Lady with the Lamp

Estimated Reading Time: 2-3 minutes

Post by Jane Lewis

When the Sun ingresses Virgo its sign-ruler Mercury stations retrograde, followed shortly after by Uranus which stations retrograde in 23 Taurus.  As a planet’s vibrational energy is intensified at the time of its station this could be a good time to pause and simply ‘stand and stare’ instead of dashing about.  The ‘butterfly’ mind of Mercury in its lower mental aspect flits from one thing to another, easily distracted by every thought that bubbles up from all the frets, hastes and fears of everyday living, however, in Virgo it can excel in exaltation.  Now the higher mind can shine bright with the wisdom that comes together with focus, commitment and practical application of skill in service to others.  Lightbringer Uranus, higher aspect of the Sun itself, has the power to intensify that energy still further to bring about Illumination, and as the veil is lowered from the face of Lady Wisdom truth is revealed. 

The qualities of Virgo are amplified by the asteroid Vesta, known in Greek and Roman times as the goddess of the hearth who keeps the sacred temple fire and home fires burning.  When Virgo and Vesta are both strong in a horoscope virgoan themes and the soul lesson of Service through Wisdom also get amplified.  This is illustrated clearly in the life of Florence Nightingale who was born with Virgo rising at the time of a new moon in Taurus conjunct Vesta.  As the flame is the glyph and symbol of Vesta it is no wonder that she earned the title Lady of the Lamp, as depicted in her statue in Westminster.

She was named after her place of birth, having been born in Florence during her parents’ honeymoon tour of Europe.   In her early teens she felt called to serve God and prayed for guidance as to how to make herself useful and she was directed towards nursing.  Despite disapproval from family and her social group, she pursued this vocation at a time when nursing was considered to be an extremely unsuitable occupation for a young lady as it was the domain of women only of the lowest social class and was considered disreputable.   As a result of her own hard work, devotion and commitment she went on to transform nursing into the profession it has become today, although further work is still needed to put it on a more equal footing with the still more male-dominated medical profession.

Florence Nightingale Natal Chart

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Posthumous transits to her horoscope reveal that Uranus will be transiting her natal triple Sun-Moon-Vesta conjunction for the next couple of years as it retrogrades and then stations direct.  Uranus beams high voltage reforming energy onto whatever it contacts, ushering in revolutionary ideas that have the power to overturn old habits and thought forms. As a new moon represents the phase when new ideas are seeded, this current transit holds the potential for a new generation of seeds to be sown that can take her achievements to a yet higher level, into a new dimension altogether even.

In Florence’s chart, natal Uranus is conjunct Neptune at the bendings: square to the moon’s nodal axis.  North node in Aries conjunct Chiron shows the military background of her work and how she was sent out to the Crimean War to nurse soldiers, not simply by dressing their battle wounds but by bringing about a radically new understanding of the cause of death through infection.  She achieved this through painstaking, methodical, statistical record-keeping which allowed her to prove the link between poor basic hygiene and high death rates, demonstrating to the whole world that more soldiers were dying of hospital infection than of the actual injuries.  Interestingly, Hygeia the sister asteroid to Vesta (caduceus glyph) is in her 10th house of profession.

The dynamism of the Lady with the Lamp is shown by the strong fire element and cardinality of her chart, giving an overall flavour of martial Aries.  Mercury, which rules the chart, is in Aries as is Saturn, both in the 8th house of death and transformation.  Sadly, Florence herself suffered poor health throughout her life as a result illnesses contracted in the Crimea, including brucellosis which is an infection that would be quickly curable these days.

Chiron in Aries may mean that infection is something to be battled against.  At the start of Covid in the UK on 29th January 2020 the Moon was in the first degree of Aries with Chiron.  It is a curious fact that this coincided with a posthumous Chiron return in Florence’s chart,and at the same time Vesta was transiting her triple Sun-Moon-Vesta conjunction.  As new covid variants are still in circulation today it is interesting to muse on what this might mean.