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Dennis Wheatley an Astrological Overview


All charts are represented by the four Elements – Fire, Air, Earth and Water – and astrologers determine which Element is emphasised in the Chart (horoscope). In Wheatley’s chart it is Air, the Element to do with ideas and the mind. Mercury, the planet of communication is in Aquarius, an Air sign. Aquarius is known for its wide-ranging ideas, and forward looking mind. Mercury in this position can throw light on hidden situations. Its detached quality helps to make impartial decisions and take the whole view, scientific view. It can see the other side in an objective argument.

Indeed, it was for Wheatley’s ideas and his fertile imagination that he was seconded by the war office to help with propaganda and ideas on how to defeat the enemy. He was indeed brilliant at this but perhaps a little frustrated because he wanted to be a man of action. Action he saw in World War 1, but now too old to fight, he was put in an office and told to think. Astrologically, it is no surprise that he was not personally in the thick of things (at least not physically) because the Element he lacks in his chart is Fire. This is the Element of action and adventure. So we can see that these factors were compensated in the imagination.

The overall shape of the planetary chart is a Tripod shape; with three aggregations of planets, and one planet standing alone. Generally, the Tripod shaped chart suggests an individual who prefers to walk his own path, a leader rather than a follower, and one who has many areas of interests. There may be something unique about such a person, and usually possessing inner assuredness.

The planet which stands on its own in the Tripod shape is usually pivotal to the character, and here it is the planet Jupiter, seen on the left side of the chart, positioned in the sign of Virgo, in an area called the 1st house, but moving towards the 2nd house area. Jupiter, the king of the gods in mythology, looked down from Olympus and felt that the world was his oyster. This kind of attitude may be seen in the individual too. Jupiter is known as the Greater Fortune in astrology, and so brings luck which attaches itself to the personality, and his finances.

Now Jupiter positioned in the sign of Virgo is not comfortable astrologically speaking, and this suggests that the individual feels as if he is trying to wriggle out of some kind of constraint, imposed maybe from childhood, trying to find a way out of situations that tend to limit him in some way. This might be later reflected in Wheatley’s spy and thriller novels: the protagonists are doing their best to overcome the threat of something or someone who poses danger to their autonomy or freedom.

Highlighting the sign of Virgo in this way means that the individual gives practical expression to his plans and has no time for lofty ideas that don’t lead anywhere. Very good to getting to the heart of any problem, good at choosing the right moment to execute plans. Very detailed mind. Excellent at working with others in teamwork towards the common good.

Staying with Jupiter, we look at the aspects (relationships) the planet makes to other planets. The best of all is an opposition to the planet Venus on the other side of the chart positioned in the sign of Pisces, where it shines supreme. Now Venus is in the 7th house, the area of relationships. Venus is also known as the Lesser Fortune, so to take the two Fortunes (Jupiter and Venus) in connection to each other and influencing human relationships, neatly describes the good fortune DW had in making influential contacts. The maxim it’s not what you know but who you know, comes to mind. That was Wheatley’s talent as well – connecting with people, and knowing influential people.

Another aspect that Jupiter makes is to the three planets at the top of the chart that is Mars, Pluto and Neptune in the sign of Gemini. When Jupiter and Mars meet adventure beckons, and with the Pluto influence there is subterfuge, secrecy and spies. Nothing is done in a small way with the latter combination: DW thought in a big, expansive way. Add Neptune to the mix, you have a superb imagination, a weaver of tales, or even a fantasist, with the occult and magic thrown in.

The above three – Mars, Pluto, and Neptune – are positioned in the sign of Gemini, which results in supreme powers of persuasion and communication. These planets as well as Jupiter are Retrograde – the little R at the bottom of the planet (the planet appears to be going backward in the heavens due to astronomical phenomena). This again emphasises a sense of constraint, frustration maybe with the outer life, and that he had to go inwards into the world of the imagination to exorcise his demons and find a release to certain pent up energies. These three planets are in the area called the 10th house which is linked to the career, and of course, his story telling abilities were expressed in that field.

The above planets however, push towards the next area, the 11th house, which basically is the house of friends, like-minded people and humanitarian impulses. There is no doubt that he had a talent for friendship and maybe his sense of service was also highly emphasised.

If we go back to the 1st house where Jupiter is positioned, the actual house has a Leo Ascendant which is the sign rising on the Eastern horizon, also known as the Ascending sign. Any sign here has a lot to do with the outer personality, the way one is seen by other people. Leo is a sign of flamboyance, and theatricality, but also generosity and creativity; sometimes there is a scientific bent too. Leo has track with showmanship, knowing how to present oneself. Wheatley certainly knew how to do that. Now Leo is a Fire sign, and any sign on the Ascendant bestows qualities that need to be acquired.

The planetary ruler of Leo is the Sun, positioned in the 5th house, an area of creativity, and dramatic flair. However, the Sun in Capricorn reins in the showmanship to some extent, and begins to look at distant goals. Capricorn is a sign of completion, in other words, there is much hard work expended on achieving goals. The symbol of the goat struggling up the mountainside depicts the Capricornian urge to reach the top in life either materially or spiritually. The goat is a sure footed animal; reflecting the Capricorn innate ability to take the right steps in the right direction, to reach the top in any endeavour.

The goat treads in an inhospitable environment, as does Capricorn, who can endure discomfort better than most, not quite impervious to harsh conditions or challenging circumstances but can acquire seeming indifference in order to reach goals in sight. The phrase the end justifies the means comes to mind though this might be a more ruthless expression of the patient and persevering Capricorn who will endure anything in order to reach the summit, so to speak. Both the Sun and the aforementioned planet Jupiter both make auspicious aspects to the Midheaven (top of the chart) which is linked to the career. This contributes to success.

Also like Jupiter, the Sun links to lucky Venus by aspect too. Whilst we have seen that the emphasis on Virgo indicated capacity for practical hard work, luck and connections played their part too. Venus is in Pisces as stated in the 7th house of friendship/connections.

The sign of Pisces is well configured in this chart since the Moon is in this sign as well, in an area known as the 8th house. This is known as the house of death and transformation, looking behind the veil of life and death. It is also known as an Occult house. Such a combination indicates a strong psychic sense, and an interest in the occult. Pisces is the most psychic of all signs and on the highest spiritual level tends to feel unity with everyone with no lines of demarcation or separation. Compassionate to all, with no judgement, accepts everyone as they are, treating them equally. Certainly Wheatley knew a great many people and his generosity was legendary.

Some say that the sign in which our Moon is positioned, often plays the strongest part in the person’s character. When one considers that Pisces is linked with liquids (its planetary ruler is Neptune, god of the sea) then Wheatley’s association with alcohol comes as no surprise. Long after he gave up his wine business, he still kept a well stocked cellar and his knowledge of different wines was extensive. He often reveals this in his books.

There are three Houses – areas in the chart – that are linked to the Occult and Wheatley has another emphasised, which is the 4th house. Here we find Saturn and Uranus in Scorpio.

Saturn is a conservative planet, and Uranus is innovative. When they are in conjunction (sharing the same space) then there is a great deal of tension and stress. Now apart from being an Occult house, it is an area to do with the family, and there must have been some kind of difficulty back in the family lineage which may not have been known to the world. This would have affected Wheatley in childhood and left a wound. We see the centaur Chiron, the wounded healer, embracing the lowest part of the chart, also in Scorpio.

One can only imagine that there were secrets within the Wheatley family tree that perhaps created a fertile foundation for his imagination.

Wanda Sellar

31st March 2019

© Wanda Sellar 2019



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