Coronation of Elizabeth I


We know the Election for the Coronation was calculated by Dr John Dee. Elizabeth’s personal astrologer, mathematician, navigator and magician. However, to the best of my current knowledge, the timing has been passed in good faith and no contemporary written document to this effect is extant. Most troublesome is when the information was first passed on. Although we should be quite safe in assuming it’s using the Julian calendar, there is the lurking possibility that the date was passed on after the Gregorian calendar was adopted. With these things in mind, I would like to read and compare both possible charts.

If nothing else this provides a good study of Electional astrology at work. I’m often surprised how many people view their life without contemplating alternatives if they are possible, favourable or disastrous.  This is the difference between a strong election with fair results and another that actually makes things worse. Personally, I see both charts as candidates. Although tradition would favour the Julian date, I do not claim that either is the definitive charts. Even Frawley gives no source for the time he uses for the Coronation chart.

Elizabeth was vulnerable at a particularly dangerous point in English history. Her legitimacy was questioned on all fronts and being a woman made it worse

The enmity between Scotland and England and Roman Catholic vs Protestant were events that could tear the realm apart

John Dee Demonstrating an Experiment at Court - Artist Unknown

John Dee Demonstrating an Experiment at Court – Artist Unknown

It’s a marvel that she survived at all But she was to be the greatest Queen, if not the greatest Monarch England has known.

The portrait at the top of the page is of Elizabeth in her prime. The painting is known as the Armada portrait.

I have little doubt that John Dee played a role in the annihilation of the Armada.  Beyond being the Queen’s astrologer he is said to have used a powerful magical curse against Her Majesty’s adversaries.


Coronation Chart 1

The perfect Election exists only in the mind of God. I’m frequently asked to do an Election for all manner of events. Often I’m asked to do so with precious little notice.

The task then becomes not necessarily to find an ideal chart but one with the least problems. I do not know how much notice was given to  John Dee, but I suspect it wasn’t much. Nevertheless, it’s a fine piece of work.

The chart date and time given is 15 January 1559 AD  at 12.00 Greenwich, using the Porphyry House system. That is the first chart. The second is adjusted to ten minutes later and showing Al Biruni’s planetary parts We are told it was around noon, so we have room for a little manoeuvring, but not very much.

First of all we have a chart for a few minutes after high noon, with Sun and Jupiter in The Tenth house, disposited by Saturn Rx in the Twelfth House, in his own Joy. The Hour is Jupiter The Day is the Moon. The Sun is with the fixed star Altair and in partile  Trine to the Ascendant.

Adjusted to 12.10

Adjusted to 12.10

The Tenth House is the place of high office, preferment, standing, command and honour. Primarily the Sun but also Jupiter are royal in this context.

We have Mercury and Venus in Capricorn in the Ninth House as well. The Saturn signature is pervasive. The Eleventh House informs or influences the Tenth. Venus in Capricorn is cool and with the Fixed Star Vega but also suggests a favourable relationship between Religion and Finances.

The Moon is separating from a Sextile to Jupiter and will then Trine the same when she passes into Libra. I’m not happy about the Moon in the Eighth, but having both Malefics in their Joy in the Twelfth and Sixth House is always a good idea.. Mars in the Sixth is said to be like a tiger in a cage.

It might seem detrimental having Saturn disposit Jupiter, Sun, Mercury and Venus, particularly considering his condition. First of all, the old Devil is doing the best and transferring his light to Mars. This I believe neutralizes the Saturn and Mars opposition. Elizabeth’s hidden enemies are thus significantly weakened. I don’t know what Dee had in in mind, but I strongly suspect he would have interpreted the Scorpionic Mars in the House of Servants as a strong and  loyal military.

A phoenix is a mythological bird which never dies but, after 500 years, is consumed by fire and born again, making it a symbol of the Resurrection, endurance and eternal life. Only one phoenix lives at a time, so it was also used to symbolize Elizabeth's uniqueness and longevity.

A phoenix is a mythological bird which never dies but, after 500 years, is consumed by fire and born again, making it a symbol of the Resurrection, endurance and eternal life. Only one phoenix lives at a time, so it was also used to symbolize Elizabeth’s uniqueness and longevity.

The Part of Fortune is in the Fourth House and parallel to Fixed Star Aldebaran. I’m not sure if Dee planned this or not because there is more than one way of reading Aldebaran. It is often referred to as the Eye of God It is also associated with blindness.

If he had reversed the calculation from the one above, the Pars Fortuna would then be found in the Eleventh House and that is a great blessing  The House is known as that of the Good Spirit and speaks of influential friends and alliances. It’s at the degree of the twelfth cusp but hasn’t crossed the threshold. Things like this make us realize how tricky it can be to construct an Election with a small window of time to work with.

The Almuten of the Chart is fortuitously the Sun according to rules set down by Ibn Ezra. He is in Sect. Venus in the House of God and Religion has the highest score for Essential Dignities

After all, Elizabeth is not only to be the Queen but the head of the Church of England as well.

Elizabeth I in Coronation Robes

Elizabeth I in Coronation Robes

The Lady of the Geniture is the Moon, which I find highly appropriate. She is strong with Procyon, a Fixed Star of high magnitude possessing the nature of Mercury and Mars. The Planetary Parts according to Al Biruni offer another dimension.

The Part of Jupiter is beautifully placed in the Ninth House, lending it more strength and depth. The Parts for both Malefic are in their House of Joy just as are the planets themselves. The Parts of  Mercury and Moon sit well in the Eleventh. But the Part of Venus in Royal Leo in the Fourth Angular house is exquisite.

I received a comment that the chart may be questionable because the ruler of the twelfth is applying to the ruler of the ascendant. I freely admit that isn’t perfect by any means but doesn’t undermine the entire election. Electional astrology is what Frawley refers to as the “art of the possible.”

I do not know if Dee had read Al Biruni, but it would very odd if he didn’t. He was a polyglot, an occultist and well supported by the Queen. I’m sure he could get any book he desired.


Coronation Chart 2

Let’s now look at the chart most frequently quoted, with the same time and date, but using the Julian calendar. This chart has much to commend it, not least the fact that we have Regulus both conjunct and parallel the Pars Fortuna in the fourth.  Regulus is of the Nature of Mars and Jupiter. The Pars is also with the Arabic Part of Abundance in House.  This would help meet the need of a strong foundation.

The chart gives us the Day of the Sun and the Hour of Mars. The first is a blessing, the second is a mystery.  It could be that the time is slightly off by perhaps a minute when the Hour of Jupiter would have ended, but I still see this as a compromise. It’s cutting it too fine. I have looked at the Lunar Mansions and there is nothing particularly auspicious, so I’m guessing Dee didn’t use them.

Saturn is direct in this chart, dispositing Jupiter, the Sun, Venus and Mercury. However, the Saturn – Mars opposition is much stronger. Mars is applying to the opposition and is but one degree from perfection. Nevertheless, they are still restrained by House placement, each in their Joy. This is a trade-off many would be reluctant to make.

Elizabeth's Radix Chart

Elizabeth’s Radix Chart

My remarks on the previous chart regarding a strong and loyal military are still true, although somewhat diluted. Mars is not receiving the light from Saturn.

Saturn is the uncontested Almuten of the chart in the Fixed Earth sign Taurus, dispositing the Fixed Air signs in Aquarius. While this might seem a bit gloomy, it is excellent for stability and longevity of the reign.

The Ninth House is still in very good shape, auguring a favourable and financially harmonious relationship with the Church.

That only leaves the Eleventh House, the House of the Good Spirit. When considering a Monarch, this would be best represented as the court, courtly advisors and others in a supportive role.  Moon in Aries means changeability, volatility and ill will in this position.  She is also in an applying square to Venus.

coronation parade1

Coronation Parade

The transits to Elizabeth’s natal chart at the time of the second Coronation chart are notable. They include Jupiter Sextile Jupiter and Venus Trine her Sun. This speaks strongly for the second chart.

We don’t know how much time Dee at his disposal, it might have been very little. That would have diminished his options. All in all, I tend to favour the first version.