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Joan of Arc, the Maid of La Pucelle
by Lois M. Rodden

Ed. N.: This article was written in 1996, and published in The Astrological Journal (vol. 40, n. 2, 1998) in a somewhat different version.

Joan of Arc, the young maid who became the greatest heroine of France and a saint revered through history, was born on the customarily given data of January 6, 1412 Old Style, which converts to a New Style date of January 15, 1913.

Some time ago, T. Pat Davis wrote to question the date style in which Joan's birth was recorded and the research began. From the 9th to 15th centuries, in some cases as early as the year 1338, various locations of Europe began the first day of the year on 1 May, on 12 August, on 1 November, on 25 December and on 25 March. The most commonly used New Year's Day was Easter and this calendar was known as the Annunciation Calendar. Rheims (Reims), France used 25 March as the first day of the year until 1390, after which it named Easter as the New Year day. France, in part, began to use 1 January as New Year day in 1563 by the edict of Charles IX and entirely after 1567. [1] 

James Martin Harvey, an outstanding astrological historian noted for fastidious research into original documentation made a note for the data of Charles VII that "the French year then began at Easter." However Joan's birth is presented in reference works with some vagueness. The most noted encyclopedias give "circa 1412." There is no question that in 1412 the Annunciation Calendar was in use. The only question was whether or not the year of Joan's birth had been converted to the new style year by some historian who did not properly note that the correction had been made. When we read encyclopedias and almanacs that cover the mid-centuries, at times they give old style dates and at times, new style dates, sometimes in the same book, without noting the date style that is being used. Naturally this gives rise to a great deal of confusion and necessitates endless research to determine which date is accurate.

For Joan of Arc's recorded birth time, Edwin Steinbrecher obtained the birth records from the Mahor of Domremy la Pucelle, for 6 January 1412. This type of reference is properly given as 1412/13, meaning that the year of 1413 began at Easter. By modern calculations, 1413 begins at January 1st, so we convert this date to 6 January 1413 Old Style which further converts from the Julian (Old Style) calendar to the Gregorian (New Style) calendar, giving us 15 January 1413 N.S. The Mayor added a note: "It is said that she was born at the hour when the roosters sang, that is, daybreak." This hearsay report would give her a birth time of approximately 7:50 AM LMT.

Jim Eshelman quoted Percival de Boulainvilliers who interviewed the maid for Charles VII and said, "she was born at local sunset." Roscoe Hope in American Astrology (December 1978) wrote, "An actual record of her birth is available, according to the Reverend Denis in his biography (1919) and is confirmed by the great French writer Joseph Deteil." Luc de Marre quoted Glahn in Astrale Warte, July 1931, for "one hour after sunset given in church and family documents." As local sunset was 16:30 (4:30 PM), I began working with an arbitrary time of 5:00 PM LMT and this is the chart presented here.

Joan of Arc's chart


Almost any birth time can be justified by selective analysis and opinion. My satisfaction with 5:00 PM LMT is examined in the following text. The first qualification is the MC in Aries. "With Aries on the MC, we have enthusiastic zeal for a career in which we can initiate self-assertive action to win or accomplish a goal. For success, we compete with open challenge and daring. Dangerous employment choices include such activities as the military." [2]  With Mars, the ruler of the MC, in Aquarius, "We made original contributions and independent decisions and are inventive in our field. We dare to take the road less traveled, adding innovations that give us unique recognition. An Aquarian-ruled MC implies that our reputation is not typical." [3] 

Joan was 15 when she first began to hear the voice of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. With RAMS progression of angles (Right Ascension Mean Sun), progressed Ascendant is 12 Leo, opposite Uranus: the opposition receives a T-square from progressed Jupiter at 11 Scorpio 47. At Joan's 15th birthday, transiting Jupiter was on the Descendant, transit Uranus on the MC and transit Pluto on Neptune.

The French crown was in dispute between the Dauphin, Charles, son and heir of the Valois King Charles VI and the English king, Henry VI. Charles' cause seemed hopeless by the end of 1427 as he was not yet crowned, five years after his father's death on 21 October 1422. Rheims, the city where coronations were held, was in the hands of his enemies. The Hundred Year's War was in progress during Charles' reign: though Joan's intervention made the turning point, the war continued for 22 years more after Charles was crowned king. Weak in mind and body, Charles' history showed a pattern of often being dominated by others. He married and fathered 11 children. As he lay dying on 22 July 1461 at Mehun-sur-Yevre, Charles believed that one of his sons had poisoned him, though history does not confirm this as a fact. [4] 

Joan's voices told her to seize France from the English. She donned men's clothes and rode with her brother to Vaucouleurs to plead an audience with the Dauphin in May 1428. [5]  Thought quite mad, she was refused. Just past her 16th birthday, In January 1428/29 she tried again. Charles was in Chinon, which she reached in late February. After two days' wait, she was allowed an audience. Though Charles concealed himself among his courtiers, she went directly to him and stated her case, that she wanted to go to battle for France and promising him that she would have him crowned.

With her plea accepted, Joan set off for Orléans on 27 April with several hundred troops. With unsurpassed strategy of military genius, Joan launched into four important battles as well as many skirmishes; she was wounded on 7 May. She victoriously met the English in the famous battle of Orléans on 18 June. Her progressed Ascendant was 13 Leo opposite Uranus and the progressed Sun at 12 Aquarius was conjunct Uranus and Mars. Progressed Jupiter at 11 Scorpio 54 made a square to Mars, Sun and Uranus. Transiting Sun-Pluto were conjunct Neptune, and transit Neptune was at 10 Leo 17, approaching the opposition of Uranus-Mars.

Charles VII was crowned on 17 July 1429 with Joan present at the coronation. However, the battles and sorties continued. She attacked Paris on 8 September and was again wounded. During a siege of 23 May 1430, Joan was unhorsed and in the melee of battle could not remount; she was captured by the Bergundians. As Charles was working toward a truce with the Duke of Bergundy, he made no attempt to save her. Indeed, during her imprisonment for the following year and her trial for heresy, he betrayed her trust in the most cowardly manner.

The opening statements of the trial began on 13 January 1430/31. Between 21 February and 24 March Joan was interrogated a dozen times on 70 charges, which were eventually reduced to 12. As she refused to promise not to attempt escape, the maid was often put in irons, chained to the wall. In May she became deathly ill. Transit Saturn was conjunct the Sun. Thinking herself close to death, she begged for the last rites of the church. Heretics are not allowed the Mass; she was refused.

On 29 May the judges agreed to turn her over to secular officials. The following day, 30 May 1431, Rouen, France, Joan was allowed to take communion at Mass. The 18-year-old girl was then tied to a stake, a torch was put to the tinder and she was burned to death, maintaining to the last her devotional piety and remarkable courage. The progressed Ascendant and transit Neptune were at 14 Leo, opposite progressed Sun. The progressed Jupiter at 12 Scorpio was square Natal Mars-Uranus, with progressed Venus at the midpoint semi-square, 27 Sagittarius. The progressed Moon was conjunct Jupiter as she died. It is not uncommon to find stunning Jupiter positions at the time of death, suggest a great sense of joy and freedom.

King Charles VII had the progressed MC at 14 Scorpio opposite natal Venus and transit Uranus. Transit Neptune was at 14 Leo. Note how this opposition fits into Joan's chart and progressed positions. Charles' minor Neptune and transit Gemini were at 16 Gemini, opposite his Ascendant.

The story of Joan of Arc has been told and retold through history and on film. In 1916 Geraldine Farrar played her in Joan the Woman. In Joan's birth chart, Uranus made a return to its natal place and then made a station at 15 Aquarius in 1916; Neptune crossed her Ascendant. Dreyer's classic, The Passion of Joan of Arc was produced in 1928 when Mars-Uranus made the conjunction again in Aries, and Jupiter changed station while opposite its natal position in Joan's chart. In 1930, when Uranus crossed Joan's MC, Saint Joan the Maid was filmed, starring Simone Genevois; in December, Mars made a change of station at 16 Leo. In Germany, Angela Salloker had the role in 1935. Jupiter made a station at 13 Scorpio that year, close to the degree of Joan's progressed Moon and Jupiter when she died. Hollywood made two versions. Joan of Arc in 1948 starred Ingrid Bergman - Saturn was stationed at 15 Leo that year, the degree of Joan's progressed Ascendant. Otto Preminger cast Jean Seberg in Saint Joan in 1957. Toward the end of the year, Uranus made a station at 11 Leo opposite Joan's natal Mars-Uranus. In 1962 Robert Bresson made his highly specialized The Trial of Joan of Arc with Florence Carrez. Neptune made a station at 10 Scorpio, conjunct Joan's Jupiter.

This incredible story of mysticism, heroism and history has not only been a beacon light for France but throughout the world to all those who strive toward an ideal.


[1]  "The New Year's Day" from Frank Parise, The Book of Calendars, Facts on File, New York, 1982. « Text

[2]  Lois Rodden, Money, How to Find it With Astrology, Data News Press, 1994. « Text

[3]  Ibid. « Text

[4]  Charles VII: born February 22, 1402/03 OS, March 3, 1403 NS, 02:00 LAT, (02:12 LMT) Paris, France; Martin Harvey quotes records with the same data in Anselme's Histoire. « Text

[5]  All the following dates are given in Old Style (Julian calendar). « Text

To cite this page:
Lois M. Rodden: Joan of Arc, the Maid of La Pucelle
All rights reserved © 2001 Lois M. Rodden

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