Astrology has always been a subject of intrigue and curiosity, both in real life and on screen. As we delve deeper into the cinematic world, a particular film, “Elizabeth, The Golden Age,” comes into focus. This historical epic captures a tumultuous period in English history, revealing more than just the intrigues of Queen Elizabeth’s court.
John Dee: A Historical Astrologer in Focus
Starring the talented Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth, the movie beautifully captures the essence of the Virgin Queen, a ruler known for her wisdom and tenacity. Amidst political upheaval and looming threats like the Spanish Armada led by the Spanish King Philip II, Elizabeth finds herself at the heart of a holy war. Balancing ancient royal duties, the Queen struggles to navigate personal and political pressures, particularly with powerful figures like her cousin Mary Stuart, portrayed by Samantha Morton, plotting against her.
Sir Walter Raleigh: A Love and Ally
Clive Owen, playing Sir Walter Raleigh, introduces another layer of intrigue. As Elizabeth’s favorite and trusted ally, Raleigh played a pivotal role in helping restore England to its former glory. Their unique bond also provides a hint of romance, although the film, with its PG 13 rating, ensures that the narrative remains suitable for a wider audience.
John Dee: The Mystic Advisor
Portrayed by David Trelford, John Dee stands out as a beacon of esoteric wisdom in Elizabeth’s court. More than just an astrologer, he was a renowned occultist, bridging the worlds of science and mysticism. His hall, resembling an observatory adorned with astrolabes and globes, showcases his passion for the stars and their messages.
His interactions with the Queen underscore his pivotal role. The film doesn’t shy away from the challenges Dee faced, particularly when interpreting the stars to predict the fates of empires. As Elizabeth seeks guidance on matters of the state and her personal life, Dee showcases the nuances of both mundane and personal astrology.
The Unseen Threats: Court Intrigue and Loyalties
“Elizabeth, The Golden Age” also highlights other influential figures in the Queen’s life. Sir Francis Walsingham, her loyal advisor, keeps a vigilant eye on potential threats, including an assassination plot involving Mary Stuart. On the other hand, characters like Edward Kelley and Robert Reston add depth to the story, showcasing the rich tapestry of Elizabeth’s court.
The Spanish King, Philip II, poses a significant external threat. His ambition to bring Elizabeth down and claim England for Spain culminates in the epic naval battle against the Spanish Armada. This battle becomes a symbol of Elizabeth’s resilience and her ability to rally her forces, including famed seafarers like Francis Drake.
Delving Deeper: Astrology’s Nuances in “Elizabeth, The Golden Age”
It’s evident that the role of John Dee, portrayed in “Elizabeth, The Golden Age,” offers a unique lens into the world of astrology, especially during the Elizabethan era. The richness of his portrayal in the film reflects not just the historical relevance but also the depth and complexity of astrological practices.
The Astrolabe: An Ancient Tool in Modern Times
When I think about the astrolabe, it reminds me of the older times when astrologers would gaze at the heavens, making manual calculations to plot the planetary positions. Modern astrologers, including myself, rely on software to do the heavy lifting. Yet, seeing the astrolabe in John Dee’s hands connects us to the rich heritage of astrology, providing a bridge between ancient practices and modern interpretations.
Astrological Indicators: Beyond the Surface
It’s fascinating how the film captures the intricacies of astrological indicators. The discussion on the ‘prince of a female gender’ showcases the depth of astrological knowledge, where there isn’t a direct indicator for ‘princess.’ Astrologers use a combination of indicators to represent attributes, like royal birth and gender. Understanding these nuances requires a deep immersion into the craft, and the portrayal in the film is an accurate reflection of such intricacies.
The Dual Role of Astrologers
One of the pivotal moments in the film is when Queen Elizabeth seeks insights into both state affairs and her personal life. Historically, astrologers served dual roles. They were not only advisors on state matters but also private confidants to royalty. They navigated the delicate balance of providing strategic advice while also addressing personal concerns. Astrologers often had to switch between the broader view of mundane astrology and the intimate insights of personal astrology, depending on the queries posed to them.
Physiognomy and Other Modalities
The blend of face reading (physiognomy) with astrology, as shown in the film, speaks volumes about John Dee’s multifaceted skills. While it isn’t a common practice among modern Western astrologers, it was not unusual for historical figures like Dee to dabble in multiple modalities. These additional layers of knowledge allowed them to offer a holistic approach to their royal patrons.
Astrologers: The Unsung Pillars of Support
The special relationship between Queen Elizabeth and John Dee underscores the intimate bond that existed between astrologers and royalty. It’s not just about predicting wars or political outcomes. Astrologers often served as pillars of support, helping monarchs navigate self-doubt, personal challenges, and existential crises. Their role went beyond mere prediction—they were confidants, counselors, and trusted allies.
The Essence of Astrology: An Ever-Evolving Craft
At its core, astrology is about interpreting the dance of celestial bodies and understanding their influence on earthly events and individual lives. As an astrologer, I can resonate with the struggles John Dee faced in the movie, especially when he says, “I am no prophet.” The realm of astrology is not about divine visions or prophecies, but about insights, patterns, and possibilities. The portrayal of John Dee in “Elizabeth, The Golden Age” beautifully captures this essence, and I would echo the sentiment—well done to the production team for bringing such depth and authenticity to the screen.