Perhaps the one example that many people, especially here in the Pacific will all know of well, and many further afield too, is that of Captain James Cook, explorer and cartographer extraordinaire.
Killed by outraged Hawaiians on his third trip to the Pacific Ocean when he tried to kidnap a paramount chief and hold him to ransom over a boat that had gone missing from one of his ships. For some he is a hero who took his men on an incredible voyage of discovery and scientific exploration, while to others he is a villain, just as bad as Christopher Columbus, one to be reviled and cursed.
Captain James Cook’s Four Pillars:
7th November 1728
Yin Water Yin Water Yang Earth
Goat Pig Monkey
Luck Pillar at the time of his death: Yang Earth Dragon
Like John Chau, Captain James Cook was a Strong Water man. Although his Day Pillar has Yin Water sitting on the earth of the Goat, since he was born in the season of Water, in the month of the Pig, we must consider him to be Strong Water.
The Day Pillar is separated into two aspects of one’s life. The Heavenly Stem, is referred to as the House of Self. This shows us the person’s self-element and thus, his relationship to all the other elements in his chart and, as one’s life progresses, to other people and to events as they occur during the period of the life. The Earthly Branch (the animal sign of the day), gives us insight into one’s life partners, recognised spouses or otherwise. This is why we call this the House of Spouse. By tradition, a man, in order to have a proper relationship with his wife, should have her conquering element. (Remember, this is the traditional perspective we are referring to here and can be difficult to reconcile with modern-day considerations.) Therefore, a water man like Cook, would be expected to have fire in the House of Spouse, in order to have a conventional and successful marriage. (Water conquers Fire.)
Here however, we see a divergence from that expected norm. Cook’s House of Spouse being Goat, is earth. This would indicate that his wife, is likely to have some controlling aspect over him. But we know from his four pillars that Cook was not easily controlled and needed his freedom, taking it regardless, when it was not granted freely. His House of Spouse shows that his wife was earth from the earth of the Goat, but what it also tells us, is that she had hidden fire, as the Goat also hides fire.
Nathaniel Dance-Holland’s reverential image of Cook, as explorer, navigator and cartographer extraordinaire. Many native populations
see him as something else and curse his ever having visited them
Therefore, although superficially it may seem as if she wore the trousers; no doubt reluctantly, giving him leave to go on his long and perilous journeys, the hidden fire within the Goat tells a somewhat different story. It must have been a hard and wearisome road that poor woman trod. They had six children during the years of their marriage; all were to predecease her, and with her husband long dead, she lived on to the very advanced age of 93 yrs. Unfortunately, we do not know Elizabeth Cook’s date of birth to be able to delve further into her four pillars. Nevertheless, such insights help us better understand the dynamics of Cook’s own four pillars.
Furthermore, since his Luck Pillar had recently changed, in the previous November, 1778, entering the luck of the Dragon, which has water hidden within it, he had even more water enter in his Four Pillars. Remember, when the self-element is strong, the person does not need more of it, and indeed having more can be and often is, very detrimental. The previous year, Cook had left the South Pacific and sailed his way up into the North Pacific, searching his way ever northwards in the hope of finding the elusive Northwest Passage. His luck seemed to have changed during this leg of his voyage and between the extreme cold of the Alaskan coastlines, the lack of suitable and appetising fresh meats, the crew began to complain bitterly. Cook is reported to have been particularly intransigent with the crew, insisting they eat walrus meat which they detested. It is said he became more and more irrational from this point forward. For the first time, it appeared as if Cook may have lost the charisma that had kept his crews so staunchly loyal to him. Unable to find the Northwest Passage, he turned south once more and headed back to the South Pacific, where he knew he could obtain fresh water and fresh tropical fruits.
Resolution and Discovery moored close together in Kealekua Bay
He arrived back in Hawaiian waters in early 1779 and after sailing around the islands for a time, finally entered and put down anchors in Kealakekua Bay on the island of Hawaii. His arrival coincided with the Hawaiian festival of Malahiki, and a celebration of the god Lono. It has been claimed that the Hawaiians mistook Cook and his ships for the incarnation of Lono, and welcomed him as such, although this has since been contended. Either way, Cook and his ships were welcomed and honoured as propitious guests. After a month, Cook and his expedition left Kealakekua Bay, and the Hawaiians moved on to the next phase of their own lives. However, the foremast on Resolution, Cook’s lead ship, broke. He returned to a very different reception by the Hawaiians. By now the festival of Lono was over and with it, the Hawaiians patience with Cook and his interlopers. They had been treated with the utmost deference earlier, when it had been appropriate, but their unexpected return now, was an unwelcome intrusion. Tensions quickly arose between the visitors and locals. Then a small boat from one of the ships was reported stolen. Cook was furious and determined to retrieve the boat. Unable to locate it; Cook decided then to kidnap one of the paramount chiefs and hold him ransom, until the boat was returned. This strategy had worked for him on other occasions it seems, and so he set out to lure the chief by deception onto his ship. In doing so he and his men inadvertently trespassed onto a site held sacred to the locals, causing yet further offense. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Cook or any of those with him how arrogant and inappropriate all of this might appear to the Hawaiians. The end result was that having acted so disrespectfully towards the locals, the Hawaiians reacted with fiery indignation and events rapidly deteriorated even further, they attacked Cook, some of his men and killed them outright. So, let’s look at what the Four Pillars dynamics were for that day and the most probable timing of his death.
He was killed on 14th February 1779. A reasonable timing for his death would be the hour of the Snake (9am-11am) although this is now almost completely impossible to verify, it seems to be the most reasonable from the accounts of the witnesses who were there and lived.
9-11am 14th February 1779
Yin Earth Yang Wood Yang Fire Yin Earth
Snake Monkey Tiger Pig
Luck Pillar at the time of his death: Yang Earth Dragon
James King (later Captain); who took over from Cook and led the remainder of the expedition home, notes that he and Cook had left the Resolution between 8 and 8:30am that day, and by the time those who witnessed the killing had got back to the Resolution, it was already after 11am. It seems reasonable to conjecture therefore, that the attack on Cook took place between 9am and 11am, the hour of the snake in Chinese time keeping.
Checking the dynamics of the day against his birth chart, the first thing we can see is that Cook was killed in the Year of the Pig. This created a penalty against his Month of Birth, also Pig. Penalty indicates hidden health problems and indeed, it is reported that he was suffering from digestive and stomach troubles. There was a Clash between his Year of Birth, Monkey against the Tiger Month of his death. Clash is a serious factor and when in danger, can indeed prove lethal. Furthermore, there was a doubling of this Clash with the Day of the Monkey that day. This means the Day Master would have been Clash, not a good day at all on which to try to kidnap a high chief. Adding to the chaos of the Four Pillars on that day for him, then is the likelihood that he was killed in the Hour of the Snake. The Snake Clashes directly against both the Pig of his Month of Birth and the Year of 1779. This kind of multiple Clash is very serious indeed. Penalty alone is bad enough but there is one further penalty to be taken into account. This is the chain that occurred at the time of his death. This is when the Tiger Month, the Monkey Day, and finally the Hour of the Snake all came to amalgamate. These three in combination make a very serious fire penalty, lethal even under the circumstances of what he was doing that day. Since Cook was born in a Monkey Year, he would have been directly affected by this very strong fire penalty.
Johan Zoffany’s unfinished but romanticised Death of Captain James Cook
From a cultural perspective, it’s clear that Captain Cook, with his insistence on retrieving his boat, even in the face of out-staying his welcome, having unwittingly trodden on forbidden sacred ground as he went to lure the chief to accompany him aboard the Resultion, where he intended to keep him hostage, and by continuing to demand things be done his way. As with John Chau, the tribal people lost all patience and took what they saw as appropriate steps to rectify the situation. Here, the Hawaiians stepped in to protect their own aristocracy and their cultural norms. As with the case of John Chau, the energies of the day were against Cook and those killed along with him. Unfortunately, we don’t know the four pillars details of any of the others involved on the day, but by applying the Four Pillars of Destiny to just these two cases, we can see just why events turned to what otherwise could have been very different outcomes. Had Chau not been as delusional and deliberately deceptive as he clearly was, he might be alive today. Just as he had no right whatever to go anywhere near the Sentinelese. Had Cook too been more sensitive to the indigenous people he met on his voyages, and not insisted on doing everything his way, and not intruding back into Kealakekua Bay, he too might have met a more peaceful end, in spite of his Luck Pillar adding more hidden water to his Four Pillars.
Whilst John Chau is unlikely to have exhibited a violent or aggressive demeanour to the Sentinelese; he did nevertheless break their rules and invade their territory. Cook on the other hand clearly was that day completely insensitive to the feelings and cultural norms of the Hawaiians. Just as with John Chau’s unlawful and deceitful landing, which put the Sentinelese at risk from any deadly diseases, he may well have been exposing them to; so too did Cook and his men. Indeed, we know the crews of his ships introduced many pathogens to the peoples of the Pacific. As with the peoples of the Americas before them, they too had no immunity to these introduced Western diseases. The end for the Pacifica, North, Central and South American peoples, was dire. Millions of men, women and children all over the Pacific died as a result of the diseases introduced by Cook and his men and those who were to follow them. As had been the case with Columbus and the Conquistadors earlier. It has quite rightly been called a holocaust. In many cases, indigenous numbers were so weakened, that they still have not rebounded to pre-European contact levels. It remains as a continuing source of grievance and anger to many in the Pacific, as in the Americas. The Hawaiian descendants of those who killed Cook, still consider it a matter of pride that they were the ones to rid the world of such a dangerous and disrespectful invader. Many still hold him in contempt for the pestilence he and his crews visited upon their ancestors.
This brings us to yet another example of a tribal people, quite justifiably, retaliating in kind at the unwarranted attack by violent aggressors in the form of George Armstrong Custer’s attack on their peaceful, traditional inter-tribal summer gathering. Although they won the battle on the day, alas, they, like so many other indigenous peoples, were to face swift and genocidal reprisals.
The Four Pillars of George Armstrong Custer: If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for taking to time to read this article.
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