Born Mary Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was the daughter of the revolutionary feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft (see portrait above), whose powerful treatise, Vindication of the Rights of Woman [pdf version], opened up new avenues of possibility for the education of women at the commencement of the 19th century. Her daughter was one such beneficiary of Wollstonecraft’s desire to reform women’s education, going on to publish the wildly popular novel Frankenstein at the young age of 20. A look at the planetary aspects of Mary Shelley’s natal chart, using the perspective of archetypal astrology, can help illustrate how the archetypal energies correlated with the planets of our solar system were expressed in her personal life and in her writing, with a particular focus on her masterwork, Frankenstein. An analysis of the world transits, and the personal transits they form to Shelley’s natal chart, at the time of the publication of Frankenstein provide further insight into Shelley’s writing.
My article revolves around the position of Pluto in Mary Shelley's chart and its powerful impact on the events in her life and her works - Chrisine Ferraro
Born of philosopher and political writer William Godwin and famed feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (author of The Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792), Mary Shelley's early environment provided fertile ground for the growth of her intellectual and literary tendencies. The loss of her mother when she was only 11 days old was the first of many indicators that crisis, transformation, and revolution were going to be a major theme in her life.
The chart below is of Mary Shelley. The box at top right in the diagram is Gemini, her ascendant, and the signs of the zodiac and 12 houses run clockwise from there. In 1797 when Mary Shelley was born the difference in planetary positions between Western and Vedic Astrology was 21 degrees, so the usual 2 degree Cancer ascendant minus 21 degrees converts to 11 degrees Gemini. This gives the visible astronomical positions for the ascendant and planets at the time of birth and allows many insights not available in Western Astrology.
I will focus only on the first house, the zodiac sign that is located inside the first house; the Ascendant; the ruling planet of Ascendant and the planet that is inside the first house. Click here for a large version of Mary Shelley's chart in a new window.
The Ascendant is at the 2nd degree of Cardinal sign, Cancer. A child expects to receive the emotional protection and also the nutrition and education from a mother, instead there is “a cold and dry Saturn”. Saturn can also be the authority in the chart. And indeed this Saturn ‘plays-out'. Mary loses her mother at the age of eleven days and her father is the parent who gives her basic education and ‘bringing-up’. (Her biography notes that Mary Godwin's mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father).