Monday, 13 June 2016

The Growing Pains of Harry Potter

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were probably the most famous teenagers in the world when the Harry Potter series was launched. I've just found this article lurking in my files and am currently kicking myself for not publishing it a lot sooner. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see astrology playing out in the life of these popular books that made magic, learning Latin and mythical beasts a lot of fun for everyone.

Despite his popularity, Harry Potter is not a real person but a fictional character and as such would seem to be denied of a birth chart. However, given there has been much speculation in astrological circles about the possibility that the author of the series, J K Rowling, is an astrologer, it is just too tempting to see what would happen if Harry Potter were to be given the “Growing Pains” treatment since he really does seem to have the ultimate first Jupiter return. And as there are seven (a mystical number and also the number of years in a Saturn square) books in the series, one for each year of his time in secondary school, Harry is a great candidate.  Primarily using the transits of Jupiter and Saturn along with a bit of Uranus, let’s have a look.

Harry was “born” on 31 July 1980 in Godric’s Hollow, a town populated by witches and wizards.* It is a fictional place unfortunately and therefore does not have the latitude and longitude needed for the calculation of the chart. Although a timed chart is not necessary when examining Jupiter and Saturn, it is not a bad thing to have. In “Harry Potter-A Hero’s Journey” by Karin Hoffman, Harry’s chart has been rectified to a time of 15:25 in the town of Ammanford in South Wales which is the nearest muggle town according to Harry Potter lore. This data indicates that amongst his classmates, Harry would be among the youngest in his year group which of course includes his friends Ron and Hermione. Harry’s year group has Jupiter as well as Saturn in Virgo, just out of orb for a conjunction—and these planets would stay in this sign for the entire year group. This placement of Jupiter and Saturn is notoriously difficult to please due to the fussy nature of Virgo but even the most easy to please child would have to admit that poor Harry had it rough.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we get a picture of Harry’s early life and first year at Hogwart’s. The former is not a pleasant existence. The latter, which coincides with his first Jupiter return is decidedly better. First, let us examine Harry’s life pre Jupiter return.

Saturn is in the middle of a series of three conjunctions to Uranus 1985. Harry is 5 years old, when an aunt whacks him on the shins to prevent him from beating his repulsive cousin at musical statues at a birthday party. In June 1988, at the same cousin’s birthday party, the same aunt gives the cousin a computerised robot and Harry a box of dog biscuits as Jupiter opposes Uranus. Two years later, at another birthday party and as transit Jupiter opposed his natal Mars, the aunt’s dog chases Harry up a tree where he remains until around midnight. For Harry’s 10th birthday, just after transit Jupiter square his natal Mars, he is given a coat hanger and a pair of his uncle’s old socks.

However, things begin to change for the better when just after Jupiter was conjunct to Harry’s natal Sun for the first time in May 1991: he has his first animal communication experience with boa constrictor that thanked Harry for freeing him by magically removing the glass in front of its tank. This begins a key clue to Harry’s burgeoning personality and the theme of this scene is re-visited in later books. A few months later, as transiting Jupiter is conjunct his natal north node, Harry begins to receive owl posts inviting him to Hogwart’s in the week before his 11th birthday. As transit Jupiter squares his natal Uranus at the beginning of August 1991, Harry is taken shopping for his wizard school supplies by Hagrid who had just liberated him from the closet he lived in. Being a pupil with Jupiter in Virgo, Harry selects the very best items to ensure he would be good student.

Here's what I say about Jupiter in Virgo in my book "Growing Pains:
"It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Jupiter in Virgo pupils like things to be perfect. They’re the kind of pupils who painstakingly choose exactly the right materials for going back to school. Their pencils they use will not only be perfectly sharpened, but the material they are made from will also be ecologically sound. The lead will have been researched and then chosen for its durability. They won’t let others share their crayons for fear of wearing them down unevenly or, worse, contaminating the implements with germs. Pens must not blot and the paper they write on must not be dented or smudged. Jupiter in Virgo pupils will drive their teachers crazy as they tidy their workspaces and carefully organise their shelves. There’s always a long queue to wash hands before lunch and the complaint box for the canteen is always full. Jupiter in Virgo pupils can’t be pleased so it’s better to give up before you even try. 

As Harry approaches his first Jupiter return, he discovers he excels at Quidditch and flying and is crowned the new ‘seeker’ for the team. At the end of October 1991, within days of Jupiter reaching his MC, Harry and Ron Weasley fight a mountain troll and rescue Hermione, cementing their friendship (and later Hermione becomes Ron’s wife!). At Christmas that year, Harry has the best Christmas of his life as he receives his father’s invisibility cloak. This demonstrates the sheer joy of the first Jupiter return which also extends to meeting new and interesting people. In Harry’s case, he meet Severus Snape, the Defence Against Dark Arts teacher and QuirinusQuirrell who, it emerges, has been controlled by Lord Voldermort all along.

Transiting planets can have up to three contacts to a planet and it stands to reason that the more contacts, the more profound the effect. Thus Harry’s Jupiter return is extended due to Jupiter’s retrograde and forward motion and is active until well past his first detention served in the Forbidden Forest where he meets centaurs and witnessed Voldemort sucking the blood of a unicorn. The contacts by conjunction end just before Harry’s 12th birthday when Harry is visited by Dobby, the house elf.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets chronicles Harry’s second year at Hogwart’s which can be marked out by Harry’s transiting Jupiter, in Libra, conjoining his natal Mars. In December of this year, as transiting Jupiter is conjunct Harry’s Mars for the first time, the boy wizard discovers he can speak ’Parseltongue’ the language of serpents and typically the mark of a dark wizard. A few weeks later, Harry, Ron and Hermione take Polyjuice Potion which allows them to shape-shift. For the second conjunction of these two planets, Harry receives a Valentine from the mysterious T.M. Riddle. For the final conjunction between these two planets, around the time of Harry’s 13th birthday, Harry sees Sirius Black on Muggle television.

In the third instalment in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the symbolism of transiting Jupiter conjunct Harry’s Pluto and square to his Mercury in Cancer is very clear: Harry is being targeted not by Voldemort but by Sirius Black a mass murderer who is assumed to have played a hand in the death of Harry’s parents. Further, the deeply frightening dementors who have the power to devour human souls pursue Harry. Transiting Saturn also makes awkward aspects to these natal planets as a werewolf and other shape shifting characters interact with Harry. There is also another frightening side story of Buckbeak the hippogriff’s impending execution. The orbit of Uranus, representing rebellion and independence in astrology, is too big to have much of an effect of a child—except in adolescence it makes its first Ptolemaic aspect (a sextile) a couple of years following the first Jupiter return. This aspect happens three times during this school year for Harry. Notice he is rebelling against authority by associating with prisoners.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry would experience his first Saturn opposition, a tricky time for maturing adolescents. During this time, muggle adolescents would be facing up to the seriousness of exams and typically demonstrate a strong fear of failure. In this book Harry is unwilling participant in the Triwizard Tournament as both Jupiter and Saturn make contacts to his natal MC. As Jupiter squares his MC, Harry is engaged in a deadly duel with Voldemort. Later that summer, Harry is forced to use the Patronus charm to save his cousin from dementors. The incident triggers off disciplinary action against Harry. The dementors are just about the most frightening Saturn archetype I have ever seen in film and are a suitable symbol of the Saturn opposition.

Here's what I say about Saturn in Virgo in "Growing Pains":

"The challenge for Virgo in Saturn pupils is tolerating us imperfect, lesser mortals. If you get within five feet of them to offer your assistance, their little button noses twitch in anticipation of your human odour. But they are always willing to help you improve. They will tidy your bookshelves, organise your desk, research the best place to have dinner that night (and even make the reservation for you) and help you get that nasty bubble gum stain off  the back of your favourite pair of trousers. Hell, you could even give them a green pen and get them onto that pile of marking. For Saturn in Virgo pupils, the issues are about shunning mediocrity, demanding perfection but ultimately, it’s about controlling their environments. When they were about seven, something came into their lives that was completely impossible to control: they may have developed a rare, exotic bug or a parent’s religious conversion threw the family into turmoil or perhaps the family packed up and moved to a different country or they may have experienced an injury due to someone else’s recklessness. The possibilities are pretty endless, because there are so many different ways of disturbing a Saturn in Virgo’s immaculate pursuit of order."
In the fifth book of the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry kisses Cho Chung under the mistletoe during a transit between a conjunction of transit Jupiter and natal Neptune. By Valentine’s day, the pair suffer the humiliation of having their disastrous date reported in The Quibbler as Saturn makes its last opposition to its natal position.

In the sixth book of the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry and his friends would be in Sixth Form or be Juniors in the US educational system. As he has had the final Saturn opposition, I’m afraid my interests and experiences of astrology in education end here. This is because the main brain development has already happened, the habits of a lifetime would be formed and to, me children become less fun as they settle down for work and their futures.

The final book of the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” contains an epilogue set at King’s Cross Station 19 years later. Harry and Ginny are married with three children, Ron and Hermione are married with children and it notes that Harry’s scar has not pained him since his days at Hogwarts.


*Hoffman points out this fits in very well with the murder of his parents by Voldemort when Harry was just over a year old: the progressed ascendant is exactly conjunct Uranus and Harry is left with a lightning (the symbol of Jupiter/Zeus) shaped scar on his forehead. If I needed a time of birth for Harry, I would use this time. Both Jupiter and Saturn in Libra are in semi square aspect to Uranus when Hagrid delivers the orphaned Harry to Dumbledore so he can deliver him to his only living relatives, the Dursleys. Jupiter sits nicely on his MC.


About the Astrologer


Alex Trenoweth was voted Best International Astrologer, 2015 for her dynamic presentation on Astrology and Education. Her book, "Growing Pains" is an exciting development in astrology as it combines classroom teaching experience, sound research and the potential to have a positive impact on struggling adolescents, parents, teachers and those who have been labelled "at risk". For queries, consultations or syndications, please contact Alex via www.alextrenoweth.com or leave a message in the comment section.


About the New Book


There are two dogs fighting inside of me, the old story goes, one dog is good and the other is evil. “But Grandfather,” asked the child, “Which one wins?” The Grandfather answered, “The dog I feed.”

We might like to think that being good is a natural instinct. In fact, doing the right thing takes a conscious decision. Every day, we are met with temptation to get ahead at the expense of someone else, to get away with something we know is wrong or to cut corners if we think no one is watching.


Following on from her powerful book on astrology and Education, “Growing Pains”, Alex Trenoweth explores the benefits of using “the bad guy” of the solar system: Saturn. Often avoided and seldom understood, if we understand our own Saturn then we can help others to understand theirs. Using case studies of  highly successful people contrasted with convicted serial killers, Trenoweth deftly demonstrates the dire consequences of feeding the wrong dog.



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