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

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 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 🙂

Salutations, Star Lion Leo

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

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

Common Associations

Zodiac Symbol of Leo

Dates: 22-23 July-23 August

Symbol: Lion

Element: Fire

Metal: Gold

Position: Fixed

Ruler: The Sun

Body: Heart and spine

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

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

Gemstones: Peridot, carnelian, ruby, onyx

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

Key phrase: I love

Tarot card: Strength

The Gilded Tarot Royale, Ciro Marchetti

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

Astronomy

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

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

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

Wiki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Henrik Pfitzenmaier on Pexels.com

Ancient History & Mythology

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

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

Photo by David McEachan on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

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

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

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

The Astrology of Leo

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

Leo
Dandy Lion

Dandelion’s

Golden Mane

Prideful

Greying

Casts away

Alight on Chance

To someday seed

And newly golden

Lionize again

K Hazeldine

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