Henri Petain

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Jim Eshelman
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Henri Petain

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:37 pm

I just rediscovered one of the most fondly remembered short articles in American Astrology from my youth. It's from the May 1975 issue, written by popular astrology writer Van Ingersoll Allen, is called "The Man Who Lived Too Long!" and concerns Marshal Henri Petain.

Petain's chart (which I strangely don't have in my files - and Astro.com is down for a couple of weeks) is given as April 24, 1856, 10:30 PM GMT, 47N13, 3E02. It's worth a look, but I'll give the highlights.

First, the skeleton of his life story and the basis of the article's title and interesting tale. Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain was one of France's great heroes twice over. In a fashion, his life began at 60, which is about the age when he earned the nickname "Lion of Verdun" for his great victory in WW I. From this, he became commander-in-chief of French forces. He had a successful government and military career between the wars.

Then, however, Hitler conquered France and, in what Petain evidently thought was the best interest of France and its people, he returned home from Spain to accept a position as provisional governor of Vichy France (the German-occupied France during the heart of WW II). Because he collaborated with the Nazis in holding France occupied, he was tried for treason and sentenced to death. However, once the sentence was in place, De Gaulle commuted it to life imprisonment. He died in prison in 1951.

The man who lived too long.

His horoscope tells much of this roller-coaster life, mostly from his Sun alone. Petain's Sun was in Aries and his Moon in Sagittarius. I think he did indeed think himself a great hero and had a natural draw to power and control. This doesn't mean I think his stated motives were false, but I do think them impure, I.e., personal power needs and an instinct for command and heroic recognition stepped in.

Besides the power urges, Aries is known for giving and then taking away - just read Manilius! viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p738

Petain's Sun is partile conjunct Pluto. One wonders how many times in his life transiting Pluto. This creates a situation reminiscent of Sir Richard Burton: I just calculated, and transiting Pluto conjoined Petain's progressed Sun twice every year from 1956 to 1869, and again from 1911 to 1927. This last period included his most magical years! History would have treated him far better if he had ended his public life after 1927.

As for his natal conjunction, I think it fair to say he thought of himself as "a law unto himself," and willing to work form his own sense of what is true without having to following somebody else's rules.

His Sagittarius Moon speaks of his ambition, his military genius, and other traits including statesmanship. It is remarkable for its partile opposition to Saturn and even closer (04') square Jupiter - a pattern more complex than it looks but, at the least, ambitious and executive.

Strangely, for a man so honored in war, one of his two angular planets is Venus, exalted on the IC. He seems a man hungry for peace... which is why I believe his statement that, in his heart, he only acted for the good of France.
Jim Eshelman

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