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“Lawrence of Arabia” holds a special place in my heart. Not only does it feaure the divine Peter O’Toole but it is a fascinating study of the history of cinematography. Although I had seen “Lawrence of Arabia” many years ago, towards the end of writing “Mirror Mirror”, I felt I deserved a quiet evening re-watching the masterpiece. I snuggled down on the settee with Mr Bubbles, my furry writing and film-watching buddy. Little Bubs snuggled happily and purr-fully in my arms as ogled and ahhhhed over Peter O’Toole. Sometime that night, I heard a muted thump and that was when I discovered I was no longer a cat mum. Maybe the excitement was too much for Mr Bubbles (he was an elderly gentleman after all) or maybe I should not have fussed so much over Peter O’Toole. Whatever happened, I will always remember how the kitty purred as we watched our last film together.
But back to the astrology of “Lawrence of Arabia”.
T. E. Lawrence of Arabia was born on 16 August 1888, making him a Leo by Sun Sign. Peter O’Toole, the actor who portrayed the eponymous character in the film, was also a Leo by Sun sign. So what better way to celebrate this New Moon in Leo with a reminder of not only what a great film Lawrence of Arabia was but also what a fantastic actor O’Toole was! What a story Lawrence left behind! And best of all. . .astrology just enhances these tendencies and creates an even better story.
If you would like to hear more about famous people and the actors who portrayed them, then why not get your copy of “Mirror Mirror”? You can click on the link to purchase your copy in either paperback or kindle from Amazon. You can even purchase a signed copy (please note postage is extra) by visiting here.
So let’s see what was happening behind the scenes of “Lawrence of Arabia”.
T.E. Lawrence: 16 August 1888, 05:00, Tremadoc, Wales, C: Rodden
Peter O’Toole: 2 August 1932, 00:15, Wicklow, Ireland, A: Rodden
Released: 10 December 1962
The film began with the death of Lawrence who was killed in a motorcycle accident. A reporter tried to gain information about the mysterious man at his memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The film then moved back to trace Lawrence’s life from his days as a highly educated yet insolent lieutenant in the British army during World War I and his assignment to observe the Arab Revolt’s leader, Prince Faisal in North Africa.
Lawrence was provided with a Bedouin guide and the pair trekked across the desert on camels to find Faisal. Out of water, they stop to refill their bottles but their guide is shot and killed by Sherif Ali. When Lawrence eventually arrives at his destination, he met Faisal and advised him to launch a surprise attack on the settlement of Aqaba which would help the British replenish their depleted supplies. The town was heavily fortified by sea but barely defended on land. However, there is a very important reason why the town was not defended by land: the only approach by land was through the Nefud desert which was considered impassable by even the most experienced Bedouin guides. After convincing Faisal to provide fifty men, Lawrence and the appointed (and very sceptical guide), Sherif Ali, would lead the trek across the Nefud Desert to Aqaba on the other side. During preparations, Lawrence appointed two young orphans, Duad and Farraj to be his servants. They have only a very limited time to pass through the desert or the unrelenting daytime sun would kill them.
As dawn approaches, Lawrence realises one of the men, Gasim, is missing. Against all advice, Lawrence turned and went back to find the unseated man. His successful mission to return with the man and bring him to Aqaba resulted in Lawrence being gifted with Arab robes and a title by an impressed Sherif Ali.
During his victory celebration Lawrence meets the leader of a rival tribe, Auda abu Tayi, who tells him his tribe are siding with the Turks. Lawrence manages to persuade Auda to side with his men against the Turks but the alliance was nearly ruined when one of Sherif Ali’s men shoots and kills one of Auda’s men owing to a long-standing feud. Understanding that retaliation would ruin the mission, Lawrence volunteered to execute the murderer as he was not a part of either tribe. The culprit was Gasim, the man Lawrence had rescued in the desert, but he shot him as he had promised.
The following morning, the Arabs defeated the Turkish garrison but with the only telegraph broken, Lawrence had no way of telling his superiors of the victory. Taking Duad and Farraj, Lawrence treks across the desert again to Cairo on camelback. During a sandstorm Duad fell off his camel and was trapped in quicksand. Lawrence was unable to save him and the devastated pair continued on to Cairo.
Filthy and exhausted, they arrived to headquarters where Farraj was treated as an enemy. Lawrence defended the boy and was able to secure food and lodgings for him in spite of the protests from the British Army.
For his feats, Lawrence was promoted to major but he was haunted by the shooting of Gasim. When he asked if the British had plans to take advantage of Arabia, Lawrence was assured by his general that the rumours were untrue.
Lawrence launched a guerrilla-style war on the Turks and was made a famous war hero by an American journalist who took photos of the skirmishes. While attempting to detonate a railroad line, Farraj was severely injured. Knowing that the Turks would torture him as he died, Lawrence was forced to shoot the boy.
Still reeling from shock, Lawrence accompanied Sherif Ali to scout the Turkish-held city of Deraa. Lawrence was captured then stripped and molested by the Turkish Bey. Unable to tolerate the threat of further violations, Lawrence lashed out at the bey and was severely beaten as the bey looked on.
Humiliated and injured, Lawrence returned to Cairo and attempted to return to life as a British officer. He was re-assigned to Jerusalem to lead a small army to overtake Damascus but the men were more interested in money than in the cause. When they saw a group of Turkish soldiers who had just massacred the residents of Tafas, one of the men charged into the Turks and was killed. Lawrence led the rest of the men in the ensuing slaughter but later regretted his actions.
After securing Damascus, an attempt to set up an Arab council was made but the desert tribesmen argued so much, the Arabs abandoned the city and left it for the British.
As his usefulness had come to an end, Lawrence was promoted then ordered to return to Britain.
O’Toole’s Sun in Leo is conjunct Lawrence’s Saturn within an orb of two degrees. If ever there was an indicator of a man putting the spotlight on the accomplishments of another man then that has to be it. O’Toole’s Saturn in Aquarius is one degree from Lawrence’s South Node, making this role of a lifetime one of destiny. The understanding of Lawrence’s intellectual accomplishments shows with O’Toole’s Mercury in Virgo within two degrees of the officer’s Venus. Uranus transited this conjunction when the film was released. Further, transiting Mars in Leo was exactly conjunct Lawrence’s Sun and within an orb of one degree from his ascendant when the film was released. Transiting Saturn in Aquarius opposed Lawrence’s Saturn in Leo as well as O’Toole’s Sun and Moon as audiences all around the world saw the epic film for the very first time. With Saturn connections, you are in it for the long haul and some sixty years after the film’s release, “Lawrence of Arabia” can leave you stunned by the adventures of a man who helped change the course of World War I. It is worth noting that 2021 will see the second Saturn return of this masterpiece.
“Lawrence of Arabia” is ranked as the 7th greatest film by the AFI and 3rd greatest film by the British Academy of Film and Television. It won a BAFTA, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Picture and although Peter O’Toole didn’t win an Academy Award for Best Actor (it went to Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird”), it is widely recognised as his greatest role.