Masters of Magic. The precarious art of Prediction, and when psychics stay schtum…

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There is a saying, if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.

This holds true in many situations and is often the wisest thing, as well as the kindest thing, as expressed by the Hippocratic principle of medicine, ‘first, do no harm.’

But if you see someone is about to make a big mistake, and if you care at all about that, and don’t want to stand by and watch them fall in a hole, you’ve got a problem.

Messengers do sometimes get ‘shot’ and their warnings disregarded. The curse of the princess of Troy, the seer Cassandra, was that, although she was truly gifted in prophecy, she was never believed, and could not save her city, her people, or finally, her son or herself. And she knew it. No room for hope.

Here we see Cassandra having a rotten time with that thug Ajax, and it’s only going to get worse.

Painting by Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, 1806

Greek myth suggested this was an act of spite on Apollo’s part. Cassandra was a priestess of Apollo, and he wooed her with the gift of prophecy. When she turned him down, he couldn’t withdraw the gift, so he made it a curse so that whatever she said, people just thought she was loopy and took no notice, and this in itself might be enough to send someone a bit crazy, don’t you think?

To shout into the wind. To see approaching danger, and not to be believed, unable to save your loved ones? One might say, well, no one was actually any worse off, because even if she saw it, that didn’t mean it could be changed or averted. True enough, but a truly powerful gift for prophetic foreknowledge is liable to become a curse to anyone; a burden whose only value is in the potential to use it actively in order to influence events and avert undesirable outcomes.

To use it in this way is a practical approach to Tarot reading. So, this seems to be the current situation, the reader might say, as indicated by the cards. These are the stakes and these seem to be the options. So what happens if we choose option A? Heck. That doesn’t look good. OK then, what we go with Option B? That doesn’t seem to turn out too well either. OK, so what can we do, that might work better?

But the person may decide to go with Option A anyway, and one might say well, there we may it, proof that our lives are governed by free will. Or one might argue it is equally a proof of the power of fate or destiny, that they are destined or fated to do this thing, whatever it is.

The truth may hurt, but beyond that, can it, assuming it is indeed the truth, do any good? That depends on someone’s readiness to consider the warning, or whatever other information you might have to share. Is it within their nature, and their capability at any level, to use it? Does it sit sufficiently credibly with their own assessment or their private misgivings? Everyone wants to be the bearer of good news but this is not a popularity contest. This is not about the reader’s niceness or saintliness or ego – or it had better not be.

Unsolicited advice often falls on deaf ears (as does actively solicited advice) People are working things out their own way, according to their own needs and understanding and resources available to them at that given time.

Making predictions in public may be regarded as solicited or unsolicited, depending on the circumstances. Some astrologers and psychics are media figures -Mystic Meg comes to mind. Others sit in quiet corners, available to those who approach them directly. Others, like me, are somewhere in-between, though I slightly favour the quiet corner.

Journalists have approached on occasion, seeking a soundbite, eg; about Brexit, but really, what reader needs the aggro that would undoubtedly follow, unless they are aiming to build a publicity profile. I have spoken with journalists before, and learned they do not necessarily quote one verbatim, while the archives here are available to browse anytime.

‘A word to the wise,’ we may say, when offering advice. Assuming the advice is good advice, it can take a wise person to be able to listen, let alone act on that advice in timely fashion, especially when the advice really isn’t the thing they want to hear.

When you work as reader in whatever field of divination; Tarot, astrology, medium-ship etc, you are responding to a direct invitation, a request, to look at that other person and their situation. You have been granted permission to look. Working in confidence, talking privately one to one is one thing. Addressing a wider audience is another matter.

When you share predictions or other commentary on public affairs in the public domain, and your commentary has not been directly solicited, you may be on a hiding to nothing, even with the best intentions, and regardless whether subsequent events prove you to have been at least broadly correct.

  1. Everyone has an opinion. The readers, is not better, more valid than theirs. Nor is the reader saying so. They are simply saying what their divinatory system is saying on the matter, directing this to an audience who is interested in the workings of such systems. One can take it or leave it. But people may think they are saying so, and no-one likes a know-all while a degree of scepticism- is generally healthy.
  2. Such people, it is to be noted, may not feel equally challenged at similar statements made by anyone who is designated a ‘recognized expert.’ But they may respond to a practitioner of divination if they have won the Lottery yet? The implication here being if they are any good, they will surely have won the Lottery long since, in which case, why do they need to be doing this stuff anymore? (Ha ha gotcha!) In fact, psychics, professional and not professional have been known to win the lottery, and we are not talking about modest wins. There are many such stories, and in one reported case this win was specifically consequent upon someone drawing of a Tarot card, The Wheel of Fortune, and she went straight off to buy a lottery ticket which she did not do on a weekly basis. Links to other stories HERE
  3. If you say nothing, people who are curious may wonder why you are staying silent when all around us, people are issuing their own predictions left, right and centre. The state of the country, the state of the world, management of the Covid situation, and so on. We are all broadcasters now, and publishers, such is the easy reach of social media, the global village pump on multi-billion steroids, which meanwhile is farming us.

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Everyone is psychic to a degree. How do we demonstrate or measure it? By direct witnessing, or journaling triggers and outcomes. Professional practitioners have usually had significant psychic experiences, and have then studied and worked to better understand these modes of perception or receptivity for directed use.

The Achilles heel of any reader is pride or vanity, or fear – performance anxiety, which can interfere with their ‘TV/radio reception’ and badly trip them up. This work demands moving rapidly between a relaxed alpha state, and a controlled, analytical beta state.

People want to behold a mystery. They also want mystery and poetry- they require – substance and specifics. The reader too.

To get specifics out of a reading, we need a context. We ask questions, aiming at a target, sorting the wood from the trees. So that, for instance, if I draw a ‘card of the day’ for sharing with the general public, for whom is the message actually intended?

It’s bound to make sense to someone, and it may even make poetic sense across a wider topical spectrum, but still, it is lacking a context and a directed aim.

In this scenario the cards are simply offering a message as a point of meditation, but hopefully this message will contain some sense of relevance or resonance for the time period it has been chosen to represent.

Yesterday I decided to try out a deck I have not used before, to pull a single comment card – a simple straw in the wind.

The deck I used was not a Tarot deck but an oracle deck, ‘The Masters of Magic’ by Severino Baraldi & Laura Tuan, and is published by Lo Scarabeo. Link HERE

This 32 card deck offers a miniature potted history of key figures in western magic, including the so called natural philosophies which were in their time regarded as sciences: alchemy, astrology etc. Their theories and works are examined in the little book that comes with this deck, affording the reader the opportunity of drawing down directly on a distillation of their knowledge and experience.

I asked myself whom I needed to consult on this day of the solar eclipse, 10 June 2021, shuffled and drew Card Number 20, featuring the astrologer William Lilly.

You can see the keyword that has been ascribed to this card is ‘Independency.’

Something in me reacted with, ‘why does it not just say Independence?’ But doubtless, I was just nitpicking. I’ll blame it on my Virgo rising sign. But we talk about dependency, so why don’t we use this other word, independency more?

‘Hey,’ I said to Il Matrimonio, ‘what do you think of this word, independency?’ He said, ‘never heard of it. I heard of dependency.’

American English? Back to William Lilly. With 21 June fast approaching, the proposed UK date long scheduled for the final release of lock-down, but always with caveats, data not dates and so on, and with feelings running high, this card struck me as timely.

People are upset, shaking their fists, shouting ‘no-one is going to tell us what to do.’

Well, sorry, yes they are. At least to a point, like it or not. Those doing any such telling are not free not to, or there would be no such thing as society, however imperfect at at times enraging, its various workings.

Our individual freedoms were already in hock when we were born, negotiated far, far back back, no-one around to blame, in exchange for the most basic safety and security, and later, for the benefits of modern life depending on a hugely complex organization of infrastructure. Habitation. Protection. Roads. Lighting. Water. Food. If we really want to be completely free, we’d go analogue and go off grid. But now we’d be dealing with the ‘zombie swarms’ in the forest. They’d find us soon enough.

Meanwhile the seasons would command us, and the weather, the cold, the heat, and the light, and the availability of all vital food resources, and every passing predator, animal or human. We’d have little free choice and little free time, just in terms of everything we’d have to doing to stay alive from one day to the next.

This dog is looking pretty relaxed, considering. Or maybe he is just undecided, wondering if he is running with the wrong pack, and should join forces with the wolves.

We are not like ants or bees. Short of annihilation, totalitarianism is the ultimate collective nightmare. We have witnessed it in action enough times to know what it means, in all its horror.

The human animal must have plenty of individual scope and freedom, personal agency. It is in our DNA, in our spirit, but it’s a balancing act and sometimes it has shifted this way and sometimes the other in response to the exigencies of the bigger picture at any given time.

Why is man man? As long as we have had minds to think, stars to ponder upon, dreams to disturb us, curiosity to inspire us, hours free for meditation, words to place our thoughts in order, the question like a restless ghost has prowled the cellars of our consciousness.” – Robert Ardrey –Nature of Man Series

Why should this card, William Lilly, seem particularly apposite, drawn 10 June 2021 on the day of a partial solar eclipse in Gemini, ruled by Mercury, planet of science, commerce and travel?

Lilly’s Plague and Fire Predictions

William Lilly was a practicing predictive astrologer, who famously foresaw a dreadful pestilence which turned out to be The Great Plague 1665, and a fire which turned out to be The Great Fire of London 1666. He saw these in his charts and wrote them up in a book published in 1651.

Lilly was well known by this time, following his prognostications during the Civil War, when he had seen intimations of the death of a king, and success for the Parliamentary forces, though in later years, after they had won and the king had been executed, he became increasingly disenchanted with Parliament and with Cromwell and spent two weeks in prison for his remarks. You can read more about that here in this article by Barbara Dunn, via the Urania Trust.

The plague and fire predictions appeared as a series of “hieroglyphic images” in his book of 1651 Monarchy or No Monarchy in England, meaning they were published fourteen years before the events they predicted came true.

Lilly used a coded astrological language, expressing concern that his judgement might be “concealed from the vulgar,” meaning he only wished those who understood the astrology to be able to decode them. He wasn’t addressing his predictions to the general public.

What would have been the response if he had? How could anyone have used this information? He was publishing for scholarly purposes, paying it forward

French astrologer, Andre Barbault, who died in 2019, predicted the 2020 pandemic back in June 2011. No. He didn’t call it coronavirus. He did not specify details. What he did was to identify the planetary patterns, which previous events in history suggested, correlated with these kinds of events.

Barbault identified notable times in history when the concentration or bunching together of the five slower moving outer planets coincided with epidemics, wars and natural catastrophes, eg, floods, earthquakes. For example, in 1347 the planets Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus formed a triple conjunction in the astrological sign of Aries while Saturn and Neptune, the other slow planets, were nearby in the signs of Pisces and Aquarius.

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Barbault noted that in January 2020, Saturn and Jupiter were in a tight conjunction aspect in Capricorn and Jupiter was relatively close by in the same astrological sign.

M Barbault was not a doom merchant. He pointed out that big things, good things could rise from the disruption of such events, and that the Renaissance had been the phoenix to rise out of the Black Death.

However…

“The slaughter engendered a terrible panic, which manifested in punitive self flogging and the massacres of Jews and lepers who were held responsible for the plague.”

When pandemics happen, as they have roughly every century, there is enough time in between them for people not to remember what it meant on the ground, attempting containment, and there has always been a conspiracy theory, different each timebut involving a powerful ‘they’ and sometimes a scapegoat- someone to ‘blame.’

Back to the theme of ‘psychics keeping schtum’ …. in one of Barbault’s books, Planetary Cycles Mundane Astrology, he explained why he often shut himself away “in a remote, faraway place where you can’t guess what’s going on in the world around you. I had to rid myself of illusions.” 

But in this modern, secular world, although Barbault may be disbelieved or his predictions dismissed as vague or coincidental, but at least he was not in danger of a criminal conviction on account of his published astrology. Unlike Lilly.

In 1666, after the fire, Lilly was summoned to appear before a Commons committee to explain himself, on suspicion of arson. If he was not an arsonist, how did he ‘know’ about the fire so long beforehand, to have published these predictions back in 1651? His book had come to the government’s attention following the discovery of an anti-government plot which had used an almanac of Lilly’s to identify their most auspicious dates for action.

He explained as follows: Source: Rubedo Press an article published 26 March 2020.

“I was desirous, according to the best knowledge God had given me, to make enquiry by the art I studied [i.e., astrology], what might from that time happen unto the Parliament and nation in general. At last, having satisfied myself as well as I could, and perfected my judgment therein, I thought it most convenient to signify my intentions and conceptions thereof, in forms, shapes, types, hieroglyphics, etc. without any commentary, that so my judgment might be concealed from the vulgar, and made manifest only unto the wise. I herein imitating the examples of many wise philosophers who had done the like. Having found that the city of London should be sadly afflicted with a great plague, and not long after with an exorbitant fire, I framed these two hieroglyphics as represented in the book, which in effect have proved very true.”

These seem pretty explicit, published so many years ahead of the real time events, but that’s easy to say with hindsight and without reference to the book in its entirety to see what was readily accessible to the understanding of contemporary readers not versed in astrology. Faced with an opaque text, and lack of apparent context the significance of the pictures may not have been apparent.

The committee, with reservations, accepted the Great Fire as an act of God.

Lilly didn’t ‘know’ of course. Not as such. Astrologers don’t know as such, any more than Tarot readers or any other practitioners of divination know as such. But they think they recognize something, and that they understand what they are looking at, and this is what they can share.

Lilly showed further ‘Independency’ when his landlord wished him to leave his house, being frightened of the poor people who had started coming to see Lilly for various help and treatments that he offered…like many astrologers of the time he had some apothecary’s knowledge.

Now I come unto the year 1665, wherein that horrible and devouring plague so extremely raged in the city of London. 27th of June 1665, I retired into the country to my wife and family, where since I have wholly continued, and so intend by permission of God. I had, before I came away, very many people of the poorer sort frequented my lodging, many whereof were so civil, as when they brought waters, viz. urines, from infected people, they would stand purposely at a distance. I ordered those infected, and not like to die, cordials, and caused them to sweat, whereby many recovered. My landlord of the house was afraid of those poor people, I nothing at all. He was desirous I should be gone. He had four children: I took them with me into the country and provided for them. Six weeks after I departed, he, his wife, and man-servant died of the plague.

Pandemics pass and change follows. This is a given. Historically, a pandemic lasts 3-4 years. We are in Year 2 and we have vaccines. But we also have air travel. My cards have indicated it is likely that we will still be dealing with this pandemic situation until March -June 2022.

How? I told myself to treat an appearance of The World card as marking the substantial ending of a pandemic situation, viewed on a GLOBAL not national level. I chose this card as my significator because The World card is the last of the major arcana cards in a Tarot deck, and marks the end of a cycle.

I allocated one card to one quarter of a year, laying out a line of cards until the World card appeared. The tail end of this pandemic comet may come far sooner but I doubt it. Or indeed, later. And the last country out of it may be in S America or the Indian sub-continent before it peters out to an ordinarily manageable risk.

The World card as shown here is from The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, illustrator Ciro Marchetti

I was somewhat over-optimistic last April 2020, when the chances of a second lock-down looked about 50:50, and I was hopeful that we just might escape it. I tend to be a glass half full person and it looked pretty much in the balance at that juncture. Whether I am being unduly optimistic or pessimistic this time around, time will tell me and this is how I learn, and it’s a study for life.

I am living with a chronic health challenge, a form of autoimmune arthritis that started in my twenties. Sometimes I have less energy available for predictive exercises, unless reading for a client.

At other times, as with anything, a psychic practitioner may just feel, sufficient unto the day, why make a noise unless someone is asking?

Someone asked me recently, did I bet on the footie when Chelsea played Man City in the UEFA Champions League Final in Porto?

No, I didn’t. I don’t really follow footie, only now and then, and I don’t gamble. But I do look sometimes, other stories in the archives. Il Matrimonio shopped me once before, without my say so, and told other Dover Athletic fans what I had said to him about the result. The newspaper printed it, and fortunately I got it right, so it was funny, and all was well that ended well, but I don’t need that kind of pressure in general terms.

Il Matrimonio asked what I thought about Chelsea v Man City, just before kickoff.

I didn’t think anything. Didn’t feel a thing about it. Nah. Damned if I knew, so I looked in my playing cards and told him it looked like a win for Chelsea because

Chelsea drew the Ten of Hearts. Translation. Completion. We are in clover. A happy home aka in this instance a very happy home crowd. Joe Biden drew this card ahead of the Presidential election.

Man City drew the Three of Spades. Translation. Heartbreak. Injury.

As a north west England person, if I’d had a personal bias or partiality, it would have been for Man City.

The Joker reversed also suggested a fall or accident, I told Il Matrimonio and later on he said, did you say you saw a fall?

Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne, poor soul, had come away with a fractured nose and eye socket. Il Matrimonio says de Bruyne is a midfielder and he is probably one of the best football players in the world right now, but I never heard the name before, and what do I Know? Nowt. And I often don’t want to.

Score: Chelsea 1: Man City 0

Prognostication, psychic divination and forecasting requires you to look, then go down a hole, come up again and think. It is not the same thing as an unsolicited psychic experience which comes out of the blue, though psychic moments do very often arise on the back of conscious prognostication, which can open the door.

But in general, a psychic experience or insight comes AT you right out of the blue, and may seem entirely random and without purpose, at least, at the time.

Divination sends you in tooled-up, going purposefully into the blue. Or so you hope.

Until next time.

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Science, Ships and The Six of Swords, Part 2

Part One is in the archives, posted October 2020.

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20 October 2020 Scientists for Britain tweeted

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

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

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

The Rider-Waite Deck, A.E Waite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti



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

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

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

Click HERE for more on that story.

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

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

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

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

Very perturbing.

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

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

The Ten of Cups from The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

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

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

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

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

But:

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

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

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

Good News

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

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

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

Other good news

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

Read more Here

From The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, illustrator Ciro Marchetti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments:

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

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

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 🙂

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

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: 21 Dec to 20 January

Ruling planet: Saturn

Lucky Day: Saturday    Lucky Numbers 2 and 8

Energy: Yin

Element: Earth

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

Key phrase:  I build, I use

Body:  Skin, knees, skeletal system

Birth Stone:  Red Garnet and Black Onyx

Colour:  Deep red

Herbs/Flowers: Wintergreen, Ivy, Carnation

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

The Devil from The Gilded Tarot

The Astronomy

Wiki Capricorn: The Gate of The Gods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

History and Mythology

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

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

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

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

The Sumerians

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

The Greeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gate of The Gods

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

Beehive Cluster

The Astrology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However many are watching.

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

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 🙂

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

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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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The Tarot and a spot of Psychic Kettle Cleaning

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Yes, you read that correctly. This blog is called True Tarot Tales for a reason. The Tarot is a tool for use in the real world and does not disdain to talk about anything at all: money, plumbing, toilets -and kettles. Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Pass me the biccies. The kettle is on the boil.

The Devil card might be the Tarot’s way of trying to tell me about someone’s diarrhea or constipation.

Indeed, it has been known, and the client confirmed it.

Love n Light. Give me a break. I don’t mean to be mean, but certain mantras can become debased by a kind of lazy reductionism. Life doesn’t come off the peg. Yes, there is love and light. We need to give it and receive it, the more of it the merrier, and a little goodwill goes a long way. But reading for others isn’t a party piece demanding applause, is not about the reader and their self-image as an aspiring Merlin, Witch Goddess, Earth Mother or Buddha- in- waiting.

Life can be a struggle at times, sad or lonely, even frightening, demanding not only patience and fortitude but concerted thought, effort and direct action. And how much money, time, energy and actual worry is invested in the basics of everyday living?

The Tarot would be self-indulgent, snooty, and in fact, pointless; bugger all use to anyone else (oh, I say, Jeeves, steady on) Not fit for serious purpose if its readers decided such conversations were not deserving of its very best attention, the same as anything else of a purportedly more ‘spiritual’ nature.

If the Devil is in the details, so is God and and all the angels. If God created everything, that includes germs, worms, and parasitic wasps.

The Tarot will do deadly serious.

Oh yes. It will go ‘there’.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a sense of humour.

Junior Sprog was annoyed this morning (we were talking via Skype…she lives nearby with the ‘boyf.’) She had purchased a box of three sachets of limescale remover for her kettle, but when she opened the box, it contained only one sachet.

She deployed said measly single sachet, which I understood was a formula based on baking soda.

‘Why not just use baking soda?’ I suggested in that annoying way parents have, but she explained she had lent hers to Amy next door but one, who was making banana bread.

Maybe new craft habits and other good things will come out of these very sad events and this lock-down, even though we’d all like to tell the hideous coronavirus (and I would like to tell certain relentlessly self -aggrandizing figures in the media this)….

Junior Sprog had done the job, and rinsed the kettle out, but wondered was it safe to use again now, and drink from when boiled?

Bicarbonate of soda, aka baking soda, isn’t going to hurt anyone, unless they ingest it in inappropriate quantities when it certainly could hurt them. I didn’t know what else was in this cleaning product.

Struck with a sudden horrific image of my baby afflicted with alkaloid poisoning, I whipped out a Tarot card:-

Card Number One: The premise of the situation in hand

The Three of Swords Reversed. Uh oh! Death, mourning, separation, severance, divorce, heartburn/heart attack.

The Three of Swords from The Gilded tarot, Ciro Marchetti

‘Are you OK?’ I asked. Tarot often picks up other stuff, regardless of the actual issue being presented for discussion. I like to rule out the worst case scenarios- and either clear the decks or flag up the other priorities being detected, and give the other person the opportunity to discuss that first if they so wish, and then come back to the other thing.

Junior Sprog rolled her eyes.

‘I’ll take that as a yes,’ I said, and had another think.

Of course. No worries. The Three of Swords Reversed was saying two things at once, confirming that ‘it,’ – the Tarot, my spokeswoman/spokestool of The Psychic Mind Delta aka Twilight Zone had heard me perfectly well, and understood the real question; ‘is my daughter at risk from poisoning if she uses the kettle as it is, or does it need another rinse?’

The Tarot was specifically commenting that:-

  1. Indigestion…baking soda is a remedy for heartburn, referring to the other well known use of sodium bicarbonate…a more benign aspect of that classical ‘heart ache/pain/attack’ possibility of interpretation.
  2. She had bought a product advertised as containing 3 sachets, but the box contained only one. 3 sachets not present = 3 Swords Reversed

Card Number Two was asking for advice….where are we at now?

The Eight of Swords. Stress. Abandonment. A flooded bathroom. No hang on, I said to myself. Let’s keep this narrative kettle-based. Just stick with the kettle!

The Eight of Swords has long since proved its worth to me as MY card for spotting problems, letting me know if my client is dealing with drains, plumbing or damp issues or making home improvements along these lines.

The Eight of Swords, The Gilded tarot, Ciro Marchetti

‘How many rinses have you given it?’ I asked Junior Sprog.

‘Seven or Eight,’ she said.

‘That’s OK then. That should do it.’

Final card. Is the kettle completely safe to use?

The Knight of Cups. Flow of water. Healing. Yes it is. This is the ultimate card of clean water…excepting only the Ace of Cups, which symbolizes the Healing Chalice/ Grail Cup. There is a touch of salt here, and the waters may be shark infested but the sharks are not hungry today. This water will not ‘bite.’

The Knight of Cups from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by permission of Ciro Marchetti

Common sense may well suggest we hardly needed the Tarot for this exercise, and that’s fair enough in general terms, but it’s beside the point here. When I started learning the Tarot, there were so many sources dealing in generic, quasi mystical language, counselling that this card was exhorting us to ‘let go of what does not serve,’ or to ‘rediscover our true purpose,’ that when I first began to write this blog in 2010, it was with a determination to learn, apply and illustrate the Tarot as a useful, modern psychic tool capable of talking in terms of concrete realities, and dealing in specifics.

Whatever the question, whatever the concern, the reader must never lose sight of the ‘so what?’

Cup of tea? Biccie?

I wonder how Amy got on with her banana bread. The Six of Pentacles suggests it went down pretty well. Maybe just a touch on the heavy side…not quite enough baking soda.

But the sprog didn’t rate her single sachet of kettle cleaner. I have told her baking soda plus adding vinegar does a pretty impressive cleaning trick…kaboom… but four hours later she’s confirmed she’s OK, and that was the priority today.

Until next time 🙂

Bringing in Beltane…Magical May Eve

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Today, 30 April marks the beginning of May Day celebrations, ushering in the month of May, the festival begins at dusk on 30 April. These celebrations were, and to many are known as Beltane, and is matched by its celebratory European counterpart, Walpurgis Nacht, or St Walpurga’s Night in Germanic tradition.

The month of May is named after the Greek goddess of spring and new abundance, Maia (also called Flora) the oldest of the seven sisters known as the Pleiades. Maia was the mother of Hermes (Mercury.) The last zodiac sign of Spring, Gemini, is ruled by airy Mercury, as chicks and ducklings hatch, and now the pollen flies.

Flora, or Maia by Botticelli

The name ‘May’ has been used in English since about 1430. Before this time the name of this month was spelled Maius or Mai. The Anglo- Saxons called it Tri-Milchus because all that lush new grass meant cows could now be milked three times a day.

May Day has its roots in astronomy, celebrating the halfway arrival point (at least approximately) between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It has been celebrated in the British Isles and through much of Europe as a fertility festival since the Dark Ages, and probably before that, with many stories and superstitions attached.

Like Halloween, May Eve and May Day is a magical time of year, liminal, when the veil between different worlds and realities is thinner than at other times of year.

This is a time for ghosts, Walpurgis, but this is also the time of year when folklore suggests you are most likely to meet a supernatural being from the realm of ‘faery.’

Such an encounter might be friendly, but probably it won’t be. Such encounters are dangerous and are best avoided – or you may never be seen again. Do not, whatever you do, go to sleep on a fairy hill at any time, but especially not on May Eve or May Day. Especially beware of going to sleep under hawthorn bushes.

Beltane

The two greatest Celtic festivals were Samhain (Halloween), marking the start of winter, and Beltane (April 30/May 1) marking the start of summer.

Beltane ‘the fires of Bel’ began as an ancient fire festival celebrated since at least the Dark Ages if not long before. The celebrations began at dusk on April 30th when great bonfires were lit to welcome the height of spring now associated with the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull, representing the fertility of spring in full bloom.” Traditionally,” writes Glennie Kindred (in Sacred Celebrations), “all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. This was the ‘balefire’ or the Teineigen, the ‘need fire.’

Bel or Belenus (Celtic: possibly, Bright One) was a deity associated with pastures, meadows and animal husbandry and other agriculture. He was a fire god rather than a sun god as such, though the sun was used as a common motif in religious imagery.

The cattle were walked between two bonfires in a symbolical purification ritual, to be protected by the smoke from Bel’s fire before being put out to the open pastures for the summer.  Bonfires were lit on sacred hills too, and the smoke was considered a magical blessing on the fields, animals, and community, and was also supposed to maintain a fragile balance, keeping up a smokescreen, literally, between the human and faery realms.

The Christian church made several attempts throughout history to ban May Day festivities because of its overtly pagan nature and “lewd” context as an open celebration of male and female sexuality and fertility ‘a heathenish vanity generally abused to superstition and wickedness.’ 

May Day meant drinking and fighting, another reason for the church’s disapproval, but this in itself harks back to the ancient traditions of the sacrifice of ‘The Green Man’ – a mythical figure representing the eternal battle waged between summer and winter, feast and famine. Many pubs in England are still named The Green Man.

In Padstow, Minehead and some other places in the UK, mischievous hobby-horses (‘osses) roamed and still do roam the streets in search of unsuspecting young ladies to ‘carry away’ for nefarious undisclosed purposes.

Image: Morris dancers with hobbyhorse up to no good, Richmond embankment,1620

Men disappointed in love would make straw men representing their rivals and stick them on bushes. These depictions were needless to say, often deeply unflattering, and fighting might well follow once they were discovered and identified and the maker was known.

May Day harks back to the ancient traditions of the sacrifice of ‘The Green Man’ – a mythical figure representing the eternal battle waged between summer and winter, feast and famine. Many pubs in England are still named The Green Man.

The Puritans banned it altogether under Oliver Cromwell but Charles 11 brought it back into custom after the Restoration.

Recorded evidence of Maypole Dancing goes back at least to the 14th century, the texts suggesting the custom was very old even then, although the dance as we know it today, so pretty and decorative, children dancing in village squares, is probably an innovation of the Victorians, rather than ancient tradition. The maypole is generally assumed to be a phallic symbol, but the Norse had another story for it, connecting it to ancient tree worship. This connects the British with the Germanic tradition and before that, a shared proto-germanic culture which is part of the common root culture in British life even today.

Walpurgis Night/Walpurga’s Night

In the Germanic tradition, Walpurgis Night, on April 30th is a moon festival sacred to the goddess Freya.

“Walpurga” is another one of Freya’s names. The re-dedication of the holiday to “St. Walpurga” was a later Christian addition.

Freya (Old Norse, Freyja, and “Lady”) is one of the pre-eminent goddesses in Norse mythology, also known as Freyja or Frigg, but almost certainly the same deity. She was the goddess of love and beauty in Norse mythology, the goddess of marriage and family and a great prophetess – a seeress. She taught her husband Odin how to read the runes, and like Odin, had a darker aspect as a patron deity of war and death in battle.

Freya wears a cloak of falcon feathers and a magical gold necklace called Brísingamen, and rides in a chariot pulled by two cats with a sacred boar called Hildisvíni running alongside. The boar is not present in this picture, and the cats, it has been speculated, were two male kittens found by Thor. Their mother had abandoned them apparently and he took them and gave them to Freya. We understand the kittens were grey-blue in colour, and it has been speculated they may have been Russian Blues. I can’t be the only one who would like to know how Freya taught them to do this….but she was after all, a mightily knowing goddess, and clearly a cat whisperer extraordinaire.

The Maypole dancing which so upset the Church and especially the Puritans with its overt phallic symbolism, and the associated misbehaviour by the time the dancers had downed a few drinks, comes down to us from the rites of spring dedicated to Freya.

The maypole originally represented a living tree, in particular the giant ash tree Yggdrasil, the great “world tree” of Norse myth, linking the nine worlds of the Norse cosmology including Asgard, land of the gods, heavenly world, Midgard or the earth and Hel, the underworld.

“Ygg” means terrible. The image and Music below, suitably ominous, is shared with permission from composer Sam Marks. It was on this tree that Odin chose to hang nine days and nights, thirsty and fasting in exchange for the knowledge of the runes. The Norns sit beneath it and when every new person is born, carves their names into its bark…and with it, their destiny, although this can change. The Norns will allow us to rewrite it, unlike the destinies woven by the three Fates of Greek mythology.

Yggrasil Music by Sam Marks

British  May Day Folklore…bringing in the May

I washed my face in water

That had neither rained nor run

And then I dried it on a towel

That was never woven or spun

  • The rhyme suggests go out barefoot very early on May morning, wash your face in that magical dew (or late snow) Your complexion will instantly improve.  Let the wind and sunshine dry your face and you’ll have good luck all year. Well, you can if you want to….depending on the weather, very early morning this time of year can be utterly wonderful
  • Bringing in ‘the may’ is considered lucky, and means gathering cuttings of flowering trees for magical protection of the home. Bring in branches of forsythia, magnolia, lilac, or other flowering branches. Decorate the doorway to keep unfriendly fae and other spirits away.
  • Make garlands or decorate a basket or a ‘May bush’ with flowers and coloured ribbons. This would often be a hawthorn bush but it doesn’t have to be.
  • If you need to move a bee hive, May 1 is a traditional day for doing it, hopefully clement for the bees.
  • Turnips are traditionally planted on May 1. Plant now, lovely mashed turnip later. What are you waiting for?
  • Fishermen expect to get lucky with catch on May Day.
  • It’s a powerful day for spell-casting…any spells to do with bringing in health, wealth, and abundance. Light a red or pink candle for love or passion…but be careful what you wish for, and it is unlucky to try and take what is not rightfully available to you.
  • Traditionally less lucky is to get married in May. But not to panic if you’ve got the date already booked. The writer of this article was born May Eve, Beltane and got married in May – 28 years ago this May- and has had mixed luck in life like all of us, but so far is still married.

Until next time 🙂

Candle safety

Never leave a candle unattended

Snuff candles out with a spoon rather than blowing on them

Tea-lights can melt certain surfaces e.g., TV’s. Use heat resistant surfaces.

Light candles at a safe distance from curtains etc

Heat rises. Be careful of leaving candles on shelves with other shelves above them.

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 🙂

1 -2 February, Imbolc, Candlemas and Brigid’s Day

Today is Candlemas, the Christian festival of presenting Jesus at the temple, but before that, a more ancient celebration in Gaelic Britain of coming spring. Go on folks. Get with the programme. Parade down the street, go pray for the health of the fields! It’s all about the soil.

Plus today is a palindrome date: 02022020.

Candlemas is a continuation of the ancient festival Imbolc, which spans 1-2 February and began yesterday with St Brigid’s Day. The original Brigid was a pre-Christian goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was a daughter of the chief of the gods, The Dagda, and was known as a goddess of healers, poets, smiths, childbirth and inspiration. Her name means “exalted one”.

Her story was later merged with the Christian saint of the same name in the middle ages, St Brigid of Kildare.

This fire festival, whether viewed as pagan or Christian, began as a neolithic festival also celebrated in Scotland and the Isle of Man, roughly marking the 1/2 way point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.

From The Sacred Circle Tarot

There are various suggestion about the etymology of ‘Imbolc. ‘ It is commonly thought to come from a word meaning “in the belly.” This reflects goddess Brigid’s role as a protector of women in childbirth, as well as the safe birthing of precious livestock.

Any time now, is the time of the very first lambs. The start of the lambing season varies by up to two weeks in any given year.

Brigid was said to visit one’s home at Imbolc. Asking her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, and items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless. Brigid was petitioned to protect homes and livestock. This was a time for feasting and visits to sacred wells, and a time for ritual divination.

St Brigid’s cross is the classic icon of her saint’s day today, though this too, predates Christianity. It is made from rushes and was placed in doorways to protect the home from harm.

A new Christian story was created for it, that the earthly manifestation of Brigid, St Brigid of Kildare, had woven it for a dying man, using rushes from the floor, baptizing him at the point of death.

By Culnacreann – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3500722

Spring fire, fierce quickening of new green shoots.

Imbolc was when the Cailleach. —the divine  crone of Gaelic tradition—gathered her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend said if she wished the winter to last a good while longer, she would make sure the weather on Imbolc was bright and sunny, so she could go out and about, and gather firewood.

It was lucky, therefore, if there was bad weather at Imbolc (and the wind was screaming as I was typing this.)

If Imbolc was a day of foul weather, as it was here yesterday, and today is still damp and blustery, it meant the Cailleach was sound asleep, and winter was almost over.

Until next time 🙂

Ophiuchus: The Thirteenth Sign of the Zodiac?

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

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

So what’s all this about?

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

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

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

ecliptic.jpg
Public Domain: the Plane of the ecliptic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Astronomy and the Constellation of Ophiuchus

200px-OphiuchusCC.jpg
Wiki

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mythology

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

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

Public Domain

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

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

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

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

rod of asclepius.png
Public Domain

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

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

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

Key personality traits:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Summary

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

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

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

Tweeted Friday January 10

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

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

British Wolf Hunt Public Domain

Also Tweeted

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

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

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

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

But who would we be hearing about?

Which crab would quit his rock-pool?

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

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

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

Qaboos bin Said Al -Said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sultan inherited a conservative, highly religious country riven by armed insurrection and tribal divisions, Valeri wrote, and over several decades, reduced the influence of the tribes, while incorporating their leaders in the political process.

Qaboos also championed the advance of women, gradually opening the way for many to enter education and the labour market in increasing numbers, despite Oman being a conservative society that traditionally segregated women in domestic roles.

Qaboos was also a big supporter of the arts with his government sponsoring the country’s first societies of artists and traditional music. As a lover of classical music, he played the organ and the lute, composed music and founded the Gulf’s first symphony orchestra in 1985, its players recruited from the towns and villages of Oman.

Qaboos was careful to maintain diplomatic ties even with those states, such as Iran and Iraq, which were in conflict with his western allies. As he explained to an Egyptian newspaper in 1985: “There is ultimately no alternative to peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Persians, nor to a minimum of agreement in the region.”

One of the world’s longest-serving heads of state, Qaboos began tentative moves toward a constitutional monarchy in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the introduction of an elected consultative assembly and municipal council elections. However at the time of his death he remained head of state and prime minister, and commander in chief of the armed forces. 

Qaboos’s successor will face the growing question of how to quell rising expectations of a new generation of internet-savvy young people no longer satisfied with the repressive paternalism that prevailed under half a century of Qaboos.

Excerpts from the Middle East Eye: Read more HERE

Now. Here is a very interesting piece of information, linking the Full Moon In Cancer with the Sultan Qaboos, or at least, I find this interesting. If not downright spooky.

Your Moon sign is an expression of your temperament and style of doing things. The natal chart of the Sultan shows that he was born with his Sun in deep and secretive, watery Scorpio and his Moon in the sign of almost equally deep and secretive sign of Cancer the Crab.

That was one enigmatic man of deep waters. That was one tough shell.

Two tough shells.

Now consider this image of the Moon card from The Gilded Tarot Royale, from the illustrator Ciro Marchetti, and the full moon uniting wolf and crab.

Or should we say, reuniting.

Until next time 🙂

The Sun, The Stars and Sunflowers.

True Tarot Tales

Sunflowers…

The Sun card in Tarot foresees sunny weather at its most literal.   It’s respite from care, the gift of the moment, childhood and sometimes the imminence of birth. It’s also travel, particularly to hot places. It is the return of the sun after the winter solstice. It is the zenith of the sun in the summer solstice. It is glory.

Reversed it’s the setting sun, delays and lesser joys, the passing away of childhood, nostalgia, beautiful, bittersweet twilight. It may mean getting something less than you hoped for, but what you get is still something to be happy for.

The Star card on the other hand, can and often has indicated a recovery from depression, sickness and despair, a guiding light, someone sees a way ahead, they couldn’t see before.

Klytie was a figure in Ancient Greek mythology who fell in love with the sun god, Apollo. Each day…

View original post 219 more words

Capricorn, the Cosmic Sea-Goat

An introduction to the astronomy, history and, mythology of the zodiac sign of Capricorn…

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

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: 21 Dec to 20 January

Ruling planet: Saturn

Lucky Day: Saturday    Lucky Numbers 2 and 8

Energy: Yin

Element: Earth

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

Key phrase:  I build, I use

Body:  Skin, knees, skeletal system

Birth Stone:  Red Garnet, Black Onyx

Herbs/Flowers: Wintergreen, Ivy, Carnation

Tarot card:  The Devil (Pan/Nature, Mystery, Fascination, Obsession, Entrapment)

The Devil card wiki.jpg
From The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti

The Astronomy

Capricorn stars wiki 256px-CapricornusCC.jpg
Public Domain

The constellation of Capricornus is located in an area of sky known as The Sea or The Water, containing other water-related constellations including Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus.

Its name is Latin for “horned goat” or “having horns like a goat’s”, and it is commonly represented in the form of a sea-goat: a mythical creature that is half goat, half-fish, like Pricus, the son of Chronos (Time) king of the mer-goats of Greek myth. This seems to have been an evolution legend.  The children of Pricus left the sea to dwell on mountains, leaving him alone in the oceans with no-one to teach any more, and Pricus was a great teacher. Zeus placed him in the Sea of the Stars so that he could see his children again, and they could look up and see him.

Capricornus is the smallest constellation in the zodiac, with no first magnitude stars. Even so, the brightest star, Delta Capricorni A, is a white giant with a luminosity 8.5 times that of the Sun.

Capricornus has three stars with known planets and contains a Messier object, Messier 30, a globular cluster 28,000 light years distant,about 90 light years across in size.

The cluster is approaching us at the speed of 181.9 km/s. It was one of the first deep sky objects discovered by Charles Messier in 1764.

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

Like other constellations of the astrological zodiac, Capricorn was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

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

This perhaps explains or illustrates a strong astral and psychic mythic connection between Capricorn and Pisces the Fishes.

History and Mythology

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

All myths of astrology have their roots in Earth’s seasons. Goats, and their relatives, ibex, were depicted in Ice Age paintings, and later immortalized in myth as Capricorn.

Male ibex started fighting and mating during early winter, December and January, coinciding with the later days ascribed to Capricorn.  In the early Bronze Age, Capricornus marked the winter solstice and, in modern astrology, as distinct from astronomy, Capricorn’s rule still begins on the first day of winter. The constellation itself is actually overhead nowadays during Aquarius, due to the wobble of the Earth, an effect known as precession, but the sun sign named after Capricornus retains the dates accorded to it by Ptolemy.

Before 1000 BC the Sumerians knew Capricorn as the goat-fish, or SUHUR-MASH-HA, but the constellation is nowadays more widely associated with two mythical creatures from Greek legends: the deity Pan, and the she-goat Amalthea who suckled baby Zeus, although these legends were based on far more ancient stories involving kindly she-goats and baby sun deities.

The forest deity Pan has the legs and horns of a goat, like Krotos, his son, who was a great archer and devotee of the Muses, and is identified with the neighbouring constellation Sagittarius.

Pan, so the legend said, was placed in the sky by Zeus in gratitude after he came to the rescue of other gods during a time the Olympian gods sought refuge in Egypt following their epic battle with the Titans, when the monster Typhon, son of the Titan Tartarus and Earth, sought revenge.

Typhon was a fearsome fire-breathing creature, higher than mountains and with dragons’ heads instead of fingers. The Olympian gods sought to escape his vengeance by adopting various disguises: Zeus, a ram – Hera, a white cow, Bacchus (another version of the myth suggests Pan) a goat.

Zeus was dismembered by Typhon, but was saved when Bacchus/Pan played a sound on his pipes, ‘panikos,’  from which we get the word ‘panic’ – and he panicked  the monster long enough for an agile Hermes to collect the supreme god’s limbs and carefully restore him. In gratitude, Zeus transferred Bacchus/Pan to the heavens as Capricornus.

Another legend says that while the souls of those about to be born descend to Earth through the constellation of Cancer, via the Beehive Cluster, the souls of the dead return to the cosmic sea, ascending through the gate of Capricorn.

Capricornus.jpg

Public Domain: Celestial Atlas 1822

The Astrology

Capricorn is the tenth sign in the Zodiac.

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

The archetype of Capricorn is shrewd, wise, and even Gnostic. They are profound thinkers, often deeply enquiring, and with a wry sense of humour, self-reliant, stoic in the face of adversity, hard-working, determined and resilient.

They have high standards, and expect much of themselves but also others which, depending on other aspects of their astrological portrait, can make them demanding or even overbearing task-masters,

They are known for a dry rather than a joyful wit, and if Saturn gets too prominent, they can be downbeat, cynical and suspicious, seeing traps and problems everywhere, viewing the enthusiasm of others as premature or naïve.

Capricorn is no-one’s fool, but Capricorn carries its own weight, and the weight of others too from time to time, and Capricorn climbs the mountain to see the world, not so that the world will see Capricorn.  

Marlene.jpg
Public Domain

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

Season’s Greetings!

The Zodiac’s Celestial Scorpion

Scorpio…The celestial scorpion

Most of us know our sign of the zodiac, but what does its constellation look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind the sign? Around October 23 this month we entered the sign of the Scorpion.

Common Associations

Dates:  October 23 –November 22

Ruling planets:  Co-ruled by Mars, and after its discovery in 1930, Pluto

Symbol:  Scorpion, Eagle (Because of the nearby constellation, Aquila, the Eagle)

Zodiac element: Water

Zodiac quality: Fixed

Keyword:  I desire. I transform

Colour:  Dark red

Birthstone:  Yellow Topaz, Opal, Aquamarine, Tourmaline.

Tree:  Walnut,Hawthorn, Blackthorn

Tarot Card:  Death

Death card.jpg

Image from the Rider –Waite

Astronomy

Scorpius from which the zodiac sign of Scorpio gets its name, is a massive and spectacular j- shaped constellation located in the southern hemisphere near the centre of the Milky Way. In the Northern hemisphere it can be seen in July and August, most visible in July at 9.00 PM. In the Southern hemisphere it is visible from March to October, looking like a faint band in the Milky Way overhead.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4e/ScorpiusCC.jpg/256px-ScorpiusCC.jpg

Its name is Latin for scorpion and it is one of the 48 constellations identified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century. Like Aries, Taurus and Leo, it is an ancient constellation, recognised as such pre-dating the Greeks.

Scorpius is the southernmost of all the constellations in the zodiac, and lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It used to be bigger, but its claws later became part of the constellation the Romans named Libra in the first century.

Its brightest star, one of the brightest of all in the night sky, is the ‘heart’ of the scorpion, Antares, meaning ‘rival of Ares’ (the Greek name for the Roman god of war, Mars) It is so-named because it is bright reddish in colour, like Mars, and also because Scorpio’s ruling planet was Mars until Pluto was discovered in 1930. Now it is considered co-ruled by both Mars (The Warrior) and Pluto (The Transformer)

Scorpius contains many bright stars, and interesting exo-planets.

The planet PSR B1620-26 b is sometimes nicknamed “Methuselah” being estimated at 12.7 billion years old.  (The universe is about 13.7 billion years old.)  Methuselah is vast, with a mass about twice that of Jupiter and it orbits around not one, but two stars.

Gliese 667Cc is a “super-Earth” about four times as massive as Earth. It orbits a red dwarf star, Gliese 667C; part of a three-star system only 22 light-years away from Earth. It’s considered potentially habitable and the same system contains two other potentially habitable planets: Gliese 667Ce and Gliese 667Cf – both  are about 2.7 times the mass of Earth.

“Habitability” is defined as a rocky world that is close enough to its parent star for liquid water to exist on the surface, though other factors may later rule it out, such as the variability of its star, or the composition of the planet’s atmosphere.

Mythology & History

Nature, religion and astrology were intertwined in the ancient world, and the scorpion has been here hundreds of millions of years, more than 450 million, compared with our six million or so.

Sometime around four thousand years ago the Babylonians looked up, discerned the brightly leaning J- shape in the summer stars and called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’.

The movements and relative positions of Scorpius were mapped by Babylonian magicians and astrologers, who left written records.

“When a halo surrounds the Moon and Scorpio stands in it, it will cause men to marry princesses, (or) lions will die, and the traffic of the land will be hindered.”

A comet appearing in Scorpius was read as a warning of a plague, but when the Sun rose in Scorpius, alchemists saw their one chance for the transmutation of lead into gold.

Sidney_Hall_-_Urania's_Mirror_-_Scorpio.jpg

Public Domain

In Greek mythology the scorpion refers to a story about Orion. According to one of these myths Orion boasted to his friend the goddess Artemis and her mother, Leto, that he would hunt and kill every animal on Earth. Demeter, the goddess of Earth decided this was completely unacceptable behaviour.

Artemis was a great hunter herself, but she did not kill for the sake of killing and was ultimately a protector of all creatures. Demeter sent a scorpion to deal with Orion. He fought back, and according to some accounts he killed the scorpion, but whether or not Orion killed the scorpion, the scorpion definitely killed Orion.

Zeus was much impressed by the scorpion’s battle spirit, and raised the scorpion to heaven, and at the request of Artemis; he did the same for Orion.

In other cultures it is not seen as a scorpion. In Indonesia it is the Banyakangrem – “the brooded swan,” or the Kalapa Doyong, meaning “the leaning coconut tree.” In Hawaii, it is “The Fishhook” of the demi-god Maui.

In Chinese mythology, the constellation is part of the Azure Dragon.

And yet, there is consensus across not only continents but hemispheres. Thousands of years before the Greeks and Romans established their societies, the Australian Aboriginal people also saw the stars of Scorpius as a cosmic scorpion, as did the Aztecs of Central Mexico. The Lowland Mayans  had scorpion constellations. These may have matched up with the Scorpion of the zodiac, but there no clear proof. It is thought that the Mayans viewed the celestial scorpion as an eclipse-causing agent.

The arrival of Scorpio’s sign in the northern hemisphere coincides with the advent of mystery, the fast fading autumn light, and the ghosts, myths and superstitions of Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, hence its association with the Tarot’s Death Card.

Facts about scorpions

  • They are an ancient creature, the earliest evidence dates from the Silurian period 450 million years ago, when the first scorpion ancestors left the seas for the land. Fossils from the Carboniferous 300 million years ago indicate little change since then. Early scorpions may have had compound eyes. 
  • They are arachnids: arachnida scorpiones, with a body in two sections, 2 pincers or pedi-palps, 8 legs like a spider, and an exo-skeleton made of chitin. They are more closely related to Harvestmen than spiders.
  • They dance before mating, a stately promenade. They give birth to live young and carry them on their backs until the babies have their first moult when they disperse. The mothers may eat the young if resources are desperately scarce.
  • They have a long life span compared with other arachnids, 2-3 years in the wild but they have lived up to 25 years in captivity. They can live a year without food and eat insects, spiders, other scorpions and lizards. They also eat small mammals, such as mice.
  • They glow in the dark except when newly moulted. Scorpion fossils still fluoresce, despite spending hundreds of millions of years embedded in rock.
  • They are famously venomous. However of the nearly 2,000 known species of scorpions, only 25 have venom powerful enough to be dangerous to an adult human. In the U.S., the Arizona bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus, produces venom strong enough to kill a small child, but anti-venom means deaths are rare.

The Scorpio Zodiac Personality

Like the other water signs, Cancer and Pisces, Scorpio is considered clairvoyant, or at least, keenly intuitive. But Scorpio has far greater intensity. This is water behaving as steam, while not overlooking the venom of its sting.

Scorpio rules the eighth sign of the zodiac, to do with Birth, Sex and Death.  No wonder the subjects can be intense, and they are often possessed of great personal charisma. They are watchful but keep their feelings hidden. Born investigators, spies or secret agents, they are shrewd judges of human nature, while less conscientious Scorpio subjects may make use of this to their advantage, and drop friends whom they no longer see as useful.  But combined with their intense determination and loyalty where they decide to accord it, Scorpios can make great leaders, scientist, and devoted doctors. They are quick learners, very adaptable, often changing careers, going down new paths.

Scorpio can be vengeful…and patient, but also devoted, and they never forget a kindness either.

Next time…the story of Sagittarius.

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 🙂