Sir Richard Francis Burton is renown for the being the first European to penetrate Arabian culture in the 19th century so thoroughly that he was able to write sixteen volumes of their stories and folktales in The Arabian Nights. Click here to view his books on Gutenberg.org.
Dr. Marc Edmund Jones was also enthralled by Burton’s writings and condensed them for his readers in a series of lesson sets that he called the 1001 Nights. A full list of his condensed notes here. The Sabian Assembly is in progress of republishing them for public
Aleister Crowley, also a fan, writes that Burton was typical of his ascendant as
“The Scorpio ascendant does not spare pains with himself, and as a rule he cares nothing for the sensitiveness of others.
He expects everyone to be as strong as he is himself He is in fact a somewhat dangerous associate, for his magnetism is so great that those who are working with him are insensibly drawn to emulate his vigourous energy, and they are extremely likely to overstrain themselves and collapse. Scorpio, within his own limitations, is a great master of organization.
He is intensely thorough in his preparation, and his foresight is marvellous. In fact, it is one of the drawbacks to the immediate success of the very best types of this sign that they possess an idea so big that it is generally impossible of realization within the compass of a lifetime.
We find them building for posterity, and perhaps suffering intensely in consequence of their absolute refusal to swerve from their appointed path in order to deal with temporary exigencies.
Sir Richard Francis Burton was a British soldier, explorer, author, and translator. He was born in Torquay, Devonshire, England, March 19, 1821. Both Crowley and Jones have his nativity in their books, with slightly different times; Crowley rendering Burton at 06 Scorpio and Jones at 08 Scorpio. The latter used Alan Leo’s 1001 Nativities for his data, so we are going with that ascendant.
The Burton MAP
The most noticeable thing about Burton’s astrological chart is everything is in the Northern hemisphere (bottom part of the chart) telling us that he was very much an “undercover man,” with his Moon handle in the Eleventh House at 12 Libra suggesting he could adapt to the crowd. The Hyperion Symbols suggests that this degree is “the substance of human culture” hearkening backward to see the cultural value in all of the man’s existence. G. K. McClung gives this the symbol of “The Moon of Leto, Apollo’s mother.”
In Latin, Leto is Latona & one of the Titanides. Leto is a bride of Zeus and mother of the twins Apollo and Artemis in Greek mythology. Her iconography suggests that she was a goddess of modesty and perhaps also a goddess of the night which fits Sir Burton’s moon fits perfectly, as he did most of his work in full sheik’s costume complete with the ghutrah; tanning well helped.
Of course, the real issue would be the language, and here, Burton was helped by a stellium in the creative languages of the fifth house in Pisces, spilling over into the sixth with Mercury & Saturn suggests that he had a true talent in that sphere.
Mercury via a translation of light to neighboring Saturn at 15 Aries, is opposite his Moon in Libra, highlighting his ability to get into the “rhythm” of his work and lose his identity in it. Others with this aspect are the great actress Bette Davis, Alan Leo (both of them with their Sun) and adorable multi-talented Shirley Temple (her Venus). The comparison of Ruffian Dick’s adventures with acting is not without merit.
A lot of water in the Araby desert
Sir Richard has little elemental air in his chart, so he truly did not “translate” as much as “transcribe” the stories and tales he heard. ( Neptune in the third house of communications and letters) He wrote in the papers at the times, that he felt he was capturing (his Midheaven is at 18 Leo that is often as E. C. Matthews writes, the sign of the writer) a world that time forgot.
A site devoted to Sir Richard is here.
Lines of Awareness
Sir Richard does not a major aspect for his Line of Vitality, as they are inconjunct. Marc Edmund Jones writes that this suggests “neither a direct emphasis on action” nor an awareness of their potential implying that his own ego is subordinate to his life’s work. That would make sense how he operated undercover as an Arabian sheik, not as a British soldier.
His Line of Personality, the aspect between Jupiter and Saturn, are conjunct, suggesting a life through his own physical abilities, and making Sir Richard, exceptionally aware of his experiences.
The Line of Efficiency, the aspect between Mars and Venus is also conjunct. Marc Edmund Jones in his “Guide to Horoscope Interpretation” says that the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and the fantasy writer cum mathematician, Lewis Carroll, also had this aspect. It suggests a high degree of concentrated insight into their work.
The final Line of Culture, that aspect between Uranus and Pluto, is also conjunct, like songwriter Stephen Foster, and suggests in both cases, an ability to lose one’s self and cultural identity. That would definitely be Sir Richard’s case.
- Hyperion Symbols, Gavin K. McClung, 2012, Infinity Publishing. Available here.
- Degrees of the Zodiac Analyzed, E. C. Matthews, 1947, Fixed Star Press. Available here.