The Nation’s Soul

Thursday May 10th 2012

Ted Hughes was best known as a powerful nature poet before he was made laureate in 1984. It seemed like a strange choice; this poet of fox and moor, black-backed gull and deadly pike, above all of wildness, asked to write about the baroque, many-layered, structured, civilised, profoundly tamed office of monarchy.

In astrological terms, it was like asking Lilith to write about Saturn.

In fact it was a brilliant choice. Hughes was deeply interested in what the monarchy was for – on a poetic level. Here is a quatrain he wrote which sums up his thinking.

A Soul is a Wheel.
A Nation’s a Soul
With a Crown at the hub
To keep it whole.
Hughes, as you may guess from this imagery, was an astrologer. The natal chart is a map of the soul, your soul, with you at the centre of it. And in mundane astrology, the natal chart of the nation is a map of our soul.
In a nation’s chart, the Sun is the head of state. By simply looking at the condition of the Sun, we can tell a lot about the nation’s sense of itself.

Who occupies the Oval Office or the Elysée Palace or the throne is of secondary importance to the position itself. The head of state is the heart of the nation. It just so happens that in America the head of state and the leader are combined in one person, a great burden to bear. No wonder they all age about 10 years once they get  into office.

In Britain, we do not really choose the Queen, except by not rising up in rebellion. She is chosen for us by tradition. In more democratic countries, like the US and France and Germany, there is an element of choice, but the field is limited by money and patronage. So the people who emerge as heads of state do so because of a confluence of forces. It is hard not to believe sometimes that the gods are not playing with us.

German Sun (1990 unification) is at 9° Libra.
Britain’s Sun is at 10° Capricorn.
France’s (5th Republic) Sun is at 11° Libra.
US Sun is at 13° Cancer.
These are the strongest “Western” economies. Their Suns are due to be hit by the Uranus-Pluto square repeatedly between now and 2015. Germany will feel the first direct hit in the form of an opposition from Uranus combined with a square from Pluto.
Since all these Suns are in Cardinal signs, the aspects are hard.

Here are the days when the aspect perfects but the whole period will be flavoured by this intense electrical stand-off between the two powerful outer planets. Remember that Uranus is about revolution and change, and Pluto is about ruthless transformation and power.

Uranus is in Aries (newness, ground zero, beginnings) and Pluto is in Capricorn (oldness, established structures, government, rules, banking, transnational institutions).
2012 –24 June  8°  and 19 September 7°
2013 – 20 May 11° and 1 November 9°
2014 –  21 April 13° and 15 December °12
2015 –  17 March 15°
Expect change at the heart of the West.
You can see one of the uses of monarchy in this context. If the Queen were to die, for instance, we could replace her with another one. “The Queen is dead: long live the King.” And the nation would go into mourning ritual and then coronation celebration. And if that one didn’t work out, we have a whole family to choose from.
Tibetan mandala
*In case you were wondering, Hughes’ Lilith 23° Aq opposes his Sun at 20° Leo, which helps to explain how come he married not one but two wild, wild women. And Saturn is on his descendant in Capricorn, an essentially conservative placement. Imagine the tension.
Chris Levine’s beautiful portrait of the Queen was taken in 2004. To see more of his work click here.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hughes’ translation of Ovid is amazing. The first translation that (for me) captures the full human tragedy of all those women transformed under duress. But also the sense that each of us ends up expressing our unique nature in the way we live and die, and that that no matter how hard we may try, we are incapable of denying that inner thing, the self. I didn’t know that, but makes perfect sense that he’s an astrologer!

    • Christina says:

      I so agree about the Ovid. Read the Birthday Letters to see how he knows the astrology. I’ve never actually read much of a discussion of him as an astrologer, but it’s clear he can draw up a chart and interpret it.

  2. P says:

    Just to confirm: Liz assented to sit for a portrait like this? Really?? wow.