In yet a further parallel to the Battle of the Big Horn, this time 9 years later, 1885, we find another case of a small imperialist force, far from its home base, trying valiantly to defend their government’s invasive policies over local tribal peoples and coming off second best. Until that is, the reinforcements of a larger relief column are expected to inexorably ride in and wreak righteous revenge and retribution. This time it was the British adventurer and career soldier, General Charles Gordon. He was there ostensibly, to report on the best way for the withdrawal of Egyptian Forces in the Sudan to be carried out. The Egyptians were under threat from the supporters of the self-proclaimed Mahdi, (Islamic saviour - Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah). The (Mad) Mahdi, as the British frequently referred to him, was hell bent on freeing the Sudan of its Egyptian overlords and converting all in his path to his particular brand of mystic Islam. (The Mahdi extolled a particular form of Sufism, famous for its whirling dancing devotees who reached a form of spiritual ecstasy and were known to the British as the Whirling Dervishes, whose adherents can still be found today in the Sudan. In fact, his Black Flags and the Islamic Caliphate he was attempting to create, was a forerunner of today’s ISIS’ attempt to the do the same. Even their black flags are reminiscent of the Mahdi’s earlier campaign and his own black flags. It seems there is little new in either religion or politics.)
General Charles George Gordon in Egyptian Uniform
The Sudan was at that time a colony of Egypt, which was itself a part of the wider Ottoman Empire. However, the British and French had long been vying for control of Egypt and the Nile and especially the Suez Canal. England’s Liberal Prime Minister of the period, William Gladstone and his government wanted to cut the Sudan free, deeming it more trouble than it was worth, and to focus instead on retaining British control of Egypt and Suez.
By this time Gordon, was already a hero in England, having made a name for himself during the Crimean War, and in China fighting the Taiping rebellion on behalf of the Ching government; hence the appellation of China Gordon. Hero he might have been to the common man but he was nevertheless, something of a maverick character to those who tried to keep him within reasonable bounds. Widely recognised for being incorruptible, albeit with a fierce temper and frequently mercurial often changing his mind, which drove his superiors to despair. He had a reputation for disobeying orders, doing what he himself thought was ‘right’ instead. He was also a devout evangelical Christian, although he never belonged to any particular denomination; developing instead, his own highly idiosyncratic ideas of faith and devotion. It is thought by many historians, that Gordon was most likely gay, and this meant he was unable to reconcile his sexuality with his strongly repressive Christianity. Due to this level of deep, inner conflict, he developed what many have described as a death wish. Much of this was unknown to the general public, at the time, of course, who had come to view him as a romantic hero, courageous, indefatigable, even something of a Christ like figure to many.
There was, understandably, considerable reluctance on the part of the Gladstone government to send Gordon to the Sudan. A radical Tory supporter, Sir Garnet Wolseley, Adjutant General at the time and a close friend of Gordon’s, had skilfully orchestrated a newspaper campaign against Gladstone’s policies towards the Sudan and had stirred up public opinion against the withdrawal of British influence. The government felt as if they had had their hand forced by Wolseley’s press campaign swaying public opinion into insisting on Gordon; who had actually been very vocal in his criticisms of government policies regarding the Sudan. Gordon believed adamantly that Britain should be fighting hard to maintain its proxy rule in the Sudan and not giving one inch of Imperial influence away, anywhere at all. He was the ultra-Imperialist.
Upon being requested by Gladstone to go to the Sudan however, Gordon, loyally accepted the commission. However, there was a problem from the outset. Gladstone was under the impression that having given-in to pressure from the press and the public to send Gordan, he had made it abundantly clear that Gordon’s role was a very limited one of reporting on the situation in Khartoum and the best way for the Egyptians to withdraw, only. However, at this point, Gladstone retreated to his country estate to recuperate from an illness and it was left to his ministers to fill in the details. They unfortunately, left Gordon with the impression that he was at liberty to make executive decisions for himself. In addition, after a meeting with Wolseley, he had decided it was his Christian duty to hold Khartoum from the heathen hordes of the Mahdi. At least that was how he interpreted the Minister’s instructions, and the longer he stayed in Khartoum, the more entrenched he became in this determination to do ‘God’s work”.
Sadly, it was all to end in disaster. On reaching Khartoum Gordon busied himself frantically preparing the city the for the Mahdi’s onslaught. For months the Mahdi blockaded the city until eventually the inhabitants were starving. Gordon, growing ever more erratic and emotional in his behaviour and the signals he sent to Cairo, and from there London, that eventually, and very reluctantly a relief column was finally organised. However, the relief forces delayed so long that arriving by steamer into Khartoum on the 28th January 1885, they found the city in ruins, and Gordon dead. After all the hype of being sent to relieve him, they were two days too late.
Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah – Self-proclaimed Mahdi.
Just prior to dawn on the 26th January, The Mahdi’s forces had finally attacked the city and broken through, killing all in the way. It seems that Gordon had donned his best uniform and come out to face his attackers. Many romantically have him fearlessly facing his attackers unarmed, as he had frequently ridden into battle in his heyday. However, it seems that on this occasion, he had in fact, armed himself with a pistol and his sabre, intending to take as many of his assailants with him as he could. We will probably never know the exact details of those last desperate moments in which, for many still, he presents a valiant, noble, figure cut down by a heathen onslaught. What we do know is that despite the Mahdi’s order to the contrary, he was killed, and his head cut off. Upon being presented with Gordon’s head, the Mahdi, had it hung in a tree for all to see and for children to throw stones at.
So, what do General Gordon’s Four Pillars reveal of the man to us? Can we find any identifying factors from them that would help to separate the man from the legend? And what of the day he died? What dynamics of that day perhaps added to his final and bloody, vainglorious death?
General Charles George Gordon’s Four Pillars:
28th January 1833
Yang Metal Yin Water Yang Water
Dog Ox Dragon
Luck Pillar at Death: Yin Earth Goat
General Gordon was a Weak Metal man.
When the self-element is weak, it needs supporting and strengthening. The elements that helped to do this for him were Earth, Metal and a little Fire.
He had both Earth and Fire in his previous Luck Pillar and earth was present on his incoming Luck Pillar when he was killed. So why didn’t this help him? We will look at this later but first let’s consider what Weak Metal people are usually considered to be like. Weak people are strong, very determined individuals, not easily dissuaded from their goals and can have a ruthless streak about them. They are very loyal and expect others to be so too. They are intellectual and often quite moderate in their views. Since metal is related to skin in Chinese metaphysics, weak metal people often have very nice skin. Men are usually attracted to weak metal woman, as they are very feminine.
Beyond this however, something that strikes us immediately in assessing his four pillars, are two very special features. The first of these is that General Gordon was born in a Dragon Year and on a Dog Day. Moreover, he was born on a Yang Metal Day. Let’s consider the first of these. Those born with both Dragon and Dog in their four pillars are said to be caught in the Net of Heaven and Hell. As with both John Chau and George Armstrong Custer, when either one of these two animals appear in the four pillars it indicates a heightened spirituality. This is because both represent the Gates of Heaven (Dragon) or Hell (Dog). Since the Dragon is the only one of the 12 animals to reside in the sky, it is said the Dragon opens the Gate of Heaven. Whenever the Dragon comes, there will be unusual sights in the sky. Thus, during the hours of dawn, as the sun comes up and our eyes are drawn heavenward, we notice the dawn light. It is frequently said that UFO sightings are more common during the time of the Dragon - Hours 7am -9am, Days, Months (April), and the Years. As an example of there being strange sights in the sky during the hour of the Dragon, we need look no further than the attacks on the Twin Trade Towers of 9/11, which occurred during the hour of the Dragon that day. But we have many instances. The attack on Pearl Harbour was during the hour of the Dragon; drawing all eyes upwards at the strange and terrifying sight of Japanese planes dropping bombs over the American fleet moored there. Ironically, four and a half years later, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima during the Hour of the Dragon, while that on Nagasaki was on a Dragon Day. Strange sights in the sky indeed the huge mushroom clouds each made.
By contrast, the Dog is the only one of the 12, to live at ground level, often digging slight holes to escape the wind, as any dog owner will tell you!  It is this focus at ground level where the sun fades beyond the horizon and we lose the light, that sends us looking downwards during the hour of the Dog. Thus, it is said the Hour of the Dog opens the Gates of Hell.  Therefore, whenever either the Dog or the Dragon are present, no Nobleman come to rescue those in trouble. It is for this reason that when major calamities occur, like 9/11 or the Boxing Day tsunami, there is such a high death toll and so few survivors.
Since the Dog and the Dragon oppose each other in the zodiac of the Four Pillars, they are in a Clash relationship with each other. Whenever they appear together in one’s four pillars, it is said, the person is caught as if in a net between Heaven and Earth. Such people seem to have more spiritual experiences. It is no surprise then that General Gordon, was as religiously inclined as he was. Furthermore, people who have the Net of Heaven and Hell are highly sensitive to the atmosphere around them. His can make them extremely empathic but also vulnerable to the energies they might be subject to.
There are no rabbits indigenous to China. The Chinese rabbit is actually a hare. Hares do not burrow like rabbits, but rather, make nests at ground level Pigs are primarily domesticated in China and kept in pens, usually with a roofed area of sorts.
I am reminded of the old farmers adage in English of ‘Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning. Red sky and night, shepherd’s delight.
A typically Victorian over-romanticised image of Gordon’s last stand
by W Joy. The truth of his death was certainly a lot grislier.
However, a closer look at General Gordon’s Four Pillars, also shows that he has both Yin and Yang Water in his Month and Year Pillars. The water element represents his Intelligence element, in other words his creative or output aspects of his personality. However, as with Chau, Cook and Custer, when the self-element is Yang and the Intelligence element is Yin, they are not considered in sync with one another and this evidences itself as rebelliousness, and being hard to control. In Gordon’s case his insubordination was so well known that he even wrote apologising for it in his last months, but even then, he excused himself, saying that was the real him, and he couldn’t and wouldn’t ever change.
The second factor of note in his Four Pillars is the Yang Metal Dog of his Day Pillar. This too is a special characteristic in anyone’s chart. Appearing only in the Day Pillar, it is called the Days of Fai Kong, after a very famous General in Chinese history, known for his inner determination and strength. Those who have the Days of Fai Kong are usually very tough, resilient individuals indeed, as we know Gordon was.
Another factor of interest comes from his Month of Birth. He was born in the month of the Ox, and so having Yang Metal in his Four Pillars, meant that he also had both the Heaven Stars of Virtue and the Month Stars of Virtue. These give the person a charismatic air about them and in times of need, can indicate lucky escape from danger. Gordon was well known for his personal charisma and ability to charm and engender real loyalty from his men.
Sadly, General Gordon also had Lonely Stars in his Four Pillars. These can be found in the combination of the dragon and the Ox of his Month of Birth. It indicates that, as we know, he was a deeply lonely man. Having the Ox and the Dog in his Birth Chart, only needed the appearance of the goat to come and activate what in General Gordon’s case would be a terminal penalty, a three-earth penalty. This is a serious penalty and I believe was a major contributor to his drastic change of luck that January of 1885.
So, what happened on that final day, after months of holding out against the Mahdi and his forces, anticipating the arrival of the relief column? We know from his diary and the reports of his men, he spent countless hours on the roof terrace of the Governor General’s Residence in Khartoum waiting and watching forever vigilant for the sight of smoke from the river that would have heralded the arrival of relief. Some have suggested that the Mahdi could easily have attacked earlier but had got wind of the imminent arrival of the British arrival and so decided to attack just before they came and made his task all the more difficult.
Here we have a portrayal of the Mahdi’s men showing Gordon’s severed head to one of his men, already in capture and chains.
The Four Pillars of the final day reveal some further details that help us understand just what the energies aligned against General Gordon were in the early hours of that morning and how strong they were. The first of these is the Month, with its Earthly Branch of the Ox. This was in direct Clash against his new incoming Luck Pillar of the Goat. This was a serious Clash and when added to the Day of the Snake, which was the first of his San Sha days, indicates it was a very tough time for him indeed. Added to these dynamics were further Clashes between the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches of his Four Pillars. The first of these is that clash between the Yang Metal of his Day of Birth and the Yang Wood of the Year 1885. There is then the Clash of his Yin Water Month of his Birth and that of the Yin Fire of the Month of the Ox of 1885. The final and it must be said very intriguing factor in the day of his death is that of the Yin Metal sitting on the Yin Wood of the Rabbit. Since Yin Metal signifies a knife or a sword (a sharp metal weapon), and of the rabbit, the neck. Thus, we have the stark imagery right there in the Four Pillars of a beheading that very morning.
San Sha are based on one’s year of birth and are three consecutive days on which it is best not to engage in important new ventures. Since he was born in a Dragon Year, the Snake is his first San Sha Day. San Sha can have a seriously detrimental effect on us. See notes below regarding San Sha, Yang Edge and Death Angel.
Date of General Gordan’s Death:
5-7am 26th Jan 1885
Yin Metal Yin Metal Yin Fire Yang Wood
Rabbit Snake Ox Monkey
The man who led the relief column was none other than General Herbert Kitchener, that bastion of Empire who, was eventually to avenge Gordon’s death at the Battle of Omdurman.
The Four Pillars of Michael Clark Rockefeller: Thank you for taking to time to read this article. If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me.
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