The beginning holds the seed of all that is to follow
~ I Ching 30
One always hopes to become someone only to find out in the end that one is several.
~ Raymond Devos
In this chapter we show how astrologers put together the richly varied cast of characters in the average birth chart in order to present a coherent but multi-dimensional picture of a whole human being. It should be emphasised that an astrologer's analysis of a chart is not a definitive statement, but rather an exploration of a multi-faceted image. In practice, this exploration is a two-way process involving the astrologer and the client; the astrologer's understanding is presented and also 'checked out' with the client, which elicits participation and collaboration, and an invitation for the client to explore the symbolism of the chart alongside the astrologer.
In fact, when learning how to understand a birth chart, the best and most relevant information comes from its owner. For example, if you have a chart in front of you with Moon opposed Uranus, you start with the principles: Moon = feeling, imagination, belonging, safety; and Uranus = sudden change, freedom, originality. Together the two principles could mean many things, such as (1) a highly original imagination, (2) a person whose mother was unusual, (3) a freedom-loving personality, (4) a dislike of emotional commitment. So what does it mean for this person? Here is where describing the principles and then eliciting feedback from the owner of the chart will teach you astrology! And the best way to learn is to practice with friends and family. If you decide to study astrology for yourself, then it can become a personal tool and a solo exploration – you and the symbols.
Sometimes a person will come seeking apparently straightforward 'advice' about money or career issues, but a competent astrologer will study and refer to the whole chart, for there is no compartment of an individual's life which is separate from the whole life pattern. It must be emphasised that all interpretative work should be entered into with the utmost care and responsibility, for people can be needlessly frightened, and even harmed, by careless or negative statements. Astrological interpretation should be an exploration, an 'opening up' process, and a catalyst to greater self-understanding. Insights that come from chart analysis can help to unlock thorny personal issues, and the beginner in astrology should always remember that seemingly 'difficult' aspects give depth, endurance and positive potential to character.
Logic and Intuition
It should also be emphasised that an astrologer uses intuition as much as intellect in the exploration of a birth chart. After carefully setting up the chart and studying its structure, and its features one by one and the way they all inter-relate, the astrologer will pause in order to follow intuitive imagination to go to work. The facts have been carefully assembled but then the astrologer must simply come back to the chart and see or apprehend it as one would a painting or a mandala. One must simply and respectfully behold the integrity of the image: it is unique, a map of an individual psyche, a soul's contract with time and space, a complete theatrical work with its inherent tensions and meaningful trajectory. This act of 'imaginatively apprehending without reasoning' often yields valuable images of how particular dynamics in the chart may express themselves in a subtle way, this leads the consultation in a fertile direction. Left-brain and right-brain activity operate hand-in-hand in an astrologer's work, as they do in any truly creative science-art.
An Analysis of the Birth Chart of Princess Diana
Perhaps no other individual has captured the imagination of the collective psyche in recent years as powerfully as the lat Princess of Wales. For this reason, we will use her chart for the purposes of this chapter. What would an astrologer say about her birth chart? What were the themes and sub-personalities in her life drama? What insights would be emphasised about her strengths and weaknesses, her potential for happy or difficult relationships, career ambitions and personal development? It is important to remember that interpretation depends a lot on the context of a person's life. Many people were born on the same day and moment as Princess Diana, but only she became a future queen of England. However, regardless of personal context, the astrological principles will still be the same in essence, and will express in accord with their natures.
Whist all the features of the chart are important and the chart needs to be appreciated as a whole, most astrologers will, as a lead into the interpretation, first consider the position of the Sun, the Moon, and the Ascendant.
Sun in Cancer (Cardinal Water)
Emotionally attuned, sensitive, maternal, clannish,imaginative, fluctuating moods but deeply loyal, need for intimacy and belonging, tenacious, centres identity through others, a need to share, to be mirrored.
As a Sun Cancerian, Princess Diana's life was centred in the dimension of feeling, family and belonging. Her Sun in Cancer tells us that emotional security was vital to her wellbeing as well as being something which she herself could create and give to others. Her essential nature, like the nature of water itself, was fluid and ever-changing, and therefore she was happiest when her fluidity was being contained and channelled by someone strong and solid. Emotional relationships were of paramount importance to the Princess, and her emotional concerns revolved around those who were 'her own', those who were part of her intimate clan. True to her Cancerian nature, she had worked as a nursery school teacher and was most confident in her role as a mother. With her sons Willia and Harry, Diana could really be herself: she felt needed, could be warm, playful, loving, nurturing, in tune with the needs of the young and vulnerable. Timidity and impressionability plagued Diana always, but as her identity evolved through the feminine roles of royal consort and mother she began to enjoy the publicity she attracted.Recognition for her Cancerian qualities – tenderness, loyalty, practicality, responding to needs – gave her self-esteem. Typically her Cancerian nature exhibited a great proneness to moodiness, touchiness and being easily hurt, especially when she did not find the sense of security and belonging she so craved. An astrologer would emphasise the importance of family life, of finding emotional security, and a special creative or artistic 'niche' for herself – a spiritual place – within her home and herself. An astrologer would elucidate the nature of her security needs and fragile possessiveness but also validate her fluctuating moods and their potential creativity, as well as explain how Cancerian fears can employ emotional manipulation to defend against disappointment.
Sun in the 7th house
Family life played a hugely important role in Diana's life, for she had a rich ancestral background and grew up to embrace a fate determined wholly by another powerful family – the Windsors. With her Sun in the seventh house, the domain of the 'other' and that which complements or completes us, we know that her own power, purpose and individuality (the Sun) would manifest throughrelationships. And, of course, what proved to be the most powerful relationship was that between Diana and the British people.
Sun, Mercury, Mars, Uranus, Pluto N. Node 3rd quadrant
We look to the 1801 chart for the UK, the year of the Union or the formation of the United Kingdom, and find that its Midheaven is 9 Cancer, the exact degree of Diana's Sun. This connection between the two charts is symbolic of the important role Diana would play in influencing the future values of the country. Diana's chart reveals six factors in the third quadrant of the chart, indicating that the impact of marriage and intimate involvement with others would be crucial for her personal development. She was painfully sensitive to the support and/or criticism of loved ones, and through her marriage to Prince Charles, her Cancerian vulnerability was exposed to the world.
Strong 7th and 8th house
An astrologer might have cautioned the Princess about the pitfalls of this seventh-house Sun placement: becoming overly identified with and dependent on others so that she would feel incomplete without them. But at the same time, she was to find her real source of self-esteem through the healing impact she had on others in her philanthropic work.
Sun conjunct Mercury
Sun conjunct Mercury, the god of communication and language, further enhanced her capacity to speak the 'people's language', to get her feeling message across. It was through connection with others that she became stimulated to use her curiosity and intelligence, and eventually developed her abilities as a public speaker. But she made sure that her communications were emotionally received; she always preferred informal meetings, and liked to touch and hug those with whom she was conversing – a typical Cancerian trait. In her chart Mercury rules her sixth and seventh houses (work/health and relationships), indicating her important role as spokesperson for others. An astrologer would explore he experience of communication, and would validate her very intuitive approach, which is also indicated by Mercury's aspects to Neptune and Pluto.
Tenderness, timidity and emotional vulnerability are only part of the Cancerian theme. Cancer also bestows tenacity, imagination and the psychic knack of understanding and influencing public sentiment. Princess Diana was intensely personal and she soon discovered her instinct for piercing through protocol to appeal to the hearts of people. Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the cosmic body that reflects solar light and which symbolises the 'people' so we look to its position to understand further Diana's inner nature and her popular appeal.
Moon in Aquarius (Fixed Air)
Humanitarian, outgoing, progressive, unconventional, independent, quietly rebellious, detached, need forfriendship and communication, group work, collective causes.
Moon in Aquarius added an independent, extrovert quality to Diana's personality, and helped to translate her sensitive, protective feelings out into the world at large. This position made her instinctively a friend of the world, and gave her a need for social freedom and experimentation, something the monarchy could not supply or allow. Though very different from each other, Cancer and Aquarius both care deeply about others but in different ways. Aquarius is airy: it needs to share ideas and ideals, it needs to feel part of an egalitarian group. Its nature is impersonal, gregarious, offbeat and zany, and strongly individualistic. It is a very principled sign, is sensitive to injustice and believes in supporting the rights of marginalised groups.
Moon in 2nd house
Her role as friend of the needy and abused, which her trapped condition as the mythical 2nd House 'princess in the tower' engendered for her, felt deeply, instinctively 'right'. Her Moon in the second house meant that her sense of self-worth was directly linked with he capacity to respond emotionally to people's needs. This lunar position also indicates that her personal resources for work and survival involved her feminine, maternal powers. Diana's work was entirely to do with the domain of feeling; she felt grounded and real when she experienced others receiving her compassionate attention and he identification with their pain. She also valued (second house) what she felt was an inalienable right (Aquarius): truthful self-expression. Her actions spoke out against the prejudices about AIDS and lepers and other emotionally explosive issues. Diana's role in the supreme archetypal family was typically Aquarian in that she was the outsider; she felt this keenly and bore it courageously. Her youth, informality and rebellious spirit had a disturbing but progressive influence on the monarchy: essentially, she brought them into the modern world.
An astrologer, describing her Aquarian Moon, would emphasise her need for social mobility and independence, for communication and egalitarian friendships, her humanitarian instincts, and her need to challenge family values that were swallowed whole. An astrologer might indicate career areas which involved public service, which engaged her feisty, feminine spirit, and might also suggest that she possessed inner resources of adaptability and great sensitivity to others' needs.
Moon opposed Uranus
In fact, Diana's rebellious Aquarian Moon did much more than disturb the monarchy. Ultimately, she defied an age-old patriarchal double-standard: through her protest against an ancient norm ('marry a virgin, but keep the woman you love as your mistress') by collaborating with Andrew Morton on his biography Diana: Her True Story, she exposed the monarchy's exploitation of her procreative role and eventually forced them to re-examine their mores. Certainly the tragedy of her final demise brought out the full impact of her dissent, but while she was alive her Aquarian Moon was made even more rebellious through its opposition to Uranus, planet of change and deviation. This very emotionally excitable and unstable configuration gave Diana a very strong-willed and tense emotional nature which sustained her decision to challenge 'the firm' when her own role as royal consort had become an empty prison.
T-square: Moon, Venus, Uranus
The Moon-Uranus aspect is also involved with Venus, thereby forming a T-square with the two feminine astrological deities. This describes her emotional inheritance: at a very tender age she lost the security of her mother's presence due to her parents' divorce. The family stability was disrupted due, in part, to her mother's unconventional, strong-willed and romantic spirit. Diana inherited this same spirit, but it was an emotionally wounded and unstable spirit that craved love (Moon-Venus) but unconsciously expected rejection (Uranus).
Venus in Taurus 5th squ. Moon Aquarius 2nd, Uranus squ. to both.
The resulting emotional insecurity could manifest, at times, in hysterical and sensation-seeking behaviour, and this in turn could make excessive demands on close relationships. Venus in Taurus gave her an earthy sensuality, possessiveness, a love of beauty, colour and luxury, and a strong power of attraction. In contrast to this was her Aquarian instinct for unusual people, philanthropy and humanitarian pursuits. This paradox was an integral part of Diana's appeal. She was both a devoted lunar mother and healer, as well as a beautiful, flirtatious Aphrodite who wanted love and adoration. The square from Uranus in the eighth house 'electrified' both feminine roles and bestowed an erratic but exciting charisma. It also brought uncomfortable and sudden lightning bolts from the most intimate part of her life: marriage and sexuality. This configuration in her chart could offer her some important insights about relationship patterns, not least of which is that the original bolt of lightning was the break-up of her parent's marriage, and that emotional healing in this area was needed.
Awareness of the fact that there were three people in her marriage brought a humiliating jolt to Diana's self of self-worth (Moon in the second) and to her own femininity and sexual confidence (Venus in the fifth). Although she was devoted to her sons and valued security, loyalty and family solidarity (Saturn first house), she attracted intrigue and rejection (Uranus eighth house) – a repeat of her early family experience. From a psychological point of view, it can be argued that a deep but unconscious desire to heal the painful emotional wound from the loss of her mother actually compelled her to enter a relationship with an individual who would help her re-enact the same early tragedy.
Venus trine Saturn; Venus square Uranus
An astrologer seeing this problematic Moon picture would engage with her on the subject of her early childhood relationships and the way she experienced her mother. This might lead to a growing awareness of the way she subsequently learned to respond in adult relationships; it could encourage self-reflection as to how she learned to get her emotional needs met. An astrologer would also discuss the inherent freedom-loving qualities o this configuration with her, pointing out that with oppositions there is a propensity to polarise situations andto project feelings. For example, feeling hurt when a loved one does not want to be close all the time might mean that, in fact, she does not want to be so close.
Saturn versus Uranus
The needto honour the 'spaces in-between' in relationships would need to be addressed; it could help her manage better the 'freedom-closeness' dilemma that was such a constant theme in her emotional life. The purpose of such discussion would be to help her think about both needs: pursuing her life on her own terms (Uranus) as well as sustaining a close relationship (Moon-Venus) with someone who also needed 'space'. How to combine freedom and closeness is the challenge of her Moon-Venus-Uranus configuration.
Fiery, casual, restless, spontaneous, optimistic, freedom-loving, direct and forthright approach to life, tendency to exaggerate, sentimental, sense of anticipation, seeks meaning in all events, noble, expansive, kind-hearted.
Despite her deep loyalty to traditional family values, Princess Diana's personal style was much less conventional than that of the rest of the royal family. Certainly, this was due, in part, to her Moon-Uranus opposition, but here it is reinforced by her Sagittarian Ascendant. This very visible personality 'style' was warm and outgoing, restless and eager for fun. Although she needed adventure (Sagittarius), she also needed acceptance and would essentially stay firmly embedded in family values (Cancer).But the qualities she sought to develop in herself in the outer world were those of her Ascendant sign: confident self-expression, communication of passionate beliefs, and relaxed and unpretentious reaching out to others. Life placed her in a situation where these qualities were needed, and she duly set about her regal duties in a manner that was truly her own.
Jupiter, ruler of Ascendant, in Aquarius, 2nd house
Sagittarius can also express itself in an exaggerated, inflated manner, and perhaps equal to her spontaneity, integrity and kindness was her self-dramatisation and self-interest. Larger-than-life Jupiter rules her Ascendant; certainly its placement in the second house brought her wealth and the enjoyment of luxury and prestige. Sometimes Sagittarian pride can overstep itself and dig in its heels with a dogmatic, 'holier-than-thou' attitude. But the blessings and luck of her ruling planet, the Moon, in people-loving Aquarius, along with other more seductively charismatic qualities, made it easy for her adoring public to forgive her naïve conceit. Diana valued people (Jupiter in Aquarius); despite the wealth which shielded her from the normal economic concerns of ordinary people, she had a deeply egalitarian soul and could become 'one of the gang' in almost any group she found herself with. She also saw the public as a friend, as a collective mirror who would give back what she needed – adoration and approval – and this undoubtedly helped her, during times of extreme loneliness, to continue to view her life in a philosophical, Sagittarian way, as a journey, and to see herself as a resilient participant in her life drama. An astrologer would describe this part of Diana as the restless, exuberant, optimistic traveller, or the persuasive 'salesperson' who could enthuse others and who needed to ground her vision in her work with people. She was a typically undaunted Sagittarian seeker who bounced back from problems and from her social gaffes which actually made her more 'real', more fallible and therefore more loveable to the ordinary person.
Saturn in Capricorn; Jupiter-Saturn conjunction
Not far from Jupiter in Diana's chart we find Saturn in Capricorn, placed on the first/second house cusp. This Jupiter-Saturn conjunction repeats and emphasises one of the main themes in her chart: the tension between tradition, duty and the past and innovation, freedom and the future. Diana's life structure was one of privileged responsibility, rooted in a strong hierarchical tradition of noblesse oblige. Capricorn is one of the strongest positions for Saturn, giving innate discipline, self-control, ambition and a conscientious approach to work. It also gives a fierce loyalty to authority figures and a need for recognition and success. This trait is further emphasised by Saturn's square to her Midheaven, the part of the chart connected with status and one's public role.
Saturn squ. Libran MC, ruled by Venus
Her Venus-ruled Libran Midheaven, with Venus trine Saturn, represented her flair with people and her dedicated feminine role in supporting worthy charities. In characteristic Libran style, a large part of her role in the monarchy was seen to be that of bringing warmth and beauty and a mischievous sense of fun into formal public duties. But Saturn's aspects to her Venus and Midheaven gave a solemn, grave, dedicated edge to her work. This sub-personality could be called the 'stern father' which must have exerted a powerful 'top dog' influence within her, making her feel acutely aware of being watched and expected to achieve impeccable standards of behaviour. The inner 'top dog' was perfectly matched by the outer 'top dog' – the monarchy. But this pressure to conform within a family system, where the kind of emotional sustenance she needed was in short supply, confirmed an inner sense of failure but then propelled her into a steely determination to find her own authoritative voice.
Sun Cancer versus Saturn Capricorn
Diana's Sun Cancer was her vulnerable under-belly, fluid and unformed, protected and defended by the sturdy Capricorn walls of tradition and duty. What started out as agonising stage-fright when she found herself suddenly exposed to the world, slowly transformed itself into commanding stage presence. This is the gift of Saturn in Capricorn. But as always with Saturn, there were no short cuts to internalising this planet's considerable strengths: through the long, cold, dark tunnels of emotional disappointment, depression and bulimia, Diana transformed chronic loneliness and self-loathing, into an enduring and well-chiselled identity. She found a way to weather the emotional storms, to express her own truth, and remain devoted to her royal duties. Capricorn tradition was the painful and privileged matrix through which she made her life her own. An astrologer might open a discussion around Saturn by validating the integrity, loyalty, determination and organisational abilities this position gives, and how it enabled her to embrace the daunting challenges of her role with such commitment. Contrasting this with her rebellious Moon-Uranus side could help her to grasp the contradictions of her nature, and help her to identify the different needs and energies within her.
Jupiter-Saturn 2nd house
The Jupiter-Saturn link with the second house indicated that self-value would be an important issue for her. It also indicated material wealth. Certainly, her money-earning powers were considerable while she was still alive, for her patronage was sought by many – the charities she valued attracted wealth. But, ironically, her wealth-attracting powers were only fully realised after her death in the phenomenally rapid growth of the Princess Diana Memorial Fund. An astrologer discussing this position in her chart would expound upon the strengths and defences of Saturn, and emphasise the educative value of personal experience for her development and maturity.
Jupiter versus Saturn
An astrologer might also bring out the ambitious side of this position, highlighting her need for self-respect, success and recognition through finding a role in which she excelled and was admired for her contribution to the greater good. Also, an astrologer would emphasise the tension between traditional (Saturn in Capricorn) and individual (Jupiter, ruler of Ascendant, in Aquarius) values, suggesting that the scales were tipped in the direction of her need to be true to her inner heroic spirit (Sagittarius Ascendant, Moon opposed Uranus, Uranus conjunct N. Node, Venus, ruler of the MC, square Uranus), however fraught with difficulties that path might be.
Mars, Uranus, Pluto, N. Node in 8th house.
The eighth house in Diana's chart tells the deeper story of her painful transformations: Mars, Uranus, Pluto and the North Node reside here. Diana grew up in the gaze of an Mars, adoring public and transformed herself into a modern woman who knew her own power. What was the nature of this power? 'Transform' and 'power' are terms connected with Pluto, the god of the underworld. Her Sun was sextile Pluto, an aspect that gave her the energy to endure and transform painful experiences and to use them positively. Pluto's influence helped her to rise from the ashes of a destroyed marriage and self-image, fully exposed to the world, to reinvent herself.
Sun sextile Pluto-Mars
It also intensified her emotions and her will, as well as giving her the courage to face excruciating pain and difficulties in others' lives. Pluto's eighth-house position did not bode well for an easy time in marriage: this is the province of intimacy and what passes between people, suggesting that close relationships could involve power struggles, intense emotional upheaval and the breaking of taboos. An astrologer would approach this with sensitivity, and might have explained this as tremendous subterranean reserves of sexual and aggressive energy which required her awareness and which, if repressed, could erupt negatively and could prevent the happy intimacy she so craved.
Mars and Pluto in Virgo suggests obsessive fastidiousness and self-criticism, as Virgo is to do with purifying, refining and improving. They also suggest the theme of health and healing, and these areas could be explored and open up positive outlets for this powerful energies.
Because Pluto is with Mars, sexuality and shared resources were a real battleground. Her basic instinctual drives were very intense, and the anger she felt at being held captive in an empty marriage and a rigid monarchy she eventually directed inwardly against herself. This was not an easy energy to manage: it is the rage of the infant, and more – Mars in the eighth can mean competition in the bedroom, and alas, the triangle she lived with had a distinctly oedipal feel to it. What is so tricky about the eighth house for anyone is the sense one has of being 'coerced' into messy situations and then blaming others, when clearly one's own emotional dynamics contrive to land one exactly in that place. And because the intensity of this position can be frightening – can feel like a life-or-death struggle – the result is usually a fanatical need to control. Mars likes to be in charge, and Pluto categorically demands it. In matters of sexual intimacy, this competitive approach is not particularly conducive to romance and marital harmony. An astrologer would look at this sub-personalit – which we might call 'the revolver underneath the velvet gown' syndrome – with great care, for undoubtedly it is the most difficult configuration in her chart. It suggests an aggressive and potentially violent theme; for Diana personally, it played out as trapped sexual passion and betrayal, her own anger and revenge through revealing the truth about her intimate life, and later her courageous solo crusades for the underdog, most dangerous of which was her efforts for land-mind victims. And ultimately, it was the signature for the sudden, violent death (although this must be understood in connection with the transits she was undergoing at the time, ie Transit Pluto square natal Mars-Pluto-Node and natal Chiron, all linked with an eclipse).
This last statement, that Mars-Pluto-Uranus in the eighth was a signature for her sudden, violent death, needs to be more thoroughly explored in the context of Diana's life.
Mars-Pluto energy is extraordinarily difficult for any woman to express, and much more so for a woman whose life was so visibly and completely structured by the patriarchal establishment. Both astrologers Paul Wright and Nicholas Campion have identified Mars-Pluto connections in the charts of many Stuart monarchs, pointing out how the history of the Stuarts evinces their involvement in violence and anarchy in one way or another. It would seem that Diana's life fits into this larger national history in some way, that her birth chart and life show that she inherited a larger fate which constellated various painful and unresolved emotional issues for the nation.
At a personal level, Mars-Pluto was very difficult for her, but in terms of the wider social dimension, Mars-Pluto allowed Diana to be an agent of change for society, and with its close conjunction to her North Node and placement in the eighth house, we can surmise that her consciousness-changing role in society – the way that she brought a courageous compassion and openness to layers of society we prefer to shun – was her most important contribution. We can understand this Mars-Pluto-Uranus in Diana's chart in hindsight, and hopefully learn from her struggles to live with such a demanding energy, albeit in a highly demanding sub-culture of society. Mary Queen of Scots had a Mars-Pluto conjunction; she also had a dramatic, colourful and tragic life. Paul Wright, in his fine book Astrology in Action, describes her impact on Britain as belonging to 'the realm of romance and legend'. This can certainly be said of Diana.
Mars-Pluto opposed Chiron-Moon
Diana's Moon is also involved in this picture (although the aspect has a wide orb), further suggesting the possibility of self-destructive tendencies to manifest at some point. This was all the more likely to occur in a monarchist society where women (the Moon), especially the wife of the future king, have strict roles and are not encouraged to be 'potent' in typically Mars-Pluto ways. This is further emphasised by the Mars-Pluto opposition to Chiron, the 'wounded healer', which in the end enabled her to learn from her painful experiences and to become something of a 'wounded healer' for others. I hasten to add that Moon opposed Mars-Pluto-Uranus need not express itself in a self-destructive way, but is an energy pattern that requires stringent self-awareness in order for its influence to be positive. It is the energy of the rebel and the reformer, the person whose emotional security (Moon) was perhaps ruptured at an early age, a person who seeks out unusual relationships which awaken and shock one out of old patterns, a person who breaks through decaying rigid structures, but who must take great personal risks in order to do so. Mars-Pluto-Uranus is an energy pattern which requires tremendous courage and self-honesty. An astrologer would encourage awareness of these energies within her, emphasising the need for conscious direction through, for example, sports and physical activity and projects to which she was passionately committed. A discussion of the nature of this eighth-house configuration could alert her to any compulsions she had towards recklessness and defiantly arrogant behaviour that would mitigate against her safety and best interests. Areas of interest and possible giftedness for her would be in psychology, medicine, healing, nutrition and social work, projects that involved empowering others.
Moon and Sun, co-rulers of 8th house
Also relevant in this picture is the fact that the Moon and Sun are co-rulers of her eighth house, and are linked by a sesquiquadrate, aspect of manifestation, showing that her inner masculine and feminine sides will come together in the most creative way through the powerful cathartic change which is concomitant with intimacy.
Chiron in Pisces
Chiron's involvement in this configuration and its placement in Pisces allowed Diana to be a healing catalyst for society, to bring in a new level of social compassion, and to become an ally for other sufferers of intense unhappiness and self-mutilation. And perhaps the British people were ready for the kind of openness and honesty that she had. Her self-disclosure in the famous Panorama interview, rather than bursting the bubble of public adoration, actually made her 'one of us: money, beauty, position and power had not protected her from the ailments of the modern age.
Neptune in Scorpio, 10th house, trine the Sun and Chiron
Diana was often described at having 'this gift' with people. Neptune's position in her chart is symbolic of this gift, the charm, the magical aura, the glamorous shield which both protected and enslaved her. Neptune forms a grand trine with her Sun and Chiron, which is symbolic of the intensely magnetic personal power she exuded. Sun-Neptune generates intense romanticism, idealism and a longing for a 'perfect' love. It also gives great compassion and the capacity to intuitively understand the feeling needs of others. Neptune's 10th house placement shows that this is how she wanted to be known, this is her projected image: the compassionate, caring, giving woman. Diana also carried the projections of the nation's desire for beautiful, benevolent queen. Neptune in the 10th suggests a romantic fixation with her father and a proneness to idealise the man (Sun) in her life. Neptune brings disillusionment to the person who is wedded to a fairy-tale drama of love; and of course, a romantic courtship and fairy-tale wedding were followed by disappointment once the honeymoon period was over. This disillusionment was extremely powerful for her, and it brought about another dimension of her Neptunian role – the victim. Her public image became that of the long-suffering, altruistic princess held captive by her position in a cold, unfeeling world. Her relationship with the press, despite its agonising, relentless intrusion, became for her a kind of last-resort tool that she learned to use well. Diana's kindness, innocence and emotional neediness may have been abused, but there was undoubtedly a complex mixture of orchestration and compliance in her role as victim. Neptune always 'muddies the water' on these issues.
Diana's aspirations were very Neptunian, and her work in the world (10th house) reflected this. Neptune's influence gave Diana an ability to 'feel with' people, to really identify with their plight, and this emotional rapport was heightened and transformed into a healing ability through Chiron's involvement with the Sun-Neptune grand trine. It is easy for Neptunian individuals to identify completely with an archetypal role, but when they do, as Jung has told us, they may suffer the inexorable fate of the archetype. Diana won sympathy and adoration from the public, and it bolstered her identity as the wronged woman. And no matter how much criticism she received for her mistakes, her 'Saint Diana' image remained intact.Her role as the Queen of Hearts was a reflection both of her true values and of her need for compassion and love.
The whole range of Neptune's influence can be seen in Diana's life: her innocence, romanticism and legendary marriage to her Sun-Neptune 'king', her glamour and beauty, her compassion and psychic sensitivity, and her role as the sacrificial lamb. Diana herself had said that the night before her wedding, she felt like a 'lamb to the slaughter. I knew it and I couldn't do anything about it' (Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton, Michael O'Mara Books, 1993). These are the words of an enchanted person, someone who walks with a conviction of a sleepwalker entering a dream that she believes can be a reality. This highlights the complexity of Diana's strongly Neptunian nature, and one reason why her public influence was so strong, for we are all subject to intense Neptunian longings and disappointments. She enacted some of our deepest desires and fears. Diana gained immense popularity and power through her Neptunian charm, but it also exerted power over her. An astrologer engaging with her about this dimension of her chart could describe the attributes of Neptune and perhaps open up a discussion of her feelings about her father and men in general. Her vivid imagination would readily take to thinking about this side of herself, but it might require some stringent self-confrontations which could help her pierce the bubble of a Neptunian enchantment. This would ultimately help her to experience less romantic disappointment as she learned to see herself, her needs and others more realistically.
And this is the challenge of a strong Neptune: allowing room for one's compassion and yearnings as well as accepting the necessary boundaries and limits of being human. Far from being a disappointing experience, accepting limits can make one feel very contained. And it is an essential step towards developing one's own creative imagination and the talents that are waiting to blossom from within.
As Shakespeare has told us, all the world is a stage and we are each 'merely players' who have a variety of roles to play in our own life drama. Over time, the plot of that drama shows itself to be repetitive in a subtle but fascinating way. Princess Diana's life was lived out on a grand stage, and so the gods come alive in a particularly colourful and mythological way. What we can gain from studying her life and chart is the realisation that there were many sides, many needs, many sub-personalities within her, all vying for attention. Some of these sub-personalities were exciting and delightful, and some were very difficult and painful. We know that during Diana's life she did consult astrologers in an attempt to understand her nature better, and also, we think, to gain some hope that she could more actively participate in the transformation she desired.
Throughout much of her life she may have felt like a passive victim of a predetermined destiny, but astrology shows us that this is not the case. We cannot trade charts and lives with someone else, but we can seek to transform the difficulties in our charts into strengths, if we so choose. On the road to transformation, Diana met all the different parts of her nature. The same is true for everyone – on the road to becoming 'someone', we must encounter the 'several' and make room for them in an authentic way.