Lilly’s Queen Henrietta Chart


“If his Majesty should procure Forces out of Ireland to harme the Parliament? If the Queen, then in the North, would advance with her Army? If she would prosper? When She and his Majesty should meet?” Christian Astrology p. 455.

The question refers to King Charles I and his queen Henrietta Marie, of the French royal family. It is the spring of 1643. The First English Civil War had commenced seven months before, in August 1642, when Charles raised his standard at Nottingham. By that time, the queen had already fled to the Netherlands – with the crown jewels! – where she would spend nearly a year working to build support for the Royalist cause. Meanwhile, Charles has set up his base of operations in Oxford and looks forward to the day when Henrietta will rejoin him there.

Lilly fears that the king will be able to strengthen his position by bringing royalist forces over from Ireland. From 1641, Charles had amassed a large army there to suppress a rebellion of Catholic Irish against the protestant Crown. Even then, Parliament worried that the king was using the situation as a pretext for setting up a standing army loyal to him. In fact, many suspected that the queen – who was Catholic – had conspired with Charles to foment the rebellion in the first place.

At the time of the question, the queen has already returned to England (February 1643). She is now in the North, under the protection of the Earl of Newcastle at York. Newcastle is a king’s man, and so Lilly wants to know if he will throw his weight behind the queen, giving her an army with which to advance against Parliament’s forces.

His Majestie is here signified by Moon in Cancer in the 10th house, who increasing in light, elevated and posited in her owne house, voyd of all infelicity, except slownesse in motion, did manifest at the time of the erecting of this Figure, his Majesty to be in an able condition, as indeed he was.

Lilly begins his judgment by examining the king’s significator, taken from the 10th house. The Midheaven in natal-chart is in Cancer, and its ruler the Moon is rich in fortitudes, particularly her elevated position in the 10th in her “owne house”, by which Lilly means in her own sign. This indicates that the king is well and in a strong position (“in able condition”). Lilly will be interested in testimonies that this could change, and since the success of the king’s campaign will depend on his supporters, he must take the measure of their significators as well.

In this Judgment we find Sun Lord of the 11th (which house signifies assistance or aide in this manner of Judgment) posited in the 7th, in his Exaltation, and applying to the cusp of the 11th with a Trine aspect, but wants 6 degrees of being partill; forasmuch as the Moon being in her owne house, and Sun so well fortified, I did judge his Majesty should have ayde of Commanders out of Ireland (for Sun represents Commanders) and men, or common men, besides; because both Sun and Moon are friendly unto him:

In lawsuits or conflicts, the relevant second house – radical or derived – signifies close allies and their resources. This is the “right hand man”. Because it is the king’s 2nd – and not due to any association with “friends” –, Lilly now studies the 11th house to judge how effective his support will be.

The Sun rules the 11th, and Lilly finds that it, like the Moon, is very strong in essential dignity and angular. It also beholds the 11th cusp with a good aspect, showing that the King’s supporters have ready access to their resources. The trine is a bit wide, and that diminishes its effectiveness somewhat. The Sun is also the natural significator of high-ranking persons of all kinds. So the Sun’s rulership of the 11th – and surely the its exaltation – portrays support from those holding positions of command.

As it takes both commanders and troops to make an army, Lilly now focuses on the Moon, natural ruler of common persons. Two things are worth taking note of here.

First, even though this is a horary – rather than a mundane – chart, Lilly makes use of the general, mundane rulerships of the planets. So the Moon is taken to stand for certain constituents of the body politic, without reference to house rulership. The method is legitimate, given the magnitude of the quesited matter. Additionally, even in small matters, horary does sometimes make use of natural significators, like Venus and the Sun in certain marriage questions.

Second, the Moon is doing double duty in this chart as significator first of the king and then of commoners. It seems a paradox, but really it should remind us that astrological symbolism is multilayered; a planet can mean many things at once, depending upon the line of inquiry being pursued. It is fascinating to watch Lilly maneuver on several registers at once.\

Why does Lilly say that the Sun and Moon are “friendly to” the king? In the case of the Sun, there is no mutual reception with the Moon, and so an important astrological basis for friendship appears to be missing. The important thing for Lilly though is that the Sun, as 11th ruler, is the king’s support among the military leadership. And as the Sun is exalted, angular and connected to its house by aspect, it can be counted on to fulfill its promise. As for the Moon, it is her placement in the king’s house (the 10th) that describes allegiance to the royal cause: the Moon (as people) are ruled by the Moon (as king).

It is also surely important that both the Lights – the power houses of the chart – are working so well for the king. Lilly’s heart must have sunk at the sight of it.

…that they should harme us, I judged because Sun Lord of that assistance, was in the 7th, in direct Opposition to the ascendant, which representes the Parliament and their party:

The 1st house retains its association with the querent, who is a “very great wel-willer to the Parliament”, as he describes himself in the Prince Rupert chart. He is not directly involved in the question. Nevertheless, it is his question, and it will be imbued with his perspective. The 1st house, then, becomes ‘our side’ vs. ‘their side’ in the 7th house of open enemies, even though this is not strictly speaking a battle chart.

So the Sun comes from the 11th house (army officers and their resources) to the 7th house, showing open conflict on the horizon. Are they a threat? Yes, in part because the significator is angular, but mainly because the Sun is essentially dignified. It is the picture of a substantial enemy.

Lilly does not discuss it here, but the chart also casts Parliament in the weaker position. The Ascendant ruler Venus is in a good house (the 5th) but otherwise unexceptional – peregrine, void of course – and certainly in a worse position than the king. Though Lilly does not mention it, some good news is that Venus is nearing the sign boundary, where she will enter her exaltation – surely a good sign that their prospects will improve.

What of Parliament’s own military support and resources? Lilly will examine this matter at the end of the judgement, as it relates to engagement with the queen and her army.

but because the Sun is so neer South Node, and beholds the cusp of the 10th with a Square Sinister, I did in the end lesse fear them, and judged they should produce much scandall, to his Majesty and his Party, and that they would cause many ill and heavy reports to fall upon his Majesty by their meanes: I also then judged, that his Majesty was likely to improve his Forces, and augment them for some certaine time, but that it should not continue very long, for that neither the Sun or Moon were fixed. The truth is, he had Irish Forces come over, which much hardened the hearts of the English against him, but time cut them off, &c. as we doe all well know, at the Siege of Namptwich, by valiant FAIRFAX.

Lilly now looks for mitigation of the negative (from his perspective) testimonies. He finds that significator of the Sun is conjunct the South Node, which weakens it. In turn, the Sun beholds the Midheaven with a square aspect. Lilly takes this as a sign that the king’s forces would bring great discredit to him and create prejudice against him.

I wonder if he isn’t making too much of the testimony. It would of course be better if the Sun had some dignity at the Midheaven degree. But it is difficult to see how a square from a beautifully dignified planet to a wonderfully fortified angle could warn of great scandal and “many ill and heavy reports”. Difficulties, yes, but difficulties along with much strength. We do have to remember that Lilly is not a completely impartial judge in this matter, as he is a partisan of the Commons, and is probably trying to make the best of some discouraging testimonies.

That the Lights are not in fixed signs is, I think, a safer argument that king’s momentum will be temporary. For although the Lights are angular and dignified – a fact that well demonstrates his current strength – it is only from the modality of the signs that it is possible to know how durable it will be. The king will make an energetic start with the campaign out of Ireland, but without something to place it on solid footing, his advantage cannot last.

What Lilly says about Irish Forces hardening English hearts is apparently based on a widespread Parliamentarian misapprehension that the “Irish” regiments were foreign and Catholics. They were not. They were members of English regiments that had been deployed to Ireland to suppress an Irish rebellion, and it was only by diplomatic maneuvering that Charles was able to negotiate a ceasefire that freed them to fight back in their own country. Lilly also fails to mention that it was the Parliamentarians that actually did bring in non-English forces to fight with them – Scottish soldiers who were critical to Parliament’s success at Marston Moor, Oliver Cromwell’s first great shining moment.

Still it is true that these regiments returned from Ireland infected with a brutal esprit de corps. They took no prisoners. As Lilly tells us, most of them were finally subdued at the Siege of Namptwich (The Battle of Nantwich) in January 1644 with Parliament forces under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax. Superior might and strategy did not win the battle for Fairfax, however. It was the weather that did the Royalists in: a sudden thaw caused a nearby river to flood, separating their cavalry from the rest of the army. They were quickly overcome. Many ordinary folk were glad to see the ruthless “Irish” troops put down. It was indeed a terrific military and public relations disaster for King Charles.

Her Majesties Signifatrix is Saturn Lord of the 4th, for that is the 7th from the 10th, removing out of one Signe into another: Saturn being a ponderous Planet, made me more confident her Majesty would move forwards with her Army, with intention to meet his Majesty, which I said she should do about 3 or 4 months from the time of the Figure, because the Moon wanted 3 or 4 degrees of the Trine of Saturn, I intimated a great desire in his Majesty to see her, because his Significator applyed, The truth is, she met him about the 14 of July 1643. in Warwickshire.

As the king’s wife, Queen Henrietta will be signified by the derived 7th from the 10th, or the radix 4th, in Capricorn. Its ruler Saturn, Lilly immediately observes, is about to change signs. It is a quite literal picture of the queen moving from one place to another quite different one.

It is this sign change, I believe, that makes sense of Lilly’s non-intuitive argument that Saturn being so very ponderous – slow and deliberate – promises that the queen will soon advance with her army. Why soon? Cautious Saturn is little inclined to move. It seems contradictory. I think what Lilly means is this. Saturn has long been in Pisces, signifying the complete duration of the queen’s sojourn in the north. She has been waiting there for her opportunity, which will finally be provided when Royalist victories make the Midlands safe for “Her She-Majesty, Generalissima” to move south at the head of her army.

The king’s significator applies to hers, which argues that he works harder to bring the two of them together. The trine perfects in just under 4 degrees. If it were a different question, with the Moon applying out of an angle in a cardinal sign Lilly might have estimated four weeks or even four days until the matter is accomplished. This shorter time unit must not have been realistic. So he interprets the time signature as giving the shortest feasible time unit, and four of them or so, hence four months. And yes, the queen was indeed reunited with the king on July 13, 1643, four months from the date of the question. Mirabile!

I judged that she would not prosper but decline, because Saturn her Significatrix was going into Aries his Fall, and that Jupiter, viz. good Fortune, was separated, and did separate from Saturn. Besides, I observed that Mars made haste to a Square of Saturn in Cancer, as if our Souldiery would quite destroy and bring to nothing her Army; and that she would be crossed at or neer the time of that aspect, which was the 11. April, when about Nottingham she lost some Forces, and more had, but that we had ever either some knaves or fools in our Armies.

Not only is Saturn changing signs. It is moving into Aries the sign of its fall. It is surely a bad sign for the queen, as it shows her leaving behind the good prospects signified by Jupiter’s sign Pisces – where Saturn has very recently been in conjunction with Jupiter – for circumstances that will bring a downfall. Jupiter, too, is separating from Saturn on the other side of the sign boundary, as if the queen is chasing a fata morgana and will ultimately experience great disappointment.

So it happened. After her reunion with the king, dramatically staged by Charles on the battlefield at Edgehill, the queen stayed on in Oxford until 1644. But there her efforts to foster the Royalist cause were mostly a failure. Her most ambitious project – arranging a marriage between the Prince of Wales and the daughter of the Prince of Orange – fell through, and so a Dutch intervention in the war did not materialize. Then Henrietta found herself pregnant with her ninth child and in April withdrew to Bath for her safety. She would never see the king again.

Is there specific testimony that the Parliamentarians can defeat the queen’s army? Lilly surely wants there to be one. Parliament’s forces are represented by Mars, which rules most of the 2nd house (again, the support and resources of the 1st). Lilly observes that Mars’ next aspect will be the square of Saturn, perfecting in early degrees of Cancer, and contends from this that their forces will crush the queen’s.

This, I think, is a weak link in Lilly’s judgement. Mars is void of course – no less the three degrees out of moiety of application to Saturn. Even if considerations of orb were greatly relaxed, the square will only perfect in the next sign, where Mars becomes debilitated. While Mars is fast, there is simply no aspect at this time, so he cannot be making haste to perfect it.

In any case, the Moon’s trine of Saturn would prohibit this square. The queen with her army will make it to the king before she can be intercepted. Whatever skirmish happened at Nottingham – I cannot find a reference – the outcome obviously fell far short of what Lilly expected from it. But the truth is that the chart does not give what he wants.

In a way, it is reassuring to see a very great master of the art struggling to make sense of ambiguous testimonies and to set aside his personal stake in the outcome. It is no wonder, then, that horary should be so hard for those of us who are struggling just to be competent – much less perfect – in judgement. Perfection belongs only to God and mastery to a few. We work hard and do our best to be skillful, and from time to time miracles happen.

Your Astro Codex