Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Hans Holbein the Younger — Blue Dragon Journal (Reblog)

Originally posted on Humoring the Goddess: Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) was a German painter, draftsman, and designer, renowned for the precise rendering of his drawings and the compelling realism of his portraits, particularly those recording the court of King Henry VIII of England. Henry VIII Holbein the Younger was one of the most celebrated…

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Hans Holbein the Younger — Blue Dragon Journal

Tudor History: A True Royal Struggle | Letters From Katherine of Aragon — THE CHRONICLES OF HISTORY (Reblog)

When Katherine Of Aragon wrote a heartfelt plea to her father, she held the title of Princess of Wales through her marriage to Prince Arthur of England. The couple had not been married long before the prince’s untimely death in 1502 at Ludlow Castle. Faced now with widowhood and all alone in a foreign country, […]

Tudor History: A True Royal Struggle | Letters From Katherine of Aragon — THE CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

*** This is a great site. Here are some of my own pieces kind of related to this reblog, but with an astrological slant:

Prince Arthur Tudor of England

King Henry VIII Tyrant?

‘The Kissing Game’ Chapter 9, Short Story Serialisation, by Milly Reynolds

silhouettes of couple kissing against sunset
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Elena had taken herself off to the spare room, the very room where Michael had said she had sleep walked in to the previous night. One thirty and she still wasn’t asleep, she was simply too apprehensive, too much going on in her head. Once more she lay back and opened another book she’d borrowed from Mary. She came across a reference to the fact that most children were baptised within two or three days of birth, at least until more recent times. This was because of the much higher rates of child mortality. It made her think. With that thought in her mind, she lay the book down and closed her eyes. 

The room was dark, quite small. Long curtains were closed, just a peep of light came through a gap. Outside there were distant voices, so she opened the curtain a touch to see. It was the canal or river she had seen before, though there was less activity this time, as if it might be evening. As she turned away, she noticed a mirror with an ornate frame on the right wall. Keeping the curtains open, she looked at it. Elena had the clearest blue eyes, a smooth, ivory complexion. She brought a hand to her face, touching the soft flesh.

“I am… quite beautiful,” she whispered.

She recognised the room, the bed in the corner where someone was lying. Walking up to the bed, she recognised him, though he made no move, as if he was asleep. She peered more closely; then he opened his eyes, slightly.

“Elena,” he croaked, weakly, “you have destroyed me.”

She stepped back as he reached out, trying to touch her. “What’s the matter with you? Is it something I’ve done?”

“Elena, you have destroyed me.”

She felt a sudden unease. “What have I done?”

He tried to smile, though it seemed to be difficult. There was pain written all over his face, emotional as well as physical discomfort.

“Just… tell me who you are.”

His hand fell limply by his side, a weak gaze remaining fixed on her where she stood. 

“Don’t go!”

Kneeling down she put a hand in front of his face. There was no breath. She checked the pulse on his wrist: nothing. His candle had burned out. Elena closed his eyes, reached forward and kissed his cheek. Then she sat on the chair next to the bed. Tears began to well up in her eyes, though she wasn’t sure why. Did she know this man? And if so, how?

“I want to come out of this dream now,” she said out loud, wiping her eyes. Yet she remained in the room, apparently present in some time which may have been four hundred years ago. She began to feel queasy, quite strange in fact. So she stood, but had to sit down again, feeling quite faint. She bent down on all fours and was sick into the empty chamber pot by the bed. There was no cloth or tissue to use, so she wiped her mouth on the bed sheet. Suddenly without the strength to get up, she lay on the floor, closing her eyes.

Elena felt the gentle stroking of her hair. Opening her eyes, Michael’s concerned face was examining her own.

“It was quite a shock to find you lying here.”

“Where am I?”

“The toilet, I see you’ve been sick. Something you ate last night, was it?”

“No,” she said, faintly, “I don’t think so. What time is it?”

“Six o’clock. Have you been like this before, recently?”

Elena thought for a few seconds. “A little yes. I thought it was the lack of sleep.”

Their eyes met, instinctively, though neither dare ask that most pertinent question. Michael helped her to her feet and led her back to bed.

“Get some sleep, I’ll take the day off, it won’t matter.”

“I’m not sure I want any sleep.”

“Hm, because of him? This strange kisser fellow?”

“Maybe,” she said, laying down her head, “though I get the feeling that I won’t be seeing much more of him in my dreams.” 

“I like the sound of that. I’ll get you some water.”

copyright Milly Reynolds 2020

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‘The Kissing Game’ Chapter 7, Short Story Serialisation, by Milly Reynolds

blur carefree cute feelings
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The woman in the florists was adamant: There was not even one male member of staff, let alone anyone matching Elena’s description of the young man she thought had served her.

“Back to square one, Dear,” Mary whispered as they exited the florists into the cold drizzle.

“Maybe I dreamed of meeting him here, too,” Elena said, opening her umbrella.

Mary tugged at her arm. “Stick to your guns, you saw what you saw. I believe you.”

“You are probably the only one who would.”

That night Elena didn’t feel much like talking to Michael. Complaining of a headache, she went to bed early and started to read. Unexpectedly, she found herself nodding off within only a few minutes.

She became aware of standing on grass in warm sunlight. It looked like a park of some kind. There was a copse of ash trees on a nearby hillock in full leaf, partly obscuring the sun. What sounded like a flock of geese was squawking away, somewhere nearby, but as yet unseen. It might have been a summer’s evening, it felt too warm to be morning. She was standing by a few large oak trees, and could reach out and touch the bark of the nearest one. Some of it flaked off between her fingers. This time her dress was a dark blue with the widest cuffs she’d ever seen. Looking down, Elena could also see she was wearing a very fine necklace, maybe diamonds and pearls. She touched them, rolling a few between her fingers. They looked and felt real.

Then she spotted something carved into the bark of the nearest oak. A heart and two initials, PH. It had only just registered in her mind what she was looking at, when he stepped out from behind the bole of the tree. She had almost been expecting him. He had that telling little smirk on his face, like some mischievous boy might have. But this boy was definitely a man. He reached forward, pulling her towards him, kissing her gently.

“Elena, you feed me,” he said. This time it was coming from his lips.

“What do you mean? Are you hungry?”

“Elena, you feed me!” His hands clutched his heart in a dramatic stance. He smiled, broadly for the first time and bowed gracefully towards her like some actor.

“I’m glad, I think. But who are you?”

He took her hand and they began to saunter through the grass. It was quite long, there were red splashes of poppies strewn ahead of them, amid the gentle summer fragrances wafting all around. She figured it was around early July. Soon they reached the ash copse and began to follow the path around it. In all this time, they said nothing.

As they cleared the corner of the copse, a large country house came into view at the bottom of a hill. It nearly took her breath away, the mellow golden stone shining in the lowering sun, its tall chimneys as high as steeples. She knew it wasn’t his own house, it was a friend’s, though what they were doing there was anyone’s guess.

He led her down the hill towards the house. There was no one else about, only a few deer and some cows. When they got to the walls she touched them. It all seemed like recent work, newly built.

They entered what appeared to be a courtyard with a tree at the centre, some shade. She sat down as best she could on the wooden seat, the dress was hard to brush underneath. Where had he gone? She became aware of a light high up, it wasn’t the sun. It began to spin round and round.

Elena was sitting on the toilet. 

“Elena? Are you ok?” Michael tapped on the partly open door.

“Yes, I think so.”

“Why were you walking about?”

“What do you mean?”

“I woke up and heard you pacing along the landing and then into the small bedroom.”

“What? I’m… are you sure?”

“Were you sleepwalking?”

“I don’t know, maybe I was.”

“Ok, well, are you coming back to bed?”

“Yes.”

She stood up, looking at her tired face in the mirror, the dark blue nightdress she was wearing.

copyright Milly Reynolds 2020, also on amazon.co.uk

‘The Kissing Game’ Chapter 3 – Short Story Serialisation, by Milly Reynolds

abandoned ancient antique arch
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It was dark, no sign of an open book this time, though there was a faint trace of incense in the cool air. She heard a door creak behind her. There was a figure blocking what meagre light was coming through it. She knew it was him, that silhouette was so distinctive, the broad shoulders and the wild hair. Elena wasn’t scared, maybe it was a lucid dream, the kind you leave immediately once you realise what it is.

“Elena.”

Was that him whispering? Or was she merely wishing it to happen?

“Elena.”

The heavy door shut gently behind him, he began to walk slowly towards her. She remained in the middle of the small nave, not sure if she was able to move or not. She didn’t really want to try. She was able to perceive more as he got near. He was indeed just a fraction taller, his clothes as dark as the surroundings. As he got close, she could make out some odd looking line pattern on his shirt, like gold faintly shining. The buttons were shiny too. Was it a shirt? Then she began to feel cold, as if in the presence of a ghost. Elena was looking at him, his eyes. He was within a few feet of her now.

“Elena.”

His voice was a little louder, mid range like a young man, reverberating around the cold, dark stone. He came to a stop just in front of her. 

“Who… are you?” she said, falteringly. Was that her real heart racing, or some fantasy within this temporary sheath in which she found herself? 

He reached out with his right hand. His eyes were kind, sensitive, yet with an odd kind of derring-do about them that she liked. The hair was almost shoulder length, groomed but very full, a wavy dark brown. Still she didn’t move. She watched his lips, they were quite full. They met hers just as they did the previous night. He tasted sweet, though there was no attempt to probe her mouth. Was she disappointed? There was an outdated sensibility about him, which spoke of a much older, more chivalrous age.

As their lips parted, she became aware of more light coming through the windows. Dawn, or its equivalent, must have been breaking in this strange other world. He let her go, turning quickly round, walking away far more briskly than he had arrived.

“What’s wrong? Who are you?” she asked, but he was gone. The heavy wooden door clattered shut.

So she began to walk after him. It got lighter and lighter the nearer she got to that door. As she was about to open it, she felt herself return instantly to bed, lying on her back. Michael was snoring beside her. She eyed the clock. Five thirty, Monday morning. That was two nights in a row. She had to find out what was going on. Just how real was all this? And who was the fellow playing this strange kissing game with her? She had a feeling that she should know who he was. Then she began to feel strange, almost queasy again. It seems her nightly escapades were draining her of physical and emotional energy.

Elena switched on the bedside light and began to write it all down in her notebook.

copyright Milly Reynolds 2020

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Sunday Poem: The Blooded White Rose

black and white nature flowers close up view
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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.

copyright Francis Barker 2020

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‘The Kissing Game’ – Short Story Serialisation, Chapter 1

Here is my partner in crime‘s latest short story, a romantic mystery spanning the centuries.

couple kissing
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The Kissing Game

By Milly Reynolds

Chapter One

Elena Trimble awoke with a fright. “What was that all about?”
Michael, her husband, was stirring beside her. “What’s up? Bad dream?”
Elena wiped the sweat from her face. “No. I mean, maybe.”
Michael hauled himself upright, blinking rapidly. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Did she? Elena wasn’t too sure.
Michael was watching her. “Ok, so you’ve had a dream about some other guy. It happens, I get that.”
Elena felt herself blushing. “Well, it wasn’t anyone I know, if that’s what you mean.”
Michael swung his legs around and gazed at the clock. “Look, it’s only half five, and it’s Sunday. What chance of getting back to sleep now?”
Elena reached for the notebook, if she wrote it all down she might be able to make more sense of it later. They said that recording your dreams was important.
“So what was he like, this guy? I presume it was a guy…”
Of course it was a man! Sorry, for shouting.”
“That’s alright. What was he like though?”

Elena found it difficult to explain, in words. The dream took place somewhere with
quite poor lighting. He was young, charming, powerful in some odd way. And his eyes,
she could remember them, quite dark.

“He kissed me.”
Michael laughed spontaneously. “Did he now. And was this Lothario a good kisser?”
“Yes, he knew what he was doing, if you know what I mean. He had these nice lips.”
Michael smirked. “Was he as good as me?” He reached across, kissing Elena full on the lips, lingeringly.
“Mn, that was nice.”
He looked into her lovely blue-green eyes. “You are so beautiful, did you know that?”
“Get away.”
“Actually, I was wondering – is all this kind of..?”
She pushed him firmly from her. “Not at five thirty on a Sunday morning! And besides, I feel a little queasy.”
“Hm, it must be the shock.” Michael flopped back onto his side of the bed. “Ok, so did this Romeo have anything to say?”
Elena flinched at his question. “Romeo.”
“Yes? Juliet?”
“Shut up. It was just you, calling him Romeo, that’s all. I don’t know.”
“What are you scribbling?”
She was trying to draw Romeo’s face. She had already been doodling some things which had come to her.
“What does that mean?” Michael asked, leaning across.
“What’s the date today? The twenty third?”
“Yes, is it important?”
Elena breathed in and sighed. “I think it might be.”

more follows next week

copyright Milly Reynolds 2020

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Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales – What Might Have Been. Astrology Musings

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Prince Arthur was Henry VII’s eldest son and heir to the throne of England. Sadly, he was to die aged only 15 in the year 1502, just months after marrying Catherine of Aragon and taking up residence at Ludlow Castle as Prince of Wales.

If his birth data is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt it, I think England might well have missed out on a new golden age, something which his father the king had truly hoped for, which is why he had his eldest son christened after the legendary British ruler, Arthur.

Lots of Potential

Why do I say this? The personality of rulers, especially monarchs who wielded virtual absolute power, would obviously affect the destiny of the nations over which they ruled. So what does Prince Arthur’s birth chart reveal? He was apparently born a month premature but there are not many indications that he was at all sickly at birth, or during his short life.

He was born with Royal Leo rising with his ruler, the Sun, in Libra in house 3 in good aspect to Saturn in Sagittarius in house 5, in challenging aspect to Jupiter in Capricorn in house 6. Venus is also in Leo in house 1 of personality, in good aspect to Mercury and Mars.

Attractive Personality

Dying so young, Arthur’s character would not have been fully developed, but this suggests an attractive, strong, generous, confident, courteous, diplomatic and responsible person with plenty of charm and probable wit. In what records we do have of him, he was described as very tall, handsome, amiable and gentle.

What is more, his Moon in Gemini in house 11 loosely conjunct Mars, would only strengthen his sociable and witty tendencies. He would have been great company, I feel. However, the Moon is opposite Uranus in Sagittarius, indicating that he could have a sudden, fragile, perhaps nervous temperament, too, which could have seriously affected his friendships.

A Glittering Royal Court in Waiting?

Looking at his mental potential, is seems to have been excellent, boding well for his future royal court, which might have become legendary, in a similar manner in which we talk of Richard II’s or even Louis XIV’s of France in a future age.

Libra is on house 3 cusp and Aries on house 9. These house rulers, Venus and Mars, are in good aspect to each other in ‘positive’ signs and houses, both in good aspect to Mercury in Libra in house 3. Add his Libran Sun in house 3 and it doesn’t get much better than this, the only things missing being Jupiter (higher mind), who is not exactly in this mix, in Capricorn in house 6.

Kingly Ambitions

I am quite certain that he would have been as adept in languages as his brother Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and probably would have exceeded them. He would have been a patron of the arts and literature too, one of the prime considerations when we are talking about cultural significance.

His ambitions as king look equally well starred because Venus and Mars rule the 10th house and MC respectively. I think he would have been a great success in foreign diplomatic matters – he’d already had the good fortune to marry Catherine of Aragon, an important diplomatic move for the English crown and would have surely been the bedrock of his career as King of England.

What might have been

However, his tendency to overreach himself, as shown by the Sun’s square aspect to Jupiter, perhaps through overconfidence at times, might have presented some problems, especially in military matters.

However, with Saturn in good aspect to the Sun and in mutual reception to Jupiter in Capricorn, this might have somewhat stemmed his potential for over confidence.

Had he lived, I am certain that we are looking here at a great historic personality who would have been much loved by his people, the kind of person who could have introduced a new golden age to England, set the country on a very different course from the one his brother, the future Henry VIII.

*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

Queen ‘Bloody Mary’, A Short but Infamous Reign – Astrology Musings

card dark floating focus
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Queen Mary the First of England, popularly known as ‘Bloody Mary’, because of the great numbers of Protestants she had executed by burning at the stake, is one the country’s most notorious monarchs.

She became Queen after the attempt to install the unfortunate Protestant Lady Jane Grey on the throne failed.

Mary proceeded to turn England back to the Catholic faith, a religion which was, however, still very much ingrained in most of English society, particularly in the shires and in the north.

What does her birth chart reveal?

Autocratic, reactionary personality

We must remember, especially in the days of absolute monarchism, that the ruler’s influence was all pervasive and so their personality (birth chart) would have imposed itself upon the character of the country.

When she was born Capricorn was rising with Mars and Pluto close by on either side of the ascending degree.

In many ways, this symbolises her reputation as ‘Bloody Mary’, Mars (representing fire) rising in Capricorn suggests a powerfully autocratic and rather conservative personality and with Pluto working in tandem, she wasn’t afraid of implementing drastic changes, even if they were ‘reactionary’ in nature, namely the burning of over 300 Protestant martyrs.

Ingrained sense of spirituality

What we must remember is that even though her father Henry VIII broke with the church of Rome, he remained essentially a Catholic.

Her brother’s rule over the ensuing six years did see a full blown attempt to make England a Protestant country – but it was only six years. As said earlier, most of the country would have probably welcomed a reversion to the old faith, at least at the beginning of her reign.

Mary’s ruling planet was Saturn and was found in Sagittarius (sign of religion) in house 12 (inner life), in good aspect to a Mercury (mind) Neptune (spirituality) conjunction in Aquarius.

Impressionable and sensitive

Mary had this sense of spiritual sensitivity ingrained within her mentality and obviously had a very intimate connection to the numinous, quite clearly inherited from her mother, Catherine of Aragon, the former queen.

To strongly underline this, she was a Sun Piscean too, with Venus also in that sign in house 3 (also mind). She was highly sensitive and impressionable with an instinctive love of deeper, spiritual, ritualistic things which she liked to talk about and to simply be around.

Dichotomy in the character

However, most importantly, she was born at the exact time of the full Moon, which was found in Virgo in house 9. Here is an essential dichotomy in her nature.

Her deeply spiritual essence was at odds with her naturally fastidious manner, a strong tendency to be critical and to analyse.

This must have made her a very difficult person to deal with at times and this must have contributed to her increasing unpopularity among her underlings and the people at large at the reign went on.

Controversy everywhere

One of the most controversial things she did was to marry King Philip II of Spain, another staunchly Catholic monarch ten years her junior, which brought England very strongly under the influence of this great emerging world power.

Many thought that this would undermine England’s independence, but Mary would have seen this a natural consequence of the marriage, which, had she lived another fifteen years, might well have guaranteed England’s future under what she would see as the wing of Catholicism.

False opportunities – castles made of sand

Looking at Mary’s house 7 of marriage, she has an exalted Jupiter (but retrograde) in Cancer in good aspect to the tension created by her Sun and Moon opposition. This hints at good opportunities through marriage and alliance.

Here we can perhaps see symbolised a way out of her predicament of being one of the first female monarchs, with Jupiter representing an opportunity through marriage not only to secure her throne because of her apparent inability to deal with the situation she was in, but to also produce a Catholic heir and secure the faith within the country.

Sadly for her, none of this came to fruition. With Jupiter retrograde, she was only ever likely to ‘succeed’ inwardly in some more roundabout or spiritually satisfying way, not in the grand manner of marrying the most powerful man in the world at that time.

Her reign lasted just five years and with the accession of her canny sister, Elizabeth, England began the long, slow road to becoming a truly protestant nation.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

 

History of the Church: The Lost World of Monasteries

priorygate2

Monasteries, the Abbey or Priory of the medieval world of England, are an enduring interest of mine, although I don’t claim to be an expert on ecclesiastical or architectural matters.

Many years ago, I did a series of watercolour reconstructions of one priory, how it may have looked at its height (see above).

To think that these places, which became so criticised and demonised, especially in the reign of Tudor King Henry VIII, were the centres of education not only of the monks and nuns who lived there, but were also enriching the local communities, providing jobs, education, lodging, medical care too.

To have these dissolved, stripped bare and taken down, the monks or nuns dismissed at the behest of ‘Good King Henry’ and Thomas Cromwell – well, it must have been truly catastrophic for the communities that were left without them. That doesn’t quite seem to come across in most of the accepted history of what we call The Reformation.

There are always at least two sides to any story.