"What hogwash!" he said, only he used a different word. "When you screw up your life, you blame astrology, like you had no choice because you were born at a certain time." Now he was smiling. "The reason I do drugs and can't keep my fly zipped isn't because of any stars! Like my old man knocked up my mother when Scorpio was Rising and because of that I'm going to jail? I don't think so! I'm going to jail because I’m bad to bone!"
This is a speech made by Edmund Bastard in Act I, Scene ii of Shakespeare’s King Lear. I brought it up to date.
Edmund plots to turn his father against his half brother, Edward, but boys’ father won’t go for it. He excuses Edward’s recent strange behavior by "these late eclipses in sun and moon …."
Edmund says he was born under Dragon's tail, South Node of Moon. That could be in any sign. He’s making a play on words. To be born under any animal’s tale is probably a slur on Edmund's mother who was not married at time of his conception.
Edmund’s "nativity" or horoscope is under Ursa Major, constellation where Big Dipper resides. At time of this play, most of stars in Ursa Major were in late degrees of Leo and first half of Virgo.
It's a funny coincidence (no such thing?) when Edmund speculates, what if he were born under "the maidliest star" -- because that's exactly when he was born. If under Ursa Major, then influence of Virgo, Maiden.
Edmund shows a mistake people sometimes make about astrology. You can't be born "under something", you have to be born when Sun is "in something".
Edmund's character is used as a contrast to King Lear's very evil daughters, Goneril and Regan. King Lear is destroyed by their cruelty. While these girls are dark to core, Edmund is openly, carelessly and light-heartedly villainous. Back then as now, some people are bad but some people are really evil. M. Scott Peck wrote a good book to help with this distinction, The Road Less Traveled.
Edmund actually has a pretty good handle on an important concept in humanistic astrology -- way before Dane Rudhyar (1895-1985) wrote his books. It is our character that determines our fate, not our horoscope.
Thousands of people are born same hour, day, year and even minute all over world; yet no two are alike. The energy of stars is neutral like electricity but there is a Soul lying beneath horoscope which uses energy for good or ill.
Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Larue County, Kentucky. It was a good day for men!
There's nothing evil about being born in Virgo. In fact many Virgos are among most gentle people. But 9 degrees of Virgo is a degree of homicide. Alioth of Ursa Major in Shakespeare’s time was at about 7 degrees Virgo while Mizar and Alcor were at 12 degrees Virgo.
I think, too, that Shakespeare refers to importance Ursa Major has always had in northern hemisphere. It is one of first things children learn to pick out in starry night sky.
Ursa Major isn't part of zodiac but its stars can be seen vividly at night. There are seven main stars, Alkaid, Mizar, Alioth, Megrez, Phecda, Merak and Dubhe.
The last two are special stars people use to site North Star (Polaris). Mizar has a fainter companion, Alcor. As everyone knows, if you can see these two stars with your own two eyes, you have good eyesight!