Endurance and Shackleton’s super-human courage ++ Emily wife

The Endurance, the lost vessel of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the great undiscovered shipwrecks, has been located 107 years later in 3 kms (10,000 feet) of water. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition set out to make the first land crossing of Antarctica. But the ship was crushed by sea-ice and sank in 1915, forcing Shackleton and his men to make an astonishing escape on foot and in small boats.

  Built in Norway and launched on 17 December 1912 it was thought to be one of the strongest wooden ships ever built, and had 27 crew plus a stowaway, 69 dogs and one cat. Within a few weeks a gale pushed the ice floes hard against one another and the ship was stuck – “frozen like an almond in the middle of a chocolate bar”, according to a crew member. After nine months of being stuck, they abandoned ship, planning to march across the ice to land but that became impossible so they camped on the ice flo and the following April, with the ice broken, they took to the lifeboats, rowing to Elephant Island, a remote and uninhabited outcrop. The men were exhausted, some afflicted by sea sickness, others convulsed with dysentery. “At least half the party were insane,” wrote Frank Wild, Shackleton’s second in command.

  It was the first time the men had stood on solid ground in almost 500 days. After nine days of recuperation, Shackleton and a few others took one of the boats another 800 miles (1,300km) across rough seas and in biting winds to South Georgia. It took 16 days to reach their destination. They then had to cross peaks and glaciers to reach a whaling station on the other side of the island. In August, after several failed attempts, a rescue party set out for Elephant Island, where the remaining 22 crewmen were waiting. All survived.

   Less than five years later Shackleton launched a new expedition but died of a heart attack in South Georgia, aged 47.

  What is intriguing astrologically about the Endurance launch on 17 December 1912 is a markedly super-confident Sun Jupiter in Sagittarius opposition Pluto and on the focal point of a Yod inconjunct Saturn sextile Neptune. It does reek of overwheening pride and self-assurance as if it possessed an almost magical power to overcome the elements and be invincible. Jupiter Pluto on its own brooks no restrictions on its ambitions, plus an apex Sun which can find difficulty balancing pride and common sense. Too much ego not enough humility. And the planet opposition a Yod focal point is particularly sensitive which in this case is Pluto. When it sank the transiting North Node was exactly square the Pluto; with the transiting Sun in Scorpio opposition Saturn on one leg of the Yod.

   Which isn’t to diminish the astonishing courage and endurance of Shackleton and his men. He was born 15 February 1874 5am Kildare, Ireland. He had his Sun conjunct Venus as well as Moon Saturn in Aquarius, making him curious as well as stubborn. His Pluto square his Sun Venus would double up on his immoveable streak. He wouldn’t give up easy. His Mars in upfront Aries was in an adventurous opposition to Jupiter and a risk-taking trine to Uranus. His Moon Saturn opposed his 8th house Uranus squaring onto a Taurus North Node.

   His two ‘master number’ harmonics the 11th and 22nd are both strong as befits his tenacity and staying power – and his world wide reputation.

More background: Sir Raymond Priestley, the scientist who served on Antarctic expeditions with both Scott and Shackleton, once wrote: “For scientific leadership, give me Scott. For swift and efficient travel, Amundsen. But when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems no way out, get on your knees and pray for Shackleton.”

 On an earlier expedition in 1907-09 Shackleton’s four-man party  endured incredible hardship to march within 97 miles of the South Pole, which paved the way for Scott and Amundsen to reach the goal only two years later. While he had enough food to stagger to the Pole, he did not have enough to get back and took the decision to turn back in sight of his objective because he was not prepared to risk the lives of his three colleagues. When fame and glory beckoned, he put their safety first.

  He understood the importance of teamwork and all his men were treated equally and he took care of anyone struggling to cope. Scientists shared the same chores with sailors and sailors helped take scientific readings. When the winter clothing was distributed, he ensured the crew were supplied before the officers and during one horrendous boat journey he gave his mittens to a desperate colleague.

  The better side of Aquarius.

Add on:  His wife, Emily, 15 May 1868, was an important part of her husband’s work and used her social connections to generate the practical and financial support required for his expeditions. In her husband’s absence, Emily raised their family alone and lived on her independent income. After his death she worked to preserve and enhance his memory as well as becoming involved with the Girl Guides. He left her with debts, approximately £1.5 million in modern terms and she relied heavily on philanthropic support. During her latter years she lived in a grace-and-favour apartment in Hampton Court, granted to her by King George V.

 She was a stalwart Sun, Mercury and Pluto in Taurus with a freedom-loving Venus Uranus square Jupiter.  Her Jupiter was conjunct his Mars so she’d be a great morale booster and encourager for him. Her Aquarius/Pisces Moon may have been conjunct his Sun for a strong joint purpose. The relationship chart had a turbo-charged and argumentative composite Sun Mars with Sun square a supportive Jupiter and square a dutiful Saturn.

  She was 36 when they married and with an independent income so a semi-detached relationship may well have suited her. It was certainly one-sided and hard work but for a woman of that era may well not have been the worst choice.

 He was certainly not gifted with interpersonal skills when it came to emotional or domestic relationships with his Aquarius Moon conjunct Saturn opposition Uranus and Pluto in the 4th.

She once remarked of him: “One must not chain down an eagle in a barnyard.”

13 thoughts on “Endurance and Shackleton’s super-human courage ++ Emily wife

  1. Thanks, Marjorie. I’m always very curious about the partners of the men who made history—for good or ill. Perhaps because that’s the only way we women get a look in! Emily appears to have made a good job of carving out a remarkable life for herself in limiting circumstances. And, to think, she had money, not so for the vast majority of her contemporaries. I think no one can beat the sheer determination of a Taurean on a mission.

  2. Yes, a star article, Marjorie……shows that honourable people whatever they achieve, have hearts for their fellows and don’t shrink from responsibility. I think it is a very significant message ENDURANCE in the world’s present situation, is that coincidence do you think, or a man with that written into his dna is sending a message?

  3. Thanks Marjorie.

    I’ve often wondered at the make up of some of the people from that era. There is beautiful book ‘ this everlasting silence’ based on the correspondence of Douglas Mawson and Paquita Delprat (whom he married). I was very struck by an excerpt where he describes, crawling into his reindeer fur sleeping bag inside his canvas tent that is being battered by katabatic winds, taking his boots and socks of and discovering his frostbite has worsened as the soles of his feet came away with the socks. This, is after the sledge with provisions and a colleague has fallen in a crevasse, he and his remaining team mate have had to eat the sledging dogs, walking back to the base on foot and said remaining team mate dying from vitamin A poisoning from eating dogs liver. So what does Mawson do? Puts his socks and boots back on and keeps walking back to base (only to see his ship leaving in the distance and having to spend many long months waiting for another). Certainly made of sterner stuff.

  4. Glad you wrote this up Marjorie. Saw this the other day about Endurance being discovered and wondered about its astrology

  5. “For scientific leadership, give me Scott. For swift and efficient travel, Amundsen. But when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems no way out, get on your knees and pray for Shackleton.”

    This was what always struck me about “The Endurance” expedition too. I would definitely look at Shackleton’s crazy Aquarius stellium combined to Mars in Aries. Innovative, out of box thinking paired to stamina. It’s remarkable that he was pushing 50 during expedition, too. Possibly due to Capricorn Rising, Cappy tends to be fit longer in life.

    • (I copied this quote too!). When i read Endurance, the striking thing is that they set off in a small boat with sextant and compass – like aiming for a needle (South Georgia) in a haystack (of ocean) over 800 miles (the least distortion and they would have bee out by miles)

  6. Was wondering about the astrological implications … as well as another courageous Aquarian from a different time who cared about the people in his charge.

    What Shackleton and his men had to endure was beyond anything one can imagine humans could survive – they didn’t have the fancy polar gear we do today. Their photographer had to lug a heavy camera, plates, and movie reels and somehow managed to save some because they needed to have something to show in order to be paid upon their return. Most incredible was their journey on a small, open, almost makeshift boat held together with parts from Endurance, across icy cold oceans, and almost miraculously hit South Georgia, navigating by the few stars they could see – or it would have been the end.

    I was really struck by Shackleton’s almost mystical, fated attraction to Antarctica – would have to see his relocated chart, or astrocartology.

    He did not treat his long-suffering wife well, should never have married – his true love was Antarctica and his men.

  7. Thanks Marjorie! I found it inspiring when I read a bit of background too. I have a special interest because I used to live on a misspelled Shakleton Road. Another strong Aquarian leader then…

  8. Thank you for this. I think we all need an inspirational story like this now.

    Some years ago I saw a well-documented travelling exhibition about the Shackleton expedition at the San Diego Natural History Museum. It was one of those (few) exhibitions that’s stuck with me, with some of the excellent black-and-white images haunting me still. I’m delighted that a new expedition has found the Endurance and I so appreciate your insightful write-up.

  9. What a great article! What a great man! Love the Priestley quote! And lovely to be reminded of another great leader in a hopeless situation with humanitarian instincts like Zelenskyy!

  10. Amazing! I read somewhere that the soles of Shackleton’s feet fell off at one point and he tied them back on and carried on walking. It seems unimaginable, but I guess if anyone was going to do it, it would be him!

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