Saturday, September 20, 2008

Superwomen # 2 (+ update)

Update~~ We're away for a few days, on drive-about in SW Colorado. Blogger was experiencing problems when we left home, so unable to post this then... no internet access 'til now. Probably the blog'll hibernate until sometime next week. In the meantime.......

Two very different women, one from each side of the Atlantic. Both driven to travel in the same direction - upwards - into the air! Two true trailblazers, beacons for all women.

Amy Johnson from England, Amelia Earhart from the USA.

Amy Johnson was born in Hull, England on 1 July 1903, and lived there until she attended Sheffield University in 1923 to read for a BA (Bachelor of Arts degree). After graduating, she moved on to work as a secretary to a London solicitor where she also became interested in flying. She took her first flight lesson at the London Aeroplane Club in 1928, but with little encouragement. True, it took her twice as long as most (men) to complete her training. However, she proved to many that her aviator abilities were phenomenal, and her hobby soon became an all-consuming determination, not simply to make a career in aviation, but to succeed in some project which would demonstrate to the world that women could be as competent as men in a hitherto male dominated field. Months after receiving her pilot's license, she became the first British woman to qualify as a ground engineer.

That was just one of many female firsts. Johnson began her love for long-distance flying with a 19 day and 8,600-mile flight on May 24, 1930. That flight marked her as the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

Johnson would complete other similar feats in her short life. The Royal Air Force invited her to join the Air Transport Auxiliary, ferrying aircraft from factories to air bases. It was on one of these routine flights on January 5, 1941, that Amy's plane crashed into the River Thames estuary. She drowned. A tragic, too early end to the life of Britain's most famous woman pilot.

Amy's birth chart is challenging. In Yorkshire, England, in those days, she needed to fight hard for equal treatment with men in her chosen occupation - a flier.

Her chart contains 10 square aspects, some of which combine in a Grand Square configuration. Whatever she attempted in her life was bound to present a challenge.

Her Sun in Cancer and Moon in Virgo do not immediately conjure up a woman of great determination and drive. Pluto is conjunct Mercury in Gemini in her 1st house, adding a powerful edge to her nature. Her Gemini ascendant and a Grand Air Trine, harmoniously linking planets in Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, reflect a fascination with flying. Sun and Neptune are within 5 degrees of each other in Cancer - possibly indicating a dreamer of visionary dreams, which her daring and determination brought to fruition.

On the date of Amy's death, 5 January 1941 these are what I believe to be significant factors in the charts.
Transiting North node was within 6 degrees of natal North node/ Mars.
Transiting Pluto opposed natal Sun
Transiting Neptune was conjunct natal Moon, bringing a sad and watery culmination to her earlier dreams.
Eclipses the previous autumn fell at 1 Oct (8 Libra) and 16 Oct. (22.49 Libra). Although these occurred some 3 months before her death, it seems significant that the solar eclipse at 8 Libra was within 2 degrees of her North node/Mars, and the lunar eclipse at 22.49 Libra was within 2 degrees of Amy's Vertex (24.48 Libra).


Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897. She became one of America's most famous aviators. After she had boarded her first plane as a passenger, she later said, "As soon as we left the ground I knew I myself had to fly!" In 1925, Amelia took a position in Boston as a novice social worker. She joined the Boston Chapter of the National Aeronautic Association, and was soon recognized as "one of the best women pilots in the United States" by the Boston Globe.

On April 27, 1926 her life was to change forever. She received a phone call from Captain H.H. Railey asking her if she would like to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. A week later Amelia met with George Putnam, a New York publisher, who she later married. He was in search of the perfect woman to make the Trans-Atlantic flight.

On May 20, 1932, exactly 5 years after Charles Lindbergh's flight, Amelia began the journey. Somewhat off-course, she landed in an open field near Londonderry in Northern Ireland. She asked a man there. "Where am I?".
"In Gallagher's pasture...have you come far?".
"From America", she replied.

She had broken several records on this flight: the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo and only person to fly it twice; the longest non-stop distance flown by a woman; and a record for crossing in the shortest time. Later, in 1935, Amelia began to formulate plans for an around-the-world flight. On June 1, 1937 she and her navigator Fred Noonan departed Miami, Florida on that mission. On July 2, Amelia made her last radio contact. Her plane had gone down. Her body was never found. In a letter she had written, "Please know I am quite aware of the hazards...I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others."

Amelia's chart seems much calmer than Amy's. Living in the USA possibly afforded better opportunity to pursue her chosen occupation. I have read that in addition to her flying, Amelia took an interest in the fashion business and designed a range of ladies' flying clothes. She is said to have been always well groomed and fashionably dressed. Leo sun with Taurus rising would likely have added some semblance of stability and appreciation of the material side of life to her obvious daredevil streak.

The stellium in Gemini (2nd house) is probably focal point in her chart, and major factor in her love of flying - though Virgo Mars conjunct Jupiter in 5th and Scorpio Uranus conjunct Saturn in 7th seem significant, if not in her flying, then in her social/romantic life.

Amelia's life did indeed "change forever" as a result of what occurred on 27 April 1926 . Bringing up the chart for that date shows transiting Saturn had reached exactly the spot Amelia's natal Saturn occupied 24 Scorpio - her Saturn return!

Moving on to the date of Amelia's crash 2 July 1937: these are some of the factors which I think pointed to the dramatic, and very sad events:
Transiting Mars was within 5 degrees of her natal Saturn/Uranus conjunction, and transiting Moon was in opposition.
Transiting Pluto was close to her natal Sun (5 degrees).
Transiting North node was opposite her Gemini stellium (transiting South node conjunct the stellium).
A solar eclipse had occurred on 8 June 1937, 24 days before the crash. The eclipse lasted for over 7 minutes. That solar eclipse fell at 18 Gemini. Amelia's stellium of Moon, Pluto, Venus, Neptune covers 11, 14, 17 and 21 Gemini.


These were two remarkable women - possibly the most remarkable of their era. What else they would have accomplished, had they lived, can hardly be guessed, but for sure they would have continued blazing trails.

Back in a few days............


R J Adams said...

Enjoy the trip.

Wisewebwoman said...

Interesting aspects on these women, T. I'm enjoying the series.
Where are you going? (and I hope it's not in a handbasket!!)

anthonynorth said...

Another two excellent choices there. Amelia led to all sorts of conspiracy theories, too. She even featured in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
That one certainly gave a new twist to the story.

Twilight said...

Hi again all, and thanks - RJ, WWW, and AN.

Back in the saddle and will "do the rounds" as soon as poss.

WWW - we travelled Oklahoma, New Mexico and SW Colorado - will write a brief description on my alternative blog (The Rest of It) soon and link to it from Learning Curve. :-)