This is another ECLIPSE re-print, this one with updating and a significant amount of historical and astrological information added.
Periodically I like to inspect historical personages and events taking an astrological perspective, so when I ran across an article (no longer available, but see a similar one here) on England’s Richard III and a potential allergy, I had to check it out. Considering the way Ceres has shown herself to be a prominent factor in instances of allergy, sensitivity, and in autoimmune diseases of all kinds, I wanted to see if Richard’s famous change of demeanor after excusing himself for a strawberry feast during a council meeting of 13 June 1483 was possibly related to just such a reaction. If so, it may have had history-altering consequences, as Richard’s fear that he may have been poisoned or the victim of witchcraft (there is even a suggestion that ingesting a massive number of strawberries may have caused the withering effect to one arm that we heretofore had believed through eyewitness description was a birth defect) led him to lash out against those who might take the crown—including his nephews, better known as ‘The Princes in the Tower’, Edward V of England, for whom Richard was acting as Protector, and his younger brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. (At the time the Tower of London was not yet used exclusively as a prison; the boys were lodged there, under guard and for their protection, so the story goes). After the strawberry incident, Richard announced he was taking the crown for himself and the boys ‘disappeared’; his suspicion of even his closest allies planted the seeds for his difficult reign and the horrible reputation that follows him to this day.
Richard III is believed to have been born 2 October 1452 Julian Calendar 9:02 AM LMT (time is certain) Northhamptonshire England. Times of 9 AM and 7 AM have also been put forward, but the time of 9:02 was deduced by astrologer Martin Harvey in the British Astrological Journal Spring 1967, “Time deduced from a 1452 account in Latin, October 2, 1452 OS, 9:15 AM LAT ” as per Astrodatabank.
Right away we notice the Scorpio Ascendant sextile Juno (which body I’ve conjectured before may in a man signal a sense of Self-completion, as in not feeling the need for complementary energies, which means the psyche has no room for another–he’s a partner to himself—it’s a placement, then, of total Self-empowerment that claims the right to do as he pleases—because no one, and so no other viewpoint, figures in). The apex to the Finger created is the Earth-retro Mars conjunction in Aries—certainly easy to associate this vanity/ ego uncertainty/ identity as a man as it manifested through the personality resulting in the death Richard suffered, as a Warrior at the Battle of Bosworth Field, with blows to the head (Aries) so hard that his crown was driven into his skull (and we know this as his remains, verified by mitochondrial testing of two of his sister’s descendants compared to the DNA found, identified the skeleton discovered under a UK parking lot in 2012 as definitively his). This also, of course, catches the Sun at the sextile midpoint, implying the Soul itself might have felt ‘caught’ by the dynamics of the Finger.
The Ascendant is also square Black Moon Lilith and Sedna, and with a sextile to Mars-Earth BML-Sedna forms the base to another Finger of God with apex Juno. The Will, the ego, and the way they are so closely related to the material environment gets played out through the empowerment situation and the sense of personal completeness–and yet much of what drives the ego and material situation is hidden, ignored, denied, or enraging and then buried, in the instincts or in the ‘blind spot’–a terrible connection for a leader to have.
But was he susceptible to Mother Nature? Wow, was he ever! Ceres sits at 29 Libra 11, under stress and hidden just at the end of the 12th and a hair above the start of the 1st House (Whole Sign); it’s the T-arm of a wide Vesta-Uranus opposition, suggesting that stress from Nature shows up in erratic and sudden behaviors that are contrary to the highest values, and yet those rebellious or erratic choices may be justified in Richard’s own mind as sacred (the Vesta effect–see my book for much greater detail). Ceres is the body of latest degree; it implies that all matters end in some sort of ‘reaction’, in relation to his sense of authority, his boundaries, his negotiating power, or his interaction with Nature.
Ceres is quincunx the natal Taurus Moon in the 7th; the Moon is another indicator of sensitivity, in Taurus implying a sensitivity to the environment and particularly to food and atmosphere (and of course the meeting where the impressive change to his demeanor occurred was in mid-June, a high point for strawberries and every other blooming thing!) Placement of the Moon in the 7th suggests that Richard may have had a very reactive personality, emotionally and intuitively hypersensitive to others, and this is reiterated by the Moon’s opposition to Venus–relationships–in the 1st.
The Moon is part of yet another Finger, this one with base of Moon-Uranus, apex the North Node, and one apex Moon, base of Ceres-North Node, which latter also catches Venus in Scorpio in the 1st at its midpoint, with this little detail opening a whole other avenue for health affects–kidneys, blood sugar, venereal diseases–that could’ve weakened the constitution quietly, without anyone necessarily being aware of it.
Richard’s Ceres is also conjunct a 00 Scorpio Mercury (lungs, nerves, highly sensitive to what’s communicated, and at 00 he’s just learning to deal with this in a Scorpionic fashion–that is, one that may retaliate lethally). The asteroid also trines Jupiter, ruler of the 2nd (the Ceres nature affects his relationship with the social sphere, his knowledge—indicating potential for the mind and reasoning to be affected by any reaction—and his grasp of the ‘Big Picture’, and suggesting the potential for exaggerated effects from Ceres instruments), and is widely conjunct Saturn, again emphasizing the impact of Ceres and health on the reality picture, and in stoking fear, another Saturnian element.
As previously noted, we see his Mars in Aries conjoined Earth, both in the 6th of health, yet again showing the importance of the environment and his own choices and actions on the health picture. This is not to mention the Grand Trine of Ceres, Jupiter, and the South Node, which does suggest that knowledge from the past, lessons learned, would guide ‘reaching out’ efforts and attempts to widen his authority and influence—and this is something that probably initially went very right for him, getting him to the position he enjoyed in June of 1483.
A look at the transits on the day of Richard’s strawberry feast include the Sun fresh in sensitive Cancer trine his Ceres-Mercury, and Saturn at 00 Scorpio conjoined his Mercury, highlighting nervous sensitivity to the material world; transiting Zeus is exact conjunct his Pluto (destructive desires!), transiting Ceres trines his Saturn (again, the influence of Nature made manifest), and there were not one but three transiting bodies at 29 degrees during the day, if we include the Virgo Moon (so perfect for an allergic reaction, conjoined transiting Jupiter, opening up potential for both massive consumption of the allergen, and a massive reaction to it), as well as Pallas in Cancer (implying that what was sought as nurturing or soothing was questionable), all impacting natal Ceres and natal Moon, expanding the potential for sensitivity and reaction, and this in turn having an impact on the common sense and wisdom of the individual—and with Jupiter in the mix, we might consider the reaction could’ve been a fatal one.
There is one other thing: a natal aspect of the 24th Harmonic of 105 degrees (popularly termed the Squine, as it’s halfway between a square and a trine!) between Richard’s Zeus and his Ceres and Mercury. Though some feel there’s no reliable interpretation to be applied to this aspect, I believe that’s generally so because enough astrologers haven’t observed it in action for a long enough time to find consistent characteristics. We must keep in mind, too, that Ceres is not just about one’s interaction with Nature; it’s also about one’s sense of authority and interaction with those who hold authority, concerns boundaries and the propensity to overstep them, and applies to one’s negotiative abilities.
And we should add that natal Chiron in Cancer is also in the picture, trine Merc-Ceres and suggesting a primal wound possibly both figurative (to the thinking and communications) and literal (through allergies and sensitivities) that may involve an emotional reaction (Cancer). On the day of the incident, transiting Chiron was square natal Chiron (a moment of reckoning concerning wounds) and created a T-square by opposing natal Neptune, the ultimate obscurer of facts and sources, and the kind of response that can occur with the mental state (t Chiron quincunx n Mercury) in an allergic reaction: one can become ‘foggy’, losing orientation and even time, feeling physically irritated and uncomfortable–short of actual respiratory distress or anaphylactic shock, thinking unclearly, and perhaps prompting the imagination to set off on its own.
If Richard’s Ceres was ‘triggered’ by strawberry consumption, and this affected the thinking (Mercury), then too it could’ve affected the ambitions and desires (Zeus)—and as we know, when the ambitions are touched by fear such as may have occurred with a biological reaction interpreted as poisoning or an occult attack, then it wouldn’t be surprising for the ‘victim’ to have grabbed as much power and control for himself as possible, leading to the ominous and still unanswered disappearance of two little boys, and changing the course of a kingdom
As to the Princes in the Tower, though we still can’t be sure what was the fate of the two princes, the story is that the bones of two children were discovered in the Tower in 1674; these were re-buried in Westminster Abbey. Some examinations have been done, but with questionable results according to modern forensic scientists, and the Church of England and its head, the Queen, continue to refuse to allow exhumation of the remains. And so the mystery continues.