Annie Besant: Theosophist & Social Reformer

October 1, 1847, London England. Time given between 5:00-5:45 PM, LMT. As most astrologers conclude (due to her forceful and pioneering life) that Annie Besant had Aries rising, the time would have to have been after 5:21 PM, LMT.  (Source: Sabian Symbols and Notable Nativities). Died, September, 20, 1933, Adyar, India

(Proposed Ascendant, Aries with Uranus and Pluto also in Aries; MC in Capricorn;  Sun conjunct Venus and loosely conjunct Mercury in Libra; Moon conjunct Jupiter Cancer; Neptune in late Aquarius and Saturn in early Pisces)

Annie Besant was an English social reformer, author of many definitive theosophical books, president of the Theosophical Society from 1907 until her death in 1933, and president of the Indian National Congress in 1917. She was second only to her mentor, H. P. Blavatsky, in her influence upon modern Theosophy and the Theosophical Society.

Annie Besant was avidly involved in a radical and transformative approach (Uranus rising) to the social issues of her day (Libra), such as birth control (Cancerian emphasis) and the place of women in society (Libra emphasis). She usually worked in close partnerships professionally (Sun in Libra conjunct the NN in the seventh house), first secularly in relation to the social issues of her day, and later with C.W. Leadbeater in the field theosophical exposition and psychical research.  She was extraordinarily assertive (even driven) and at the forefront of many social and political controversies—a dynamic approach indicated by her Aries Ascendant and her powerful first ray—presumably the ray of her soul, as she was closely connected with Master Morya (as was H.P.B.)

The strong Cancerian Moon was reflected in her years of motherhood, and in the struggles she experienced as she felt it necessary to divorce and pull herself away from the conventional, traditional domestic sphere. The Moon (in its own sign, exoterically), however, is conjunct Jupiter (in the sign of its exaltation, further dignified by placement in the house of its exaltation), and indicates not only traditionalism, but much karmic benefit from merit generated in previous incarnations. The needs of the form (Moon) had been fulfilled (Cancer). AB’s last incarnation built upon that accumulated merit. These two planets, rather, functioned in a protective manner—not for herself, but for the socially abused, for theosophists hunger from the light of truth, and for the people of India who craved independence from Britain.

First ray Uranus rising in the chart not far from first ray Pluto, is a strong indicator of the power of the first ray of Will and Power. Later in life she became an elected political leader, an avid advocate of Indian home rules and president of the Indian National Congress. It is interesting to realize that the soul sign of India is Aries, the foremost constellational distributor of the first ray. One of the major soul-oriented indicators in Annie Besant’s chart is Aries on the Ascendant; further, Annie Besant, like India, is presumed to have a first ray soul. It would seem that there was a deep karmic/dharmic bond between her and that great country.

As an initiate (one would hypothesize) of the third degree, the esoteric ruler of her Sun Sign and that of her Rising Sign should be compared. Interestingly they are Uranus, esoteric ruler of the Libran Sun, and Mercury, esoteric ruler of her Aries Ascendant. Uranus and Mercury are in almost exact opposition, conferring great mental power (she had a scientific mind, reinforced by the conjunction between fifth ray Venus and Mercury, which planet also has much of ray five, though hypothetically on the monadic level), and must have evidenced a dynamic tension between reason and intuition, between the lower mind and the higher mind, and between manas (Mercury) and the will (Uranus). Her nervous system would have been taut—highly strung, ultra-responsive, made still more sensitive by Neptune in H12. Ultimately, Uranus, although the esoteric ruler of the Sun Sign, is the more powerful planet, because it is also the hierarchical ruler of the Rising Sign, Aries. Hierarchical rulers may be read as relevant in the lives of initiates. As the hierarchical ruler of a powerful first ray sign/constellation, Uranus is a potent conduit of electric fire, of Shamballic Energy, and conferred upon Annie Besant the power to embody Divine Purpose—no matter what might have been the counter-pulls from the lower aspects of attached Cancer and partner-bound Libra.

The sixth ray was also, it would seem, an important aspect of her character, as she changed her vocational orientations drastically a number of times in her life, and pursued each new orientation with great one-pointedness. Mars, the sixth ray, orthodox ruler of the Aries Ascendant, is retrograde and hence strong, though found in Taurus, the sign of its detriment. Her devotion to, belief in and promotion of Jeddu Krishnamurti as the “World Teacher” (overshadowed by Maitreya, the Christ) confirms the presence and importance of the sixth ray. It should be noted that her Mars sits within five degrees of Krishnamurti’s Sun in Taurus. In addition, Taurus is a Shamballic sign, and carries much will (in its own right and through its association with Vulcan). Her unusual intensity seems a combination of R1 and R6, with the probability of a R5 mind, reinforced by the Venus/Mercury conjunction.

The chart demonstrates a tremendous T-Square between the Aries, Cancer and Libra planets. This pattern defined the dynamics of her notable life, generating the conflict to be overcome through great energy and the spirit of synthesis. The tension generated from an indomitable and impersonal will (indicated by the Aries Ascendant and planets), deep social concern and investment in socio-political issues (indicated by the Libra planets) and the profound sense of motherhood (generated karmically and later applied to greater ‘family spheres’, were expressed within the tenth house sphere indicating powerful work on behalf of the planetary power structure—the Spiritual Hierarchy of our planet. Interestingly, the asteroid Juno (of committed partnerships) is placed in Capricorn and forms with the Aries, Cancer and Libra planets a Grand Cross. Much of her work was carried forward in important, professional (Capricorn) partnerships, which furthered her social and spiritual ideals.

Because it can be reasonably proposed the Annie Besant was an initiate of the third degree, the “fixed stars” would be of particular importance. The stars represent the solar dimension of life, and come into greater prominence with the solar part of man (the soul) has taken a dominating position, as it does at the third initiation.

The Cancerian Moon is exactly (to the minute) conjunct a major star of guidance and education, Canopus, the leading star of the constellation Argo (the mythical ship which served the Argonauts on their great quest). Great “path-finders”, pilots and navigators come under the influence of Canopus (and surely AB was that for many aspiring people—whether that aspiration was social, political or more esoterically spiritual). As the Moon is involved, this capacity was for her built-in, instinctive, the result of previous incarnational work.

Significantly, the “star of initiation”, Sirius, also conjunct her Moon within less than a degree. She was one of the leading exponents of the Spiritual Hierarchy of our planet, working in close, conscious cooperation with one or two of Them. Her many theosophical writings helped prepare the mind of humanity for definite steps along the paths of discipleship and initiation.

The brilliant, magnetic star, Vega, is also connected to the Moon by opposition, contributing to her great charisma and oratorical abilities. Vega, in the constellation Lyra, can be associated with gifts of expression through the throat center and is magically magnetic in its influence.

Bellatrix (a star of assertive and even warlike speech) is exactly contraparallel Mercury (planet of thought and verbal expression and esoteric ruler of the assertive Aries Ascendant. This combination increased AB’s willingness and ability to speak out forcefully on unpopular and even dangerous social and spiritual issues (and ensured that there would be adverse consequences). She was once (1877) arrested on charges of immorality for lecturing on birth control. The placement of Mercury in Libra opposed Uranus in Aries is, of course, potent and relevant to this dynamic of outspokenness. In addition, and although it would apply to many born at a similar period, the planet Pluto is also in contraparallel to Bellatrix, conferring the power to speak what might be called the ‘terminating word’—the word of death (exposing and bringing down social, political and spiritual abuses).

We also see benevolent and wise Jupiter closely conjunct the star Castor, which relates to the ability to write and create in a flowing and relatively painless manner. AB’s great literary output is reinforced by this position.

AB’s role as a healing of social ills can be liked to the contraparallel of Neptune to Rasalhague, which is in the head of the “Serpent Holder”. Also, the healing planet Chiron is potently conjunct the brilliant star, Spica, giving the gift of knew knowledge. Chiron is also the mentor and quest guide—a role which AB fulfilled admirably.

There are other star positions of significance but these few will reveal the importance of that particular dimension in AB’s chart.

The hypothesized rays of Annie Besant, discussed in detail in Tapestry of the Gods, Volume. II, are 16-567—first ray soul, sixth ray personality, fifth ray mind, sixth ray astral nature, and seventh ray etheric physical nature. A fuller description of her amazing life (i.e., her last incarnation) is given there and may be read with the above astrological thoughts in mind.

This is just the briefest of expositions of the chart of a truly remarkable server on behalf of humanity and the Spiritual Hierarchy. Clearly, she came as a major promoter of the Divine Wisdom as expressed through the Theosophical Society. Endowed with a significant amount of seventh ray energy (complementing her potent first ray) she was equipped to organize what H.P.B. and Col. Olcott had begun. Her work was to strengthen and institutionalize Theosophy so that it could become a major conditioning force in human civilization. It may be that her own devotion and zeal (sixth ray) were at times counterproductive (as in the case of bringing Jeddu Krishnamurti forward, perhaps too ardently—causing dismay and divisions within the TS), but her tremendous labors for the Society and for the cause of human freedom (Indian Home Rule) must be remembered and honored.

In the last analysis, it would seem that the ray of the monad was active in her case, and that, as a leader/educator, she was responding to it. This ray may be hypothesized as the second ray of love-wisdom. Since the Sun is in Libra (at seven degrees) the “Monadic Point” would be found at seven degrees of Aries and rising in the proposed chart. Not all disciples can refer to the Monadic Point as significant, but AB could probably do so. The placement (in the eighth degree of Aries) again emphasizes the first ray—a generically first ray point in a first ray chart position (rising) and in the strongest first ray sign. This does not mean that she necessarily had/has a first ray monad, but that the way through to monadic expression was through an indomitable, pioneering assertion of the fact of the Ageless Wisdom as promoted through Theosophy.

That AB will probably be remembered even more as a theosophical educator than as an organizer and executive (though she was formidable in these respects) may well point to the growing influence of a second ray monad expressing potently in a position in the astrological chart which emphasizes the first ray. It is impossible for anyone less than a Master to speak of the monadic ray with certainty, but we can recognize that it was probably influential in the case of AB—clearly an initiate. Certainly, the whole question of the spirit/monad was very much on her mind, and she was qualified to speak of it, which she did with illuminating accuracy.

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