Downton Abbey

Like millions of others around the world, I am an enthusiastic fan of the award-winning BBC period drama Downton Abbey.  (And, like everyone else, I’m very upset with the producers right now for killing off you-know-who!  And we all saw it coming when he was riding in that car, didn’t we!)


If you’ve read this blog before you know I enjoy analyzing characters in astrological terms, imagining which planets best capture their essence.   I make a habit of doing this with my favorite programs, movies, and songs.  If blog stats are to be believed, some of my most-read pieces are the ones where I’ve done this kind of analysis.  So let’s give Downton a go, shall we?  It’s good learning—especially if you’re new to astrology—and it’s great fun.


First, let’s talk for a minute about the sixth house.  Downton provides a great opportunity to address a common misconception in modern astrology, which is the idea that the sixth is the house of one’s job.  No, it isn’t; that is the tenth.  The sixth is the house of one’s servants.  In modern terms this means the people you pay to do work for you and those who work under you: your subordinates.  In the context of Downton--and imagining that we are looking at Lord Grantham’s birth chart--that is the entire downstairs contingent.


If we are looking at, say, Carson’s birth chart and we’re talking about his own job as Butler, then that is his tenth house.  As Butler, however, Carson is the boss over all the other servants.  They would be signified by his sixth house then, just as they are for Lord Grantham.


Now on to the planets.  Let’s consider who’s who in the Chaldean order, starting with Saturn.


The show’s main Saturn figure is the Dowager Countess, eldest of the family, though for her sharp wit and meddling into everyone’s affairs she is more like Mercury.  Carson is also very Saturn-like in the strict way he runs things downstairs.  He is all about tradition, rules, and limits!


Jupiter is the planet of the nobility in general and thus signifies the entire family.  If there were one figure that best embodies the nobleman, however, it would be Lord Grantham himself: stately, benevolent, and wise.


I would give Mars to Tom Branson, the Irish revolutionary.  Matthew was Mars-like at times, especially when sparring with Mary before they were courting openly.  Matthew was a soldier in the war, a Mars role.  All of the servants could go to Mars for their ceaseless work and activity.  The good Dr. Clarkson is Mars, too, fighting the battle against illness and suffering.


As the owner and leader of Downton, Lord Grantham is the Sun.   Carson is the Sun relative to the servants, as mentioned, while Mrs. Hughes (Head Housekeeper) is the Sun relative to the female servants in particular.

Venus goes to all of the Grantham daughters, although if I had to assign Venus to just one of them it would be Mary as the eldest and (to me) most beautiful of the three.  (When I saw her in her wedding dress on the stairs in the marriage episode, I actually cried!)  Among the servants, Venus goes to Anna, who is just as kind and sweet as any human can be.


This brings us to Mercury.  Ah, Mercury; our two great villains among the servants belong here for their cunning and manipulation.   Don’t you just hate O’Brien?!  She seems very like Othello’s Iago to me in the way she uses words to poison people’s thinking and incite them to bad deeds.


The last of our seven planets is the Moon.  Lady Grantham is the Moon to Lord Grantham’s Sun as his wife, just as Anna is the Moon to Mr. Bates’s Sun, and Mary is to Matthew’s.  Neither Carson nor Mrs. Hughes is married but they form a parental pair of sorts over the rest of the servants, so they are like the Sun and Moon in that way.  I think the best Moon character, though, is our cook Mrs. Patmore, who even looks Moon-like with her round white face and plump, fleshy figure.


Season 3 of this show just ended two weeks ago.  Although many of us are threatening not to watch after what happened in the season finale, I’m sure that by the time Season 4 is set to air we’ll all be waiting with great anticipation.  If you haven’t yet watched Downton, catch up now so you’ll be ready when the time comes!





By Lafiguradelpadre (Flickr: CC), cropped by me.



1) By Lafiguradelpadre (Flickr: CC); full image.

2) By Richard Munckton from Windsor, Melbourne, Australia - Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), CC BY 2.0,;

3) By Richard Munckton from Windsor, Melbourne, Australia - Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), CC BY 2.0,

4) Mid-atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities - Upton Abbey Tea at the Physick Estate (Flickr: CC); cropped by me.


This post was first published Feb 25, 2013 on