The Slave of Duty 

 Frederic, the hero of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, was born 21 leap year days before 1940 – i.e. on February 29th, 1852 (recollect that 1900 was not a leap year).  In his youth he had been accidentally apprenticed to a pirate when his nursemaid Ruth misunderstood his father’s injunction to apprentice him to a pilot.  Although he hated piracy, Frederic’s deep-felt sense of duty made him stick with it until he was finally freed from his apprenticeship on reaching his twenty-first year (February 28th, 1873). Leaving the pirate’s lair on that day – the day the opera takes place – he stumbles upon a bevy of young maidens and immediately falls in love with the beautiful Mabel (he had never seen a woman before this except for his aged nursemaid Ruth who, being in love with him, had him convinced that she was the most beautiful woman in the world).

 In Frederic’s solar chart we find the sun conjunct Neptune in Pisces, part of a loose grand trine in water signs, which indicates a soft, vulnerable, idealistic person who is nonetheless a bit woolly-minded and easily imposed upon or deceived. Venus square the nodes indicates that the deception, and his downfall, is due to women. Mercury square Jupiter also points to confused thinking and misplaced ideals – for when the pirates later realize (and present to Frederic) the ingenious paradox that, by the terms of his apprenticeship, he is bound to them until his twenty-first birthday (not his twenty-first year); and since he was born on leap year day he is actually only a little boy of five (not twenty-one); Frederic’s staunch sense of duty forces him to leave his beloved Mabel and return to the detested calling of piracy. Note that Mars retrograde in Cancer (its fall) makes for a wavering, indecisive and fickle temperament; even though Mars conjunct the north node shows one who is brave and daring, even as a little lad.

 Duty is ruled by Saturn, and in the solar chart we find – not surprisingly – Saturn besieged by Uranus and Pluto. This indicates a violent trauma early in the life (c.f. those natives born in 1964-1966), and we can well imagine the effect that being apprenticed to pirates would have upon one of a delicate and sensitive nature.  It also shows a readiness to do violence to others, such as his willingness to destroy his former comrades after he’d left them; or to destroy his new patron, Mabel’s father, after his return to the pirates – all in the name of duty.  The Uranus – Pluto besiegement of Saturn forced Frederic to make an obsession and a fetish of duty in order to control his inner violence and maintain his mental balance. Indeed, transiting Saturn was but five days from an exact square to natal Pluto when the events of the opera took place (2/28/1873), which augurs violence, frustration, obsession, anger. Also transiting Neptune was applying to square of natal Mars, which augurs deception and perfidy. Converse progressed Mercury opposed natal Mars around this time as well, auguring misunderstandings and estrangements.

 The close correspondences between Frederic’s horoscope on the one hand, and his character and the events in his life on the other, constitute apodictic evidence for the indisputable veracity of astrology.

Bob Makransky’s Astrology Corner © 2001

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