Archive for March, 2013

Tarot Strength reversed – Tarot card for 27th March 2013 to 20th April 2013

27th March 2013With a multiple conjunction of planets, referred to as a stellium, currently moving through fiery Aries it’s a time of decisive action and instant decisions. Uranus, the planet of sudden radical actions, is in Aries right through until Early 2019, but today, and for the next few weeks, it’s joined by Venus, the Sun and Mars. This is a highly combustible combination. Venus is the planet of desire and in Aries when it wants something, it wants it now! The Sun adds ego intent to all actions and in Aries it prompts bravado and passion. Bring Mars onto the scene as well and it’s all go, go, go.

This isn’t necessarily an aggressive combination, but it can certainly lead to headstrong encounters, conflict and argument. For anyone who was feeling confused while a strong stellium was transiting Pisces during January and February, this is a time for action and blowing all of those cobwebs away.

marseilletarotstrength reversedThe only Tarot Card that could possibly suit the next couple of weeks is The Strength card reversed. Aries is a cardinal fire sign which initiates and strives to encourage others to action. When the Strength Card is upright the lion is tamed and controlled, passions held in check. Not so when the Strength Card is reversed. The lion is let loose and passions allowed to run free. Sometimes this is positive, especially if you’ve been over controlling your natural desires; but at other times it lets out anger, unkind words and the type of unbridled passion we later live to regret. Oh no, I never should have done that! (Oh yes, this includes uncontrolled sexual desire.)

Excess can take over, especially with Venus in Aries that sees it, wants it, and goes out and gets it. Over spending, over exercising, over working…everything can be over the top right now. Mars in Aries often goes at things without thinking, and at a rapid pace, so maybe, just maybe, during the course of the day, when road rage, trolley rage and shear frustration get the better of you, bring the Strength card to mind, and rein in the lion, just a little before things get out of control.

The positive side of this fiery transit is that you’ll be able to do more, and achieve far more in the next few weeks, than you ever thought possible. Take action now, and enjoy every moment.

My two books on tarot are The Sytsem of Symbols, a new way to look at tarot and for anyone over 18 Sex & Tarot Both books are available in many formats and are on iTunes/iBooks, Nook and Kindle.

Simply click the ‘Follow’ button so that you won’t miss further Tarot & Astrology updates. If you’re not on WordPress and would like to keep up to date when more Tarot & Astrology insights are posted, then come along and follow me on my Facebook ToniAllenAuthor or on Twitter @Listansus. Toni Allen Logo

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Richard III – Astrological insight into the King in the car park

Richard 111 birth chart

Part 3 – There is no reliable birth time recorded for Richard III

Firstly, I apologise to anyone waiting for my article on Richard III’s health, but I promise that it will be appearing shortly. This series of articles is evolving as I continue my research into Richard III, and so before writing about Richard’s health I felt compelled to double check whether or not there is an accurate birth time available for him. The short answer is, no, there isn’t.

Before I go on to debate my reasoning why there is no firm birth time for Richard III it’s imperative to understand the importance of the birth time in astrology. The time of birth gives us the ascendant, or rising sign. An exact birth time will give us the degree of the ascendant. The planet that rules the rising sign is classed as a ruling planet. The rising sign illustrates how we entered the world, how we begin all actions and our physical appearance. Once we have the rising sign we are able to calculate the astrological houses which, simply put, depict different departments of life such as work, play and romance. We will then know which house, or department of life, each planet sits in, and this is how we can judge an accurate character profile of any individual. The birth time also allows us to calculate the correct degree of the Moon at birth, and with Richard III a birth time would be extremely useful as during the 2nd October 1452 at 11:19 am the Moon changed from the sign Taurus to Gemini.

One additional point, just to let you know how important an exact birth time is to an astrologer, any sign conjunct (next to) the ascendant modifies it and becomes a chart ruler. This planet then takes on additional significance when interpreting the natal chart.

So, if you’ve been searching the internet for articles on astrology and Richard III you’ll notice that some websites have assigned 09.02 as Richard’s birth time, but this not reliable. So, how did this misinformation become such a popular belief?

One website quoted their source information as an article by Martin Harvey in the Astrological Association of Great Britain’s Journal in 1967. I therefore contacted the Astrological Association, and thanks to their diligence and efforts of searching through their archives, obtained a copy of the article referred to so that I could read the source material for myself.

In the article Martin Harvey initially refers to Richard III’s birth being recorded by William Botoner of Worcester in Annales Rerum Anglicarum (Rolls No. 22 vol. 2, part 2) Translated from Latin under the year 1452 it says ‘Richard, the eighth son of Richard Duke of York, was born at Fotheringhay on Monday the second day of October.’ There is no birth time recorded. Very often birth times are recorded in simple terms such as ‘just before dawn’ or ‘as the sun was setting’ but for Richard no such reference was made to help us out.

The next thing that Martin Harvey refers to is an entry by Johannis Rossi (also referred to as John Rous) in Antiquarii Warwicensis Historia Regum Angliae (Oxford 1745) Johannis Rossi dedicated this book to the first Henry Tudor and this fact alone should start internal bells and buzzers sounding warning signals, because Henry Tudor is the man who defeated Richard III at the battle of Bosworth, and therefore likely to appreciate Richard III being given all the bad press possible. These days we would call it ‘spin’ or propaganda, and to my mind Johannis Rossi does a very good job of dishing the dirt on Richard.

Firstly Johannis Rossi refers to Richard III as “tyrant King Richard,” which hardly suggests an impartial view. He then states that Richard “lay two years in his mother’s womb.” This may be a genuine mistake, or taking a fact and distorting it for his own purposes of impressing Henry Tudor and making his enemy out to be a freak of nature. According to Amy License in her excellent article A Study in Medieval Fertility: Richard of York and Cecily Neville just prior to Richard’s conception, to his parents, “A short-lived boy, Thomas, was born at some point in 1451 and died young, although the precise length of his life is unknown.” As Thomas died young many people may have been oblivious to his birth and death, and it seems highly probable that as Cecily conceived again so rapidly that Johannis Rossi was either unaware of Thomas, or that he used her continued pregnancy to make out that she was pregnant for two years with Richard. Richard III was Cecily Neville’s twelfth child and having born so many children one might well assume that her figure was fuller and therefore less easy to distinguish if she was pregnant or not when she conceived in such rapid succession. She would hardly have had time to slim down again before growing round with the next child.

After this Johannis Rossi writes of Richard III, “Scorpio rose at his birth, which sign is the house of Mars; and as Scorpio has a flattering countenance, a stinging tail, so he himself showed himself to all.” Ah, here we have it! The Scorpio ascendant that others refer to in the supposed birth time of 09:02. But why 09:02 when In Martin Harvey’s original text for the Astrological Association he assigns 09:15? Martin Harvey was writing in 1967 before the creation of whizzy computer software that can quickly calculate and adjust charts for us. He calculated the birth time for ‘the middle of Scorpio rising’ which he calculated to be 09:15 but the 09:02 birth time gives us a more accurate central Scorpio ascendant of 15º 31´ Martin Harvey goes on to say “This nativity should not be reproduced or imparted without a warning that the ascending sign, though derived from a contemporary is very doubtful.”


So who was Johannis Rossi? Martin Harvey states that he was “a chantry priest of Guy’s Cliff near Warwick castle and knew Richard personally,” hence he may have known Richard III’s rising sign to be Scorpio. Rossi was an antiquary and heraldic draughtsman and during Richard III’s lifetime appears to have liked him, writing in a pictorial heraldic roll for the Earls of Warwick and their kin such fine statements as ‘the most victorious Richard III, in his realm full commendably punishing offenders of the laws, especially oppressors of his commons, and cherishing those that were virtuous, by the which discreet guiding he got great thanks and love of all his subject rich and poor, and great laud of the people of all other lands.’ When Henry Tudor took the crown this entire passage was deleted; however Rossi had made two copies and the other one was safely out of his reach and could not be tampered with, which is how we know the original contents.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Rossi was out to save his own skin when Richard III fell and Henry Tudor took over. He was prepared to rewrite Richard as a nasty individual to add justification for Henry’s actions. Saying that Richard was born with Scorpio rising is so inconclusive because on 2nd October 1452 the sign of Scorpio rose between the hours of 07:35 and 10:24. If we look at the two extremes a 07:35 birth time makes Richard secretive and sinister while 10:24 makes him wise and charitable. Feel free to take your pick.

Let’s look at the possibilities of why Rossi would have chosen a Scorpio ascendant for Richard III. The ascendant describes physical appearance and there are many references to Richard III having dark hair and often individuals with a Scorpio ascendant do have dark hair, but certainly not all of them. Scorpio is renowned for being a ‘dark’ sign, full of brooding and introversion, which makes people born under the sign complex individuals who keep their secrets to themselves and are wary of being too open with people they are not strongly acquainted with. Rossi himself describes Richard III as having “a flattering countenance,” but people with a Scorpio ascendant are more commonly viewed as ‘sexy and mysterious,’ rather than ‘good looking.’ ‘A flattering countenance,’ is more usually associated with the sign Libra, because Libra bestows beauty as it is ruled by Venus. One very important physical trait associated with a Scorpio ascendant is, to my knowledge, never mentioned and that is the penetrating gaze.

If we look at the amazing facial reconstruction of Richard III as generated from his skull there is no true sign of those piercing Scorpio ascendant eyes. It isn’t in his portrait either.

Here’s a great set of male Scorpio ascendants, and most of us will be familiar with at least one or two of them. Even in photographs you’ll notice how the eyes look straight through you with an unnerving quality. Just look at Al Pacino.

Now look at a page of male Libra ascendants and you’ll notice that the gaze isn’t as penetrating. They’re all good looking guys, but it isn’t the eyes that ensnare you.

During Richard III’s lifetime the planets only went out as far as Saturn because Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were yet to be discovered. This meant that Mars ruled Scorpio, whereas today it is a co-ruler along with Pluto. In my study of Richard III as a warrior I discuss in depth his natal Mars in Aries, of which it is also the ruler. Therefore to give Richard III a Scorpio ascendant accentuates his war-like qualities, argumentativeness and bad temper bestowed by his retrograde Mars in Aries.

Add to this that Richard III has two planets in Scorpio and the plot thickens.

Richard III planets in Scorpio

Firstly he has Mercury in the first degree of Scorpio. Mercury rules communication and in Scorpio it makes for someone who is intuitive, highly perceptive and prefers to speak out or remain silent. They can watch you for hours and then come out with an astute and scathing judgement of what they have witnessed. Hence the sting in the tail. Sometimes they are prone to scheming and plotting, but Richard III’s mercury is trine Jupiter in Aquarius which is predominantly concerned with observing society and digging away to create fundamental reforms. I have met many good detectives with Mercury in Scorpio and they have a habit of watching and listening and taking it all in, never giving anything of themselves away.

Secondly Richard III has Venus in Scorpio at twenty seven degrees. Venus in Scorpio is renowned for being possessive, jealous and never being able to let go of old hurts. Often individuals with Venus in Scorpio view sex as love, are highly emotional, and extremely intense. Whatever they do, they do it 110% When they love they love with fervour and passion, and when they are jealous they become cruel and bitter. Mostly Venus in Scorpio types do not become jealous of what possessions others own, but how much love they acquire….and who they are loving. Venus rules Libra and with Richard III’s strong Sun conjunct Saturn in Libra he is more likely to have ploughed his strong Venus in Scorpio into religious fervour. Some people with Venus in Scorpio enjoy exploring occult mysteries and Richard III’s Venus is square Jupiter in Aquarius suggesting he gave many of his resources to better the lives of the ordinary man. However, due to his medical condition I do wonder if he was trying to create better living standards for everyone to eradicate disease, while also seeking his own salvation from pain.

Both Mercury and Venus in Scorpio can add an air of mystery to the individual which could make someone assert that they had a Scorpio ascendant. Of course if either of these planets sat directly on the ascendant they would considerably change Richard III’s character. Mercury on the ascendant would give him a sly, spy like quality and Venus would give him enormous sex appeal.

As a final and personal thought I would hunch that Richard III has a Virgo ascendant. I’ve chosen a birth time of 03:35. Here’s a page of men with Virgo ascendants and you’ll notice the very firm, slightly square jaw line on some of them. A Virgo ascendant would place Richard’s Moon in Taurus in the 9th house of spirituality and higher education. It would add to his religious fervour and also make him fond of travelling and riding. However, when I look at Richard III’s health I am going back to the noon birth time and ignoring his Moon and planetary positions in the houses, just to be on the safe side.

Simply click the ‘Follow’ button so that you won’t miss further installments about Richard III′s birth chart. If you’re not on WordPress and would like to keep up to date when more insights into Richard III’s birth chart are posted, then come along and follow me on my Facebook ToniAllenAuthor or on Twitter @Listansus.

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Two great writing exercises from my writers’ group.

Writing Prompt3

We had another great meeting at my writers’ group this week. One of our newer members Steve led the ‘lesson’ and I was curious to see what he would bring as it was the first time he’d been invited to create material for us to work with. Well, he certainly didn’t let us down. In fact he had so many ideas that he brought two themes to the table and let us choose which we would like to spend our 15 minutes writing about.

Just to let you know a bit more about how we work, we always generate hand-outs so that we have written material to work from and don’t have to listen intently to the session leader’s instructions and scribble it all down at the same time. This means that we can pay full attention and ask questions to clarify what we’re supposed to be trying to achieve, and also gives us reference material to take home and continue working from.

Steve’s hand-out was nice and simple. The first option was Plot Generation with a choice of character, setting and situation. We were supposed to select the same number in each section, but hey, we’re creative individuals and some of us mixed and matched.

Character :

1.Cab Driver

2. Actress

3. Homeless Person


1. Restaurant

2. In a telephone box

3. Railway Arches


1. Terminal Illness

2. Fired from her role

3. 1965

Short story of max 250 words in which a plot is developed encompassing the above themes.

You’ll note that Steve gave us a word count of 250 words because the ‘lesson’ is only part of our weekly meeting as we also make time for free reading and to hear people’s ‘homework’ which is work they’ve generated from a previous week’s ‘lesson.’ He was very wise choosing a low word count because some people panic and think they have to write a complete, polished piece of writing in 15 minutes. Believe me, some group members write amazing pieces in such a short time, but others require more thinking time and only scribble down a few notes. This is why we finish our pieces as ‘homework’ and get priority in reading them to the group for critique during the following weeks. It’s a system that works very well and out of these writing prompts several of our members have created short stories that have gone on to win major competitions.

It was interesting that two people chose to write about the Cab Drive, Restaurant, Terminal Illness theme. They were such different stories. In one the Cab Driver was the person with the illness and after a day of highly entertaining passengers he stopped off at a café to read his important letter and then didn’t know how he was going to tell his wife the bad news. A good construction of happy day turns sour. The other was the Cab Driver taking someone to see a particular restaurant they used to dine in and the Cabbie wondering why he wanted to go to such a scruffy eating place when he could obviously afford much better. Here we had the concept of ‘the last supper.’

You can see from these two examples how precisely the same writing prompt generated two unique ideas.

The second option Steve offered was to:

Invent a character through thinking about their possessions: 10 objects

  1. Battered leather briefcase
  2. Large blue silk handkerchief
  3. Bottle of prescription painkillers
  4. Apple iPhone
  5. Grecian 2000 black hair dye
  6. Business card
  7. Divers watch
  8. Sepia photograph of great grandparents
  9. Withered poinsettia
  10. Pencil sharpener

The first thing that happened when we all read through the list and discussed it was a hilarious five minutes of banter with everyone describing the type of person who wears a diving watch! One bright spark suggested that anyone who wears an expensive diving watch either can’t afford the sports car, and has to make do with the watch as an expression of wealth; or has a paunch and doesn’t really dive. Two men in the group proudly drew back their sleeves and displayed their diving watches! One said he used to dive and the other said, “When I told my son that this watch will still work at a depth of 300 metres he said, ‘yes Dad, the watch will, but you won’t!’”

Stories generated from the prompt, once we had stopped laughing, included two murder scenes, in which the police were putting together a character profile of the deceased; and one argument in which the wife was yelling at the husband to buy a new briefcase. All three writers had the start of something intriguing and are intending to flesh out their ideas and bring finished pieces in over the next few weeks. One person had their corpse decayed and rotting, the clue to the time of death being the withered poinsettia as they’re always around during Christmas…a clever inclusion of an obscure item.

For my own part I decided upon the Cab Driver, the telephone box and 1965, and this is what I wrote. Remember, this is written in under 15 minutes during our meeting and transcribed direct from my notebook, with no alterations.


“The pips are going, phone me back…What! Alright, alright…”

Reluctantly I pressed more pennies into the slot. You didn’t mess with these boys, not for the price of a few coppers.

“Lenny? Lenny? You still there?” His voice rasped down the line.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“You got that then? Corner of West Street, tomorrow night, 10:30 sharp. Ronnie’ll hail down your cab and you pick him up, just like any other fare.”

“Where do I drop him?”

“Don’t get funny with me, Lenny. He’ll tell you once you pick him up. Least you know the better.”

“That’s a long sweep to go right up and round again…one way traffic and all that. So you make sure he’s there on time, on my side of the road.”

“He will be.” He paused and I heard him suck in a long breath. “Don’t let us down, you understand?”

“I’ll be there.”

I held the receiver listening to the purr as he hung up. Slowly I clicked it back into the cradle and leant heavily on the side of the phone box. It stank in here, the rain pummelling against the glass, steaming the booth up, but never washing it clean. Bit like me really…yep, just like me.


The beauty of these short exercises is that they force you to jump straight into the action. There’s no time for preamble and elaborate descriptive passages. We have to get in there and get the nuts and bolts of the story down, to captivate our audience, even if the piece isn’t complete and the action left hanging. When other people in the group say, ‘Wow, what happens next?’ you know that you’re onto something good.

If any aspiring writers would like to have a go at either of these prompts then I’d be pleased to see their work and include it on my blog to show others what can be achieved from a few simple ideas.

If you’d like to keep up to date with all of my blog posts then come along and join me at Facebook ToniAllenAuthor or follow me on twitter @Listansus

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I’m very excited to have been interviewed by David Njoku at Indie Author Land about my novel Being Richard. Here’s a link to the full interview where you can find out more about Being Richard and myself as an author.

Interview with Toni Allen, author of Being Richard

Being Richard Cover2I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback and comments.

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