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Ibn Ezra







by Meira B. Epstein, C.A. NCGR-PAA

(First published in the AAGB Journal, 1995)


A while back I went to see the movie "The Madness of King George III", and the inevitable astrological question came up - What shows insanity in the chart?   So I went looking for the chart, and found it in one of these delightfully old sources - A Thousand and One  Notable Nativities, by Alan Leo (1860-1917) - quoted from The Textbook of Astrology by Alfred J. Pearce (1840-1923).  

King George III was born on June 4, 1738 NS, 7:46 AM, in London(*). 

Here are a few relevant facts from The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes by Elizabeth Longford:  October 25, 1788 - first insanity attack, reported by Fanny Berney, the keeper of the queen's robes. November 5th - All music was forbidden in the house. As the illness progressed the symptoms were - incessant talk, repeating himself (in the movie: "What, what?"),  hoarseness, loss of voice, great weakness. The king recovered after a few months, but in 1801 the illness recurred. In 1805 he became blind. He had 15 children. 

So where is the 'natal promise' of madness? The answer is in Mars/MC square Moon/Uranus, which creates great mental tension, combined with the natural sensitivity of the nervous system that Gemini's are endowed with. Mars is also /45 the Nodes, and in my experience, people with this aspect at times suffer from panic or anxiety attacks. We can also add the fact that Mercury, the ruler of the 3rd House (=mental functioning), is applying to a conjunction with Saturn, the ruler of the 6th House (=illness). The Moon, ruler of  the12th (=asylums) is also in Fall in the 6th house of illness, and when a planet is in Fall it's like not having an immune system, it's very vulnerable. Mercury is strong in its rulership and Saturn is also strong as the ruler of the Air Triplicity, so their conjunction can also act as an antidote, to hold the mind together, but at times of stressful transits and directions, the Gemini planets become "unglued".  

It has been pointed out to me that the King’s ailment was later confirmed to be ‘porphyria’. From a Medical Dictionary And Health Manual, by R.E. Rothenberg, 1982:  “Porphyria is an upset in metabolism, resulting in inadequate utilization of chemicals known as ‘porphyrins’. In certain people, this condition leads to abdominal colic (severe abdominal pain), paralysis, mental disturbance, skin erruption and brakish coloured urine.”

 Such combination of symptoms, also described in the film, can be clearly attributed to the Moon/Uranus in the 6th House, square the angular Mars, as discussed above.

 Around Oct.25th, 1788 all the natal promisors came together, by transit, solar-arc & secondary progressions: (T)Uranus had just been discovered (1781), and now was stationing  conj his Asc.  (T)Saturn (4 20), is beginning to stress the Gemini stellium.  (P)Mars (12 32) is exactly / (N)Saturn, and (P)Moon (6 20) is triggering it.  (SA)Mars (25 18) and (SA)South Nodes (11 10)  are exactly /(N)Moon/MC/Mars.   (SA)Uranus (23 11) conj South Node.

Apparently, the (SA)Sun coming to conj the (N)ASC a couple of years later, and (SA)Jupiter coming to conj the (N)Sun at the same time, are the indications for his subsequent recovery and continuation of fruitful reign.

 The Moon rules the left eye, and the Mars contact is also the indication for the onset of blindness in 1805, at age 67.

 George III was the King Who Lost America, thus, our July 4th 1776 chart was a 'huge' transit to the king's chart.  Our Uranus at 21 was transiting his Gemini planets and our Saturn at 14 was opposing his Mars/Mc & squaring his Moon/Uranus, from the 4th House of lands and real-estate property.   Imagine how he felt...

 An interesting paragraph is found in Alan Leo's The key To Your Own nativity, p.301:

'....an account of the astrological "doubles" of Kings George III and George IV. In Raphael's Manual of Astrology (R.C.Smith), published in 1837, and printed by Thomas Tegg & Son, 73, Cheapside, we find the following on p.xvi:

    “In the newspapers of February, 1820, the death of Mr. Samuel Hemmings was noticed.  It was stated that he had been an ironmonger and prosperous in trade-that he was born on the 4th of June 1738, at nearly the same moment as his late majesty, George III, and in the same parish of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields; that he went into business for himself in October, 1760, when his late majesty came to the throne; that he married on the 8th of September 1761, the same day as the king; and finally, after other events of his life had resembled those which happened to the late king, that he died on Saturday, January 29th, 1820, on the same day and nearly the same hour as his late majesty.”(**)


(*) Mark Penfield (Aspects magazine, Fall 1994, Vol 19, No.3, article "Pages From History") uses the time "between 6 and 7 AM" from a biography by John Brooke, The King Who Lost America, rectified by Mark to 6:34 AM LMT.  This gives an ASC of 21 34 and MC of 22 38.   Given my analysis, I still prefer the one used here.

 (**) The British editor of the AA Journal tells me that this historic anecdote has never been substantiated.

 NOTE:    '/'  means any hard aspect (0, 18o, 90, 45, 22˝)

(N)=natal, (T)=transiting, (P)=secondary progressed. (SA)=solar arc'ed plan et.

             ©  Meira B. Epstein, C.A. NCGR