Dearest reader, do you ever feel your life is affected by something beyond your control? A force guiding you on the path you and your family take? Something other than Christ and the Saints determining your destiny? Well, you’re right! There IS something else, and all you need do is look up.
Crawford Collection, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
Across the ages our ancestors have looked to the stars and planets to define their futures, and thus actions. But how did they do it? And how do those learned scholars who still study celestial bodies know what to look for? Worry not, dear reader, for we here at Lady Matilda’s have done the work so you don’t have to! Below is our guide to your stars.
WARNING: Use this advice with caution! These are powerful guides.
Date: 21 March – 19 April
Rules: head, eyes
Prediction: Venus is in your sign right now, and you may feel the urge to rush out and get yourself a new husband or wife. Fight that feeling! Remember, your sign rules your head so use it before making a mistake that will terrorise you for the rest of your life, as your jilted spouse is likely to do. On the other hand, if your wife or husband has succumbed to that pesky plague inconveniencing everyone these days, now is a fine time to court that rich widow or widower in the next village.
Date: 20 April – 20 May
Rules: throat, neck
Prediction: With the sun in your sign right now, dear Taurus, you’re feeling fine, drinking wine, and keeping the servants in line! Now is the time to consider that joint bee-keeping venture with Lady Bethony. Just remember to remain calm when arguments arise over the price you’ll charge for honey and who gets to wear the bee hat. Bethony is very fond of the bee hat.
Date: 21 May – 20 June
Rules: arms, hands
Prediction: You may be feeling particularly irritable this month, dearest Gemini, and find yourself waving your arms and hands in the air in anger at everything. Blame it on Mars, who is hiding in your sign right now and causing you to snap at your children and your lord. Seek out the calming influence of the monks in the local scriptorium for peace and tranquility, and a sale on reproductions of your cherished books (for a limited time only, restrictions apply). Remember: an abundance of anger will attract the pestilence!
Date: 21 June – 22 July
Rules: chest, breast, stomach
Prediction: Things are changing rapidly in our ever-advancing world: new salves, leech treatments, bleeding cures, long-distance wagon travel, attacks from heathens, buboes as a fashion accessory – it’s a lot to take in! But you’ve got to keep up. Now is a good time to reflect on your life and adapt to carve out the fantastic future you!
Date: 23 July – 22 August
Rules: heart, spine, upper back
Prediction: The moon is currently showering down her light onto your sign, sweet Leo. Enjoy it! Spend time with your family this month and let the moon guide you down a path of fun. But not too much fun, otherwise the bishop will be writing a sermon about YOU next week and fielding complaints about your overbearing behaviour, like last time.
Date: 23 August – 22 September
Rules: stomach, intestines
Prediction: Virgo, now is a good time to mend fences, both literally and figuratively. Have your servants repair the boundary fences and markers while the weather is fine. Invite your lord’s mother out for dinner, perhaps in an open sewer*. The fumes will keep the pestilence away and demonstrate to your mother-in-law once and for all that you ARE worthy of her precious son and no, he wouldn’t have been better off with that silly frippish Lady Mortimer thank you very much. *Take extra servants. The fumes may keep the plague away but NOT the sewer rats.
Date: 23 September – 22 October
Rules: kidneys, skin, lower back
Prediction: Valued Libras, today is YOUR day. Your wit is needed now more than ever. The stars are strongly in support of you going out and inserting yourself into any and all disagreements so that others may benefit from your wisdom and sense of fairness. *My love Sir Godfrey maintains you should absolutely not do this, but that man does not have the star experience that *I* do.
Date: 23 October – 21 November
Rules: sexual organs
Prediction: Sweet Scorpio, born during the most depressing time of the year. Sadly, there are no planets in your sign at the moment, even they shun that space. So, take this advice: keep a sense of humour close with you at all times. If you decide to travel, be sure to pack plenty of snail slime (for sore throats) and dead moles for headaches.
Date: 22 November – 21 December
Rules: hips, liver, thighs
Prediction: Jupiter in your sign has you thinking about more elevated topics than ‘did I put the cat out’ and ‘I hope the servants cleaned up Lady Edith’s burst bubo from last night’s dinner’. Now is the time to consider joining those travelling flagellant monks, who roam from town to town. It’s a spiritual life and a great way to see the world!
Date: 22 December – 19 January
Rules: bones, joints
Prediction: Saturn has been throwing a LOT in your way, dearest Capricorn, and it’s taken all of your common sense and experience just to stay afloat. There are more obstacles to come, but just remember, like your body part the bones, you are strong and resilient. Unless you have the plague.
Date: 20 January – 18 February
Sign: Water Bearer
Rules: circulatory system, ankles
Prediction: Sadly, a member of your family, will be struck down by the pestilence soon. Protect yourself by smearing excrement (your own, not a servant’s!) all over and dab a little urine on your pulse points. Don’t worry too much, it’s probably that aunt of your husband’s who criticises your cooking every time she visits.
Date: 19 February – 20 March
Prediction: You’ve been feeling exhausted lately, my precious Pisces, and it’s not the plague! Slow down, take it easy, and start keeping a journal like your own Lady Matilda does. This month is NOT a good time for a bloodletting, so don’t get talked into something silly by the barber-surgeon.
Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, VLQ 79
That’s if for now, my darling readers. I trust you found this article helpful and informative, and we here at Lady Matilda’s look forward to writing more for you soon! Until then, obey the stars! And, obviously, the bishop.
All images are from the Psalter-Hours, Belgium, Liège, 1261. MSM .440 (Morgan Library, New York) unless otherwise specified.