Catherine the Great
Sun: Taurus
Ascendant: Aquarius
Moon: Gemini

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Catherine the Great, one Russia’s greatest rulers, wasn’t even Russian, but born a minor Prussian princess. She was wed to the future tsar Peter III at the age of 15, a marriage that wasn’t consummated for over 12 years. She did have numerous lovers though, as she infamously did throughout her life. Peter III proved to be highly unpopular and just months into his reign was deposed by the guard in a bloodless coup while Peter was off at another palace. The guard named Catherine as tsarina. Peter was murdered soon after, and it is not known if Catherine had a role in it or not.

Catherine had two sons, and treated both rather harshly. One son was illegitimately born during her marriage to Peter. This son she sent off to countryside, and only notified him of her maternity decades later in a letter. She had difficult relations with her legitimate son, Paul, who she claimed was not Peter’s even though he highly resembled him, perhaps because she feared he would jeopardise her rule. She even contemplated having him put to death as a boy, but was worried what this would do to her reputation.

Catherine ruled during the era of the Enlightenment, and while a tyrant to her own people, she liked to consider herself as the “philosopher on the throne,” espousing ideas of liberty and freedom. She communicated and patronised some the greatest thinkers of the era including Voltaire and Diderot.

Catherine’s philosophical bent can be attributed to her unaspected Uranus in the 9th house. Unaspected planets are a bit of a rarity in an an astrological chart. They occur when the planet makes no major aspect (conjunction, square, trine, sextile or opposition) to any other planet in the chart. Catherine’s Uranus additionally doesn’t even aspect any of the major asteroids, and forms only one very minor aspect with her Moon and Venus. When a planet is unaspected in this way, it takes on increased significance as that planet is really working in its purest energy in the chart. Unaspected planets, especially Uranus, can have a slightly inconsistent quality to them – a bit all or nothing. This shows how Catherine could see herself as a champion of liberty and human rights, while at the same time treating her own people quite harshly. Moreover, the 9th house which rules philosophy can sometimes keep ideas too locked up in the mind, as mere concepts. As Uranus is not “speaking” with any other parts of the chart, it may be hard for the ideas to be actuated in reality.