Astrology is the most wonderful tool to aid our understanding of ourselves and the themes we are born to play out in this life, but perhaps it’s greatest aid is to help us come to terms with our relationships with other people.
We may ” Know Ourselves ” but when it comes to the ” Other ” whether it’s someone we fancy and want to ask out for the first time or even someone we’ve been married to for 20 years, it’s often all a mystery. Even when we think we know them, do we really understand their themes in the way we do our own, or are we largely dealing with our own projections onto them ? And how can we tell which is which ?
Its here, where we might easily feel all at sea, that Astrology really comes in handy and its probably true that more time is spent in astrological counselling in these areas than any other.
Synastry is the astrological study of people in relationship, and it is based on the simple idea of looking at the planetary positions of two individuals and seeing if there are angular aspects between them. This will reveal whether our own issues dovetail or clash with those of our partner and will also give plenty of good advice about how to make the most of any relationship.
Most of the relationships that come under astrological scrutiny are 7th house marital ones, but they don’t have to be. Any kind of relationship at work or play can be checked out, often with remarkable accuracy and insight. We can even do it with characters in our favourite TV programmes and its likely that many people of Capricorn Research’s generation would have a list that included ” Minder “.
This iconic TV series ran from 1979 – 94 and was all about the relationship between Arthur Daley, a small time criminal and con man who is always trying to make a quick quid with dodgy schemes that usually backfire and leave him either in debt to local underworld figures, or coming under the scrutiny of the police, and his ” Minder “, Terry McCann. Terry, a former boxer and ex con, is employed and frequently exploited by Arthur, and is always being left to sort out the mess and get him out of trouble.
The Arthur Daley figure has become a archetypal symbol, synonymous with a fly by night, wheeler dealer and small time dishonest salesman but there is no malice in the character, there is a good heart there even though he is reluctant to show it.
Actors who are strongly identified with a particular part will often find the major themes in their chart will symbolise the role. The Arthur Daley character was played by George Cole and its clear that many of his traits appear in Cole’s chart.
The Sun is in Taurus, the perfect placing for someone who is primarily interested in cash and the exact conjunction between the Sun and Venus assumes that all this will come to him automatically without any need to go and work for it.
Unfortunately the Sun is opposite Saturn so his plans invariably fail to produce the goods. The opposition is weak at 10 degrees so its not going to cause the kind of serious damage that would befall Arthur if it was exact, but it is enough to derail most of his schemes.
But the real character is seen in Cole’s T square. A Cancer Ascendant is as good a symbol as any for a kind of small time local type but it is in opposition to Jupiter in Capricorn, which indicates that Daley has big plans ( Jupiter ) and dreams of being an organised player ( Capricorn ).
The focus of this T Square is an apex conjunction between the Moon and particularly Mercury in Aries, the perfect symbol of the wheeler dealer. This combination is constantly on the go using a combination of ideas ( Mercury ) and instincts ( Moon ) and Aries is always looking for new directions in which to assert itself. An Arien’s plans are often quite ingenious and spontaneous but it really doesn’t matter if one particular avenue fails, there’s always another one to explore.
George Cole has previous with this kind of character as the other part that he is well known for was that of Flash Harry in the St Trinian’s films of the 1950s and 60s. St Trinian’s is a girls public school where the pupils get up to the most rebellious and anarchistic things imaginable ( for a 1950s audience anyway ).
Harry, like Arthur Daley, is a Cockney involved in all sorts of shady dealings. Harry is one of the few whom the girls trust, he helps to bottle and sell their gin, distilled in the school chemistry lab, and places bets on race horses for them. Harry also runs the St Trinian’s Matrimonial Agency for the teenage Sixth Form girls, setting them up with wealthy men. He even runs a betting scam of his own. As in Minder, most of his plans come to nought but the comedic value is high.
Terry McCann, Arthur Daley’s Minder is played by Dennis Waterman and the role of Terry can be seen in his chart. No birth time is available for Waterman, but a noon chart gives us plenty to go on.
The chart is entirely focused around a double opposition which fits the role of Terry perfectly. The Sun is at the beginning of Pisces in opposition to a Virgo Moon, but the Sun is also conjunct Mercury at 25 degrees Aquarius which is exactly opposite Mars in Leo ( which is also conjunct the Moon ).
Terry McCann is an amalgamation of these two oppositions. The Mercury / Mars opposition is Terry the boxer and as Mars is just leaving a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto shows that he has just come out of prison.
The main part of the double opposition with the Sun and Moon reveals a sensitive and easily manipulated soul ( Pisces ) with a strong penchant for doing the right thing ( Moon in Virgo ).
Terry serves as the show’s moral conscience, keeping Arthur from straying too far outside the law and persuading him to do the right thing whether Arthur likes it or not. Despite his incarceration, he is honest, trustworthy and loyal ( Moon in Virgo ), particularly to Arthur. He is intelligent and streetwise enough to disperse situations ( Sun in Pisces ) that his role as minder often lands him in, although at the same time is seen not to be strong willed enough ( again Sun in Pisces ) to break free of Arthur’s often devious ways of keeping their working relationship in place.
A comparison of the two charts is very interesting, but just before we do that a word on aspects might come in handy. Capricorn Research’s policy on aspects is to generally focus on the conjunctions but also on the difficult ones as in the oppositions and squares. This is because it is these aspects that force people into activity and therefore important events in their lives are likely to have been caused by them.
When it comes to synastry, however the same narrow focus would only reveal the problems between people in relationship and not the easy harmonious aspects that perhaps attracted them in the first place. The most important easy aspect in astrology is the 120 degree trine aspect. This is because two planets that have this relationship will be operating in signs of the same element showing a basic sympathy of action.
It is the trines between the major planets in their charts that bring and keep these two unlikely characters together. It is also important to note that the closer the aspects between planets the stronger the relationship.
The two most essential themes in George Cole and Dennis Waterman’s charts come together exactly.
George / Arthur’s Sun is at 1 degree 45 Taurus, Terry’s Moon is at 1 degree 40 Virgo. This is astonishing, particularly when we consider that the all time classic astrological connection between two people in relationship is the Moon of one to the Sun of the other. The Moon is the maternal figure and its role is in protection and nurturing so Terry ( Moon ) looks after Arthur ( Sun ).
The other one is that Terry’s exact Mercury / Mars opposition falls at 25 degrees of Aquarius / Leo with Mars in exact trine aspect to Arthur’s Mercury and Moon at 25 and 23 Aries respectively. So this is the bit where Terry’s boxing pedigree ( Mars in Leo ) comes in handy to help ( in trine to ) when Arthur gets into the inevitable difficulties caused by his wheeler dealing schemes ( Moon conjunct Mercury in Aries ).
Minder was originally devised as a vehicle for Dennis Waterman after his success in The Sweeney, with George Cole’s being almost a secondary character, with the plot concept of Arthur assigning Terry a new “minding” job each episode. A number of early episodes focus solely on the character of Terry in such assignments, with Arthur as a result dropping into background. However, as the full comedy potential of Cole’s dodgy-dealing character emerged, as well as the successful on-screen pairing of Waterman and Cole ( Sun / Moon trine ) the emphasis increasingly focused more on Arthur’s exploits, and by a few series into the show’s life, typical plots revolved more around Arthur’s latest shady scam instead of some of the more “gritty” plots of Terry’s minding jobs witnessed in early episodes.
Inevitably as Dennis Waterman / Terry’s Moon is in Virgo, he would take a backseat as Virgo’s often end up doing all the work whilst someone else takes all the credit for it. The sign prefers it that way and this is the way it should be. In fact this change in their relative roles was what saved the programme because despite its eventual success, Minder was a slow burner. With initially poor viewing figures in the first series, the TV management were intent on scrapping the show but were persuaded to continue with this change of tack.
Its fascinating that this is reflected in the transits as the major turning point in George Cole’s life occurred with Pluto’s transit to oppose his Moon / Mercury which happened not when the series began in 1979, but from the end of 1980 and continued right through to 1985 with the opposition to the Sun.
For Dennis Waterman, his Pluto transit came at the end of Minder in 1994 as the distant planet was creating a T Square to both his Moon / Mercury and Mars. This marked the end of his prime time Tv exposure and a relatively fallow period in an long acting career until he landed a part in ” New Tricks ” almost a decade later.
This transit however, like the one that followed immediately after as Pluto continued the T Square to his Sun and Moon through 1996 – 7 was more to do with his marital relationship than his professional one.
Waterman was married at the time to Rula Lenska an actress that he met on the set of Minder. The marriage ended in 1988, apparently because of his violent behaviour towards her. Waterman later caused controversy with some comments on this issue, “It’s not difficult for a woman to make a man hit her. She certainly wasn’t a beaten wife, she was hit and that’s different.”
This seems to sum up the two linked oppositions in Waterman’s chart. The Mercury / Mars opposition in Leo / Aquarius can throw the odd punch, and the Sun / Moon in Pisces / Virgo could give the impression of being the victim as much as the perpetrator.
It’s very interesting that the most common Sun sign by a long way in Capricorn Research’s collection of 239 Boxers, is Pisces with a score of over 150 % of the expected figure.
The Mars / Pluto square is a classic boxers aspect with 141% in the sample. Although Dennis Waterman, doesn’t have this aspect natally, he got into trouble through the use of his fists whilst the transiting Pluto was square his Mars.
This is particularly interesting when we consider that he first learnt to use them on the only other transit that Pluto made to his Mars, a conjunction in 1954 – 55. Boxing was a big part of Waterman’s childhood. His father had been an amateur boxer and made all of his sons box. His older brother Ken first took Dennis boxing when he was three years old, and Pluto was conjunct his Moon when he joined Caius Boxing Club age 10.
The real turning point in his life came with Pluto opposite his Sun in 1960 when his acting career began in childhood. His first role was in ” Night Train for Inverness ” in 1960. Waterman played the role of Oliver Twist in the production of the Lionel Bart musical ” Oliver ” in the early 1960s, and appears on the cast recording released in 1961. A year later, he starred as William Brown in the TV series based on the Just William books.
Dennis Waterman was not the only one to have his big Pluto watershed during his youth. George Cole had his between 1939 and 41 as Pluto was square his Sun. And its this turning point that brings us to the main reason for the article.
George was given up for adoption at the age of ten days and adopted by the Cole family. He left school to become a butcher’s boy as his father was in that profession, but his father died when he was 15.
George and his adoptive mother were taken in by stage and film actor Alastair Sim in 1940 and he stayed with the Sims for another 12 years.
It would help here to have another look at Cole’s chart, to save scrolling back a long way
Cole has a Sun / Saturn opposition. The Sun in a child’s chart will often depict the father and the Moon the mother so this aspect would generally mean some kind of disruption or loss in the father principle. This aspect often comes up in the charts of people whose father dies or leaves home or has an incapacitating illness when they are young or is in some other way not emotionally available to them. Saturn will always take something away from the person because its looking to teach them to find the energy in themselves.
This Pluto turning point shows the very essence of George Cole’s T Square. Cancer and the Moon are both symbols that are mainly concerned with the family and relationships with ones parents. As Cole’s Cancer Ascendant is in a challenging square aspect to the Moon it is easy to see the adoption.
So when Pluto comes to transit square to the Sun of a child with a Sun / Saturn opposition and a difficult Moon / Ascendant square, its not that much of a surprise to see it as the death ( Pluto ) of the father ( Sun ).
Looking at the T Square we see the Cancer Ascendant ( family difficulties ) is opposite Jupiter in Capricorn. Jupiter is always an expansive influence that opens doors for someone and in steady Capricorn would give Cole the security he needed at the time.
Jupiter is so obviously a symbol for Alastair Sim because he was a very tall man who famously had a sad looking and careworn ( Capricorn ) face.
Sim became Cole’s mentor and gave him his start in films, a fact that is clearly depicted in the chart because the opposition between the Cancer Ascendant and Jupiter focus onto the apex Moon and Mercury in the 10th house.
So to put it simply, Pluto’s transit to Cole’s Sun in 1940 meant that the death ( Pluto ) of his father ( Sun ), caused George to be homeless ( Cancer rising ). This situation was rescued by Alistair Sim ( Jupiter in Capricorn ) who took in both George ( apex Mercury ) and his mother ( Moon ), and gave him a great start ( in Aries ) to his career ( in the 10th house ).
Of course we would expect there to be some very close tie ups between the charts of George Cole and Alistair Sim. As the relationship was so obviously to do with giving a home and support and nurturing we would expect the Moon and the 4th house to be involved and because they became so closely linked in terms of their careers, the 10th house of career as well.
Alastair Sim has the Moon at 22 degrees Aries exactly conjunct Cole’s Moon.
And Cole’s Sun at 1 degree Taurus falls exactly on Sim’s Midheaven ( 10th house cusp ) and exactly opposite his 4th house Mercury.
Sim’s first major transit was between 1925 and 29 when Pluto was square his Sun while he lectured on elocution and drama at the University of Edinburgh and where he performed in the Drama Society.
He married Naomi Plaskitt in 1932 as Pluto was square his Moon and they were together for 44 years until his death.
Sim was certainly a father substitute and a mentor for George Cole but its interesting that Sim’s acting career did not really take off until he started working with George. It was only in 1941 that he started to get lead roles beginning with the film Cottage to Let which was also Cole’s first film.
In 1941 not only was Pluto square Cole’s 10th house Sun but it was also square Sim’s career point ( 10th house cusp ).
The character that Alastair Sim was best known for was the title role of the 1951 film Scrooge, which also featured Cole playing the younger Scrooge in the journey with the spirit of Christmas past. Pluto was conjunct Sim’s Ascendant in 1951.
Cole would often play parts that were related to Sim’s character in the films.
Its fascinating to look at the synastry of the two great acting partnerships of George Cole’s life.
Dennis Waterman’s Moon was in exact trine to George Cole’s Sun. Dennis as Terry McCann played the role of protective Minder ( Moon ) to the adult ( Sun ) George / Arthur Daley.
Alastair Sim’s Moon was in exact conjunction to Cole’s Moon. Sim played the same role ( Moon ) both on film and in real life, to the young ( Moon ) Cole.
So as Terry McCann was Arthur Daley’s astrological adult minder, Alistair Sim was his childminder.
Cole and Sim appeared in 11 films together including 2 of the St Trinian’s films with Sim as the headmistress and Cole as Flash Harry. These films launched George Cole’s career and gave him a head start on the type of character that would eventually become Arthur Daley.
And that, as Arthur would say, was ” a nice little earner “.