Perfection – Four Minutes in Sarajevo!
On a cold St. Valentine’s Night in 1984 some 24 million people in the UK (out of a total population of 56 million) gathered around their television sets to watch two skaters from Nottingham, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, perform in the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.
It must have been a blow to the restaurant business – normally busy with young couples on the most romantic night of the year.
In the final of the ice dance competition Torvill and Dean not only won the gold medal but were awarded the maximum score of 6.0 for artistic impression by each of the nine judges. It is the first and only time such a feat has been achieved with Torvill and Dean beating eighteen other pairs of skaters and becoming the first non-Russians to win the competition.
The requirement of the competition was that the dance should last for exactly four minutes with ten seconds grace either side. The music
The event is the display of the marks rather than the dance itself which would have begun around 9.53 p.m. although a chart drawn for that time would make little difference to the chart for 9.59 p.m. or what it signifies.
used by Torvill and Dean was Ravel’s Bolero which lasts approximately sixteen minutes when played as a full orchestral piece so they arranged for a specially shortened version to be produced, which was suitable for their purpose.
However, even this ran to four minutes and 21 seconds so they spent the first twenty seconds in a kneeling position with their boots slightly above the ice and made this posture part of the routine – the four minutes of the dance was only judged to have started once the blade of the boot touched the ice.
The chart below is set for the moment the marks were displayed on the electronic scoreboard showing nine scores of 6.0 and a dance time of four minutes and four seconds.
The ascendant is 20 54’ Libra. This is essentially a “battle chart” in which the victors of the battle have emerged victorious over all their opponents.
In such a chart, those who are entering the battle or who are declaring war are signified by:
The sign on the ascendant
The planet ruling the ascendant.
The planet from which the Moon has separated.
The opponents are signified by:
The sign on the seventh house: seventh house
the planet ruling the sign on the seventh house.
the planet to which the Moon is applying.
9.59 p.m. CET (-1), 14 February 1984
Sarajevo, Bosnia, 43N52, 18E25
Torvill and Dean, the most recent protagonists, are therefore signified by the Libran ascendant, Venus the ruler of Libra and the Moon which is separating from an opposition with Venus.
Their opponents are shown by Aries on the cusp of the seventh house and Mars its ruler. The Moon is not applying to another planet so there is no additional significator.
William Lilly wrote extensively about the astrology of battles in the English Civil War in the seventeenth century of which the following extracts are particularly relevant:
“behold whose significator is in
In a chart used to determine the outcome of a legal case (another sort of contest or battle) the tenth house would signify the judge. This has relevance in this chart since there is a panel of judges awarding marks.
The tenth house is ruled by Cancer on the cusp and the Moon in its own sign conjunct the Midheaven.
From this placement we can see that the judges will give a fair decision and, since the Moon is also the co-ruler of Torvill and Dean,
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean performing their gold medal winning routine to Ravel’s Bolero.
Angles and is strongest and with better planets, and so judge.”
The Angles of a chart are the beginning of the first (Ascendant), fourth (IC), seventh (Descendant) and tenth (MC) houses.
We see here that both the significators for Torvill and Dean are exactly on angles of the chart – Venus is conjunct the IC and the Moon is conjunct the Midheaven.
The significator of the opponents is Mars, ruler of Scorpio on the cusp of the seventh house. Mars – although strong by virtue of being in Scorpio, one of the signs which it rules - is in the second house and in the same degree as Saturn, natural ruler of death.
The second house in a battle chart is the equivalent of the eighth house for the opponents (the eighth house when starting from the seventh) and therefore signifies death since death is ruled by the eighth house. Two more Lilly’s comments are:“If the Lord of the seventh be in the second……it denotes the death of the adversary.”
“see which [planet] is joined to an evil Planet in a cadent House, that Party shall be over-come.”
While the second house is a succedent house rather than a cadent house it has great importance regarding the first of the above two quotations and is certainly much weaker than if it were in an angular house.
that there will also be a close identification between the judges and these two skaters – the judges will rule in their favour and award high marks.
One of the interesting features of this chart is that it shows the importance of planets in angles. Venus is in an angle although it is peregrine whereas Mars is in its own sign and triplicity but in a much weaker house. Even so, it is Venus which shows the victors. A peregrine planet is one which has no essential dignity (strength) in the degree of the zodiac in which it is place.
The fact that Venus is peregrine is descriptive since Torvill and Dean are not so much lacking in status but are a long way from home which is the original meaning of the word. Their co-significator, the Moon, is the strongest planet in the chart since it is in the sign which it rules as well as being conjunct the Midheaven – the highest point in the chart.
The ascendant of 20 54’ Libra is less than three degrees away from the fixed star Spica which was placed at 23 37’ in 1984. Spica is a first magnitude fixed star which therefore exerts its influence a little further than the one degree usually assumed for fixed stars.
Spica is of the nature of Venus and Mars according to Ptolemy and gives “success, renown, riches, a sweet disposition, love of art and science…..” Additionally, when placed at the ascendant, it gives “unbounded good fortune, riches, happiness….Unexpected honour or advancement beyond native’s hopes or capacity.”
Another first magnitude fixed start, Procyon, is important in this chart since its position at 25 32’ Cancer is just 0 36’ away from the Moon. It is of the nature of Mercury and Mars and although this might not seem entirely favourable it might provide a clear description of ice skating – a sport (Mercury) involving blades (Mars).
Procyon also promises “Sudden preferment by exertion” and although there are one or two negative indications suggested it seems that Torvill and Dean managed to avoid these as far as we know.
Finally, we should note that although perfection is reached at this moment the chart describes an ending since neither the Moon nor Venus apply to another aspect at this time.
Dramatic events on earth reflect dramatic events in the heavens – we can only hope that those who stayed home to watch Torvill and Dean found it every bit as romantic as the dinner they missed on St. Valentine’s Night in 1984!
1. Page 367 Christian Astrology, William Lilly, 1647, Regulus Edition
2. Page 368 ibid
3. Page 369 ibid
4. Pages 211-212, The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian Robson, 1923, Ascella Publications
5. P. 211 ibid
6. Pages 191-192 ibid.
© Jonathon Clark 2021