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An Astrology of Religion and Atheism
In this series, the charts of notable skeptics and religious folk are analyzed. Consistently applying some basic principles of Hellenistic astrology, we find that atheism and faith shows up in the birth chart.
The basic rules of the game were spelled out in the initial post of the series which you can find here.
Once again we are going to be looking at the chart of an atheist. This time it is the brilliant poet, Percy Shelley. He led a short life filled with romance, as well as controversy. Notable for our purposes, Shelley was expelled from Oxford for writing a pamphlet, “The Necessity of Atheism”. Shelley is one of the few notable atheists of past centuries whose birth time is said to be accurate, with an A Rodden Rating.
Percy Shelley’s Chart Analyzed in Brief
Jupiter is weak, as it is retreating and cadent.
Jupiter is naturally benefic, but here it is out of sect, in a bad place (the 6th), and assembled with (actually in partile conjunction with) Mars. Jupiter is regarded by Venus from the right side, but overall Jupiter is strongly associated with unpleasant things.
Note on Jupiter
Jupiter is weak and malefic, so we don’t expect expansive spirituality and religion to be a prominent influence in the life. We expect there to be a lot of negative associations with religion and faith.
Strong and Saturnine
Just as in the chart of James Randi, we see the 9th empty but ruled by an extremely strong Saturn. Saturn is in the 1st of the self, so there is a strong personal identification with Saturn. Saturn connects the self with matters of religion and belief very strongly, but in a Saturnine way filled with doubt, fear, and darkness.
The 9th, is ruled by the out of sect malefic, Saturn, and so is connected with negative circumstances, particularly concerning fear, control, doubt, and so forth. Mars is also square to the 9th place from the right side, adding to the contentiousness of this place.
Notes on the 9th Place
The influence of Saturn, planet of doubt, over the 9th place of God is very strong. There is an identification with the 9th place and a prominence in the life, but it is in a destructive sense. The 9th place is associated strongly with fear and suffering (Saturn) as well as fighting and contentions (Mars dominating the place and its exalted ruler). Therefore, there is a strong pull to repudiate religion. Also, matters of spirituality and higher truth have a dark coloring to them.
Saturn is strongly advancing and in the 1st place (strongest place), in fact, conjunct the Ascendant (Saturn was rising at birth). The influence of Saturn in the life is extremely strong and pervasive. The lord of darkness, death, doubt, and dread should make its mark all over the life in a major way.
Saturn is naturally malefic, and as the out of sect malefic, entails malefic significations. Saturn is in a good place (the 1st) but overall Saturn signifies for some of the worst things that happen in the life.
Notes on Saturn
As with Randi, Shelley was someone in constant touch with a powerful force of doubt, skepticism, and hardship of an often harsh sort, even identifying with such.
Mercury is advancing and is in its own sign and bound, without any other major strength/weakness considerations. Mercury is therefore somewhat strong.
Mercury is in sect and in a good place (the 5th of creativity and procreation) but is also regarded by Saturn by trine on the right side. Overall, Mercury will be more benefic, but the influence of Saturn likely had it signify some negative matters or dark influence in the life at certain points.
Notes on Mercury
Percy identified quite strongly with Saturn, which occupies the Ascendant, and Venus, which rules it. Mercury is not a planet that was strongly identified with but it is prominent due to advancing in its own sign and bound.
In conclusion, in Percy Shelley’s chart we see configurations typical of deep skepticism and atheism. Notably, Saturn is prominent, Jupiter is weak, and Jupiter and the 9th are associated with with malefic planets and tendencies. These indications are often accompanied by a strong Mercury or a strong identification with Mercury and/or Saturn.
Featured image (Mary and Percy Shelley Engraving by George Stodart after monument by Henry Weekes) is in the public domain.