Summer Solstice, and the Starry Crab in the Celestial Seas

Cancer by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it?

Common associations

The pincers: Zodiac symbol of Cancer

Ruling heavenly body: Moon

Key phrase: I feel

Body: The chest, breast

Birth Stone:  Stones and metals fall under the rule of planets, not signs, but through its association with the Moon, Cancer has symbolic affinity with pearls, silver and crystals.

Colour: White, silver

Tree: all trees rich in sap

Flower: Acanthus

 Tarot card: The Chariot (see how it is a shell?) Drive, control, progress, self discipline, teamwork, and the harmonizing of different elements.

The Chariot, Rider-Waite Tarot

The Astronomy

Wiki

Cancer, Latin for crab, is in a dark region of the sky, and is the faintest constellation in the Zodiac, with only two stars above the fourth magnitude of brightness: Acubens (The Claw) and Al Tarf (The Foot)

Cancer is visible in the Northern Hemisphere in early spring, in March at 9 PM and in the Southern Hemisphere is seen during autumn.

It’s almost impossible to see Cancer with the naked eye or even binoculars, looking between Leo, the lion, and Gemini, The Twins. And really, it doesn’t look much like a crab, more like a faint, upside-down Y that has been compared with a crayfish or lobster. It was actually called the Crayfish in classical astrology, and in Egyptian astrology they called it The Scarab.

Whatever its name, it’s always been pictured as a creature with an exoskeleton; an arthropod, and it is said that Cancer appears to rise in the zodiac as if with a crab-wise movement, not sideways, but ascending backwards.

The Sun’s entry into Cancer announces the summer solstice. ‘Solstice,’ from the Latin sol stice means the Sun seems to be ‘standing still’ as it approaches this point.

However, although Cancer may be faint it’s got one heck of a star cluster glowing at its centre. Praesepe or ‘The Manger’ was identified in 1771 by French astronomer Charles Messier.

Its modern name is M44 or The Beehive Cluster. Through the telescope it looks like a swarm of bees, but to the naked eye it looks like a small, fuzzy patch of light -or a tiny cloud floating through the stars.

Public Domain: The Beehive Cluster

As the sign of the Sun’s greatest elevation, Cancer was considered nearest to the highest point of heaven – and in Neo-Platonism was called ‘the Gate of Men’ through which souls descended to Earth to be born.  The opposite constellation, Capricorn was the ‘Gate of the Gods’, where souls of the departed rose back to heaven. 

I knew a soul who descended through the Gate of Men and ascended again through the Gate of The Gods the same day, the day of the solstice, 1993. He stayed in this world one hour and twenty five minutes, and then he gave just one little tiny sigh and left. A baby soul, his name was Rowen, and he was our son, and always will be, as long as light lasts. He arrived as a first decan Cancer subject, but came early, and should have come later, in Virgo season.

Cancer also contains a planetary system; 55 Cancri, containing five known planets, with possibly more awaiting discovery. 55 Cancri is about 40 light-years away, just about visible to the unaided eye, although you need help to find it. The innermost of its planets is a “super Earth,” a few times heavier than Earth – but none of these planets has the right surface conditions for liquid water, and life there is thought not likely.

The Myth

In classical mythology Cancer is associated with the Twelve Labours of Hercules/Herakles after he went mad, mistook his wife and children for monsters and killed them. He undertook the Labours in penance.

The second of his great challenges was to kill the Hydra, a terrible water serpent but his enemy, Hera, who had always hated Herakles as the illegitimate son (yet another one) of her husband Zeus, sent a crab to harass him while he was fighting. The crab faithfully did its very best, nipping Hercules again and again, but he stepped on it and crushed it beneath his heel, or in other versions of the story, killed it with his club.

Look at that crab, getting right stuck in. Go on, crab! Give him a nip. That’ll larn him. Heracles was always a loose cannon. He terribly wounded Chiron, killed his music teacher in a tantrum and killed his own wife and children in a fit of madness for which Hera got the blame.

Hera rewarded the Crab’s loyalty by placing it in the heavens, but she placed it in a dark portion of the heavens with only faint stars because crabs need dark, quiet places to feel safe and at home.

This quiet celestial location however, happens to be the highest point in the zodiac, nearest to heaven, and The Crab is the star of the show, and the humble herald of the glory of the summer solstice.

The Astrology

Cancer is the fourth sign of the Zodiac, representing those born between June 20 and July 22. It is considered a water sign, and is one of the four cardinal signs, which are the signs indicating a change of season when the sun makes its annual passage into them.

Cancer is all about the shoreline, and tides, monthly and annual. Cancer is uniquely both the moon and the sun.

The sign of Cancer, ruled by The Moon, is a cardinal sign, herald of the seasons, announcing the arrival of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere.

The Cancer Personality

There is of course no such thing in reality as THE Cancer personality. Your zodiac sign or as it is also known, your sun sign is a major keynote, but it’s not the whole story. You are a unique personality.

The archetype stands, however, and the Cancer personality is complex, elusive and riddled with contradictions.

Cancer stands for both mother and father. It is the zodiac sign of the nurturing parent. Cancer famously adores babies and small animals, all wild things and does very well with them. The empty nest can be anathema to the Cancer parent.

Cancer is often musical or artistic, but also has a strong scholarly bent, and many Cancer subjects are drawn into the fields of teaching, counselling, psychology and behaviour sciences.

By Rose Maynard Barton

Cancer is the sign of hearth and home, and expanding this; the wider tribal or national identity, and our ancestral legacy, historical, cultural and genetic.

It is the sign of memory, nostalgia, sometimes regrets, and a longing to return to happy childhood haunts. A garden, a meadow, a walk we used to go. A bucket and spade at the seaside if we were lucky. Maybe a dabble in a rock-pool.

The Decans of Cancer

Each zodiac sign is 30 days long and is divided into three Decans of approximately 10 days each, with slight variations possible year on year. 

Decan 1 21 June-1 July

Cancer-Cancer, ruler The Moon

Tarot card: Two of Cups

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

This is the decan of love or friendship between equals, and the Two of Cups is an especially fortunate and benevolent card. Cancer Decan 1 will fight hard for its loved ones, and will also stick up for the underdog.

They may be a bit of a do-gooder or something of an activist, wanting to pass across that cup as shown in the Tarot.

Cancer decan 1 is also, not only enigmatic and something of a dreamer or even a mystic, but a natural born astronomer, and watcher of the moonlight skies, as are all the decans of Cancer.

Decan 2 2 -11 July

Cancer-Scorpio, ruler Mars (traditional ruler) or Pluto (modern ruler)

Tarot card: Three of Cups

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

They like to be left in peace but not to be left alone. The subjects of this decan get stronger as they get older which may seem obvious but which is not universally true of all people, but they are resilient and of the three decans of Cancer, this is the decan with the reputation for bouncing back most readily. They are generally sensible about money, good with finances, reliable and trustworthy, helpful to their relations, but they expect the same in return, and do not easily forgive or forget a slight. They have a reputation for holding grudges. Feast and famine, exotic blooms, hot house flowers.

Photo by Jacub Gomez on Pexels.com

Decan 3 12 -21 July

Cancer-Pisces, ruler Jupiter (traditional ruler) or Neptune (modern ruler)

Tarot Card: Four of Cups

From The Legacy Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The figure in the Four of Cups has a rich inner life, and may be something of a visionary, but may from time to time feel restless and dissatisfied, bored by mundane realities yet unsure what to do about it, while haunted by the sense there is somewhere else they should be, something else they should be doing. As with Pisces, physical energy levels can be quite variable, and this too is reflected in the card.

Cancer 3 decan is traditionally understood as the moodiest of the crabs. Dedicated and devoted to their loved ones, they may all the same be unapproachable at times. They need to feel family around them, they really do, but they also need plenty of outlets.

Read HERE about the health and constitutional makeup of Cancer.

They are, well, somewhat crabby at times, but deeply humane, kindly, reliable and trustworthy, and they sparkle in company, attracting admiration- when they choose. Reclusive at times, but they never lose a certain sense of fun.

Photo by Emma Bauso on Pexels.com

Until next time 🙂

All that’s airy, all that flies …it’s time again for Gemini…

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are born into a particular season. We are children of that season and its environmental characteristics. The light and the length of those days, the warmth or the cold, the dry or the damp, the things that are growing, or not. What food there would be to eat if there was no such thing as a supermarket.

The symbology of the zodiac signs are all rooted in the seasons of Nature here on earth. The only sign not directly symbolic of a real, living thing in Nature is the newest sign historically speaking, Libra, the Scales, symbolic of Justice. An abstract concept, though again, this could be viewed as representative of the concept of, on the one hand, natural justice, and on the other, the ever shifting tides and balance of nature.

The sign of Gemini is airy Nature on the wing. Fledglings are launching. Baby waterfowl are on the swim; ducklings, goslings, cygnets, coots and moorhens. Birds, bees and butterflies are foraging, and as they go from tree to tree, and bloom to bloom, cross-pollinating. The pollen too, is on the wing. The air is typically high in moisture in Gemini season, supporting all these processes.

Atishoo, for some it’s a case of here comes the hayfever. This is traditionally an Achilles heel for the natives of Gemini.

Photo by Lisa A on Pexels.com

Gemini is a mutable air sign, meaning it segues into the next season, early summer. Cardinal fire sign Aries is instigation, winter-spring, Taurus is realization, spring-spring, Gemini is emergent mutable spring-summer.

Gemini associations

Ruling planet: Mercury – ‘on the move/the word is out.’

Affirmation: ‘I think, I inquire.’

Body: Lungs, arms, hands, fingers, nervous system.

Birth Stone:  If born in May, Emerald. If born in June, Pearl (although it is not a stone, it is thought to be ruled by Mercury) Lucky stone Tiger’s Eye

Colour: Yellow, green, pink, white

Tree: all kinds of nut trees

Flower: Lily of the Valley, Lavender

Tarot cards: Gemini has two cards associated with it: most typically, The Lovers (love, choices, decision-making) But also The Magician. Tarot readers tend to focus on the duality represented by the Lovers card, but I’ll also be making reference to Gemini as the mercurial Magician.

From The Rider-Waite Tarot deck

Astronomy

Gemini via Wiki

The two bright stars on the left are the heads of the twins, their bodies standing or lying parallel. The brighter, reddish Pollux is on the bottom, or on the left, depending how you may be viewing them.

The Zodiac, from the Greek meaning the Wheel or Circle of the Animals, is the name for the area of sky we see from Earth, including the apparent paths of the sun, moon and planets.

Some of these planets were of course not discovered when the 48 constellations of the ancient zodiac were listed by the mathematician and astronomer, Ptolemy, in the 2 century AD. Today there are 88 listed constellations including the 12 constellations of the zodiac as included in the system of western Tropical astrology.

Ptolemy called the Gemini constellation The Star of Apollo (Castor) and The Star of Heracles (Pollux).

Gemini is the northernmost constellation in the zodiac, the thirtieth largest in size. It is prominent in the winter skies of the northern Hemisphere and is visible all night, December–January, seen by the naked eye, looking north east of the constellation Orion between the Taurus and Cancer constellations. Best viewing is during February. During April and May you might see it, looking west soon after sunset, looking out for the two brightest stars, Castor and Pollux, representing the heads of the twins from Greek mythology, while fainter stars outline their bodies.

To find Castor and Pollux, look eastward from the Hyades, a V shaped asterism ( star cluster) which makes up the head of Taurus The Bull, or again, look east from the three stars of Orion’s Belt

Gemini Wiktionary.jpg
The constellation Gemini via Wiktionary gives its name to the sign of the zodiac

Pollux, the westerly twin, is an orange-red giant star, 33 light-years from Earth, while Castor is about 51 light-years away. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year – 6 trillion miles/9.6 trillion kilometres.

Pollux, the brighter of the two, has a planet orbiting it, Beta Genorium B, and this planet is massive – 1.6 times bigger than Jupiter, while Castor is not a single star, but is actually a star system made of up six stars not visible to the naked eye.

Ancient History

The concept of twins has been addressed in mythology, and artifacts discovered dating back to the so-called Age of Gemini, during the Palaeolithic era, 6, 500 BCE, a response to actual twin births, no doubt at all, and a general reading of the world, understood in terms of a duality fundamental to the nature of reality.

There are male and female twins, standing for night and day, light and dark, heat and cold, male and female, war and peace, good and bad, life and death. Many creation myths reflect this eternal dynamic or battle of seeming opposites. Some societies have viewed twins as a blessing, others have regarded them as an added burden on resources in times of scarcity – or even as a supernatural threat. Article

Recently in the news via Archaeology Magazine, a sad but fascinating discovery, “Two baby boys, whose bodies were covered in red ochre and buried under a mammoth bone about 31,000 years ago in what is now northeastern Austria, are the earliest known identical twins.”

The babies were born full term but one died at about 14 weeks,it is thought, while the other lived to 6-7 months. They were buried with grave goods, one baby with a necklace of evenly matched mammoth ivory beads, the other with a necklace of molluscs. More HERE

Castor and Pollux

The names of the Gemini, the Heavenly Twins are Castor and Pollux.

Castor comes from the Greek Καστωρ (Kastor) meaning “to excel, to shine.”  In Greek myth Castor was a son of Zeus and the twin brother of Pollux.

Pollux comes from the Roman form of Greek Πολυδευκης (Polydeukes)  meaning “very sweet.”

Gemini brings us the first honey and strawberries, and the full moon of June is nicknamed The Strawberry Moon.

Photo by Taner Soyler on Pexels.com

Pollux and Helen were immortal, fathered by Zeus, while Castor and Clytemnestra were mortal, fathered by Tyndareus. The circumstances of their birth were unusual to say the least. Queen Leda of Sparta was seduced by Zeus, who had somehow disguised himself as a swan and when we say seduced, that is was putting it politely. He glided up preening while she was bathing and then pounced on her. Later that evening, and one can’t help wondering about this, given the trauma she’d just experienced, she also slept with her husband King Tyndareus and went on to produce four children; Castor, Pollux and their sisters Helen (later Helen of Troy) and Clytemnestra (later married to Agamemnon as queen of Mycenae.)

castor-pollux-porcelain.jpg
Public Domain; the young Castor and Pollux by Meissen

The mortal Castor was a renowned horseman and a master at fencing, while the immortal Pollux was known for his superhuman strength and skill at boxing. They travelled with Jason on the Argo on the quest for the Golden Fleece (and here we cross over into the Hellenistic mythos of the zodiac sign of Aries the Ram)

But then Castor was killed in a quarrel, a disagreement over dividing the spoils after a cattle raid (Hello again, dear zodiac Bull, Taurus, we are afraid you came off worse that time.)

Pollux was distraught.  He didn’t want immortality, not if it meant being without Castor and he begged his father, Zeus, to kill him so he could go to join his brother in the Underworld Kill me Dad, he said. Zeus said, er, give me time to think about this, son, and scratched his beard, wondering how to fix it, and finally resolved to place them both in the stars, to be together forever as the constellation Gemini.

No need to kill Pollux, Zeus just skipped that step and took the pair of them sky high.

Worship

The Greeks worshiped the twins as gods who helped travellers and shipwrecked sailors.

The Romans developed a cult around Castor and Pollux dating back to 484 B.C. They considered Castor and Pollux the patron gods of horses, and therefore, patron gods of the Roman mounted knights; the equites, and Castor and Pollux appear as such on many early Roman coins. The Romans built a temple to the twins in the Roman Forum in 414 BC in thanks for their ‘help’ in defeating the in the battle of Regillus at Lake Regillus in Frascati, between the newly founded Roman Republic and The Latin League, led by the aged former king of Rome, Tarquin (Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.)

The Republic won, finally ending the attempts of Tarquin and his son Titus, to re-take the throne. More Here

John Reinhard Weguelin (1849 to 1927)- Scan of Illustration from book “The Lays of Ancient Rome.” Woodcut from Engraving


The Gemini Archetype in real life

The zodiac signs deal in archetypes, as do the 78 cards of a Tarot deck. Every person is a unique individual with a unique natal planetary profile, their sun sign, moon sign, rising sign etc, paint a more detailed picture, as do astrological transits and aspects, but the natal sun sign sets the tone.

The Magician card in the Tarot deck is the card of Number One, ‘me, myself and I’, and is associated with Mercury, planet of communications, trade, and commerce, the ruling planet of Gemini.

The Magician from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

Gemini is ‘mercurial’, restless, intellectually agile, independent minded- and like the Tarot’s Magician, does things his or her own way – whether or not this is necessarily a good idea.

Gemini often has a pleasing appearance; slender, well-proportioned, above average height, with tidy features in an oval face. Classic Gemini subjects are lively, agile, sparkling, charming, chatty and inquisitive, though not necessarily easy to get to know. Gemini may dart in and out, or lose interest and switch off without warning. Gemini introduces, rather than unites.

Gemini tends to change jobs more often than subjects of the other signs of the zodiac, and is better at starting new projects than finishing them, but can do very well in teams where new ideas, agility and a talent for networking are needed.

Gemini can seem flighty; careless, even ruthless, dropping people and projects once they lose interest, which Gemini can do quite suddenly. But once committed, they are intensely loyal to their friends and loved ones. Gemini is mostly fairly peaceable, but it’s brave and and tough Taurus mostly gets the rap for this, Gemini is capable of obstinacy, even mulishness. These subjects don’t shy away from saying what they think, and of course, they think plenty, though whether they always did the research, or whether or not they double- check everything, is just now and then another question.

The Decans of The Zodiac

Each zodiac sign can be investigated in more depth by exploring the decans. Each sign may be subdivided into three decans, each with a different planetary sub-ruler, and each relating to approximately 10 days and 10 degrees of the wheel of the zodiac.

The Decans of Gemini

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

First Decan (May 22nd- 31st) Gemini-Gemini. Sub-ruler Mercury

The first decan of any zodiac sign is considered the most typical. The first decan of Gemini is ruled by Mercury, the overall ruler of the sign and Gemini is the zodiac third house of communications. The Gemini- Gemini decan is mentally acute, whether or not they are academically inclined. They are agile, adaptable, but it’s not so simple, and at their core they are operating from a belief system from which they do not depart. It might be religion. It might be some ethical question, such as animal husbandry, politics or the environment. This decan typically has good looks and personal charisma…and they are great explorers, not just in terms of physical travel. But once they commit, they commit. They also believe there is a right way and a wrong way of doing things -and they act on it.

Tarot card: The Eight of Swords.

To know the minor arcana Tarot card associated with a zodiac decan can help with timings in a reading, when a reader is trying to narrow down a potential date range.

Second Decan (June 1-10) Gemini-Libra. Sub-ruler Venus

Libra, the sub-ruler of this decan is – natural ruler of the zodiac seventh house of marriage, partnerships, close associates, associations, and legal matters. Where Decan 1 Gemini may say ‘I am’, the smooth and friendly second Decan is likely to say, ‘Me too’. They too have personal charisma, and they have an adventurous streak, but to thrive they also need things around them to be calm and secure. The nature is warm, possibly at times even effusive, and people generally respond well, but their choice of life partner is best not made when they are very young, and though they relish novelty, they may be happiest with someone who is steady and practical, averse to any avoidable drama.

Tarot card: The Nine of Swords

Third Decan (June 11-21) Aquarius-Gemini. Sub-ruler Uranus (ancient ruler Saturn)

Aquarius – natural ruler of the zodiac eleventh house of friends, hopes, and wishes-inclines the Decan 3 Gemini to very much a social type, a friend-oriented individual, amusing, quirky, yet rational, somewhat detached.  Uranus, planet of knowledge, combines with Mercury gives Gemini-Aquarius clear and perceptive reasoning powers and a desire to change things for the better.  Uranus is also however, the planet of upheaval and rebellion. Third Decan Gemini is classically the most independent-natured decan of Gemini. Not easily persuaded themselves; they have great gifts of persuasion.

Tarot card: The Ten of Swords

Also to watch for this Gemini season 2021…

There will be a Super Blood Moon Eclipse on May 26, 2021, a rare celestial event. If the skies are clear we may see a Super Full Moon which will appear bigger than usual in the night sky, and turn red as it is eclipsed by the shadow of the earth. Blood Moon Eclipses get their name due to the reddish hue the Moon takes on during a total eclipse

The Super Blood Moon Eclipse on May 26, 2021, is a rare celestial event. On this night, the Super Full Moon will appear bigger than usual in the night sky, and turn reddish as it is eclipsed by the shadow of the earth.

Blood Moon Eclipses get their name due to the reddish hue the Moon takes on when there is a total eclipse. Western astrology says this Full Moon will be in Sagittarius, House of far travel, exploration and higher learning. Vedic astrologers say it will be in watery Scorpio. Intense.

In terms of Sagittarius, one may aim an arrow but still not control where it lands.

In ancient astrological terms, eclipses represent things coming to the surface. They were traditionally associated with extreme weather events, feelings running high at home, and tensions amplified in matters of state and power on the global stage. As if anyone is going to welcome that prospect, but we are talking here in terms of ancient associations, not predictions.

The ‘medicine’ according to the ancients, was to work with a Blood Moon, leaning into any challenges, but without inflaming them, and to pace oneself until the cavalry arrived. In 2021 this comes 10 June 2021 in the shape of the approaching beneficent solar eclipse (still in Gemini season.)

May it bring good things, just let’s keep our cool, and go a little easy with everything around 26 May.

Until next time 🙂

The Taurus New Moon and The Tower

Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

Tuesday 11 May, was a New Moon in Taurus. A New moon is the optimal time for new launches, say the lunar calendars, while Taurus is all about beauty, security, and the sensory delights and material comforts of life, also the status quo.

There were plenty of new launches all right, and challenges to a current status quo. Lightning struck more ways than one. A new peak of tragedy in Gaza, seemingly never to be resolved, no peace without an agreement on justice, the skies raining missiles, the death toll rising, children killed inside Gaza, a whole family today,and a little baby.

Locally, close to my own home in Lancashire in the UK, a little boy was tragically killed, struck by lightening, while he was out doing football training. Jordan was only nine, clearly a very nice little boy, and well known locally, and a big Liverpool FC fan, already known for his charity endeavours. RIP, little lamb.

Junior Sprog’s young man meanwhile, had been up to his waist in his fish pond about half an hour before this horribly tragic event, doing a spot of DIY, installing a new filter for his beloved koi carp. I told her, half- joking, he needed to come out of there. He was at risk of being struck by lightning. But the storm’s gone, she said. Well, yes, it had, just about. The hail had stopped but the sky was peculiar, ominous, the conditions ripe.

It looked like that scene from Independence Day, said Il Matrimonio, the scene when the aliens arrive, creating clouds as they hover on their coordinates across the world’s cities, waiting the moment to strike.

I have written about The Tower card more than once before in previous postings here on this blog.

From The Golden Tarot, Kat Black

Well, it’s a biggie, and generally, I am not pleased to see it. The Tower card and I have had direct encounters before, and they were not fun.

But that’s by the by. Keep your friends close, as they say, and your enemies closer. Let’s take another look at it today, The Tower, Major Arcana number 16. Sandwiched -entirely by design between The Devil, Major Arcana 15, and its obsession, dependency, desire, frustration and rage, and The Star, Major Arcana 17, cool, impersonal, harbinger of hope and recovery, humanitarian but oh, so logical at times, prone to abstractions and ideological dogmatism (as today Saturn moves out of Aquarius; an ideologue’s dream and dogmatic stellar combination if ever there was one, but sadly moves back in again during July 2021.)

Countless numbers are living The Tower experience right now.

Some high profile practitioners have made it something of a mission to intellectualize and sanitize the Tarot, and to educate other readers to present its manifold truths in purely metaphorical or psychological, sometimes Jungian terms.

So The Tower card symbolizes a great awakening. Pride comes before a fall and the truth will come out. And ultimately, this is good, they may say, because what is lost can be scrapped as not fit for purpose or rebuilt on better foundations. It is for the spiritual good. Good for one’s soul.

I agree, up to a point. I am all in favour of looking for the silver linings in any cloud, and of the notion of putting myself and others in charge of our own destinies, at least assuming responsibility for our own decisions and the consequences of those decisions.

But readers of the Tarot limit themselves in stipulating HOW the Tarot is to be used. The Tarot is a tool kit. A flying carpet for thinking and feeling beyond the normal personal and social boundaries.

There is no standardization in this field, and it needs to stay that way. There is no such thing as ‘A’ Tarot reader. There is only the particular individual reader and their own service remit and their own way of working.

There is a difference between articulating the professional ethics of reading and promoting an ideological agenda to ditch the Tarot as a futurist or fortune-telling vehicle in favour of its use in counselling, or for ‘spiritual development.’

It needs to be recognized, or else the reader risks being guilty of hubris themselves, not every ‘Tower’ (or Devil) experience, not every destructive event necessarily has a beneficial outcome or valuable Life Lesson attached, or indeed anywhere in prospect. What were the ‘lessons’ for the parents of the child victims of the Moors murderers?

Grace is the sacred Grail in greatest grief that no-one can deliver to another person. No counsellor can do that, no priest and no psychic reader, though a reader may perceive occasional intimations.

Not every question has an answer. This was how I came to study the Tarot, after years wrestling with a seemingly insoluble and relentlessly invasive health problem after my right knee went out from under me one day, and I went down on my face in the road. Sometimes there are no solutions for the cards that Life may deal us. There are only our own, unique responses in coping, which cannot be prescribed by a reader, but may possibly be divined.

The ‘higher truths’ of our existence are not intrinsically more sacred than the bottom line. And, ‘God does not disdain to serve the body’, as Julian of Norwich once said.

People ask about money, work, homes, jobs, travel, studies, prospects, family, other real people they know. They want to know about outcomes, timings, reasons -specifics, if this is possible.

The Tower may also mean:-

A Tower– literally, as in the Tower of Pisa

Tuesday- named after Tyr/Tew the Norse god equivalent of Mars which rules Tuesdays. If your question is when and you draw the tower, it maybe a Tuesday or during Aries late March-late April or Scorpio late October-late November because these signs are ruled by Mars. Or it may mean that it will happen very suddenly.

Rain, wind or storm  not only has The Tower card forecast rain or a thunderstorm on more than one occasion, -and once this was very welcome, during a heat-wave. One Friday evening it forecast a storm which turned out to be an actual tiny, typically British tornado, which came screaming down my road next morning at 8.30 and neatly, tidily  flattened a neighbours garden wall.

-Bad news, a quarrel,  shocks, earthquakes, traffic accidents, the collapse of building or other large structures, bankruptcy, job loss, relations breakups, marriage breakdown, accidents, sudden medical emergencies eg stroke, heart attack.

-Stroke, heart attack, fit, seizure

The Tower might be saying, ‘dognabbit, you need to check your tyre/tire pressures!’

The Origin Story

The Tower card, derivative of the Blasted Tower, the House of God or War, is ruled by the red planet Mars, ruler of the zodiac signs of Aries and Scorpio, with powerful mythic and archetypal associations, not least The Tower of Babel.

Mars is the planet of outward activity, high animal spirits, passion – courage and sometimes -a state of war.

Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

The Tower of Babel or The Tower and the City is an origin myth from Genesis though actually older, that tried to explain why the world’s peoples speak different languages.

According to the story, a united human race in the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating eastward, comes to the land of  Shinar,  in Northern Mesopotamia.

They build a city, so far so good. But then they decide to build a tower tall enough to reach heaven. God doesn’t like that, and confuses their speech so that they can no longer understand each other, babbling on…and now they are at cross-purposes and can’t complete the building works, and they fall out with one another and go their separate ways, and end up scattered around the world.

God  is reacting to an act of hubris. The word Hubris is from Greek, and means “excessive pride, violating the bounds set for humans.” 

Greek myth was very big on hubris.

BUT still readers need to face it, working with the full range of possibilities, that The Tower may be speaking, not figuratively, not metaphorically, but entirely literally, whether we are talking past, present or possible future.

If a reader draws The Tower, they carefully examine the surrounding cards, and if they perceive clear and present danger, may not say so in such terms, but may present any advice for risk reduction or risk avoidance in a calm, matter of fact manner, ‘talking in terms of ‘just to be on the extra safe side.’

I once drew The Tower alongside The Knight of Swords reversed, and, based on other cards, including the Four of Wands (home improvements) got a sinking feeling that the client was at risk of a nasty fall. I asked her, was she doing any decorating? She was. And had she been climbing up on a ladder to do so?

Yes, she said, but she had not come to see me to discuss this. She wanted to know about Mr X.

I persisted with a warning to be extra careful if climbing up on anything. I would have felt negligent in my responsibility towards her had I detected this risk and not said anything. She expressed mild impatience. I left it there and we continued with the analysis of the main issue of the day.

About three weeks later, she was painting, standing on a windowsill, and slipped and fell, fracturing her hip, and had to go to hospital as an inpatient. She was many weeks in recovery and months in physio afterwards (she was a lady in her late sixties) How do I know this? She came herself to tell me.

Life is just deeply sad sometimes. When something life changing has just happened to someone, and they have experienced a Tower experience at full blast, they may not be ready to hear that it was for the best, that it will prove to be a liberation, a blessing in disguise, that their previous existence had outworn its purpose.

It may be a time for on the one hand, practicalities, possibly deeply unpleasant, and on the other, well, in such times we reach for comfort, warmth, solace, beauty. Poetry, essentially. The common treasure chest of poetry, music, hymns, prayers, I will lift up mine eyes, The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, a season to every purpose under heaven, and so on, depending on the person’s own cultural background.

When someone dies, they leave behind mourners, living memories and a dead body, to be handled, dealt with, honoured, visited if there is a grave site, but ultimately, to be reclaimed by the earth or the elements, just as we were first made from the elements released from dying stars.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

The Tower, like The Death card reminds us that nothing is for ever. Suffering is part of life, and is the price we paid not to live forever as single- celled organisms. Clones. Death was the first ever Faustian pact, the price of evolution and specialization into personal individuality. Suffering was the price of individual consciousness and sensation. Fear was the price of suffering. Hunger was the price of appetite. Grief and anxiety were the price of love.

 ‘This too shall pass.’ the saying goes. This, from a speech by Abraham Lincoln in 1859, “It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words `And this, too, shall pass away.’ ‘How much it expresses!” Lincoln went on, “How chastening in the hour of pride. How consoling in the depths of affliction!”

Abraham Lincoln, 1853, attrib Alexander Gardner

Lincoln was so right. But it’s not like that at once. Not at first. The bucket must first hit the bottom of the well before it can be drawn back up again.

That is why in a tarot deck, The Tower card is followed by the healing of The Star. But healing and recovery, new Hope, like Truth, like Nature itself, can be as stern in its honesty and its travail as it is a marvel, mysterious and beautiful.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Science, Ships and The Six of Swords, Part 2

Part One is in the archives, posted October 2020.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-717501.jpeg
Photo by Robert Stokoe on Pexels.com

20 October 2020 Scientists for Britain tweeted

Retained EU law could cost our shipbuilding industry billions even after transition and MPs have NO plans to fix it.”

I drew a card in response to this tweet, and funnily enough, but then again, this is entirely typical of the Tarot, I drew one of the maritime cards, The Six of Swords. The Tarot will mirror the question or the issue with the very first card. Another maritime card is The Three of Wands (exports.)

The vessel as depicted in the Tarot is a mighty tiny maritime vessel, I grant you. Here in the Rider-Waite deck it is a mere punt or gondola.

The Rider-Waite Deck, A.E Waite

I am partial to this card. It is a solemn card, with a measure of regret or sorrow attached, but it tells a story of acceptance, resilience, endurance and vision.

The Six of Swords is traditionally a card of losses and mourning, but also recovery and convalescence from sickness or other setbacks. It is a card of learning, and in real life readings this has often meant distance learning, online, or with an element of travel to universities, conferences etc.

The Six of Swords is travel, exploration and discovery, charting a new course. It is independence, self reliance. See the figure at the helm. S/he has autonomy, steering east towards the rising sun (The suit of Swords correlates with the compass direction of east.)

In responding to the tweet from Scientists for Britain, it seemed to me The Six of Swords was doing two jobs. Of all the cards I could have drawn from the 78 cards in the Tarot deck, this is THE card at once capable of painting a future in respect of both the global and national pandemic problem, and telling a story of the British maritime simultaneously.

Pandemics historically last 3-4 years, we are in Year 2. But we have vaccines the governments did not have in 1918, when they were not completely certain whether they were dealing with a bacterium or virus.

The Six of Swords is not particular to Britain. Of course not. I don’t mean to suggest anything of the sort. But I am a reader in the UK. This is my home, and the card is drawn within the context of that headline tweet. If you are a reader in another country, of course this card could equally represent your own maritime traditions and industry.

This card, more than any other except for the Nine of Pentacles, has appeared again and again in my own readings to do with the future of Britain, drawn before and since Brexit, and the 2016 Referendum in which Britain voted to leave the EU.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 6-swords-gilded-1.png
The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti



But roll on six-seven months, as of today, 6 May 2021 the maritime issue of Fishing is nothing like resolved, post-Brexit.

Talks with Norway recently stalled as the North Sea cod are heading ever further northward in our increasingly warmer waters. UK likes cod (There is a slight north-south division of preference in the UK, cod for the south, haddock for the north )

The Norwegians like blue whiting, which they access in our waters but only in the early months of the year. If I understand this correctly, that window has passed for this year. Once more unto the breach then, but meantime it is not good news for many in the UK fishing industry.

Click HERE for more on that story.

Then France made threats to cut off Jersey’s electricity in a row over French fishing access to Jersey’s waters. A wonderful advertisement for diplomacy, and a shot across the bows, and a timely caution respecting the wisdom of interdependence in matters of essential security and infrastructure.

Jersey imports 95% of its electricity from France via French state utility EDF.

This happening as EDF is working on a mega contract at the UK’s Hinkley Point. And it all looks wonderful. Tickety- boo. But not a few private consumers in the UK might now be wondering if they would be prudent to make changes, or daft not to, reviewing their choice of domestic energy supplier.

Then a fleet of small French fishing boats arrived in Jersey waters last night, threatening to blockade the harbour at St Helier in a protest about the new fishing licence arrangements post-Brexit. And two British naval patrol vessels, HMS Tamar and HMS Severn were ordered to Jersey to monitor the situation.

Very perturbing.

I drew a card before going to bed, asking about the short term outcome, and was pleased to draw The Ten of Cups, a card of hearth and home. Pleased because, to my relief, this domestic card implied a peaceful outcome rather than escalation.

By the by- a coincidence of serendipity, this card of contentment correlates with the last decan of the zodiac sign of Pisces the Fishes.

The Ten of Cups from The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

The French boats left St Helier late this morning, heading home. There were talks in the meantime, but obviously, notwithstanding the Ten of Cups, they remain deeply discontented, as do all involved parties, and the issue is far from resolved as yet.

It would need more than one card to predict the ultimate outcome, the question is so multi-factorial. From whose perspective would I be asking? I would need to look at Norway and France as separate questions, and may do that at a later date, but though I am primarily writing to demonstrate the Tarot being used in ‘real life,’ people’s livelihoods are at stake, and feel it would not be right to do so at this point. It might look like good news, it might not.

Nor is this to paint the small French fishermen as the ‘bad guys,’ any more than I see Jersey as the bad guy, regulating access to its own waters in protecting the livelihoods of its own fishermen. Our own fishermen don’t tend to go in for protests ….’manif’…but when it comes right down to it, they are all in the same boat.

One has not only sympathy with the French fishermen as with the Jersey and other UK fishermen, but respect is due to them all; extremely brave, tough, hardworking souls.

But:

Helier high water?    
“It may seem absurd that the Royal Navy is having to defend Jersey from marauding French fishermen. But what’s truly extraordinary is that the French government has supported them. And, with an election on the way, there’s every chance Emmanuel Macron has more nationalist posturing up his sleeve”.    

The mayhem and misery of the cross Channel lorry blockades at Christmas, then the row about vaccines, now this. There is surely more to come before things find their new footing, as they will, says the Six of Swords.

This is a card of progress. It is only that progress is not easy. But when is it?

Good News

Those monstrous leviathans, the factory ships are another issue, and here is -hopefully- better news. The European Parliament and EU member states came to an agreement 13 February over new technical conservation measures for fishing, which includes an EU-wide ban on the controversial pulse trawling starting from mid-2021.

Electric-pulse fishing was originally banned by the E.U. in 1998, but the Netherlands won an exemption in 2006 that allowed it to conduct experimentation and innovation to improve pulse beam trawl systems. As a result, Dutch pulse beam trawlers have been operating on a large scale since 2011. However, in August 2019, electric pulse fishing was permanently banned, with a transition period allowed until July 2021.

Under the terms of the new regulation, new licenses cannot be granted to any vessel during that transition, but the Butendiek BRA 2 was granted a derogation by German authorities for its new rig, and will continue to fish until the end of July 2021″. SOURCE

Other good news

August last year, 2020, the iconic Ship Yard in Appledore in North Devon reopened after it closed in 2019. It was bought by Harland and Wolff owner Infrastrata for £7 million with 350 jobs, and its special angle will be ‘Green’ shipping.

Read more Here

From The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, illustrator Ciro Marchetti

Maritime Britain has a lot of lost ground (water) to make up. It is by no stretch any longer one of the big boys, but greater self-reliance is the bottom line in a volatile world of competing interests, however reliable the bonds of mutual cooperation and friendship

The Six of Swords suggests that slowly, surely we are and WILL be building more again, and hopefully this will mean more new fantastic STEM apprenticeship schemes for young people, while – according to this article about Merseyside the message was diversification.

Maritime will build back with the emphasis on innovation. The innovative specification of the new Sir David Attenborough shows the amazing things that can now be done.

It is a very special place on the seabed, The Dogger Bank and every living thing it supports. Not to be chewed up and churned to bits by factory ships.

I don’t care if it means I have to pay more for fish n chips. Not because I’m filthy rich. I ain’t. But. Fair dos. Count the price of everything, respect the value of nothing.

Read here re the discovery of what could just possibly be the oldest boat-building yard in the world…a platform 8,000 years old off the Isle of Wight.

The Six of Swords correlates with the element of Fixed Air- Intellect -and the Second Decan of Aquarius, dates 30 January- 8 February

Solemnly she takes the helm, standing alone, fixing her gaze ahead, symbolizing here not only the spirit of the melded, mingled, much-invaded Britannia, but spirits and legends originating with the Akkadians, Sumerians, Babylonians, the Greeks and the Star goddess Astraea, and Dike, Roman goddess of Justice.

The Six of Swords is both Air and Water (possibly fog, too cool for steam)

It is associated with Mercury, governing Intelligence, communications and trade (Think Hermes)

And it talks about Science and R & D. This means UK Space Tech too. Ships of the air.

Till next time. I’ll leave you with this ship launch- very Six of Swords.

That massive welding jobbie is nothing to worry about- apparently.

Comments:

“I must have skipped ship building in school but surely making it in two halves like that makes it weaker?”

“No, modern welding tech means the joins are not weak (the rest of the ship is welded sections – they just did the final one outdoors).

The Fiery Sky Ram Aries, The Emperor, and the Passing of a Prince

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

9 April 2021

The Tarot’s Emperor  flags up the spirit of Aries, the Ram of spring, cardinal fire sign, and with it the eternal archetype and image of the Emperor or  Patriarch

Our queen is in mourning, and many, many mourn with her. On this day in the season of Aries the Ram, a nation witnesses the passing of Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, first prince of the realm . He has died at a very good age, peacefully in his own home, but it is suspected he had had cancer, had been ill for longer than we, the public, were told, and in this case could not have escaped considerable discomfort or even suffering.

A long and eventful life, high achievements, gifts, talents and endeavours, also great troubles and sorrows. 

Early upheavals, displacement, his family scattered, and further close family losses before he was sixteen. A royal castaway, adrift in Europe, a schoolboy who had to be sent to Britain from Germany, his sister afraid he would get into trouble for goosestepping in the street, a schoolboy, mocking the Nazi salute. An athlete,  a naval officer who saw active service against Nazi Germany, who directly saved many lives at sea through his own quick thinking, who held naval rank for 82 years.

Aged 18 Philip passed out from Dartmouth Naval college, and in January 1940 he joined his first posting onboard the veteran, not to say venerable royal Sovereign class battleship, the HMS Ramillies had served in the Great War, and was built 1916.

Prince Philip served four months as a midshipman patrolling the Indian Ocean, escorting troops from Australia to Egypt.

My maternal grandfather later served as a Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve officer on this same ship in 1944, with my mother, his first child, a baby daughter, born December 1939.

Philip was the real deal, a true Renaissance man of many interests; science, space exploration, even UFO’s, wildlife and adventures for the young of the inner cities. One of my own daughters did The Duke of Edinburgh Award and went camping, much to my happiness because I was becoming too disabled to do these sorts of things with her, to walk with her up on the mountains, as I had done in my teens with my family.

He was a horseman, expert carriage driver, author and artist, painter of landscapes, a husband, father and paterfamilias to three younger generations. 

All this, we are being told, if we didn’t know about it before.

Less commonly reported, is that Prince Philip was a Gemini sun sign subject; hence his curiosity, intellectual agility, humour and restlessness (also perhaps, mischief) His Moon was in Leo (regal, family man, and there is a certain star quality and charisma with this placement.) The Moon sign is an indicator of the emotional temperament.

His Ascending or Rising sign was in Capricorn, and this represents the outer face of the person…duty, dignity and discipline with a red hot bullsh*t detector, and a firm grasp, always, of the reality of the bottom line.

It is the passing of an era.

The Emperor card and Timing

If you ask ‘when?’ and I draw The Emperor, the event in question is likely to occur during the zodiac sign of Aries, late March-late April.

Did I think it would be today, 9 April, the passing of HRH Prince Philip?

Did I look in my Tarot?

No. I did not look in my cards about this. Given the age and recent health issues of the Prince, this news is not unexpected. All the same, I woke one night while he was in the hospital, and thought of him and the thought flashed through my mind, ‘it won;t be now, while he is in the hospital, but before May.’

We had seen the sadness on the face of Prince Charles on his way to visit his father.

The Emperor, ruled by Mars, is in many ways, the opposite number of another classically masculine archetype, The Hermit, whose planetary ruler is Mercury. Both walk alone. The Hermit has learned many things, understands many things, and will shine a light for others. But the Hermit  walks the quieter paths in life, and has to be sought out, while The Emperor feels perhaps even more alone in the eye of the storm in the midst of the machinery of power.

hermit legacy
From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

The Emperor as an Archetype

For all he was a technocrat, Prince Philip had a poet’s perception, and once said that to change hearts and minds on any great matter, one could do nothing without the arts and religion, and we needed to get all the religions of the world on board to protect endangered wildlife.

This aspect in particular, calls forth the vision of the Tarot’s Hermit card. The Emperor commands, enshrines in law, while The Hermit walks the wild places, in communion with the laws of Nature.

But in zodiac terms, The Emperor marks the rule of Aries, fiery sign of spring, and Philip has passed away under the banner of Aries, the royal warrior Ram.

Life is fierce, getting itself born. The unborn must attack or stay unborn. The fields are full of lambs, but lambing is not gentle.

And a ram may attack anyone entering his field, no less than a bull, and people are still killed by rams. If ever a ram knocks you down, you must stay down. Do not try and get up, or it will keep coming at you.

The Ram at this time of year is driven by the fiercest Life imperative, to defend his patch, his ewes, his lambs.

The Ram of Aries is charging at spring full tilt, the fields, the woods, the hills, the rivers and ponds. Spring has sprung out on the pond here, and you can believe it really is ‘Nature red in tooth and claw’. The coots have already lost their first clutch to the depredations of the gulls. The heron lurks almost invisible in the reeds, so perfect is its camouflage against their winter grey, and the reeds have not yet grown back green. That will not happen till the watch of Taurus.

Video courtesy of Major (ret’d) D P Hazeldine

The Emperor in a personal Tarot reading

The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

The appearance of The Emperor card is likely to be turning the conversation to a senior male figure in your life; a father or grandfather, a husband, and often he is older than you, maybe an employer.

This is the ultimate card of masculinity but of course a woman can also be represented by The Emperor card. Male or female, you could be the Emperor yourself,  for example, in your role as a business owner, or as a manager, soldier, officer, police officer or in many other roles.

In a more abstract sense, this is a card of ‘rendering unto Caesar.’

We all owe dues somewhere, sometime. We all must pay our dues. We can only take out what has been put in the pot.

But Emperors, though they may wield power, are not free. They themselves owe duty. They are not free and they can be brought down. The regalia of power is in token of service. There is no loyalty without reciprocity.

The Emperor may be  a worker in the Civil Service or judiciary. The appearance of this card has several times alerted me to the fact I am sitting with an off-duty police officer, whether male or female.

Once it showed me a judge in the United States.

A client’s son was due in court in the United States. A non-violent offence, a woman had accused him of sexual assault, with potentially very serious consequences for him if found guilty. Not prison, but the client wanted to know the worst, to help herself prepare to support her son and his family, whatever the outcome.

The son had become very depressed waiting for the hearing, had been suspended from his job, a teacher, as was routine in such cases, and banned from seeing his children pending the hearing, and had self-harmed, so the client told me.

I drew  three cards in answer to her question. These were Judgement, The Emperor and Justice.

Based on these cards I felt she would would be greatly relieved by the outcome. I told her so and then something very odd happened.

At the very moment I drew the final card, three greetings cards displayed on the top shelf of a tall bookcase  suddenly flew out mid-air, almost horizontally into the middle of the room, and fluttered to the floor. No open doors, no open windows. Still there was a draught, presumably, but the client was extremely startled. I was a little startled myself, it is fair to say. The movement of the cards in the air flying off the shelves looked so unnatural.

I could not discount the possibility that we had witnessed a manifestation of psychokinesis given the tension attached to the question, the client’s acutely worried state.

It was many months later before I learned the outcome.  The judge had thrown out the case, saying – and these were his actual words apparently, ‘what a crock of sh*t.’

Impersonally, the card signifies government and large corporations organisations,  the Armed Forces, the Law, and global or government organisations

If you are job-hunting and this card comes up, you are likely to find work before long, no matter who the prospective employer may be, while if you have specifically applied to an organisation of this kind, your application looks likely to succeed.

English: Modern bronze statue of Julius Caesar...
English: Modern bronze statue of Julius Caesar, Rimini, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Emperor in real life gets many a bad rap. Many a drubbing. Often well deserved.

The Emperor in his negative aspect is a tyrant or a coward, a bully or a petty pedant. A human monster even.

The ongoing events in Myanmar, a military junta killing its own people, its own children, is a real life demonstration of the worst of The Emperor card drawn reversed.

The ambition of Emperors have over and over again been catastrophic for the peace and happiness of their fellow humans.

Marcus Antonius:
And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1, 270-275

The Emperor is but frail and mortal. He has feet of clay. But today, let us think of The Emperor at his very best, in his highest, greatest guise. He is a chevalier, a sheltering tree. Rule with compassion, defender of the small and weak. He is the ardent lover.

He is the one who will fight and die, if that is what it takes, to defend his home and his people. Children and animals are drawn to him, and he is ready to run with them, play like a child.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

He represents the path of reason and justice and is ready to uphold it by word and deed. He is active in creating order, fixing, mending, making, inventing, reining in his strength at times, exercising it at others so that order prevails, and not everyone gets splattered with the filth of chaos.

Compassion in action, and not just fine words demands courage, nerve and know-how. For compassion of deed and not just words, you have to look to the strong man or woman. In all the light and shade of his complexity, The Emperor represents ‘our’ own menfolk, those we live with, those we work with. Those we love, befriend, honour, love, respect and appreciate.

Even though sometimes we might feel like giving them a ding round the head with a saucepan. The Empress, after all, has her own dominion.

Red earth of Adam, The Emperor may be self sufficient, but at times, there is a certain loneliness. Born to strive, to quest, to see and not to say all that he sees, trusting few with his thoughts or his deepest fears. Throneless Emperors, every one.

RIP, Prince Philip, the once upon a time baby with not even a bed, never mind a home to call his own. He once described himself as a minor Balkan prince of no importance, and he admired so many other lands, yet made his homeland here, joining that company of other, ancient, but never to be forgotten princes, the conquering and the conquered, of these isles, so many times embattled and invaded.

We know all about The Emperor.

harold

Harold Godwinson

Betrayed by his brother

Begged wait by his mother

Story, half told

Stitched in thread

A king still speaks

Of ships on shingle

Ghosts of Senlac

Battled hillside,

Ringed in red.

KE Hazeldine 2017

The Ides of March and all that -Astrology, Prediction and Politics

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

The use of astrology and other forms of divination is nothing new in politics. Over many centuries leaders and politicians, both in the West and East,  the most highly educated people of their times, and, notwithstanding progress and all the discoveries of science since, they would still be regarded as more generally and highly educated than many people even today, have used the services of astrologers in an advisory capacity.

This brings us to the question, why do people in general use such services?

Well, why do they watch weather forecasts, or conduct polls, buy Lottery tickets, play guessing games, or follow the Stock Exchange

Forecasting in an activity as old as humankind. It is about coping, control, risk assessment and preparation, and ultimately, survival. The human race has always exercised its wits in trying to sense the future, preparing to meet opportunities, challenges, or even downright threats.

But sometimes decisions need to be taken when we don’t have all the facts we ideally need. This is where an astrological or other divinatory perspective may offer a fresh view of the situation, and a sense of the options, the stakes and the odds.

“Astrology is like a weather report; it tells you what conditions you’re likely to face in the future. If the weatherman says it’s probably going to rain, you bring an umbrella. If you follow that advice, you won’t get wet.”– Lee Goldberg, Meteorologist

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava on Pexels.com

 Julius Caesar

“Beware the Ides of March,” is a famous line from Shakespeare’s play ‘Julius Caesar,’ and is  associated  with 15 March, the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC.

Below, The Emperor from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot deck. Looking very Julius Caesar, though Julius was never actually Emperor, despite lending his name to the later titles of Czar and Kaiser. The Emperor is the card of Aries the Ram, cardinal sign of spring and lambing season, authority, organizations, rulership, fire, daring, and fatherhood and all things masculine.

The truth: there was a bit more to it, but Shakespeare relied solely on Plutarch for his sources. A seer called Spurinna, a haruspex who read animal entrails as a system of divination, had examined the entrails of a bull on 15 February, and had read a bad omen there; some problem with the heart of the bull, we don’t know what exactly, whether it was malformed, or not quite where it should have been.

Spurinna, alarmed at the condition or ‘absence’ of the bull’s heart and possibly also by a few things he had heard, joined these dots and warned Caesar of a serious threat to his life during the coming 30 days, by or on The Ides (15 March)

Caesar heeded the warning and mostly stayed home for the next few weeks, partly because his wife Calpurnia was very worried. Spurinna had a good reputation for accuracy. Not only was he from Etruria, and Etruscan seers were highly regarded for their skill in divination, he was well connected with the elite of Rome, and had no doubt read the mood there.

Caesar was due to depart Rome again on the 18 March, on military campaign in Spain. The conspirators were running out of time.

But on the 15 March, he disregarded Calpurnia’s fears after a bad dream she had the previous night, and was persuaded to go to the Senate by a friend, Decimus, his closest friend or so he thought, but Decimus had aligned himself with the conspirators. Any betrayal by Brutus, with whom he had quite a mixed history, was nothing compared to the betrayal by Decimus.

On his way to the Portico of Pompey (Caesar’s former friend, ally, one time son in law and later enemy) where the assassins waited forewarned and ready, every eventuality planned for, Caesar passed the seer and joked, “The Ides of March are come,” and Spurinna is said to have replied “Aye, Caesar; but they are not gone.” Caesar here was referring back to the fact that on 15 February, Spurinna had warned him of a threat to his life during the next 30 days on or by the Ideas of March.

Caesar was no lamb to the slaughter. He was a soldier. He defended himself. Tried to escape. Tried to fight back and when he finally went down, touchingly, he covered his face with his robe, in an effort, it is thought, to preserve his privacy and dignity at the very end,or in the hope of avoiding facial mutilation.

The political consequences of this assassination were profound. Caesar’s death backfired on the conspirators, largely for big money reasons, and actually brought about the end of the Roman Republic, and the rise of the Emperors, the tragic irony here being, the assassins killed Caesar because they were afraid he was planning to overthrow the republic and become Emperor.

But could Caesar have avoided this fate?

This is the big question, one of those eternal questions, and of course we can never know. Astrologers today would argue our fate is not fixed, and that Caesar might have escaped, and thereby proven the seer wrong, if he had chosen to act on the warning, or “astrological intel,” as some astrologers describe it – astrological intelligence.

John Dee was a 16th century British mathematician, astronomer, geographer, and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth 1. He was briefly imprisoned at one time, on charges of sorcery during the reign of Mary 1 (“Bloody Mary”) but luckily for him, he had powerful friends and was released. and once Elizabeth became queen, he became her trusted astrological advisor and was appointed to choose an auspicious date for her coronation – an application of what is termed today event astrology electional astrology.

John Dee, in the Ashmolean, Wikimedia

What ended the use of astrology as an accepted practice close to the centres of political power?

The Enlightenment during the 17th century brought new discoveries in astronomy, chiefly and most significantly that Copernicus was right, and the Earth went round the sun, and not the other way round, and they had imprisoned Galileo and burned Giordano Bruno for stating a fact, though in Bruno’s case he had gone rather further than this.

But this threw a new light on astrology, and brought its basis into question.

The German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, famed for his improvements to the telescope and his work on the laws of interplanetary motion, was also a renownedastrologer, and he urged fellow scientists not to ‘throw out any baby with the bathwater.’

They were forgetting or overlooking a key point; that western astrology is an arithmetic symbol system based on a vast, ancient collection of psychological and natural observations and data. Discoveries in astronomy changed the science, expanded its range but did not render this arithmetic model invalid.

But his warnings were not heeded. Astrology was now relegated by mainstream academia to the realm of mere superstition, where it largely languishes to this day, yet while thriving as a Humanities subject, with an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology currently taught at the University of Wales

Meanwhile in China too, the disciplines of astrology and astronomy had drifted ever further apart, and the use of astrology in the Imperial courts was in decline by the end of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).

Astrology and Politics Today

Politicians today are unlikely to admit employing the services of an astrologer, especially after the excitement of 1998 when the former White House Chief of Staff, Donald Regan, stated that Nancy Reagan used astrologers to help plan the president’s schedule of activities.

Source: Timeline

“Donald Regan, Reagan’s chief of staff until he was ousted amid the Iran-Contra scandal, spilled in his 1988 book, For The Record, what he viewed as “the most closely guarded domestic secret of the Reagan White House.” He wrote that “Virtually every major move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House Chief of Staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise.”

Before long, the astrologer who was advising the White House was identified as Joan Quigley.

The New York Post ran a story with the headline, “Astrologer Runs The White House” and the disclosure became fodder for jokes in Washington. On Capitol Hill, Representative Tony Coelho, the Democratic whip from California, blamed astrology for Republicans backing out of a revised trade bill. “Maybe an astrologer is telling them to object today.” Speaker of the House Jim Wright shot back, “It’s all right with me. I’m glad he consults somebody.”

The Reagans denied this but Joan Quigley herself later wrote that she had been actively involved in activities involving the President’s international relations.

Perhaps they still do. Perhaps they don’t. Astrologers are publicly at least, consigned to the realms of entertainment, but at least they are free to practice their skills and publicly discuss their findings without fear of persecution, imprisonment or execution for heresy or sorcery, while politicians, like anyone else, can consult in private or access free astrological commentary and forecasts via a thriving online and other publishing market.

But politics aside, some might still be surprised to learn who today uses astrology, Tarot and other such services, not for entertainment, not for fortune telling, but for analysis and forecasting, for an extra inside track, using such readings as a sounding board, weighing the odds, exploring the most likely outcomes in respect of a choice from their range of available options.

Black cats are lucky.

Lucky.

But sometimes even luck can use a little help, if only to warn where the cracks are, or potholes on the road ahead.

Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

Happy Ides of March.

Back soon 🙂

Pisces the Heavenly Fishes, the seasons in the stars, the reasons in the signs

 

Chartres cathedral window, early 13 th century, photo by Vassil

Most of us know our zodiac sign but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? Let’s get better acquainted with Pisces.

Common associations

Symbol:

Zodiac Sign placement: 12th and last sign, completing the wheel of the zodiac year

Date of Birth: 18/19 Feb to 20/21 March. Variable cusp depending on the leap year cycle

Ruling planet: Neptune (before Neptune’s official discovery in 1846 it was Jupiter)

Element: Water

Quality: Mutable – versatile, the ending of one season and the beginning of another

Lucky Days: Monday and Thursday

Energy: Yin -receptive

Key phrase: I believe (as in the ‘Fishers of men’, early Christianity adopted a fish as its symbol)

Body: Feet, eyes, bladder

Birth Stone:  Aquamarine especially, but also amethyst, ruby, bloodstone and jasper. Brazil is one of the best sources for this stone. Aquamarine (meaning ‘the water of the sea’) is a blue variety of beryl where Emerald is a green beryl. The aquamarine is a hexagonal crystal structure, sometimes confused with blue topaz, and was traditionally believed to enhance foresight and clairvoyance, and a sense of happiness, with the power to repel evil – or help you talk to the Devil (I wouldn’t give the bugger the time of day, personally)

Aquamarine-Wiki

Tarot card: The Moon

Meanings: The Moon, literally, Mondays, tides, cycles, ebb and flow, feminine cycles, fertility, instinct, wildlife, walking on the wild side, hunting, fishing, visionary capabilities, psychics, ghosts, visions, dreams, delusions, madness, contamination, fever, food poisoning, uncertainty, danger, confusions with documentation, risks in travel.

The Gilded Tarot Royale, artist Ciro Marchetti

Note the wolves, hunting and howling by the light of the full moon, and the spawning crab, though this is often depicted as a crayfish instead, as in the Rider -Waite decks.

The minor arcana cards associated with Pisces are the 8, 9 and 10 Cups, ranging in interpretation from the melancholy to the sublime.

The 8 of Cups says you were ready to offer devotion. A door stayed shut, but you have learned something of value, not least about where you belong. Do not wait overlong outside any door that fails to open. The world is wide, new horizons beckon. Walk away, not looking back in anger.

The 9 of Cups is truth, grace, happiness-the Grail, and heart-felt wishes may be granted

The 10 of Cups is home sweet home, arrival.

The Astronomy

There are 88 constellations registered with NASA. The 12 that have constellations given their names to the zodiac signs in Western or Tropical astrology have their earliest known origins in the ancient Indo-European civilizations located at the latitude 36 degrees north and 30 minutes. Other constellations were named later, many of these later ones by Greek navigators.

Pisces, the Latin plural of fish is a large but rather faint constellation, the 14th largest constellation overall, covering a large V shaped region in the part of the sky known as The Sea or The Water, possibly named by the Mesopotamians because they had learned to associate the appearance overhead of these heavenly bodies with their rainy seasons; Aquarius, Capricornus (the Mer-Goat).

Capricorn signifies the ibex and its mating season which starts in December, but it also has an ancient Sumerian origin story associated with it, where the goats came out of the sea to climb to the mountains, leaving behind the father of all the goats, a solitary mer-goat who was promoted to the skies.

So these three zodiac signs, Capricorn Aquarius and Pisces may have come to represent predictive seasonal co-ordinates for the rainy months at the thirty sixth Parallel, 36 and half degrees north.

The vernal equinox currently occurs during Pisces, 19-21 March, the astronomical marker of the start of spring.

Pisces is represented as two fish swimming at right angles to each other, one to the north and one to the west and attached by a cord and are usually depicted as koi.

Its stars are faint — none brighter than fourth magnitude — and hard to see with the naked eye. But its brightest star, Eta Piscium, also known as Alpherg or Kullat Nunu, is a bright giant star (G class) 294 light-years from Earth and has a luminosity 316 times greater that of the sun.

Kullat Nunu is its Babylonian name. ‘Nunu’ means ‘fish’ and ‘kullat’ is a bucket.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Pisces second brightest star is a yellow giant about 130 light-years from Earth, Gamma Piscium. Alpha Piscium is the third brightest star in Pisces, and is made up of a pair of white dwarf stars in close proximity. Its other name is Alrescha (“the cord.”) and marks the spot where it appears that the tails of the two fish are joined or tied together.

The best time to see Pisces in the Northern Hemisphere is 9 PM between 6-9 November looking below the Square of Pegasus.

History and Mythology

The first spawning of most freshwater fish starts in the spring, from late March onward, but, depending on latitude and therefore temperature, some species may spawn from as soon as late February onward, and in the warmer Indus, this surely played its part in the rationale for the astronomical calendar slot historically allocated to Pisces the heavenly fish.

Pisces represents the principle of THE THAW, THE MELT. Fish may rise again to the top to feed. Frogs and Toads will spawn.

If you want to insult a Pisces subject, call them a MELT (but first, ask yourself if you are really sure about this.)

The fish of Pisces are attached by a cord of stars, just as life and death are conjoined and cannot be separated. Pisces is not only the last sign of winter, moving into spring; it is the last sign of the whole zodiac year, the culmination of all the signs that came before it.

The western signs of the zodiac are thought to origin from about 2900-2700 BC, emerging among the peoples living at 36 and a half degrees latitude. The 36th Parallel.

Click here to see the regions involved.

This latitude was the cradle of Indo-European civilization (you will also see that the 36 Parallel was of key symbolic significance to the American Civil War) Younger, later constellations that were not adopted as zodiac signs were often named for maritime navigational purposes, many of them by the Greeks.

The Egyptians

“It (Pisces) is one of the earliest zodiac signs on record, with the two fish appearing as far back as c. 2300  BC on an Egyptian coffin lid ” -(Wiki)

The two fish of the constellation Pisces were the offspring of the Great Fish. In Egyptian mythology, this fish saved the life of the Egyptian goddess Isis and she placed this fish and its descendants into the heavens as a star constellation.

India

In Hindu mythology Matsya is an manifestation or avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu the Preserver who rescued the first man, Manu from a great deluge. (…and here we are again, back to the great flood stories of Aquarius) The Matsya may be depicted as a giant golden fish or as a merman, half- fish half humanoid Lord Vishnu.

Vishnu is the second god in the Hindu holy trinity (Trimurti) This triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world, Brahma was the Maker,god of creation and passion, Vishnu, the face of light and preservation, and Shiva, the face of the dark, and destruction.

Wiki

Greece

Pisces is often represented as a pair of koi carp. and the reason for this comes from Greek mythology. To the ancient Greeks, the fish were the goddess Aphrodite and her son, Eros, who were out walking by the Euphrates one day when a terrible monster, Typhon, suddenly rose up out of the water.

This monster had been terrorizing the gods of Olympus ever since the war with the Titans. Typhon was a Titan, a son of Gaia, and he hated the gods of Olympus as invaders and upstarts, the new kids of the block who had overthrown and dispossessed his own, more ancient race of Titans. He was as tall as the heavens and his eyes shot flames. Instead of fingers, he had 100 dragon’s heads sprouting from his hands -for which one could read ‘flames’ or magma.

None of the Olympians had the power to destroy Typhon, or confront him, not alone. For a time, all they could do was avoid him or flee for their lives, which they often did by transforming themselves into animals, and Aphrodite and Eros, in this case, transformed themselves into two fish (koi) and swam away.

The work of John Flamsteed the first Astronomer Royal. Image from the Atlas Coelestis, posthumously published by John Flamsteed, 1729, illustrator John Thornhill.

Ultimately, Zeus imprisoned the terrible Typhon beneath Mount Etna…but Zeus didn’t deal with him for good. He couldn’t, not even Zeus, and Typhon is still very alive down there and pretty disgruntled. A deeply alarming spectacle, as we have seen on the news these last few days, as of 16 February 2021 and there have been a number of related astrological and psychic prognostications, talking about such seismic activity as a potentially major global influence in 2021.

Rome and Early Christianity

Early Christians used the Fish as a symbol of their faith…and called the TWELVE apostles of Christ the Fishers of Men (Pisces as the twelfth sign.

The secret code name for Jesus- Yeshua Ben Joseph- was Ichthys

The so- called Age of Pisces began 1 AD and- depending on your source, will end in 2150 when we enter the so-called Age of Aquarius, though some astrologers say we are already in that Age. The Age of Pisces saw the rise of the Monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam. The Age of Aquarius is supposedly a secular age, all about technology and collectivism.

Read more about the astrological ages HERE

But religion shows no sign of going away. Islam is currently on the rise in the west, Christianity on the wane, with vacuums filled by socio-political ideological transmutations of the religious instinct, and in another two thousand or so years, it will be succeeded by another ‘earthy’ chapter – a new Age of Capricorn. (This thing works ‘retrograde’, working backwards through the zodiac signs)

The Astrological Personality

From The Golden Tarot, by Kat Black

In Tarot, whether the subject is male of female, Pisces is embodied as The Knight of Cups. In Arthurian legend this would be Sir Percival or in later versions of the legend, Sir Galahad. This knight is a champion of the underdog, a protector, a lover, a bearer of grace and the healing chalice.

In a Tarot reading this generally translates as a happy situation, a new friend, an admirer, possibly a marriage proposal, news of a baby on the way, or a job offer or other good news is coming soon, and your cup ‘runneth over’.

Of course there is no such thing in reality as THE Pisces personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote, but of course it is not, and never could be the whole story, least of all in astrology. There is far more than just the sun sign in your own personal chart. You can find this out for yourself by looking up your own chart free online (obviously just be careful re spam etc).

Pisces combines imagination with the determination of a salmon fighting upriver, although, depending on the decanate, there may a certain quite marked passivity, even inertia. This may actually serve them very well at times, but could in some cases degenerate into darkness involving depression, alcohol or other substance misuse.

These individuals are talented natural artists, writers or musicians. They are famously loyal once committed, compassionate and sensitive. They adapt with ease, are spontaneous and full of surprises, but while their steel may be hidden, all the same, it is there. Not much is said about this scaly Pisces steel. They can be tough, even hard in a quiet way. They may not say much but watch the face harden, and cross the line once too often, you are gone, and that is it.

Where they demonstrate a lack of proper consideration for others, or undue stubbornness, it is not due to lack of goodwill, but they are not paying attention, too focused on their inner preoccupations.

Photo by Laura Porter on Pexels.com

Pisces needs variety, and structure must allow them room for a degree of autonomy. Desk based work, although Pisces can certainly do it, is not really their thing.

Pisces can make excellent and approachable team leaders with a reputation for loyalty to their staff. Passing the buck is not their style. They will take on injustice, take on those senior in status, but Pisces, unlike, say Aquarius, acts on an individual basis. Group actions, campaigns or crusades do not sit with their temperament, except just possibly for early Pisces, born on the Aquarius cusp. Later subjects, born close to the Aries cusp 20/21 April, are very much the ‘doers’ of Pisces.

Pisces is as brave as it is kind but these water sign denizens need to guard their physical energy. It can be erratic, and once depleted, is not always easily restored. If they are prone to headaches at the back of the head, there may be related bladder infections or other issues.

The Decans of Pisces

Each zodiac sign contains three decans, blocks of ten days or so, each with a different planetary ruler.

Pisces Decan 1 February 19 to February 28 (approximately) is ruled by Neptune. Those born within this decan will present as typical Pisces. Seldom aggressive or offensive, they conduct themselves with kindness and courtesy and very reasonably expect the same in return. Neptune, planet of illusion, is both their ruler and sub-ruler, emphasizing their imaginative capabilities. Pisces-Pisces readily connects with other people on an unconscious level, almost as if hearing what they are thinking, and able to anticipate their next moves, but they are likely to take a lot of detours before finding their own sense of direction. Tarot card: The Eight of Cups

Pisces Decan 2 March 1 to March 10 (approximately) The sub-influences for this decan are Cancer/MOON. Cancer – natural ruler of the fourth house of home base, family, and security – may keep them very close to family members, whether this is a positive or negative influence. They often bear a striking physical resemblance to a parent and may struggle to loosen break parental ties and become independent, but they must, if they are to develop their own potential, and often they are warm, well- balanced emotionally, cultured, artistically gifted, with charm and a keen sense of humour, from the zany to the dark or possible ingenious. They need plenty of quiet time alone. Tarot card: The Nine of Cups

Pisces Decan 3 March 11-March 20. A thinker, possibly even a visionary, the very last decan of all in the wheel of the zodiac year is a FINISHER. They are energetic, symbolized by the Mars influence on Scorpio.Pisces-Scorpio has an intensely practical side and often well-developed technical or scientific skills. They need activities, outlets for their physical energy and it matters a lot to them helping other people. This decan is considered fated to an unusual degree, and one day a calling may come to them in the form of a great challenge. Tarot card: The Ten of Cups

Famous Pisces in history

Michelangelo, Amerigo Vespucci, Copernicus, Vivaldi, Handel, George Washington, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Albert Einstein, Nat King Cole, Elizabeth Taylor, Nina Simone, Harold Wilson, Yuri Gagarin, Sidney Poitier, Steve Irwin.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

‘No man is an island’. Yes we are. Islands in archipelagos.

But there are boats.

Until next time 🙂

February Feeling

I am running late with this Tarot reading, done 24 January, looking ahead at February but with no particular question, just fishing in the ether.

I felt drawn to pull two cards for February, and drew The Ten of Pentacles (Reversed) and The Eight of Cups from the Rider-Waite Deck.

Noah’s Ark in shown here in reference to another recent reading which mentioned precipitation, and the risk of flooding in the UK during February. This is nothing unusual for February, though some years are worse than others. February starts with Aquarius and ends with Pisces, and the Babylonians called Aquarius ‘the curse of rain,’ -or in northern latitudes, rain or snow.

Il Matrimonio took this pic of the heron on a nearby pond, while Junior Sprog’s young fellow, Carpenter Henry, is in mourning for his beloved koi carp, which last week disappeared from the garden pond of their rental cottage, presumed dead, prey to their own hungry heron.

Back to the Tarot.

The Ten of Pentacles (Reversed)

From The Rider Waite Tarot

Keywords: Homeland, Family, Home, Money, Family Tree, Legacies, Continuity, Heritage, Family Business, Family Gatherings/Events/Celebrations, Businesses, Old Age

This card drawn reversed highlights particular challenges to do with these areas during the month of February 2021, from government level to an individual level.

The Ten of Pentacles is an earth suit card, to do with everything that we most need, value and treasure: security, belonging, homeland and the family home, money and inheritance, cultural heritage, wills, bequests and legacies of all kinds, financial, cultural, physical, and even genetic. So your middle name was given to you in memory of your great-grandfather? That’s the Ten of Pentacles. So, people say that you have your mother’s eyes? That’s the Ten of Pentacles.

It is the card of architecture, in every sense of the word, and the inter-generational relationships which make the bedrock of society.

In terms of planets and timings, the Ten of Pentacles correlates with the zodiac sign Virgo, and is ruled by Mercury, planet of communications, trade and travel, all of which continue to present a challenge during February 2021.

Late spring, late summer and late autumn look like the generally optimal months in 2021.

2020 was a dark year. 2021 does look brighter and better as Jupiter pulls away from Pluto, planet of the Underworld, but still, we all see there are major hurdles as the world’s governments struggle with a second wave of covid, and according to the Tarot, this may peak, or have passed its peak around 21 February in the UK.

This card of financial governance reflects the challenge of many Governments in raising or borrowing the finances to support their respective economies through this time of severely reduced economic activity. The Tarot has previously indicated to me that the global economy will recover perhaps surprisingly quickly, by or before early 2023. If only enough smaller businesses survive, not to have the giants ruling the roost any more than they do already.

History suggests global pandemics in general have been something of a once in a century phenomenon, and have tended to last between 1-3 years, and it is travel by ships, trains and planes which have carried them ever more swiftly around the world. Plane hopping = zero chance of eradication. And this is SARS, not flu.

Significantly, the Ten of Pentacles has been drawn reversed -upside- down – for February.

This puts the card in its less positive light, reflecting not only the extraordinary struggle of governments in so many countries, but at a personal and family level, the ongoing struggles of those small or family owned businesses, and the anxiety and frustrations of so many individuals and families unable to meet during lockdown measures.

This second wave has overtaken the first wave in terms of mortality. The UK second wave may possibly pass, or have recently passed peak mortality during February, after which, things will turn a corner again, and the new challenge is to keep that R rate down. I was unduly optimistic last year, and perhaps I am something of a glass half-full person and I need to watch that potential for bias. But right or wrong, the cards I get are the cards I get, no conscious control. That’s the entire point of this kind of exercise, and that’s the nature of this beast.

I was accurate in respect of timings in the UK, forecasting the end of the first wave and the release of that lock-down, but detected the risk of a significant second wave as roughly fifty- fifty or lower. Badly underestimated that one!

Good job I didn’t work for the Emperor Tiberius. He’d have had me chucked off the cliffs in Capri.

Astrology of The Ten of Pentacles

The Ten of Pentacles is ruled by Virgo, the Zodiac House of Health, which in turn is ruled by Mercury. This planet went retrograde 30 January and stays retrograde until 21 February, symbolically making this a time when misunderstandings may quickly arise, and making this a good time to rethink a few things, not only in respect of paying close attention to health and hygiene, but to be extra risk averse and vigilant in checking arrangements and information, for example, double- checking appointment times, important paperwork or travel plans, especially around 17 February when there may be an extra risk of (probably minor) mishaps.

Virgo is famously detail focused, very, and warns us not to relax our guard with things like distancing and frequent hand-washing, even though people may be, very naturally, fed up to the back teeth of hearing it.

Like that rock and roll classic by The Coasters, 1958

‘Yakety Yak.’

Take out the papers and the trash
Or you don’t get no spendin’ cash
If you don’t scrub that kitchen floor
You ain’t gonna rock and roll no more
Yakety yak (don’t talk back)Just finish cleanin’ up your room
Let’s see that dust fly with that broom
Get all that garbage out of sight
Or you don’t go out Friday night
Yakety yak (Don’t talk back)You just put on your coat and hat
And walk yourself to the laundromat
And when you finish doin’ that
Bring in the dog and put out the cat
Yakety yak (Don’t talk back) – Source: LyricFind

But the Roman Goddess HYGEIA is associated with Virgo, so there we have it.

Hygeia says ‘Yakety yak!’

(Don’t talk back.)

Hygeia

We want to protect our elders, but neither do we want to leave them lonely, afraid and isolated. This is a challenge highlighted by the Ten of Pentacles but this card reminds us, old age has value. Even as they may need our help, our older people can help and support us too,. They are not to be patronized as charity cases. They have many things to share and to teach, things seen and learned in their lived experience. Things understood.

RIP Captain Tom.

The Eight of Cups

From The Ride-Waite Tarot

Keywords:  moral courage, emotional courage, walking away, sadness, acceptance, resignation, disappointment, decisions, and hard lessons learned.

This card is about saying goodbye, and walking away. It’s about the things we leave behind; the people, the places, the situations, maybe even hopes and dreams that no longer mean what they used to. Maybe we have lost interest.

Donald Trump has left The White House. The UK has left the EU. They will not return. It seems unlikely that Donald Trump will want to run again for President in four years time, even assuming that the option will exist, which looks increasingly unlikely. Britain has much hard work ahead, but is setting her face firmly to the future and will not rejoin the EU under a future UK government. The showing of teeth in the recent near debacle in respect of the Northern Ireland border only makes that possibility less likely.

Astrology of The Eight of Cups

In terms of astrology and timing, the Eight of Cups correlates with the first decan of the zodiac sign of Pisces, February 19 to March 20.

Pisces, previously ruled by Jupiter, is nowadays largely considered as ruled by psychic, dreamy planet Neptune, identified as a planet in 1846.

This card is suggesting a calmer, gentler closing to the month. For many, there will be intense, vivid dreams and perhaps powerful religious or even psychic experiences.

22 Feb Update: I had such an experience during the night 18 Feb. I woke and reached for the water beside the bed, saw a grey glow to my right, and turned and saw an vaguely human like apparition. It was looking at me and the face was not pleasant, though it faded almost at once. I got a bit of a scare and prepared myself for worrying news in the coming days. The ‘explanation’ came within 2 days, a close family member in distress.

Or paranoia. Oh yes. There is plenty of that about, blooming nicely.

The virus too, is fighting for its life, and it does not do negotation of timetables, but month by month we draw nearer to the inevitable end of this pandemic situation, and spring is nearly here. The snowdrops are long since out already.

The Ace of Cups (summer solstice) and the King of Wands signal a return to much greater normality by or before Leo –late July-late August. More about that in a minute.

I’m still keeping my own travel plans inside in the UK this year regardless of progress, on the principle of not making oneself a hostage to fortune- and there speaks my Virgo ascendant, yakety yak.

The Chinese (Lunar) New Year

12 February – 31 January, 2022

In Chinese and other Far Eastern Asian astrology traditions, the Lunar New Year 2021 brings the Year of the Metal Ox, also called the Gold Ox; a Yin quality sign, receptive and inward.

The powerful Ox is practical, productive, traditional, hardworking, dutiful and orderly, placid unless provoked too far. (And really, why would any sensible person want to provoke it?)

We think of Bull markets. The Stock Markets could do better than expected in February.

The Ox represents you and me, the so-called ordinary citizen, the family person, and the working public.

This Chinese zodiac Sign has a lot in common with the ideas embodied in the family-minded, industrious, traditional Ten of Pentacles.

You were born in the year of the Ox if you were born in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997 or 2009.

The Metal Ox and Health

The Metal Ox is especially associated with the lungs, which could be taken as a lucky sign, a good omen for the easing of this second wave of the pandemic by around 12 February.

The Ox says ‘small is beautiful’, and local is best for quality when it comes to fresh foods. The Ten of Pentacles suggests we support small, local family businesses and farmer’s cooperatives as much as possible during the lockdown, to preserve as many of these vital businesses as we can, who may otherwise be forced to shut up their shops and walk away, like the figure in the Eight of Cups.

The Ox is slow, but strong and surefooted.

Tweeted 19 January

#Tarot when will Cov Sars 2 be sufficiently under control for UK to ‘reopen.’ Issue: Strength card=benchmark. Winter now (Ace Coins) Struggle till after Pisces (late Feb/late March) Then 2 wave MAY have peaked & situation grad improves. King of Wands/Leo/July=Strength returns

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

Sod’s Law says I am now erring on the side of caution, and it will happen far sooner, or begin to. And it almost certainly will, big style, from late March onward (that Piscean Eight of Cups)

The King of Wands is the king of 23 July-22 August. He is THE King of Speed, Movement, PR and Travel, ruled by big, buoyant planet Jupiter.

Take care and stay safe.

Till next time 🙂

When The Devil Meets The Star on the Capitol…

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

It is 20 January, and in the US, once every four years, this means Presidential Inauguration Day. The Devil in the title is the zodiac sign of Capricorn and The Star is Aquarius.

The Inauguration date represents the astrological cusp between Capricorn, the third decanate, and Aquarius, the first decanate. Every zodiac sign is divided into thirds: 3 ‘decanates’, 10 days, representing 10 degrees of the 360 degree Wheel of the Zodiac. Each Zodiac sign represents roughly 1/12 of that Wheel,as determined by the astronomer, astrologer and mathematician Ptolemy in the second century AD.

The Presidential Inauguration bridges The Four of Pentacles, nicknamed by some ‘The Miser card. ‘What I have I keep.’and the minor arcana card correlating with the first decanate of Aquarius, the emotionally and sometimes physically violent Five of Swords, a card that says, ‘I’ll get you back for this.’

Tweeted 12 January

11-19 January. Decan 3 Capricorn, THE worker of the zodiac, ruled by Saturn, Great Teacher. Sub-ruled by Mercury. Capricorn with Virgo attention to detail but agility of Gemini. #Tarot Four Pentacles ‘I store’. Miser? Unjust nickname. You can’t share what’s not there in storage.

From The Gilded Tarot

But, just running with that traditional Tarot nickname, the Miser, who do we see has been trying to hang on when all the signs have said, it is time to let go?

The first decanate of Aquarius correlates with the Tarot’s Five of Swords.

From The Gilded Tarot

One look says, dear me, this is an angry card, The Five of Swords, chagrin, mortification, loss of face, pyrrhic victories.

“A Pyrrhic victory is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Winning a Pyrrhic victory takes a heavy toll that negates any true sense of achievement or damages long-term progress.”

See the winner, sword aloft. The loser wanders off, beaten, broken. But, if the loss of face is too unsupportable, he will return. Just as Hitler rose in the ignominious aftermath (for Germany) of the Treaty of Versailles.

An adversary may still be dangerous in defeat is the obvious message, borne out in real life, and no psychic interpretation required whatsoever for that.

How many people tragically died as a direct result of the incursion on Capitol Hill.

The Five of Swords. Five people. That card kicked in early.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Purely in terms of symbolic association, any astrologer or Tarot reader might wish that the US had its very own Dr John Dee, the famous astrologer who advised Elizabeth 1 and helped her choose the date for her coronation.

But maybe the US DOES have a Dr John Dee quietly on hand somewhere, just as Nancy Reagan had Joan Quigley. And, not to get carried away here, clearly there have been many, many Presidential inaugurations, held on this same traditional date without undue incident.

But maybe no Dr John Dee is needed at all next week. They have the FBI.

Forewarned is forearmed, says that Five of Swords. This trouble has been brewing in plain sight ever since the Election. The miracle is, that the Capitol could have been caught so apparently unprotected and unprepared on 6 January for an attack that went beyond the murderously self-serving criminal, as in St Louis, June 2020, to the murderously revolutionary.

Psychic practitioners and practitioners of divination in general are keeping fairly quiet about all this on social media right now. And they are right, on the principle that one must say what one sees, framed within a given context, but like Hippocrates, a reader must first do no harm. Stoke no flames. There are plenty of others doing that.

People who dismiss all such practitioners as hoaxes or simply deluded may say, well, let those crackpots spout whatever nonsense they like. They are an irrelevance and have no influence. This is fair enough, but is to underestimate people’s curiosity in the sayings of the Cassandras- however guarded the curiosity.

The tragedy of Cassandra of Troy is a not only a cracking story and a terrible tragedy in its own right, but also a cautionary tale for all prognosticators.

Cassandra, the beautiful daughter of Hecuba and Priam had the gift of prophecy but was considered insane. She saw danger when others did not, but her warnings went unheeded. She was not believed, and was not listened to when she warned Paris against going to Sparta where he met Helen, or when she warned against bringing in the Wooden Horse.

Troy fell and she was captured by Ajax, given to Agamemnon as a concubine and taken away into captivity. Agamemnon was murdered in Mycenae on his return home, by Clytemnestra his wife, and it served him right, for murdering their daughter Iphigenia, but the innocent Cassandra was murdered too, collateral damage of his baggage train.

Based on the myth of Cassandra there is a modern syndrome and metaphor recognized by experts; the Cassandra complex, a term coined in 1949 by the French Philosopher Gaston Bachelard in 1949. It describes the tragedy of someone who raises a valid concern or outright warning, – maybe we would call them whistleblowers now -but is not believed, or maybe they are silenced as being too problematic, and often this refers to the fields of psychology and politics or science.

Social media is something of a snake-pit at the moment, hissing with venom, when we all know that saying, pardon my English…”Opinions are like -” well, never mind what they are like. But everyone’s got one.

My main work is doing readings for people who have requested a reading, investigating their questions, trying to see the best strategy going forward. I have their permission to look at them, and tell them what I see, like it or not – and they do not always like it, but please don’t shoot the messenger, you did ask, and this is the risk in consulting with oracles.

Just as, on a far grander scale, Democracy relies on the principle of loser’s consent. 2016 Hillary Clinton conceded early, though she won the popular vote. Democrat Al Gore contested the election for weeks in 2000 but conceded after he lost a legal challenge in respect of a Florida recount.

He won the popular vote by 500 000 votes. And lost the Electoral College by one state, Florida. by a count of 271-267, and this was considered suspect for a number of reasons. Al Gore didn’t agree, was furious, and he still believed he was in the right, yet conceded, saying love of country must come first.

But, after 62 court rulings, President Trump won’t concede because he believes he is in the right. Let’s draw a few cards around the Inauguration.

The First card out is The High Priestess: Major Arcana Two. A sanctum, a shrine, an enclosed space.

From The Gilded Tarot Royale, Ciro Marchetti

Now this is mighty odd. Notice the letters J and B. These initials actually stand for the words Jachin (beginnings) and Boaz (Negation) and they represent two pillars in The Temple of Solomon.

Beginnings and negations. How very peculiar for the first card out, that these same letters just happen on this uniquely particular question, to be the initials of Joe Biden.

But then again, that kind of synchronicity is just typical of the Tarot.

Perhaps the High Priestess herself represents Kamala Harris, operating ‘front of house; and for some, ‘walking on water’ a refined, remote presence, observant, somewhat dispassionate. The picture seems to show her performing ‘front of house’ going forward as Vice President, supported by those ‘pillars’ of Joe Biden.

Beginnings and Negations. The ‘negations’ is a little worrying.

Let’s pull a few more cards.

The Page of Swords Reversed. Trouble is to be expected. The question is how widespread and to what degree. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. The Page of this suit, though ominous is nonetheless usually describing short lived events, local in scale. It also suggests covert intelligence, FBI, trouble that is acute but localised, sporadic or short-lived. Hopefully therefore, no further fatalities, though with the Page of Swords this can never be ruled out. President Trump is losing more support or is about to, from the Republican party. More will cut loose before the Inauguration of the new President.

The Ten of Cups. Inauguration will be completed and Joe Biden installed in the White House (Ten of Cups = home and I drew this same card for Mr B back in September)

The Five of Swords Reversed. President Trump will probably never concede The Four of Wands. The White House. How to manage his departure with safety for all.

The Star. By night? Will it be by road or by air,quietly a helicopter at the back of the White House, or by car out front, in a full glare of publicity. Will a further Impeachment attempt succeed, or only trigger further unrest.

President Trump’s loss of face some may feel is absolutely a case of justice served, and why should they care. Yes, but handled badly, it risks avoidable provocation of further trouble (because of that Five of Swords we talked about at the start, and because of those five people who are now dead.)

The Star card is very welcome, turning up anywhere in this reading as it just did. BUT there is a caveat with this card, potentially a major one, given the circumstances.

The Star card, the overall card of Aquarius (21 January-19 February) is ruled on the one hand by Saturn-tradition, government, authority AND on the other by Uranus- planet of innovation, but also revolt and rebellion.

The figure in The Star card is naked because there is nothing to hide. In respect of the allegations of electoral fraud, the consensus seems to be that there will definitely have been irregularities, but that these will always occur. There has been no appearance from the Seven of Swords today, and no Devil card, and also no Justice card reversed (denied) any of which might be the Tarot’s way of alerting me to a rigged election.

The US Electoral college system has been a point of contention for a long time now. This via Wikipedia:-

On March 22, 1977, President Jimmy Carter wrote a letter of reform to Congress that also included his expression of essentially abolishing the Electoral College. The letter read in part:

My fourth recommendation is that the Congress adopt a Constitutional amendment to provide for direct popular election of the President. Such an amendment, which would abolish the Electoral College, will ensure that the candidate chosen by the voters actually becomes President. Under the Electoral College, it is always possible that the winner of the popular vote will not be elected. This has already happened in three elections, 1824, 1876, and 1888. In the last election, the result could have been changed by a small shift of votes in Ohio and Hawaii, despite a popular vote difference of 1.7 million. I do not recommend a Constitutional amendment lightly. I think the amendment process must be reserved for an issue of overriding governmental significance. But the method by which we elect our President is such an issue. I will not be proposing a specific direct election amendment. I prefer to allow the Congress to proceed with its work without the interruption of a new proposal

The Star, drawn upright as here, suggests the situation may ease after 21 January, and more so by the time we reach the second decanate of Aquarius, 30 January-8 February. Perhaps The Star also denotes in this context, the vision of US electoral reform, such that voters can more readily trust to its transparency, in an effort to ensure this situation cannot happen again.

The Tarot card corresponding with the second decanate of Aquarius is the solemn card of loss, mourning, recovery and progress, the Six of Swords.

I have grown to feel quite deeply about this card for one reason and another. There is sorrow in here, loss and mourning, but just as The Star says the world is full of wonders, while not denying the evils, the Six of Swords says, set a new course, and don’t look back. Where there is greatness in the world, that is where we can set our sights and how we can measure ourselves, setting our faces towards the future, ready to seek out new learning, new understanding and discovery.

She is heading east, alone but not lonely, sustained by new bright hopes of herself and her fellow man, and by the beauty of the natural world, setting her face to greet the rising sun.

From The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

In summary

Let’s look back once again at that High Priestess card. The shrine. The sanctum of the Capitol. An enclosed space. A private space? Perhaps this Inauguration will need to be conducted very differently, in the interests of national security.

The Covid situation is sufficient reason already.

Take care till next time 🙂

Juggling With The Two of Pentacles

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

The Two of Pentacles is the minor arcana Tarot card associated with the first Decan of Capricorn according to Western (Tropical) astrology. The first Decan of Capricorn runs 21 December-31 December.

And as we enter the first Decan of Capricorn….Kent is the seething focus of national attention in the UK. We have a new crisis of the Medway, but this time it is not a hostile foreign maritime engagement as such, or not directly. It is not the Dutch, but the now swiftly accelerating misery of the new strain of coronavirus.

Plus, for good measure, there has been -still is- a 48 hour blockade by France, more than 600 lorries queuing on the M20, trapping unfortunate drivers, unable to get home via the ferry to France or going through the Channel Tunnel. This, ostensibly, in an effort by France to prevent or minimize the arrival of the new coronavirus strain. This seems an understandable response to such a threat, but many of those trapped are EU nationals, and the new strain is already in Europe. This new strain, which was identified in September, has apparently been identified in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands- and also Australia.

17:22 today: Source Highways England

This is being resolved apparently, as I am typing this, or so Il Matrimonio informs me, shouting through from the other room, watching the News on the wretched shrieking box.

And all this with less than ten days to go until the end of the Brexit Transition period 31 December. There is speculation that if a Deal is managed…and the signs suggest a further UK compromise is on the table, to the great relief of many, and the huge misgivings and disappointment of many others…then Parliament may be recalled to vote on such a Deal on 30 December.

So. A prudent and timely precaution or a politically driven act of aggression?

Covid or Brexit?

Dover, ah, Dover. Topped with its castle founded in the 11th century. So much history here, defining moments, witnessed by this giant stone sentinel overlooking -guarding -the shortest sea crossing, those mere twenty one miles, between England and the Continent.

Wiki Dover Castle

Today, as we enter the first Decan of the zodiac sign of Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, the ultimate planet of material power, restriction, rules and the bottom line, you can see it for yourself.

It is all suggested here in this card.

Tweeted Today

“Entering 1st decan Capricorn, cardinal earth, the minor #Tarot card is 2 Pentacles. A card of commuting or coping- just about. A need to take stock, simplify, rationalize before we ‘drop the ball.’ Tricky balancing act, little spare or slack in the system. IMG Gilded Tarot Royale”

From The Gilded Tarot Royale

Traditional meanings for this card: ambition, determination, keeping one’s own counsel, a difficult juggling act, running to keep up, commuting, managing material affairs, embarrassment, moving money between accounts, just getting by, robbing Peter to pay Paul, a need to rationalize and simplify.

This is not what you would call a BAD card. Not by any means. But it’s not an easy or sustainable situation either. Study the image, think of coronavirus and if you are in the UK, the imminent end of the Brexit Transition period, and the challenges are manifestly symbolized and reflected in this imagery.

Here is a negotiation, a juggling act of competing interests. The Pentacles themselves represent territory, money, goods, and the movement of goods.

Here is fishing. Note the dolphin. Just wait till the next super trawler comes along and swoops it up as ‘side-catch’. Let’s hope there’s good news there.

My cards have always shown me that Brexit would happen, and there were times, this seemed in real doubt, but also they never shown me a consistently, strong signal for a No Deal (WTO) Brexit. Nor have they shown A DEAL from which I could only conclude it will be a scenario of SOME DEAL.

But, since 2016 I have consistently been shown a picture of onward forward progress over the coming decade via a new era of UK independence, as shown by the maritime card, the Six of Swords. It may or may not seem like a ‘fudge.’

But this ‘ship’ The Britannia IS inexorably pulling away from the EU berth. We have a very long and complicated relationship. It will always be complicated. The history of the British Isles, its unique melting-pot of the many peoples, and the many waves of invasions that forged it, is the reason why. We are too near, but not near enough. Too far away, but not far enough.

Here in the Two of Pentacles, earthy though it is, we are shown a coastline, ie, a natural border. We see the figure, claiming ownership of territorial waters, a mercantile vessel in the near distance.

The Two of Pentacles is talking here in real time, but also acting in character right here in its designated astrological time slot.

Here is synchronicity of Tarot imagery, working in real time again.

Take care. Stay safe.

Till next time 🙂

Capricorn the Cosmic Sea Goat, Warrior Ibex and the Gate of the Gods

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: 21 Dec to 20 January

Ruling planet: Saturn

Lucky Day: Saturday    Lucky Numbers 2 and 8

Energy: Yin

Element: Earth

Quality: Cardinal (the start of the season of winter)

Key phrase:  I build, I use

Body:  Skin, knees, skeletal system

Birth Stone:  Red Garnet and Black Onyx

Colour:  Deep red

Herbs/Flowers: Wintergreen, Ivy, Carnation

Tarot card:  The Devil (Pan/Nature, Earth, Will-Power, Determination, Mystery, Fascination, Charisma, Need, Hunger, Entrapment)

The Devil from The Gilded Tarot

The Astronomy

Wiki Capricorn: The Gate of The Gods

Capricornus is thought to be the oldest recognized constellation, just as its subjects are known for being born as old souls, wise beyond their years. Its name is Latin for ‘horned goat’ or ‘having horns like a goat’s,’ and it is commonly represented in the form of a sea-goat: a mythical creature half-goat, half-fish, Pricus, the son of Chronos (Time.)

The constellation of Capricornus from which the zodiac sign gets its name is located in an area of sky known as ‘The Sea’ or ‘The Water’, containing other water-related constellations including Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus, the Celestial River, which is the sixth largest of the 88 modern listed constellations.

Capricornus is best seen in the northern hemisphere in the southern sky, early evenings in September. Capricornus is the smallest constellation in the zodiac, with no first magnitude stars. Not easy to find, you will need clear skies. Even so, its brightest star, The Tail of the Goat, or Deneb Algedi (Delta Capricorni A) is a white giant with a luminosity 8.5 times that of our Sun.

Capricornus has three stars with known planets, and contains a Messier object, Messier 30, a globular cluster 28,000 light years distant and about 90 light years across in size. This cluster is approaching us at the speed of 181.9 km/s and was one of the first deep sky objects discovered by Charles Messier in 1764.

Five meteor showers are associated with Capricornus: the Alpha Capricornids, the Chi Capricornids, the Sigma Capricornids, the Tau Capricornids, and the Capricorniden-Sagittarids.

The planet Neptune was discovered in the constellation Capricornus, near Deneb Algedi, the brightest star in the tail of the goat, on September 23, 1846.

Neptune is not visible to the naked eye. Galileo saw it first, in 1612 -13 but he mistook it for a fixed star as it was retrograde at the time of viewing. Read more about Neptune and its discovery here

By Justin Cowart – https://www.flickr.com/photos/132160802@N06/29347980845/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82476611

It is curious that this Neptune connection was so recently discovered, in the face of an existing ancient mythic connection between Capricorn the Sea-Goat and Pisces the Fishes.

History and Mythology

Even though Capricornus is the second faintest constellation in the sky, the faintest after Cancer, its imagery is very ancient indeed, associated with myths that go back to the 21st century BC and which centre on various sun gods supposedly nursed by a she-goat.

Goats, and their relatives, ibex, were the inspiration, as depicted in Ice Age paintings.,

In the early Bronze Age, the arrival overhead of the constellation Capricornus coincided with the winter solstice and, in modern astrology (as distinct from astronomy) we enter the zodiac sign of Capricorn’s rule on the turning point of the winter solstice.

Male ibex start fighting and mating during early winter, December and January, coinciding with the dates first ascribed to Capricorn. The constellation of Capricorn itself is no longer overhead at the time of the winter solstice due to the wobble of the earth, an effect known as precession,and now appears overhead in late January, during the dates of the next zodiac sign, Aquarius.

The Sumerians

Before 1000 BC the Sumerians knew Capricorn as the goat-fish, or SUHUR-MASH-HA. There appears to be a connection between Capricorn as a seagoat and Enki, the Sumerian god of wisdom and waters,  who also had the head and upper body of a goat and the lower body and tail of a fish. Enki, Later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology, was the god of intelligence (literally ‘ear’), creation, crafts; magic; water, seawater and lake water.

The Greeks

Pricus was king of the mer-goats in a Greek evolution myth. The children of Pricus left the sea to dwell on the mountains, leaving him alone in the oceans, very sad and alone with no-one to care for or teach any more- and Pricus was a great teacher.

Zeus placed him in the Sea of the Stars so that he could see his children again, and they could look up and see him.

But the constellation is nowadays more widely associated with two mythical creatures from Greek legends: the deity Pan, and the she-goat Amalthea who suckled the baby Zeus, although these legends, like the other Greek legends, came in turn from far more ancient stories.

Photo by Niklas Jeromin on Pexels.com
Pan-Bacchus, a set of pipes, and the terrible Typhon

Pan, so the legend said, was placed in the sky by Zeus in gratitude after he came to the rescue of the Olympian gods when they sought refuge in Egypt after an epic battle with the monster Typhon, son of the Titan Tartarus and Earth.

Typhon wanted revenge on the Olympic gods because they had overthrown his own race, the Titans who had ruled before Zeus defeated them, and he was one terrifying adversary, a fearsome fire-breathing creature, higher than mountains and with dragons’ heads instead of fingers. He had the gods of Olympia on the run, and they tried to escape by adopting various disguises: Zeus, a ram – Hera, a white cow, and Bacchus (or another version of the myth suggests Pan)- a goat.

Zeus had the unpleasant experience of being caught and dismembered by Typhon, who was presumably not fooled by the ram disguise, or otherwise had worked up an appetite, with all that raging, and just fancied lamb chops for tea.

Happily for Zeus, Bacchus/Pan played a sound on his pipes, ‘panikos’  -from which we get the word ‘panic’ – and this earsplitting sound disorientated or ‘panicked’ Typhon long enough for an agile Hermes to collect the limbs and restore Zeus to life, and he was so grateful not to be served up with mint sauce that he raised Bacchus/Pan to the heavens as the constellation Capricornus.

And so, thanks to the magic of the pan-pipes, Zeus lived to fight another day. He eventually managed to trick Typhon, and trapped him beneath Mount Etna…though he still tries to escape.

The Gate of The Gods

Neo-Platonic/Chaldean philosophy said that while the souls of those about to be born descended to Earth through the constellation of Cancer, the gate of the summer solstice, arriving through M44, the star cluster known as the Beehive Cluster, the souls of the newly dead return to the cosmic sea, ascending through the Gate of the Gods, the star-gate of Capricorn.

Beehive Cluster

The Astrology

There is no such thing in reality as THE Capricorn personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote but of course it is not and never could be the whole story.

The archetype of Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, and the House ruling material affairs, is shrewd, wise, even Gnostic. They are profound thinkers, deeply inquiring, and with a wry sense of humour, self-reliant, stoic in the face of adversity, hard-working, determined and resilient.

They have high standards, and expect much of themselves but also others, which, depending on other aspects of their astrological portrait, can make them stern, demanding or even overbearing task-masters, holding others to their own very high standards of conduct, or their own preferred way of doing things.

They are sometimes accused of dourness, lacking a sense of humour but this is absolutely not the case. It is just that they are choosy of their company. Capricorn has a dry wit, a keen sense of the absurd, and loves a good joke.

Conversely, the Saturn influence can make them seem somewhat downbeat, cynical and suspicious, seeing traps and problems everywhere, quick to issue corrections, or to douche cold water, viewing the enthusiasm of others as ill advised or naïve.

Capricorn is no-one’s fool. Capricorn carries its own weight, and very often the weight of others too.

But however far it climbs, Capricorn is dignified, canny, circumspect, proud but not vainglorious. Capricorn climbs the mountain to see the world. It does not climb so that the world will see Capricorn.  

However many are watching.

“Duties are what make life most worth the living. Lacking them, you are not necessary to anyone. And this would be like living in an empty space. Or not being alive at all.”- Marlene Dietrich, born Dec 27, 1901

Night Skies and Starry Stepping-stones : The Moon this Month: December 2020

Photo by Stefan Stefancik on Pexels.com

Why do astrologers study the Moon?

‘Astrology’ comes from Greek and means ‘the study of the stars.’

Humans have been studying and recording the phases of the Moon for at least 25, 000 years. The Moon, though our satellite and not a planet, is the closest celestial body to Earth, an average of 238,855 miles (384,400 km) away depending on its orbit.

The Moon provides us with a map and a guide to the seasons, with a measure of predictability as to when certain things will happen, such as the tides or the migration of animals for hunting and much more besides, for example, the spawning of corals, animal mating seasons, crop growth, hormonal cycles and quite possibly human behaviour (lunatic, moody, moonstruck, love-struck mooncalf and so on).

Cave paintings show that early humans collected and correlated Moon observations, and this created a database of information for their very survival in timing the organizing of hunts, and much later, now living in built settlements, planting and harvesting crops.

The mass of anecdotal evidence gathered over many millennia, describing the effects of the Moon on human health and behaviour is simply too great to be dismissed.

December Headlines

The Winter Solstice

The key astronomical event this month is the winter solstice 21 December. And in astrological terms too, this is especially significant in 2020, with the Sun moving into conjunction with Mercury in the first degree of Capricorn and then Jupiter, making an exact conjunction Saturn in the first degree of Aquarius.

This marks a symbolic shift, called by some astrologers a new Age of Aquarius, described as an age of high technology, balanced by greater collectivism and less individualism in a world with a human population currently double the size that it was in 1970.

Earth’s resources are finite. This ‘shift’ may mean ‘working smart,’ with less available resources per person, in effect, and the effects could be seen for the next few centuries as humanity adapts tries to reconcile itself with best practice with rising use of digital and other technology on the one hand, and urban design, food production and our connection to the natural world on the other. 

None of this is new. It is a conversation that has been taking place for some time. But this coming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, happening on the solstice of all days, marks this as a symbolic doorway.

The Victorian era was not like the Regency era. We are entering a new post-post modern era of social change, but only history will enable us to see it more clearly…such that we will name it. The Industrial revolution sent us away from home to work. This era may well bring far more of us us home again to work enabled by new, rising digital alt-tech, a necessary check, as the tech giants grow ever more powerful, monstrous, even to the operational detriment of legitimate, democratically elected governments.

Saturn warns, don’t get carried away with this digital revolution. Be aware of the downsides as well as the benefits. These are very serious downsides, as prejudicial to liberty as the upsides potentially enabling, and I for one, am thankful for the opportunities it has brought me to work from home during illness.

I remember, teaching evening class in college in 1992, telling adult students in that this ‘thing’ was coming, called ‘The Information Superhighway’.

And with what shocking speed it became part of our daily lives. But hour after hour online is not what our bodies were made for, and over-sharing online compromises the privacy and security of your physical space, finances and personal safety. Our feet, and those of our children, for their future well-being, must stay firmly grounded, earthed and rooted in the real, living, sensate, world. 

The Geminids

This month, watch for the Geminid Meteor showers, starting around 4 December, peaking 13-14 December when it will be New Moon and the skies will be darkest, providing optimum brightness in 2020, cloud cover permitting. The Geminids are matched only by the Perseids in August, the brightest meteor showers of the year. The Geminids come from a rocky comet near the bright stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation of Gemini the Twins, and are also visible but less dramatic in the Southern Hemisphere. The meteors are very white and bright with 50 or more meteors per hour. The best show is in the small hours after midnight, around 2 a.m. local time (the time on your clock no matter where you are on Earth)

Photo by Raman deep on Pexels.com

The Ursids

There is another, less spectacular, but symbolically significant meteor shower, the Ursids, during the night of 22/23 December, as if the Giant Sky Bears wake briefly from their winter hibernation to welcome the returning sun after solstice.

The Ursids come from the Big and Little Dipper in the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

The Big Dipper, Wikipedia

Find the Big Dipper high up in the north-northeast at around 1 a.m. That’s the best time to start watching. This year, 2020, the first quarter moon sets in the evening, with dark skies at late night and the morning hours for maximum visibility, the Ursids falling at a rate of about ten meteors an hour.

Humanity around the globe looked up and saw Sky-Bears more than 13,000 years ago.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

Lunar Headlines

December is the month when winter begins for most of the Northern Hemisphere, and the Full Moon is called the Cold Moon. The Old English/Anglo-Saxon name is the Moon Before Yule

Key Dates

Dec 14   New Moon in Sagittarius (and a solar eclipse)

Dec 21   Winter solstice and waning half moon in Pisces and Aries

Dec 22    Look out for shooting stars- The Geminids Meteor shower

Dec 30   Full Moon in Cancer

  • The Full Moon is when the moon is on the opposite of the Earth from the Sun on the same celestial longitude and we can see the entire illuminated face of the moon.
  • The New Moon is the first/last lunar phase when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun, and the moon is largely invisible, hidden in the sun’s glare.

What do the moon phases mean symbolically?

A waxing Moon as we approach Full Moon is the optimum time to grow, build, add to, make or get something. It is about bringing in something new, or bringing something to completion or fruition.

A Full Moon is the optimum time to take stock and evaluate, or to gather, collect, harvest or cash in on something.

A waning Moon after the Full Moon is the optimum time for ending something, clearing out what’s no longer wanted or needed, including unhelpful or unhealthy habits. It may mean releasing something, or even getting rid of something (someone.)

A New Moon is the optimum time to launch something, make a plan, start from scratch.

15 November 2020: New Moon in Sagittarius 

Rider Waite Tarot, copyright Arthur Waite

The major arcana Tarot card associated with this New Moon is Temperance.

Traditional meanings: Upright Vision, Inspiration, fun, friendships, Timing, Travel, Healing, Patience, Moderation. Reversed: Hastiness, temper, excess

This could be an auspicious time for a job interview, audition or other important meeting or contract, especially if it is attached to Teaching, Publishing, the Arts, Entertainments or Travel industries.

This New Moon and its total solar eclipse suggests a dynamic mood with a lively, fun and friendly feeling, but watch out – things could suddenly turn quarrelsome and we could be slightly more accident-prone than usual.

Temper temper? Time to cool it. Just give it a rest, will ya?

30 December 2020: Full Moon in Cancer

The major arcana Tarot card associated with this full moon in the cardinal water sign of Cancer is The Chariot.

Traditional meanings: Upright: ambition, direction, focus, self-control, teamwork, progress, determination. It can refer literally, to a journey, a new car or other vehicle. Reversed, impatience, self-indulgence, ploughing a trail of damage, car trouble.

Rider-Waite Tarot, copyright Arthur Waite

The first full moon of 2020 was on 10 January, and was also in Cancer. This last full moon of the year makes a circle to wrap up the lunar year on a calmer note.

What new page has been turned in 2020? What is our own new normal going to look like? What lifestyle changes have we made in 2020, possibly as a consequence of the Covid- 19 emergency, that we did not choose to start with but that may actually be working OK for us?

The Tarot’s Comment

Rider-Waite Tarot, copyright Arthur Waite

Here we have the gentle, harmonizing, summertime card of the Two of Cups.

Traditional Meanings: romance, friendships, offer, invitations, partnership, trade, positive exchanges

Here we have the words HEALING and MERCANTILE symbolically conjoined. Or MEDICINE and TRADE, and how entirely apposite is this, with Vaccines the topic of the day, and with a fast looming deadline for a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and the EU.

I have blogged about this before, back in 2018 and it looked like a Hard Brexit-But-with some Add-on- or Sub-deal-Not-Hard-Enough for many who voted to leave on the basis that Out meant Out, and that the mutual needs of trade would take care of the rest. I may look again, though, ahead of time.

Curiously, in addition, this Two of Cups coincides symbolically with this December’s Full Moon in the zodiac sign of Cancer the Crab.

The constellation of Cancer was known as ‘The Gate of Men.’ Platonic legend said the souls of Mankind descended through the stars of Cancer to be born on Earth.

The constellation of Cancer, Wiki

Babies conceived in December during or after the winter solstice will be born during Virgo, at harvest-time, late August to early September.

Lock-down may result in more Virgo born babies in 2021. Virgo is already the most common birth sign in the northern hemisphere for this reason, that arrivals in harvest time, especially in late September, meant a mother in optimum nutritional health for bearing and nursing a baby. The most common birthday of all, according to various sources, is 25 September.

The least common birthdays are in December and January.

This positive card is about partnership and romance, but in more general terms, talks about give and take, and could be a sign for recovery in the retail sector from summer 2021, and a boom in Fair Trade consumer choices as suggested by the staff of Mercury with the Lion’s head on top.

This card is a good omen for a global return to greater normality by late June 2021 if not sooner, and March-April seems likely to see a turning in this tide.

There is such a lot of noise on social media, much of it angry and abusive.

The worry and frustration are only natural, but none of all this shouting changes the difficult reality governments all over the world are trying to deal with, in their own different ways, some distinctly less libertarian in their approach than our own.

The Two of Cups says now more than ever, this is not about ‘me me me’ and my rights. It’s about ‘us us us’, and our reciprocal responsibilities and duty of care.

They boarded people up alive inside their houses in London, is how desperate it got in 1665/6.

I looked in my cards last night, looking at the Pfizer vaccine, inquiring as to its safety only, and the picture was largely reassuring. There were no spades cards saying DANGER, though future problems were detected in terms of the logistics of supply, storage and delivery, as we have already seen in public discussion.

Cartomancy and The Line of Five

The Queen of Hearts (Cancer)- Ace of Diamonds (Ace of Science.) -8 Cups (Stability-vaccinate staff to help protect care homes)- 2 Clubs (Contract, logistics, delivery is the challenge) -9 Diamonds (obstacles, delays)

These are the individual card meanings, but my question was about the safety of this vaccine. For this I note the suits and colours.

We had four red suit cards and one black suit card, and no Spades cards. Taken as a whole this indicates a strong likelihood that this will prove a safe vaccine. Had I drawn any one of 3, 9 or 10 Spades, or heaven forbid, all three, I would be thinking, oo-err, I no likee this.

That Queen of Hearts indicates that we may be coming out of this tunnel late June-late July 2021.

It yet remains to bring the lens of cartomancy to bear on the same question for the vaccines from Moderna and the vaccine in Astrazeneca. But I will, when it would feel like a less idle, hypothetical or inflammatory question.

The results from the Oxford Astrazeneca trials which were recently halted are currently expected in late January. Read HERE.

Meanwhile, the Two of Cups says, we do what we can. We look to our dear ones, wherever they may be, and we say to one another- and to ourselves, ‘chin up and…here’s to the journey!’

“Not for ever by still waters/ Would we always ask to be…”

Well, we might ask, but that’s not what we’re getting, any more than those earth-bound bears of winter get an easy ride of this thing called Life, waking or even sleeping in hibernation, mere calories from death.

Photo by u0410u043du043du0430 u041eu0440u043bu043eu0432u0430 on Pexels.com

Season’s Greetings!

President Pelosi? A 5 card reading using playing cards

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There was much recent discussion on Twitter to the effect that if no clear winner were to be declared by 20 January 2021 after the upcoming US Elections 3 November, there is a constitutional provision that could make Speaker Nancy Pelosi President of the United States.

This arose in the wake of Mr Trump expressing a wish to delay the Election scheduled for 3 November 2020, an action for which I understand, there is no historical precedent.

I have done a reading on the forthcoming election, posted here a few days ago, and you can find it in the archives. Those cards indicated, perhaps counter-intuitively, that the recent civil unrest might actually work in favour of Mr T’s chances rather than against them, but the Joker turned up….oh, that Joker….

I may well do further readings before the election to see if that picture shifts, and to see how it shifts, but the appearance of the Joker card says surprises are in store.

Could this be the surprise? A President Pelosi?

I shuffle and draw 5 playing cards and read them left to right, paying attention to the rising, flattening or declining curve, the balance of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cards, and noting in particula the central card ad the last cards for an indicatio of future developments.

The Line of Five

Well, the indications are not strong.

2 Spades in this context suggests the premise of the question: a scenario containing two ‘negative candidates’ drawn in a situation where one is not stronger than the other. The Tarot equivalent o this card would be the Two Of Swords which suggests a truce, a pause- or a stalemate. It is a no card.

This card gives me my benchmark. It is clearly relevant to the question being asked.

Jack Spades: bad news, a delay, a point of Law. It is also a no card.

Queen of Clubs: This central card surely denotes Ms Pelosi herself; a ‘dark’ lady with good social instincts and often business acumen. This could be either a yes or a no card.

10 Clubs: this is a very positive card of culmination, completion and it is the card of government. (It can also mean a bathtub, but that’s by the by) Reading this in context, this could be either a yes or a no card, but if it was an Ace Clubs, that would be more likely to represent a yes than the 10 of Clubs, representative of culminations rather than arrivals.

7 Hearts: this future card is all about uncertainty, romantic longing, daydreams, sweet dreams. It is a card of a possible but unstable yes.

This last card, taken with the others, is the only red suit (yes) card, but given the surrounding cards seems to be saying, ‘in your dreams.’

Here, kitty, kitty….

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I understand that Speaker Pelosi is second in line to the succession of the Presidency after the Vice-President, but I’m in the UK and I don’t know too much about all this. Now that I’ve given my cards the first shout, let’s look at the info, to see where this story came from, and what the possibilities might be.

Source: The Hill

“When voters head to the polls in November to choose the path for the next four years in a deeply divided nation, they will choose between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

But in what has already been a one-of-a-kind 2020, an improbable figure could also become president.

The path for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is second in line of succession to the presidency, to succeed Trump is quite implausible. But it is not impossible.

The first step is a tie in the Electoral College. And that tie is indeed possible.

If Trump loses Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District to Biden and holds everything else he won in 2016, the two candidates would be deadlocked at 269 electoral votes a piece.

A few other results could also end in a tie, though perhaps they are even more unlikely.

A tie could result if Biden manages to win Arizona and Iowa, but loses Wisconsin and Michigan. Or if Biden rebuilds the northern Blue Wall, recapturing Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, but somehow manages to lose Colorado’s nine votes.

Click to read the rest of the article

The Two Spades is therefore spelling out in ‘the event of a tie….’

However, even given a deadlock scenario, and given the 20 Amendment, it does not automatically signify that the successor would be Speaker Pelosi-

SOURCE USA Today

“We rate the claim that Nancy Pelosi would become president should the 2020 election be postponed as FALSE because it was not supported by our research. Pelosi’s (own) term (of office) ends Jan. 3, and if no federal election takes place, she would have to leave office, just like the president and vice president. That would mean the president pro tempore of the Senate would assume office. Currently, that is Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, though a downsized Senate may swing in favor of Democrats, presenting them the opportunity to elect a new president pro tempore.”

Click to read the rest of the article.

Ain’t this going to be interesting

2020 is a little too interesting altogether, starting 26 January with a major conjunction of expansive Jupiter boiling up with restrictive Saturn, and another one coming, occurring 21 December 2020.

(Astrology did detect and forecast a possible pandemic specifically dated 2020/2021, notably a French astrologer writing in 2011; Andre Barbault)

2021 is also going to be quite interesting, from the point of view of the collective experience, but at least this second great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn comes to an end 3 April 2021.

Till next time 🙂

Show us the money. The Tarot Dials 999…and it’s not the Emergency Services

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How soon will we see the UK (and global) economy recover from the recession created by the global effort to minimize deaths due to covid19? I am basing the question on a dateline starting this 1 September.

I shuffle and draw the Nine of Pentacles, also called the Nine of Coins.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

This Minor Arcana card is in my mind, the Tarot’s personification of Britannia and it:-

  1. talks first and foremost about financial independence and self-sufficiency attained through employment or self-employment.
  2. correlates with the zodiac sign of Virgo, which runs 23 August-22 September and together with the other earth signs, Taurus and Capricorn, is a key zodiac sign associated with banking and financial services. Also schools and universities.
  3. Is ruled by Venus, planet of beauty. Not only does it rule banking and all financial services, it rules the beauty industry, hospitality, architecture, the arts, design, fashion and horticulture, viticulture and food production.

Therefore, drawing the Nine of Pentacles, I have a benchmark for interpretation, sufficient to confirm that the Tarot has ‘logged’ the question. OK. So how long for the UK to come out of recession, counting ahead in financial quarters of a year.

How many financial quarters will it take?

I switch to my ordinary playing cards asking to see how many financial quarters it will take the UK to enter recovery, using one card to represent one quarter and asking to be shown the Ace of Diamonds in token of a definitive answer to this question.

Divination involves a lot of this kind of self-programming. It’s all in the framing of the question.

I shuffle the cards blind, pull a card, pull another, pull another…how many cards will it take before we get a good money card….and the third card out is The Ace of Diamonds.

The Ace of Diamonds is suggesting that the UK will start to see some good news, small signs of recovery in the third quarter counting forward from September 2020, which would bring us to June 2021.

I’m surprised that the Ace Diamonds has made an appearance so soon, but this is a volatile card compared with say, The Ace of Clubs which is also a money card, but more solid, and I carry on pulling cards.

The fifth card, representing the fifth quarter is the Six of Diamonds.

Six is the number of community, and diamonds is the suit of money. This card can suggest loss, and of course there have been losses, and there will be more. But on balance it is a positive omen for the state of UK employment.

In summary the UK seems to show small signs of economic recovery with ups and downs but possibly as early as the next 3-5 financial quarters bringing us to June-December 2021.

So now I go online to find out what the Bank of England has been saying.

“The Bank expects the UK economy to shrink by 9.5% this year. While this would be the biggest annual decline in 100 years, it is not as steep as its initial estimate of a 14% contraction.”

So, we drew the Nine of Pentacles and here they are, forecasting a shrinkage of 9.5 % this year. But wait….hang on – here comes another nine.

“More than nine million jobs have been furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme, but the Bank expects most people to go back to work as the economy recovers.”

One of these people has been my son- in- law, a chef. And now he’s back to work. But hang on a sec…. ding- a- ling, here comes a third nine.

“The Bank expects the UK economy to grow by 9% in 2021, and 3.5% in 2022, with the economy forecast to get back to its pre-Covid size at the end of 2021.”

For the UK economy to return to its precovid size by the end of 2021 would accord with the 5 quarters intimated by the Six of Diamonds.

In a further comment Andrew Bailey, the Governor of The Bank of England said,

“the UK still faced its sharpest recession on record, with the outlook for growth now “unusually uncertain.”  Mr Bailey said it was the “largest quantum of uncertainty in a forecast” that policymakers had ever published.”

Source: BBC Business News

Last quarter 2021 seems rather optimistic. But if it’s 2023, perhaps that’s not bad, considering the aftermath of the Great Depression. As ever, only time will tell.

Until next time 🙂

The Fool and the Return of Orion

The Fool and the return of Orion...
Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

Orion The Hunter returns, and in the northern hemisphere can once again be seen bestriding the east at sunrise. So when we say return, where has he been, then? The answer is, he has been invisible, hidden in the glare of the sun since May.

But now he is back and will rise earlier each day until he is visible all evening during the winter months. As a girl I used to like to go out on cold frosty evenings to fill the coal scuttle from the coal bunker in the back garden. Looking up at him. I knew his name. I knew he was The Hunter but wondered about him, and what he was hunting up there.

Those winter evenings still have that same kind of magic.

Orion is only the 26th largest constellation, sitting on the celestial equator, facing the constellation next door, the oncoming, charging, Taurus the Bull. So it’s far from being the biggest, and it’s smaller than another Greek hero, Perseus but Orion’s got more brilliant stars, commanding the impression of its vastness.

(The biggest constellation of all is Hydra, and the biggest constellation of the twelve included in the Zodiac is Virgo.)

Orion’s two brightest stars are the blue-white star Rigel, representing the Hunter’s left foot, and the red supergiant Betelgeuse, Orion’s right shoulder. They’re both thought to be to be about ten million years old, which makes Betelgeuse quite young to be a red supergiant, but it’s evolved faster due to its enormous mass. It is expected to go supernova in the next million years and when it does will be brighter than the Moon and the brightest supernova ever to have been visible from Earth.

Orion’s third brightest star is Bellatrix, his left shoulder, and Orions’s Belt is one of the most easily recognized asterisms with its three stars.

You can read them east to west or left to right; Alnitak (girdle), Alnilam (string of pearls) and Mintaka (area) They have many other names across the world; The Magi, the Three Mary’s, and the Mayans called them The Fire Drill, invoking them in an annual fire ceremony to delay the onset of the end of the world.

‘No other constellation more accurately represents the figure of a man,’ said Germanicus Caesar

Orion is identified as a human figure in every culture at every latitude, with countless variations of different names and legends.

Orion, also called Nimrod, was the son of Poseidon and was the most handsome man ever to walk the earth. He was a great hunting buddy and friend of Artemis.Her twin brother, Apollo glowered, seeing that Artemis fancied Orion something rotten when she had taken a vow of perpetual chastity.

Orion could be a bit of a sex pest, chasing the Pleiades, so that Zeus confiscated them to the sky for their own peace and quiet. And a fat lot of good it did them, because when Orion was killed by a scorpion (THE scorpion) Artemis in her grief, asked Zeus to post Orion upstairs to the heavens, which he did, right next door to the Pleiades, who also represent the celestial bull pen of Taurus. Thanks Zeus. You didn’t think that one through, did you?

Should Taurus ever break free of his pen, said an ancient Arabic legend, it will be the end of all things, so let’s hope he’s happy up there, and that Orion doesn’t chase the Pleiades away.

Orion bravely strides towards the Bull but although he killed the scorpion that also killed him, he still fears it, and dreads its appearance fleeing west as the autumn wears on and Scorpius rises (Scorpio)

Orion in his eternal battle with Scorpius

The stand off between Orion and Taurus the Bull, its red eye, Aldebaran glaring at him, daring him to come nearer, does not fit the Greek legend of Orion, and a question has been raised in some quarters over the identity of Orion, and whether he has become confused with Herakles/Hercules at any time in his identification with this constellation.

The reasons are likely historical. The constellation as recognized by the Greeks originated with the Sumerians, who saw in it their great hero Gilgamesh fighting the Bull of Heaven. The Sumerian name for Orion was URU AN-NA, meaning light of heaven and Taurus was GUD AN-NA, bull of heaven.

Gilgamesh was the Sumerian equivalent of Heracles, the greatest hero of Greek mythology, and one of the labours of Heracles was to catch the Cretan bull, but Orion was never in a fight with a bull. Heracles, it has been suggested, deserves a magnificent constellation such as this one, but has been consigned to a much more obscure area of sky. So has there been a mix-up, or perhaps we could see it as a mash-up, Orion and Heracles in mutual diguise?

Orion and The Tarot

The Golden Tarot by Kat Black

The Tarot card most commonly associated with Orion is The Fool. The most numinous card in the deck, its element is Air and it is ruled by the planet of revolution, Uranus.

It is the portal of the number Zero.

The Fool or as some called him, The Jester, is both beginnings and ending.

In a real life reading it may detect or forecast a birth of a child, or a new offer or a launch or opportunity of some kind. And change happens all the time but this is always major or significant in scope. But although is not associated with Death, unlike the famous Death card, it can mean a death too, representing infinity, the ouroboros.

An ouroboros

The Fool lives in the moment. He may be fun, he may be joy, or he may be frightening. There’s every reason a lot of people are scared of clowns as the living embodiment of The Fool. He represents the wisdom of innocence, or mistakes made through impulsiveness or ignorance rather than stupidity. But he may represent a threat, whether direct or existential, clearly sensed but not as yet clearly identifiable. The fear is visceral, not lightly to be dismissed.

He may be a shamanic, gnostic figure; the stranger, the outcast, the wise Fool or the Fool on the Hill. He dances to his own tune. He takes chances, risks, and sometimes these pay off, but sometimes he steps over the edge of the cliff, heedless of his dog’s most urgent warning.

The dog in the card is not biting the Fool, but desperately trying to get his attention. If someone asks the Tarot’s advice and then I draw this card reversed….someone needs to draw back from the precipice and look again before they leap.

I may bark like the Fool’s dog but will they act on this advice? CAN they? Will they even really hear it, let alone find a way to use it? We are who we are, and we do what we do, based on who we are. It is a rare person who can step back and see things anew once they are committed to Opinion A or B or they are emotionally invested in outcome A or B.

Advice, to be heard, must be sufficiently timely, before the paint dries.

Everywhere the Fool goes, his dog follows, just as Orion is followed in the skies by his two hunting dogs, Canis major and Canis minor. Sirius, the Dog Star is in the constellation of Canis Major and is THE brightest star in Earth’s night sky.

The only objects that outshine Sirius in our skies are the sun, moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury – and Sirius will usually outshine Mercury too.

All Mankind is Orion.

We were hunters at the dawn of man (The Fool) And gatherers too, but we were never gorillas, and never herbivores on our ancestral line.

“We were risen not of fallen angels but risen apes, and they were killer apes besides” – Robert Ardrey, in African Genesis.

Hunting was what brought us together in teams, then communities. Co operation meant compassion.

Fatboy Slim tells a version of that story here (except that we were apes but not on the gorilla branch). See Orion in the final frame of the video.

Until next time 🙂

The Sun is in Leo, the Full Moon is in Aquarius…the Lion gets a perm

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

Leo is such a glamour-puss. So what’s this about the perm?

The sun has entered the second decan of fiery Leo, August 2-August 12 and tonight’s full moon, 3 August, is in Leo’s opposite zodiac sign; Aquarius, the water-bearer, the cloud bearer.

This is a strange, dreamy, quirky, quixotic and steamy combination. Maybe in a good way but not necessarily.

It might mean a few nights of oppressive humidity over the next two weeks.

It might mean getting frazzled.

It might mean steam coming out of your ears. Like this little lioness with a rather enviable perm.

Photo by Luriko Yamaguchi on Pexels.com

The Major Arcana card associated with Leo is Strength: physical, mental, moral, emotional. Fortitude which demands patience. Nothing much can be achieved without the ability or willingness to stand and endure.

Centuries apart:

“Here I stand. I can do no other,” Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms.

 “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”-Martin Luther King.

Strength from The Gilded Tarot Royale: Ciro Marchetti

The second decan of Leo is associated with the Tarot’s Six of Wands, the 6 Wands; a card of action, vision, passion ,courage and superb self-discipline. This is what it takes to enter the arena – any arena. Riding high on the accomplishment of a great effort. But there are no short-cuts. No escaping the Herculean labour to be done. This is dedication to excellence; the attribute of the zenith of the sign of Leo.

The Six of Wands From The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

Tonight this energy is tempered by the quirky, remote, cerebral Moon in Aquarius. The corresponding Major Arcana card here is The Star: inspiration, a vision, recovery, the application of reason, but this can also be the card of social revolution.

The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The Star


Bridging water, land and sky

Cloudy, cool Aquarian eye

Reasons, gauges Rain assuages

Pours, refills an empty jar

Learning, thirsty, takes us far

But Hope outshines all other stars

Katie-Ellen

A very different mood. May steam be expected, and will it be steam coming out of someone’s ears? It may be best to keep your head down and just get on with your own thing, always assuming it’s not against the law, of course.

The Minor Arcana card corresponding with the degree of tonight’s Full Moon in Aquarius is the solemn yet benevolent Six of Swords; a road to recovery, new learning and discovery, charting new waters, leaving behind the past and with it any vain regrets.

The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The next two weeks look unsettled and a lot of us are likely to be feeling more jumpy than usual, even given all the anxiety of recent months . This is a time for staying extra cool, calm and flexible and avoiding risk and conflict. This is a time for focusing hard on work and personal projects, but not for making sudden moves or big changes.

There’s plenty to push our buttons right now. Leo says we can put our energies to plenty of good uses, doing our own thing, and Aquarius says we can keep our cool, even if others are losing theirs.

Every clever hunter keeps low, but stays high.

Photo by Bess Hamiti on Pexels.com

Till next time 🙂

Salutations, Star Lion Leo

Today we leave the zodiac sign of Cancer, the mysterious and elusive Crab in the Starry zodiac sea, the sign of the zenith of the summer, and we move into the astrological sign of Leo the celestial lion. Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it actually look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it?

It’s time to roll out the red carpet for the star-lion, Leo…

Common Associations

Zodiac Symbol of Leo

Dates: 22-23 July-23 August

Symbol: Lion

Element: Fire

Metal: Gold

Position: Fixed

Ruler: The Sun

Body: Heart and spine

Trees: Palm trees, laurel, walnuts, olive trees, lemon and orange trees.

Plants: Marigolds, sunflowers, dandelions, (dents de lion =lion’s teeth) celandines, passion flowers

Gemstones: Peridot, carnelian, ruby, onyx

Peridot By Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10478407

Key phrase: I love

Tarot card: Strength

The Gilded Tarot Royale, Ciro Marchetti

The Lady and the Lion. Perhaps it is Una. Or perhaps her name is Leona or Leonora, for the lion is also the lioness. Her hold on the leash could not be lighter. She is controlling the lion, but only because it is allowing it, not fighting her restraint, signifying that the lion is also a part of herself. This is just as one would imagine, a very welcome card of better health, signifying recovery if someone has been ill.

Astronomy

Leo is one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and one of the 88 modern constellations recognised by NASA today, between the neighbouring constellations of Cancer to the west and Virgo to the east.

Leo is the 12th largest constellations, and one of the most easily recognizable due to its many bright stars, and a distinctive shape suggesting a crouching lion, apparently facing right.

The bright light in the sky beneath Leo as seen in the photo below is Jupiter.

Wiki

The best time to see the Lion is Spring in the northern hemisphere, from around the March equinox. In early April, the constellation Leo reaches its high point for the night around 10 p.m. By around May 1, Leo reaches his high point for the night around 8 p.m. local time  In early May, the Lion begins to set in the west around 2 a.m. local time and by June, Leo is descending in the west in the evening, drifting progressively westward.

By late July and into early August, the Lion is beginning to fade into the sunset, returning to the eastern sky and visible before dawn around late September or October.

Look out for the Big Dipper, Leo is below it. You are looking for a backwards question mark pattern called the Sickle; and you can see its curve outlines the Lion’s mane.

Leo’s brightest star, Regulus, or Alpha Leonis, ‘The King Star,’ is the heart of the celestial lion, a sparkling blue-white star at the bottom of the backwards question mark pattern. Regulus, means “little king” or “prince” in Latin. The star’s Greek name, Basiliscos, has the same meaning, while the Arabic name is Qalb al-Asad, meaning literally “the heart of the lion.”

Mind Boggler -Leo’s fifth largest star, Epsilon Leonis, 247 light years from Earth, is 288 times more luminous than the Sun, four times as massive and has 21 times the solar radius.

A triangle of stars in eastern Leo represents the Lion’s hindquarters and tail. The brightest star of the triangle is named Denebola, Arabic, meaning the Lion’s Tail.

There are 15 stars in Leo with 18 known planets between them, but none of the planets is in a habitable zone.

The Leonids are meteor showers associated with the constellation of Leo. They peak around November 17-18 every year, and there is another minor shower, the January Leonids, peaking January 1 – 7.

Photo by Henrik Pfitzenmaier on Pexels.com

Ancient History & Mythology

Leo the Lion has since ancient times been associated with the sun and royalty, ruled by the sun in astrology and is one of the oldest constellations collectively recognized with many ancient civilizations agreeing on perceiving it as a lion.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Mesopotamians recognized a constellation similar to Leo as early as 4000 BC. The Persians knew the constellation as Shir or Ser, Babylonians called it UR.GU.LA (“the great lion”), Syrians knew it as Aryo, and the Turks as Artan.

Photo by David McEachan on Pexels.com

The story goes that the ancient Egyptians venerated Leo because the appearance overhead of this constellation used to coincide with the annual flooding of the Nile River, the lifeblood of their agriculture and indeed, the nation entire. Marking the end of drought, desert lions would arrive at the river, driven by desperation, and their appearance was welcomed as a certain sign that the floods were shortly on their way. The Egyptians accordingly honoured the lion with festivals, and even today many statues of lions can be found along the course of the Nile River, proof of their reverence.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

It’s thought that the lion-headed fountains commonly designed by Greek and Roman architects equally symbolized the life-giving waters released by the sun’s presence in Leo.

Herakles’ first labour was the killing of the Nemean Lion. This terrifying lion lived in a cave in Nemea, a town located to the south-west of Corinth. It was a man-eater, dining on the local folk, not OK, and a few had tried to kill it, only to find to their (terminal) horror, nothing could pierce the lion’s hide, it was so preternaturally tough.But someone must have survived to tell this tale, for Herakles, being forewarned of this additional teensy problem, managed somehow to sneak up on the lion asleep in its cave, and strangled to death the uber-kitty; poor puddy-tat.

Herakles then rather disrespectfully, I can’t help feeling, if undeniably pragmatically, skinned the lion with its own claws, and wore its skin as a cloak, making himself even more ferocious in appearance, as well as presumably, and even more importantly, arrow-proof.

The Astrology of Leo

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

This fixed fire sign is known for its pride, ambition and determination, warmth and generosity of spirit, not to mention, charisma, but above all, Leo is known for bravery; the lionhearted one, the divine expression of physical, mental, and emotional fortitude, which is a very great virtue. Leo parents are typically devoted, but they rule their households, no question about it.

Courage takes many forms. There is the courage of initiative, the will to advance, engage and attack. There is moral courage, proceeding in the face of fear, “feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”

And there is the courage to endure, to withstand, and the fortitude that quietly says to itself, “I will keep smiling, and tomorrow I will try again”. No banners and no accolades.

Leo can be its own worst enemy; hasty, arrogant, reckless, self-centred, headstrong and careless, and for these reasons, unless these subjects learn patience, consideration and self-control, they are not necessarily always as lucky in life as they could be, or as they, and the great, shining Leo truly deserve, proud and thirsty children of the sun.

Leo
Dandy Lion

Dandelion’s

Golden Mane

Prideful

Greying

Casts away

Alight on Chance

To someday seed

And newly golden

Lionize again

K Hazeldine

Photo by Nita on Pexels.com

A One-Card Meditation for May, first published at Jessica Adams Astrology

Please click on the link to read my monthly one- card Tarot meditation for the month of May, and also that of US Tarot reader Kyra Oser.

The site at JessicaAdams.com has been experiencing a lot of traffic. It may take a moment to load:

https://www.jessicaadams.com/2020/04/30/tarot-for-the-month-of-may2020/#comment-180861

Scroll down to read the comments…or leave comments of your own.

See you again soon 🙂

Aries: Fiery Sky Ram of Spring

I am running a few days late with this. Strange times for us all.

This is a revised and updated article, first published AskAstrology.com

Most of us know our sun sign, or sign of the zodiac, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what is the story behind it? The spring equinox was on March 20. Time to talk about Aries the Ram, the first sign of the new astrological year…

Common Associations

Symbol

Date of Birth: 19/21 March to 20 April

Ruling planet: Mars

Lucky Day:  Tuesday

 Energy: Yang (Masculine/Extrovert)

Element:  Fire

Quality: Cardinal (the start of the season of spring)

Key phrase:  I am

Body:  Head, neck

Birth Stone:  Topaz, Aquamarine, Diamond

Colour:  Red

Herbs/Flowers: Honeysuckle, tulip, thistle, bryony, peppermint, tiger lily, geranium, hops, impatiens, onions, hollyhock, thorn-bearing trees/shrubs, some firs

Tarot Card: The Emperor (Masculinity, Fatherhood, Government, Law and Order, Courage, Stability)

Note the rams heads adorning his throne.

If I am asked ‘when?’ during a reading and I draw The Emperor, the time-frame suggested is Aries.

Emperor Rider Waite.png
Public Domain: Rider-Waite Tarot

Astronomy

aries-constellation 2.png
Aries, with the head of the Ram pointing downwards. The two bottom stars are the horns

Aries is located in the Northern Hemisphere between Pisces to its west and Taurus to its east.

It is not a specially bright or large constellation. The brightest star in Aries is Alpha Arietis, or Hamal, from the Arabic Al Ras al Hamal, meaning “the Head of the Sheep.” Hamal is a red giant with a magnitude of 2.0, visible to the naked eye, which is about as bright as Mars when the planet is at its farthest point from Earth. The other two brightest stars are the horns of the Ram, Sheratan and

Between 2000 BC and 100 BC the spring equinox used to be April 24 when Hamal was conjunct with the sun, but now the spring equinox is 20 March when the sun shines in front of the constellation Pisces on the border with Aries.

This is because the sun moves westward in front of the backdrop constellations by about one degree (two sun diameters) every 72 years. This drifting is due to a motion of Earth, a wobble on its axis, called the precession of the equinoxes.

But for historical reasons the spring/vernal equinox is still referred as the First Point of Aries.

The Aries constellation contains a galaxy about 100 million light-years from our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and it also a planetary system called 30 Ari, which consists of a gas giant and four stars.

A supernova in Aries was recorded in May, in the year 1012 AD.

The best time to see Aries.

Look for it in December around 9 p.m. local time, rising in the east. A Northern Hemisphere spring or Southern Hemisphere autumn is the worst time of year for viewing Aries, when it is lost in the sun’s glare. December is an especially good month for viewing Aries, when the Earth is on the other side of the sun. In late October, Aries rises in the east at sunset, reaches its highest point in the sky at midnight and sets in the west at sunrise.

Aries reaches its highest point in the sky about 10 p.m. local time (the time in all time zones) in late November, 8 p.m. local time in late December and 6 p.m. local time in late January.

History and Mythology

The spring equinox was a time of renewal throughout the northern half of Earth, an event of great significance to people who were much more aware than we are nowadays, of human dependence on the land and sky.

Once upon a time Aries marked the end of the wild sheep main lambing season in Europe, 21 March – 20 April.

Below, in this rather humorous and charming illustration from India, is surely the least ever fiery ram of a wild sheep.

Humanity made connections, looking up and making patterns out of the skies overhead at that time, matching these to such significant natural events on the ground.

The Sumerians are one of the oldest known urban civilisations in what is now called Southern Iraq, during the Neolithic-Bronze Age, 4500 BC to 1500 years BC. The ancient Sumerians called the sun, Subat, meaning the Ancient Sheep or Ram and the planets were the Celestial Herd.

The brother and sister Phrixus and Helle were the children of the Boeotian king Athamas and the cloud fairy, Nephele.  She died, the king remarried, and his new wife, Ino, feared and hated them and planned to kill them as a perceived threat to her own two children by the king.

They fled, rescued by a flying golden ram sent by Hermes at the plea of the dead Nephele, watching in anguish from the other world, but Helle fell into the sea below and was lost in the Dardanelles, named the Hellespont in her honour. Later, safely in Colchis, Phrixus (rather ungratefully) sacrificed the Golden Ram, returning it to the gods, and presented its fleece as a gift to King Aeetes, who placed it on a tree in a grove under the guard of a dragon, the hideous Hydra, whom Jason later killed in order to steal the magical healing fleece.

In ancient Egyptian astronomy, Aries was called Lord of the Head, and was associated with the god Amon-Ra, depicted as a man with a ram’s head and representing fertility and creativity. And because it was the location of the spring (vernal) equinox, it was also called the “Indicator of the Reborn Sun.” The position of Aries at the zenith coincided with the rising of Sirius in the east and the flooding of the Nile.

The Temple of Amon-Ra at Karnak bore the likeness of the supreme sun-god with the horns of a ram. The road to Karnak was formed from the wings of two granite sphinxes bearing the head of Aries.

However, Aries was not fully recognized as a constellation until classical times when the ancient Greeks from about 1580 B.C. to 360 B.C. oriented the construction of many of their sacred temples in relationship to Hamal.

In Hellenistic astrology, the constellation of Aries is associated with the golden ram of Greek mythology that rescued Phrixus and Helle on orders from Hermes, taking them to the land of Colchis.

The brother and sister, Phrixus and Helle, were the children of the Boeotian king Athamas and the cloud fairy, Nephele.  Athamas was unfaithful and Nepehele left. Drought followed but Athamas remarried, and his new wife, Ino, planned to kill Phrixus and Helle as a perceived threat to her own two children by the king.

They fled, rescued by a flying golden ram sent by Hermes at the plea of Nephele, watching in anguish from the other world, but Helle fell into the sea below and was lost in the Dardanelles, named the Hellespont in her honour.

Public Domain: 1902

The magical ram, Krios, spoke to Phrixus to calm and comfort him as they continued on their way. Later, safely in Colchis, Phrixus (perhaps rather ungratefully) sacrificed the Golden Ram, returning it to the gods, and presented its fleece as a gift to King Aeetes, who placed it on a tree in a grove under the guard of a dragon, the hideous Hydra, whom Jason later killed in order to steal the magical healing fleece.

The name Phrixus means ‘curly.’

Astrological Personality

Aries ram pic.jpg

There is no such thing in reality as THE Aries personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote, but of course it is not your full astrological portrait. We are all unique and it could never be the whole story.

Aries is ultra-virile, with a warrior spirit, just as a ram will charge headlong, at an intruder, and may even kill a person who enters his field, threatening his ewes and his territory at the wrong moment.

Aries is known for its determination and zest for life, and in the same spirit, Aries can be reckless and with it, accident prone in its general haste to get on and do whatever is the next thing. Aries are at a statistically increased risk of  accidents, especially with head and neck injuries in comparison with other signs, largely due to impatience and risk-taking behaviours.

Aries is ready to experiment or pioneer but may not finish what it starts. They are determined but can be diverted by their own impatience if they don’t get quick results.

In their personal relationships Aries are lively, pleasant, frank, direct and generous. Full of wit and bravery and bounce and joie de vivre, there is much to love and admire about the early springtime subjects of fiery Aries, the Mighty Ram.

This concludes my series exploring the science and history of the Zodiac. Browse the archives for the astronomy and ancient stories behind the other signs of the Zodiac.

Back soon.

Until next time 🙂

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TrueTarotTales

Psychic Pisces, the Zodiac Fishes

 Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? This month it’s the turn of Pisces the Heavenly Fishes…

Common associations

Symbol: undefined

Date of Birth: 19 Feb to 20 March

Ruling planet: Neptune (before Neptune’s discovery, Jupiter)

Element: Water

Quality: Mutable (read on to find out more)

Lucky Day: Monday andThursday

Energy: Yin

Key phrase: I believe

Body: Feet, eyes, bladder

Birth Stone:  Aquamarine but also amethyst, ruby, bloodstone and jasper. Aquamarine is the blue variety of beryl. Emerald is a green beryl. The aquamarine is believed to enhance foresight and clairvoyance, and a sense of happiness.

Colour:  Purple, violet, sea-green

Herbs/Flowers: the water lily (associated with Neptune)

Tarot card:  The Moon: ebb and flow, cyclical shifts, intuition, dreams, visionary capabilities, fertility, difficulties with travel, uncertainties, shadow boxing, wild creatures, instinct v civilisation, genius, delusion

Moon card rider waite.jpg
From The Gilded Royale Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

Public Domain:  Rider-Waite

The Astronomy

256px-PiscesCConstellation.jpg

In the sky, Pisces is represented as two fish swimming at right angles to each other, one to the north and one to the west and attached by a cord. The fish are most usually depicted as koi.

Pisces, named for the Latin plural of fish is the 14th largest constellation overall. Pisces is in the first quadrant of the Northern Hemisphere and covers a large V-shaped region. While it is a fairly large constellation, its stars are faint — none are brighter than fourth magnitude — making it challenging to see in the sky with the naked eye.

Even so, its brightest star, Eta Piscium, also known as Alpherg or Kullat Nunu, is a bright giant star (G class) 294 light-years from Earth and has a luminosity 316 times greater that of the sun. Kullat Nunu is its Babylonian name. ‘Nunu’ means ‘fish’ and ‘kullat’ is a bucket.

Pisces second brightest star is Gamma Piscium, a yellow giant about 130 light-years from Earth.

Alpha Piscium is the third brightest star in Pisces, and is made up of a pair of white dwarf stars in close proximity. Its other name is Alrescha (“the cord.”) It lights the spot where it appears that the tails of the two fish are joined or tied together.

The best time to see Pisces in the Northern Hemisphere is between 6-9 November at 9 PM below the Square of Pegasus.

Pisces is notable for containing the point at which the sun crosses the celestial equator into the Northern Hemisphere around March 20 each year.

pisces John Flamsteed 1729.jpg

Image from the Atlas Coelestis, posthumously published by astronomer John Flamsteed, 1729, illustrator John Thornhill.

Astronomer and author Ian Ridpath explains: A cord joins the tails of Pisces. The horizontal dashed line passing through the southerly fish is the celestial equator, and the diagonal dashed line is the Sun’s annual path, the ecliptic.

The point where they cross is known as the vernal (spring) equinox.

History and Mythology

The fish of Pisces are attached by a cord of stars, just as life and death, and winter and spring are conjoined and cannot be separated.

Salmon spawn from October- December onwards. The last of the Atlantic salmon spawning happens late February, after which the salmon die. Perhaps there is a connection here.

Pisces is a mutable sign. These are the signs that mark the end of a season; the other mutable signs are Gemini and Sagittarius. Pisces marks the end of winter, leading up to the vernal equinox. Of all the zodiac signs, mutable signs are traditionally the most flexible and adaptable, the ones most at ease with endings and transitions and change.

Pisces is not only the last sign of winter, moving into spring; it is the last sign of the whole zodiac year, the culmination of all the signs that came before it. Symbolically therefore, Pisces has one foot, or fish in the death of the old year, meaning the last of the winter, pre-spring equinox, and one foot or fish in the quickening of spring, post-spring equinox.

Winter often brings mourning, as it carries away the frail and the old.

Psychic Pisces straddles the season of that winter’s grief and the new green shoots of spring.

The sign of Pisces is Babylonian in origin. Enki, the Sumerian god of wisdom, and the alleged true father of mankind, is associated with the planet Neptune, which astrologically rules the sign of Pisces.

To the ancient Greeks, the fish themselves were the goddess Aphrodite and her son, Eros. They were walking by the Euphrates one day when a terrible monster, Typhon, suddenly rose up out of the water to destroy them.

The gods of Olympus were no match for this particular very ancient monster, a son of Gaia, or Earth herself. He was as tall as the heavens and his eyes shot flames. Instead of fingers, he had 100 dragon’s heads sprouting from his hands.

None of the Olympians had the power to destroy the ghastly Typhon, or confront him, not alone, and he tried to kill them every chance he got. For a time, all they could do was flee, often by transforming themselves into animals, and Aphrodite and Eros, in this case, transformed themselves into fish and swam away.

Another version of the story says they dived into the river, and were rescued by two friendly fish that carried them to safety, and were later placed in the sky, their tails intertwined, to commemorate the day when Eros (Love) and Aphrodite (Beauty) were saved from a hideous fate.

Ultimately, Zeus managed to imprison the terrible Typhon beneath Mount Etna…and he is still very much alive down there to this day.

The Astrological Personality

There is no such thing in reality as THE Pisces personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote but of course it is not and never could be the whole story.

Pisces combines imagination with determination, charm with depth, and at times there is a certain passivity, even inertia, which may actually serve them very well at times, but may in some cases degenerate into a trap or a kind of darkness involving depression, alcohol or other substance misuse.

These individuals are talented, natural artists or musicians. They are famously loyal once committed, compassionate and sensitive.

Pisces has steel. This doesn’t get mentioned much, hardly ever, if at all, but Pisces has a quiet steel. They may tire, but they endure, and try taking them on, they may not say much, but watch their face harden, and, should you cross the line once too often, again, they may not say much, but you are gone.

Their instincts are kindly, and they have a soft spot for the underdog. Where they demonstrate a lack of proper consideration for others, or undue stubbornness, it is not due to any lack of goodwill, but because they are not paying attention, too focused on their inner preoccupations.

Pisces Public Domain.jpg

Pisces needs variety, and structure must allow them room for a degree of autonomy. Many police officers, arbitrators and judges are born under Pisces, as well as artists and musicians. Administrative work, although Pisces can do it, is really not their sort of thing by and large.

Pisces can make excellent and approachable leaders of small teams, loyal to their staff. They will take on injustice, take on those superior in status, but Pisces, unlike, say Aquarius, confines their remit to action on an individual basis. Pisces are not temperamentally disposed to mount group actions, campaigns or crusades unless perhaps, they are early Pisces, born on the Aquarius cusp, but the later subjects of this sign, born close to the Aries cusp, are very much the ‘doers’ of Pisces.

Pisces is brave but their physical energy must be guarded. It can be erratic, and once depleted, is not always easily restored. If they are prone to headaches at the back of the head, there may be related bladder infections or other hidden issues. Pisces needs longer to recuperate from illnesses than some other signs. It needs plenty of rest, music and relaxation time near to rivers, ponds and sea.

Weaknesses – Depending on their other planetary placements, Pisces may be prone to falling prey to either wishful thinking, or gloom or unhealthy lifestyle habits, especially when struggling to recover and regroup from setbacks. Lacking a clear sense of purpose or direction, Pisces can drift loose from their cord, becoming detached and living too much in their own imaginary world.

Until next time 🙂

Ophiuchus: The Thirteenth Sign of the Zodiac?

Dang. I meant to post this in November and forgot. I’ll blame it on Brexit. Why not.

Is there a missing thirteenth sign in the astrological zodiac? NASA, astronomers and mainstream media suggest there is, trotting out this story every few years, to the frustration of Tropical western astrology scholars and practitioners. Sidereal (eastern) astrologers may agree with NASA, but Tropical (western) astrologers absolutely do not.

So what’s all this about?

It hinges on the confusing of zodiac signs with the constellations after which they were named, treated them as mutually interchangeable which they are not.

There are 12 signs in astrology. Modern astronomy records 88 constellations covering the southern and northern hemispheres of Earth’s sky.

Thirteen of these constellations cross or touch the ecliptic – the trajectory of the Sun’s apparent path across the sky as seen from Earth.

ecliptic.jpg
Public Domain: the Plane of the ecliptic

These include the 12 constellations that inspired the names of the 12 zodiac signs plus a thirteenth constellation– Ophiuchus (Oaf-ih-YOU-kus)

Astronomers and NASA have presented this thirteenth constellation, Ophiuchus, as the thirteenth sign of the zodiac, while also pointing out that the zodiac itself…the section of sky directly overhead as viewed from Earth- has changed from when the ancient Babylonian astrologers first viewed it, so that, claims NASA, the generally accepted dates for the zodiac signs as supplied in horoscopes are now a month out of alignment.

This change in the skies has been the result of an effect called precession. The gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun causes the Earth to ‘wobble’ and as the Earth orbits around the sun; a different constellation appears behind it each month.

So while the zodiac signs have remained in a fixed position, and their dates have remained the same, varying only by a day or two here and there, the constellations have drifted.

Based on this, astronomers have suggested the new astrological zodiac should more correctly look like this, with these new dates:

•Capricorn: 20 Jan – 16 Feb
•Aquarius: 16 Feb – 11 March
•Pisces: 11 March – 18 April
•Aries: 18 April – 13 May
•Taurus: 13 May – 21 June
•Gemini: 21 June – 20 July
•Cancer: 20 July – 10 Aug
•Leo: 10 Aug – 16 Sept
•Virgo: 16 Sept – 30 Oct
•Libra: 30 Oct – 23 Nov
•Scorpio: 23 – 29 Nov
•Ophiuchus: 29 Nov – 17 Dec
•Sagittarius: 17 Dec – 20 Jan

So you thought you were a Taurus sun sign, says NASA. No, actually, you are an Aries subject. So you thought you were an Aries sun sign? No, you are Pisces. So you thought you were a Sagittarius? No, you are Ophiuchus, and so on.

Whoa. But let’s not get too excited. As astronomers are quick to point out, astronomy is not astrology. And that works both ways.

First let’s take a brief look at the astronomy.

The Astronomy and the Constellation of Ophiuchus

200px-OphiuchusCC.jpg
Wiki

Ophiuchus ([Oaf-ih-YOU-kus)  is one of the largest constellations but in general the least well known,  straddling the celestial equator northwest of the centre of the Milky Way, near the constellations Aquila, Serpens, and Hercules, and opposite Orion, the southern section lying between Scorpius to the west and Sagittarius to the east. Below Ophiuchus, down to the right, look out for a bright reddish star, Antares in Scorpio, for help in confirming that you have found it.

Right now -July- is the best time to see it in the northern hemisphere, mid-winter in the southern hemisphere.  Hence this story is in the news again right now.

Its name comes from the Greek Ὀφιοῦχος Ophioukhos; “serpent-bearer,” and it is commonly represented as a man grasping a snake.  In medieval Islamic astronomy the constellation was known as ‘Al-Ḥawwa,’ “the snake-charmer.” It used to be called Serpentius, when the constellation counted more stars, including the constellation of Serpens, representing the snake itself. Marking the head of Ophiuchus, Alpha Ophiuchi has an older, Arabic name: Rasalhague, the “Head of the Snake Charmer”.

Ophiuchus contains notable features and objects, including Kepler’s Supernova, or Kepler’s Star, named for German astronomer Johannes Kepler.

It was by far the brightest star in the sky for over 3 weeks during 1604 and actually Kepler wasn’t the first to note the supernova, due to cloudy conditions, but he made observations over the course of an entire year and wrote about the “new star in the foot of Ophiuchus”.

Kepler’s Supernova continued visible for 18 months, and its remnants are still studied today, still the most recent supernova to be observed with the naked eye.

Mythology

To the ancient Greeks, the constellation represented the god Apollo struggling with a huge snake that guarded the Oracle of Delphi.

Later myths identified Ophiuchus with Laocoon, the tragic Trojan priest of Poseidon, who warned his fellow Trojans about the Greek’s wooden horse, and together with his sons, was killed by a pair of sea-serpents sent by Poseidon to shut him up, because clearly, Poseidon was on the side of the Greeks, or else under orders from Zeus, or else Laocoon had already annoyed him in some other way, and you know, nothing less than death by giant sea-snake would do.

Public Domain

Pluto (Hades) complained to Jupiter (Zeus) that Asclepius was interfering with death, an act of hubris which upset the natural order, and meant the end of the circle of life, with no room for new life.

Immortality would be a terrible evil. Life itself would die, stagnated, and Jupiter (Zeus) duly put a stop to it by killing Asclepius, hurling a lightning thunderbolt straight at his head, giving him an instant perm.  

Apollo was, rather understandably, we may agree, furiously upset, “you zapped my son you b*stard!” Jupiter tried to comfort him by placing Asclepius in the heavens to honour his good works, and the rod of Asclepius remains the symbol of western medicine to this day.

The rod of Asclepius is not be confused with the Cadeuceus, a symbol of medicine, but also of trade. The cadeuceus is assciated with Mercury, and has not one but two snakes twined round the staff, and it has wings.

rod of asclepius.png
Public Domain

So, is Ophiuchus the thirteenth zodiac sign? Or does your zodiac sign stay the same?

Sidney_Hall_-_Urania's_Mirror_-_Taurus_Poniatowski,_Serpentarius,_Scutum_Sobiesky,_and_Serpens.jpg
Image: Public Domain: The Snake-Wrangler in Urania’s Mirror, 1825. Above the tail of the serpent is a now ‘obsolete’ constellation, Taurus Poniatovii

If you are born between 29th November and 17th December, NASA, other astronomers and Sidereal astrologers may argue that your zodiac sun sign is technically Ophiuchus.

Key personality traits:

Humanitarian* Poetic* Hungry for knowledge* Intuitive* Psychic*Intense *Likes bright colours *High achievers *Prone to harbouring enemies without realizing *Lucky (so long as the enemies don’t succeed, obviously)

These are, not surprisingly, a mix of classic Scorpio and Sagittarius attributes in this profile.

But- there is a But here. And it is a blooming big BUT.

What astronomy is failing to recognize is the logic of the system which is the very basis of western (Tropical) astrology, and which makes a key distinction between the positions at any given time of the constellations themselves, and the zodiac signs named after them.

The signs of the zodiac as we know them today are based on Ptolemy’s twelve-fold division of the ecliptic, designed so that each sign spans 30° of celestial longitude, or roughly the distance the Sun travels in a month. 12 was a cleaner, tidier number to work with than was 13.

Ptolemy aligned these divisions with the seasons so that the March equinox always falls on the boundary between Pisces and Aries, whereas Sidereal (Vedic) astrology is based on the constellations themselves, as was western astrology way back at the time of the Babylonians, whose data Ptolemy worked with.

Tropical western astrology, with its 12 associated zodiac signs is a static, modelled system based NOT on the constellations themselves, but on the wheel of the seasons which also accord the signs of the zodiac their personalities, but the idea of the ‘missing’ thirteenth sign is nothing new.

It was developed by Hipparchus in 130 BC,” says astrologer, Susan Miller, “but you don’t get your characteristics from the constellations. You get them from the planets, from the sun and moon. We measure everything by the degree to which the earth is rotated around the sun. So if you’re born at the beginning of the zodiac, which corresponds to the spring equinox and typically falls on March 20, you’re at the 0º point—or the point at which the sun is crossing directly over the earth’s Equator. If we didn’t have names like Virgo or Gemini we’d have to walk around saying, `Hi, I’m a 136º,’ and I’d say, `Oh, really? Well I’m a 352º and so on.”

In Summary

NASA’s supposed debunking may be logical in strictly astronomical terms. But that’s astronomy. It has nothing to do with western Tropical astrology as practiced today, and would only matter if the timing of the signs relied upon being tied to the actual positions of the constellations.

But they do not, and your zodiac sign, also known as your sun sign still stands, both as it is and where it is, based on the principle and according to the system on which it was first described.

A Lunar Eclipse: The Crab, the Sultan and the Wolf

Tweeted Friday January 10

“Tonight is the first full moon of the new year, nicknamed the Wolf Moon. As winter bit down, hungry wolves came down to the villages in search of food.”

January and February is wolf mating season, and their howls haunted the nights more than usual, both in Europe and in North America. This nickname was shared by Europeans and Native Americans alike, though this full moon has other nicknames too, including the Snow Moon and Ice Moon.

British Wolf Hunt Public Domain

Also Tweeted

“Tonight’s lunar eclipse full moon in Cancer rises at 15:50 GMT (UK) or 2:21 ET and sets at 07.53 GMT (UK) Last night’s almost-full moon was spectacular. Excited cat playing & pouncing on things. This ‘watery’ lunar event typically signifies big changes at home. A letting go.”

That evening I said to Il Matrimonio, “I wonder who we will be hearing about tomorrow, who has ‘let go and left home’?”

Very many people will have ‘let go and left home’ of course. 2 people go out of this world every second and 4 come in, or if we want to be statistically exact, 1.8 go out, and 4.20 come in.

“The unborn are banging on the gates of the dock. What’s the limit on the shipping lanes?”- KT Kearns

But who would we be hearing about?

Which crab would quit his rock-pool?

Who would the wolf moon carry away in tonight’s meteor shower? (The Quadrantids)

It was the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al- Said, 79, a ruler for 50 years, ally of the UK and US and the longest ruling monarch in the Arab world.

Publicly at least, apart from three years of marriage which ended in divorce, after which his wife remarried, he lived to all intents and purposes as a hermit (crab) But his personal life has remained entirely private, protected by his shell of court and state.

Qaboos bin Said Al -Said

Excerpts from an Obituary in the Middle East Eye: (Link provided below)

“The sultan took the throne of an extremely underdeveloped country with a history of civil conflict and oversaw its transformation into a politically stable middle-income state during his half-century reign. Under a model of modernising absolute monarchy, he largely managed to steer Oman away from the extremes of consumerism of neighbouring Dubai and the religious conservatism of Saudi Arabia.

The concentration of political power and wealth in the sultan’s hands, combined with the absence of a clear route to succession, had led to fears that there could be a leadership crisis following his death.

The appointment of Haitham bin Tariq, Oman’s culture minister and the 65-year-old cousin of the late sultan, on Saturday appeared to put to rest lingering uncertainty over the country’s succession process.

Under Qaboos, political parties were banned and laws of lese-majesty created an all-pervasive system of surveillance and repression that ensured no organised opposition could emerge.

Still, there is no doubting the genuine affection in which the sultan was held by many Omanis and expatriates, seen as a visionary leader who had secured the welfare of Omanis and expatriates alike by leading the nation through its modernisation, and leaving a legacy that his successor will be hard put to equal.

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos is pictured at his palace in Muscat on 14 January (AFP)
Oman’s Sultan Qaboos is pictured at his palace in Muscat on 14 January 2019 (AFP)

The Sultan inherited a conservative, highly religious country riven by armed insurrection and tribal divisions, Valeri wrote, and over several decades, reduced the influence of the tribes, while incorporating their leaders in the political process.

Qaboos also championed the advance of women, gradually opening the way for many to enter education and the labour market in increasing numbers, despite Oman being a conservative society that traditionally segregated women in domestic roles.

Qaboos was also a big supporter of the arts with his government sponsoring the country’s first societies of artists and traditional music. As a lover of classical music, he played the organ and the lute, composed music and founded the Gulf’s first symphony orchestra in 1985, its players recruited from the towns and villages of Oman.

Qaboos was careful to maintain diplomatic ties even with those states, such as Iran and Iraq, which were in conflict with his western allies. As he explained to an Egyptian newspaper in 1985: “There is ultimately no alternative to peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Persians, nor to a minimum of agreement in the region.”

One of the world’s longest-serving heads of state, Qaboos began tentative moves toward a constitutional monarchy in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the introduction of an elected consultative assembly and municipal council elections. However at the time of his death he remained head of state and prime minister, and commander in chief of the armed forces. 

Qaboos’s successor will face the growing question of how to quell rising expectations of a new generation of internet-savvy young people no longer satisfied with the repressive paternalism that prevailed under half a century of Qaboos.

Excerpts from the Middle East Eye: Read more HERE

Now. Here is a very interesting piece of information, linking the Full Moon In Cancer with the Sultan Qaboos, or at least, I find this interesting. If not downright spooky.

Your Moon sign is an expression of your temperament and style of doing things. The natal chart of the Sultan shows that he was born with his Sun in deep and secretive, watery Scorpio and his Moon in the sign of almost equally deep and secretive sign of Cancer the Crab.

That was one enigmatic man of deep waters. That was one tough shell.

Two tough shells.

Now consider this image of the Moon card from The Gilded Tarot Royale, from the illustrator Ciro Marchetti, and the full moon uniting wolf and crab.

Or should we say, reuniting.

Until next time 🙂

The Sun, The Stars and Sunflowers.

True Tarot Tales

Sunflowers…

The Sun card in Tarot foresees sunny weather at its most literal.   It’s respite from care, the gift of the moment, childhood and sometimes the imminence of birth. It’s also travel, particularly to hot places. It is the return of the sun after the winter solstice. It is the zenith of the sun in the summer solstice. It is glory.

Reversed it’s the setting sun, delays and lesser joys, the passing away of childhood, nostalgia, beautiful, bittersweet twilight. It may mean getting something less than you hoped for, but what you get is still something to be happy for.

The Star card on the other hand, can and often has indicated a recovery from depression, sickness and despair, a guiding light, someone sees a way ahead, they couldn’t see before.

Klytie was a figure in Ancient Greek mythology who fell in love with the sun god, Apollo. Each day…

View original post 219 more words

Capricorn, the Cosmic Sea-Goat

An introduction to the astronomy, history and, mythology of the zodiac sign of Capricorn…

 Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? This month it’s the turn of Capricorn…

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: 21 Dec to 20 January

Ruling planet: Saturn

Lucky Day: Saturday    Lucky Numbers 2 and 8

Energy: Yin

Element: Earth

Quality: Cardinal (the start of the season of winter)

Key phrase:  I build, I use

Body:  Skin, knees, skeletal system

Birth Stone:  Red Garnet, Black Onyx

Herbs/Flowers: Wintergreen, Ivy, Carnation

Tarot card:  The Devil (Pan/Nature, Mystery, Fascination, Obsession, Entrapment)

The Devil card wiki.jpg
From The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti

The Astronomy

Capricorn stars wiki 256px-CapricornusCC.jpg
Public Domain

The constellation of Capricornus is located in an area of sky known as The Sea or The Water, containing other water-related constellations including Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus.

Its name is Latin for “horned goat” or “having horns like a goat’s”, and it is commonly represented in the form of a sea-goat: a mythical creature that is half goat, half-fish, like Pricus, the son of Chronos (Time) king of the mer-goats of Greek myth. This seems to have been an evolution legend.  The children of Pricus left the sea to dwell on mountains, leaving him alone in the oceans with no-one to teach any more, and Pricus was a great teacher. Zeus placed him in the Sea of the Stars so that he could see his children again, and they could look up and see him.

Capricornus is the smallest constellation in the zodiac, with no first magnitude stars. Even so, the brightest star, Delta Capricorni A, is a white giant with a luminosity 8.5 times that of the Sun.

Capricornus has three stars with known planets and contains a Messier object, Messier 30, a globular cluster 28,000 light years distant,about 90 light years across in size.

The cluster is approaching us at the speed of 181.9 km/s. It was one of the first deep sky objects discovered by Charles Messier in 1764.

There are five meteor showers associated with Capricornus: the Alpha Capricornids, the Chi Capricornids, the Sigma Capricornids, the Tau Capricornids, and the Capricorniden-Sagittarids.

Like other constellations of the astrological zodiac, Capricorn was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

The planet Neptune was discovered in the constellation Capricornus, near Deneb Algedi, the brightest star in the tail of the goat, on September 23, 1846.

This perhaps explains or illustrates a strong astral and psychic mythic connection between Capricorn and Pisces the Fishes.

History and Mythology

Though Capricornus is the second faintest constellation in the sky after Cancer, its imagery is very ancient indeed, associated with myths that go back to the 21st century BC and several of which centre on various sun gods nursed by a she-goat.

All myths of astrology have their roots in Earth’s seasons. Goats, and their relatives, ibex, were depicted in Ice Age paintings, and later immortalized in myth as Capricorn.

Male ibex started fighting and mating during early winter, December and January, coinciding with the later days ascribed to Capricorn.  In the early Bronze Age, Capricornus marked the winter solstice and, in modern astrology, as distinct from astronomy, Capricorn’s rule still begins on the first day of winter. The constellation itself is actually overhead nowadays during Aquarius, due to the wobble of the Earth, an effect known as precession, but the sun sign named after Capricornus retains the dates accorded to it by Ptolemy.

Before 1000 BC the Sumerians knew Capricorn as the goat-fish, or SUHUR-MASH-HA, but the constellation is nowadays more widely associated with two mythical creatures from Greek legends: the deity Pan, and the she-goat Amalthea who suckled baby Zeus, although these legends were based on far more ancient stories involving kindly she-goats and baby sun deities.

The forest deity Pan has the legs and horns of a goat, like Krotos, his son, who was a great archer and devotee of the Muses, and is identified with the neighbouring constellation Sagittarius.

Pan, so the legend said, was placed in the sky by Zeus in gratitude after he came to the rescue of other gods during a time the Olympian gods sought refuge in Egypt following their epic battle with the Titans, when the monster Typhon, son of the Titan Tartarus and Earth, sought revenge.

Typhon was a fearsome fire-breathing creature, higher than mountains and with dragons’ heads instead of fingers. The Olympian gods sought to escape his vengeance by adopting various disguises: Zeus, a ram – Hera, a white cow, Bacchus (another version of the myth suggests Pan) a goat.

Zeus was dismembered by Typhon, but was saved when Bacchus/Pan played a sound on his pipes, ‘panikos,’  from which we get the word ‘panic’ – and he panicked  the monster long enough for an agile Hermes to collect the supreme god’s limbs and carefully restore him. In gratitude, Zeus transferred Bacchus/Pan to the heavens as Capricornus.

Another legend says that while the souls of those about to be born descend to Earth through the constellation of Cancer, via the Beehive Cluster, the souls of the dead return to the cosmic sea, ascending through the gate of Capricorn.

Capricornus.jpg

Public Domain: Celestial Atlas 1822

The Astrology

Capricorn is the tenth sign in the Zodiac.

There is no such thing in reality as THE Capricorn personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote but of course it is not and never could be the whole story.

The archetype of Capricorn is shrewd, wise, and even Gnostic. They are profound thinkers, often deeply enquiring, and with a wry sense of humour, self-reliant, stoic in the face of adversity, hard-working, determined and resilient.

They have high standards, and expect much of themselves but also others which, depending on other aspects of their astrological portrait, can make them demanding or even overbearing task-masters,

They are known for a dry rather than a joyful wit, and if Saturn gets too prominent, they can be downbeat, cynical and suspicious, seeing traps and problems everywhere, viewing the enthusiasm of others as premature or naïve.

Capricorn is no-one’s fool, but Capricorn carries its own weight, and the weight of others too from time to time, and Capricorn climbs the mountain to see the world, not so that the world will see Capricorn.  

Marlene.jpg
Public Domain

“Duties are what make life most worth the living. Lacking them, you are not necessary to anyone. And this would be like living in an empty space. Or not being alive at all.”- Marlene Dietrich, born Dec 27, 1901

Season’s Greetings!

The Zodiac’s Celestial Scorpion

Scorpio…The celestial scorpion

Most of us know our sign of the zodiac, but what does its constellation look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind the sign? Around October 23 this month we entered the sign of the Scorpion.

Common Associations

Dates:  October 23 –November 22

Ruling planets:  Co-ruled by Mars, and after its discovery in 1930, Pluto

Symbol:  Scorpion, Eagle (Because of the nearby constellation, Aquila, the Eagle)

Zodiac element: Water

Zodiac quality: Fixed

Keyword:  I desire. I transform

Colour:  Dark red

Birthstone:  Yellow Topaz, Opal, Aquamarine, Tourmaline.

Tree:  Walnut,Hawthorn, Blackthorn

Tarot Card:  Death

Death card.jpg

Image from the Rider –Waite

Astronomy

Scorpius from which the zodiac sign of Scorpio gets its name, is a massive and spectacular j- shaped constellation located in the southern hemisphere near the centre of the Milky Way. In the Northern hemisphere it can be seen in July and August, most visible in July at 9.00 PM. In the Southern hemisphere it is visible from March to October, looking like a faint band in the Milky Way overhead.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4e/ScorpiusCC.jpg/256px-ScorpiusCC.jpg

Its name is Latin for scorpion and it is one of the 48 constellations identified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century. Like Aries, Taurus and Leo, it is an ancient constellation, recognised as such pre-dating the Greeks.

Scorpius is the southernmost of all the constellations in the zodiac, and lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It used to be bigger, but its claws later became part of the constellation the Romans named Libra in the first century.

Its brightest star, one of the brightest of all in the night sky, is the ‘heart’ of the scorpion, Antares, meaning ‘rival of Ares’ (the Greek name for the Roman god of war, Mars) It is so-named because it is bright reddish in colour, like Mars, and also because Scorpio’s ruling planet was Mars until Pluto was discovered in 1930. Now it is considered co-ruled by both Mars (The Warrior) and Pluto (The Transformer)

Scorpius contains many bright stars, and interesting exo-planets.

The planet PSR B1620-26 b is sometimes nicknamed “Methuselah” being estimated at 12.7 billion years old.  (The universe is about 13.7 billion years old.)  Methuselah is vast, with a mass about twice that of Jupiter and it orbits around not one, but two stars.

Gliese 667Cc is a “super-Earth” about four times as massive as Earth. It orbits a red dwarf star, Gliese 667C; part of a three-star system only 22 light-years away from Earth. It’s considered potentially habitable and the same system contains two other potentially habitable planets: Gliese 667Ce and Gliese 667Cf – both  are about 2.7 times the mass of Earth.

“Habitability” is defined as a rocky world that is close enough to its parent star for liquid water to exist on the surface, though other factors may later rule it out, such as the variability of its star, or the composition of the planet’s atmosphere.

Mythology & History

Nature, religion and astrology were intertwined in the ancient world, and the scorpion has been here hundreds of millions of years, more than 450 million, compared with our six million or so.

Sometime around four thousand years ago the Babylonians looked up, discerned the brightly leaning J- shape in the summer stars and called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’.

The movements and relative positions of Scorpius were mapped by Babylonian magicians and astrologers, who left written records.

“When a halo surrounds the Moon and Scorpio stands in it, it will cause men to marry princesses, (or) lions will die, and the traffic of the land will be hindered.”

A comet appearing in Scorpius was read as a warning of a plague, but when the Sun rose in Scorpius, alchemists saw their one chance for the transmutation of lead into gold.

Sidney_Hall_-_Urania's_Mirror_-_Scorpio.jpg

Public Domain

In Greek mythology the scorpion refers to a story about Orion. According to one of these myths Orion boasted to his friend the goddess Artemis and her mother, Leto, that he would hunt and kill every animal on Earth. Demeter, the goddess of Earth decided this was completely unacceptable behaviour.

Artemis was a great hunter herself, but she did not kill for the sake of killing and was ultimately a protector of all creatures. Demeter sent a scorpion to deal with Orion. He fought back, and according to some accounts he killed the scorpion, but whether or not Orion killed the scorpion, the scorpion definitely killed Orion.

Zeus was much impressed by the scorpion’s battle spirit, and raised the scorpion to heaven, and at the request of Artemis; he did the same for Orion.

In other cultures it is not seen as a scorpion. In Indonesia it is the Banyakangrem – “the brooded swan,” or the Kalapa Doyong, meaning “the leaning coconut tree.” In Hawaii, it is “The Fishhook” of the demi-god Maui.

In Chinese mythology, the constellation is part of the Azure Dragon.

And yet, there is consensus across not only continents but hemispheres. Thousands of years before the Greeks and Romans established their societies, the Australian Aboriginal people also saw the stars of Scorpius as a cosmic scorpion, as did the Aztecs of Central Mexico. The Lowland Mayans  had scorpion constellations. These may have matched up with the Scorpion of the zodiac, but there no clear proof. It is thought that the Mayans viewed the celestial scorpion as an eclipse-causing agent.

The arrival of Scorpio’s sign in the northern hemisphere coincides with the advent of mystery, the fast fading autumn light, and the ghosts, myths and superstitions of Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, hence its association with the Tarot’s Death Card.

Facts about scorpions

  • They are an ancient creature, the earliest evidence dates from the Silurian period 450 million years ago, when the first scorpion ancestors left the seas for the land. Fossils from the Carboniferous 300 million years ago indicate little change since then. Early scorpions may have had compound eyes. 
  • They are arachnids: arachnida scorpiones, with a body in two sections, 2 pincers or pedi-palps, 8 legs like a spider, and an exo-skeleton made of chitin. They are more closely related to Harvestmen than spiders.
  • They dance before mating, a stately promenade. They give birth to live young and carry them on their backs until the babies have their first moult when they disperse. The mothers may eat the young if resources are desperately scarce.
  • They have a long life span compared with other arachnids, 2-3 years in the wild but they have lived up to 25 years in captivity. They can live a year without food and eat insects, spiders, other scorpions and lizards. They also eat small mammals, such as mice.
  • They glow in the dark except when newly moulted. Scorpion fossils still fluoresce, despite spending hundreds of millions of years embedded in rock.
  • They are famously venomous. However of the nearly 2,000 known species of scorpions, only 25 have venom powerful enough to be dangerous to an adult human. In the U.S., the Arizona bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus, produces venom strong enough to kill a small child, but anti-venom means deaths are rare.

The Scorpio Zodiac Personality

Like the other water signs, Cancer and Pisces, Scorpio is considered clairvoyant, or at least, keenly intuitive. But Scorpio has far greater intensity. This is water behaving as steam, while not overlooking the venom of its sting.

Scorpio rules the eighth sign of the zodiac, to do with Birth, Sex and Death.  No wonder the subjects can be intense, and they are often possessed of great personal charisma. They are watchful but keep their feelings hidden. Born investigators, spies or secret agents, they are shrewd judges of human nature, while less conscientious Scorpio subjects may make use of this to their advantage, and drop friends whom they no longer see as useful.  But combined with their intense determination and loyalty where they decide to accord it, Scorpios can make great leaders, scientist, and devoted doctors. They are quick learners, very adaptable, often changing careers, going down new paths.

Scorpio can be vengeful…and patient, but also devoted, and they never forget a kindness either.

Next time…the story of Sagittarius.