John Flamsteed’s Election For The Foundation Of The Royal Greenwich Observatory

John Flamsteed (1646 – 1719) was an English astronomer, a member of the Royal Society. and the first Astronomer Royal. On 4 March 1675 Flamsteed was appointed by Royal Warrant “The King’s Astronomical Observator”. The warrant stated Flamsteed’s task as:

“rectifieing the Tables of the motions of the Heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so much desired Longitude of places for Perfecteing the Art of Navigation”.

In 1725, after a lifetime of observing the heavens, Flamsteed’s own edition of Historia Coelestis Britannica was published posthumously. The book contained his astronomical observations, including a catalogue of 2,935 stars. During his career, Flamsteed accurately calculated the solar eclipses of 1666 and 1668. He was also responsible for some of the earliest recorded sightings of the planet Uranus, which he mistook for a star.

In June 1675, a second Royal Warrant was issued. It was concerned with the founding of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, which was intended to be a:

“small observatory within our park at Greenwich, upon the highest ground, at or near the place where the castle stood”.

(Greenwich Observatory [Latinised as “Observatorium Anglicanum Hoc Grenovici prope Londinum”], as illustrated in Doppelmayr’s map of the southern celestial hemisphere, ca. 1730)

It is fairly well documented that, in his youth, Flamsteed was very interested in astrology. In his autobiography, we find that in 1665, he busied himself very much in:

“… calculating the nativities of my friends and acquaintance…”

and in 1666, he:

“… spent some part of my time in astrological studies”

We also know that Flamsteed provided the astrologers Vincent Wing and George Parker with data for their planetary tables. In 1673 he began to work on “His large Ephemeris for the yeare 1674”, stating that in this ephemeris, he:

“… showed the falsity of astrology, and the ignorance of those who pretend to it.”

In the preface, he wrote under the pseudonym of Thomas Feilden:

“Indeed, so small is the verity of astrology that even astrologers do not agree on where it lies. Thus William Ramsey (Astrologia Restaurata 1653) says it lies with elections while William Lilly (Christian Astrology 1647) says it lies with horary (he makes his living by them), but John Gadbury (Genethlialogia 1658) laughs at both, thinks that elections are a vanity and horary uncertain, and says it lies with nativities, which I can disprove with one of his own examples of a famous person where, if the name of the person were concealed, the chart would be judged as indicating an idiot rather than a famous person.” (A Preface to the Readers Concerneing the Vanity of Astrology, & the practices of Astrologers; Source: astrology-and-science.com)

It has to be noted though, that neither the preface nor the ephemeris were ever published! It is thought that Flamsteed never found a publisher, willing to print his work, but there is also the possibility that he changed his mind. One year after he finished the draft for his ephemeris, Flamsteed produced an election for the foundation of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, shown below:

The chart includes the Latin motto “Risum teneatis amici”, translated as “could you, my friends, refrain from laughing”. He may have found some merit in astrology after all!

Doppelmayr's_Hemisphaerium_Coeli_Australe...,_c_1730

(Doppelmayr’s celestial map of the southern hemisphere published in Atlas Coelestis in quo Mundus Spectabilis…, decorated with vignettes of the astronomical observatories at Greenwich, Copenhagen, Cassel, and Berlin.)

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Lunar Eclipse 16 September 2016

On 16 September 2016, at  19:05UT, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse. The penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible from Europe, parts of Asia, Australia, and eastern Africa. It is number 9 in the Saros Series 147, and the duration of this eclipse will be 3 hours and 59 minutes. The map below shows the visibility of the eclipse:

Visibility_Lunar_Eclipse_2016-09-16

The astrological chart, cast for Dakar , also shows the event:

Lunar Eclipse Sept 16

Before we will discuss any possible effects on the individual, we have a look at the mundane astrological implications of this eclipse. To be able to do this, we need to establish where the eclipse is likely to have its greatest effect. For this purpose we need to look at the countries or cities falling under the rulership of Pisces, the sign wherein the eclipse Moon resides during the event. We also have to take into consideration that the eclipse’s visibility will greatly enhance its effect. Looking through traditional source material, we find that Egypt (particularly Alexandria), Italy, with Calabria, Compostella, and Sicily; Spain (particularly Seville), France (Normandy and Rheims), Portugal and Germany (particularly Ratisbone and Worms) are the locations traditionally thought to fall under the rulership of Pisces. The Moon is placed in the last decanate of Pisces, which is ruled by Mars. Therefore we have to look at Jupiter and Mars as eclipse rulers. William Lilly writes in his Annus Tenebrous, that a lunar eclipse in the last decant of Pisces signifies:

“robberies equally committed both at Sea, and on dry Land.”

Lilly says about Jupiter being eclipse ruler, that he would “produce the increase of all things”. Unfortunately at this lunar eclipse, the Sun/Moon axis is tightly squared by Mars in Sagittarius, who is also eclipse-ruler. Lilly writes in no uncertain terms that “hee [Mars] generally is the cause of corruption in regard of his too much dryness, and this especially when he is in a fiery Sign”. Mars is not only in a fiery sign, he is also conjunct Ras Alhague, a fixed star on the head of Ophiuchus, the Snake Charmer. Robson writes about this conjunction that it suggests Trouble through writings, public censure in connection with religion, science or philosophy”*, and Elsbeth Ebertin writes that “there is danger of insect bites, snake bites or assault from infuriated animals or rabies smitten dogs”**.

 

Lunar Eclipse Sept 16 angularity

The map above shows the paths of angularity for Sun (black) and Moon (white)

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On a personal level, an eclipse usually affects only a small number of people. To establish the possibility of any effect to take place, the birth chart should be scrutinized for any of the following:

Moon is in or around 24 Pisces
Moon is in or around 24 Virgo (opposition)
Sun or Moon are in or around 24 Gemini or 24 Sagittarius (square)
24 Pisces is culminating in the birth chart (conjunct Midheaven)
24 Pisces is ascending in the birth chart (conjunct Ascendant)
Should it be the case that one or even more of these factors apply, an in-depth reading of the birth chart may be necessary to find out if, how and to what extent the native could be affected.

*Vivian Robson, Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology.

**Elsbeth Ebertin, Die Bedeutung der Fixsterne.

Solar Eclipse 9 March 2016

On 9 March 2016, at 1:57UT, there will be a total solar eclipse. The eclipse will be visible in its totality in Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean. The partial phase of the eclipse can be observed in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, the Pacific and Hawaii. This eclipse is one of Saros Series 130. It has a duration of 4 minutes and 9 seconds. The map below shows the visibility of the eclipse (time observed is UT):

March 2016 Solar Eclipse

The astrological chart, cast for Jakarta , also shows the event:

SE March 2016

Before we will discuss any possible effects on the individual, we should have a look at the mundane astrological implications of this eclipse. To be able to do this, we have to establish where the eclipse is likely to have its greatest effect. For this purpose we need to find out which countries or cities fall under the rulership of Pisces, the sign wherein the conjunction between Sun and Moon takes place. We also have to take into consideration that the eclipse’s visibility will greatly enhance its effect.

Looking through traditional source material, we find that  Egypt with Alexandria in particular, Italy, with emphasis on Sicily, Calabria, Spain with Compostela and Seville, Asia Minor (Turkey and Armenia), France, with emphasis on the Normandy and Rheims, Portugal, and Germany, with emphasis on Ratisbone, are the locations that could be most affected by this solar eclipse.

Jupiter is the planet ruling this eclipse. At the time of the eclipse, he will be located in Virgo, where he is in his detriment. He is also retrograde, which adds to his level of debilitation, and he is conjunct the North Lunar Node. The North Lunar Node is conjunct fixed star Denebola. Robson writes that this star ‘gives swift judgment, despair, regrets, public disgrace, misfortune from the elements of nature, and happiness turned to anger’ (*FSC p161). Denebola is also the determinant of the 10th Lunar Mansion, al-Sarfa, indicating a change in the weather. Therefore we can expect storms or extreme barometric lows, and possibly ships getting wrecked as a result.

We also find that that this eclipse, located in the second decanate of Pisces, which is ruled by Jupiter:

“… designs the death of a famous and excellent man, destruction and waste neer the Sea Towns, it imports an Earthquake, some great Church-men questioned, and he called to account for his knavery ”

as William Lilly writes in his Annus Tenebrous. To give only an example how things played out in the past, Diana Rosenberg knew that Jupiter was conjunct Denebola in 1933, when an attempt to assassinate Franklin D. Roosevelt took place (SAS** vol1, p650).

With Jupiter being the sole rulers of this eclipse, we can, according to Lilly, expect to experience good things, like glory, tranquility, fertility and peace. Unfortunately we have already established that Jupiter is in very poor shape, which will undoubtedly turn some of the positive attributes mentioned above into their opposite. There is also the suggestion of a connection to ‘church-men’ and, taking into consideration that Jupiter is natural significator of religion, religious conventions, clergymen, and christian churches in general, the picture of the problems this solar eclipse suggests is manifesting.

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On a personal level, this eclipse could indicate that the native may be injured or lose their life in catastrophes connected with severe weather, such as floods or shipwrecks, but they could also be harmed through personal or revenge attacks. After all, we have shown above that the death of an ‘excellent man’ (read ‘person’) can be expected. There is also danger to one’s eyesight.

It is useful to know that the last time a solar eclipse occurred in 19* Pisces was in 1997. Although an eclipse usually affects only a small number of people, it may be beneficial to try and remember if any problems occurred during this year. If so, but also to generally establish the possibility of any effect that could take place, the birth chart should be scrutinized for any of the following:

Sun or Moon are in or around 19 Pisces
Sun or Moon are in or around 19 Virgo (opposition)

Sun or Moon are in or around 20 Sagittarius or Gemini (square)
20 Pisces is culminating in the birth chart (conjunct Midheaven)
20 Pisces is ascending in the birth chart (conjunct Ascendant)
Should it be the case that one or even more of these factors apply, an in-depth reading of the birth chart may be necessary to find out if, how and to what extent the native could be affected.

UPDATE: For additional information about this eclipse, see my blog post:

* Robson, Vivian, The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology, Astrology Classics, 2005

**Diana K. Rosenberg, Secrets of the Ancient Skies, Ancient Skies Press, NY 2012