Libra 2021

Most of us know our sign of the zodiac, but what is the story behind the sign? Read on for the story of Libra…

Libra marks the advent of the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere. The scales of Libra represent this temporary state of balance in nature, and the closest equality of the hours of darkness and daylight.

Common Associations

Symbol

Element: Air

Quality: Cardinal (it instigates)

Affirmation: I (seek to) Balance

Ruling planet: Venus

Body: Lower back, buttocks, kidneys, bladder Tissue salt: Nat Phos (sodium phosphate)

Colour: Indigo Blue

Flower: Rose, Hydrangea

Birthstones: Sapphire- September birthdays. Opal- October birthdays

Lucky Number: 6 (community, childhood)

Tarot card: Justice Minor Arcana cards: 2, 3, 4 Swords

From The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, illustrator Ciro Marchetti

Astronomy

Constellation Libra

Libra (which technically, though I don’t know anyone who actually pronounces it this way, is pronounced Ly-bra as in Library) is a small but distinct constellation next to the constellation Virgo in the evening sky.

It looks rather like a lopsided diamond and is visible in the northern hemisphere between April and July and is most visible directly overhead at midnight in June.

It is 29th in size of the 88 known constellations and is is bordered by the head of Serpens to the north, Virgo to the northwest, Hydra (the biggest constellation) to the southwest, Lupus to the south, Scorpius to the east and the serpent bearer, Ophiuchus to the northeast.

Libra, like Cancer, is fainter from Earth than other constellations, and contains no spectacular first magnitude stars, but it contains a very old galaxy cluster that is thought to be around 10 billion years old, the same age as The Milky Way, our own galaxy.

Libra also contains a red dwarf star, Gliese 581, which has three orbiting planets, one of which may possibly be suitable for life. This system is about 20 light years from Earth.

Libra though recognized as an asterism long before, was only formally classified as a constellation by the Romans, and used to be regarded, not as a constellation in its own right, but as part of the neighbouring constellations Scorpio and Virgo.

This legacy explains the names of its brightest stars; a binary star about 77 light years from Earth. α Librae. called Zubenelgenubi, in Arabic “the Southern Claw” in Arabic. The second-brightest star is β Librae, or Zubeneschamali,  the Arabic for “The Northern Claw.”  

Once upon a time, about three thousand years ago and until AD 730, the Sun used to move into the constellation of  Libra at the time of the northern autumnal equinox (c. September 23) and stay there until about October 23.

This changed over time, owing to the wobble of the Earth, owing to an effect called the precession of the equinoxes so that since 2002, the Sun has actually appeared in the constellation of Libra from October 31 to November 22.

HOWEVER This does not affect the dates or the meaning of the zodiac sign of Libra which is based, not on the science of the astronomy in real time, but on an arithmetic model.

Mythology and History

From Urania’s Mirror

Libra was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”) with an alternative name, the Claws of the Scorpion. In ancient Greece too, Libra was seen as the Scorpion’s Claws.

The scales were sacred to the Babylonian sun god Shamash, who was the patron of truth and justice, so that since these very early times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility.

Libra was first recognised as a constellation in its own right in ancient Rome, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, or Dike, who in Greek mythology was actually associated with Virgo. In ancient times, the stars of Libra, The Scales, were also intermingled with those of  Scorpius by the Greeks, but were always considered as a separate group by the Romans.

According to the writer Manilius, whether this was factually correct or not, more Roman judges were born under the sign of Libra than under other zodiac signs.   

Venus and Libra

Libra, like Taurus, is traditionally ruled by Venus, planet of love, beauty, friendship, diplomacy- and also wealth, because wealth provides luxuries.

The Birth of Venus, Botticelli

Everything has its shadow side of course, and Venus can also mean over indulgence, undue materialism, or uncontrolled desires or obsession.

The Libra Archetype

The Archetype of Libra is The Judge.

All zodiac signs are archetypes, meaning something that is considered to be a perfect or typical example of a particular kind of person or thing,

The zodiac signs paint a ‘typical’ portrait of a person born at a particular time of year, in a particular season. A baby born in summer arrives into a different physical environment from a winter baby; differences of parental diet, especially in the days long before supermarkets where food was a matter of seasonal availability, plus other environmental factors; temperatures, hours of daylight exposure and so on, with potential physical effects on that baby’s makeup and development.

Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, the others being Gemini and Aquarius.

 Libra is the only sign that is not represented by a human or animal, but the scales signify the collective and enduring human hunger for justice, as well as Libra’s own especially keen personal need for balance, order, and equality.

Many astrologers view Libra as an especially lucky sign because it occurs during the peak of the year when the rewards of hard work are harvested.

Libra is suave, clever and extremely easy to like. The classic Libra subject has charm and can be a great listener with sharp observation skills and acute perception.

Because Venus, the goddess of love, rules Libra, the Libra subject is especially, even acutely sensitive to beauty in anything, whether it is a person, nature, art, or music. They dislike loud noises, nastiness, and vulgarity, as they are naturally extremely civilized people. They can sometimes be a little tiring to be with as they are constantly re-assessing and adjusting their thinking, and can be restless, more changeable even than Gemini.

Late Libra may show some of the more negative Scorpio traits. They may be touchy and thin-skinned, and tend not to handle criticism as dispassionately as they dispense it.

But Libra on a good hair day, when it is sunny side up, smart as anything, smiling, civilized, ready to be amused, that lollipop face, what’s not to like?

The archetypal human face in the Tarot representing Libra is the Queen of Swords, though of course in real life, this may represent male or female.

This court card represents a queen of keen observational and analytical capabilities, combining intellect and instinct. She has worked hard, given her best service, learned many life lessons, may well have experienced much loss, and while often charming, has a certain air of aloofness. Many seek her out for her wise advice, and receive fair,considered advice. In her most negative aspects she may be vindictive.

Photo by Anderson Miranda on Pexels.com

These archetypes are based on thousands of years of observation, but of course there is no such thing in reality as THE Libra personality.

You are a unique individual. Your zodiac sign (also known as your sun sign) is a major keynote, but nothing like the full picture in real life – or even in astrology.

But your decan, which depends on where your birthday falls within your zodiac sign, digs just a little deeper. If you don’t feel like a ‘typical’ Libra, perhaps you are a second or third decan Libra, rather than a ‘most typical’ first decan Libra.

What are the decans?

The decans have been described as ‘the thirty six faces of astrology.’

 The Zodiac, a portion of sky as seen from earth, represents an imaginary belt or wheel; a circle of 360 degrees. This circle was seen as divided in Tropical or Western astrology into twelve ‘slices,’ of approximately thirty degrees each. Each slice represents a zodiac sign named after a chosen constellation appearing inside this belt of sky, giving us the zodiac signs we are familiar with today.

Astrologers then sub-divided each of these 12 signs into three parts of ten degrees each. Every degree – every birth date -supplies added insights or texture in respect of character and potential destiny.

The first ten days of a zodiac sign are the first decan. The next ten days or so are the second decan, and the last ten days or so are the third decan.

“If you’ve ever wondered why people born in the same sign seem different, decans can help answer this puzzle,” – astrologer Rachel Lang.

Libra First Decan

Libra-Libra

Dates:  23 September – 2 October

Planetary rulers: Traditional –Moon / Modern –Venus

Tarot card: Two of Swords Truce, pause, standoff, taking stock, information gathering, indecision, obstinate, none so blind as will not see, refusal to engage

Libra-Libra gets a double dose of Venus glamour, as both its planetary ruler and sub-ruler; here is the most ‘typical’ Libra subject; sensitive, perceptive, attractive and well-balanced, keenly intuitive and extra sensitive to beauty, the arts and fashion.

They are clever as anything, strategic thinkers, great at seeing patterns, dealing with data. They are diplomats, cool operators, experts at avoiding unpleasant conversations. They are sensitive to loud noises and dislike crowds.

They hate conflicts, arguments and will avoid direct confrontation, though this is not always helpful. This means they may also avoid uncomfortable decision-making – or indeed any decision-making and may put off a boring job in the hope that someone else will deal with it, though they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves.

Libra is not known for nothing as ‘the iron fist in the velvet glove.’ They can turn away, cut you out cold, and you may never find out why. There will be a reason, but they don’t do those kinds of conversation, for all their essential kindness and usual generosity of spirit. First decan Libra for all their gifts can be self-critical and prone to anxiety or sudden mood swings. They really, really need their space.

Libra Second Decan

Libra-Aquarius

Dates: 3 -12 October

Planetary rulers: Traditional – Saturn / Modern – Uranus

Tarot card: Three of Swords. Sorrow, stress, separation, love triangles, karma, making peace with the past. All signs must learn to deal with loss. Important to note, none of these messages are intended for Libra alone, and may simply represent Libra timing in a reading.

Libra-Aquarius, ruled by stern Saturn and rebellious Uranus is not only brilliantly clever, but dutiful, patient, wise, and inventive, even downright psychic, more curious about subjects like astrology than other Librans. Here is a thinker with a strongly independent streak – even a little quirky. This Libran is urbane, naturally sophisticated, and much sought after for their wit, knowledge, sparkling company and good advice.

They are known for combining artistic gifts with a logical, rational scientific way of thinking.  The writer’s father was a second decan Libran; an academic author and scholar of French philosophy, and an exhibiting artist, a painter, with powerful ESP.

All Librans have good earning potential above average, but this decan, ruled by disciplined Saturn, though not remotely mean, is careful, especially prone to saving up for a rainy day, or with an eye to leaving money for their dependents.

Never underestimate them. If a second Libra thinks something is wrong or unethical, if they disapprove of something they may react with a shocking finality, bringing down the sword of judgement. It’s the same with all Librans but the second decan Libra, while oh so polite….will coolly tell you to your face what they do not approve of. 

Libra-Aquarius, inspiring devotion and respect, is an enigma, remote and distant, like a kindly priest or a shaman, or a shining lone star.

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

Libra Third Decan

Libra-Gemini

Dates: 13- 22 October

Planetary rulers: Traditional – Jupiter / Modern – Mercury

Tarot card- Four of Swords: rest, bed, recovery, retreat, regrouping after mental or physical exhaustion

Libra-Gemini is known for above average physical attractiveness and typically looks younger than their actual age, with a rounded face, bright, keen eyes, medium build, and a light to medium build, usually above average height.

Knowledge is power to this most restless Libran. They need to feel up to date, well informed. They may not necessarily share what they know, unless they feel challenged or contradicted. They can be competitive and also secretive, not because they are deceitful, but to avoid the risk of hassle. They cannot bear dealing with bad news, or to be the bearer of bad tidings. Libra decan 3 is not the one to volunteer to handle this.

They are capable of aggression, but still, are more timid, more of an introvert that many would take them for on first acquaintance.

They may have found themselves cast in the role of outsider at some period of their lives. This may have proved a formative experience, or it may have dented their confidence and given them a bit of a hang-up.

They take themselves very seriously, and are serious about money, and about their obligations, and make excellent family providers. They do need to feel that whatever they do for their loved ones was entirely their own idea, and do not respond well if they get the idea they are being pressured, but a bit of praise goes a long way with Decan 3 Libra.

They are kindly, and they notice things, but they don’t tend to give out a lot of feedback. They are born judges, but it can seem as if other people’s problems aren’t entirely real to them, and if they’re in the wrong, they may never admit it for fear of being judged themselves.

This decan in particular craves travel, and is known for a love of the sea. They have a tendency to become restless, withdrawn and irritable when bored, or when they can’t travel as much as they would like. Pandemic travel restrictions really might have been quite a frustration for this Libra subject.

Photo by David McEachan on Pexels.com

Libra Season 2021

This will not be a quiet news month on the global stage or in the media. It promises to be pretty interesting, and possibly at times, a bit too interesting, reflecting lively and intense astrological transits, particularly until the Mars square Pluto conjunction 21,22 and 23 October, which suggests we take special care how we go, avoiding getting into confrontations, and when going out and about.

On the other hand, we could get a lot of stuff sorted out this Libra season, spurred on helpful bursts of Mars energy.

Libra is laid back, or at least, quietly focused, going about its business. But this Libra season, 2021, is in all probability, not a case of business as usual.

Further reading:

For more about the decans: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decan_(astrology)

For more about The Chaldeans:  https://erenow.net/common/astrology-and-religion-among-the-greeks-and-romans/2.php

The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination by Robert M Place: https://www.amazon.com/Tarot-History-Symbolism-Divination/dp/1585423491?tag=horoscopeco07-20

Harvest Moon in Pisces-Aries

Samuel Palmer, Public Domain

Tonight was the Full Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the autumn equinox which in 2021 is 22 September, occurring at 20:21 (British Summer time. )

Unlike other full moons, the Harvest Moon rises at nearly the same time, around sunset, for several evenings in a row, lighting the fields for the workers bringing in the harvest.

In the US, the First Nations called it The Big Moon, and so it can be, lighting the harvesting till late in the evening, or they called it The Sturgeon Moon.

The sturgeon, a really ancient, prehistoric fish found in fossil beds from the Cretaceous, and that can be 3.5 m in length, has been hunted nearly to danger of extinction on account of caviar.

Look at this old variety of maize grown by the Lakota…a glass gem corn cob. It is not eaten like this, but ground into a purplish meal.

How beautiful is that?

Glass gem maize cob

This year’s Harvest Moon is happening in third decan Pisces. The corresponding Tarot card is the rather lovely Ten of Cups. Home sweet home. Or perhaps home and dry…it kept appearing for Joe Biden during the US Election, Trump v Biden,though an oddly domestic card perhaps, in that particular context. (Mr Biden is a deep water, Scorpio subject, Mr Trump airy Gemini.)

Note the symbols hanging in the hearth-place, Mars in Pisces.

The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

What could be more peaceful? Well, yes, but Pisces can also be tricky; dream states, illusions, delusions. Neptune. This full moon might be full on emotionally intense, and this may be agreeable, OR anything but, or actually a teensy bit bonkers. One may be extra accident prone. Passions may boil over, a touch of paranoia perhaps, angry words said. One may need to watch one’s step and beware rogues and trickery.

This Moon is teetering into Mars ruled Aries later on tonight, and Aries is currently in opposition to Mars, This is heated, volatile…volcanic even. Think Cumbre Vieja.

Il Matrimonio had an odd encounter this morning, out in town. Potentially a mugger (?) sizing him up, first asking him the time as they crossed, going in opposite directions, walking on but then turning back again and following him. He, we will never know, but he felt the man’s presence behind him and stopped sharply to let the man know he was alert to him. The man meandered into a nearby bus stop he had previously just passed and hopped on a bus. Possibly there was an innocent explanation, or else the man was after Il Matrimonio’s smartphone, a snatch and run prospect.

Be alert. The country, so the old saying goes, needs lerts.

Poor old sturgeons. There they are, been here all this time, fossils dating back in the late Cretaceous era, more than 65 million years ago, being brought to the brink on account of a human hankering for blobs on toast…or is it blinis?

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

But what do I know. Il Matrimonio has had it, and says it is delish.

I’ll take his word for it.

Sturgeon, Wiki

Till next time 🙂

Psychic Skies; Mercury, Mars and the Moon this month

Mercury goes retrograde 27 September until it goes direct again 18 October for the last time in 2021. So what does this mean?

A Mercury retrograde is a regular event, no big deal, happening three or four times a year, and lasting about three weeks but with effects felt for up to two weeks ahead of the retrograde and up to two weeks after it.

Astronomically. a retrograde simply means that the planet in question seems to be moving on a backward trajectory, as seen from earth, due to differing speeds of orbit. It is merely an optical illusion. Mercury briefly overtaking Earth in its orbit round the sun

We have more Mercury retrogrades than any other. Mercury is the smallest planet, closest to the Sun with the shortest, fastest orbit round the sun, only 87.97 days. Let’s call it 88 days

Astrologically, any retrograde signifies a shift in the “tide in the affairs of men”- a new prevailing wind. The nature of it, how it manifests in real life depends on the planet in question.

Fast moving Mercury is the symbolic ruler of intellectual activities, trade and communications. So what’s the fuss? When it goes retrograde, and for a few days before and after this retrograde, during the so-called shadow, what can we expect?

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Public Domain via Wiki

Maybe nothing at all. Not every retrograde is the same. It could simply mean business as usual. But likewise, we could find ourselves noticing an unmistakable cluster of gremlins-things going wrong noticeably more than usual:-

-We have delays

-We mislay things

-We have personal misunderstandings, crossed wires

-We have travel problems

-The car needs attention or even breaks down

-Appliances malfunction.

-Deliveries go astray

-We have IT glitches

You get the picture.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

It may turn out to be a total non-story, or just the odd bit of nuisance rather than any drama. But if you catch yourself saying things like, ‘I don’t believe this!’, and ‘oh no, not again’, or howling in utter exasperation, ‘what the f*** is this happening NOW?’ -then you know what and who to blame.

Mercury, facilitating mischief until around 18 October or even early November.

Astrologer’s advice for optimal working in this abstract(?) celestial weather.

They will tell you that a Mercury retrograde is optimal for reflection, reviewing, research and extra meticulous planning, but not for initiating or making major purchases and acquisitions, particularly if these are electronic items. Double-check important paperwork. No. Triple-check it. Do read the small print.

But as mentioned before, not every Mercury retrograde is the same. This one is in Libra, affecting relationships, alliances and partnerships in particular, and what’s more, energetic Mars invaded peaceable Libra 14 September.

Mars, planet of fire, action and potentially war. Mars gets things done. This can be just what’s needed, or it can be combustible.

This will be why I have drawn the fiery Page of Wands. Fireworks. Trade salvos for now. Growlings and mutterings in respect of a new deal between Australia, UK and the US, and the loss to France of a major submarine contract. China does not like it of course, having banned Australian coal imports in retaliation for the Australian call for an independent investigation into the origins of the Covid pandemic in Wuhan. But China’s coal alternatives are coming with their own costs.

Things are only hotting up in the Indian Ocean, and also the Straits of Hormuz.

From The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

We say peaceable Libra. Well, that depends. This is the sign of marriage and domestic partnerships, as well as wider global partnerships of all kinds. Libra is outwardly suave, savvy, debonair even, and charming. It may seem peaceful, ruled by Venus, Mars’ opposite number.

But it is contractual in dealings. It may be the zodiac sign of diplomacy, but in the real world, especially geo-politics, this diplomacy or compromise is generally liable to mean “either you scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours”, or the “iron fist in a velvet glove”. Either way. soft, it isn’t.

Also to note, the autumn equinox 22 September as we enter the zodiac sign territory Libra, sign of the scales, day and night in balance. Uranus in Taurus (upheaval of tradition) goes head to head with Saturn in Aquarius (Fundamentalism, group-think collectives)

Extinction Rebellion could be viewed as an example of a collective ruled by Saturn in Aquarius. The Taliban too. Ugh. But hang on on a minute. Am I seriously making a comparison here? What could they possibly have in common?

What is in common is their motivation and their characterizing Saturn in Aquarius spirit. It is about the exercise of control by an non elected group, justified in the name of some holy grail- however that is to be defined.

It is a fundamentalist way of doing things. Secular or religious. In the end, it makes little difference. Fundamentalism says the ends always justify the means. It is this way, their way, the only right way – the way of the righteous. They are the self-declared sole arbiters of truth.

Saturn in Aquarius is always right. It is righteous. It is their way or the highway. Except that right now in the UK, with Insulate Britain blocking motorways, it is a question of them having their way but NO highway either for ‘the others’.

Extinction Rebellion, Public Domain

Meanwhile steadfast Taurus won’t be bullied, doesn’t budge, but Uranus sets it off at a charge, or turns it topsy-turvy. Saturn when in cool, remote, cerebral Aquarius won’t flow, won’t adjust, but sets like ice while preaching whatever is its own form of gospel. What does this bode for public order round this time? We’ll soon see.

Warning: Unpopular opinion: I have sympathy with certain of the aims of Extinction Rebellion, as with its objections to the risks of fracking on the marshy Fylde in Lancashire for instance. But there is an elephant in the room Extinction Rebellion won’t acknowledge, the poison chalice, the kiss of death to honesty; what we can do about global overpopulation and the inevitable resulting environmental pressure on landscapes and resources this inevitably creates.

Will they go ‘there’? Utter one peep? No way! Anymore than they would dare to block roads in China.

Our best efforts to reduce our footprint will be too little to mitigate the mess we can’t help making, so long as we are so many. But what is to be done? China tried but the experiment had to be abandoned. It was simply too dreadful; tragic, socially and economically damaging.

We may just possibly mine the Moon some day, or Mars, but we shall find no other home. We need Gaia. Who does not need us at all. Unless, yes, to get rid of us as she has done many times before with countless other species. How many species went extinct before we were even here? The likes of a thousand Extinction Rebellion won’t prevent it, if it’s going to happen, and to paraphrase Dr Malcolm in Jurassic Park, sooner or later, ‘Life finds a way’.

Meanwhile, what can we do but tread lightly where we can.

Photo by Ben Mack on Pexels.com

The Full Moon this month is the Harvest Moon in Pisces on 21 September. Deep of feeling. Fathomless. Beware of accidents and scammers. Muggers. Keep your wits about you. Il Matrimonio had a dodgy encounter only this morning 21 Sept) but pre-empted and saw it off, if that’s where the guy was heading.

Harvest Moon by Samuel Palmer, 1833

The Age of Pisces

The Age of Pisces is the age of the rise of Monotheism, two thousand years ago, and we are still in the Age of Pisces. We are not in the Age of Aquarius yet, and what it represents – technology and collectivism (ugh)

But when we are, give it another 2 millennia and we shall return to a new Age of Capricorn, and that would be a very different beast again.

Read here for more about the so-called ‘Ages’ of Aquarius and Pisces.

No, we are just having a little taster. But a Pisces Moon, now, there is a moon to dream on. Or pray upon.

Photo by Ruvim on Pexels.com

This month’s New Moon in Pisces, 20 September is actually considered a happy, lucky Moon in astrology, occurring an hour after Mercury is trine the big beast, optimistic, expansive Jupiter. Around this time, if one was inclined to take notice of such things, would perhaps be September’s most promising window for going for a new job or signing a contract, and doing anything really, thumbing our noses at any small beer Mercury retrograde stuff.

Mercury, or Hermes as he was to the Greeks, is very big beer, actually. Tiny planet. Big beer supernatural entity. Not only is he the messenger of the gods, arbiter of trade and travel, he is a psycho pomp, who escorts the souls of the newly dead to the banks of the river Acheron, or Styx if you prefer, to wait for the crossing with Charon the Ferryman to the Resting Isles- the Isle of the Dead.

Here he is, winged helmet, caduceus, looking distinctly mischievous, and Puckish, rather elf-like- perhaps even a touch of Loki, Norse lord of misrule.

Quicksilver.

Painting by Hendrick Goltzius, 1558-1617, Public Domain

Libra is about the rule of reason, fairness, keeping a cool head, not losing our balance. Libra suggests, if Mercury retrograde does rub us up the wrong way, or Mars gets uppity and rattles the cage, we take a deep breath, count to ten, walk away, zoom out the lens, keep our powder dry. It isn’t personal, even when it feels personal.

You can always get them later, if you really must. The devil is in the detail.

Till next time 🙂

The Tarot, the Fool and the Return of Orion

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

Orion The Hunter, ‘Man of the Mountains’ or as he was known to the early Sumerians, the Akkadians, The Light of Heaven, returns to the northern hemisphere in late July or early August, once again striding the eastern horizon at sunrise, though he is tilted on his side this time of year facing up.

But 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. Yes. Now he is back, and will rise earlier each day until he is visible all evening by early December. 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 that was all, and I 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. It’s smaller than another Greek hero, Perseus but Orion’s got more brilliant stars.

(The biggest constellation is Hydra, and the biggest Zodiac constellation is Virgo.)

Orion’s brightest stars are the blue-white star Rigel, representing the Hunter’s left foot (where the scorpion bit him, sent by Gaia, and caused his death) and the red super-giant Betelgeuse, his right shoulder,only ten million years old, which makes Betelgeuse young to be a red super-giant, 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, while Orions’s Belt is one of the most easily recognized asterisms with its three stars, nicknamed in Arabic ‘the Golden Nuts’.

Their Arabic names, read east to west or left to right; Alnitak (girdle), Alnilam (string of pearls) and Mintaka (belt) But of course they have many other names across the world; The Magi, the Three Mary’s….

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 has been identified as a human figure in every culture at every latitude, with countless story variations

Orion, aka Nimrod, was the son of Poseidon in Greek myth; 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, though she had taken a vow of perpetual chastity.

Orion was 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 story 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 whereas, as previously mentioned, 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.

The Sumerian story is older.

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 we did not evolve on the gorilla branch).

Watch out for Orion overhead in the final frame of the video.

Until next time 🙂

Season of The Lion Sun, Leo

Leo

We moved into the astrological sign of Leo on 22 July. It’s time to roll out the red carpet…running late this month, due to a bit of an IT nightmare.

Leo Associations

Symbol: Lion

Celestial ruler: Sun

Element: Fire

Metal: Gold

Quality: Fixed (mid- season/high season)

Body: Heart and spine

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

Plants: Marigolds, sunflowers, dandelions, celandines, passion flowers

Gemstones: Peridot, carnelian, ruby, onyx

Wikipedia: peridot

Key phrase: I love

Tarot card: Strength

The Gilded Tarot Royale, Ciro Marchetti

Minor Arcana cards: The 5,6,7 Wands.

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, situated between Cancer to the west and Virgo to the east.

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

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

In the northern hemisphere, in the Spring is the best time to see the Lion, starting around the March equinox. By June, Leo is descending in the west in the evening, drifting progressively westward, and by late July or early August, the Lion begins to fade into the sunset, returning to the eastern sky and visible before dawn around late September or October.

Look for the Big Dipper then look southwards, Leo is below the Big Dipper.

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

Mind boggling factoid coming up- 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 a solar radius 21 times bigger.

A triangle of stars in eastern Leo depict the Lion’s hindquarters and tail, the brightest, Denebola, Arabic, means the Lion’s Tail.

Look out for meteor showers during Leo but actually these will be The Perseids, peaking around 12 August. The Leonids are the meteor showers associated with the constellation of Leo, coming from that direction around November 17-18 every year, and again in January; with a smaller shower peaking January 1 – 7.

There are 15 stars in Leo with 18 known planets between them, but none thought to be habitable.

Mythology

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Leo the Lion has since ancient times been associated with the sun, and is ruled by the sun in astrology.  Leo is one of the oldest constellations collectively recognized in the sky, 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.

The story goes that the ancient Egyptians venerated Leo because the sun shone in front of this constellation at the time of the annual flooding of the Nile River, the lifeblood of their agriculture and indeed, the nation entire. Marking the end of drought, this flood shortly followed the arrival of desert lions at the river. The lions had come to the river out of need, driven by the drought of the desert at that time, but this was a welcome sign that the flood was on its way, and this connection was welcomed by the Egyptians, who honoured the lion with festivals, and even today many statues of lions can be found along the course of the Nile River, proof of the reverence with which the ancient Egyptians regarded the desert lions.

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.

Many stories are associated with Leo the Lion. Perhaps the best known tales feature Hercules’ first labour and the Nemean Lion.

This terrifying lion lived in a cave in Nemea in the south-west of Corinth. It was killing and eating the locals, and no-one could kill it because its skin could not be pierced by any weapons. Hercules surprised the lion in its cave and strangled it, and then rather disrespectfully, if 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

This fixed sign is known for its pride, ambition and determination, warmth and generosity of spirit, but above all, Leo is known for bravery. Leo is represented in the Tarot by the “Strength” card, representing the divine expression of physical, mental, and emotional fortitude, which is a virtue.

Courage takes many forms. Active bravery is about proceeding in the face of fear, “feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” And then there is the courage to endure, the discipline of damage limitation, and the fortitude that quietly says to itself, “tomorrow I will try again”.

Eternal optimists, tough sometimes with a dark streak, Leos can be their own worst enemy; loud, reckless, self-centred, headstrong and careless, and for these reasons, unless they can learn greater patience, consideration and self-control, they are not necessarily always as lucky in life as their generous nature deserves.

Leo is both the sign of childhood, and childhood’s end.

Photo by Lisa A on Pexels.com

Dandy Lion

Dandy Lion’s greying mane

Casts away

Alight on chance

To lionize again

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 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 🙂

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 🙂

The High Priestess: Hathor, and Hecate, goddess of ghosts…

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

In the language of the Tarot the High Priestess may simply mean ‘a woman’, just as The Magician may simply signify ‘a man’.

The High Priestess corresponds with Monday as a day of the week. The reader may of course also correlate the Moon card with a Monday, but should be aware of The High Priestess connection, not to miss out on a potential clue in a reading.

The Moon card additionally correlates with the zodiac sign of Pisces, and in terms of timing of events may be suggesting dates late February- late March.

The High Priestess may be a scholar, and/or something of a witch. She may be a reader, an artist in any medium, a writer and a teacher. She may be a herbalist or hedge-witch, a midwife or a doctor. She may be in any line of work at all, but whatever she does, yes, she studies – hence the scroll in her hand- yes, she learns from others, but above all she learns from herself, and she is ready to talk in silence, like her masculine counterpart, The Hermit, and to walk and work alone.

She is recognized by HOW she does things, rather than necessarily what she does. She may be single, but even if she is married and a devoted family woman, there is always the sense that she has her own domain, separate, not shutting others off, but hers to rule.

The light is cool, silvery, remote at times though not cold.

You can see in this card various mythological references: the pomegranate of Persephone, as she wanders alone between the World and and the Underworld, and the cow horns of Hathor, goddess of the sky, of beauty, fertility, music and joy.

You see the Owl of Hekate, daughter of Zeus and Asteria, the triple goddess of ghosts. She is identified with the Crone and the waning Moon. She is the keeper of the dead, of boundaries and of the crossroads, purveyor of poison, but kindly to the broken, kindly to Demeter when Persephone was abducted. Hekate herself is no mother, but also took pity on the tragic mother Hecuba, queen of Troy, after Hecuba’s death by suicide,jumping overboard the Greek ship that was taking her into slavery after the fall of Troy and the deaths of so many of her children. Hecuba had suffered more than anyone could bear. Hekate, seeing this, rescued her soul with the gift of forgetting and transformed her into a hound which she keeps safely at her side at all times.

The Triple Hekate, William Blake

The owl as a totem animal is strongly associated with the intellectual warrior goddess Athena but hers was a Little Owl. Hekate’s totem animal is a Barn Owl, aka screech owl.

This owl is also associated with Welsh mythology, the Mabinogion, and the legend of a magical woman who was turned into an owl; a story which featured in a famous novel by Alan Garner, The Owl Service.

The Owl Service-

Garner was fascinated by the love triangle of Lleu Llaw Gyffes (the man cursed never to have a wife on this earth), Blodeuwedd (the woman who was magically made out of flowers for him) and Gronw Pebyr (her lover). In the Welsh tale, Blodeuwedd conspires with her lover Gronw to kill her husband Lleu, but Lleu escapes his murder, turns into an eagle and flies away, eventually to be restored to life by the magician Gwydion. Blodeuwedd’s punishment is to be turned into an owl, while Gronw is killed by Lleu with a spear that passes through him and pierces a stone”.

Source: Times Literary Supplement

The High Priestess wears a headdress refers to the sacred Bull cult of Apis, corresponding with the material sign of Taurus, which is also associated with Hathor, the cosmic cow which carried the weight of the whole world.

The element of Earth is no less ‘spiritual’ than Fire, Water or Air.

When The High Priestess is drawn reversed in a reading, a female (though not necessarily female) enquirer may be feeling unhappy and lonely. If it refers to a woman in the enquirer’s close environment, this card may be picking up on a female friend where there has been a distancing or a disagreement, or this other woman is not after all a true friend. Be careful who you trust is the warning of the High Priestess.

Anyone who sees you as a competitor can never become a true and trusted friend. What they want in life, you cannot give to them, even if you wanted to, any more than a cow could simply shed its horns. But whatever they may want for you or from you, is, ultimately, not motivated by goodwill.

The High Priestess is watchful, and under no illusions as to whether someone is friend, foe, neutral or indifferent. But she knows it takes all sorts. She doesn’t take it personally.

In this respect, the shrine or sanctuary of The High Priestess corresponds with an old Norse rune called Perthro or Perdhro, meaning secrets, cup, chalice, sanctuary or paddock.

People meet on the road, or on the bridge, or on the strand between the shore and the sea, but, like The Hermit, the High Priestess accepts solitude as the price of learning, the sanctum she serves….whatever that sanctum may mean in reality; a home, a job, a business or a creative endeavour, or a cause dear to her heart….

People are quick to commiserate with bad news. But the real test, the acid test of a friendship is, when a friend also truly, sincerely rejoices in your good news.

The Watcher by The Well of Wyrd

Circe by Waterhouse

She works alone with words and stones,
Disposing glyphs on graven runes,
Wyrd runs water; she must deal,
In whisperings and Fates unsealed,
Winds of fortune shape and shatter,
Time, disposing of all matters,
Is Serpentine, the ouroboros,
Endless, rolling, still coils sinuous.

Till next time 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

Libra the Celestial Scales, Balance of the Seasons in the Stars

The zodiac sign of Libra, what’s the story?

Most of us know our sign of the zodiac or sun sign, but where did get its name from, and what does it look like in the night sky? Read on for the story of Libra…

Common Associations

Symbol

Quality: Cardinal

Element: Air

Affirmation: I (seek to) Balance

Ruling planet: Venus

Body: Lower back, buttocks, kidneys

Colour: Indigo Blue

Flower: Rose, Hydrangea

Birthstones: Sapphire- September birthdays. Opal- October birthdays

Lucky Number: 6 (community, childhood)

Tarot card: Justice

Public Domain: Justice from the Rider-Waite Tarot

Astronomy

Libra (and I say Lee-bra too, like most people, but technically, it is correctly pronounced Ly-bra as in Library) is a small but distinct constellation next to the constellation Virgo in the evening sky. It looks like a lopsided diamond, or a small child’s drawing of a house, and is visible in the northern hemisphere between April and July.

Libra is most visible directly overhead at midnight in June, and is 29th in size of the 88 constellations.

Public Domain: Libra

Libra is bordered by the head of Serpens to the north, Virgo to the northwest, Hydra (the biggest known constellation of all) to the southwest, Lupus to the south, Scorpius to the east and the serpent bearer, Ophiuchus to the northeast.

Libra, like Cancer, is fairly faint from Earth in comparison with other constellations, and contains no spectacular first magnitude stars, but it contains a very old galaxy cluster, possibly around 10 billion years old, which is about the same age as our The Milky Way, our own galaxy.

There is a red dwarf star ,Gliese 581, in this galaxy, with three orbiting planets, one of which may possibly be suitable for life. This system is about 20 light years from Earth.

Libra used to be regarded, not as a constellation in its own right, but as part of neighbouring Scorpio and Virgo. This legacy remains in the names of its brightest stars.  The brightest star in Libra is a binary star about 77 light years from Earth. α Librae. Its common name is Zubenelgenubi, meaning “the Southern Claw” in Arabic. The second-brightest star in the constellation of Libra is β Librae, known as Zubeneschamali, from the Arabic for “The Northern Claw.”

Public Domain: the Scorpionic Scales, from Mercator  

Since 2002, technically, the Sun has actually appeared in the constellation of Libra from October 31 to November 22. But signs of the zodiac are not dependent on the positions of the actual constellations. Western or tropical astrology, which is based on seasonal phenomena, not the actual positions of the constellations, which remain the basis of Eastern or Sidereal astrology.

The Sun did used to be in the constellation of Libra at the northern autumnal equinox (c. September 23) to on or about October 23, when the hours of night and daylight were the same- hence the Libran key concept of natural balance, and the change of the seasons is still marked by the first days of the zodiac sign of Libra, 23 September.

But Western or Tropical astrology was designed as a construct based on arithmetic, not on current astronomy. The signs of the zodiac were inspired, modelled and named according to the heavenly bodies, but actually based on seasonal phenomena, these being presented as an arithmetic model, dividing into 12 pieces of a pie, the circle of the visible skies of the zodiac as seen from Earth, as calculated by the Greek mathematician, astronomer and astrologer Ptolemy in the 2C AD.

Mythology and History

Justitia by Howard David Johnson, 1954 –

Public Domain

Libra was once included as part of Scorpio, and was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”) with an alternative name, the Claws of the Scorpion. In ancient Greece Libra was also seen as the Scorpion’s Claws.

The scales were held sacred to the Babylonian sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice, and ever since these very early times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility.

Libra was first recognised as a constellation in its own right in ancient Rome, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, also known as Dike, who in Greek mythology was actually associated with Virgo. In ancient times, the stars of Libra, The Scales, were also intermingled with those of  Scorpius by the Greeks, but were always considered as a separate group by the Romans.

According to the writer Manilius, Roman judges were born under the sign of Libra.  The Moon was said to be in Libra when Rome was founded, in a historical passage, which states “qua condita Roma.”

The start of Libra starts with the autumn equinox, when days and nights are almost of equal length, i.e. balanced, and Roman astrologers considered that the constellation of Libra represented the scales held by Astraea, the ‘star maiden,’ goddess of Justice and innocence. Astraea was a daughter of the Titans, god of dusk, and Eos, goddess of dawn.  She dwelt on earth alongside humans during the Golden Age of Man, but the Iron Age dawned, bringing war and wickedness, and Astraea could not abide this, nor the injustice of the killing of the bull who pulled the plough, until, sometime during the Bronze Age, she left earth for the skies, where she transformed into the constellation Virgo.

Here is pause for thought. This is all rather confusing. We are discussing Libra, not Scorpio, not Virgo, but Libra is a subtle sign, a comparatively newly created one, pulled somewhat, and aspects of it shared between neighbouring Scorpio and Virgo.

The seasonal story is straightforward. Libra is the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere. But the mythos is complicated, due to the merging of several mythological personas, Babylonian, Greek and Roman. Astraea was also known as Dike, goddess of human justice (where Themis was goddess of natural justice) To the Romans she was Justitia. She was the protector of fair judgement, and continues embodied in the blindfolded figure of justice used in our own law courts today. Virgo and Libra go together, and so do Libra and Scorpio. This close relationship was echoed in the sky, where Libra, the symbolic representation of Dike, lies alongside Virgo. According to the myth, Astraea will one day return to Earth, bringing a new Golden Age.

The Libra Archetype

Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, the others being Gemini and Aquarius.

 Libra is the only sign that is not represented by a human or animal, but the scales signify the collective and enduring human hunger for justice, as well as Libra’s own especially keen personal need for balance, order, and equality. Many astrologers view Libra as an especially lucky sign because it occurs during the peak of the year when the rewards of hard work are harvested.

Libra is suave, clever and extremely easy to like. The classic Libra subject has charm and can be a great listener with sharp observation skills and acute perception.

Because Venus, the goddess of love, rules Libra, the Libra subject is especially, even acutely sensitive to beauty in anything, whether it is a person, nature, art, or music. They dislike loud noises, cruelty, nastiness, and vulgarity, as they are naturally extremely civilised people. Born diplomats, Libras try to cooperate and compromise with everyone around them to create a tranquil atmosphere. They can sometimes be a little tiring to be with as they are constantly re-assessing and adjusting their thinking, and can be more changeable even than Gemini.

Public Domain: Venus, the ruler of Libra, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli.

Libras may show negative Scorpio traits just the same as a Scorpio subject. They may be touchy, thin-skinned, and tend not to handle criticism as dispassionately as they dispense it. They like to be the centre of attention and may resent it when they are not. Libra can be jealous, moody, and an expert practitioner of passive aggression, or go further as the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ – smoothly vengeful, or even ruthless.

But- lovely Libra. Smiling, civilised, smoothie side up, what’s not to like?

Queen of the Heavens, Harvest Goddess Virgo.

“The Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres,” The Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD. 

Virgo is known as a sun sign or sign of the Zodiac, but what does the constellation look like in the night sky, and what’s the seasonal story behind it? Let’s investigate Virgo, Corn- Goddess of the Zodiac, also known as Shala, Ishtar, Demeter, Ceres...

Common Associations

Virgo symbol

Date: August 23-September 22

Symbol: The Virgin

Element: Earth

Quality: Mutable (Sagittarius and Pisces are also Mutable, suggesting these subjects are capable and versatile; and generally inclined to conform, going with the flow if it’s for the greater good.)

Ruling planet: Mercury (Travel and all forms of communication)

House: Sixth, ruling health, habits, and routines

Colour: green, white and yellow

Body: Intestines

Birthstone: Carnelian

Flowers: small bright flowers, clover, buttercup

Tarot card: The Hermit (introspection, perception, analysis, care for nature)

The hermit tarot card

Source Wikipedia: The Hermit from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck

Astronomy

Virgo astronomy

Public Domain

Virgo is the second-largest constellation in the sky after Hydra, and the largest constellation in the zodiac, located between Libra to the west and Leo to the east, and below the Big Dipper.

In the northern hemisphere, it is most visible in the evening sky in May- to late June. In the southern hemisphere, it can be seen in autumn and winter.

Find its brightest star, the brilliant-blue-white Spica, and you will work out the rest of Virgo with her feet pointing east.

It might seem a bit of a stretch, trying to picture a person from that photograph, but add in a few more of her stars, imagine her lounging, dangling a sheaf of wheat from one hand (Spica.)

And now you see her.

Spica

Author’s own image

Spica is a double star, brighter than our sun. Its name is from the Latin, meaning an ‘ear of grain’- or a sheaf of wheat.

It’s sometimes called ‘The Lonely One’ because it is so far from the others, and the astronomer and astrologer Ptolemy saw these stars as ruled by Venus and Mars respectively, mated together in a chaste, androgynous union, like the slightly remote purity of Virgo herself.

Vindemiatrix, ‘the Grape-Gatherer,’ seen at daylight, was once seen as a sign that now it was time to pick the grapes.

Galaxies: The Virgo Cluster

It’s mind-boggling to consider that our own Sun is just one star of the Milky Way, and the Milky Way is only one of a collection of galaxies known as The Local Group.

This contains three large spiral galaxies: the Milky Way, Andromeda, and the Triangulum Galaxy, and a few dozen dwarf galaxies. But The Local Group is just one member of the Virgo Cluster – a collection of 1200-2000 galaxies that stretch across 15 million light-years of space.

And the Virgo Cluster is just one cluster in the Virgo Supercluster.

the constellation of Virgo

Wiki Commons: the constellation of Virgo is especially rich in galaxies, with more than 1300 galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. One of these, NGC 4388, 60 million light-years away, is captured in this image, as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3.

But if the constellation of Virgo is most visible in May in the northern hemisphere, why are the birthdates for the sign of the zodiac August 23-September 22nd?

Astronomy is not Astrology. The sky as we see it is called the celestial sphere: a giant blue ball that rotates around us (its rotation axis crosses the poles). The Sun appears to move along with this sphere every day, rising in the East and setting in the West, but it also appears to move, in this sphere, at a one-degree-a-day pace, on the contrary direction (West-East).

This annual motion is on a circle called Ecliptic, a great circle in relation to the Equator.

Now imagine a belt around this circle. This is the Zodiac. Ptolemy divided this 360-degree belt by 12 for the elegance of arithmetic, based on 12 constellations described by the Babylonians, ignoring a thirteenth constellation, Ophiuchus, so that a zodiac sign represents roughly a 30-degree chunk of this belt.

But the constellations have moved in the last two thousand years, and changed positions relative to Earth, owing to wobbling of the Earth on its axis; an effect known as precession.

The dates for the zodiac signs named after the zodiacal constellations, however, have remained the same, but this great fact of astronomy does not affect the validity of the dates of your Zodiac Sun sign as calculated by Ptolemy.

The exact dates of the Zodiac signs can vary by a day or two each year and are calculated by astronomers every year at sunrise on the day of the Spring Equinox.

History & Mythology

Virgo Urania’s Mirror

Public Domain: Virgo: Urania’s Mirror

The Sumerians

Shala was an ancient Sumerian deity (later Babylonia, the area now known as southern Iraq and Kuwait) She was the goddess of grain -and also compassion. Why link these two things? Famine is suffering. A good harvest was seen as a blessing of the gods.  What is planted in the spring must yield a crop in the autumn, or famine is likely to follow. Shala was married either to the fertility god, Dagon, or the storm god, Ishkur, or possibly both, with one as her consort.  This is significant. Virgo the Virgin is not about a state of physical virginity – but refers more to an attitude; a slightly elusive and rather refined quality, male or female.

Shala was associated with the constellation of Virgo, and vestiges of symbolism associated with her continue, such as the star Spica, the ‘ear of grain’, even as the deity’s name changed from age to age, and culture to culture.

In 10th century BC, the Babylonians called part of this constellation, “The Furrow,” referring back to the goddess Shala, and the Shala Mons is a mountain on Venus named after her.

In Egyptian mythology, the sight of Virgo in the night sky was also associated with harvest time, and with the goddess Isis, while in Indian astrology, she was The Maiden, Kanya.

The Greeks

To the Greeks, she was the harvest goddess Demeter, also called Ceres, (the root of the word ‘cereal’) and also by association, her beloved daughter, Persephone.

When Hades abducted Persephone to live with him in the underworld, Demeter went into mourning. There was no harvest that year. People and livestock starved and Zeus, the king of gods, eventually intervened, insisting that Hades return Persephone to Demeter. But Zeus also stipulated that Persephone must not eat until her return, and Hades, not wanting to part with her, gave Persephone a pomegranate, knowing fine well how much she liked them, and she ate some of the seeds on her way home.

Persephone

Public Domain

So Persephone went home to her mother, but because of the pomegranate she has to return to the underworld for four months every year, and then Demeter grieves; winter returns, and the land sleeps.  

The Virgo Archetype – Personality

Virgo Archetype

Public Domain

Virgos are practical but artistically gifted. They are hard workers who love to better themselves. They love to analyze, and their perceptiveness means that they can always find or create order within chaos. They are honest friends although, being extra discerning, and analytical, they might have a tendency to analyze you, pointing out your strengths and also your mistakes and weaknesses. This will probably be annoying, very, but it’s usually well-meant. They may also give great advice because of those same analytical abilities.

Their quest of self-improvement includes their appearance. They are perfectionists, highly concerned about the impression they give, but at the same time, they are very ready to help others, which can make them targets of those who wish to take advantage of them. Virgo is ruled by agile, communicative Mercury, and Virgo’s brain is in overdrive much of the time. These folks can do great things and get a lot done – if they don’t lose sight of the original vision, and get overly bogged down in non-important detail.

Until next time 🙂

The Season of The Lion

Leo
Public Domain: The constellation of Leo with its distinctive Sickle, representing the head and neck of the Lion, and with Jupiter below. Click the link above for more astronomy.
Natural History
Lions came out of the desert this time of year, driven by drought, to drink from the Nile, a sign that the great Nile flood was shortly on its way, mapped in the sky, led in by the constellation, the star lion Leo.
lion leo images

Star Lion

Dandy Lion’s
Golden Mane
Greying, Prideful
Casts Away
Alight on chance
To Lionise again
KEH
The Lion in The Tarot

Leo’s Tarot Card is Strength, Major Arcana 8. This is not simply about raw physical Strength, or bodily courage, but nerve, fortitude and grace under pressure. The lady controls the lion, but the touch is light. This is a card of self-control.  King Hood protects the pride. The Lionesses hunt to feed the pride, working as a team. Hunting is dangerous for the hunter as well as for the prey. The lion does not kill for pleasure. Only for necessity. Any injury sustained during hunting can mean a slow and painful death for the lioness.

gilded strength
Image from The Gilded Tarot, artist Ciro Marchetti
But if you can’t solve the problem, and not everyone can solve every problem, let someone else have a go who thinks they can. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Sometimes there is strength, unselfishness, moral courage even, in deciding to do that, so as not to become part of the problem.
In terms of Tarot divination, if this card comes up in answer to a question, the answer is very likely a yes.
If your question is when? The answer is very likely to be July 23-August 23 of the same year.
Till next time 🙂

Farewell Starry Solstice Crab…until we meet again

It is time to say farewell to the season of the Zodiac Crab for another year, ushering in the season of the Lion.

But what does Cancer look like in the night sky, and what is its seasonal significance?

Common associations

 

cancer

Ruling celestial body: Moon (and I pray it is never industrialized, to be despoiled, for in doing so we will despoil something in ourselves that could never be quantified until it was lost forever, repository of mankind’s dreams.)

Key phrase: I feel

Body: The chest, breast, heart

Birth Stone:  Stones and metals fall under the rule of planets, not signs, but through its association with the Moon, Cancer has 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 like a shell?) Control, progress, teamwork, and the harmonizing of different elements.

The Chariot RiderWaite Public Domain

Public Domain: The Chariot, Rider-Waite

The Astronomy

 

cancer constellation

Stars of Cancer

Wikipedia: Cancer and its stars, via Free Clipart

Decapoda is the head and it’s actually a double-star. Acubens means ‘claw’ in Arabic, and the star Al Tarf is the foot of the Crab.

And if you think it looks more like a lobster, you’re not far wrong. It was also seen as a crayfish by the Greeks, and in ancient Egypt, a dung beetle.

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: Acubens (The Claw) and Al Tarf (The foot). Cancer is visible in the Northern Hemisphere in the early spring, during March at 9 PM and can be seen in the Southern Hemisphere 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 it doesn’t look much like a crab at all. It looks more like a faint, upside-down Y and it’s often remarked that it’s more like the shape of a crayfish or lobster. It was also called the Crayfish in classical astrology, and in Egyptian astrology, The Scarab. But it’s always been seen a creature with an exoskeleton; an arthropod, and Cancer appears to rise crab-wise; not sideways, but backwards in the zodiac. The Sun’s entry into Cancer occurs at the summer solstice,

‘Solstice,’ Latin sol -stice means the Sun seems to be ‘standing still’ as it approaches this point.

Cancer’s faint but it’s got a lovely star cluster glowing at its centre. Praesepe, or ‘The Manger’ is one of two Messier objects in Cancer, identified in 1771 by French astronomer Charles Messier. Its newest name is The Beehive Cluster because seen 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.

 

download

Public Domain: The Beehive Cluster

The Beehive Cluster (also known as Praesepe (Latin for “manger”), M44, NGC 2632, or Cr 189), is an opencluster in the constellation Cancer. It is one of the nearest open clusters to Earth, containing a larger population of stars than other nearby bright openclusters.
Other designations: M44, Praesepe, NGC 2632
Constellation: Cancer
Estimated age: ~600–700 million years (Wikipedia)

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

The stars of the Beehive were all formed at the same time, from the same cloud of gas and dust around 600 million to 700 million years ago, making them four billion years younger than the Sun. Pliny used this group of stars as an indicator of wet weather, and said that when Praesepe was not visible in a clear sky, snow or heavy rain or even violent storms were on the way. The outer edges of an approaching weather disturbance consist of very thin/high cirriform clouds, which might otherwise not be noticed under a dark, moonless night sky. These are just opaque enough to block out the light of the Beehive.

Cancer’s other Messier object: M67 is much older, about the same as the age of the Sun. Most clusters don’t survive more than a few trips around the centre of the galaxy because the gravity of other stars and giant clouds of gas and dust pull them apart. But M67 has survived for four or five billion years because it’s in the outer part of the galaxy with fewer stars and gas clouds to disturb it.

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, and is 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 isn’t considered likely.

The Myth

Cancer is associated with the Twelve Labours of Hercules after he went mad, mistook his wife and children for monsters and tragically killed them. His twelve great labours were performed in token of penance. The second of his great challenges was to kill the Hydra, a terrible water serpent but his enemy, Hera, who had always hated him as an illegitimate son (yet another one) of her husband Zeus, sent a crab to harass him while he fought the serpent. The crab faithfully did its best, nipping Hercules again and again, but he stepped on it and crushed it, or in other versions of the story killed it with his club.

Heracles Hydra and Crab

Public Domain: Hercules fights the hideous Hydra, and is dutifully harassed by The Crab

Hera rewarded its loyalty and tenacity by placing it in the heavens, but she placed it in a dark portion of the heavens, and gave it only faint stars. Crabs like dark, quiet places to feel safe and at home. However, its placement is as spiritually significant as it is shy and retiring, both as the highest point in the zodiac, nearest to heaven, and the messenger of the summer solstice.

The Astrology

 

Cancer

Public Domain: Enoch’s Constellation

Cancer is the fourth sign of the Zodiac and represents 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, 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

Of course there is no such thing in reality as THE Cancer personality. This is simply an archetype. Your sun sign is the keynote but it’s not ‘The Story.’

The archetype of 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. Tough outside. Off spring must be defended, dangers must be driven back. Ruled by the Moon, moody and ‘crabby’ they may seem more easy going than they actually are, but there is a softness inside. Cancer typically relates well to babies and small animals, all wild things. The empty nest is rarely easy for any parent but can be total anathema to the Cancer parent.

grandgather rose maynard brown

Public Domain: Grandfather and granddaughter in garden; Rose Maynard Barton

Cancer is the sign of hearth and home, and expanding this; tribal identity and ancestral legacy, historical, cultural and genetic. It is the sign of memory, nostalgia, sometimes regrets, and a longing to return to happy childhood haunts- maybe even a rock-pool.

Cancer is highly intuitive, sensitive, receptive, and keeps its cards close to its chest, not so much deliberately, and as a matter of strategy, but because reserve, reticence and secrecy is what comes naturally to the Cancer subject, just as it does to the living creature. Still waters run deep. Cancer sees and hears, but does not speak. Verbal communication is not Cancer’s number one operating mode.

Decisions may be based on reasoning that is neither obvious nor apparent to other people, but is driven by a gift for lateral thinking, originating solutions to problems from angles that others have not considered.

Cancer is an enigma. But what would be a shoreline or a rock-pool without a crab?

VIDEO:  The Trials of Life: The Crabs of Christmas Island

 

Till next time 🙂