“…he weighed some eighteen stone, and his huge frame, together with his mop of white hair and beard, gave him something of the aspect of a human giant panda….”
(John Addey in his Obituary to Carter in The Astrological Journal, Winter 1968-9)
Charles Carter in the 1950s or 60s
England’s most long-lived astrologer Gerald Pitchforth (who died in February 2005 at the age of 103) remembered Carter well. In a talk entitled ’70 Years in Astrology’, given to the Wessex Astrologers’ Group at The Grasshopper Inn in Parkstone, Poole in 1995, he recalled an astrological group back in the 1940s that met every Thursday evening in a basement flat near Gloucester Road tube station in London.
The group was led by Margaret Hone, and amongst the regulars were several other ‘leading lights’ of the time such as Jeff Mayo, Ingrid Lind, Charles Carter, Jacinthe Buddicom, Roy Firebrace and Joan Rodgers. Pitchforth described Carter as “a tallish, rather country type of chap… he wore tweeds and had hair on his face… quite a gentlemanly type.” He added “his manner was quiet and unassuming, and he was happy to talk about astrology when asked to do so, but never tried to overcome Mrs. Hone.”
According to Pitchforth, Carter was very disappointed that he had not included the opposition aspect in his ‘aspect book’, and he was quite worried about this at that time. (Later revisions of The Astrological Aspects clearly include commentary on the opposition aspects, so if Gerald Pitchforth’s recollection is correct, then Carter must have remedied the situation. Can any readers confirm if the first edition was different in this respect?)
It was common knowledge among the group members that Carter had predicted the date of his own death and Pitchforth affectionately recalled Mr Carter’s embarrassment when Mrs. Hone regularly tried to tease the information from him. However “we managed to get it out of him in the end.” Margaret Hone was remembered as “a motherly type, a kind of homely type, the dominant one atthe m eetings, but mentally absolutely spot on, and very keen on astrology.”
When the group met, they would discuss the various problems put before them by Margaret Hone. Some members were developing theirown sp ecial interests, and apparently, Ingrid Lind had a talent for being able to dowse an unknown birth time through the use of a pendulum. According to Pitchforth, astrology was booming in London in those pre-War days, and the Gloucester Road group were far from alone. One hall in Baker Street regularly attracted huge audiences every week. When the War came other matters understandably preoccupied the collective national psyche, and the number of astrology meetings rapidly declined and all but dwindled away.
Carter in his later years:
“…He would sit on the right hand of the board in the front row, usually with his corgi at his feet…” (Description of Carter in his seventies at Monday night meetings at the Lodge). “My memories are of Owen* sitting by a blazing open fire in his favourite armchair, attired in his much loved cardigan and carpet slippers, swapping anecdotes. At home, entertaining his friends around his hearth, Owen was at his best.”
(Douglas Burn, “A Member Remembers” The Astrologers’ Quarterly, Spring 1987)
*Carter was known to his friends as ‘Owen’ rather than ‘Charles’.
He was also known to his astrological friends as ‘Libra’ – “and he well exemplified all the pleasing qualities of this favourite sign.” (Ronald C. Davison, Obituary to Carter, The Astrologer’s Quarterly, December 1968)