Carter himself once suggested that the coastal area of “Bournemouth and the neighbourhood are almost certainly under Pisces” (An Introduction to Political Astrology page 98. See also his different classifications of geographical rulerships in general in this volume). At the time of his birth in the late 19th century the sea-side resort of Bournemouth was only an infant borough, situated between the older harbour towns of Christchurch to its east and Poole to its west. (Running along latitude approximately 51° 43′ North, from 01° 45′ West to 02°00′ West). Parkstone, thought to be named after a megalithic stone and boundary marker that once stood there, in Carter’s early years was a rural parish, but today forms a bustling suburb of Poole just to the east of the old town, and centred approximately 01° 57′ West.
Charles Carter’s large family home at Parkstone Heights, (the building is still in existence but is now subdivided into flats), had panoramic views overlooking Poole Bay on one side and a short walk to one of the pottery works beside the main Ringwood Road on the other. This pottery no longer survives but a pub across the road still bears the name The Pottery.
The panoramic view out across Poole Harbour from nearby Charles Carter’s family home.
A view back towards Parkstone from Poole. The arrow marks the white tower of Charles Carter’s family home, clearly visible amidst the tree tops high up on the hill.
Pisces may be an appropriate energy for a piece of southern England that not only borders the sea, but holds a unique and to some a ‘sleepy’ atmosphere due both to its sheltered position and its thick blanket of pine trees. A lone traveler on this coastal path in the 19th century would have found a wild and mostly unpopulated area between the towns, inhabited only by nature and some large gypsy camps. Watching from the cliffs as the wheel of stars turned silently into the sea, it would be no surprise to learn that two pivotal names in modern astrology (Alan Leo and Charles Carter) would have associations with this coastline.
As Bournemouth grew into a fashionable Victorian health resort, attracting the rich and infirm, it was not only physicians and hoteliers that thrived. Un-numbered clairvoyants, palmists, card-readers, phrenologists – and astrologers – quietly flourished behind the lace curtains. While other sea-side towns enjoyed the spice of the “naughty nineties”, this Pisces area was less openly brash. In parts a romantic retirement haven away from the world; it was also imbued with an aura of mystery that the occult-loving Victorians and Edwardians found irresistibly attractive.
Alan Leo became a regular visitor in the late nineteenth century when he was courting his future wife Bessie and teaching her astrology. Sometimes – in her recollection – drawing sign and planetary symbols on the beach with a stick in the sand. The Bournemouth branch of the Theosophical Society was the busy astrological hub of their world (but Carter was then only a boy and did not meet Alan Leo until later).