Who Wrote Shakespeare? Astrology lifts the Veil

Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare? For years conspiracy theories have raged round the authorship of his plays. Could these dramatic masterpieces so dense in meaning, so rich in allusions, exhibiting such deep wisdom and extensive life experience have been written by the son of a country tradesman with little education? Cases have been made for more qualified authors – Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, the Earl of Oxford, for example – the whole quandary having arisen from a lack of solid facts about the Bard’s life.

For a starter his exact date of birth is unknown, which has always flummoxed astrologers. And none of his personal papers including any manuscripts of plays have ever been found, which is highly unusual in the case of a writer who was already recognized in his lifetime as a great poet. So before he died did Shakespeare intentionally make a bonfire of all evidence of his private life, and if so why? Because he wished to be known to posterity through his works rather than his biography? Perhaps he had secrets to hide and sought anonymity to protect his public reputation. Or maybe he never wrote those wonderful plays and poems in the first place!

Literary researchers on the trail of Shakespeare the man turn to his sonnets, hoping to hear his personal voice in them, and glimpse the face behind the mask. And there they find evidence of an emotional roller-coaster suffered during two parallel relationships – a love affair with a blonde Adonis of a youth, and a passionate addiction to a dark Plutonic lady who wiped the floor with him. There have been centuries of speculation about the identity of these two characters, though critics have pointed out that the feelings expressed in these poems are not necessarily the poet’s. Shakespeare earned his living by his pen, and they could have been commissioned by wealthy patrons to send to lovers of their own. If only we had a reliable birth chart the question could be resolved once and for all by investigating Shakespeare’s natal Venus and its transits – which would also cast a light on the fraught question of Will’s sexual orientation!

It was worth a try. So I drew up a birth chart for the Bard using the archetypal, top-down method of rectification I’ve developed over the years, which I’ll now share. My first step was to read a good, up-to-date life, and I chose Peter Ackroyd’s Shakespeare: the Biography.[i] There I discovered many comments and anecdotes by people who had known him (or knew people who had known him) that have come to light since I studied Shakespeare for my BA back in the 1960’s. And I used this material to define Will’s main character traits and behavior patterns, which I could then employ as pointers to his most appropriate rising sign.

Starting with the fact of Shakespeare’s baptism on Wednesday 26th April 1564 in Stratford parish church, I noted that, due to the high infant mortality rate in those days, it was customary to baptize infants within a few days of their birth, however not on the same day unless in times of plague. Records show there was no plague in Stratford in April 1564 (though it spread there later that summer). I also learned about the high degree of social conformity in Elizabethan country towns where traditions had to be observed. Thus Will’s dad would have carried him to church to be christened, accompanied by the godparents, while his mum remained confined to the birthing chamber.

It’s therefore almost certain that Shakespeare was born either on the 23rd, 24th or 25th of April (remembering of course this was before the reform of the calendar, which is why his adjusted sun falls on 12-14 degrees Taurus). Today we celebrate the bard’s birthday on the 23rd because it’s Saint George’s day and thus appropriate for a national treasure. It also happens to be the day of his death fifty-two years later, which joins up the ends of his life into a neat circle. But is it correct?

The Solar Fire ephemeris informed me that the only planet to change signs during the three days in question was the moon, which moved from Libra to Scorpio. All the other planets kept their signs and aspects. Before deciding between Libra and Scorpio however, I decided to tackle the question of Will’s rising sign, as knowing the position of the moon on the wheel of the houses would be of help. By the way, I use the equal house system in my work, which I’ve found best suits my archetypal approach to a birth chart, as justified in my book Inside the Cosmic Mind: Archetypal Astrology and the new Cosmology.[ii]

I started by investigating the balance of elements in Will’s chart to see whether any of the four were under-represented – yes, air! Then I considered whether airy qualities come over strongly in his writing and in the biographical snippets. I remembered reading that a literary statistician has discovered sixty different species of birds mentioned in his work, along with multiple descriptions of birds in flight and evidence that Will couldn’t bear the idea of trapping and encaging them. Well that was airy for a start!

Then the 17th century writer John Aubrey, who knew a family who’d known Will in his youth, describes him as ‘quick and nimble’ with ‘a very ready and pleasant smooth wit.’ Lightness, communication skills and verbal fluency belong, of course, to the air archetype. And not only do we find many articulate and witty characters in his plays, but Will himself, it seems, was admired for his verbal dexterity and quick repartees.[iii]

You’ve noticed, perchance, that we’re steering towards Gemini, whose mutability also fits with what we’ve discovered so far. Ackroyd notes that in his plays Shakespeare ‘delights in pairs, in doubleness, in oppositions’.[iv] We often find scenes where debates are set up between characters with opposing opinions, and is there a writer in the English language with a larger vocabulary? His writing is so wordy it’s become a problem in our age of text messaging, and huge chunks of verbiage are regularly cut out of his plays in modern theatre productions. What better description of a Gemini poet could we have than the following quotations from Ackroyd? ‘The images of his plays are filled with flight and swift action, with movement and lightness.’[v] He was ‘the poet of speed and agility,’ and ‘in love with movement in all of its forms, as if only in that quick sway and acceleration could he catch the vital life of things.’[vi]

Further support for Gemini as a dominant archetype in Will’s makeup is the fact that his first child, Susanna, had her sun in Gemini, and signs run in families as astrologers know. They also know that archetypal qualities are expressed on multiple levels. Thus the duality principle, fundamental to Gemini, also manifested when Will, shortly after Susanna’s birth, fathered the twins Hamnet and Judith, and it later inspired the creation of many memorable pairs of twins in his comedies.

Finally, very typical of Gemini psychology, Shakespeare had two souls in his breast each with diametrically opposed needs that could only be satisfied through living a double life. Thus for thirty years he maintained a fixed Taurean home in Stratford, where he lived conventionally and respectably with his wife Ann nee Hathaway – when he was there! Otherwise he pursued the mutable, Gemini lifestyle of a travelling player while his troupe was on tour and, when not, hired lodgings in London. There is evidence of him living at various addresses there, mostly in the scruffier, bawdier districts of town, where he had unhindered freedom to explore the rich variety of experiences offered by the metropolis.

So could all this weight in Gemini be contributed by his Venus-Neptune conjunction in that sign? I thought not as Neptune’s effect on Venus here would be to blur the clarity of the Gemini qualities, and prevent them coming through. Therefore Will’s Ascendant must be Gemini – that was the only explanation. And Venus and Neptune’s presence there could help me establish an Ascendant degree, as there’s a huge difference between how they would express in the first and twelfth houses.

For example, with a first-house Venus Will would be Venusian in appearance and manner, and there’s evidence for this. Contemporaries have described him as a ‘handsome, well-shaped man’, ‘affable and convivial’, with considerable charm.[vii] Neptune in his first house, however, though gifting him with a Garbo-like magical aura, could undo the strengths of his Gemini Venus and make a dreamy, feckless impression. But in the twelfth house, especially when conjuncting the Ascendant, Neptune would work well for his poetic composition – empowering his imagination, deepening his emotional understanding and connecting him with his Muse. Also its aspects to Pluto and Uranus would enrich his verse with powerful archetypal imagery drawn from the ocean of the collective psyche.

In house twelve it would also support Will’s sun, which, if an early Gemini Ascendant is chosen, would also be placed in the twelfth. Shakespeare must have possessed the chameleon-like talents exhibited by good actors who can take on and shed personalities at the drop of a hat according to their roles. And having a twelfth-house sun could also explain his apparent wish to remain anonymous, as it would weaken his sense of possessing a separate, personal self. Also although an identity problem can be debilitating, experiences of merging with the boundless whole only serve to empower a poet, as they give him glimpses of deeper mysteries lying beneath life’s shallow surface.

If we take, say, 7 degrees Gemini as his Ascendant and consult the ephemeris for the three days in question, we find that on the 23rd the moon is on 6 degrees Libra in the 4th house. On the 24th it’s on 18 degrees Libra in the fifth, and on the 25th on 0 degrees Scorpio and still in the fifth. So is there evidence for a Libra moon for Will? Nicholas Rowe, his first biographer, called him ‘a good-natured man of great sweetness in his manners, and a most agreeable companion’, and records how Will’s noble acquaintance were impressed by the fact that, in spite of his humble birth, he was ‘civil, gentle, always courteous and had a natural grace.’[viii] That sounds like Libra to begin with!

In my experience Libra-moon people make friends easily, perhaps because they try so hard to be liked by everybody. This talent would have been a great help to Will when he first arrived in London. Aided by his good looks and attractive manners, and with his budding acting and writing skills shining through, it seems he found a niche easily in the highly competitive theatre world of his day. As one of his contemporaries put it, ‘His appearance led to enquiry and then patronage.’ Hence, Bernard Shaw’s opinion, reported by Ackroyd, that Shakespeare ‘got round’ men of all classes, implying he used his good looks and sexual attractiveness for advancement. [ix] And then there’s a later incident reported by Ackroyd that also argues for a Libra moon. He describes how Will acted as a mediator in a marital dispute between two friends, and was asked to give evidence in court. He did so, cleverly resisting taking sides, and Ackroyd comments that Will preferred to remain impartial as he disliked quarrels and could always see both sides of an argument.

If born on the 23rd, Will’s Libra moon would be in House 4 (Cancer: home, family, origins, ancestry) and would trine Venus and sextile Jupiter, indicating a good relationship with his mother Mary Arden, and possible advantages through her family. The Ardens of Warwickshire were landed gentry and a cut above the family his father came from, who farmed land leased from the Ardens. No doubt Will enjoyed career advantages through his mother’s family connections, though their Catholic persuasion put him at risk as we shall see. The moon also trined his MC on the 23rd, and Mary Arden, who might have had a smattering of education, would have recognized her oldest son’s talents and encouraged them. Also, her good breeding would have rubbed off, which could explain Will’s air of refined gentility in spite of his humble birth that later so impressed his aristocratic friends!

However on the 23rd the Libra moon was also sextiling Uranus on his Descendant, opposing Mercury and squaring Mars, presaging domestic strife, which must have erupted heavily in the Shakespeare household when the teenage Will got Ann Hathaway pregnant. And after they’d been respectably married, such aspects don’t bode well for peace and harmony in the home. There was little hope of that anyway with three babies under two, and possibly sharing quarters with Will’s parents and his younger siblings! Will’s Uranus sextile moon aspect then kicked in triggering a probably sudden, unpremeditated abandonment of wife and children. And, looking at that Uranus in Sagittarius sextiling his MC, I’d say it’s very likely he ran away with a theatre troupe passing through Stratford at the time, though this is not historically documented.

By the 24th the moon had moved to 18 degrees Libra and was in the 5th house (Leo: creativity, speculation, theatre) which is appropriate for Will as an actor and playwright, who later went on to clinch some clever deals with land and property. But this moon is not as well aspected. Although the trine to Venus is still in orb, the sextile to Jupiter that blessed his achievements the day before has been lost. On the 24th the moon also squared Chiron and quincunxed Pluto, while keeping its argumentative opposition to Mercury – aspects I cannot reconcile with the charmed life Will seems to have lived, though he did lose his son Hamnet who died at the age of eleven, which must have been a heavy blow.

On the 25th the moon reached 0 degrees Scorpio, and made a square both to Will’s Jupiter-Saturn conjunction and his MC, which for me disqualifies this day as his possible birthday. I also find no evidence in the comments on his character and behaviour to support his having a Scorpio moon. Therefore, in the light of Will’s brilliant career and general good fortune in life, I’m going to put my money on the birth chart for 23rd April 1564, 5.35am in Stratford. (See chart below). And I will now investigate this chart in more detail to see if it mirrors some major themes in Shakespeare’s life.

A Taurus sun in the 12th house, in a triangle with Mars in Cancer on the cusp of the 2nd and Pluto in Capricorn in the 10thsymbolizes a prominent pattern in Will’s male side that was foreshadowed in the life of his father. John Shakespeare came from a farming family but moved to Stratford and learned the trade of a glover. Will grew up in a house in the town’s main street which included a shop where the gloves were sold. (Taurus=country/ farming, Gemini=town/shop/gloves/hands). However John Shakespeare, ambitious for more money and status, had other irons in the fire. On the side he dealt in wool, then a very lucrative business, he lent money – there were no banks in those days – and he also traded in home-made malt.

At first things went well, and he made a small fortune speculating on wool. He stood for public office becoming an alderman and then Mayor of Stratford (Mars in 2nd house trine Pluto in 10th house, Saturn-Jupiter on the IC in Will’s chart). This allowed him to send his sons to grammar school and apply for a coat of arms to raise his rank to that of gentleman, but the application failed. Perhaps it was known that John Shakespeare had a rogue side. He’d been hauled before the magistrates several times for charging illegal rates when money lending, and for doing some dodgy deals with wool (Sun in the secretive 12th house, sextile Pluto in the public 10th house of law and order, Mars in 2nd house trine Pluto).

Then, when Will was thirteen, his dad was thrown off the council and forced to mortgage a property to pay the debts he’d accrued (Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in house 2 opposite the MC = success/expansion and failure/contraction) The sudden descent into poverty and loss of social status must have been keenly felt by the adolescent Will with his Chiron in Capricorn in the 8th house opposing Saturn in Cancer in the 2nd (wounds around shame/ public reputation/debts). And I suggest that this trauma was the driving force behind Shakespeare’s strong resolve to earn wealth and honours and redeem his family’s reputation.

As soon as he’d established himself in the London theatre world and was earning serious money, Will re-applied for a family coat of arms which this time was granted. The shield he had designed with its spear and falcon was a public confirmation of his family’s gentility and respectability. Then in 1598 he bought New Place – the largest most prestigious house in Stratford – to be the family home (Jupiter in Leo in House 2). However, in spite of his increasing affluence Will (or maybe it was his wife Ann) continued the businesses of making and selling malt and lending money. (Taurean fixity plus Saturnian penny-pinching).

Shapiro presents shocking evidence of Will’s harsh attitude towards his Stratford neighbours who he prosecuted for defaulting on minor debts, as little as £7![x] And Ackroyd reveals that Will was charged on several counts with tax evasion and that long after he’d become wealthy. All of which confirms the rightness of my hypothetical chart that places Shakespeare’s Saturn in the 2nd house!

But his Saturn also gifted Will with strengths such as a keen business acumen. It was a clever move for the twenty-five year old Will to buy a share in his theatre company entitling him to a portion of the box office receipts, as play-going was enjoying a steep rise in popularity. And he continued to co-own and co-manage the other theatre companies he worked for, including the Globe Theatre which opened in 1599, while investing his considerable profits in land and property.

However his Saturn in Cancer can also indicate aloof or even cold feelings towards his close family, and Will must have seemed very unloving and uncaring to his wife when he abandoned her with three young children. In those days the journey from London to Stratford took two days on horseback, so it’s unlikely he came home often, though Saturn would have made sure he did his duty towards his dependents by regularly sending them an agreed sum of money - but not a penny more!

This harsher side of the Bard’s nature seems incongruous with the sweet, gentle face he presented to his friends and lovers. But the contradictory ways of being that a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction symbolizes can’t be expressed together. Thus Will’s hard feeling nature is likely to have emerged in his family relationships, while his generous Jupiter-in-Leo side appeared when he was out carousing with his friends – one of his favourite enjoyments say his biographers. I can imagine our Will having a very free purse when paying for rounds of drinks!

It’s my experience that a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction (and I have one myself) brings congenial social circumstances and promises sustained growth as long as we’re willing to work hard for it – and Will was! When he arrived in London in the 1580’s he found himself in just the right place at the right time for his talents to blossom. Social mobility was increasing and opening paths for talented commoners to ascend the social ladder. The London theatre scene was poised to boom due to the increasing demand for entertainment by the newly affluent middle-class. New theatres were opening in different areas of town and new plays were continually in demand.

Thus Will’s ascent was swift. By 1594 he’d become actor, scriptwriter and shareholder in the most prestigious London theatre company – the Lord Chamberlains Men, who often performed at court. Will would have acted in his own plays before the Queen, and James I, who succeeded her in 1603, was also a drama buff. It’s said that Shakespeare was his favourite dramatist, and a note survives written in the monarch’s hand that recommends him for special renumeration. His success was due to his exceptional talent and hard work, but was also boosted by the fortunate opportunities indicated by his Uranus in Sagittarius on the Descendant, trining his Jupiter and sextiling his MC, which brought him the backing of a rich, influential patron or two!

When Will arrived in London in his early twenties, with his good looks, quick wit and sex appeal he must have been attractive as a potential lover to the gay poets and dramatists in the theatre scene such as Christopher Marlowe and Michael Drayton. And he would have soon crossed paths with an older gay playwright and impresario, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who wrote comedies and owned a troupe of boy actors. Fourteen years Will’s senior and of very high birth, Oxford’s life story is one of spectacular decline from great wealth and power to disgrace and ruin. And there are many today who claim he was the ghost-writer of Shakespeare’s complete dramatic works!

A glance at their synastry reveals they have astrologically enough in common to warrant there being a strong attraction between them. And, if they’d became lovers, Oxford may have been at Will’s side during his early London years, helping him learn his trade and providing him with the right connections. Perhaps they composed some of the early comedies together – Loves Labours Lost for example, which contains scenes from the lives of the nobility, whose speech and customs were then beyond the range of Will’s experience.

Otherwise, seeing the authorship claim in relation to Oxford’s natal chart, I’d say he was incapable of turning out thirty-six plays of world-class standard. I see him as a weak-willed Neptunian dreamer who lacked the application and perseverance needed for such an outstanding achievement. Also, those who have experience in judging quality in poetry maintain that we only need read a few lines of his poems to see how they fall short of the standard found in Shakespeare’s verse.[xi]

But they may have become lovers. And if this was the case Oxford could have supported Will financially during his early London years. The Earl, we know, was very free with his money which he also used for patronage of the arts. And this could explain why, in a contemporary portrait thought to be of the youthful Shakespeare (portrait B below), Will is wearing very fashionable and costly clothes such as the aristocrats then wore that were far beyond his means. And also how did the twenty-five-year-old Will get together £50 to buy that share in his theatre company? Maybe Oxford coughed it up!

Homosexuality was illegal in Elizabethan England and punishable by hanging. However there were very few convictions until the Puritans gained power. So does Will’s chart suggest he was gay? With his Gemini Venus (duality/bisexuality) conjuncting Neptune (veils/deception), squaring Pluto in the 10th house (public reputation/law enforcement/ taboos) and opposing Uranus on the Descendant (unconventional love affairs), I’d say yes. But his youthful dallying with Ann Hathaway and his consuming passion for the dark lady of the Sonnets suggests he was also into women. In other words he was bi!

Will’s dominant Pluto in the 10th house indicates taboo areas in his life, and, if he had male lovers, this would have been kept under wraps. He couldn’t risk sullying his reputation with the London theatre audiences, and causing a scandal back home in prudish Stratford (Venus conjunct Neptune square Pluto in House 10). So was this why Shakespeare tried to keep his private life out of the public eye?

When he was coming up to his Saturn return in the early 1590s, there was an outbreak of plague in London which raged for two years and closed all the theatres. This must have mightily frustrated our Will who’d just grown his wings and was impatient to fly.[xii] Needing to fill his coffers and ambitious to become known in wider circles, he used this slack time to write two narrative poems – Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. They explore the theme of erotic love in the stories of young Adonis’ seduction by Venus, and the rape of a loyal wife by a blackguard followed by her suicide. Both became best sellers. Thus Will successfully demonstrated his prowess as a lyrical poet, and also managed to secure a new, sexually attractive patron!

By the early 1590’s Oxford was spent – exhausted, bankrupt and pursued by debtors and scandals – and Will needed a new patron. Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southhampton, possibly the same fair youth as the ‘lovely boy’ immortalized in the Sonnets, fitted the bill, and the two narrative poems were dedicated to him. While the dedication of Venus and Adonis reads like an Elizabethan poet’s conventional flattering of a patron, that of The Rape of Lucrece sounds more like a passionate love declaration– ‘the love I dedicate to your lordship is without end…What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours, being part in all I have, devoted yours.’[xiii]

From Henry’s biography we learn that, though he married, he preferred male lovers. And if the Elizabethan miniature pictured below is his portrait, as is widely believed, then the beauty Will saw in him and praised in the Sonnets was of an effeminate type, warranting the well-known lines from Sonnet 20 ‘A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted, Hast thou, the Master-Mistress of my passion.’ As a patron Henry also proved financially generous towards Will (in their synastry Henry’s Jupiter falls on Will’s Ascendant and Neptune). Rowe reported that ‘my Lord Southampton at one time gave him a thousand pounds to enable him to go through with a purchase which he heard he had a mind to’[xiv] which again confirms our suspicions that Will used his Venusian charms for financial gain.

And then there’s the dark lady of the Sonnets. Will was definitely into her! Their affair occurred during his ongoing relationship with the fair youth, creating a typical Venus-in- Gemini love triangle![xv] Shakespearean scholars have always had a problem with dating the sonnets, but astrology suggests this Plutonic emotional drama occurred during the winter of 1603-4. At this time there was a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Sagittarius on Will’s Uranus and Descendant, while Uranus in transit was conjuncting his natal Sun, and Neptune was squaring his natal Neptune-Ascendant conjunction – enough to screw anyone up emotionally![xvi] And at the same time he was writing ‘Othello’, his drama of passionate love, mad jealousy and connubial murder.

It’s not surprising, looking at his chart, to find that love in all its versions is his central preoccupation (1st house Venus conjunct Neptune, sextiling Mercury, trining a Libra moon and, last but not least, squaring Pluto). The oft-quoted lines of Sonnet 116, proclaiming his faith in the existence of a eternal spiritual love are sublime.[xvii] And mere human love is presented in nearly every one his plays. A fellow playwright called him ‘the most passionate among us to bewail and bemoan the perplexities of love,’[xviii] He was also fascinated by sex. A diligent researcher has counted 13,000 sexual allusions in his plays, including the repeated use of obscene sexual slang – mostly obsolete today. So did the Bard have a one-track mind? Or did he simply know what best sells plays and poems?

Will’s natal Jupiter-Saturn conjunction is a special one as it straddles two elements – fire and water –being the final conjunction before a great mutation into fire.[xix] He was also born during an applying Uranus-Pluto square – the same aspect that has held us in its violent thrall for the last ten years. On that occasion, however, Neptune was also involved in the configuration, creating a rare T-square between the three outer planets which falls in the upper hemisphere of Will’s chart. This marks the historical period he lived through as one of radical change and bloody conflict but also offering the bold exciting creative opportunities that Will is astrologically well placed to exploit.

Pluto in Pisces is the pivotal planet in the T-square, and symbolizes the religious conflict at the centre of the crisis. The earthquake of the Reformation was still rumbling below ground, and would later erupt in bloody civil war. Under the constant threat of Catholic insurrections the Queen had become paranoiac and her spies were everywhere. Thus Will’s Pluto in his 10th house reflects the totalitarian regime under which he lived with its conspiracies, informers and beheadings of those branded traitors and heretics. And here perhaps is another side of Will’s life he tried to keep secret.

Will’s mother came from an old Catholic family, the Ardens, and Will is likely to have been brought up by her in the Catholic faith. With Taurean fixity he could have remained a covert Papist all his life, secretly sympathizing with the Catholic cause while outwardly feigning Protestant conformity. When a foiled Catholic plot led to the beheading of some of his Arden relations Will must have been placed under surveillance. And when the 1602 rebellion of the Earl of Essex failed, and a number of his Catholic friends lost their heads for being involved, Will was in peril. Henry Wriothesley, who also had Catholic sympathies and had supported it, was committed to the tower, and that Will remained unharmed could only mean he was protected by admirers of his work in high places – perhaps by the queen herself.

Thus his horoscope reveals several reasons why Will could have wished his private life to be forgotten, so that he was remembered by his literary achievements alone. Amazingly he foresaw his posthumous fame, and was confident his works would endure and be prized by future generations, proclaiming in Sonnet 55. “Not marble nor the gilded monuments of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme.” He was also concerned, with his Chiron in Capricorn, that we should not think the worse of him.

But are you convinced that the hypothetical birth chart I’ve used is really Shakespeares? We will never know for sure. Astrological interpretation is not about ascertaining facts but about strong possibilities and weaker possibilities. In the end it may all be surmise and that’s alright as everyone has a right to their privacy, and our national Bard has a right to keep us guessing.

Footnotes

[i] Shakespeare: The Biography Peter Ackroyd, Doubleday, New York, 2005

[ii] Inside the Cosmic Mind: Archetypal Astrology and the new Cosmology, Phoebe Wyss, Floris Books, Edinburgh, 2014

[iii] Ackroyd pp.122-3

[iv] Ibid. p.266

[v] Ibid. p.122

[vi] Ibid. p.261

[vii] Ibid p. 127

[viii] Ibid. p. 123

[ix] Ibid. p. 122

[x] Shapiro, Ibid. 76

[xi] De Vere article, Astrological Journal 54/3 May-June 2012.

[xii] Have a look at a sample transit chart from June 1593 which was during his Saturn return when he also had Pluto conjuncting his Mercury and Neptune squaring his sun.

[xiii] The Rape of Lucrece, dedication.

[xiv] Ibid.p 240-1

[xv] “Two loves I have of comfort and despair, which like two spirits do suggest me still. The better angel is a man right fair, the worser spirit a woman coloured ill. To win me soon to hell, my female evil tempteth my better angel from my side, and would corrupt my saint to be a devil, wooing his purity with her foul pride. And whether that my angel be turned fiend, suspect I may, yet not directly tell. But being both from me, both to each friend, I guess one angel in another’s hell.” Sonnet 144

[xvi] I suggest looking a transit chart for

[xvii] “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. Oh no! It is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken. It is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth’s unknown although his height be taken.” Sonnet 116

[xviii] Contested Will, James Shapiro, Faber &Faber, 2010, p 268.

[xix] The term Great Mutation refers to a change of elements in the series of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions. Every 200 years there’s a change of element, for example. from 1425-1603 they occurred in water signs, and from 1603-1802 in fire signs. Today we are on the threshold of a mutation from earth to air.

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