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The Astrologer's Newsletter - July/August 2007

The Excitement is in Tents: 2007 Boy Scouts centenary

by Paul F.Newman

Lord Baden-Powell
In August 1907 Robert Baden Powell, the Mafeking hero, organised a boys' camping trip to Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset. From this initial experiment grew the world-wide Scouting movement.

Baden Powell (Aquarian Moon and ascendant) who was age 50 that year took the revolutionary step of inviting twenty boys from differing social backgrounds to attend the eight-day summer camp. In the unspoilt confines of the wooded island they learnt the arts of tracking, tying knots, first aid etc.

A large commemorative stone on Brownsea Island records the date of this first Scout camp: 1st - 8th August 1907, and surviving records show that each day's activities began at 6am with Baden Powell blowing a horn soon after sunrise. Although Baden Powell and most of the boys had arrived on the island a day or so before this, the camp officially began on August 1st, hence the chart shown here.

The exalted Moon is at its last quarter squaring the Sun and is exactly culminating on the chart. It's a strong Moon and reflects the home base built on an island in a harbour (all Moon things), and possibly the patriotic nature of most of the ceremonies and duties. (The chart has a lot of Cancer planets too). The Moon appears to sum up nearly everything except of course that there were no women present. Perhaps Baden Powell played a masculine version of the mother role to his charges. But the Moon was square the Sun and Baden Powell recorded that the 8-day sojourn has been quite hard work - although an undoubted success. It led him to found the Scouting organisation proper the following year. The waning phase of the Moon could also refer to the past ideas on which the camp was built with its roots in the military camps and foreign campaigns with which Baden Powell was acquainted. The focus on the twelfth house in the chart also suggests a past-looking energy, a hidden away-from-the-world setting and the general idea of service to others.

On the island the boys were divided into four patrols called Wolves, Bulls, Ravens and Curlews. It sounds like the four Fixed signs in a parallel universe and Fixed signs make up the angles and the Sun and Moon of the chart. The Fixed emphasis is suitable for what would become the traditional Scouts motto: "Be Prepared". We might wonder what would have been the motto if the Sun, Moon and angles had been Mutable. "Take things as they come" perhaps.

If he had been staying at his family home, 20-year-old future astrologer Charles Carter might have seen some of the arriving and departing boats from the window of his house that overlooked Poole Harbour.

This year a Sunrise Service is being held on Brownsea Island on August 1st to herald a 'World-wide Sunrise Ceremony' by Scouts all over the world. The Moon is conjunct Baden Powell's Sun at this commemorative moment.


Inner wheel and angles: First Scout Camp. 1 August 1907. 6am. Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour. 50N43. 02W00.

Outer wheel: Robert Baden Powell: 22 February 1857. 6.21am. London. Source: 1001 Notable Nativities by Alan Leo.

Placidus houses

Charts of Baden-Powell and the First Scouting Camp