The Horoscope of Simon Schama: Doing Mercury on the BBC


One late night BBC program I try to watch is Question Time. The program – sent out live from different locations around the country –  centres around questions from the audience to a panel of five experts, who always include at least two politicians from various sides of the political divide, the odd newspaper editor, independant thinker, feminist, writer, historian etc. etc. The person leading the debate, is David Dimbleby. Last night’s program was sent out from Edinburgh and one of the guests was historian Simon Schama. One of the questions asked was whether the 0.8 % growth in the British economy, which is higher than expected, is a sign of economic recovery. In answer to this, Simon Schama asked us to imagine a scene from a Western movie, when a cowboy riding through the desert, comes accross a man, lying apparently dead in the sand. The cowboy gets off his horse and approaches cautiously. He sees a vulture ’s feather which he takes and holds before the nose of the body. Then some remarkable happens, he witnesses some very slight movement in the feathers.

This was the first time I had heard Simon Schama speak outside of a BBC program. I was deeply impressed by his imaginative use of the English language, and his ability to create powerful mental images. The horoscope of Simon Schama: born February 13 1945, time unknown, London:



Simon Schama’s way of expressing himself is abstract, intelligent, and brimming over with surprises. Though I have never given much weight to mutual receptions involving Uranus, Neptune and Pluto with the old pantheon of planets, I have to admit, Mercury in Aquarius is certainly doing something with Uranus in Gemini. This “something” goes deeper than the trine between these planets in Schama’s horoscope suggests. When Schama talks his body moves rather like a cat, stalking or preying on an idea. The hands and face are animated, you can almost see the interaction between the idea and the complex inner processes involved in voicing it. I found him fascinating to watch. The clever way Schama picked up on the panel’s use and abuse of the English language gave the program last night an extra dimension. By pointing out, through the use of historical analogy, what “words as weapons” (Schama’s own term) are capable of doing to heat up public opinion and distort issues, questions were lifted above the arena of mere political point scoring.  Schama’s enormous knowledge of history, was subtly employed to steer us along new lines of thought. Quite genial and viewed altogether a good sense of what Aquarius can be about.

Mercury’s opposition to Pluto suggests deep knowledge and psychological understanding, this combination demands responsibility sinces it signifies the potential ability to influence other people, while Mercury’s sextile to Venus shows verbal artistry and a command of language. Add to that Neptune’s association with pictures, imagery and fame, then we have the major ingredients that have brought Schama into the limelight on both sides of the Atlantic.

The mental picture of that man lying in the desert has spontaneoulsy popped into my mind a few times today. The power of words indeed…. Fascinating man, fascinating horoscope.

Over Liz Hathway

Liz Hathway is a British born astrologer currently based in Amsterdam. Liz studied astrology at the Kosmos in Amsterdam, at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London and with well known horary astrology John Frawley. Liz also holds an MA (with distinction) in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, from the University of Wales, in Lampeter, and was short-listed for the 2016 Alumni Association MA CAA Dissertation Prize.
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