got shortened to its present form.

There are other examples too, of course, the most famous one being Koln in Germany, usually referred to as Cologne in English and French.

Very often a place name can tell you quite a lot about the origin of the settlement and can make travelling and map reading so fascinating.

copyright Francis Barker 2020

On This Day 218 BC: Hannibal Routs the Romans at Trebia

temple of hercules at the amman citadel jabal al qal a
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The first serious encounter of the Second Punic War ended in a decisive victory for Hannibal and his Carthaginian army at Trebia in northern Italy in 218 BC. Whilst the Carthaginian losses were relatively few, the Romans sustained massive casualties, quite possibly losing up to three quarters of their 40,000 strong army.

Although Hannibal was to ultimately fail in defeating the Romans in the long term, he came very close to succeeding. The Punic Wars were all about who controlled the Mediterranean and beyond. In the early years the Carthaginians were masters of the region, with settlements in Sicily and Spain, as well as their burgeoning homeland in north Africa.

When Rome began to flex its muscles and seriously rival the Carthaginians during the third century BC, war was inevitable. Hannibal famously took the war to the Romans with an incredible invasion with a massive elephant led army through the Alps and into Italy, an audacious attempt to finish off the Romans once and for all. It nearly came off – but not quite.

Eventually, as the Romans later got the upper hand, they were to literally wipe Carthage off the map in one of the most heinous acts of revenge ever seen.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: Crows

birds black crow
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The crows are gathering,
swooping with impunity.
They joust amongst themselves, 
invirtuous caws signalling
our entry into autumn
when trumpets may blow
some strange advent in the sky.
They seem happy, as if
Imperial Rome had fallen again,
a feast to be had. Fast
and feast are opposites – yet
so nearly the same

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Michelangelo, Creative Genius of All Ages – Astrology Musings

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni – known simply to us as Michelangelo – is often considered the greatest creative genius of all time.

It is hard to argue against this considering his achievements. He was a notable artist, poet, sculptor and architect who created, among other things, the painting of the Last Judgement on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Pieta and the statue of David in Florence.

If his birth data is correct, then he certainly seems to have a birth chart that implies a significant creative force.

Multifaceted

Let’s start with the basics. Firstly, there is only Pluto in earth signs, which is very surprising considering many of achievements are practical creations, like sculpture – more of this later. His elements are primarily air and water, showing that he was inspired and put much rational thought into the creative process too.

He has Sagittarius rising, meaning he had a very free and multifaceted approach to life, an indication of his ability to span many types of creativity. His ruler, Jupiter, is in Aquarius in house 3, meaning there is more than a touch of originality, objectivity and freshness in his ideas and mentality.

Highly sensitive and creative

He has the Sun and Moon in Pisces in house 4, with the Sun in good aspect to Neptune in house 12, showing how he was essentially sensitive, impressionable and also deeply inspired from the subconscious. Mars is also quite close to the Sun, giving him great bursts of creative flair, especially so as Mars in ruler of house 5.

Venus in Aries is also an indicator of primal artistic flair, especially his Venus in house 5 of creativity. Venus is also ruler of house 6 of work and the MC, which also has associations with life direction and career.

However, I want to concentrate mainly on what I consider to be the primary pattern of his chart, namely the fairly loose, yet important ‘kite’ formation involving Mars, Saturn, Pluto and Neptune, and also the Sun and Uranus to some degree. This is a fairly unusual configuration and I am sure one that is significant when one comes down to discussing creative genius. I think the fact that all three ‘outer planets’ are involved is highly significant, an indication that he could tap creatively the transpersonal energies of transformation (Pluto), inspiration (Neptune) and originality (Uranus).

Through studying many birth charts of creative types, like artists and composers, I have found that Neptune in particular almost invariably forms strong aspects to personal planets, or is strongly placed, or both.

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The ‘Kite’ – the sign of a great, dynamic genius?

Apart from Pluto, at the top apex of the shape, it all takes place in water signs and houses using the ‘whole signs’ house system, showing its emotive and inspirational wellspring.

In this regard, Pluto’s presence in an earth sign (Virgo) and house (10), becomes all the more significant, I feel, symbolising the long term, transformative physical effect Michelangelo produced and experienced in his career, and the incredible, powerful legacy he left with us.

Let’s take a closer look at it. Mars in Pisces in house 4, reveals his emotive, disparate energy in opposition to Pluto in Virgo in house 10, a tense, compulsive battle between personal and transpersonal power, which creates great waves of energy to transform the life direction but which needs to be harnessed to make useful.

Applications in the world

Enter Saturn in Cancer in house 8 and Neptune in Scorpio in house 12, both in good positive aspect (sextile and trine) to the Mars Pluto opposition, both of which can feed off this energy. Saturn will tend, despite being in a water sign and house, to earth this energy, look for practical, structural applications of it.

Neptune, and to some degree Uranus, will add sheer inspiration and some originality to the mix from a subconscious and transpersonal ‘muse’, perhaps encapsulating the very nature of genius. And with the Sun also fairly closely linked to this inspirational dynamo too, we can perhaps appreciate the great depths of creative potential that this man had, his ability to produce it for all the world to enjoy – even to this day and hopefully for centuries still to come. He was that rare individual, a genius for all time.

*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 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