Index ID: TBB — Publication date: October 1st, 2008
Note: This is an edited extract from The Birthday Book, published by Jonathan Cape to mark the 60th birthday of the Prince of Wales.
I admit that, at first glance, the extract I’ve chosen for The Birthday Book might not seem particularly celebratory, given that it has for its subject my hero walking to what he believes will be certain death. But when Harry takes his last, long walk into the heart of the Dark Forest, he is choosing to accept a burden that fell on him when still a tiny child, in spite of the fact that he never sought the role for which he has been cast, never wanted the scar with which he has been marked. As his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, has tried to make clear to Harry, he could have refused to follow the path marked out for him. In spite of the weight of opinion and expectation that singles him out as the “Chosen One”, it is Harry’s own will that takes him into the Forest to meet Voldemort, prepared to suffer the fate that he escaped sixteen years before.
The destinies of wizards and princes might seem more certain than those carved out for the rest of us, yet we all have to choose the manner in which we meet life: whether to live up (or down) to the expectations placed upon us; whether to act selfishly, or for the common good; whether to steer the course of our lives ourselves, or to allow ourselves to be buffeted around by chance and circumstance. Birthdays are often moments for reflection, moments when we pause, look around, and take stock of where we are; children gleefully contemplate how far they have come, whereas adults look forwards into the trees, wondering how much further they have to go. This extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is my favourite part of the seventh book; it might even be my favourite part of the entire series, and in it, Harry demonstrates his truly heroic nature, because he overcomes his own terror to protect the people he loves from death, and the whole of his society from tyranny.
The Ascendant is the sign which was visible rising over the horizon at the exact moment and place of birth.
Ptolemy established the traditional rulers for each zodiacal sign at the time when teh furthest known planet was Saturn. Each planet ruled two signs except the sun and moon, which ruled Leo and Cancer respectively. Although, after the discovery of Neptune, Uranus and Pluto, some astrologers tried to reassign rulership, taking Aquarius from Saturn and giving it to Uranus, for example, most atrologers maintain Ptolemy’s system, as I do. The three most recently discovered planets move so slowly through the zodiac as seen from earth that their influence is judged to be on generations rathen than individuals and, unless one of them has a particular significance in a chart, being in a particularly important sign of the individual, for example, their significante is not great. I have not used Pluto in the casting of this horoscope because there is no consensus as to what it’s meaning it and, in any case, it moves so slowly that is can only be seen as having a general and diffused effect.
Birth Sign Libra – Ascendant Leo
Superficially, Libra and Leo are not signs with a great deal in common. Gandhi might reasonably be held up as a pure Libran whereas Bismarck conformed perfectly to his Leo ascendant: on the one hand, Roger has the sign astrologers agree is “almost entirely lacking in aggression”, on the other, the sign reputed to turn out an unusually high number of generals.
This is only true, however, if each sign is considered in its most undiluted form, and true astrology recognises that pure zodiacal types are rare, if not impossible. In Roger’s case, Gandhi certainly eclipses Bismarck, his birth sign is in fact more representative of him than any other, mainly because both the Sun and Moon were in Libra at the moment of his birth. Nevertheless, he should be more of a natural leader than the average Libran due to his Leo ascendant, though he would tend to lead more by example, and certainly more quietly, than a pure Leo.
He is first and foremost an “air type”, the element which dominates his chart. Not only does he have the Sun and Moon in Libra, he also has Libra’s ruling planet, Venus, in the air sign of Aquarius. The 19th century astrologer John Varley wrote that “the aerial trigon, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, contains the humane, harmonius and courteous principles”, while the air signs are universally described as the most cerebral in the zodiac. All these qualities, as will be seen, are pronounced in Roger’s chart.
Moon in Libra – The Quiet Charmer
The most charming people, of all the possible zodiacal combinations, are represented by Sun and Moon in Libra. Any professional astrologer would contend that, diverse as their careers (and the rest of their horoscopes) may have been, the poet Rimbaud, ex-President Eisenhower and Lech Walesa – all Librans with a Libran moon – owe a large part of their success to a powerful, personal charm. Where Roger is concerned, this is unlikely to be something he deliberately employs, as the planet governing relationships, Venus, is in Aquarius, which does not court others’ approval. Nevertheless, his charm should be no less potent for the fact that it is unforced and quiet.
The astrological writer Louis McNiece says somewhat dismissively “Libra could hardly frighten anyone” and it is true that there is no sign of aggression in Roger’s chart; Mars, the planet predictably most concerned with anger and violence, is in peaceful, rational Virgo. However, those who take Roger’s fundamentally gentle nature at face value risk coming upa gainst rock when they attempt to push him too far, because the strong Leonine streak in his horoscope makes him unlikely to give way on points of principle. He also has considerable presence, largely due to the prominence of Jupiter.
Whatever their differences, Libra and Leo do share certain traits which should therefore be marked in Roger. Both signs are appreciative of the arts and enjoy good food and drink; both are instinctively gracious. Libra has the reputation of being to fit in anywhere, being diplomatic to the point of hipocresy; Roger, on the other hand, while retaining this chameleon ability, is able to fit in anywhere because he reamins unaffectedly himself, the result of his fixed ascendant.
Apollo the Gourmet
The ascendant is supposed to have the greatest influence on the physique. The French astrologer Barbault distinguishes two physical types of Leos – “Herculean” and “Apollonian”, both tall, both physically strong, the former muscular but tending to fat, the latter considerably leaner. Roger, incidentally, has the classic mark of a very fast metabolism – Mars (representing physical energy) in Virgo (which rules the digestive system). Anyone with Leo prominent in their chart is likely to have a hearty appetite but, as a cultured Libran, he should be a discriminating eater. Mercury in Virgo, according to McNiece, indicates “an interest in cooking and diet”, while several astrologers maintain that air signs are most prone to vegetarianism (though Roger’s horoscope does lead one to speculate that giving up meat would have been sacrifice – Leo is obviously supposed to be a confirmed carnivore).
Jupiter in the First House – Jupiter in Leo – The Child of Good Fortune
One of the most striking features of Roger’s chart is the all-pervasive influence of Jupiter, which is placed in the First House, the house of Self, meaning that everything else in the chart must be considered in the light of its influence. McNiece gives a clear picture of how significant an effect Jupiter can have:
“Of all ‘lucky stars’ Jupiter is the most patently lucky. He can see you through illnesses and he can help you to survive disasters. He is rather like one of those good old rich men in Dickens.”
The Kalendar of Kompost and Sheperds, meanwhile, a 15th century French work which is an important source of traditional astrological thinking, says of Jupiter:
“He is very pure and clear of nature, and not very hot, but he is all virtues (…) This planet may do not evil, he is best of all the other seven. He keeps the liver of man and maintains it joyously” (handy for Roger, gives his appetite).
In short, Roger should be a born survivor. Jupiet int he First House is immensely lucky, it traditionally acts as a kind of benevolent guiding light. It also exerts a powerful influence on Roger’s temperament. Jupiter is the patron of judges and archbishops, which is consistent with the rest of Roger’s chart: as a Libran he is innately fair-minded – a preoccupation with justice, especially social justice, is a recurrant theme of his horoscope, as is a strong moral code, although one could not go as far as to say that Roger is a closet archbishop (for which Jupiter would have to be positioned in the Ninth House, governing religion). The Kalendar gets thoroughly carried away on the subject of the Jupiter man, depicting him as a model of clean and virtuous living.
As though all this were not enough, Jupiter is in Leo, a highly fortunate placing, bestowing and extra helping of luck and throwing into prominence all the noblest qualities of the sign: philantropy, kindness, strenght of character and loyalty. Jupiter in Leo also denotes a love of speed and suggest that of all the arts, the first love should be music – according to the rhapsodising Kalendar, the Jupiter man “shall love to sing and be honestly merry”. The Kalendar also provides the information that Jupiter places include palaces, courts of justice and, inexplicably, wardrobes – truely, Roger fits in anywhere.
The Social Reformer
It would be hard to imagine a horoscope more clearly indicative of a humanitarian. As seen, the chief Libran virtue is fair-mindedness; altruism and philantropy are given by Jupiter and Leo; Venus (an important planet for Roger because it rules Libra) is in Aquarius, a sign preoccupied with the collective good and, just to drive the message home, his highest concentration of planets is in Virgo, the public servant of the zodiac. Uranus, which is associated with revolution and rebellion, is positioned in the House of Money, while Saturn in the Eighth House can mean, among other things, an ability to manage other people’s money. Roget, in short, should be chief negotiator in wage disputes.
As a matter of fact, Roger should probably be chief negotiator in almost any dispute. He has Mars in conjunction with Mercury, which is the planet of intellect and communication, making him odds on favourite to win any debate and giving him a talent for defusing arguments, not to mention talking his way out of trouble (more of which later). Mercury governs Virgo, which is a sign possessed of keen intelligence, and when it is placed in teh sign gives a sharp mind particularly given to sifting and analysing information. It should also be mentioned that Mars in the second house reinforces the impression of Roger’s apparent gentleness masking a formidable opponent: it traditionally means a propensity to be ruthless if necessary to achieve a desired end – Machiavelli had Mars in the second house.
The Millionaire Inventor
There is a startling and dramatic possibility lurking in this horoscope which only becomes apparent after studying what seems a flat contradiction.
As established, this chart is that of a natural carer and it is plainly unlikely that Roger would make a fortune from working to alleviate social ills, yet the possibility of wealth is clearly indicated – three forceful planets in the House of Money and Jupiter – sometimes dubbed the “tycoon planet” – in the House of Self (the Kalendar states with some satisfaction that the Jupiter man “shall be very happy in merchandise and shall have plenty of gold and silver”).
Several apparently innocent features of Roger’s chart combine to give a very unusual solution to this paradox. Aquarius is the sign of scientific progerss and all things mechanical (hence the modern, “Aquarian” age). Venus in Aquarius does show a flair in this area, though on its own cuold mean no more than a knack for fixing hoovers. Back in the House of Money, however, we find Mars, giving energy and drive, Mercury, making cleverness and innovation and also – the clincher – Uranus, which is linked with Aquarius and the scientific age and which McNiece sums up as standing for “mechanical inventiveness”.
So – if Roger has a whimsical idea for some new mechanical gadget he shuold not dismiss it; he shuold take out a patent on it as soon as is humanly possible.
This is the most complex area of Roger’s horoscope. While Leo and Libra indicate sociability, Venus in Aquarius makes a personal “popular but solitary” according to Countess Wydenbruck. It is in the area of friendships that Roger is perhaps least Libran, for the true Libran craves almost constant company, while Roger has a certain detachment stemming from Venus in Aquarius and, as will be explored more fully later, Saturn in the Eighth House. This is not to say that Roger is not capable of warm and strong friendship – he could hardly not be, with his Libran and Leo tendencies – but is unlikely to be effusive or even especially demonstrative; he enjoys socialising but functions equally happily alone.
The Sun and Moon together in the Third House, the house of brothers and sisters, means – not difficult to guess – that his relationship with his sister is likely to blow hot and cold. The Yin / Yang symbolism is very obvious, suggesting a potential harmnoy not easy to achieve at all times. One could sum up by saying that when it is good, it is very very good, etc.
Neptune in the House of Home (home in the sense of the place of birth and first family) is indicative of an uneasy relationship. Neptune is described rather vaguely by McNiece as having “the qualities of sensationalism, nebulousness and mysticism”, but this is as precise as most modern astrologers get on the subject and of course, it is no good turning to the good old Kalendar because it was blissfully ignorant of Neptune’s existance. In the fourth house one can reasonably conclude that Neptune indicates a faint feeling of constraint – especially if the parents were strict – and it would certainly point to a less than a close relationship given Neptune’s “nebulousness.”
Weddingphobe seeks Fiercely Independent Woman for Loving Wife
The most complex area of all likes in the sphere of romantic relationships. Roger reserves his warmest feelings and his greatest emotional investment for his partner: Venus in the Seventh House, House of Marriage, makes a person desirous of forming a lasting and monogomous relationship. However, he has Saturn in the Eighth House, the House of Death, and while Saturn is not a particularly important planet for Roger, Saturn in the Eighth has a profound effect on any horoscope.
The Kalendar is not a fan of Saturn:
“Saturn is enemy to all things that grow and bear life of nature, for he cold and stormy bitterness of his time”.
Modern and more restrained astrologers agree that the keywords of Saturn are limitation and perversion: Saturn, wherever it is found in a horoscope, usually outlines faults, fears and weaknesses.
In the Eighth House Saturn does not in fact indicate morbidity or a particular fear of mortality – for which Mars would have to be present, too, or in aspect – but it doest signifiy a great fear of metaphorical death, the suppression of the individual and the loss of individuality, and this should be an important feature of Roger’s personality, heightened by the presence of non-conformist Aquarius.
This fear manifest itself in many ways. Roger is likely to feel least comfortable in a regimented institution, for example; to feel stifled in any atmosphere which demands uniformity, even of dress, while at the other extreme he has a pronounced distaste for mass hysteria, in which his uneasy Neptune plays a part (Rupert Gleadow speculates that Neptune could stand for “the absorption of the self into something great and wonderful”). Thos of course has its positive side – Roger is the last person you would expect to find seduced into a religious cult, for example, and utterly devoid of herd mentality. In the area of romance, however, it shows a phobia of “coupledom”. The concepts of jealousy and possessiveness should be alien to his nature, he would be completely resistant to being perceived merely as half of a neat twosome and this antipathy is sufficiently pronounced to become a distaste for any of the conventional “trappings” of a permanent relationship, right up to co-ownership of property, for example. In a person whose horoscope shows a “marriage” as essential for complete fulfilment, it is clear that this phobia could present certain problems.
All of this is rendered yet more intense by the fact that the weakest element in Roger’s horoscope is that of water (Saturn in Pisces and Neptune in Scorpio are conjunctions shared by everyone born between 1963 and 1968 and have very little relevance to Roger personally). Roger is not “emotional” in the sense of volatility or overt demostrativeness – these are qualities which belong to the water signs. It is certainly true that he is generous, kind and supportive, but these virtues stem from his perculiarly rational humanitarianism, from a belief in justice and the innate love of fair play that Leo and Libra share. In other words, there is little of the “bleeding heart” about Roger; he is concerned with others’ misfortunes because he can think (rather than feel) himself into their shoes. He has a distinct talent, as we have seen, for coping with, and defusing, uncontrolled emotion but there is no question that in his private life he would prefer not to have to exercise these skills too much. To the person who considers the occasional almighty row a healthy part of a relationship, Roger would be something of a frustration. His rational response – to conduct a civilized discussion – can on occasion become a way of avoiding emotional involvement on his part: the flip side of talking himself out of trouble. Of course, anyone who wanted to cling to him, track his every movement or wear matching T-shirt would be on the receiving end of a civilized, courteous but firm goodbye.
Yet Roger should not be at all immune to a little pampering. A sure route to Leo’s heart is his digestive tract and Roger is too much of a Libran not to appreciate an attractive and comfortable home (not to mention an attractive and comfortable partner). To sum up, Roger’s ideal woman would be very independent, yet placing a very high impotrance on their relationship, as he would; a gifted home-maker who has nothing of the retiring hWhen homebody. We can safely say that you are unlikely to trip over Roger’s ideal woman in every street.
When he does love, he does so deeply (in a Leonine rather than a Libran way, owwin to all-powerful, warm and spiritual Jupiter). He is also highly unlikely to be unfaithful (Venus in the Seventh House coupled with an empty Fifth, the House of Pleasures which includes “extra-marital” affairs). While he is not remotely possessive, Jupiter in Leo does suggest protectiveness.
Roger, incidentally, has a gift for appearing to be chosen because, as seen, he has nothing of the aggressive predator in his horoscope. Do not be fooled, however: Mars in the second house signifies someone who knows that they want and will generally make sure they get it – remember Machiavelli.
For a true assessment of compatibility it is necessary to compare two birth charts. On the assumption that Roger will run across people who are predominantly one sign or another, however, it is possible to assess which are most and least likely to appeal to him.
Sascha Fenton says that Libra prefers “logical and intelligent people who are also attractive and amusing,” which does rather beg the question, who doesn’t? While Roger is courteous enough to suffer fools graciously if not gladly, he would definitely tend to require intellectual equals as friends which suggests other Librans and the air signs Aquarius and Gemini. Of these, he has a strong affinity, as we have seen, with Aquarius; a typical Libran might be a little two-faced for Roger, while Gemini, though entertaining, is egocentric.
Leos are a safe bet; excellent company, much in common with Roger, and he is likely to be amused rathen than irritated by Leonine flamboyance and not to fight them for the limelight. He couls also be very compatible with a Sagittarean, another fire sign, who should probably remain a friend rather than a lover, however, as Sagittareans are very unlikely to reciprocate the side of Roger that seeks a lasting, faithful partner. The third fire sign, Aries, is a definite no: the macho man (and woman) of the zodiac, supremely aggressive, Aries likes fights for their own sake and is a confirmed philistine.
Of the earth signs, Roger could achieve mutual respect with a Virgo, but the sign is generally far too conformist to appeal greatly to him. Taurus is at worst plain slow-witted, although he likes his food – perhaps they could sit in a companiable silence at the dinner table. Capricorn is the best bet, independent and possessed of a dry wit Roger should enjoy, although again, far more of a traditionalist than he is.
Cancer has qualities Roger actively seeks in a partner – gentleness, grace and warmth – but also an unfortunate tendency to cling. Pisces might amuse Roger in the way that a pure Leo would; Pisceans are loveable, if in desperate need for someone to sort out their lives. Scorpio is a non-starter: good looks and eroticism would not compensate Roger for brooding jealousy, intense possessiveness and dramatic, melodramatic outbursts.
Together, they make a formidable team. If ever you are thinking of being kidnapped by vicious international terrorists it would be advisable to make sure that Kate and Roger are two of your fellow hostages. Within a week, Roger will have negotiated wall to wall carpeting for your cell, well cooked meals and a twenty four inch colour television. Kate meanwhile will be providing Cancerian sympathy for those who are showing signs of straing and dispensing judicious Capricorn put-downs to any whiners. In her spare moments, she will be working out the practical side of her nature by widening the aire vent to use as an escape tunnel. Once completed, she will lead the escape while Roger quietly charms a susceptible guard into concentrating exclusively on their civilized discussion on the use of violence and its place in international politics. Kate and her fellow escapees will of course each be carrying hand-made granades Roger has been amusing himself by fashionish out of a few old coke cans and the Semtex he weaseled out of a guard who was no match for his Machiavellian Mars.
Roger Tosswill / Jack Buchanan
The words “isn’t he like his father?” are likely to be repeated with tiresome regularity throughout Jack’s childhood. We enter the world of the downright uncanny when we come to Jack’s chart. It’s similarity to Roger’s could hardly be more pronounced. A sun sign Aquarian with his moon in the air sign Gemini, Jack also has a Leo ascendant. He and Roger are therefore likely to have a profound, unspoken understanding of each other’s nature.
Still more peculiar, when Jack’s horoscope is placed alonsighde both Kate’s and Roger’s, is the fact that it is almost a composite of the two. Like Kate, Jack’s emotional nature is strongly influenced by the water element; she has Cancer, he has Pisces. Furthermore, Capricorn and Aquarius are the two signs ruled by Saturn, which gives them a strong affinity.
Roger Tosswill – Kate Buchanan
I should say at the outset that these two horoscopes could have come straight out of an astrological text-book, captioned “compatible partners”. There are an extraordinary number of complementary aspects between the two charts, not to mention several similarities in their composition.
Kate is a Sun Sign Leo with a Capricorn Ascendant. There two self-assrued, mentaly strong, very “male” signs (astrological symbolism is somewhat sexist) and will combine to make Kate just as independent as Roger. Leos tend to mutually attract, which is not the case with all signs, so there should be a strong sense between them of a shared outlook and similar areas of enjoyment. The household comprised of Leonine people (and even Jack has his Leonine side) is one where hospitality is offered freely and stylishly.
Like Roger, Kate has Venus in the Seventh House, a clear pointer to compatibility. She is likely to be slightly more romantic than Roger in that she has Mars in Seventh House too, suggestin that she would not minimise the importance of physical chemistry, whereas Roger is probably too cerebral to select a life mate on the basis of animal magnetism.
They also share Saturn in Pisces, but this has very different significance in their respective horoscopes. Among the qualities this placing can denote is untidiness, which could apply to Roger (Libra is notoriously indifferent when it comes mundame household chores); he is likely at least to have a relaxed attitude to a spotless home. Kate, on the other hand, being strongly Capricornian (she also has moon in Capricorn) likes order and this discipline, which is a fundamental part of her personality, would over-ride any untidiness given by Saturn and Pisces. On the other hand, another of its meanings is a propensity to worry and as Capricorn is a melancholi sign and Kate also has impotrant elemnts of Cancer in her chart, she is likely to fret more than Roger every day matters.
Highly significant is Kate’s moon, which is in the First House and forms a strong link with Roger’s Jupiter. The two planets could be seen as natural partners. The moon is “feminine”, mystical and concers the soul; Jupiter is the kindly patriarch governing spirituality.
The fact that Kate has a pronounced Cancerian side (she has Mars and Venus in Cancer and the ruler of the signs is the moon, which is as important to her as Jupiter is to Roger) fits in perfectly with Roger’s chart. IT makes her a perculiar and unusual combination of strength and vulnerability, almost exactly the combination, in fact, that Roger’s Saturn in the Ehighth House requires.
Considered side by side, there is a good balance of all four elements, Roger providing fire and aire, Kate earth and water (Capricorn and Cancer): an obvious, traditional mark of harmony. Their relationship, given their respective independence and the fact that both charts show a life partner as a pre-requisite for true happiness, should functinon on a level of mutual support rather than dependence; exactly what Roger’s horoscope suggests is his ideal.