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.

10 thoughts on “Coronation of Elizabeth I

  1. “The frequency with which astrologers have been known to accept without question a birthdate that a little inquiry would reveal as a Julian date, rather suggests that sometimes we strain at a gnat and swallow a camel: calculating with great care to the hour and minute, cusps and planets’ places for a date that is 10 or 11 days in error according to the calendar on which our computations are based.”

    why do you think you have the right chart? in this chart the ruler of the 12th is applying to the ruler of the ascendant and would appear to be dominant to the ruler of the ascendant as well. the solar fire chart which is 10 or 11 days later would have gemini rising noon, or 12:10pm.

  2. James, if you read the article, I’m puzzled by your comments. I see the quotation marks on most of your post but not the source of your quote.

    I obviously went to great lengths to find an accurate date and then checked that against the Julian / Gregorian calendar using no less than four first rate programs. At no point do I say it’s the definitive chart, but I do believe it has a great deal to commend it.

    The notion that I would “accept without question” is very far from the truth..
    I also wrote “It appears that astrologers have derived the chart via reverse engineering. If anyone is aware of an original source, or something other than hearsay. I would be most grateful. Until then at least, I’m content with the chart as shown and discussed on this page ”

    Do you have a definitive date? The only one I’ve ever seen is 15 Jan around Noon.

  3. thanks james – i play drums primarily and into jazz improv mostly. when i mentioned ‘astrology is not my focus’ that is actually not true. it has not been my monetary focus as i make no money off astrology, but it has been a life long focus along with music which is how i do make money – not a lot of it, LOL! – maybe we meet in person one day and talk astrology. that would be fun,
    cheers james

  4. Pingback: Dr John Dee: The Magician’s Magician – art heals wounds

  5. I am confused why there is any question of whether this coronation date should be judged in the Julian or Gregorian calendar. The Kingdom of England like much of protestant Europe was very suspicious of adoption of the Gregorian calendar since it had been decreed by Papal bull in 1582 and adopted across Catholic Europe. Although, ironically John Dee was tasked with examining the calendar for Queen Elizabeth and recommended the adoption of a different calendar reform system to the Queen. Ultimately this was not adopted and it took until 1752 until the Kingdom of Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar. This obviously applied to Britain’s colonial territories too such as North America. On a different point I think Queen Elizabeth coronation date could be a viable date to examine the beginnings of modern English national identity.

    • Hello Mark,

      This was written several years ago and I thought I had explained the situation adequately in the article itself and further discussed and clarified the details with a subsequent querent/commentator. The issue was initially raised when three out of four high-end programmes differed from the one. It was natural to pursue the matter further.

      However, there will always be an understandable and anticipated resistance when long-cherished chart dates and times, assumed to be accurate, turn out to have no definitively reliable source. This is borne out by your own query more than seven years after I posted the article.

      This is not only the case with historical charts but of so-called celebrities and other famous people whose charts are posted in various online databases. I have learned never to take the data as if it were the final word. There are several ways that false information can come to be ‘official.’

      Nevertheless, I would emphasize that my contention is a ‘what if?’ that led to the consideration of the alternate and potentially credible chart. In some respects, the ‘revision’ is better conceived than the one that has gone mostly unquestioned. This also made for a profitable study in the art of Election itself. It is not my intent to be dogmatic about the situation. I do think it was worth examining and worthy of careful consideration. I have stated the case and expect readers to make up their own mind or not.

      As I stated at the outset, “although we *should* be quite safe in assuming the Julian calendar is being employed [ not least for the reasons you cite] there is the lurking possibility that the date was passed on after the Gregorian calendar was adopted.” Moreover, we don’t actually know whether the source was initially English. Of course, we want to assume it was.

      We can certainly say that the received date and time has a high likelihood of veracity, but we cannot say without a doubt that it is in fact the correct one. One way to examine the possibility of erroneous transmission is to compare it to a possible alternative. That is what I’ve done here, feeling somewhat obligated to do so after indicating the true status of the accepted chart.

      I’m not clear as to why either of these charts would be more viable than other possible candidates to “examine” something like “the beginnings of modern English identity.” Perhaps you might elaborate on that.

  6. I would like to concurr that the first chart is the right one. My intuition says that Jupiter on the Mid Heaven would have been a great choice. Moon in 8th, would let her see the desire in peoples hearts, good or bad, saturn in 12 would also let her understand the nature of things, especially if the wish was for a long life.

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