Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lord Lightning and Real Regency Astrology

Eliza Farrell, the heroine of my debut romance, Lord Lightning, which will be on the stands September 28, is a gently raised lady who is a direct descendant of William Lilly, England’s most famous astrologer.

Though you might be surprised to learn this, the use of astrology was very popular much during the Regency period, and among its greatest challenges was to figure out what the astrological meaning was of the new planet, Uranus, which had only just been discovered in 1789.

Not so coincidentally, this turns out to be Eliza’s biggest challenge, too. For Eliza reads the chart of an anonymous stranger and interprets it as being that of a man who was born to love, only to be told that the chart is that of a well known libertine, nicknamed Lord Lightning, who is famed for his cold heart and shocking behavior.

Sure enough, the outrageous Lord’s chart is dominated by the new planet Uranus, which stands at the very point that shows the role the person takes on the world’s stage. Can it be true Eliza wonders, that, as some speculate, Uranus causes explosive, unpredictable behavior?

It’s certainly true that, as his nickname suggests, Lord Lightning delights in shocking others. And the libertine lord does his best to shock Eliza, too, for her claim that he’s at heart a loving man infuriates him, and he sets out to prove that she’s wrong. How better to do that than to seduce and abandon her?

So Lord Lightning abducts Eliza and demands that she take the place of the mistress who left him thanks to her astrological counsel. But Eliza turns out to be just as capable of shocking behavior as is the Byronic lord. When he insists her reading of his character is wrong, she’s not going to let a little thing like Lord Lightning’s irresistible sexual allure keep her from proving she’s right.

I hope you enjoy the battle of wills that follows, in what I suspect may be the steamiest astrological lesson ever penned.

For those of you who are interested in the history of astrology, it turns out the person who first discovered the astrological effect of the new planet, Uranus, was William Blake's good friend, the water colorist John Varley.

An anecdote related by his son tells how one morning, after examining his transits, Varley predicted that some dire event associated with Uranus would occur that day.

When his house was discovered to be in flames, "He was so delighted at having discovered what the astrological effect of Uranus was," his son reported, "that he sat down while his house was burning knowing though he did that he was not insured a penny to write an account of his discovery. He had timed the catastrophe to within a few minutes."

Now that was a real astrologer!
Portions of the post above appeared in a guest blog post published on Petit Fours and Hot Tamales.