Pamela Lyndon Travers, was born Helen Lyndon Goff, born on 9 August 1899 – 23 April 1996, in Maryborough, Qld and was an Australian-British novelist, actress, journalist and a mystical seeker.
She is the author of the Mary Poppins novels, on which the Disney success film hit, Mary Poppins was based.
With the recent summer release of the movie “Saving Mr Banks”, many of you would have caught a glimpse of Pamela Travers’ life whilst she oversaw the making of the Mary Poppins film. Also, the ABC recently aired the program “The Real Story of Mary Poppins” where the shadow of Pamela Travers was revealed.
Along with all the resulting publicity surrounding the release of these films on Pamela Travers and her Mary Poppins books, constant claims of who the real Pamela Travers was and what inspired her to write about Mary Poppins are being made.
For those not in the know, her books were based on a mystical and magical English Nanny. According to the ABC program, she did not reveal the source of her fictional heroine, until much later in life.
Read up more about her life here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._L._Travers.
As Astrologers, in order to find out more about a person we of course look at the chart. Her natal chart is in Astro – Databank, however, I have set the chart for Maryborough, and get a different ascendant.
Looking at her chart, one can easily see why Travers has been described as, “the self-assured Travers, ….a history of going against the grain. She never married, in a time when an unwed woman was profoundly stigmatized. She dated both men and women, ran with a crowd of A-list British poets and had a deep and formative interest in mysticism, myth and fairy tales. She was an adventurer who grew up in the Australia, (Maryborough, Bowral, Sydney),as an adult, she changed her name, moved to London and worked as an actress, a dancer, an erotica writer and a journalist. She spent two summers living on an American Indian reservation, studying the culture.”1
Later in life she also adopted a son, and then after refusing to sell the rights to the Mary Poppins books for 14 years, did so to her professional regret albeit not to any financial regret. A quick delineation of the chart, immediately shows her as being a maverick, adventurous and revolutionary with Chiron in her first house, and Uranus on the Ascendant. In fact she has the very rare aspect of Chiron conjunct Uranus and Chiron is trine her natal Venus in 9th house of writing. (More on that later.)
She has Sun conjunct MC in Leo (Shine…Acting) with Venus in Leo in 9th (writer, foreign places, spirituality). Her 10th house Moon in Virgo forms a T square with first house Saturn in Sagittarius and Pluto in Gemini in 7th (difficult relationships, power and control over others, melancholy). Her 10th house Mercury although retrograde, sextiles Jupiter in 12th house, (protection, fantasy) and sextiles Neptune (imagination) and most of all trines the Part of Fortune in 2nd house (money from writing).
Her Uranus, Chiron and Saturn all in Sagittarius in the first house, may also be the reason she has been quoted saying, “…sorrow lies like a heartbeat behind everything I write”.2
For this article, I have taken the major milestones of her active career life and looked at the Solar Arc directions for the years of those milestones. My research revealed that major milestones occurred with Solar Arc directions of Chiron, Saturn and Jupiter. I have given particular attention to Chiron, as SA Chiron activated the creation of her heroin, Mary Poppins.
Chiron conjunct Uranus. This conjunction does not occur in the 20th century, so we can learn lots about Chiron by looking at Travers’ chart, as she was born in 1899. According to Zane Stein with this conjunction “the person leads a very eventful life, and is determined to make a mark in life and do something which will be remembered long after the person has died. This is not out of vanity but the need to have one’s life mean something in the grand scheme of things”.3
With Uranus/Chiron in Sagittarius and trine her Venus in Leo in 9th, her writing was a deep and meaningful part of her life, and hence the spiritual seeking and the spiritual references in her books (9th house of writing and spirituality). When reading about the Chiron hits to her chart below, keep this trine in mind, as it seems that working through her Chiron wound she gained considerable benefits through her writing.
Stein also describes people with Chiron in the first house as, “The eyes have a look about them as if the person were from another dimension, a stranger in a strange land …4. Pamela is quoted as saying she felt she never fitted into Australia, and throughout her life played down her Australian birth. She left Australia, never to return, except for 1 brief visit. Her blue dreamy eyes have also been noted upon.
Father’s death 8 February: 1908
This event had a lifelong traumatic effect on Pamela. It has been said that it is the reason she formed many relationships with older men, and of course made Mr Banks (her father was in the bank industry) a major character in her writings.
On this date her solar arc chart shows that SA Chiron squared her natal Moon, was approaching an opposition with Pluto and was coming to a conjunction with her natal Saturn. Also on the day of his death, transiting Sun in Aquarius was conjunct T Chiron and both opposed her natal Sun and MC in Leo. She had an excellent relationship with her father, as he fuelled her imagination and so it seems that after this event, her journey to heal the Chiron wound surrounding the early loss of her father commenced.
Mother’s suicide attempt: 1910
Her biographer states that she was eleven years old when her mother attempted suicide. This passage describes the event:
“The story of Mary Poppins, the magical nanny who blew in with the wind, began one night in 1913 (1910) deep in the imagination of Helen, a brave 13-year-old [11years old] who had been left home alone with her two younger sisters. Her father, an alcoholic, was dead, and her grieving mother had gone out in the dead of night to drown herself in a nearby creek.There was a thunderstorm outside, and wind was howling through the rafters of their home in Bowral, New South Wales, Australia. Helen wrapped herself and her sisters in a quilt by the fireside, and, shivering, began to tell them a fairytale: about a magical white horse that could fly even though it had no wings. It was the first time she had dreamt up a story – and the genesis of an idea that, 26 years later, would inspire her to write Mary Poppins, the best-selling children’s book and 1964 Disney film of the same name.”5
This scene is recreated in the ABC film “The Real Story of Mary Poppins”, and was the reason for this article, as it revealed that Pamela Travers never mentioned the inspiration for her heroin Mary Poppins until much later in life. I was intrigued as to what was going on in her chart, when such a traumatic event created a fictional character which was later used to write about so successfully. (Chiron/Uranus trine Venus natally.)
The chart reveals that SA Chiron was now conjunct her natal Saturn, (wound from parental figure) SA Venus was conjunct her natal Sun, (Mother lived) and SA Mercury was conjunct her moon (active imagination). Wow – what a combination. It is also uncanny that her fictional figure created at the time was a horse – Chiron is depicted as half horse/man.
The midpoints of Chiron in her chart are also revealing. Chiron midpoints, Neptune/MC, Sun/Nodes, Sun/PoF. Again these midpoints depict her imagination, fantasy and spirituality in her writing and the need to help others and herself with spiritual development. Pamela always claimed that her books did reveal spiritual messages to her readers. The midpoint of Chiron to her Sun and Part of Fortune, also show how her “wound” – Chiron, helped her gain recognition and of course earned her money (Part of Fortune). This event could also explain her statement about sorrow, see above. It seems she alienated herself from her mother after her suicide attempt.
First Mary Poppin book published: 1934
Here we again see a Chiron connection. SA Jupiter conjuncts her natal Chiron. The natal Jupiter in Scorpio has moved out of the 12th house, and connects with her natal Chiron. Her hidden inspirational fantasy figure – forged many years ago, comes out into the world in her first Mary Poppins book.
SA Mars now in Scorpio squared her natal Venus in Leo in 9th house of writing. Her book was an instant success and was also released in USA. A long term friend and mentor assists her in the promotion of the book (mentor/publishing 9th house matters).
Adoption of Son, Camillus Travers: 1940
She did not have a Chiron hit around this time, although SA Neptune was conjunct her natal Venus and SA Sun squared her natal Neptune. Note that her 5th house of children is ruled by Neptune. She adopted a child as she was desperate to have a child and none of her relationships succeeded in producing a child. It is said that she had bisexual relationships, however, she also continually fell in love with older unavailable men (ruler of 7th house Mercury retrograde in 10th and square Uranus and Chiron). Mercury is sextile Jupiter in Scorpio in 12th – she kept relationships hidden, her bisexuality has never been confirmed.
Later the adoption of her son was criticised by many, as her adopted son was a twin and she only took the one twin. She consulted an astrologer and was advised to only take the eldest twin.
Son told of his adoption: 1957
Camillus Travers was contacted by his twin brother and only then did Camillus find out that he was adopted. This had a great traumatic effect on him, as he had grown up with a fictional father. At this time SA Chiron squared her 12th house natal Jupiter in Scorpio. Also her SA Venus, was conjunct her natal Mars in Libra. Her secret was revealed and this event greatly harmed their relationship (Libra), although he always benefited from her wealth (Jupiter).
Chiron return: 1949
During the year of her Chiron return her son was at boarding school and Pamela resumed her connections with the London Gurdjieff group. Her guru died in October 1949, and Pamela was devastated, actually becoming quite ill.
As well as the Chiron return, SA Pluto was conjunct her natal Venus in the 9th house of spirituality.
Sold rights to her Mary Poppins books to Disney: 1959
Well what more can I say – her SA Jupiter was conjunct her 2nd house Part of Fortune in Capricorn. SA Chiron was opposing her natal Venus. Disney had approached her for the rights many years before, and Pamela now finally agreed. She needed funds but was never very happy about making her book into a movie.
Premier of Mary Poppins film: 27 August 1964
Her SA Mercury in 12th house squared her natal Venus in 9th. She kept her real opinions on the movie to herself (12th house mercury), and she, as the author, is only briefly mentioned in all the publicity. Her SA Mars in 11th house was coming up to conjunct her natal Chiron. I have read that although she secretly (12th house) condemned the movie, in actual fact she saw the movie about her heroin born through the activation of Chiron, as the fruition of her hopes and dreams (11th house) of her writing career.
On 29 Nov 2013, the premier of the movie Saving Mr Banks, the transiting Sun was conjunct her natal Chiron, and her SA Chiron squared her natal Part of Fortune in the 2nd house.!
1. Stewart, Sara. 8 Dec 2013, http://nypost.com/2013/12/08/disney-trashes-poppins-author-in-saving-mr-banks/
2. Saunders, Kay. Notorious Australian Women, Harper Collins, Sydney, 2011, p. 163.
3. Stein, Zane B., Essence and Application – A view from Chiron, 1995, p. 7 .
4. Stein, Zane B., Essence and Application – A view from Chiron, 1995, p. 6 .
6. Lawson, Valerie. Out of the Sky She Came: the life of P.L. Travers, creator of Mary Poppins, Sydney, Hodder, 1999. Many of the articles above would have used this official biography of Travers for their information. I believe the book has been reissued with the title, Mary Poppins she wrote: The life of P.L. Travers.