Dracula: Monstrous Beast or Revered Ruler?

When I was about nine or ten years old and wanting to be a ‘big brave girl’, I watched Bela Lugosi’s Dracula one evening with my family and ended up enduring a love-hate relationship with the canopy bed I had at that time. Every ‘little princess’ wants a canopy bed, but then you watch Dracula and hope to God that in the dark of night when you are tucked under the covers the wind won’t blow open the window and cause the curtains to mimic a caped vampire. The terrifying visuals from the old black and white movie encouraged nightmares for more nights than I care to admit.

When I had talked to my father about Dracula, he would chuckle and shake his head, explaining how Hollywood had created a fictitious monster and how the real Dracula, Vlad Tepes, continues to be honored and upheld by native Romanians for freeing their country from the Ottoman Empire. My father was born in Romania, not far from Transylvania. Who was I to question this? From that moment, I could separate the mythical Hollywood film and literary monster from the real, historic leader of a nation who, at that time, needed a fierce and powerful ruler.

For many years, my siblings and I believed wholeheartedly that Vlad Tepes had been dragged under the bus by propaganda and that his crimes and atrocities were made out to be far worse than they actually were… not necessarily in tactic but certainly in volume. Until I looked at Vlad’s natal chart, I continued to believe that the 15th Century ruler had the world turned against him through remarkable exaggeration.

Vlad Tepes, thrice Romanian prince, did not leave behind accurate birth data. Research suggests his birth took place on or near December 1, 1431 in Sighisoara, Romania. This is the date and location used in my analysis. When the time of birth is unknown, many astrologers use twelve o’clock noon. But when I placed the birth data at noon, Vlad’s Vedic Astrology chart came up with Aquarius Rising, and after reviewing multiple biographical and historic ‘facts’ and observing the physical characteristics presented in the portrait of the ruler (dark hair, thin, withdrawn face and large, protruding eyes), I thought Aquarius could be a potential Ascendant.

As you continue to read, keep in mind this is pure speculation, but interesting nonetheless, and my input by no means seeks to belittle the pain and suffering of the peoples of that time and their ancestors, which, through my father’s family, I am among.

If Vlad had Aquarius Rising, his chart ruler Saturn is in 12th House Capricorn where it functions strongly in its own sign, giving Vlad powerful skills in business organization and practicality. He was likely a shrewd businessman on or off the throne, comfortable operating with control and methodology, and able to ‘do what must be done’ to stay committed to his principles and involvement with foreigners. The Aquarius Ascendant possibly occurred in Purva Bhadrapada nakshatra, the asterism known as the ‘two-faced man’ and symbolized by a sword– a fitting nakshatra that could confirm his interest in philosophy, spirituality, and mysticism. Vlad Tepes was supposedly a devout follower of his spiritual and religious faith. His name “Dracula”, meaning Son of the Dragon, was given to him from his father who was referred to as Dracul, the title given to him as a member of the Order of the Dragon, a chivalrous order established to defend the cross and fight enemies of Christianity, similar to the Crusades. In more modern days, the symbolism of the dragon was distorted to suggest evil, a representation of the devil. (Interesting that other cultures, such as those in Asia, consider the dragon a symbol of prosperity, power, and wisdom with little to no ill or evil connotations.) Also, Vlad Tepes’ burial holds mystery as well; its whereabouts has to this day, despite various speculations, remained undiscovered.

Speculative birth chart of Vlad Tepes a.k.a. Dracula

Saturn is joined by Venus and because Venus rules his Moon in Libra in the 9th House of religion and one’s truth, much of Vlad’s beliefs and convictions which he acted upon were bound to take him away from his home, cast him into isolation, and create many enemies with Venus positioned in the 12th House; all the while he was a follower of the Catholic Church. Because the Moon moves quickly, our assumption that Moon was in Libra on December 1, 1431 of course could be wrong. However, we can also see that the Libra Moon would give Vlad the desire and motivation to seek harmony and balance; its placement in the 9th House would include the ability to justify any means necessary to complete one’s goals. And with Libra an Air Sign, he might have offered little emotional response, weighing in on his dictates and beliefs from a purely mental realm, ignoring intuition or the impulses of the heart. Venus is too afflicted in the 12th House, surrounded by strong Saturn, exalted Mars, and Rahu. The notion that Vlad could rule so coldly and demand horrific atrocities to be carried out at his command is supported by Jupiter in Taurus, which adds to the ability to justify and, based on his own ethics and security, lead the kingdom under his vision. ‘You do what you must do, not matter what’ likely held a strong resonance within Vlad’s mind and his strength of conviction towards justice and commitment to defend his home and kingdom made it possible for him to act accordingly.

Research 15th century rulers and their chosen forms of punishments and you will find that Vlad Tepes was far from the only ruler who tortured and killed. (Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake on May 30, 1431, the year Vlad was born.) But impaling was not unique to Vlad. An excerpt from an article on the website Exploring Romania states that Vlad, unlike any other 15th century ruler, tortured and/or murdered criminal offenders from other countries using the tactics enforced and deemed lawful from that native’s country. Impaling was not only happening in Romania and Vlad was not the first to use it.

Vlad Tepes ruled with a difference: he applied to foreign offenders the kind of punishment used in their country of origin rather than those provided by Romanian feudal law. Those kinds of punishments were detailed in the Altenberger Codex (chronicle) brought from Vienna to Sibiu in Transylvania at 1453. The Codex enumerated the punishments provided by laws in the South of Germany, the Law of Magdeburg – also used by the Saxons of Moldova, and the Law of Iglau – applied by the Saxons in Sibiu and in southeastern Transylvania. Besides, for commercial offenses in Transylvania, the law allowed beheading, blinding, cutting of limbs, death by the wheel; Vlad employed all but the last against the Saxon merchants who ignored his trading rules in Wallachia.

The main kind of punishment applied by Vlad, the one which brought about the Turkish nickname of Kazâkli (Tepes – the Impaler) was impalement. This punishment is of Asiatic origin; in Antiquity, the Assyrians used it to execute their prisoners, as shown by the bas-reliefs; Herodotus mentioned its use with the barbarians of Asia.”

“Vlad employed impalement from the legal provisions of the Saxon towns in Transylvania, which, in the fifteenth century officially endorsed this type of punishment.”

Further in the same article, it continues: “Vlad proved to be an unflinching adherent of the law, even fanatically so, well-versed in the provision of the sophisticated German, Serbian, Byzantine, and other laws—not to mention the local ones- the Saxon in Southern Transylvania. This is a side of his personality almost completely ignored. In other words, his cruelty was the specific medieval cruelty of punishments inscribed in alien, European laws, not Romanian, which he applied “to the letter” to offenders from those European countries.”

(Quotes courtesy https://www.scribd.com/document/67640941/Vlad-Tepes-Punishments )

Consider also the following which appeared on romaniantourism.com: “The only real link between the historical Dracula (1431-1476) and the modern literary myth of the vampire is the 1897 novel. Bram Stoker built his fictional character solely based on the research that he conducted in libraries in London. Political detractors and Saxon merchants, unhappy with the new trade regulations imposed by Vlad did everything they could to blacken his reputation. They produced and disseminated throughout Western Europe exaggerated stories and illustrations about Vlad’s cruelty. Vlad Tepes’ reign was, however, presented in a different way in chronicles written in other parts of Europe.”

With exalted Mars, the planet of the warrior and key planet regarding violence and murder in the 12th House of foreigners and foreign countries receiving an aspect from Jupiter, the planet of justice and law-making, we can see how Vlad could choose not to enforce his own country’s methods of punishment upon foreigners, but rather, abide by their own rules and punish according to their policies… and certainly the strength of his Mars conjunct Rahu-Saturn-Venus shows his ability to condemn people to these punishments and enable him to cast his own Romanian policies aside, honor those of foreigner countries, and still maintain power. Within the planetary stellium, Venus with Mars in Capricorn shows the potential desire to create and uphold peace and harmony, to mediate and establish mutual agreements with rulers of other nations.

When the atrocities are considered, we must first question if the information which has been spread is accurate or whether or not it has snowballed and rolled out of proportion over the centuries. Let’s face it, just because an artist created a wood cut print that shows impaled people around Vlad’s picnic table while he enjoys a lunch does not mean what is depicted is completely truthful. We can attest to this when we think of today’s political cartoonists! And even if the underlying message of the image holds truth, those acts of punishment were accepted and in context to those dark times. What we now (thankfully) consider absolutely horrific, unbelievably cruel, and unjustifiable were common forms of punishment considered completely lawful in those days.

In another part of the same article: …“the spectacular aspects of medieval punishments, including those applied by Vlad Tepes, were largely due to their public display, meant to frighten, to terrorize the on-looker for a long time… As a rule, executions in the Middle Ages and even in the Modern Epoch did not take place in hidden places like jails, but in public, inviting as many on-lookers as possible, as a deterrent to would-be offenders”.

Most of Vlad’s underlying motivation was to uplift his country and protect and benefit his family. We can see this with his 4th House Jupiter, again assuming an Aquarius Ascendant is correct.  If so, Jupiter also rules the 2nd House of security, ethics, and values. He stood by his beliefs and did what he felt was right and just, despite what it looked like, despite what it was. He had, what historians reported, “an unflinching sense of justice” –Jupiter in the stable, stubborn Earth-sign of Taurus.

Vlad’s noble motive to protect his family and homeland is depicted quite clearly in the 2014 movie Dracula Untold, where we see a domestic side of Vlad, portrayed by actor Luke Evans, more than in any other Dracula version (as far as I can recall– I suspect I have not seen them all). The movie brings to light a few historical references to the real Vlad Tepes’ life, such as when his father gave him over to the Turks to keep peace between the kingdoms, imprisoning little Vlad in the land of the enemy. (Note that Venus rules Vlad’s 9th House of the Father and is afflicted in the ‘foreign countries’ 12th House stellium). But like all good Hollywood movies, there is plenty of fiction and fantasy to maintain the Vampire nonsense that became attached to the story, thanks to author Bram Stoker and his novel, Dracula, which was inspired by the actual person, Vlad Tepes of Romania.

So why, you might ask, did Vlad become fodder for countless stories and myths that continue to ‘entertain’ us, even today, when other rulers enforced and used similar horrific punishments? One answer might be related to astrology. Using the birth time and date as previously mentioned, when we look at the Astro-Carto-Graphy map of Vlad’s birth, the planetary line which runs the closest to his Romanian homeland- in fact, cuts right through it- is the MC Sun line. Wherever an angular line of the Sun passes, one may gain fame or notoriety. In Jim Lewis’ book, The Psychology of Astro-Carto-Graphy, he summarizes what one might experience near their MC Sun line with “Listening to Others Fuels Your Fires”.

The question remains, and perhaps it always will (at least in my mind)—did the reign of Vlad Tepes occur as articles, documentaries, even history books speculate? And does his MC Sun line running directly through his country indicate the possibility that his people, his ancestry (represented by the Sun) will always uphold him and remember him as the prince who freed them, regardless of what the rest of the world says?

I don’t know all of the ins and outs of Vlad Tepes’ life and admittedly, I have not invested in exhaustive research. What I hope this article achieved was to arouse a thought-provoking question: can interpretation (even by the best of astrologers) truly accuse a criminal with absolute certainty?

Lastly, I’d like to extend the suggestion to other astrologers or astrology students to consider the chart of Vlad Tepes themselves. After all these years, it remains that this feared historical figure had, and continues to have, a loyal following from his own people throughout history for the protection and strength he offered his country. He did what he had to do, and for that he remains to this day a national hero to many.

Written by Renate Maria Bell -certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at renatembell@aol.com

2022© Do not use, post, repost, or reprint in part or in whole without the expressed written consent of the author.

Image of Bela Lugosi as Dracula and portrait of Vlad Tepes courtesy wikipedia

Image of Vlad Tepes’ birth chart courtesy Shri Jyoti Star software of which the author is licensed