Happy Birthday, Your Majesty

Queen Elizabeth at her coronation, Westminster Abbey, June 2, 1953.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Today is the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, who is now Great Britain’s longest serving monarch. As of today, she has served 64 years and 72 days, recently surpassing her great grandmother, Queen Victoria (1837-1901), whose reign lasted 63 years and 216 days.

The third longest serving monarch of the United Kingdom held office for just over 59 years, and the fourth longest for just under 26 years (and the reigns get lot shorter after that). So whatever you may think of Elizabeth or of the monarchy, the length of her reign really is remarkable. And as is said in England, she’s showing no signs of wilting.

Queen Elizabeth in 2007.

Like many, I have a fascination with the British monarchy. But while many people wonder what that fuss is about — and, in particular, why in supposedly advanced times we have any need for monarchy at all — that is the part that makes the most sense to me. I’ll come back to that point in a moment. First, let’s consider who Queen Elizabeth II is.

Elizabeth’s father, George VI, succeeded to the throne in 1936 under unusual circumstances. His older brother, Edward VIII, had recently become king. But Edward fell in love with a divorced American socialite named Wallis Simpson. Edward wanted to marry her, but was advised by the prime minister that it would be inappropriate for a monarch to marry a divorcee.

This was not merely your average social scandal; there was concern that because Simpson would have two living ex-husbands, there was the potential for a constitutional crisis in the event of Edward’s death.

So, in late 1936, he abdicated the throne to the person next in line, his younger brother Albert, who was never expected to be king. He became King George VI. This happened during the breakup of the British empire into the Commonwealth, and during the rise of the Nazis in Europe (with World War II imminent). This person who had never mentally prepared to be king, and seemed ill-suited for the job, was suddenly in charge at one of the most crucial times in the empire’s history.

George VI led Great Britain through World War II. There is a remarkable depiction of him in a film called The King’s Speech. (My dad, a communications professor, recommended I see it, and I wish I had done so sooner — it is amazing.)

George, however, suffered a variety of ailments, and developed lung cancer; his left lung was removed in 1951. He died from a blood clot in his heart on Feb. 6, 1952, on which day his eldest daughter, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, became queen.

Elizabeth’s Chart: The Embodiment of Monarchy

Elizabeth was born in London on April 21, 1926. The time of birth of royals is generally well-recorded, and per Lois Rodden we have 2:40 am BST.

Then-Princess Elizabeth as a child. She still loves corgis.

That gives us Capricorn rising, a sign known for its endurance and for remaining steadfast to tradition, and her Sun in Taurus, also known for these qualities. Her Moon is in regal Leo.

There are so many interesting features to her chart that I must choose the most salient. One is that she has the South Node of the Moon rising in Capricorn.

This gives the feeling of having inherited the karma of the life she was going to lead, not just in the genealogical sense but in some past-life sense as well. Remember that she was not born as heir to the throne. That would not happen till she was 10 years old, when her father unexpectedly became king.

Another distinction is the alignment of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune in a T-square. They cover three of the fixed signs: Aquarius, Scorpio and Leo. Saturn in Scorpio is the most elevated planet in her chart, and signifies her gritty, pragmatic, persistent and seemingly death-defying occupation of office. Saturn is one degree from the 10th house cusp, the house that is about public responsibility.

While there is something dark and conspiratorial about her Saturn, there is no doubt that she is driven by a sense of duty to something larger than herself.

It is worth mentioning that her mundane angles — the meridian and the ascendant — both have important points closely conjunct them: one being the South Node in Capricorn rising, and the other Saturn on her midheaven. This is one illustration of both her longevity and her durability as monarch. This chart seems to say “born to do it.”

Yet both of these placements give her the chilly feeling she seems to emanate, and her sense of distance. On one level that appears to be an expected or normal enough feeling for a royal, though there is something steely about her. Margaret Thatcher, to whom she is often compared (and a close astrological cousin), had a similar feeling, though Thatcher in her leadership role would put it in your face, while the queen seems to toss it to you from a slight distance. Thatcher for her part has Saturn in Scorpio rising, and shares another distinction with the queen: the Leo Moon conjunct Neptune.

Natal chart of Queen Elizabeth II. You can see the T-square outlined by the red and purple lines in the middle of the wheel. Mars conjunct Jupiter in Aquarius is one point of the aspect, to the left; Saturn is above and to the left; Neptune and the Moon are above and to the right. You can see the South Node as the inverted horseshoe near the horizontal line.

Setting Maggie aside for now, the queen’s Moon in Leo conjunct Neptune adds a kind of fairytale quality to her life. Moon in Leo is regal as it is; Neptune adds the epic quality, the touch of the unreal, and a sense of being larger than life (or a figment of the imagination).

Moon-Neptune aspects can infuse one with a slightly distant feeling, as if they exist in a different dimension compared to the rest of us. In a sense they do.

They can also help the chart native project an image of their choosing, and this Elizabeth surely does: she really knows how to seem like the queen. We see that mystical regal quality distinctly lacking in her son and heir apparent Charles.

The third leg of Elizabeth’s T-square is Mars conjunct Jupiter in Aquarius. This describes her high level of intelligence: she has a fast mind, and one that is capable of being both broad and deep.

It is a task for those around her to keep up with her, and I suspect that most around her have come to trust her viewpoint because she is so often right. She’s not an easy person from whom to gain respect; I suspect you would have to prove your intelligence and judgment over and over again.

What is interesting is that she was born with Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune making a rare T-square, and we have such an aspect happening now. Further, she was born just prior to the most recent Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries (that happened in 1927 and 1928).

Elizabeth has Uranus in late Pisces and Eris on the Aries Point. She has lived long enough to experience a second one of these rare conjunctions in her lifetime (that happens in 2016 and 2017, with the first contact on June 9).

Why People Love and Need Monarchy

I am a fan of the American Revolution, imperfect though it was. When I read the Declaration of Independence, I feel the seething outrage at the abuse of monarchial power that the colonies were rising up against.

That said, I think there is something organic about monarchy. No matter how democratic people want things to be in theory, someone usually ends up being king or queen of just about everything. This is because most people, generally being confused and undisciplined, require leadership, and leadership seems to be an inherited or inborn trait.

“E-R My Arse!” The monarchy has its detractors. This is Karen Barnes, noted English artist and friend of Planet Waves, who wrote of the queen today, “I’ve always been quite humbled by her.” E-R stands for Elizabeth-Regina, meaning the queen. Members of the royal household staff have these initials on their uniforms.

People seek royal leadership, as evidenced by our obsession with celebrity, and by the absurd way that we elevate politicians and corporate chiefs to royal status, along with obscene wealth they cannot possibly ever spend and lack the creativity to use in some productive way.

The king or queen provides a psychological organizing principle, which in effect holds the space of the agreed upon leader on a human level. It’s reassuring to know that someone is in charge, which has a cascade effect through society. There can only be one king or queen, and with that office taken, we get it out of the way.

My sense is that monarchy with a constitutional form of governance is probably the most effective way to organize a country.

It’s really a problem when political leaders are elected to office, or purchase or steal office, and then count themselves as king.

On one level the monarch provides a symbolic role, but people seem to seek and crave someone there. We get another hint from the current obsession with Jesus the Christed one, often referred to as Christ the King: this character fulfills the need for someone to be in charge, a kind of cosmic father figure.

From there, a sense of order and organization is supposed to emerge on a spiritual level, but that does not happen — since for most people Jesus is indeed fictional, no matter how much they may obsess over him.

I recognize the problems of monarchy, including the insanely opulent wealth possessed by most royal families, the cost to the taxpayers, and the apparent lack of actual responsibility to society. None of that is necessary; that could all be subject to change, if people wanted it to change. And note, we get plenty of royal madness (and royal scams) in the supposedly democratic United States, where there is far worse inequality of wealth, and abuse of power and privilege, than in the UK or other modern monarchies.

What seems necessary, so that people don’t go totally insane, is to have some sense of a titular head of state, and continuity of government that is not strictly dependent upon politics.

Governments are still governments no matter what their style. They will continue to do horrible things until people take leadership of themselves and then, from a clear-headed and mature state of mind, demand and seek inclusion in the running of society.

Elizabeth is not a saint, but she is indeed the queen.


Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for May 2016, #1097 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — No matter what you may think or feel about the progress you’re making, you are building toward an unusual breakthrough. By unusual I mean once-in-a-lifetime, though it may happen in slow motion, such that you don’t notice for a while. Astrology, however, can help align you with your moment. There is a process that’s helping you get there, which may lead you to feel as if you’re delaying or lagging behind, though that’s not true. Mars retrograde in Sagittarius is inviting, enticing or compelling you to question your deepest-held beliefs about existence, which means about yourself. The situation as I see it is that who you are becoming is bigger than your current beliefs can contain. When you cross the boundary of a belief, you can stir up conflict about ‘trying to do the impossible’, which can be self-limiting. Therefore, before you strive to exceed what you think of as your current limitations, you will need to investigate them. One relationship that you’re in the process of changing is how you coexist with time. It will help immensely if you remember the ways you’ve learned what is possible when you use time well. Part of your assignment is learning the personal discipline to do what must be done each day. Part is remaining connected to your long-term goal. When you put the two together, you are unstoppable.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Your charts come back to one theme, which is connecting: with yourself, with someone (or more than one person) that you want to be closer to and, ultimately, with your purpose. Let’s take them one at a time. Connecting with yourself means going deeper into your own mind, led by curiosity. You are at the point where you can no longer stand being such a mystery to yourself. You may see aspects of yourself dramatized in your relationships, without recognizing it at first. Look for the parallels; allow the psychology of others and how they make decisions help you figure out what you actually want and need. As you do this, you’re likely to see the parallels between your approach to life and that of someone close to you. The term ‘absolute equality’ is coming to mind: I suggest you trust no concept of superiority, which also implies you living up to your end of any agreement as a matter both of honor and of dharma. This will be an exploration that’s likely to take you ever deeper into your feelings, your motives and your understanding of life. From this journey, you’re likely to get some information about purpose. Remember that, like the theme of a novel, purpose is usually implied rather than stated overtly. It’s something that you figure out, notice and embrace in degrees, one day at a time.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Once I wrote an article called “All Dogs Need Jobs.” Dogs want nothing more than to participate, which means having an assignment of some kind. This is an approach I suggest you apply to relationships as well. While the romantic notion of relationships is that they should exist for their own sake, I think that the lack of some agreed-upon purpose is where most relationships get lost. It could be a shared commitment to mutual happiness. It could be raising a family. It could be creating a business, or being missionaries in Zimbabwe. It could be giving one another the hottest sex ever. Whatever it is, I suggest that you define that thing as a tangible, observable purpose. You can proceed from this point with a commitment to explore, in what you might think of as a discovery process. First, notice what applying the concept of purpose does to your relationship and how you think about it. If you’re not currently in a partnership to which this applies, notice how it changes your thinking, or perhaps creates some apprehension. The reason I’m making this suggestion is that all relationships have a purpose, whether you’re aware of it or not, and whether you agree with your partner or not. The name of the game, in my view, is being fully connected to, devoted to, and responsive to a reason for being.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Be conscious of how much effort you exert, and notice what energy gets what result or reward. There are two main approaches you might take for the next few weeks; one brings results with relatively little effort, and the other might lead you to work your buns off with few benefits. Since it so often happens that great effort leads to little return, you will need to pay attention, especially when something you do goes well. That is the direction in which to proceed. One distinction between easy and difficult probably involves cooperation. How you use the energy and brainpower provided by others, and made available to you, is a significant element in this story. How you feel when you try to go it alone will also be helpful. To put this simply, you would be wise to learn how to ask for assistance, to drum up some cooperation among your peers, and to offer yourself voluntarily when you notice you might be of service. Think of this as stimulating your local economy, of which you are part. Remember that little of any consequence or service to humanity was ever built or created by one person working independently. Let this be no affront to your pride, or to your sense of your self-worth. Indeed, the value you share and exchange with others is the one you can most vividly feel and relate to.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You seem ready to take your professional life more seriously; your timing is good. You will make the greatest strides by using unconventional means. These days, unconventional (verging on really weird) involves actually calling someone on the phone, or showing up somewhere that you think might have an opportunity waiting or where you will gain experience or learn something new. Any error you make, or miscommunication you encounter, might contain an opportunity. Pause and look for what that might be; for example, if you get an email from someone by mistake, or dial the wrong company. Investigate what truth might exist within a misunderstanding. Notice whom you ‘just bump into’. You might also intentionally call up some old contacts and see what they have going on. All of this is predicated, of course, on you having some idea what you want to do and why you want to do it: some actual goal. I suggest, however, that this really be a top priority, something with substance and with lasting value. It’s likely to be something you’ve wanted to do for a long time, and are just connecting or reconnecting with. It will be worth every bit of your energy right now, though I suggest you aim high: consider your most important professional goal. And remember that you might get there in a way you were not expecting.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You seem to be walking that fine line between idealistic and practical. They only conflict if they are disconnected from one another. If you align the two, you will tap some unusual alchemy. This in itself is a practical exercise. You might have something you’re dreaming of. Can you describe it in words? Can you sketch it? Can you put a price on it? How long might it take to create? If you can answer a few of those questions, you’re entering the realm of the pragmatic. You might subject any desire to that kind of test; consider that anything you cannot ground in some describable, physical coordinates merely to be wishful thinking. The sketch, the outline and the timeline mean more than you might imagine. Then of course there is the question of how you could pay for it all. Yet once you have a concrete plan that you can describe to another person, money takes second place to ingenuity and drive. It’s often said that the airplane was invented for about $1,000, though it’s more impressive if you remember that money came from the profits of a bicycle shop. As my Godmother used to say in all sincerity, where there is a will, there is a way. Yet the vital thing is the will: the focused mix of desire and intention that you consciously devote to a purpose. And yes, your friends might think that’s radical or weird.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You can negotiate a better deal, though flexibility is a must. So, too, is a kind of optimism that you may not be feeling up to these days, though believe me when I tell you there is gold in them there hills. And not just gold: there is a potential meeting of the minds, on matters of real substance. Yet you must keep a positive frame of mind, and not allow frustration to get the best of you. Find reasons to rise above it; seek the ways to get hold of your mind and put your energy to work for you. You have plenty, if only you would tap into it creatively and constructively. If you find yourself blocked, look for workarounds. Slow your thoughts down; break complex tasks into steps; pause and ask yourself why you’re doing something. Most of all, use time as an ally rather than as an enemy. If you schedule things at a pace you can handle, and really ask yourself what has to be done by when, you will find your efforts easier to manage. But there is no substitute for understanding what you want, and what others want, and identifying the common ground between you. Those shared values are the basis of any real agreement, and you have plenty in common with key people in your life. They can easily be turned to mutual profit.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — A relationship seems to be changing shapes and sizes faster than you can keep up with it; this is an illusion. Beneath the top layer there is a solid foundation of consistency and stability. Yet you cannot deny that you need to take a fresh look at things, which could start with a few new ideas, and reviving a few old ones that have been left by the wayside. It will help to take a light-hearted approach and to remind yourself that if a relationship is not fun, then what is its real purpose? There’s another thing that might be coming up, which is what to do about attractions outside your primary relationship. These things happen to everyone, and they are real. You might face the question of whether to discuss them with a partner or love interest, or to keep them quiet. I think this conceals a deeper question: do you bring all of yourself, or just part of yourself, into your relationships? Do you experience yourself in sections or fragments, or do you experience yourself as one holistic entity? What you do attests to what you believe. It’s true that you may relate to different people different ways, though that’s a natural effect of when the energy fields of two unique beings meet. Give yourself space to be who you are at any moment.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may be experiencing a side of yourself that you rarely admit to inwardly, much less talk about openly with others. You might, for example, be remembering desires that you left behind or forgot about long ago. You might feel drawn inward, and toward a form of self-discovery that you cannot explain to the people around you. There is no need to. You don’t have to distract yourself with the thought of what others might think. Within your own interior space, only your opinions and viewpoints count now. While you’re there, remember to be gentle. You don’t have to judge what you think, feel or want. You are free to assess and revise your most deeply held beliefs. In fact it’s the perfect time for that. Remember, though, that beliefs often serve as psychological stabilizing devices for what otherwise might be a shaky relationship to existence. You don’t have to worry about that. When you question your beliefs, you tend to build a stronger relationship to truth; that’s because what is untrue only interferes with what is true. You can, therefore, afford to be bold about this. Leave no stone unturned, no found scrap of paper unread, no door un-knocked upon. When you run into any difficulty, look for the belief that it’s not true, and notice whether what seemed to be a problem resolves, or turns to a gift.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — It’s often said that fear is misdirected creative energy — though have you ever experienced that discovery for yourself? Remember that theory is not experience, and rationalizing is not a substitute for understanding. If you want to actually prove something, you must actually experiment. What would it mean to choose something you’re afraid of, face it and dance with it? There seem to be two levels of fear operating in you right now. One you can use as an excuse. The other presents some kind of a block. It’s difficult to see the real block if you’re fixating on the excuse. So you might just pause the story-generation machine and ask yourself what it is you’re concerned might happen if you truly confront what you’re afraid of. I have an idea what that might be: you might have the fun and pleasure you want to have. You might, as in you would likely, experience the love you say you seek and so often search for. Yet if you did, you would have to rearrange your whole belief system. If you confronted one fear successfully, you would then naturally want to confront the rest of them, since you would then be certain they are a waste of precious time and energy. Now for the real question: why ever would you hesitate to do that?

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It’s time to feather your own nest. You are doing much else besides: your chart in many ways describes what one might call public responsibilities, things that happen outside your own home and which are intended for the benefit or service of others. At the same time, you are advancing in society, or at least your chart describes that potential vividly. This comes with various ups and downs; peaks and lulls in effort; and greater or lesser results, depending on the day and the week. Make this work for you. For all its reputation as an android, the Aquarius solar chart is oriented with Taurus on your home angle, which is another way of saying solid, comfortable, and providing space for you, your friends and maybe a few critters. Living well, as you know, is the ultimate statement of your success. Planets are now gathered in Taurus, emphasizing the point. I suggest you make your home as beautiful as you feel inclined to. Invest resources there. Upgrade or replace what is worn. One large gesture in that regard (a new bed or bedding, for example) would remind you that you are, in reality, feathering your nest in the literal sense. Dig out your cupboards, clean them and replace what you don’t like with what you do like (all while praising the Goddess). The investment will come back to you manifold.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Pause and assess the progress you’ve made the past year. Slow down on your quest to take new territory, and develop what you’ve already begun, and begun well. Mars and Saturn continue to emphasize the theme of leadership, which means taking responsibility for your own life. As part of this pattern, you are doing some challenging work of integrating who you are as a person with the mission you came here to fulfill. This is integration on the level of total synthesis: there can no longer be a distinction between ‘you’ and ‘your mission’ or you and your message. Yet to do this well requires a level of self-awareness for which there are few examples to follow. This is why I’m suggesting a review phase, which would include filling in some gaps you may have left in your development process, organizing your physical space, evaluating your resources and getting a little rest. You need enough distance on your situation to get a fresh perspective or two. Remember that the thing you’re doing now is combining long-range commitment with the knack for discipline in the moment. These are two of the most essential factors for success; the third is vision, which for you means revision. Mars retrograde through late June is taking that to a deep level: connecting emotionally with your deepest commitment to your chosen purpose.

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