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 🙂

Double Trouble, Twice as Nice,it’s Two For The Price of One- Gemini!

Gemini: the Heavenly Twins  (May 21- June 20)

 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 Gemini’s star turn.

gemini

Gemini associations

Symbol: The Roman numeral for 2 joined top and bottom in  representation of unity

Ruling planet: Mercury

Affirmation: ‘I think, I inquire.’

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

Colour: Yellow

Tree: all kinds of nut trees

Flower: Lily of the Valley, Lavender

Tarot cards: The Lovers (love, choices, decision-making) and The Magician/Jester/Trickster

Magician Gilded

Image From the Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

 The Astronomy of Gemini

Gemini is a constellation in the northern sky, one of the constellations in the zodiac, the name for the area of the sky we see from Earth, including the apparent paths of the sun, moon and planets.

The Gemini constellation has been described by cultures since ancient times, with many different names and stories. It was listed as one of the 48 ancient constellations by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century, though Ptolemy called it The Star of Apollo (Castor) and The Star of Heracles (Pollux).

Gemini is the northernmost constellation in the zodiac, high in the winter sky in the northern hemisphere, and is the thirtieth largest in size. Gemini can be seen by the naked eye, looking north east of the constellation Orion between the Taurus and Cancer constellations.

Gemini Wiktionary

Best viewing is during February. By April and May, the constellation can be seen soon after sunset in the west. The two brightest stars in the constellation are Castor and Pollux, representing the heads of the twins from Greek mythology, while fainter stars outline their bodies. Pollux, the westerly twin, is a red giant star, 33 light-years from Earth while Castor is about 51 light-years away. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year – about 6 trillion miles/9.6 trillion kilometres.

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

Gemini-constellation-Hevelius

Public Domain: Gemini- Helvelius

The Ancient History

The concept of twins in mythology goes back at least as far as the so-called Age of Gemini, during the Palaeolithic, 6, 500 BCE, arising from our understanding of the duality fundamental to the nature of reality. There are male and female twins but many twin brothers in particular in world myth, standing for night and day, light and dark, heat and cold, male and female, war and peace, good and bad, life and death, and the creation myths of ancient cultures reflect this eternal battle of seeming opposites.  Many surviving objects feature twin gods and goddesses; a major theme across all cultures.

The Astrology of Gemini

The ‘twin stars’ have been recognised as representing twins across all cultures, each with their own names and stories. In Arabic astronomy the twins were seen as peacocks, In Egyptian astrology they were twin goats, or else the two gods, Horus the Elder and Horus the Younger,  while classical Greek mythology identified them as the twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, The Gemini; the name by which the constellation is still known throughout the western world.

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

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

The circumstances of their birth were unusual to say the least. Queen Leda of Sparta was seduced by Zeus who had disguised himself as a swan though perhaps that was putting it too politely. He glided up preening, and pounced on her while she was bathing. Later that evening, notwithstanding this undoubted shock,  she also slept with her husband King Tyndareus and went on to produce four children; Castor, Pollux and their sisters Helen (later Helen of Troy) and Clytemnestra (later married to Agamemnon as queen of Mycenae) Pollux and Helen were immortal, fathered by Zeus, while Castor and Clytemnestra were mortal, fathered by Tyndareus.

Image Below: Public Domain, the young Castor and Pollux (Meissen)

castor-pollux-porcelain

The brothers were handsome, curious and shared many adventures.  The mortal Castor was a renowned horseman and a master at fencing, while Pollux was known for his great strength and skill at boxing.

Castor was killed in a quarrel, possibly a disagreement over dividing the spoils after a cattle raid, and Pollux was distraught.  He didn’t want immortality, not if it meant being without his twin brother. Pollux begged his father, Zeus, for help and Zeus scratched his head, wondering how to fix this, and then decided to place them both in the stars, to be together forever as the constellation Gemini.

The Greeks worshipped the twins as gods who helped shipwrecked sailors. Later the Romans developed a cult around Castor and Pollux dating back to 484 B.C. A temple to the twins was built in the Roman Forum in 414 BC in thanks for their help in defeating the Latins; an old enemy, in the battle of Regillus. The Romans considered Castor and Pollux the patron gods of horses, and of the Roman mounted knights; the equites and Castor and Pollux appear on many early Roman coins.

The Gemini subject in real life action

Zodiac_Stories-Gemini

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

Gemini often has a pleasing appearance; slender, well-proportioned and above average height, with neat features in an oval face. Classic Gemini subjects are lively, agile, sparkling, charming, chatty and inquisitive, but not necessarily easy to get close to.

Gemini tends to change jobs more often than subjects of the other signs of the zodiac, and is better at starting new projects than finishing them, but can do very well in teams where new ideas, agility and a talent for networking are needed. Gemini could be the perfect journalist, TV or radio presenter, columnist, salesperson, or literary or travel agent.

Gemini has charisma, but can occasionally come across as superficial, fickle, or careless, even ruthless, dropping people and projects once they lose interest, which Gemini can do quite suddenly. But once truly committed, they are intensely loyal to their friends and loved ones. Gemini is mostly fairly peaceable, but they don’t shy away from saying what they think, and if anyone tries to back them into a corner, quicksilver Gemini comes out fighting, and Gemini has plenty of physical courage, but also stealth.

 

A Pendulum Prediction: Tunnel Vision

Depiction of Hannibal and his army crossing th...
Depiction of Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps during the Second Punic War. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently returned from an overseas family vacation driving in Europe, marginally more relaxing than crossing the Alps with Hannibal. OK, it was intense, but let’s keep a sense of proportion. It was nothing like marching with Hannibal. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast every day, once with chopped chives. The sun shone all week. It was instructive, it made a change, and my husband, Il Matrimonio, was in seventh heaven; king of the road in his lovely new black shiny car that he, ahem, loves.

Below we have the The Chariot card from The Gilded Tarot, representing progress, teamwork, ambition, and literally, a vehicle. Image by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.

chariot card gilded

Yes, it was Chariot time. What else could one do, but belt up, pray not to need the loo in a hurry; no joke if you’re having to use a wheelchair for any reason, and look and learn?

There was plenty to see; Reims Cathedral, the snowy summit of the Eiger, the battlefields of Ypres. No goats in Switzerland. Perhaps because it was still hot, they were still up on the high pastures. No ghosts in Ypres, or in Polygon Wood, where Kiwis, Aussies and Brits lie, all brothers together, though I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen one, standing waist high in the tall green fields.

No risk of mal- de- mer, we had gone through the Channel Tunnel. Quick and easy, no fuss,  sitting, working up our best French, and in some cases, spoof French, to be spat out 25 minutes in La Belle France.

The course of the Channel Tunnel (English).
The course of the Channel Tunnel (English). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the return trip, however, there occurred a minor delay. We had made the crossing. The train had slowed right down. We’d had the announcements thanking us for travelling Euro-Tunnel, and were doing up our seat-belts ready to stop and drive off, when abruptly the train stopped, the lights went out and we were trapped in the dark in the belly of this vast tin-can underwater snake.

We heard announcements and apologies to the effect that power had been lost, preventing us from reaching the platform at Ashford, but hopefully it wouldn’t be long before power was restored.

How long would it be, I wondered? My tarot cards were in my suitcase, but I had my pendulum in my handbag. I held the pendulum, suspending it over my lap and asked, ‘how long till we move? Will it be 5 minutes?’

The pendulum dithered, then began to move in a circle, anti-clockwise. For me, that always means ‘no.’

It wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. So what. That’s the risk in consulting oracles.

‘How long till we move?’ I asked again. ‘Will it be 10 minutes?’ The pendulum hesitated, then began to swing clockwise. For me, that always means yes.

‘Only ten more minutes, with any luck,’ I said to Il Matrimonio, as he sat, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, in-between kissing it, or wishing he could.

‘Are we there, yet?’ the teen piped up, stirring it from the back of the car.

Il Matrimonio glanced at his watch, to monitor the prediction, and this is why I am able to tell you, the lights came back on, the power was back, and the train began to move, 9 minutes and 50 seconds later.

Anyone can learn to dowse. It’s not magic. OK, it is. It’s everyday human magic. You won’t always get it right. I don’t, but it’s one of those things you get better at with practice.

There are lots of books on the subject, and plenty of how-to articles on-line. No need to spend money to mobilize this magic. You don’t even need to buy a pendulum. You can use a ring on a string, or even a threaded needle, stuck into a cork. You need a cord or string for there to be that crucial swing, when gravity gets hold of the body twitch, when it comes, that’s the answer needing translation, the non-verbal reply coming from your central nervous system.

What you need to do is decide in advance what movement shall mean ‘yes’, what movement shall mean ‘no’, and what shall represent ‘don’t know’, or ‘ask again later.’

Then ask your question, relax, and trust yourself. Learning to trust yourself, that’s the hardest thing you have to teach yourself, if it doesn’t come naturally. It is the challenge in learning Tarot, it is the challenge in using the insights provided by dreams. It is the challenge in learning to believe yourself, and not beat yourself up when you take an instant ‘unfair’ like or dislike to someone or something. Have you ever felt like that and reasoned yourself out of it, only to come full circle?

Your first feeling is the one to trust. It can save much time, energy, heartache, or even money.

You know more than you know you know. Why don’t they teach this in school?

Tunnel

The use of divinatory tools is largely a means of silencing the counter-arguments of the know-it-all front brain. The conscious attention goes to the tool, creating a tiny oasis of stillness in which to more easily connect with the silent voice of the body’s primary intelligence; instinct.

It trumps tunnel vision, any time. Unless, perhaps, it’s a vision in a tunnel.

Until next time 🙂

The Ace of Cups

For students of Tarot, or the just curious, a few words about The Ace of Cups.

Meanings: Inception, Awakening of Love, Creativity, Vision and the Empowerment of Intuition. It is Beauty. It is The Element of Water, it is The Chalice, The Holy Grail. Sometimes it indicates a coming birth. I have known it accurately indicate healing and recovery from illness or after an accident. It is Grace.

It is known as the Ace of Hearts in a deck of playing cards.

‘My Cup Runneth Over’ is the moment that cannot be surpassed.

Whereas the Ace of Wands, Ace of the South, refers to the primal spark, the fires of Creation, the Ace of Cups, Ace of the West, is the matrix of Life.

The Ace of Cups speaks of Source. Physically, The human body runs primarily on water and minerals. Every physiological process that happens inside the body needs water. The human body is made up of more than 70% water. The blood is more than 85%, the brain more than 80%, muscles more than 75%, and the liver is 96% water.

But beyond the immediate physical, what is our most distant physical story, back to the point of Creation, or as some might prefer to think of it, life’s origin in space, or divinity? Dust from space ultimately cross-reacted making water, an epic of chemistry which made the seas, where Life on Earth began.
We are undines, raised by evolution from the deep.
Sublimis ab unda.

The poem below, for me echoes the deeps contained within the image of The Ace of Cups. It’s from a little known contemporary poet of rare subtlety, yet also directness and integrity.

A poem, like a song, like a picture, a sculpture, a photograph, a smile, a kiss, is a manifestation of the Ace of Cups, of the moment, but eternal.

Here is a Ace within the Ace.

Small Object of Desire

I suppose I should have picked my wedding ring
but that is personal and finite to me
as is my two faced charm on a silver chain
triangular, goldstone, tourmaline

But I chose this, lifted from some shore line,
a smaller bit than I’d found and lost before;
a spindle from a whelkish structured shell
more beautiful than any sculptor’s form.

It gives only a hint of its infinite fetch,
newel staircase, ramp to raise the megaliths,
invasive toxic spirochete to invest my blood,
screw my life force with its sickening brood.

No porcelain is half so fine,
that comes from Meissen’s arcane kiln.
This is the divine, the spiral double helix.
Where else should it be but on a beach?

My small object of desire, refined by tidal pull,
inch long, white and deeply curved,
maths of all dimensions along its reach,
shape and key to life, needs only my breath to live.

Margaret Whyte
The Source
2008

Shared here by kind permission of the author.

Until next time 🙂