WITH the Princess Diana story surfacing yet again, it seemed as good a time as any to take a look at the astrology. I had never seen the chart for the car crash itself; in 1997, I was still doing mostly natal astrology and it did not occur to me to check the event chart; indeed, I accepted the public version of the story for some years. At the time, everyone was so wrapped up in the loss that it was pretty much out of the question to be speculating about her death being a murder. And you have to admit, if this was a murder, it was a professional job.
Also, there was the astonishing factor of yet another eclipse being involved in Diana’s life; the most famous one involved the total lunar eclipse over London the night that the royal divorce was announced in Parliament. Diana was extremely sensitive to eclipses.
This week, another report has come out blaming Diana’s death on a drunk chauffer and employee of the Ritz Hotel in Paris, Henri Paul. Paul, who was also a long-time pilot and was trained to drive by Mercedes, died in the crash along with Diana and Dodi al-Fayed. But many people refuse to accept this was an accident, among, them Mohammed al-Fayed, Dodi’s father and the billionaire owner of Harrods Department Store in London.
This latest report is timed not with an eclipse, as you might expect, but with something similar: the return of the lunar nodes (which track the locations of eclipses) to the position at the time of the car crash just over nine years ago. In other words, the nodes are on an 18 year cycle. At the time of Di’s death, they were in Pisces and Virgo, where they are today — but in the opposite positions. This is actually called a ‘nodal opposition’ because the transiting North Node is occupying the position of the event chart’s South Node, and vice versa.
Let’s see if we can find any clue about what happened in the chart. Starting with the most basic chart, a nine planet version (plus Chiron), we should see something. Even if you work with many minor planets, using a basic chart at the outset is a good exercise because it compels you to apply the rules of traditional astrology, and therefore not get too bogged down in the details, too much data, or a diversity of ambiguous symbols. The basic rules work, if you use them.
In this article I’m going to do my best to follow the rules of what is called horary astrology. This is the careful study of the hour a question is asked, or the hour of an event, or the use of a chart for divination. Please note that an alternative view to my own is discussed (and linked) at the bottom of this article.
Now, I don’t expect to have the whole story right away. It seems to be a complicated event. From the outset, I only want to see if I can find some clue that alcohol was involved as a cause of death, using the major planets, or at least rule out that possibility. Generally we can see the cause of death, or at least an image of the death, pretty clearly in an event chart. So my question is, “Was alcohol involved in this accident as a cause of death?”
Here is the chart:
First we have to consider the significator for the primary person involved. Gemini is rising, so Mercury gets this job. Mercury is prominently placed: retrograde, about to make a conjunction to the Sun. Mercury is in Virgo. The retrograde and proximity to the Sun weaken Mercury; the placement in Virgo adds some strength. Mercury is also about to be involved in an eclipse of the Sun that happens about a day later. The fact that this event happened on the eve of an eclipse is part of what gives it the impact that it had, and also a suggestion that the events right before the eclipse were about to be stuffed into the past as a new era of history began. When you think of what momentum the events surrounding an eclipse can have, remember this event. Eclipses often come with a ‘larger than life’ feeling.
But Mercury is in a tangle: the retrograde, the conjunction to the Sun, and then involvement in an eclipse.
In traditional astrology, the Sun rules the leader of the nation, be it the prime minister, the president or the queen. Since this is a chart involving the royal family, the Sun is a reasonable symbol for the queen, and the next thing that happens to Mercury is that she retrogrades into an exact ‘combustion’ or conjunction with the Sun.
Notably, this conjunction is the only thing I can find in this chart that suggests violence. It is the only collision that is depicted, and it involves the ruler of the nation. If this were a chart for anyone other than Princess Diana, we might wonder if that were relevant; but she is a personal relative of the queen.
Gemini rising suggests that there are two of something — in this case, two stories. It also suggests the possibility of a technical failure (Mercury retrograde in Virgo) rather than human error as the cause of the accident — whether that failure was accidental or planned.
The Nature and Cause of Death
Now for the subject at hand: how she actually died. Let’s start with the 8th house: traditionally, the house that stands for ‘death, dowry and the substance of the bride’. The 8th is where we seek the ‘nature and cause of death’. The signs and planets involved will give a description. Doing this is a little like using an Identikit. In this chart, the 8th house has Capricorn on the cusp. Capricorn may be the most sober sign. There are no planets in the 8th house in this chart to help clarify or give an easy answer.
But we do have Capricorn, and the ruler of Capricorn, which is Saturn in Aries, out in the open air (11th house) where everyone can see it. In essence, Saturn is the agent of death. Saturn is retrograde, seeming to conceal its real identity. Stretching as far as I can, I cannot associate this particular Saturn with alcohol or drugs. It has no inherent association, which we would relate to Neptune, or in a pinch, Jupiter or Venus. It has no accidental association (such as falling in the 12th house, Pisces, or making close aspect to Neptune, particularly an opposition or square).
So, as for the nature and cause of death, I would rule out alcohol right away, and look for something else. But we do have Capricorn involved, and by association, Saturn — both of which are inherently involved with the government.
The House of Servants
Let’s check another house. Her death was blamed on a drunk servant. So let’s consider the house of servants, the 6th, and see what we can find. We should be able to see clear evidence of such a character. This house is decidedly more interesting. Libra is on the cusp, so Venus is the ruler. What is the condition of Venus?
Venus is in Libra, her home sign. So she is ‘where she belongs’, in a sense, and is at least strong and well-dignified. Venus, which represents the servant (chauffer Henri Paul) is not making an aspect to Neptune, which is the usual planet associated with drugs and drinking. Venus has recently made a trine to Jupiter, potentially associated with substances, but the trine is a day or two old. It does not speak to anything immediate. What is interesting, however, is that the Moon is making an exact aspect to Venus (a sextile). Like the ascendant ruler, the Moon can be the significator for the main person involved in an incident, and also for the question itself. And the Moon, making a tight aspect to Venus, points to a servant, the driver. Naturally, he has been implicated.
But a Moon-Venus sextile is not something that looks like a trigger, or a cause, particularly of something so violent. If the Moon were involved in a house or sign related to alcohol or drugs, I would be suspicious; but the Moon is in Leo and rules the 2nd and 3rd houses, which have the sign Cancer on the cusp. With the Moon placed in the 4th house (home, security), we get more a feeling of domesticity, and in Leo, it’s pretty positive.
Venus has one last association. Note, Taurus is intercepted up in the 12th house. The 12th deals with secrets, secret enemies and potentially with things that get you to bliss out. It would seem that Henri Paul, represented by Venus in Libra, somehow has two roles. And I might consider him in the role of assassin or secret enemy, had he not been killed himself.
But planets often represent two different people in a chart, and I would consider Venus (as the co-ruler of the 12th) as one potential candidate for the assassin, in a person other than Henri Paul. It could also suggest that Paul had two roles. A moment ago, I just found this in a Wikipedia page on the details of the crash:
Amongst speculative findings which have been confirmed by the inquiry are that the driver of the car was employed by the French Secret Service.
So here we have an image of the double role played by Paul. Indeed, he probably holds the mystery to this death, but most dead men tell no tales.
Chiron is on the cusp of the 6th house, in the last degree of Libra, about to change signs to Scorpio. Chiron, which deals with transitions, is a fitting planet to have here. Also in the 6th, in Scorpio, we have Mars. Mars in Scorpio in the 6th house can be an ‘agent of death’ due to the Scorpio involvement. Mars is exalted in Capricorn, the 8th ruler — so whoever Mars represents was another person implicated. Finally, we have Pluto in Sagittarius, more an image of religious extremism.
Probably the closest we come to the involvement of alcohol is that Mars in Scorpio. Mars does indeed come from the 8th (it’s exalted in Capricorn, so it’s considered a co-ruler of Capricorn). The combination of Mars and Scorpio can be volatile.
There is a lot more to this chart. I’ve just had a letter come in from my friend Dave, and he’s explained quite a few more layers and caught several things that I missed. He proposes, for instance, that Mercury as ruler of the ascendant pertains to the facts of the case — which were destroyed immediately (as symbolized by the Mercury-Sun conjunction).
He also gives the Moon’s association to Queen Elizabeth and the Sun to Princess Diana, and suggests that her death is a murder as symbolized by the imminent eclipse of the Sun (Diana) by the Moon (Queen Elizabeth). Read his full text here.
Let’s take a look at the minor planets next week, and see if we can find a conspiracy. But we may not need to look far. Henri Paul, a professionally trained chauffer, airplane pilot and Secret Service agent, cannot, by definition, be involved in an ordinary drunk driving accident. Indeed, there is nothing ordinary about this whole story.
— Tracy Delaney contributed research and ideas to this article.
Sign of Centaur
BACK when there was more active discussion about Chiron, one of the questions often debated was which sign it ruled. The two main factions favored Virgo rulership versus Sagittarius rulership. The Virgo camp reasoned that Chiron, a surgeon, healer and teacher, should be associated with the sign associated with these subjects. The foundation of the Sagittarius theory was that in some versions of Sagittarius, a Centaur is depicted as one of the main images, and Chiron often comes with that bold, pioneering feeling of adventure associated with Sagg.
Barbara Hand Clow, author of one of the most enduring books on Chiron, proposed that Virgo was associated with the healing function of Chiron, and Sagittarius with the questing function: both are frequently seen attributes of this planet. Other writers have tried to resolve the difference other ways, including the proposal that Chiron is associated with all four mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces).
Making matters more interesting, Chiron was described early on as a planet associated with the Christ energy. If Virgo is the sign of the Blessed Mother, then we have a beautiful affinity here as well.
Yet on one level, the discussion of rulership per se is moot, because the ancient system of associations between planets and signs (part of a much larger system called the Doctrine of Signatures), was devised when Saturn was the farthest known planet. The system is orderly, and includes rulership not just of signs but also of triplicities (for example, an element, such as water, is ruled by Mars), as well as divisions of signs, called faces and terms. There is also a day/night function. For example, the Sun is the day ruler of the fire signs, while Jupiter is the night ruler. Traditional rulership also covers other astrological properties, such as fall and detriment.
The Doctrine of Signatures takes the idea of rulership beyond signs and planets, however, and includes flowers, herbs, trees, metals, humors (i.e., blood, mucous) and many other attributes of nature that to my knowledge astrologers have not attempted to apply to the modern planets. It would be an interesting exercise, and a difficult one. A lot of knowledge is required, and the world is more complicated than it was in the 1st century BCE. We would need the assistance of trained alchemists and extremely talented herbalists. If I were putting together a committee, I would want a homeopath or two on board as well, since their knowledge embraces plants, minerals and animals and a wide variety of energetic states.
Yet as science discovered Uranus (1781), Neptune (1846), and Pluto (1930), astrologers have tried to neatly associate them with signs, and it’s now commonly accepted that these three planets ‘rule’ Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio, respectively. These rulerships work pretty well; in other words, when you apply them, you tend to get workable results. Except that they fall outside the ancient cosmic design scheme, and are literally afterthoughts. We need to remember this when trying to apply the notion of rulership to any planet discovered by science.
Changing Times, Changing Minds
In many ways, astrology is still getting used to what it calls the ‘modern planets’ — Uranus, Neptune and Pluto — and some astrologers are learning the names and attributes of the basic asteroids (which started to come along in 1801). There is also a movement largely headed up by Martha Lang Wescott that has laid down a foundation for using a large number of asteroids in a clear way, and she has a solid base of devotees.
But in the 29 years since Chiron’s discovery (the first Centaur is indeed having its Saturn return right now), the number of known bodies orbiting our Sun has shot up to nearly a quarter-million, which, given the current rate of discovery, is obviously a vast underestimate. It is little wonder that most astrologers tune out the whole process of discovery and delineation of new bodies, because it just seems like too much information. How could it all be useful, and how is it possible to keep up? How do you keep from being overwhelmed, and where do you begin?
I recently was on the phone with a major astrological software developer — and they had heard of Eris (a planet now classified as a dwarf planet, along with Ceres and Pluto) but did not know the name.
And what do you say, when you have to begin every discussion with some version of the statement that you really don’t know? (Case in point, this article begins by stating we don’t really know what sign Chiron rules, or if it rules any sign at all.) The problem is compounded by the fact that there are very few books covering these subjects (about five in total), and they are expensive and hard to find. When you look on the Internet, you can find a lot of conflicting information and a good dose of doom and gloom that often serves to prejudice astrologers from the outset of their work.
When you try to fit a newly discovered planet into the template of a personality description you find on a Sun-sign horoscope page, you’re going to get a severe distortion or misunderstanding at worst, and a half-truth at best. In my experience, it’s more useful and more grounded to discern what growth process a planet represents, rather than stating definitively what it ‘means’. To give an example, people are fond of saying that Chiron is ‘the wounded healer’. I would say that in one respect, Chiron represents the process of ‘healing through raising awareness’. Which is easier to comprehend, or put to good use?
Archetypes are complex, and they don’t exist in a vacuum. They are alive, they change, we change as we relate to them, and relating to them leads us to access information from another level of reality.
Any time you encounter an archetype, you’re going to find a number of facets, some of which may conflict or present opposing polarities. To relate to an archetype, one must be observant, and train the mind not to think conclusively. An open-ended quality is necessary, and this defies our usual intellectual patterns, particularly scientific ones. We are used to believing ‘this means this, and that means that’, but it doesn’t often work so well with new planets, or for that matter, with astrology at all. There are ‘aha’ moments along the way, and they are fun — yet these are not the endpoint; they are points of continuation, doors we go through to the next layer of understanding.
I suggest strongly that we take the whole discussion in context. If astrology represents some depiction or symbolic illustration of the mind, and some representation of how individual and cultural processes relate to one another, then one thing at least is clear: the whole business is changing very fast.
Let’s try this working from the general to the specific. We have seen that it’s possible to use new planets to access information and identify vital processes of growth, healing and living. Now we know there are a quarter million or so of these things, and gaining fast, and if we presume that they all represent some complex process of the psyche, that is a comment about us. There is a lot about ourselves that we do not know; we have a lot to discover. Life is a quest, and astrology is a tool we use as a part of that quest.
A Look at Sagittarius
Speaking of the quest, planets are not the only thing that is changing. We have better and better telescopes pointed into deep space, and one direction they are frequently looking is Sagittarius. That is, among other things, the direction of the Galactic Core, also called the Galctic Center. For a quick introduction, here is a snip of the Wikipediaentry:
Because of cool interstellar dust along the line of sight, the Galactic Center cannot be studied at visible, ultraviolet or soft X-ray wavelengths. The available information about the Galactic Center comes from observations at gamma ray, hard X-ray, infrared, sub-millimetre and radio wavelengths.
The complex radio source Sagittarius A appears to be located almost exactly at the Galactic Center, and contains an intense compact radio source, Sagittarius A*, which many astronomers believe may coincide with a supermassive black hole at the center of our Galaxy. Accretion of gas onto the black hole, probably involving a disk around it, would release energy to power the radio source, itself much larger than the black hole. The latter is too small to see with present instruments.
This is a recent discovery — but it’s little wonder that Sagittarius has always been associated with far-away people, places and things. In one respect, it’s the direction of home.
Another point in Sagittarius, if you can call it a point, is called the Great Attractor. It has taken scientists some work to locate it in space, but when you crunch all the numbers, you find it’s at about 14 degrees Sagittarius. The Great Attractor is the biggest thing known to science.
Like the Galactic Core, you cannot see it; it broadcasts on every frequency but visible. But it’s so massive that it’s drawing a million galaxies toward it (including our own) at the speed of 24 million miles a day. Note that this arrangement is situated in the heart of what is called the Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster — a group of galaxies and galaxy clusters.
Is it any wonder Sagittarius is such a compelling energy?
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, December 15, 2006, #641 – By ERIC FRANCIS
NOTE TO READERS: To help ease work flow in this rather busy moment, the last Sagittarius birthday report, covering birthdays surrounding the New Moon, will be distributed Monday (a bit later in the day than usual.) This will have something for everyone as I will also cover the Sagittarius New Moon as well. Due to holiday publication schedule changes, there is no Monday horoscope next week. Astrology updates continue daily on the Subscriber Homepage (please email if you do not have the current password to that area.) Thank you! -e.f.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
You are neither your mother nor your father, and you have the capacity to respond to life differently than they do. You are strong in your faith. You are a woman of the world. You have ideas that go beyond next week’s shopping list. Make a vow to not defend yourself at family gatherings. Rather, state your truth and make your choices. Family Focus: You’re about to visit the most spectacular show in the world. Do you want to be a spectator or participant?
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
The dramas never seem to end, and you may be wondering what exactly you’ve got yourself into — and how exactly it happened. None of this would be taking place if people didn’t envy, need or want you. But for that to be worth the paper it’s printed on, you must remember it at all times. Plenty of people would rather you forget. Family Focus: In any negotiations over finances, taxes or wills, make sure the discussion proceeds slowly — not quickly.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Just when you thought things could not get any more interesting, there’s been yet another surprise turn of the plot. I suggest you work with the factor of having no clue what’s going to happen next. For one thing, you can handle it. For another thing, life is more fun the less attached you are. This is an awesome time to live in the moment. Family Focus: People with a lot of opinions will soon discover their prejudices are worth surprisingly less than they thought.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Just the amount of activity, movement and excitement in the air will provide a lift at what is often a challenging time of year. The beautiful thing is that people are so absorbed in their own thoughts and enterprises, they barely have time to notice you. That’s another way of saying you’re actually free to do what you want. Family Focus:Secretly, you really do care what other people think. Now is a brilliant time to practice not caring at all.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You’re starting to admit how absurd all the rituals and expectations are — but this is doing nothing to dampen your spirits. Dive into life with not only the trust of a child, but with the curiosity and sense of adventure. The past has no hold on you, and neither do the people who cling to it desperately. Family Focus: Remember, the holidays mean more to kids than anyone. Go for the fun.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
When the locus of activity is your home, you’re the boss. But as the boss, you might want to surrender to whatever happens organically, and take charge of modest responsibilities like making sure there’s enough coffee, ice and paper cups. Right now, your life has a life of its own, and all you need to do for maximum fun is participate. Family Focus: Many transitions quietly are in motion. That is the momentous feeling in the air.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Siblings and cousins are finally growing up, and you can now see all you have in common with them. The things they thought were ridiculous last year may be of the highest importance to them now, but of course, you knew that all along. You’re in a special position of authority, so be supportive and choose your words with love and care. Family Focus: Without a matriarch, there is no family. Gradually you are assuming this role.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
When it comes to finances, you are the master of the game. To stay on top of your game right now, you’re going to need to listen to other people, of which there are plenty — yet never forget who’s making the decisions. Indeed, through all the holiday festivities, remember that simple fact on every score. Then others will remember, too. Family Focus: There are many surprises in the air, and most of them will come from children.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
It’s rarely a good idea to question good fortune, but it’s always a fine idea to notice it. Your life is indeed blessed, but those gifts are, one by one, going to transform themselves into qualities and experiences more precious than you imagined. The key to keeping them is to share them generously. Love increases by being given away. Family Focus: Because you feel safe, all the people around you feel safe. So, indulge yourself in calm strength and self-assurance.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
The pressure you seem to be under is an illusion. All you need to do is stay grounded. Notice the weather, taste the food you eat, and make sure you get plenty of your favorite music in your life. This will help you keep your sense of perspective, and also be surprisingly calming for both you and the people around you. Family Focus: Modern life has gone a long way to neutralize gender — but the strength you share has everything to do with owning and living your gender.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You accomplish so much because you never accomplish anything alone. You also tend to think of life as an opportunity to learn rather than as an opportunity to have a good time. The reward of that discipline is living a whole life, built on solid spiritual and ethical foundations. If others are lost, let that be a reminder that you are not. Family Focus:Someone important is missing from the scene. Pick up the phone and call.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
I suggest you spend your holidays asking the stories of everyone’s successes this year. Notice the unique way everyone defines success, and often, how small the achievements are. This will keep the focus off of you, and keep the focus where most other people are comfortable, on them. But what you learn from this entertaining little study will be priceless. Family Focus: You are the teacher in your midst, which makes you the most devoted student.