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Venus and the Concubines: Part Three

If the 16th century was the age of the queen (see my article, Three Queens and The Sign of the Bull, parts one, two and three,) the 17th and 18th centuries were the age of the concubine. It was a time when the king’s official wife was frequently overshadowed both in terms of glamour and influence to his mistress. We’ve already looked at the horoscopes of two of King Charles II of England’s mistresses, Nell Gwynn and Barbara Palmer, Lady Castlemaine. Now let’s move to France and talk about the most famous royal mistress of the all, Lady Pompadour.

The horoscope we have for Lady Pompadour has been given a “C” classification by Astrodatabank. This means that it is to be used with caution. It comes from a published source from the 1970s but the data has never been corroborated and its origin is unknown. So our discussion will be limited to sign placements and aspects. (Click here to see this “C” rated horoscope of Lady Pompadour.)

Even though its accuracy is questionable, I like this chart because it places Venus in the 10th House of career. This is the same placement of Venus we saw in the horoscope of Barbara Palmer and indicates a career in which beauty and charm will be of paramount importance.

Regardless of its house placement, Lady Pompadour’s Venus is in a close conjunction with Saturn. This describes a strong relationship between her sexuality and figures of authority. In Pompadour’s case that figure of authority was King Louis XV.


Lady Pompadour was born Jeanne Antoinette Poisson. She came from the middle class but her mother had ambitions. Through connections to a wealthy man (who may have been the mother’s lover) Pompadour was educated in the ways of royalty and placed in proximity to the young King of France. By this time, Pompadour was married but her husband was easily bought off once King Louis succumbed to the allure of the pretty, young Jeanne.

Jeanne soon found herself whisked away to Versailles, given a title and ensconced as the king’s “official” mistress. It was not an easy job to hold. As a commoner, Pompadour was an outsider among the multitude of titled men and women who occupied the palace, a fact that she was never allowed to forget. No one expected her to last long but this determined Sun sign Capricorn proved them all wrong.

Capricorn’s want to succeed at everything they do, whether its business, sports, art, or being the king’s whore. To this end Pompadour made King Louis' happiness her primary concern. This meant more than just performing in the bedroom. She organized various entertainments to brighten his spirits and made sure that he was always surrounded by beautiful things. More importantly, she became his friend.

Louis XV was a lonely man. Almost every member of his family had been carried off when a small pox epidemic swept through the palace when he was an infant. Since then he had been surrounded by servants and courtiers who were often less interested in his welfare than in their own advancement. By the time he met Pompadour, Louis was a suspicious and bitter man who trusted no one; no one, that is, except his lovely new mistress.

Whether or not it is placed in the 10th House, Venus in the horoscope of Madam Pompadour is definitely not well positioned for a career involving sex. It is in Sagittarius, a sign that tends to shy away from physical sex, and conjunct Saturn. The relationship between Venus and Saturn may have boosted her ability to attract the lust of a figure of authority but it posed a serious threat to her ability enjoy sexual pleasure. In fact, only a few years into their relationship, Pompadour developed a gynecological complaint that made sexual congress painful for her. Her physical relationship with the king ceased at this point.

For most royal mistresses this would have been the end the line, but for Pompadour it was only the beginning. Pompadour was not evicted from her apartment in the palace at Versailles that was connected to the King’s bedroom by a secret stairway. Instead, King Louis continued to use that stairway on a regular basis, only now he was not visiting his mistress, he was visiting his friend.

As the king’s BFF Pompadour became one of the most influential people in France. She became a major supporter of the arts and literature. She was also advised the king on economic and foreign policy. Her initiatives were not always successful but French generals were as much the blame for this as Pompadour. Like any good Capricorn, she did the best she could do with the tools at her disposal.

Through it all Pompadour continued to fend off attacks on her primacy by her enemies in the court of Versailles. To them she was still a social climbing commoner who could never endure as the king’s official mistress. But with the tenacity typical of her Sun sign, Pompadour held on to her position until the day she died, 19 years after her first meeting with Louis XV.

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