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Archive for February, 2013

Medieval Astrology

King Richard III’s Horoscope

By Dikki-Jo Mullen

Note: What impact on the Feng Shui of the UK might unearthing this controversial King have? Shouldn’t the Queen step in to make sure Ricahrd has a spectacular ceremony befitting a fallen monarch as opposed to the rather simple one planned? Will the excavation release the energies of intrigue and tragedy, hidden away so long ago? The article below was first published in “The Ricardian Register”  in 2004, when I joined the Richard III Historical Society. Recently Richard’s remains have been unearthed in England and a great resurgence of interest in this controversial and fascinating monarch is blossoming. This is a study of how astrology has evolved through the ages.

There is a square style horoscope typical of the maps drawn by the astrologers of the Medieval and Renaissance time periods. It was calculated, of course, by hand and charted in calligraphy with illustrations. Would you like to order your own reasonably priced Medieval Style Horoscope Poster, ready to frame? If so telephone Dikki-Jo for details. 407-895 1522.

The stained glass windows, period clocks as well as illuminated calendars and prayer books from the Medieval period and early Renaissance provide lasting testimonials as to the significance of astrology during Richard’s time. Exquisite and informative, they often show month by month activities and religious holidays against a backdrop of astrological illustrations. Shakespeare’s King Lear cries out that it is “the stars, the stars above which govern our conditions” while Chaucer’s Wife of Bath gives enough details about her birth chart to indicate that she is a Taurus. The prelude to The Canterbury Tales tells us that the pilgrims began their journey when the Sun was in the sign of the Ram, Aries, indicating the early spring. Queen Elizabeth I retained the services of John Dee as her personal astrologer. I have not been able to discover whether Richard III personally consulted the stars, but a study of his birth chart might offer some deeper insights into the mysteries surrounding his life.

Life was often short and treacherous during the Medieval period. The astrologers of the time tended to be more fatalistic than their modern counterparts. However a study of the cosmic harmonies provides an interesting slant to Ricardian studies. Richard was born on October 2, 1452 at Fotheringhay Castle. Since a birth time doesn’t seem to be on record, we will follow the custom of erecting the chart for high noon. Early court astrologers always recorded all of the royal births at noon, when the Sun was high in the sky, regardless of the actual time. That is because astrology teaches that this birth time places the Sun near the mid-heaven, indicating high vitality and success. Often the birth chart was used as a tool to select medicinal herbs and other remedies. Nicholas Culpepper’s Herbal, printed during the 1600’s, gives many examples of this practice.

Richard’s Astrological placements at birth were as follows:

Sun – Libra

Moon – Gemini

Mercury – Scorpio

Venus- Scorpio

Mars – Aries (retrograde)

Jupiter- Aquarius (retrograde)

Saturn – Libra

(The outer planets beyond Saturn were not yet discovered so are omitted. )

Here is the significance of the planets and luminaries as they would have been understood by the astrologers of Richards time.

Sun

Hot, dry, masculine, Rank, position, title, the father.

Moon

Cold, moist, crops, rainfall, common people, children, the mother, fruitfulness and fertility.

Mercury

Duality, falsehoods, trickery, expression, speaking, writing, observations.

Venus

Amusements, jewels, romances, music, poetry

Mars

Wars, accidents, strength, courage ,injuries, burns.

Jupiter

Science, law, travel, education, foreigners, religion, riches.

Saturn

Sorrows, losses, death, darkness, enemies, dungeons, illness, failure.

Analysis of Richard III’s Horoscope :

With the Sun in Libra justice, good manners and a focus on others would have characterized Richard. He was the first to come up with the custom of posting bail, so that those accused of a crime could be released from jail pending a fair trial and justified conviction or acquittal. The Gemini Moon brings in a duality, the ability to court and mingle with all types of people. Gemini, the heavenly Twins, shows two sides of issues. The confusion over Richard’s true character as well as his eloquence can be seen here. Mercury and Venus in Scorpio give rise to the allegations of murder and also create great mystery and secrecy around Richards story. Jupiter in Aquarius shows a genuine concern for others, humanitarian qualities and a progressive outlook. Jupiter is in retrograde motion, suggesting that Richard was ahead of his time in many ways. Mars in its own ruling sign of Aries is also in retrograde motion. Additionally, Mars is in opposition, an afflicting aspect, to the Libra placements. This shows Richard’s valor,  yet eventual defeat in battle and his victimization by enemies. His natal Saturn in Libra is strongly aspected to his Libra Sun. This has contributed to the endurance of Richard’s story. It makes his place in history and in the hearts of his supporters deeply symbolic more than five hundred years after his passing.

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