Henry VIII: Directing by Triplicity

King Henry VIII, whose life has been recently glamorized in The Tudors television series, is remembered for his serial marriages and his fractious relationship with the Roman Catholic Church. Defiance of, or disloyalty to, Henry generally ended in tears, as his wives and his clergy knew all too well. According to the medieval technique of Triplicity rulerships, the three Triplicity Lords of Henry’s 7th and 9th houses – their condition, receptions, aspects and rulerships – ought to show not only the general quality of his marriages and his religion but also third-parts of his life in these areas.

Henry lived from June 28, 1491 to January 28, 1547, a lifespan of 55.58 years. This gives three periods of 18.53 years. The Triplicity Lord of his 7th and 9th houses will rule over these periods as follows:

7th house 9th house
June 1491 – January 1510 Venus Sun
January 1510 – June 1528 Mars Jupiter
June 1528 – January 1547 Moon Saturn

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Marriage and Religion in Henry’s first life period (1491-1510)

Venus (0 Gemini 44) is the first Triplicity Lord of Henry’s 7th house and ruler of marriage during his first eighteen years of life. Being the first Triplicity ruler also gives her a general provenance over marriage for Henry, reinforced by her status as almuten of the 7th house, where she has dignity by Exaltation, Triplicity and Term.[i] Of course, Venus is a natural significator of marriage, along with the Moon.[ii] We may reason that this period of life will frame and define all of Henry’s subsequent marital history.

Venus is angular near the Midheaven (29 Taurus 09). This is a good position for a benefic, even though she is not in the same sign as the culminating degree. Venus rules the 10th, where her elevation anticipates the central role of women and marriage in Henry’s biography and emphasizes their importance to affairs of state during his reign. In humane Gemini, Venus will attract wives of stature and intelligence, in cooperation with Jupiter/7-ruler. With the exception of Anne of Cleves (whom he found dull and expendable), all of Henry’s wives were exceedingly bright, but none would surpass his first wife Catherine of Aragon, whom he married in 1509 just as Venus’ Triplicity rulership was drawing to a close.[iii]

Catherine was a truly exceptional woman. In 1507, during her betrothal to Henry, she assumed the ambassadorship for the court of Spain and so became the first woman ever to hold such a position in Europe. Widely hailed as the humanist model of a queen, she commissioned the publication of Juan Luis Vives’ controversial “The Education of Christian Women”, which argued that women have a right to a liberal education. Even her enemy Thomas Cromwell would say of her, “If not for her sex, she could have defied all the heroes of History.”[iv]

Henry’s marriage to Catherine was mainly a matter of state, intended to forge a bond between England and Spain. In fact, she was the widow of his elder brother Arthur, who died young from a mysterious illness, to which Catherine herself also nearly succumbed.[v] To preserve the nuptial compact between the two nations, a special papal dispensation was obtained so that Henry and Catherine could marry, since their union appeared to violate the forbidden degrees of kinship. This is shown astrologically: Venus comes from the 3rd house  of brothers (24 Libra 40) and receives a trine from Saturn (1st Triplicity Lord of the 3rd = elder brother ) retrograde on the cusp of 6th house of illness.

Of course, we would not expect romantic love to be the basis for a royal marriage in this era. Even so, Venus’ prominence will make this both the defining relationship of Henry’s life and the most intimate, a judgment confirmed by her sextile of Mercury/1-ruler, made more considerable by a good mutual reception (by domicile+term/term). Naturally, this configuration also adds to our picture of Catherine as brilliant, regal, and even compassionate queen.[vi] Her marriage to Henry lasted twenty-four years. Even after the annulment that he wrung out of the English divines, most of England and Europe regarded her as his true wife and the rightful queen of England until her death.

Despite her good qualities, Venus is not without her problems in Henry’s chart: peregrine and too masculine, being out of sect and oriental in a masculine sign. The Infanta Catherine was certainly not fully at home in the English court, and early in Henry’s reign, being older and more experienced than he, found herself in the uncomfortable position of being his political advisor. Venus is also in a tight conjunction with the South Node in a barren sign, a rather strong testimony to difficulties with childbearing, which would soon become the basis of “the king’s great matter”.

The Sun (14 Cancer 34) is the first Triplicity Lord of Henry’s 9th house and ruler of Henry’s religion and relationship to the Church during his first eighteen years. The Sun is the luminary of sect, and although succedent, he is still advantageously placed in the powerful 11th house.[vii] On the other hand, he is peregrine in a feminine sign, but this slight deficiency is somewhat mitigated by an mutual reception with the Moon at 10 Aries 44 in the 8th house (domicile/exaltation) intensified by an applying square sinister.

Some scholars, working backwards from Henry’s later rebellion, have tried to make the case that he was a skeptical youth. The astrology argues differently. The Sun being unimpeded in the 11th argues for a robust natural faith, while the strong mutual reception between the Luminaries suggests, in fact, that prince Henry’s religion in this first phase of life (> Sun) is completely entwined with the popular Catholicism of the English (Moon in Aries)[viii] learned at his mother’s knee (Moon = “the people” and “the mother”).

There is indeed every indication that Henry was religiously conventional at this time. For example, a very traditional, indulgenced prayer roll dating from 1505-1509 has been found inscribed in Henry’s own hand: “Willyam Thomas, I pray yow pray for me your lovyng master: Prynce Henry.”[ix] It also seems more reasonable to explain his fierce antipathy in mid-life towards the new Lutheranism as a development of earlier sentiment rather than a departure from it. However, since the Moon lacks essential dignity and therefore has little of substance to offer the Sun, I suspect that Henry will always be looking for something more, in a spirit of restlessness that will later play a role in driving the Henrician Reformation.

Marriage and Religion in Henry’s second life period (1510-1528)

Mars (26 Virgo 13) is the second Triplicity Lord of Henry’s 7th house and ruler of marriage from ages eighteen-and-a-half to thirty-seven. Mars is the malefic contrary-to-sect and hence a suspect influence in the geniture, although he is at least in sect below the earth, which cools his temper. Being in his Terms, Mars will be able to express his violence more or less appropriately, but we shall none the less expect from him more heat than light.[x]

Henry’s marriage to Catherine lasted through this entire period of life. From all accounts, things began happily enough, with Henry confident that a son would soon be born with an indisputable claim to the Tudor throne. Fittingly, Mars is the Exaltation Ruler of the 5th house (7 Capricorn 12) and rules the 4th house at 29 Scorpio 09 (= lineal succession) outright. In fact, Henry was obsessed over getting a male successor, so much so that we may wonder if the intense pressure upon Catherine did not contribute to the series of still births and infant deaths between 1510 and 1518. Like Venus, Mars is in a barren sign, similarly disposited by Mercury in barren Leo in the 12th house. Of their children, only Mary – who would eventually become queen, as it turned out – survived.

By 1518, Henry appears to have despaired of Catherine, and began taking mistresses (Mars is occidental the Sun, making his action more secret): Elizabeth Blount (1518), Mary Boleyn (1525) and finally Anne Boleyn (1526). His affairs with Blount and, very probably, the first Boleyn sister produced surviving male children. The sharp contrast between these fruitful liaisons with his disappointment from Catherine at the very least provided the occasion for Henry to ask whether his marriage to his brother’s wife had been cursed by God and ought to be annulled.

This period of Henry’s life comes to a close in 1528, the very year that he sends the Lord Chancellor Thomas Cardinal Wolsey to Rome to make a theological case for a divorce. The pope’s consent would leave him free to marry Anne Boleyn. Henry’s nativity promises this turn of events through a the very sharp square of Triplicity Lord Mars – by nature an instigator of strife – to Jupiter/7-ruler, out of signs inimical to Jupiter. The bid will fail, but Henry bulldozes on.

Jupiter (24 Gemini 23) is the second Triplicity Lord of Henry’s 9th house, taking over dominion of Henry’s religious life during this period. Jupiter is the benefic-of-sect, in hayz (in sect in a masculine sign) in angular in the 10th house. The Liber Hermetis finds good in this sort of configuration even when Jupiter is in a Mercury sign, his detriment, where he is said to make natives gifted to conduct affairs of state and articulate the rational basis of law.[xi] Since Mercury also rules Henry’s Ascendant, we should expect Jupiter to give some exceptional results along these lines.

It was about half-way through this period, in 1518, that Henry began writing his Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (Defense of the Seven Sacraments), in which he argued the mainstream Catholic position against Luther’s anti-papal ideas. For this, in 1521, Pope Leo X named him Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith), a title of which Henry was unabashedly proud and which was claimed by all English monarchs thereafter. We see in this a rather clear religious expression of Jupiter angular in a Mercury sign, with a dash of Mercury’s leonine pride thrown in for good measure.

I do think that the perspective of Liber Hermetis is incomplete. In the end, Jupiter’s exile in Gemini must damage his goodness, either shifting his expression outside the mainstream or taking away or spoiling his benefits in some way. And, indeed, Jupiter does go bad on Henry. Soon after completing the Assertio, Henry began to question vigorously why God was denying him a male heir and to work closely with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in crafting a formal theological case for divorce.

Ironically, the pope’s very public endorsement of Henry as a Catholic thinker emboldened him on a path that would lead directly to the separation of the English Church from Rome. It is a classic example of Jupiter in detriment: Jupiter produces something good only to subvert or else marginalize it. He seems never to have questioned his competence in divinity. When the pope (under great pressure from Charles V) ultimately refused Henry his divorce in 1527 (the end of the Triplicity period), it never occurred to him that his argument might have been wrong. Instead, he put the blame entirely on Wolsey’s diplomacy and would have executed him, had the cardinal not died of a sudden illness.

I should make one last point before moving on to the last section. The two Triplicity lords of the 7th and 9th houses, Mars and Jupiter, are also the domicile rulers of the 9th and 7th respectively. As we noted above, Mars and Jupiter are locked in a tight square, with both reporting to Mercury/1-ruler in the 12th house of self-undoing. Not surprisingly, then, matters of marriage and religion collided most dramatically as this second period of Henry’s life gathered steam.

Marriage and Religion in Henry’s third life period (1528-1547)

The Moon (10 Aries 44) is the third Triplicity Lord of Henry’s 7th house and ruler of marriage from ages thirty-seven to his death half-way through his fifty-fifth year. The Moon is utterly out of sect: in the diurnal hemisphere, oriental and in a masculine sign. She is also succedent in the malefic 8th house (suggesting fear, dread and death), unconnected to the Ascendant. While not essentially debilitated in moveable Aries, she is peregrine throughout the entire sign, which is too rash, violent and changeable a place for her.[xii]

In a chart as choleric and extreme as Henry’s, therefore, we might justifiably expect his 7th house affairs in this period to be marked by a succession of changes, violence, fear and possibly death, as they were. Each of Henry’s five marriages after Catherine labored under the shadow of grave uncertainties. This was not least because of his monomania over the succession, and later in life, his persistent suspicions of disloyalty and “meddling”.

Anne Boleyn became his wife in 1533 and bore Elizabeth, arguably one of England’s greatest monarchs. Yet, without male issue she would both eventually fall victim to Henry’s ever shifting affections. His next three marriages were fitful and essentially tragic: Jane Seymour dead following childbirth, Anne of Cleves put aside (a blessing for her in disguise), Catherine Howard executed – with probable cause – for “treason” (i.e., adultery). Only Catherine Parr outlasted Henry, and even she nearly lost her life for sedition when accused by Thomas Cromwell of being a secret Protestant. The Liber Hermetis says that with the Moon in the Terms of Venus, “there are difficulties with women and the person suffers at the hand of a woman”.[xiii] Doubtless, Henry had difficulties with women in this period, but it was they, not he, who suffered the more.

The Moon does rule the benefic 11th house (> friends), so we may say that there is a relationship between his intimate relationships and his friendships during this period. Except for the disastrous union with the German princess Anne of Cleves, to whom he was betrothed sight unseen (except for a small Holbein portrait), his remaining wives, all[xiv] of them commoners, began as his associates at court. Out of proximity grew friendship and eventually intimacy and marriage.

The square of the Moon and Sun, with their potent mutual reception, shows how tense, results-driven and perilous these marriages were, and yet paradoxically full of tenderness, on which even poor Anne of Cleves remarked. The mutual reception indicates strong bonds, in which both partners wish to exchange benefits. But both Sun and Moon are lacking in essential dignity – and the Moon rather afflicted – so they have little to give one another. Little, at least, from Henry’s point of view. Had he been less temperamental and egocentric, he might have been able to really capitalize on his assets: Mary, Elizabeth and finally Edward, born to Jane Seymour in 1537. But such a profound transformation of character would be difficult one with so choleric chart as Henry’s, not to mention a Leonine chart ruler who dominates the chart from the 12th house.[xv]

Saturn (6 Aquarius 42) is the third Triplicity Lord of Henry’s 9th house ruling Henry’s religious life during his last eighteen-and-a-half years of life. Saturn is in his domicile but otherwise a sore spot in the chart. He is retrograde and virtually cadent, pushing from the 5th house into the unfortunate 6th.[xvi] At this same time, the 12th house comes under Saturn’s influence through Triplicity, triggering themes of conspiracy, self-undoing and illness,[xvii] particularly through his opposition from the 6th house.

Saturn is in the lunar hemisphere, hence out of sect. Liber Hermetis tells us that, when out of sect, Saturn will “destroy the father and the father’s family or the father’s homeland” and if “receiving difficult aspects, then it rejoices in evil.”[xviii] It is difficult to penetrate Hermes Trismegistus’ reasoning. Building on Brady’s conjecture, I surmise that the “father” signifies established social structures, in which the “mother” is subordinate. The Moon, on this view, serves the Sun’s ordering of things. All things being equal, Saturn in sect will labor to protect the establishment. But out of sect, in the lunar realm, Saturn – if in a position of power – will tend to upset this hierarchical scheme. From the vantage point of patriarchy, this sort of thing must look like a revolution: the destruction of the “father’s homeland”.

These were, of course, the most turbulent and often dangerous years of religious revolution that England had ever seen up to this point. Pope Leo X had refused Henry a divorce in 1527. This was the year leading into Saturn’s ascent to dominance of the 9th house in 1528. In the ten years that followed, Henry would charge the Catholic clergy with high treason (1530), pardoning them only on condition of absolute submission to the Crown (1531), assert himself successfully as Supreme Head of the Church of England (1532), win the Act of Supremacy from an increasingly Reformed Parliament (1535) and finally destroy the network of monasteries and shrines that were the bedrock of English Catholic life (1536-8).

By frustrating Henry’s will in 1527, the Church inadvertently triggered what is probably the paramount aspect in his chart: the opposition of Mercury and Saturn. The opposition is razor sharp, with a mutual application wanting only 5 minutes arc of perfection, giving it incredible intensity. Furthermore, it involves the Ascendant Lord, with Mercury and Saturn vying for control of the chart, and only a negligible mutual reception (Face/Term) to soften their animosity. It offers the clearest picture of the great contest that would unfold between English Crown (Mercury) and the Roman Church (Saturn).

The opposition is all the more ferocious because Mercury is operating from the sign of Saturn’s detriment, and definitely holds the upper hand, ultimately controlling five of the other six planets, (including both Lights) and through them the angles. Saturn is well placed in his own domicile, but his position is greatly weakened by being cadent, out of sect and retrograde. Henry always retained his advantage, through the well-compensated loyalty of his nobles and his broad popularity with the common folk (again, the mutual reception between Moon and Sun). The Catholic Church in England was at a great disadvantage, in part because it was secretly a house divided. Many clergy sympathized with the objectives of the reformation on the continent and genuinely desired change within the church establishment (Saturn retrograde/out of sect, hence working in an anti-establishment way).

Appendix 1: 7th and 9th house triplicity lords

I. 7th House Triplicity Lords (water house)

1.     1st Venus (marriage): in the 10th, also trip. ruler 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th & 11th houses at the same time
2.     2nd Mars (conflicts): in the 2nd, also trip. ruler 4th, 8th & 11th houses at the same time
3.     3rd Moon (partnerships): in the 8th also trip. ruler 4th, 8th & 11th houses at the same time

II. 9th House Triplicity Lords

1.     1st Sun (journeys): also trip. ruler 12th house at this time
2.     2nd Jupiter (faith and religion): also trip. ruler 12th house at this time
3.     3rd Saturn (foresight and intuition): also trip. ruler 12th house at this time

Appendix 2: Condition of Triplicity Rulers of Henry VIII’s 7th and 9th houses Planets

I. Sun – 14 Cancer 34

1.     Luminary of sect; but in feminine sign (Cancer)
2.     Succedent in the 11th, a powerful house.[xix] In Cancer, “This makes a person moderate with their ambitions and work. It indicates those who fail easily and many who may well have stomach complaints or illnesses of the sexual organs”.[xx]
3.     Moderate strength: Peregrine in a feminine sign, but in a masculine quadrant
4.     Ruler of Leo – the 12th house; dispositor of Mercury
5.     Ruled by the Moon in Aries in the 8th house
6.     Aspects: square the Moon
7.     Mutual receptions: Sun/Moon = domicile/exaltation; Sun/Mercury = term-face/domicile-triplicity; Sun/Jupiter = exaltation/face
8.     In the terms of Mercury: “The person will be exalted and have a sense of daring. They will rise above the station of their parents and will raise their own children, as well as those of others. They may be well-known in their career and will marry someone they have known since childhood. If Mercury is also with the Sun in this term, then it leads to wanderers.”
9.     First Triplicity Lord of Fire Houses
i.     9th house (Aries) – (a) journeys & (b) religion in the 1st third of life
ii.     12th house (Leo) – (a) enemies generally & (b) enemies and self-undoing in the 1st third of life
II. Moon – 10 Aries 44
1.     Out of sect, in the diurnal hemisphere, in a masculine sign: ex conditione
2.     Succedent in the 8th house
3.     Quite weak: peregrine and oriental in a malefic house, averse the Ascendant
4.     Ruler of Cancer – the 11th house and dispositor of the Sun
5.     Ruled by Mars, in his terms on the 2nd house cusp
6.     Aspects: (a) applies to square sinister (waning) of the Sun, with reception (Exaltation/Domicile); (b) separates from a trine of Mercury, without reception; (c) separates from a sextile of Saturn, without reception
7.     Mutual receptions: Moon/Sun = exaltation/domicile;
8.     In the terms of Venus:  “If Venus is not in the same sign, then there are difficulties with women and the person suffers at the hand of a woman.”[xxi]
9.     Second Triplicity lord of Earth Signs, ruling
i.     1st house: 2nd third of life
ii.     2nd house: 2nd third of life respecting wealth
iii.     5th house: (a) sensual pleasures & (b) 2nd third of life respecting children and pleasures
iv.     10th house: (a) leadership skills & (b) 2nd third of life respecting Status and Honors
10.  Third Triplicity lord of Water Signs, ruling
i.     4th house: (a) how one ends things; negotiation skills & (b) the home in the last third of life
ii.     7th house: (a) associations/partnerships & (b) marriage in the last third of life
iii.     8th house: (a) money from others & (b) 8th house matters in the last third of life
iv.     11th house: (a) success of one’s ventures & (b) friends in the last third of life

III. Mercury – 6 Leo 37

1.        Out of sect (i.e., occidental in a daytime chart)
2.        Pushing from the 11th into the 12th house; more cadent than succedent
3.        Difficult planet: peregrine, working for the malefic 12th of self-undoing, occidental, opposed by Saturn on the 6th cusp; helped only by sextile of Venus at the MC and trine from the Moon, who applies to Mercury’s dispositor Sun
4.        Ruler of Virgo and Gemini, thus 1st and 2nd houses and dispositor of Venus, Jupiter and the South Node
5. Ruled by the Sun in the 11th house
6.        Aspects: opposition Saturn, trine Moon, sextile Venus
7.        Mutual receptions: Mercury/Sun = dom.+trip/term+face; Mercury/Venus=term/dom.+term; Mercury/Saturn=face/term
8.        In the terms of Venus: “The person is a singer or their voice is heard in the temple by “god”. They marry someone of their own blood.”[xxii]
9.        Second Triplicity Lord of Air Signs:
i.     3rd house: (a) near sibling & (b) siblings in the middle third of life
ii.     6th house: (a) servants, employees & (b) servility and illness in the middle third of life

IV. Venus – 0 Gemini 44

1.        Out of sect in a masculine sign: ex conditione
2.        In the 10th house & angular very near the MC
3.        Very powerful by angularity, but she is excessively masculine (> out of sect, oriental, masc. sign) and peregrine
4.        Ruler of Taurus and Libra – the 10th and 3rd houses
5.        Ruled by Mercury in Leo, working for the 12th house
6.         Aspects: sextile Mercury, trine Saturn (in a position to resolve the Mercury/Saturn opposition); in a whole sign conjunction of Jupiter
7.        Mutual receptions: Venus/Mercury=dom.+term/term; Venus/Saturn=trip./face
8.        In the terms of Mercury: “The person will have rank and their life will go well for them. If both Venus and Mercury are connected in the chart, this also implies they will be mathematicians or astronomers[xxiii].”
9.        First Triplicity Lord of Water Signs
i.      4th house: (a) children & (b) children and pleasures in the first third of life
ii.     7th house: (a) intimate relationships & (b) marriage in the first third of life
iii.   8th house: (a) quality of death & (b) death in the first third of life
iv.   11th house: (a) faith, in the sense of trust[xxiv] & (b) faith and friends in the first third of life
10.      First Triplicity Lord of Earth Signs
i.      1st house: first third of life
ii.     2nd house: wealth in the first third of life
iii.   5th house: (a) children & (b) children and pleasures in the first third of life
iv.   10th house: (a) profession and status & (b) honors and status in the first third of life

V. Mars – 26 Virgo 13

1.        In sect (but malefic contrary to diurnal sect, so more suspect) : “This position indicates dealers in arms and evil men of evil manner who pursue evil purposes. They are imposters or traitors or the punishers of such men.”[xxv]
2.        On the 2nd cusp, hence succedent
3.        In his terms, in reasonably good condition; occidental hence more subdued or hidden
4.        Ruler of Aries and Scorpio – 9th and 4th houses; dispositor of the Moon
5.        Ruled by Mercury in Leo, working for the 12th house
6.        Aspects: square Jupiter; trine the MC
7.        No mutual receptions
8.        In the terms of Mars: “The person will be exalted and glorified in the way of the “sword”. Aggressive and at times violent, they will have enemies and will die violently.”[xxvi]
9.        Second Triplicity Lord of Water Signs
i.          4th house: (a) home and physical space & (b) the home in the middle third of life
ii.        7th house: (a) conflicts & (b) marriage in the middle third of life
iii.       8th house: (a) interest in ancestors[xxvii] & (b) death in the middle third of life
iv.       11th house: (a) friends & (b) faith and friends in the middle third of life
10.        Third Triplicity Lord of Earth Signs
i.        1st house: last third of life
ii.       2nd house: wealth in the last third of life
iii.     5th house: (a) honors & (b) children and pleasures in the last third of life
iv.     10th house: (a) stability of career & (b) honors and status in the last third of life
VI. Jupiter – 24 Gemini 23
1.        In sect and in hayz (+ benefic of sect): “Yields those who are conducting royal affairs or are overseers of estates. They make out the censor lists and have public employment. They issue employment to others for civil works and are proclaimers of the laws. These are skilled people who live well and have the ability to earn a livelihood from reckoning or from tables or from negotiations.”[xxviii]
2.        In the 10th house and angular, but far from the MC
3.        Powerful by angularity but in detriment and peregrine, signifying alternative or corrupt expression; mitigated by being oriental
4.        Ruler of Sagittarius and Pisces – 7th and 8th houses & part ruler of 4th house
5.        Ruled by Mercury in Leo, working for the 12th house
6.        Aspects: square Mars; whole sign conjunction with Venus
7.        Mutual receptions: Jupiter/Sun=face/exalt.
8.        In the terms of Saturn: “Whatever is gained can be lost. This indicates difficulties in building a base and holding on to what one has earned. Life will be difficult until they are 42 years old as they wander and travel with no real roots. After this they may return home, only to be restless.”[xxix]
9.        Second Triplicity Lord of Fire Signs
i.      9th house: (a) faith and religion & (b) wisdom in the middle third of life
ii.     12th house: (a) fruitless labors & (b) imprisonment & undoing in the middle third of life
10.    Third Triplicity Lord of Air Signs
i.      3rd house: (a) younger sibling & (b) siblings in the last third of life
ii.     6th house: (a) fruits of labor or usefulness of servants[xxx] & (b) illness in the last third of life

VII. Saturn – 6 Aquarius 42

1.        Out of sect but in its similitude (masculine sign): “Saturn in this condition will destroy the father and the father’s family or the father’s homeland. They will be always travelling and stealing royal business. Or they are priests and of practised counsel. They may become heirs and end up in public employment or in accounting or in the office of overseers of sacred things. They may be shipmasters or be involved in business, tax collectors and fathers of strange children.”[xxxi]
2.        In the 5th pushing into the 6th house: effectively cadent
3.        In rulership and triplicity, but retrograde and determined to a bad house
4.        Ruler of Capricorn and Aquarius – 5th and 6th houses
5.        In domicile
6.        Aspects: opposition of Mercury, sextile Moon, trine Venus
7.        Mutual receptions: Saturn/Mercury=term/face; Saturn/Venus=face/trip.
8.        In the terms of Mercury: “These will be the first born or the first to reach maturity. They will rule their father’s home because of their prudence. But they will receive sorrow from their partner or children.”[xxxii]
9.        First Triplicity Lord of Air Signs
i.      3rd house: (a) elder sibling & (b) siblings in the first third of life
ii.     6th house: (a) illness and convalescence & (b) illness and servitude in the first third of life
10.      Third Triplicity Lord of Fire Signs
i.      9th house: (a) wisdom, foresight, intuition and (b) wisdom & religion in the last third of life
ii.     12th house: (a) the collective and (b) enemies & self-undoing in the last third of life.

Astrological Sources

Abu’ali al-Khayyat. The Judgment of Nativities. Trans. J.H. Holden. AFA Press, 2008.

Al-Biruni. The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology. Trans. R. Ramsay Wright. Astrology Classics, 2006.

Bonatti, Guido. The Book of Astronomy, in two volumes. Trans. Ben Dykes. The Cazimi Press, 2007.

Brady, Bernadette. “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I.”

Epstein, Meira. Cited from memory.

Hermes Trismegistus (attrib.). Liber Hermetis – Part II. Trans. Robert Zoller. Ed. Robert Hand. Golden Hind Press, 1993. Cited in Bernadette Brady, AstroLogos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I.

Houlding, Deborah. Houses, Temples of the Sky. Wessex Astrologer, 2006.

Lilly, William. Christian Astrology, Books 1 and 2. Astrology Classics, 2005.

Schoener, Johannes. Opusculum Astrologicum. Trans. and ed. R. Hand. The Golden Hind Press, 1993). Cited in Bernadette Brady, AstroLogos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I.

Ptolemy. Tetrabiblos. Trans. F.E. Robbins. Loeb Editions, 2001.

Non-astrological sources

– “Arthur, Prince of Wales.” Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur,_Prince_of_Wales. Accessed on March 9, 2011.

– “Catherine of Aragon.” Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Aragon. Accessed on March 9, 2011.

Chapuys, Eustace. Imperial Ambassador, 1533 Calendar of State Papers, Spanish, IV, ii, 737.

Nikkha, Roya. “Exciting discovery reveals Henry VIII as firm believer in Catholicism”. Http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/5104993/Exciting-discovery-reveals-Henry-VIII-as-firm-believer-in-Catholicism.html. Accessed on March 10, 2011.


[i] Bonatti does not appear to use the simple almuten of the 7th. Instead, he is interested in the topical almuten, having the greatest dignities over the 7th house, Moon, Venus, and the Part of Marriage. Still, it is reasonable to think that the 7th house almuten will have some influence over his marriages. See Volume I, Treatise 9 in Guido Bonatti, The Book of Astronomy (Vol. I & II) (The Cazimi Press, 2007), 1287.

[ii] See Volume I, Treatise 9 in Guido Bonatti, The Book of Astronomy (Vol. I & II), 1287.

[iii] One of my teachers, Meira Epstein, observes that the end of planetary period is nearly always marked by a dramatic event of that planet’s nature. We must, she believes, think of a planetary period as a cycle rather than a linear phase. The end of such a period is therefore a kind of symbolic return, not unlike a planetary revolution.

[iv] Eustace Chapuys, Imperial Ambassador, 1533 Calendar of State Papers, Spanish, IV, ii, 737. Cited in Wikipedia entry “Catherine of Aragon”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Aragon, accessed on March 9, 2011.

[v] See Wikipedia entry “Arthur, Prince of Wales”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur,_Prince_of_Wales, accessed on March 9, 2011.

[vi] Her brilliance is confirmed by Mercury. Her regal spirit is shown by Venus in the 10th house in mutual reception with Mercury in Leo. Her compassion: Venus receiving Mercury in the 12th house. Catherine started a major campaign of relief for the poor. See Wikipedia entry “Catherine of Aragon”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Aragon, accessed on March 9, 2011.

[vii] One of Ptolemy’s “powerful places” mentioned in Tetrabiblos III.10. See discussion of this concept in chapter 9 of Deborah Houlding, The Houses – Temples of the Sky (The Wessex Astrologer Ltd, 2006), 109-23.

[viii] England is an Aries country. See William Lilly, See, for example, William Lilly, Christian Astrology, Books 1 and 2 (Astrology Classics, 2005), 94.

[ix] See Roya Nikkha, “Exciting discovery reveals Henry VIII as firm believer in Catholicism”, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/5104993/Exciting-discovery-reveals-Henry-VIII-as-firm-believer-in-Catholicism.html, viewed on March 10, 2011.

[x] Mars in his own Terms is glorified through violence: “The person will be exalted and glorified in the way of the “sword”. Aggressive and at times violent, they will have enemies and will die violently.” See Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 58.

[xi] See Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 58.

[xii] According to Abu ‘Ali al-Khayyat, the Moon in a Mars domicile attracts “anger, bitterness”. See The Judgments of Nativities, chap. 45, trans. James H. Holden (AFA Press, 2008), 97.

[xiii] Johannes Schoener, Opusculum Astrologicum, trans. and ed. R. Hand (Golden Hind Press, 1993), cited in B. Brady, “AstroLogos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I”, p. 68.

[xiv] Another manifestation of the Moon, who is a natural significator of common folk. See, for example, William Lilly, Christian Astrology, Books 1 and 2 (Astrology Classics, 2005), 81.

[xv] Mercury is the final dispositor for all planets, except Saturn.

[xvi] I do think that Saturn still has a bearing on 5th house matters, especially as he rules the 5th house cusp (7 Capricorn 12). Saturn in the 5th aptly encapsulates his besetting problem in life: a want of children.

[xvii] He definitely suffered from gout, and many believe that syphilis gradually deranged him in his latter years.

[xviii] Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 50.

[xix] One of Ptolemy’s “powerful places” mentioned in Tetrabiblos III.10. See discussion of this concept in chapter 9 of Deborah Houlding, The Houses – Temples of the Sky (The Wessex Astrologer Ltd, 2006), 109-23.

[xx] Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in “AstroLogos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I”, p. 64.

[xxi] Johannes Schoener, Opusculum Astrologicum, trans. and ed. R. Hand (Golden Hind Press, 1993), cited in B. Brady, “AstroLogos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I”, p. 68.

[xxii] Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 67.

[xxiii] Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 66.

[xxiv] See Guido Bonatti, The Book of Astronomy (Vol. I & II), 111.

[xxv] See Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 58.

[xxvi] See Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 58.

[xxvii] In Treatise 2, Bonatti (referencing al-Andarzagar) describes this as “ancient or old matters”. The Book of Astronomy (Vol. I & II), 109.

[xxviii] See Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 58.

[xxix] Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 50.

[xxx] In our era, most people do not generally have servants or employees and have to do their own servile work, hence “success from one’s efforts.” See Treatise 2 in Guido Bonatti, The Book of Astronomy (Vol. I & II), 105.

[xxxi] Liber Hermetis – Part II, chap. 23, cited in Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 50.

[xxxii] Bernadette Brady, “Astrologos Medieval Certificate Study Guide I,” 48.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary (NJ) March 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Not to quibble, but all of the charts for Henry VIII that I’ve seen had Mars on the asc and Jupiter on the MC, though I believe all the house cusps are still the same as this chart. It’s interesting using this method for the 6th house of illness. He was robust and athletic in youth (Saturn, first ruler in domicile), Mercury rules the second third of life and it opposes Saturn, this is when is health began to deteriorate. The last third would be ruled by the Jupiter in detriment, he was extremely obese and had fetid sores on his legs from diabetes which would not heal. Aquarius rules the lower legs. Venus, the general ruler of sugar (diabetes) is conjunct the south node (where he will suffer).

Dr. Christopher Magnus March 30, 2011 at 9:16 pm

The old second hand sources are inconsistent as to both date and time. Cardan gives June 28, 7 AM while Gadbury preferred 10:30 AM. But elsewhere, Gadbury says June 27 at 10:40 PM (Ashmole Ms. No. 243 in the Bodleian)! Martin Harvey in Astrology Journal, Summer 1972 quotes the birth record as giving 8:45 AM. I’m just quoting Rodden here. One of my instructors has suggested 8:48 AM, however, as a rectification.

I suspect that the chart with Mars on the Ascendant represents a 17th c. rectification based on personality and physique. But I believe we can get all of Henry’s bellicosity through the extraordinarily choleric temperament given by his geniture. And I do like Mars on the cusp of the 2nd. It shows Henry’s financial profligacy, which eventually led him to debase the coinage of the realm and, of course, to plunder the monasteries (9-ruler Mars comes to the 2nd).

Wonderful insights into Henry’s 6th house. I haven’t explored this side of his chart. It may be important, too, that this debilitated Jupiter is locked in a very difficult square with Mars, out of the signs of Jupiter’s detriment. Mars, of course, rules the last third of Henry’s life (as 3rd trip ruler of the 1st). Hence, the life is challenged by serious illness during these last 18 years.

Thank you!

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