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Beryl Markham – nothing by half measures

There’s a novel out (by Paula McLain, best known for The Paris Wife) about the life of Beryl Markham. She was an extraordinary woman – a licensed racehorse trainer in Kenya before she was 20 and one of the early record-breaking pilots; on the periphery of the louche colonial Happy Valley set, with a string of marriages and affairs, including Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (the Queen’s uncle) and big game hunter Denys Finch Hatton, who had previously been the lover of her friend Karen Blixen (Out of Africa). They seemed to bed hop like musical chairs out there.

She was born 24 October 1902 and lived with her racehorse-breeder father in Kenya after her mother abandoned her at 5. She was a Sun Scorpio probably on the focal point of a T Square to Jupiter in Aquarius opposition a Leo Moon – so intense, optimistic, self-centred, tolerant.
Her Sun was also trine Neptune, sextiling onto a focal point Mars in Virgo giving her a capacity for hard work and the courage to try high-risk sports. She was of the Uranus in Sagittarius opposition Pluto generation so a mould-breaker. Her Venus in Libra was in a passionate trine to Pluto and a chilly square to Saturn in tough-minded Capricorn. Venus Saturn is often found in charts of the promiscuous, perhaps a relentless search for the love that was never on offer in childhood.

Her relationship chart with Prince Henry, 31 March 1900 7.30am Sandringham, England, was frankly horrible with a composite Mars Moon Pluto opposition Uranus – the attraction may well have been the danger. Plus a composite Sun Saturn conjunction. An afflicted Saturn often acts in relationship charts as an insuperable barrier. The senior Royals were aghast when Markham’s husband threatened to name Prince Henry in the divorce and she was paid off with an annuity and they never met again.

Denys Finch Hatton, 24 April 1887, was probably the love of her life but too much of a free spirit to settle. His bullishly confident Sun Mars in Taurus opposition Jupiter in Scorpio picked up her Scorpio Sun, giving her a morale-boost when he was around and her Jupiter was trine his seductive Venus Pluto in Gemini. Their relationship chart has an inspiring and adventurous Fire Grand Trine of Venus Saturn Jupiter with Jupiter opposition Neptune Pluto – so good for excitement and romance though with Venus square Uranus it was fairly unpredictable.

The kind of life that makes one feel one’s own is a touch dull. Maybe not that happy but certainly full. Her 8th and 16th Harmonics are also very strong. (see Lemmy).
She nearly died in poverty but her memoir which had gone out of print was re-found and became enough of a success to support her till her death at 84.

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