Astrologer’s Serendipity

Friday October 1st 2010
Martin Luther declares war on the Catholic Church.
copyright Trustees of the British Museum.

Serendipity – what a lovely word. I’ve just had a beautiful serendipitous moment. You find out one thing while you’re looking for something else. In this case, I looked into the past and found out something about the present.

So here’s what happened.

To feed my Gemini Moon, I listen to a lot of BBC Radio 4. I need all that information pouring into my ears in order to feel at home. And I quite enjoy pouring it out again right here.

I’ve been particularly enjoying A History of the World in 100 Objects, in which the head honcho at the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, takes one object from the collection to illustrate a particular idea or set of ideas.  He packs a huge amount of information into a 15-minute slot. This week he’s been talking about religious tolerance.

Today, MacGregor discussed a broadsheet published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Reformation. It’s a cheap black and white illustration of Martin Luther at the moment he nailed his thesis to the church door at Wittenberg. That was the first shot of the Reformation, which was to shake the power structures across Europe to their very foundations.

Until the Reformation the Catholic Church had had a religious hegemony across Western Europe. City states, kingdoms, principalities and indeed the Holy Roman Empire had worked hand in hand with the Church to keep the good ship Europe on a steady course. Everything was in its place – peasants in the fields, merchants in the towns and lords in the castle. Troublesome types could be sent on a crusade.

On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther, a rebel priest changed the course of history with a single action. It’s not often you get such a precise date for such a big change but I think most historian agree that you can date the Reformation from that moment.

Click on it to make it legible.

That moment marks the real birth of organised Protestantism. The results changed the face of Europe forever, creating fault lines that took hundreds of years to resolve, forcing people to question their relationship with the God and the state and forever breaking the hold of the Catholic Church on the hearts and minds of half of Europe.

You can argue – easily – that the Enlightenment, modern democracy and the rise of the middle classes all trace their roots to that moment at the end of October 1517.

So just for fun, I drew up a chart for it. And boy, did I get a pleasant surprise.

Is he an embodiment of Pluto?

Here it is. Can you see where Pluto – Mr T for transformation – is? That’s it right there in the first degree of Capricorn. Ring any bells? Yup. That’s the magic Cardinal Climax spot and that’s where Pluto’s been hanging around since this whole economic collapse thingie started.

I’ve popped in today’s transits just for fun. You can see how the Moon’s Nodes were in a similar place on the day. The Nodes are important points in astrology and do seem to be involved at major turning points in the personal chart as well as mundane charts.

Interestingly Neptune was close to its current position too. Neptune is about mysticism and Aquarius is about the common man or woman, of course. Translations of the Bible into the vernacular over the years leading up to Luther’s moment with the door (while Neptune transited Aquarius) had already opened the gates of the numinous to ordinary people. In other words, people had started to realise that you didn’t need a priest to read the Bible for you, a more DIY approach to religion was possible.

That’s not unlike our own New Age times I suggest. (I could write more here about the parallels between the religious fundamentalist view of the world (direct personal reading of a holy book/God) and New Agers (direct personal interpretation of God).

So what has had the same kind of authority as the Catholic Church of late, the same supra-national power?

I leave that with you, but I don’t think it’s the UN, do you?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Crazy stuff

  2. That would be the international financiers, darling. Its a small group, actually, and they don’t like to have their names made public. And they are getting their shake-up, aren’t they?

  3. Christina says:

    Quite. In both senses of the word. Do you know me well enough to call me darling?