When Prince William is marrying his long-time girlfriend Catherine Middleton on Friday, 29th April, millions of people will be watching TV. Royal Weddings have glamour; but the Royal Family in Great Britain is also an institution with a long history. The Windsor family with Queen Elizabeth II. is a national symbol - it stands for continuity and identity. The wedding of the crown prince shows that the next generation is ready. Each generation has its beliefs and values. In astrology we look at the signs of the outer planets for generational themes. Thus the notorious "generation gap" can be described - as Liz Greene demonstrated in her article for the magazine Apollon in the Nineties. We republish the part in which she portrays the different generations of the Royal Family and their links to each other.
Powerful generational aspects may occur not only between parent and child but between the parent and the individual whom the child, when grown, chooses to marry. What the family psyche needs but does not possess amongst its members, it tends to instinctively acquire through marriage, so that its myths and complexes can unfold and be worked through over the generations. It is therefore important, when examining family charts, to include not only the direct blood line, but also the spouses. For the sake of both brevity and clarity, I am listing only the relevant chart placements of a few specific members of the Royal Family, rather than reproducing the entire birth charts.
King George VI
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
Pluto 16º 33' Leo
Neptune 14º 07' Libra
Uranus 29º 55' Gemini
Sun 22º 25' Scorpio
Chiron 28º 13' Scorpio
Pluto 6º 02' Virgo
Neptune 8º 38' Scorpio
Uranus 23º 20' Leo
Moon 25º 02' Aquarius
Venus 24º 23' Taurus
Full birth data for the family members described: Queen Elizabeth II, 21 April 1926, 2.40 am, London. King George VI, 14 December 1895, 3.05 am, Sandringham. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, 4 August 1900, 11.31 am, St Pauls Walden. Prince Charles, 14 November 1948, 9.14 pm, London. Princess Diana, 1 July 1961, 7.45 pm, Sandringham. Prince William, 21 June 1982, 9.03 pm, London.
There are, inevitably, links involving the outer planets between the Queen's chart and that of her father, King George VI; he had a conjunction of Uranus in 22º 07' Scorpio and the Moon in 24º 51' Scorpio, and this conjunction squares the Queen's Neptune in 22º 02' Leo. The Queen also has Saturn in 24º 26' Scorpio, at the MC in 25º 33' Scorpio, and both conjunct her father's natal Uranus. We may speculate about the personal issues described by the Saturn-MC-Moon contact across the two charts, and surmise that the emotional relationship between the Queen and her father was chilly but indestructible, and that a strong sense of responsibility and powerful but unspoken bonds of duty and social obligation replaced simple affection and spontaneous emotional exchange. But here we also have two outer planets in square across the charts. This is more difficult to understand, let alone summarise in a few words. Uranus in King George's chart exactly squares Neptune in Queen Elizabeth's chart. The spirit of progress, for those born with Uranus in Scorpio, seeks expression through compulsive destruction and rebuilding, through the mobilisation of survival instincts in the face of that which threatens life, and through courage in the throes of battle. Where a battle is not found, one will be created; in the King's case, there was sufficient battle going on in the world outside to satisfy any Uranus in Scorpio vision of evolution through crisis. In stark contrast, the dream of redemption, for those born with Neptune in Leo, is expressed through a fantasy-world where all is bright and beautiful, and where one's own life is both an act of sacrifice and a symbol of divine authority for others, similarly Neptune-bound, who seek release from their own dreary lives. The Queen both shares and embodies perfectly the mythic longings of her own generation group. It is not surprising that she is unwilling to let go of them.
Here, two generations collide: the older, which lived through two world wars and made an idealogy of facing the harsh truth and building on the ashes of what had been destroyed, and the younger, which preferred to turn its back on the bleak hardship of the world and pursued a fairy-tale vision of splendour and the divine right of kings. Such a square between parent and child, unless reinforced by personal planets, might not necessarily erupt in personal conflict. Here there is reinforcement: the King's Moon squares his daughter's Neptune, and his Uranus conjuncts her Saturn. He must have seemed emotionally erratic and compulsively depressed to her. She, in turn, must have seemed incomprehensible to him - and perhaps to her mother as well, who also has the Moon in Scorpio - because the Queen is the vessel for the grandiose, chivalric dreams of a whole generation. That generation is certain of its special spiritual role, in love with a code of honour and excellence which, while noble and beautiful, may be too disconnected from the trials and tribulations of ordinary life and the egalitarian propensities of the present Uranus and Neptune transits through Aquarius. When Neptune transited through Leo, the world longed for glamour and magnificence, and needed shining models; this was the era of the great Hollywood film stars. King George VI may have found his daughter strangely arrogant and unworldly, not because of a specific failing in her individual character, but because something else, something pervasive and powerful and universal, peeped through the personal realism and tenacity of her Taurus Sun and Capricorn Ascendant.
Perhaps, on some deep and inaccessible level, Charles did not feel he had the power to stand up to that Neptune in Leo vision of noblesse oblige. His natal Pluto pulls him into collusion with it. So he chose (or had chosen for him, but nevertheless accepted) a partner whose planetary pattern added enough fuel to his own to challenge the generational dream described by his mother's natal Neptune. Princess Diana had natal Uranus in 23º 20' Leo, conjunct the Queen's Neptune. There is a certain inevitability in the way in which these two women polarised as the voices of their respective generations, and in the determination with which they perceived each other as enemies. Neptune in Leo dreams of redemption through a heart-fuelled vision of a higher, nobler world; Uranus in Leo perceives human progress in terms of the individual's capacity to break down existing authority structures to release the potential of creativity for the group. Diana's natal Moon in 25º Aquarius and her natal Venus in 24º 23' Taurus describe her own inner conflict with her Uranus generation group's self-willed ideal. But when one puts together the explosive combination of Charles' Scorpio planets and her natal T-cross, all challenging the Queen's natal Neptune, the annus horribilis takes on an altogether different cast. For the Queen, this marriage must have seemed to herald the disintegration of her most cherished fantasies of redemption, and Diana's generation group must seem like a guerilla army determined to spoil the party and destroy the last vestiges of royal privilege and dignity.
In the old days, astrologers used to talk about the outer planets as "dumb notes" in a birth chart; they were "unimportant" and not considered especially relevant to the individual's life. Now we know better, and those astrologers who study collective trends know how very powerful is the voice of the collective psyche in terms of individual destiny. When the outer planets are powerfully linked with personal planets in the birth chart, the individual is, more than others of his or her generation, a mouthpiece for the collective. Such a person needs to be able to create appropriate vehicles for that collective vision, while still maintaining individual integrity and an ego strong enough to process collective energies through personal values, aptitudes, and experience. The child whose ego cannot contain these things may be swept along by the forces which reflect the zeitgeist under which he or she was born, sometimes achieving great creative expression and sometimes disintegrating into psychosis - or both. The child who fights against his or her generation group, and attempts to suppress the larger entity to which he or she belongs, may suffer equally. A sense of profound isolation may be one by-product. Another may be powerful internal and external eruptions which leave the individual feeling utterly powerless in the face of the forces of change. Links between parent and child involving the outer planets suggest that each can help the other to recognise and develop the gifts and perceptions of their different generational groups, perhaps contributing more positively to an evolutionary process in which both are required, willingly or unwillingly, to participate.
Sadly, such links often result in a furious battle which may be blamed on personal factors. Perhaps it was highly inappropriate for the Queen to blame Diana personally for her rebellion against the royal status quo; Diana was a mouthpiece for her generation, and those born with Uranus in Leo are not lightly predisposed to believe in Neptunian dreams. Leonine creative vision may be common to both, but these two outer planets are opposite in meaning and reflect, respectively, intellectual and emotional perceptions of the same dimension of life. Neptune seeks fusion with a higher unity through idealisation and self-sacrifice; Uranus seeks progress through the creation of new idealogies. If a parent wishes to be helpful to a child when such contacts exist between the two charts, it may be important to recognise not only the child's individuality, but also what that child stands for as the representative of an entire generation. The wise parent will encourage the child to find appropriate vehicles through which collective needs and dreams may be individually expressed, rather than reacting blindly to what is perceived as a threat, or identifying blindly with what is perceived as the apotheosis of one's own generational dreams. A good example of the latter dynamic is the link between Joseph P. Kennedy's conjunction of Neptune and Pluto in Gemini and his son's natal Sun in Gemini. John F. Kennedy (See also "The Oracle and the Family Curse", for an analysis of the Kennedy family charts) was perceived by his father as the living incarnation of Papa Joe's generational vision of redemption and continuity through education, social mobility, and political power. The result was, inevitably, that John F. Kennedy never had a chance to become John F. Kennedy, except in the context of his father's ambitions - not personal ambitions, but those of an entire generation.
A great deal of further research is needed to comprehensively map out these great collective daimones which flow down through the generations, described by outer planet links between family charts. And the natal picture is not the end of the story. Generation significators not only link up across the natal charts of parents and children; they are also mobilised at specific times by individual outer planet transits, and during those periods when the conjoined cycles of two or three outer planets reach a critical juncture. For example, during the period when Prince Charles and Princess Diana experienced the breakdown of their marriage, Pluto was transiting through Scorpio, activating not only their personal planets, but also the Queen's natal Neptune. For the Queen's entire generation group, this was a time of crisis and disillusionment. The "dirt-digging" propensities of Pluto in Scorpio, flushing out all those spheres where emotional dishonesty threatens survival, ensured that those born under the redemptive vision of Neptune in Leo were forced to face, at last, the impossible gap between their vision and the reality of human sexual and emotional nature.
As individuals, we cannot control or dam up such great collective movements. We participate whether we wish to or not. But we can choose to participate creatively or destructively. We can feel ourselves to be unwilling victims of malevolent external forces. We can puff ourselves up with collective dreams and convince ourselves that we are the embodiment of divinely inspired change. Or we can engage in the humbler, harder task of refining our own character and talents to act as mediators, contributing as best we can to the positive unfoldment of what is essentially a greater human necessity. We need to have enough consciousness of where our own individual personalities merge into something larger, in order to construct something valid and life-enhancing out of our generational needs and compulsions. We also need to offer our children sufficient wisdom and containment to honour their very different generational dreams. As astrologers, we may relate best to those clients whose outer planets are in harmony with our own; if we have Pluto in Leo, we may relate better to those young people with Pluto in Libra than to those with Pluto in Virgo, and we may find it very hard to sympathise with the energies of the Pluto in Scorpio group, which we may experience as quite threatening. Neptune in Libra relates better to Neptune in Sagittarius than to Neptune in Scorpio, and Neptune in Scorpio relates better to Neptune in Capricorn than to Neptune in Sagittarius. Whether we are parents or astrologers - or both - the generation gap will continue to exist, not because age and youth are in inevitable discord, but because the great collective cycles require a different vision at a different time. While we may never personally share the visions of other generation groups, we can at least recognise that they are an essential part of a much greater unfoldment of life.