Spring Equinox, a wobbling world and the fiery Sky Ram, Aries

Aries Profile Image via http://www.underthenightsky.com Johann Bayer Uranometria Star Atlas 1603

The spring of vernal equinox officially occurred this morning, although actually, technically it happened on 17 Match when sunrise and sunset happened at 6. 05 Am and 6.05 PM. Sunrise today was at 6 AM and sunset will be at 6.08 PM.

This event pretty much marks our farewell to the zodiac sign of Pisces for this year. Tomorrow we enter the turf of Aries the Ram, marking the beginning of the new astrological year in Western (Tropical) astrology.

Common Associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: variable 21 March to 20 April

Ruling planet: Mars

Lucky Day:    Tuesday

 Energy: Yang (Masculine/Extrovert)

Element:  Fire

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

Key phrase:  I am

Body:  Head, neck

Birth Stone:  Topaz, Aquamarine, Diamond

Colour:  Red

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

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

Image from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, illustrator Ciro Marchetti

The Minor arcana cards associated the cardinal sign Aries are the 2, 3 and 4 of Wands.

The 2 of Wands, agreements, career choices, direction, partnerships

The 3 of Wands, making ready to launch a ‘ship’, or a ship comes in, trade, export, new horizons, exploration, but the timing and the planning has to be right. No rushing this. No cutting corners.

The 4 of Wands: a house becomes a home, a business puts down solid foundations, professional achievements, qualifications.

Astronomy

Aries is a small, rather dim constellation located in the Northern Hemisphere between Pisces to its west and Taurus to its east.

The constellation of Aries via Wiki

The brightest star in Aries is Alpha Arietis, or Hamal, from the Arabic Al Ras al Hamal, ‘the Head of the Sheep.’ Hamal is the third star up from the bottom, a red giant with a magnitude of 2.0, and is visible to the naked eye, shining about as brightly as Mars when the planet is at its farthest point from Earth.

Below Hamal, the two bottom stars in the photograph are the stars Beta Arietis, also called Sheratan, a blue-white star, and Gamma Arietis, also called Mesarthim, a whitish binary star with two components. These are the horns of the Ram, and their names mean the Two Signs, meaning these ‘horns’ were seen as the two first signs of spring.

PrecessionThe Wobbling World

Today, 20 March, the equinox is happening during the zodiac sign of Pisces (just about) and the actual conjunction of Aries’s brightest star Hamal and the sun now happens on 24 April. But long ago this happened during the March equinox, hence Aries was seen as the harbinger of spring dating from that time.

Why is that? The zodiac signs are not to be confused with the constellations for which they were named. They no longer line up with the actual constellations overhead as they did when the zodiac sign system was designed as an arithmetic model by the Greek mathematician Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD.

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

2,500 years ago, the annual conjunction of the sun and Hamal happened right on the March equinox, and this was the data used in the astronomer, mathematician and astrologer Ptolemy’s model of Western/Tropical astrology in the 2nd Century AD.

But for historical reasons the spring/vernal equinox is still referred as the First Point of Aries. though the vernal equinox in 2020 was according to Space.com the earliest spring in 124 years. More about that HERE

The best time to see Aries.

The three stars of the Head of the Ram are the stars to look out for, especially December around 9 p.m. local time, seen rising in the east.  December is an especially good month for viewing Aries, when the Earth is on the other side of the sun .

A Northern Hemisphere spring or Southern Hemisphere autumn is the worst time of year. Aries is lost in the glare of the sun. In late October, Aries rises in the east at sunset, reaches its highest point in the sky at midnight and sets in the west at sunrise.

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

History and Mythology in Western astrology

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

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

Aries marked the main lambing season of wild sheep in Europe, 21 March – 20 April. The lambing season extended with agricultural husbandry.

The Sumerians

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

The Egyptians

In ancient Egyptian astronomy, the constellation known to us as Aries was called ‘Lord of the Head’, referring to its symbolic significance, and it was associated with the sun god Amon-Ra, who was depicted as a man with a ram’s head and represented fertility and creativity. Because it was the astronomical location of the spring (vernal) equinox, it was called the ‘Indicator of the Reborn Sun’. Sources suggest the position of Aries at the zenith coincided with the rising of Sirius in the east and flooding of the Nile.

The Greeks

To the Sumerians, the stars of Aries were a herdsman. Aries was not fully recognized as a constellation until classical times when the ancient Greeks from about 1580 B.C. to 360 B.C. oriented the construction of many of their sacred temples to line them up with the star Hamal.

In Hellenistic astrology, the constellation of Aries was associated with the golden ram of Greek mythology that rescued Phrixus and Helle.

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

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

Christianity

Founded in a society and at a latitude where ‘shepherds watched their flocks by night’…with a clear view of the night skies much of the year round, Aries speaks of God as The Shepherd, and Jesus as The Lamb of God.

Astrological Profile

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

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

But the archetypes did not come into being for no reason. And you don’t mess lightly with The Ram. Aries is number one, the first sign in the Zodiac year, youthful and exuberant. But it is also the sign of a king, and not only that, but a warrior-king, as illustrated in the watchful, slightly weary, Emperor card in the Rider-Waite Tarot, ready armoured, always on guard. Note the Ram’s heads decorating his throne.

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

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

Aries is ready to experiment or pioneer but may not finish what it starts. They are determined but run on a short fuse, and can be sabotaged by their own impatience if they don’t get quick results.

Aries subjects may exhibit  careless or even ruthless behaviour with a disregard for others in their desire to achieve and excel. They can bear grudges but, though sensitive themselves, and occasionally a touch too quick to take offense, they are prone to be careless about the sensitivities of others.

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

2020 was a testing year for most people way and another, but Aries may have had quite a bit of anger going in in 2020, has been suggested by Mars in retrograde in its home sign, Aries. This may have been experienced at its most intense July- November 2020. There may have been a resurgence of long held griefs or resentments. This will pass if you let it. Independent as you are, in 2021 you will get a lot more done by smoothing the waters,not trying to go it all alone.

2021 is tricky but overall more cheerful. Choose your battles wisely and be the bigger person and welcome breakthroughs look likely on the career front after a hard slog in the past few years.

Famous Aries in history

The Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Oh wow. Now there is a surprise. I mean, look at him for goodness sake…..

More famous Aries HERE

Video via National Geographic.

Till next time 🙂

The Tarot, the Magician and a story of Odin

From The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The Tarot card of Wednesday or Wodens/Odins Day is The Magician, Major Arcana 1.

The Magician’s ruler is the planet Mercury, symbolic of communications, diplomacy, travel trade and commerce like Hermes, the Greek Messenger of the Gods.

The Magician can be slippery in the extreme. His other face is The Trickster, his shadow is Loki. If the card is drawn upside down, be careful what you are doing here. Watch this one.

He signifies self-command. ‘Me, Myself, I.’

The elder Norse rune associated with Odin and The Magician, is ANSUZ meaning wise counsel – ‘one of the Aesir’. It is from this same language root we derive the modern word ANSWER. It is the rune of teachers, counsellors, writers, actors, broadcasters and other public speakers. In magical work, you would use this talisman as an aid for exams, interviews, vivas, auditions,public speaking and so on. Draw it, say its name, keep it on a piece of paper nearby or on your person.

From Wikipedia

At one with the elements, he is The Mage. Mastery of skill. Timing. This is an excellent card if one is job hunting, starting a new venture, or hoping to meet someone new romantically. Generally male in readings but a female may embody the Magician. Anyone who is operating at the top of their game is The Magician.

He is agile, like Gemini, endlessly curious and inquiring, restless, potentially ruthless in the pursuit of his aims. But unlike The Emperor, who must engage with organisation, this is ultimately a cat who walks alone, or is ready to at any time.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Out-Walker

He stood in outline, stark against the sky, a shadow shape, and where he appeared, the ravens followed; always two of them, wheeling above him or perching on his shoulders, and people whispered they could only be Huginn and Muninn, twin pets and scouts of Odin the All-Father, Grimnir of the One Eye, the other traded with Mimir, the wisest of the Aesir, in exchange for the knowledge of All Things.

Photo by Vijay Bhaskar on Pexels.com



But what did Odin want?

What could any living person offer Odin that he hadn’t long ago surrendered by his own choice in exchange for that knowledge, hanging nine days and nights on the great Ash tree, the world tree, Yggdrasil?

Only their bloody deaths in battle could please him, the songs said, and so the people thought, and the wives and mothers shuddered at these sightings.

They could not know he meant no war, he planned no war and he scented no spillage of blood. Not at this time. Not in this place. Everyone fell silent when the word passed. 

He has been here again.

Beneath the alder, Odin stood, cloaked against the east wind, breathing in the sights and sounds and smells, drawing them in deep, knowing himself an object of terror. But he could not stay away, craving company, thee warmth of their smoking hearth fires and their songs and stories, music; the smells of their cooking; roasting meats, smoked fishes, things savoured all the more by the mortal folk, heightened in their knowledge, that what was left of their lives could be reckoned in mere years, months, hours or even minutes.

The ravens were his pride and joy, his precious ones.

He craved the things he could not have; rough jests with other men, their goodfellowship. Even the fights, though he would always win, and he longed to lose, even just once, to know what it felt like, a knowledge denied him, that even Mimir could not trade. A stout infant to pull on his beard as it bounced on his knee, squealing to the beat of all the old rhymes. A snuffling dog to run with him after rabbits, or lie scratching its fleas or snore at his feet. A woman to laugh with, lie with, warm in bed, and she could even scold him- if she dared.

Valhalla was Valhalla, and the village, the village. Warriors sang of glory and Valhalla, their highest desire and greatest dread. They dreamed of immortality.

But when Odin grew weary of books and battle, of wayfaring, of roads and ships under wheeling stars, he dreamed of the alder on the rise, and wondered what it must be, to dream of a god. To have a god to call on.

He dreamed, and then he was there again.

KEH 2021

Photo by David Besh on Pexels.com

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

 

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

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

Common associations

Symbol:

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

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

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

Element: Water

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

Lucky Days: Monday and Thursday

Energy: Yin -receptive

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

Body: Feet, eyes, bladder

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

Aquamarine-Wiki

Tarot card: The Moon

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

The Gilded Tarot Royale, artist Ciro Marchetti

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

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

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

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

The 10 of Cups is home sweet home, arrival.

The Astronomy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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

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

History and Mythology

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to see the regions involved.

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

The Egyptians

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

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

India

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

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

Wiki

Greece

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

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

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

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

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

Rome and Early Christianity

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

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

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

Read more about the astrological ages HERE

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

The Astrological Personality

From The Golden Tarot, by Kat Black

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Laura Porter on Pexels.com

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

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

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

The Decans of Pisces

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

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

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

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

Famous Pisces in history

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

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

But there are boats.

Until next time 🙂

February Feeling

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

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

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

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

Back to the Tarot.

The Ten of Pentacles (Reversed)

From The Rider Waite Tarot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Astrology of The Ten of Pentacles

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

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

Like that rock and roll classic by The Coasters, 1958

‘Yakety Yak.’

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

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

Hygeia says ‘Yakety yak!’

(Don’t talk back.)

Hygeia

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

RIP Captain Tom.

The Eight of Cups

From The Ride-Waite Tarot

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

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

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

Astrology of The Eight of Cups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Chinese (Lunar) New Year

12 February – 31 January, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Metal Ox and Health

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

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

The Ox is slow, but strong and surefooted.

Tweeted 19 January

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

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

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

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

Take care and stay safe.

Till next time 🙂

Aquarius, the Cloud bearer, Mankind, Rain and Flood

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? This month it’s the turn of Aquarius again, the rain-maker of the Zodiac; the cloud bearer, and therefore an Air sign despite the ‘aqua’ in its name…

‘It never rains but it pours.’

As we enter Aquarius again, poised right on the cusp today, 19 January, flooding is on the news here in the UK, Storm Cristophe. I mentioned this possibility, among other things including the US Presidential Inauguration, in a piece written for Ask Astrology 27 December 2020, but that was hardly a great psychic hit, though some years are worse than others.

Aquarius is the eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, named after the constellation of Aquarius, recorded by the Greek astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy in the 2nd Century AD. 

Common Associations

Dates: Vary but typically January 19February 18

ElementAir

Quality: Fixed (meaning a sign that corresponds with the height of a given season)Ruling planetsSaturn (originally) AND Uranus

Body: The circulatory system, shins, and ankles.

Birthstone: Amethyst

Tarot Card: The Star (Hope, Vision, Recovery, Equilibrium, Bridging, Searching, Exploration)

Minor Arcana cards the 5, 6 and 7 of Swords.

From The Gilded tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The figure is unclothed because The Star (Truth) has nothing to hide

Astronomy

From the Earth’s perspective, the Sun now actually passes in front of the constellation of Aquarius from February 17th to March 11th, a month later than the dates associated with its zodiac sign.

However, zodiac constellations are not to be confused with zodiac signs. The dates did used to coincide, but Western (Tropical) astrology is a fixed arithmetic system, and so the dates of the zodiac signs and the constellations after which they were first named have separated over time due to the ‘wobble’ of the Earth – an effect known as precession.

Astronomers who deride astrology on these grounds are not taking into account the basis and history of western (Tropical) astrology as a mathematical, not an astronomical model of the heavens.

Aquarius the Water-Carrier is one of the oldest identified constellations of the Zodiac (meaning that the sun, moon and planets all occasionally or regularly pass within its boundaries) It’s the tenth largest constellation, a big though faint constellation in the southern hemisphere, and it’s appearance is almost universally associated culturally and historically with sky, water and therefore rain.

Aquarius lies in the dark region of the sky called The Sea, containing other ‘watery’ constellations; Pisces (the fish), Eridanus (the river), Cetus (the whale), Capricornus (the Sea-goat), Delphinus (the Dolphin), and Hydra (the Water serpent).

Via Wiki

Helped out here by those added lines, you can see the pitcher, pouring out water.

The brightest stars in Aquarius are two yellow super-giants, several times more massive than the Sun; Alpha Aquarii (Sadalmelik) and Beta Aquarii (Sadalsuud) 537 light-years distant.

Sadalsuud is the brightest star in Aquarius, with a mass six times that of the Sun. It’s 2,200 times more luminous than the Sun and its name comes from the Arabic phrase sa’d al-suud, meaning the “luck of lucks.”

Other deep-sky objects include the Aquarius Dwarf Galaxy and the quirkily named Atoms for Peace Galaxy.

Aquarius also contains the Saturn Nebula and the Helix Nebula, the remnants of dying stars, and these are the closest planetary nebulae to Earth, 400 light-years away.

The Saturn Nebula
The Helix Nebula

(Talk about The Eye of Sauron)

Aquarius is home to at least 3 meteor showers. The Eta Aquariids, 5th and 6th of May, are the strongest with up to 35 meteors per hour coming from materials shed by Comet Halley as it travels through the solar system. The less active Delta Aquariids peak twice: on the 29th of July and again on the 6th of August. The weakest is the Iota Aquariids, peaking August 6th each year. 

The constellation of Aquarius is large but faint, complicated and not easy to spot, though it can be seen from almost anywhere on Earth. The best time to see is 9-10 PM in October but you will need a dark sky to pick it out.

History and Mythology

Throughout the whole of human history, arguably the number one danger to Man has been flood, knocking spots even off the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, War, Famine, Pestilence and Death.

Aquarius overhead meant winter rain was coming to the lands of Mesop0tomia. and this meant life itself- but it wasn’t all good news.

The water carrier, the cloud, can also be an agent of death, destruction, flood and disease, and the oldest flood stories underpinning the zodiac story of Aquarius arose in the Middle East.

The story of Noah’s flood came much later.

For the Sumerians, Aquarius was a frightening figure. He held the vessel from which a great flood flowed from the heavens onto the earth to ravage the entire planet, while the Babylonians called Aquarius’ appearance in the night sky ‘the curse of rain’.

Aquarius to the Babylonians was the god Ea, or GU.LA , ‘The Great One’ in the Babylonian star catalogues, often shown holding an overflowing vase. During the Early Bronze Age, the appearance of Aquarius or the ‘Way of Ea’, corresponded to the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice, when the Babylonians regularly experienced destructive levels of flooding.

In Ancient Egypt, their versionof Aquarius, the god Hapi, God of The Nile, was associated with the annual flood of the Nile when Hapi put his jar into the river, and this marked the beginning of spring, replenishing their farming soil. But their flooding season was June.

Greek mythology describes three floods, the flood of  Ogyges, the flood of Deucalion, and the flood of Dardanus. The Ogygian Deluge, they said ended the  Silver Age, and the flood of Deucalion ended the First Bronze Age, ‘parting the mountains of Thessaly’. 

The ancient Greeks naturally feared fire, and the ever present threat of earthquakes ‘convulsions’ and recorded events where fire and water they happened together (tsunamis)

They believed Aquarius caused a great flood which inundated the Earth during the Bronze Age, of which only Deucalion, son of Prometheus and his wife Pyrrha survived by variously, climbing in a chest and toughing it out, or building a great boat stocked with provisions, just as later in the Old Testament, Noah built his Ark.

Ancient Greeks avoided living near lakes and rivers, it’s thought, for hygiene reasons as well as protection from floods. There are apparently, impressive remains of hydraulic anti-flooding works; dams, walls, and channels in cities and other settlements in the Minoan era, and the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. 

Another very different Greek legend, associated Aquarius with the beautiful Trojan prince, Ganymede, carried off by that arch-sexual predator Zeus (aka The Nonce. Did he never give it a rest?) This time, he disguised himself as an eagle, and Ganymede, like it or not, became his lover and protégé, and the cup-bearer of the Gods.

Public Domain, Ganymede

The ‘Age of Aquarius’

Is it here? What does it mean? What might it portend? There has been a lot of discussion about this, and much excitement surrounding the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius that occurred 21 December 2020.

The Age of Aquarius has become synonymous with a mythical new Golden age of Mankind, but is it? And when was it? Or when will it begin? There is no consensus and no definite answer.

In astrological terms, an age lasts roughly 2200 years and is identified by the name of the constellation in which the Sun appears in on the first day of spring (the vernal equinox).

To know when the age of Aquarius begins, we would need to agree the start date for the previous/present Age of Pisces- but Astronomy and astrology don’t agree on this, even among themselves.

Some, but not all astrologers say the Age of Aquarius is already here, and began in 2012. To arrive at this, they are using the star Regulus, the heart of the Lion in the constellation of Leo as the marker of the ancient border between the constellations Leo and Cancer.

Regulus moved to within 30 degrees of the September equinox point in 2012, Working with the arithmetical model of constellations as calculated by Ptolemy in the second century AD, this places the border of the constellations Pisces and Aquarius at 150 degrees west of Regulus, or at the March equinox point. By this reckoning, the Age of Aquarius started in 2012.

Alternatively, according to the Belgian astronomer and mathematician Jean Meeus, the sun at the March equinox passed from being in front of the constellation Aries to being in front of the constellation Pisces in 68 B.C.

This would mean that the March equinox will cross over into the constellation Aquarius in 2597 but once again, these are the astronomical, not astrological dates.

The Age of Aquarius denotes or predicts on the one hand the space age, the age of super-technology, and on the other, the age of the human collective, The Brotherhood of Man as opposed to the age of the individual (as in the current Age of Pisces which is associated with the rise of the monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.)

On the horizon in 2021 Space Technology

Saturn and Jupiter conjunct in sci-fi star sign Aquarius on 21 December 2020 prefigured hi-tech space adventures to come during 2021.

Mars is having visitors -us.  Oh yes. Put the kettle on, Mars peeps. And we don’t suppose you’ve got any biccies? Sarnies? Cake? No? OK, OK, well, we know we weren’t invited, but you could have just…

Well, never mind. For a month or so, Earth and Mars line up in a way that makes it viable to land a probe. Miss that window, and it would mean waiting two years for the next opportunity.

The United Arab Emirates, China and the United States all launched in July 2020, all three due to arrive during well…soon, starting with NASA’a mission, scheduled to land Thursday 18 February 2021.

NASA is proposing to land its rover, Perseverance in the Jezero crater, an ancient river delta.

The NASA Rover via Wikimedia Commons

 China and the United Arab Emirates are sending their own exploration missions to Mars…all due to arrive at the Red Planet in February 2021.

China is sending the Tianwen-1 Rover. After sending a rover to the far side of the moon, this mission is called Tianwen-1, ‘quest for heavenly truth,’ and aims to be the first Mars mission to drop a landing platform, deploy a rover, and send a spacecraft into the planet’s orbit all at once. The rover will be equipped with a radar system that can detect underground pockets of water. It will also help China prepare for its own mission to return a sample from Mars to Earth in the 2030s.

The UAE is sending The Hope Orbiter, the Arab world’s first mission to another planet. The satellite will study the Martian atmosphere.

Russia was planning to send a mission to Mars, as was The European Space Agency, but the Covid pandemic demanded a postponement, and the European Space Agency likewise had to delay the launch of its new Ariane 6 launcher which has since been rescheduled to launch during the second half of 2021.  

NASA is also working to return to the Moon – robotically. The Artemis Project is using commercial delivery services to send science investigations and technology demonstrations to the Moon twice per year beginning in 2021.

The Moon in The Space Age

Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

The Moon is a goddess, sacred, mysterious. Humanity needs its mysteries for its happiness and sanity. It needs the inaccessible. This need cannot be measured except by an entire history of story-telling, which says we need stories, that we are hard-wired for this need, and that the effects of what we might call sacrilege, will only become known by its despoiling, negation or denial.

I hope therefore, that humanity is successful in these explorations, but not too successful, for the sake of its ultimate sanity, which is not a co-factor of reason or science, but the immeasurable spirit, which is the divine spark for which there can be no calculation, no formula, no equation.

We need to beware hubris and behave with respect. Or else. Hence, NASA’s Artemis Accords. Well, but who has not yet signed up? Will this be enough? Who gets to be the arbiter, and can anyone claim that right? To plunder the Moon, now garnished with two golf balls hit by Alan Shephard Apollo 14 and here is a partial list of the artificial objects now up there.

The Artemis Accords

With numerous countries and private sector players conducting missions and operations in cislunar space, it’s critical to establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space.

Via the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, heralding in a new era for space exploration and utilization.

While NASA is leading the Artemis program, international partnerships will play a key role in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the Moon while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars.

The Artemis Accords will describe a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all of humanity to enjoy.

Eight countries have signed up so far, The United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the US . Other countries have not done so as yet for a variety of reasons, these including Russia, Germany, France and India.

The Moon Agreement of 1979 was an attempt to to prevent commercial exploitation of outer-space resources, but only a few states have ratified it – these have not included the US, China and Russia.

Read more HERE

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

In 2024, Artemis III will mark humanity’s return to the surface of the Moon – landing astronauts on the lunar South Pole, the next man and the first ever woman.

Meanwhile OSIRISREx is currently on a NASA asteroid-study and sample-return mission. The mission’s primary goal has been to obtain a sample of at least 60 g (2.1 oz) from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and it is due to land back on Earth in 2023 with its samples. Bennu is carbonaceous and large enough to be potentially hazardous to Earth. (It won’t hit, says Tarot)

Russia is planning to return to the Moon in 2021, the first moon mission since 1976Russia’s Roscosmos space agency aims to launch its robotic Luna-25 moon landing craft in October 2021, and has drafted a deal with the U.S. space tourism company Space Adventures to fly two passengers to the International Space Station in 2021.

So. The Age of Aquarius, what will it bring? What is to be expected? Well, what is the story of humanity and what does that tell us? The happiness or otherwise of our collective future depends on the size of our future global population. It took over 2 million years of human  history for the world’s population to reach 1 billion, and only another 200 years to reach 7 billion though it is slowing now

‘The world population growth rate declined from 2.2% per year 50 years ago to 1.05% per year’. See SOURCE

The Human Portrait: Aquarius Personality/ Archetype

Photo by Robert Stokoe on Pexels.com

There is no such thing in reality as THE Aquarius 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.

Aquarius is ruled by two planets, Saturn, known to the ancients, planet of duty and conformity, but also the more recently discovered Uranus, the planet of upheaval and rebellion, and therefore, as you might imagine, this is a sign potentially containing acute paradoxes.

There is on the one hand the authoritarian Aquarian, prone to dogma, and the freewheeling Aquarian archetype, but all are radically independent in their thinking, often for good, but not always, and even rebellion may become another dogma.

Aquarius is generally kindly, exceedingly humane, refined, civilized and meticulously honourable in personal dealings. They set great store on friendship and loyalty, and need to belong and be of service, just as their symbol is the water-bearer or cup-bearer, a person pouring water from an urn.

Although this symbol can be interpreted to imply a destiny to serve others, Aquarius also carries water to cleanse the world of errant thinking and taken to extremes, this represents potential for fundamentalism.

 Aquarius represents cerebral thinking, dealing in abstracts, but not necessarily seeing the reality of the individual in front of them. Where they make a false step it may be because they trust to their cerebral process at the expense of their instinct.

Aquarius may be moody or prone to bouts of depression, or sparkle with the brilliance of diamonds, when their chart is warmed by the  courage warmth, honour and charisma of their opposite sign, the zodiac counterpart contained within Aquarius – Leo.

Famous Aquarius subjects

1864
  • Abraham Lincoln. Ferdinand Magellan. Galileo Galilei. Thomas Edison. Charles Darwin. Frederick Douglass. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Take care.

Till next time 🙂

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

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: 21 Dec to 20 January

Ruling planet: Saturn

Lucky Day: Saturday    Lucky Numbers 2 and 8

Energy: Yin

Element: Earth

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

Key phrase:  I build, I use

Body:  Skin, knees, skeletal system

Birth Stone:  Red Garnet and Black Onyx

Colour:  Deep red

Herbs/Flowers: Wintergreen, Ivy, Carnation

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

The Devil from The Gilded Tarot

The Astronomy

Wiki Capricorn: The Gate of The Gods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

History and Mythology

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

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

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

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

The Sumerians

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

The Greeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gate of The Gods

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

Beehive Cluster

The Astrology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However many are watching.

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

Season of Sagittarius, culture vulture and celestial archer of the sinking sun

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: Nov 22 to Dec 21

Ruling planet: Jupiter

Element: Fire

Key phrase:  I seek

Body: Thighs

Birth Stone: Topaz, Citrine, Turquoise 

Colour:  Light Blue

Tarot card:  Temperance: Timing, Moderation, Education, Solstice, Healing of Chiron

Public Domain: Rider-Waite

The Astronomy

Source :Wiki

Sagittarius, the zodiac sign inspired by the constellation of Sagittarius, from the Latin meaning Archer, was recorded in the 2nd century by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy.

The constellation of Sagittarius is near the centre of our galaxy, the spiral Milky Way, mainly visible in the southern hemisphere June-November. In the Northern hemisphere the constellation is low on the horizon from August to October.

Sagittarius has a nickname, ‘The Teapot’ on account of its vaguely teapot-shaped star pattern, or asterism.

To find The Teapot

The best time to look is in August or September, somewhere really dark. Locate the hazy band of The Milky Way stretching right across the sky. Looking in the northern hemisphere, the Milk Way seems to bulge as it descends to the southern horizon. This ‘bulge’ is roughly about the middle of the Milky Way and is contained within the boundaries of the constellation Sagittarius.

Photo by u200bu0468u0477u047bu048f u046au0454u0459u0469u04e1u04c4u047bu0487u0477 on Pexels.com

Sagittarius contains a massive star-forming region, the Omega Nebula, and it’s home to the bright blue hyper-giant Pistol Star, one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way. Discovered by the Hubble Space telescope in 1930, The Pistol Star is largely hidden in the dust of its own nebula, but it’s 100 times as massive as our Sun, and 10,000,000 times as bright.

The Myth

Sagittarius is the ninth sign in the Zodiac, not to be confused with the constellation itself, and represents those born between Nov. 22 and the advent of winter solstice, Dec. 21.

Sagittarius is nowadays generally associated with the story of Chiron.

But the story is far, far older, and goes back to a Babylonian god, Pabilsag, and even further back than that.

Public Domain: Celestial Atlas 1822

Pabilsag and the approaching Solstice

Pabilsag was the ancient Babylonian name for what we now call Sagittarius, handed down to the Greeks through the Sumerians and Kassites. The Sumerian word ‘Pabil’ means ‘ancestor or relative’. Combined with the final element sag, meaning ‘chief, head, tip or foremost,’ his name can be translated as the ‘Chief Ancestor’ or ‘Forefather’. Just as we were hunters at the dawn of human civilization.

Here, 3 millennia BC, we we have a winged centaur type figure, and yes, he is an archer too, and his arrow points at the heart of Scorpio, the red star Antares, but he also has a scorpion’s tail as the wheel of the Zodiac turns, and as Sagittarius gallops in, we leave Scorpio behind.

The distinction of Sagittarius, though, is that he is a solitary hunter. He does not work as one of a team to being down the really big prey. He is an individualist, working alone, just as many a hunter or trapper still hunts alone in winter.

The constellation of Sagittarius-Pabilsag is within the Milky Way, rising from the southern regions close to the horizon into the higher reaches of the skies.

This section of the Milky Way represents a symbolic bridge or a rainbow for the souls of the dead on their way to the afterlife, as the arrival of Capricorn draws near, marking the advent of the winter solstice. so that Sagittarius, or Pabilsag, is a psychopomp; a guardian and a guide to the dying year, and also the souls of the dying as the sun sinks ever lower.

Chiron the wounded Centaur

Most modern versions of the story refer back to much later, classical variants of the old Babylonian myths, and say that Sagittarius represents the gentle, cultured centaur, Chiron, who was accidentally shot by Herakles with a poison arrow.

The centaurs in general were a pretty rough lot, hard drinking, hard fighting, not remotely glamorous. It has been suggested that the legend rose from perfectly mortal, mounted ancient Greek cowboys.

But whatever the centaurs were, Chiron ‘the wisest and justest of the centaurs’ was something very different, representing a hope for the centaurs, and for Humanity itself, as collectively it strives to rise above the ever present tyranny of the Id and its own worst nature.

Here he is, trying to teach Achilles to control his temper, learning to play the lyre. Chiron had many other pupils, as well, including Asclepius, Ajax, Achilles, Theseus, Jason, Peleus, Perseus, and Phoenix. And Herakles, who brought about his death, when he was sent there to be schooled with Chiron.

Herakles had previously lost his temper with Linus, his music tutor back home. Linus, criticised his playing, and Herakles responded by smashing his lyre over the teachers head, killing him. Though in some accounts it was a stool.

Later, Chiron, wounded by the poison arrow, was left in terrible pain. He was wise in the ways of medicine, none wiser, but could not heal himself, and none could help him. Nor could he die, being Immortal.

Still, he carried on until he could bear it no more, and asked Zeus to release him from Immortality so that he could die and be free of pain.

Zeus placed him in the heavens and the story goes, placed him there as Sagittarius.

However, Chiron already has another constellation, Centaurus, and in addition, there is another classical version of the story of Sagittarius, referring instead to Krotos, a satyr who lived on Mount Helicon with the Muses.

Krotos was the son of Pan and Eupheme, and his mother had nursed the Muses. He was a renowned archer, hunter, horse rider – hence a possible source of confusion with the centaur, and besides all this, a devotee of his childhood companions, The Muses and their arts.

By Aratus – Leiden University Library Catalogue, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7660666

Krotos means ‘One who Claps his hands.’ He was credited by the Greeks with not only having invented archery, but introducing the convention of applause at artistic performances.

It was the Muses who, for his own musical talents, when Krotos died, asked Zeus to place him among the stars, which he did, transforming him into the constellation Sagittarius, says this variant of the zodiac story.

So Sagittarius is either the cultured wounded healer, Chiron, already represented in the constellation Centaurus, or he is the cultured satyr, Krotos; goaty, horse-riding archer, culture vulture and hunter extraordinaire.

There is a secondary link here, Krotos the Satyr linking Sagittarius with Capricorn, the next sign coming up, sun sinking to the winter solstice.

Chiron or Krotos?

Take your pick.

Or go Babylonian with Pabilsag.

The Muses

Sagittarius is keenly intuitive, and usually has a marked talent, a gift, in the field of the Arts. Winston Churchill for example, was probably psychic, subject to visions and feelings of premonition, and he also painted.

Delphi said there were three Muses. But c 600 BC Hesiod wrote in his Theogony that there were Nine Muses, the daughters of  Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory personified) and this is the version that has generally stuck.

They were not necessarily benign. They were touchy, sensitive to human hubris, and liable to exact vengeance of anyone they decided was getting too far above themselves.

Via Greekmythology.com
  • Kalliope ‘She of the Lovely Voice’ was the muse of epic poetry. Also of Diplomacy.
  • Klio ‘She Who Proclaims’ was the muse of history.
  • Erato ‘The Lovely One’ was the muse of love poetry.
  • Euterpe ‘She Who Pleases’ was the muse of music.
  • Melpomene ‘She Who Sings’ was the muse of tragedy.
  • Polyhymnia ‘She of the Many Hymns’ was the muse of sacred poetry.
  • Terpsichore ‘She Who Delights to Dance’ was the muse of dance.
  • Thalia ‘The Cheerful One’ was the muse of comedy
  • Urania ‘The Heavenly One’ was the goddess of astronomy, astrology, and later, Christian poetry.

Sagittarius: The Astrological Personality

Of course there is no such thing as THE Sagittarius personality. Everyone is unique. We are speaking here of an archetype.

Sagittarius zodiac sign subjects need constant adventures to stay interested. Freedom is of the utmost importance to them. Movement. Travel. Space and room for manoeuver. Likewise they allow space and freedom to their partners.

The archetype of Sagittarius is brave, lively, warm, optimistic, curious, adventurous, rational but also insightful, even visionary.

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They are generally astute, clever and capable people but they need career flexibility, and they may refuse to fail to apply themselves if bored.  Like Gemini, they are prone to restlessness. They may fail to stick at a job or a succession of jobs, and may struggle financially long term in consequence.

Hence their challenge, but also their guiding light is the idea of Temperance,personified in the Tarot and symbolising patience, prudence, and the art of good timing.

They can do domestic. It’s not that. But you wouldn’t really call it how they roll.

And they do tend to roll, place to place, job to job, and a rolling stone gathers no moss. The problem being, other things it doesn’t gather either, like a steady home life, or steady income, or savings or other means of security in old age, if Sagittarius does not balance the need for freedom , space and independence with prudence and good timing.

Sagittarius tends to have lots of friends. More than almost anyone else, so much so, family and friends can feel neglected at times, forgotten, when Sagittarius goes off yet again, devil may care, to share experiences with new best friends.

Sagittarius must have inspiration, and the freedom to follow it, and to roam. But this humanitarian, kindly, if restless rolling stone sooner or later almost always comes trotting, or should we say, rolling home again, expecting to find their loved ones exactly where they left them. And usually, they will. Though others too, do not enjoy being taken for granted, and this may need care.

They will be the star of this show, but what they really need for domestic happiness, is a quietly confident, self-reliant partner who has plenty of interests themselves; and much life experience, who will be their rock but who will not roll.

Who will be above all, their best friend.

Take care till next time 🙂

Samhain…Halloween…It started in the stars

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Like everything, it started in the stars, and then we started telling stories, mapping the movements of the skies on the walls of the caves, planning our own movements, ensuring provision for our survival, tracking the tilting of the seasons as the Earth went round the sun, and the seas warmed and cooled.

The modern festival of Halloween began as a marker of the darkest of the four so-called cross-quarter days in the Northern Hemisphere. A cross-quarter day marks the half-way point between an equinox and a solstice and in the case of Halloween, obviously this is between the autumn equinox and winter solstice, reversing these if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Halloween began as a Bronze Age festival, Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) Though it may well be far older. The name meant ‘summer’s end’ and its signal was the sighting of The Pleiades seen overhead at midnight.

This midnight zenith of The Pleiades now occurs 21 November owing to the Earth’s tilt and the wobble on its axis, an effect called precession, and in addition, the Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar and further added to the discrepancy in dates.

But this astronomical event did apparently once coincide with the days around 31 October as recorded during the 11th and 12th centuries.

Samhain was a period rather than a single day and marked the start of the winter for Celtic societies, ending one planting cycle and beginning another. Seeds for the next year were often planted at this time.

It began about a week after the modern Halloween or All Hallows Eve, and it was believed that all those who had departed this life the previous year were finally freed from all their earthly ties.

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The Pleiades

The Pleiades or The Seven Sisters is a star cluster in the north-west region of the constellation of Taurus the Bull. Classicists debate the origin of the name  which may derives from πλεῖν (plein -“to sail”) because of the cluster’s importance for the sailing season in the Mediterranean: “the season of navigation began with their heliacal rising” (Wiki)

Here is how to locate them:

The Pleiades feature as prominent stars of winter in the ancient agricultural calendar of the northern hemisphere, and the Greek poet Hesiod wrote:-

And if longing seizes you for sailing the stormy seas,
when the Pleiades flee mighty Orion
and plunge into the misty deep
and all the gusty winds are raging,
then do not keep your ship on the wine-dark sea
but, as I bid you, remember to work the land
.— Works and Days 618–623

Celtic mythology

A bronze disk, 1600 BC, from Nebra, Germany, is one of the oldest known representations of the cosmos. You can see the seven dots of The Pleiades top right.

By Dbachmann, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1500795

For the Bronze Age Celts, and probably going back far earlier the Pleiades were associated with mourning and with funerals. At that time in history, on the cross-quarter day the cluster rose in the eastern sky as the sun’s light faded in the evening and this association has persisted even though The Pleiades no longer mark the festival.

Other Stories

Every culture has had its own names and stories about the Pleiades.

 The Blackfoot called them the Lost Boys and while they rose high, the buffalo were not available, so that the setting of the Pleiades was a signal for the Blackfoot to travel to their hunting grounds culminating in the buffalo slaughters or ‘ jumps’, that sustained their whole way of life.

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In the ancient  Andes the Pleiades were associated, not with death or deprivation, but abundance, returned to the skies of the Southern Hemisphere at harvest time.

But for those of us for whom home is the Isles of Britain, this time of year is Scorpio, and in Tarot, its card is the Death card; Transformation and Resurrection when the veil between realities is at its thinnest.

It is ghosts, memories; those who are gone but will endure as long as memory lasts, and will talk with us there, in that place, and walk with us until it is our own time to become memories, and to leave, returning to the stars, ascending through Capricorn and the Gate of The Gods.

Traces

All is lost, in death, they say.

Not all, nor straightaway.

Records of state and memory last a while.

For some, memorials, for others work in word or form,

Sustain their name.

For many, genes still stalk the pool,

Promises of progeny,

If not the immortality

Of Gargantua’s heartfelt plea.

And for all, there’s particle subsistence,

As material laws require.

But if that wasn’t all?

If walls have ears, have they memory too?

If the pendulum distinguishes one

hurled in anger, in a heap of stones,2

And if creatures all had souls, as Pythagoras claimed,

If all we did, or felt, or thought, lived on,  

In cyberspace or noo-sphere

Oblivion would not hold true.

Or is the good all lost

And all the evil too?

PJW

Photo by Mat Reding on Pexels.com

Till next time 🙂 Meanwhile I’ll leave you with this from Enya: numinous and timeless; The Humming.

Libra The Celestial Scales- Weighing the Balance in the Stars

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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

Justice from The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

Astronomy

Libra (technically, it is correctly pronounced Ly-bra as in Library) is a small but distinct constellation, 29th in size of the 88 constellations, next door to the constellation Virgo. It’s been described as looking like a lop-sided diamond and is visible in the northern hemisphere between April and July.

Libra used to be regarded, not as a constellation in its own right, but as part of its neighbouring constellations Scorpio and Virgo. The stars representing the scales of Justice are the same stars representing the claws of the Scorpion.

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

There also is a red dwarf star Gliese 581 with three orbiting planets, two of which may possibly be suitable for life, about 20 light years from Earth.

The brightest star in Libra is a binary star about 77 light years from Earth. α Librae. or Zubenelgenubi, meaning “the Southern Claw” in Arabic.

The second-brightest star in the constellation of Libra is β Librae, or Zubeneschamali, from the Arabic for “The Northern Claw.”

Mercator

Equilibrium and Equinox

Since 2002, the Sun has actually appeared in the constellation of Libra from October 31 to November 22.

This is different to the dates used for this sign in your media horoscope, which is based on modern western or tropical astrology, and says Libra begins around 23rd of September, coinciding with the autumn equinox (in the northern hemisphere).

But astronomy is not astrology, which is a symbolic language, and zodiac signs are not to be confused with the constellations after which they were named.

The Sun did indeed used to be in the sign Libra from 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 Libra’s concept of natural balance.

The zodiac sign of Libra ceased to coincide with the actual placement of the constellation in AD 730 because of the wobble of the Earth, and the resulting effect known as precession – the movement of the equinoxes relative to Earth.

This fact of astronomy does not invalidate your horoscope. The astrological concept still stands, based on the arithmetic model of the zodiac as designed by the mathematician Ptolemy in the 2nd Century.

Mythology and History

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We have the Romans to thank for the name of this constellation, as well as the sun sign or zodiac sign of Libra as we understand it today.

It is a complicated history. Libra began as part of Scorpio, and was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”) but with an alternative name, the Claws of the Scorpion, while in ancient Greece Libra was also seen as the Scorpion’s Claws.

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

Because 3000 years ago, the Sun entering Libra marked the equinox, when days and nights were of equal length, i.e. balanced, Roman astrologers considered that the constellation of Libra represented the principle of natural balance, equality, equilibrium and hence, justice.

It was in ancient Rome that Libra was first recognized as a constellation in its own right, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, or Dike, although in Greek mythology she had always been associated with Virgo.

Eh? Que? Claws, scales. Virgo, Scorpio. Confusing? Join the club.

Typically elusive Libra!

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

The early born Libra may therefore be expected to have much in common with Virgo and Astraea, but the later born Libra may be expected to have quite a lot of Scorpio going on.

This same principle applies to all the zodiac signs, of course, whether you were born early or late in your sign, but is particularly acute in the case of Libra, on account of its shared/borrowed stars and very particular history as a relative newcomer to the zodiac story in its own right.

The Libra Archetype

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

 Libra is the only zodiac 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, as it also rules Taurus, the Libra subject is especially, even acutely sensitive to beauty in anything, whether it is a person, nature, art, or music.

Libra intensely dislikes loud or sharp noises, cruelty, nastiness, and vulgarity, as they are naturally kindly and civilized people, and also, may we observe, a teensy bit delicate at times.

Born diplomats, but also anything for a quiet life, Libras try to co-operate and compromise with everyone around them. They can sometimes be a little tiring to be with as they are constantly re-assessing and adjusting their thinking, while remaining emotionally distant, or playing Devil’s advocate and this may be infuriating at times, or even seem to call their personal loyalties into question.

They are not averse to keeping secrets and can be more changeable even than Gemini. Those Libran scales are after all, seeking balance, which is not the same as attaining it.

Botticelli: The Birth of Venus, ruler of Libra

Libra may not receive or handle criticism as dispassionately as they dispense it. They can show jealousy when they are not the centre of attention, and may at times be moody; a practitioner of passive aggression, or they may be something of an ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ – smoothly vengeful, or even ruthless.

But lovely Libra, charming, smiling, sophisticated, civilized. Sunny side up, what on earth’s not to like?

Till next time 🙂

The Fool and the Return of Orion

The Fool and the return of Orion...
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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 🙂

Cancer: The Starry Crab in the Zodiac Sea

Photo by Ruvim on Pexels.com

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

Common associations

The pincers: Zodiac symbol of Cancer

Ruling planet: Moon (not a planet but counted as such in astrology)

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 a shell?) Drive, Control, progress, teamwork, and the harmonizing of different elements.

The Chariot, Rider-Waite Tarot

The Astronomy

Cancer, Latin for crab, is in a dark region of the sky, 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’s more like a faint, upside-down Y often compared with a crayfish or lobster. It was also called the Crayfish in classical astrology, and in Egyptian astrology, The Scarab.

Whatever it’s name, 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,which is today.

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

Wiki: The constellation of Cancer

Cancer may be faint but it’s got a great 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 modern name is The Beehive Cluster. 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.

Public Domain: The Beehive Cluster

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

I knew a soul who descended through the Gate of Men and ascended again through the Gate of The Gods the same day, the day of the solstice, twenty seven years ago today. He stayed an hour and twenty five minutes. A baby soul, his name was Rowen; he was my son, and he always will be.

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 is thought not likely.

The Myth

Cancer is associated with the Twelve Labours of Hercules after he went mad, mistook his wife and children for monsters and 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.

Look at that crab getting right stuck in. Hera rewarded its loyalty by placing it in the heavens, but she placed it in a dark portion of the heavens with only faint stars because crabs need dark, quiet places to feel safe and at home. However, its shy, retiring placement is also the highest point in the zodiac, nearest to heaven, and the crab is the herald of the summer solstice.

The Astrology

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. Cancer is uniquely both the moon and the sun.

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

Ruled by Cancer, the Queen of Cups from the Rider-Waite Tarot

The Cancer Personality

There is no such thing in reality as THE Cancer personality. 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. Cancer famously adores babies and small animals, all wild things; and struggles with separation. The empty nest can be anathema to the Cancer parent.

By 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 a rock-pool.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cancer’s famous subjects include Nelson Mandela.

Until next time 🙂

No Doom Today

Photo by Arnesh Yadram on Pexels.com


We have always had doom-mongers. We will always have them. Ahhh, shaddapp!!!

Someone give them a nice cuppa and a biscuit. We’ve all had enough doom-mongering.

Mind you, if only the Trojans had listened to Cassandra….

But doom is just another word for destiny or fate. Doom is destiny in a bad mood, having a bad hair day. And then the eternal chestnut is, can destiny be changed? Is it mutable?

The Fates of Greek Mythology were three weaving goddesses who assigned individual destinies at birth. Their names were Clotho who chose the yarn (the Spinner), Lachesis who allowed the length (the Allotter -and there’s a deadly venomous snake of the same name; a bushmaster if memory serves) and Atropos who cut the thread (the Inflexible).

Once they had decreed your fate even Zeus couldn’t do a thing about it.

The Fates of Norse mythology, the three Nornir lived at the well in Asgard (home of the Gods and Goddesses). Their names were Urd ‘What Once Was’, Verdandi ‘What Is Coming into Being’ and Skuld, ‘What Shall Be.’

They spent their time at the foot of the giant ash Yggdrasil the Tree of Life, the great World Tree, weaving the threads of fate of every living being into a web. They were the alarm clock for the gods, placing a rooster at the top of Yggdrasil to wake them up every morning, ready or not. Wakey WAKEYYYYY!

One pictures Odin, snorting, startled awake after a heavy night in the mead hall.

And then they would fetch water from Urd’s well, and give Yggdrasil a good watering to keep it green and healthy.

The Vikings believed the Norns were nearby whenever a  child was born. Women who had just given birth were fed a bowl of porridge,’Norn porridge’. The mothers would eat it on their behalf and hopefully, this vicarious treat would go down – well, a treat, and in return the Norns would be well-disposed, dishing out good health for the mother and the child.

But – significantly, the Norns, unlike the Fates, could be bargained with now and then to change ordained outcomes.

These days we may wonder about Fate, but in the modern west at least, worship more readily at the altar of free will as a defining mark of our ‘superior’ rationality.

This is good because it makes us responsible for the things we do, and stops us from doing horrific things to essentially harmless people just because we have decided they’re religiously unacceptable for whatever reason. I live in the land of the Pendle witches; a hideous tragedy of a lot of desperately poor people hanged for witchcraft, but including one person far less poor, Alice Nutter; from a well-known local Catholic family…when being Catholic wasn’t safe either, at the time.

So we don’t do that any more, and we separated Church and State. Good. No Blasphemy laws coming back again either please, ever, ever again. Under whatever aegis of tolerance of Islam or any other religion at all.

We can’t ever go ‘back there.’ Blasphemy laws light human bonfires.

But there is a drawback. This Enlightenment has had the unfortunate side-effect of over-promoting us, at least in our own imaginations, at the expense of all those tiresome gods of previous superstitious generations who knew no better, or so we may tell ourselves, and now we ourselves are the gods with the feet of clay.

Fate however is not about superstition, but is at its heart simply the recognition that we are a world in ourselves on the one hand, a microcosm in our own individual right, but also very tiny in the scheme of something older and bigger than our ability to comprehend, let alone perceive. The Hubble telescope is amazing, staggering in the things it has revealed to us…again, that great eye in the sky of the World card, but a thousand Hubble telescopes still can’t tell us…the meaning of X – The Unanswerable of Everything.

So what’s my question for my Tarot today? Or my preoccupation? Do I have one? I’m a little unsettled, a bit under the weather – a longstanding health issue- and I am somewhat procrastinating on another writing job. I know my own mood perfectly well, but I want to see what the bit of my mind that operates through the Tarot will make of it.

Tweeted today 22 May:


Katie-Ellen@TrueTarotTales· I ask #Tarot diagnose my question? I draw The World. Traditionally, completion but I’m seeing ‘eyes in the sky’, satellite technology (support of reefs and forests?) Feb-Apr 2021 may see global burnout of this pandemic chapter though widely easing 21 June+ IMG Ciro Marchetti

The World Card from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

The World is a positive card. It is about a global vision, and suggests the successful completion of a cycle.

It’s big all right. It’s bad and desperately sad. It’s a weird one, a real Frankenstein virus, born out of our own messy destruction of whatever we need and want, and also of whatever we don’t need or want.

This card is not a vision of doom for humankind though it contains warnings. Notice that the artist has placed him standing on an egg-timer, symbol of infinity? Look where the sands are.

We are too many and it’s not our ‘fault’. We’ve just been doing what we do as an animal, but if these projections manifest, these figures will not be sustainable, except at the cost of great changes to our individual lifestyles and freedom of movement.

The figure in the World card feels as if he can fly. And so he can, aided by his machines and now we have satellites, eyes and ears in the sky. He thinks he is master of the globe, but the sands have emptied out. The resources are not infinite, and actually, he has his arms out for balance.

The card is Major Arcana 21, suggesting the year 2021 for completion of the current pandemic cycle.

I wonder if 2001 A Space Odyssey, Arthur C Clarke was actually a prophetic vision of 2100 AD, and the 21st century may prove a crunch time for humanity, the great turning point. We can’t grow to those numbers and keep our individual freedom of movement. We’re already now at the limit of our natural range, says that egg-timer.

The World card seems to imply 2021 before this situation will be declared under control. The Spanish Flu of 1918 lasted 3 years.

Tweeted 21 May 2020

Katie-Ellen@TrueTarotTales·#cartomancy ‘graph’. Risk of second wave of #covid19UK? Readers don’t ‘know.’ But what is shown? 10 Spades absent – good. Risk detected as 2/5, characterised as 2 spikes on a graph between now and June 20/21. Stay CAUTIOUS! Cards= 7S, 9C, Ace C, 2D, QH

Freedom or safety?

They are both illusions. Do we want to be protected or do we want independent agency? A degree of personal autonomy? Whatever we would choose, nothing is for free. The birds sing because they must, or lose their territory, the food that it can deliver, and their mating rights. It’s life and death to them. Robins are liable to fight if they meet outside mating time, the male and female may even fight to the death. It’s all about territory, and territory is all about access to resources.

This was our local Robin Goodfellow, waiting for his suet, because he is not stupid, and he has got staff working on the case. The science is survival but it’s also the miracle, the beauty and the charm; the way he wins our hearts.

I am not a fan of banning things, or pointing fingers, or being told what to do, or telling other people what they should be doing, but the World card says we came into this world. We are of it, no less deserving than any other living thing. But it is not ours.

Some long ago fellow wrote in the Bible that the Lord gave us dominion over the lot, and it caught on big-time, a very convenient thing to believe while our numbers were small. But the world is not our oyster, we’re sailing on board but not steering this mother-ship, Earth, which made the bones which built us, with what came from the stars.

Wherever we go, however far we go, the party isn’t somewhere else.

It’s all going on right here, right now.

Star Size Comparison

Until next time 🙂

Time to say ‘hi’ again to Gemini

We’re crossing into Gemini zodiac territory today, and will stay there until June 20/21.

We were born into a particular season. Children of that season. The symbology of the zodiac signs are all rooted in the seasons of Nature here on earth. The only sign not directly symbolic of a real, living thing is Libra, the Scales.

The sign of Gemini is airy Nature on the wing. Nestlings are fledging, baby waterfowl are on the swim; birds, bees and butterflies are foraging and cross-pollinating -the pollen too, is on the wing.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Gemini associations

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

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: Gemini has two cards associated with it: The Lovers (love, choices, decision-making) And The Magician. Most writers focus on the duality represented by the Lovers card, but today I’m going with another key aspect of Gemini, the mercurial Magician.

Astronomy

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

Gemini remains one of the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). 

Gemini is the northernmost constellation in the zodiac, high in the winter sky in the northern hemisphere, the thirtieth largest in size.

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

Gemini can be seen by the naked eye, looking north east of the constellation Orion between the Taurus and Cancer constellations. Best viewing is during February and during April and May you might see it by looking west soon after sunset, looking out for the two brightest stars, Castor and Pollux, representing the heads of the twins from Greek mythology, while fainter stars outline their bodies.

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 – 6 trillion miles/9.6 trillion kilometres.

Pollux is brighter, with a massive planet orbiting it, called Beta Genorium B, 1.6 times bigger than Jupiter. The other twin, 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.jpg
Public Domain – Gemini from Helvelius

Ancient History

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

Gemini is Latin for “twins,” – the first sign of the western tropical zodiac that has a human representation rather than an animal one after Aries the Ram and Taurus the Bull.

Castor and Pollux

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

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.”

Gemini in late May and June brings us honey and strawberries.

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

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

The mortal Castor was a renowned horseman and a master at fencing, while Pollux was known for his great strength and skill at boxing. They travelled with Jason on the Argo on the quest for the Golden Fleece (Aries)

But then Castor was killed in a quarrel, 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 and he begged his father, Zeus, for help. Kill me, he said. Zeus said, er, give me time to think about this, son, and scratched his head, wondering how to fix it, and 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.

Gemini in real life

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

We are a product, expressive of the season in which we arrived.

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

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

Gemini is ‘mercurial’, restless, intellectually agile 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, though not easy to really get to know.

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

Gemini can sometimes seem superficial, or careless, even ruthless, dropping people and projects once they lose interest, which Gemini can do quite suddenly. But once committed, they are intensely loyal to their friends and loved ones. Gemini is mostly fairly peaceable, but it’s also brave. These subjects don’t shy away from saying what they think, and of course, they think plenty.

Until next time 🙂

Bringing in Beltane…Magical May Eve

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.)

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 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.

February, and a One-Card ‘Crystal Ball’ style reading

I am at pains to stress I don’t work as a fortune-teller. I work as an adviser, working to a brief, and I offer forecasting within a specific context, because otherwise, who am I reading for exactly? And I aim to deal in relevant specifics wherever possible.

Context is key for meaning, relevance and precision.

However, I also like to challenge myself. General ‘scrying’ of ‘the’ future, Nostradamus style, is part of a very ancient tradition, and I sometimes work with a well known astrologer, Jessica Adams, writing as a guest contributor for a monthly feature, Tarot Tuesday at JessicaaAdams.com.

The challenge is to pick just one card, and share my intuitive impressions triggered by this card for the coming month. But without benefit of any other context than this loose time frame. One or two other Tarot card readers also write up their one card readings for the month to come, and Jessica then correlates these Tarot findings with current astrology.

Artist Albert Anker 1880

My chosen card for this February 2020 was the Six of Swords.

Book meanings: relocation, progress, exploration, charting a new course, mourning, travel by water, self determination, east

From the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Image by Ciro Marchetti.

Lick your finger, hold it up…what is the prevailing wind?

Winds are changeable of course, from day to day, even hour to hour, but still, it has been interesting for me as a reader, to correlate my previous one card ‘crystal ball’ readings with events of the ensuing month.

An earlier one card reading said ‘wild fire,’ (you can see previous readings via the link provided below) and it is still playing out, tragically; particularly the Australian wild fires, of which the first were actually in September, and now it is known that several of these were started deliberately.

These single card readings are actually drawn 2-3 weeks ahead of publication, so that I am drawing a card mid January for the first Tuesday in February, and mid February looking ahead to the first Tuesday in March and so on.

Logically, none of it ought to make any sense at all, unless by sheer coincidence. Except that isn’t how it works, when it works.

It works on animal sensing.

Click below to read February’s Tarot Tuesday feature, courtesy of Jessica Adams.

Tarot Tuesdays with psychic astrologer Jessica Adams

Until next time 🙂

A Robin’s Tarot Tale

A Christmas robin reading…..

True Tarot Tales

A real reading done for a robin, befitting the season.


Image: Public Domain

There are many depictions of animals and birds in the Tarot.  They form a great part of the human landscape physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and symbolically. If there’s a heaven, what would it be without them? I wouldn’t mind, personally if mosquitoes, maggots, deadly snakes and komodo dragons didn’t make it. Spiders would be all right as long as they were non-venomous and less than two inches in diameter. However, it’s not me in charge.

The  songbird traditionally most associated with Christmas, or to give the winter festival its older name,   Yuletide – is the robin redbreast. The cheeky, dumpy little European robin, Erithacus rubecula is a member of the flycatcher family.

Its preferred habitats are woodlands, hedgerows, parks and garden. Its staple diet is worms, seeds, fruits and insects. It will fight over sunflower seeds and it adores…

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The cosmic archer Sagittarius.

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 Sagittarius.

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: Nov 22 to Dec 21

Ruling planet: Jupiter

Element: Fire

Key phrase:  I seek

Body: Thighs

Birth Stone: Topaz, Citrine, Turquoise 

Colour:  Light Blue

Tarot card:  Temperance

Temperance wiki rider waite.jpg

Public Domain:  Rider-Waite

The Astronomy

As with all of the Zodiac constellations, Sagittarius was recorded in the 2nd century by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. The name is from the Latin for archer.

Sagittarius is a relatively large constellation which is mainly visible in the southern hemisphere. In the Northern hemisphere the constellation can be viewed low on the horizon from August to October. In the Southern hemisphere Sagittarius can be viewed from June to November. Star maps generally depict Sagittarius as a vaguely teapot-shaped star pattern or asterism.

Map sagittarius wiki.jpg

Sagittarius is near the centre of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way. There is a massive star-forming region known as the Omega Nebula situated within its boundaries and Sagittarius is also home to the Pistol Star, one of the brightest stars, the fifth brightest discovered in the Milky Way. First discovered by the Hubble Space telescope in 1930, the Pistol Star is largely hidden in the dust of its own Pistol nebula, but is 100 times as massive as our Sun, and 10,000,000 times as bright.

Watch here for a mind-boggling representation of where the Pistol Star sits in the scale of size of stars in the Milky Way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoW8Tf7hTGA

The Myth

Sagittarius Celestial Atlas 1822.jpg

Public Domain: Celestial Atlas 1822

Sagittarius is the ninth sign in the Zodiac and represents those born between Nov. 22 and Dec. 21.

Greek myth saw Sagittarius the Archer shooting Scorpio the Scorpion, which had been sent to kill Orion the Hunter.

Sagittarius has long been mixed and confused with another centaur story, Chiron of the Centaurus constellation. Most interpretations conclude that Sagittarius refers to the the centaur, Chiron, who was accidentally shot by Hercules with a poison arrow.  

This story does indeed refer to a constellation myth, but it’s the myth behind Centaurus, a non-zodiac constellation, and not Sagittarius.

The myth behind Sagittarius probably refers instead to Krotos, a satyr who lived on Mount Helicon with the Muses. Krotos or Crotus was the son of Pan and Eupheme, and his mother had nursed the Muses.

Krotos was renowned for being both an excellent hunter, horse rider and a devoted adherent of the Muses and their arts. He is credited with having invented archery and being the first to use illumination for hunting animals. He is also said to have introduced applause, and used to clap his hands at the singing of the Muses, for whom this was a sign of acclaim preferable to any verbal ones. It was the Muses who asked Zeus to place him among the stars, which he did, transforming Krotos into the constellation Sagittarius.

Satyrs have human heads and torsos with two goat legs (and sometimes horns). Centaurs have four but the accounts and depictions of Krotos vary. But all the same, he was often depicted with four legs, as the excellent horseman he was.

The Astrology

Sagittarius is the ninth sign in the Zodiac and represents those born between Nov. 22 and Dec. 21. The archer is seen as a bridge between elements and worlds. The life lesson is seen as Temperance, as pictured in the Tarot card associated with this sign. The message is all to do with the quiet but enormous power of moderation, the art of expert timing, and also self-control, avoiding extremes and addictive behaviours.

The Astrological Personality

There is no such thing in reality as THE Sagittarius 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 Sagittarius is brave, lively, warm, optimistic, rational and insightful. Sagittarius zodiac sign subjects need constant adventures and opportunities to grow to remain interested. Freedom is of the utmost importance to them, space and plenty of room for manoeuvre. Likewise they tend also to give lots of freedom to their partners.

They are generally very capable people but they need career flexibility, and they may refuse or fail to apply themselves if bored.  Like Gemini, they are prone to restlessness. They may then fail to stick at a job or a succession of jobs, and may struggle financially in consequence.

They tend to have lots of friends, and family and friends can feel neglected at times when Sagittarius goes go off and travels and shares experiences with strangers, but Sagittarians will always come home.

Next time, the cosmic goat Capricorn…