Antares – Watcher of the West

he Temptation of Adam and Eve. 1430s. Harley 2278 f. 1v

Until I started to write this article, I had no idea that there was so much confusion regarding the Watchers and their associations. I read some pieces that were truly bizarre. I offer this a caution that the system I’m working with is, in my estimation, accurate.  The situation does, however, point to the need for an introduction regarding the historical origins and essential meaning of the four Royal Star of Persia. Such an introduction is long overdue in any case and will assist in reference to other articles.

These stars are clearly of particular significance and importance Thier significance is cross-cultural, but the most complete explanation is found n Persian sources and it’s entirely possible that the narratives in The Tanakh also owe their Persian origins as demonstrated in The Book of Enoch, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and other books; 

This means that the Book of the Watchers was almost certainly heavily informed by the Persians. The Jews drew heavily on Persian tradition and knowledge of the heavens. A copy of the complete Book of Enoch can be found here.  

Horoscope from ‘The book of birth of Iskandar (Persia 1411) Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome

Some background history will assist in showing the context and transmission of these Persian, Zoroastrian idea to 3rd century B.C. Jewry. Cyrus the Great – reigned from 550 to 530 B.C.conquered Babylon on October 11, 539 B.C. and set Darius the Mede as “vassal” over Babylon. It was Cyrus the Great that formed the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) as the successor to the Babylonians.

Many do not know that Cyrus is mentioned 23 times in the Bible, and is called “the Lord’s anointed” (Isaiah 45:1) and the “My shepherd” (Isaiah 44:27-28). 150 years prior to Cyrus’ birth, Isaiah foretold his birth, his name, and the tasks that God determined Cyrus to accomplish. Only a very few biblical commentators believe that Cyrus was Esther’s husband. The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered in 1879 and describes the conquest of Babylon and Cyrus’ desire to repatriate people, including the Jews, to their homelands. The Persian Empire is often called the Achaemenid Empire in honour of a man named Achaemenes, who is considered the patriarch of the Persians, and whose very name means “having a friend’s mind.” See The Persians and the Achaemenid Empire 

Archangel Uriel, Orthodox Icon

Antares (Satevis) The West is the Autumnal Equinox (Watcher of the West) and is also imbued with the symbolism of the setting Sun and the realms beyond the Western horizon. The Western Isles have great symbolic currency in many traditions, including the Druidic-Celtic culture and in fact most Aryan mythology. Scorpius is a very bright constellation and Antares glows orange and bright in the heart of the Scorpion. If you have reasonably clear skies and don’t live in a major city, it is easy to spot.

Students of The Bible will recall that the Garden of Eden is guarded by an angel to prevent Adam and Eve returning to Paradise: “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the East of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life”. (Gen.3:24).  The Angel guarding the entrance to paradise is understood to be Uriel. Innocence cannot be regained, so another way must be found. This is very close to what William Blake means by “Innocence and Experience.” The sword is a virtually universal symbol of truth – one has to cut through illusions. In this respect, Uriel has much in common with Manjushri, who also wields a flaming sword.

Uriel comes from the Hebrew name אוּרִיאֵל (‘Uri’el) which meant “God is my light”. He is mentioned only in the Apocrypha, for example in the Book of Enoch where he warns Noah of the coming flood. For an extensive list of Uriel’s associations, see here.

The Four Directions are associated with the Fixed Astrological Signs: and stars -Aquarius (Fomalhaut), Taurus (Aldebaran), Leo (Regulus) and Scorpio (Antares). I have found a number of articles on the web that place Raphael with Antares.as the healer The rationale seems rather weakly connected to Orphiacus. However, the imagery of the Heart of a Scorpion speaks less of healing in the

Manjushri is the embodiment of the wisdom that is key to ultimately becoming a buddha

ordinary sense and more to do with ‘only by the fire may you be purified.” Uriel is not only the Angel with the flaming sword. He is always shown with a flame that denotes both light and heat. The courage to travel to the Western Isles ultimately becomes an inevitability. Conquering the fear of death is a lesson for the warrior. These are quintessentially Scorpio themes

Tokens of Impending Doom

An image of Halley’s Comet taken in 1986. Credit: NASA

First of all, the title is part of a quotation from Manilus, one of the most respected astrologers of his time. This is a rather different kind of article.  It’s a short introductory piece on the nature, history and reputation of what must be the best-known comet

The long history of this object and the events associated with its arrival are less well known. It is the latter I wish to address, after providing some essential history, including how the comet got its name. The comet we know as Haley’s Comet has been visiting us for 200,00o years, It’s a once in a lifetime celestial spectacle which last occurred in 1986 and the next predicted perihelion will be July 28, 2061 .

It was Edmund Halley, a close friend and colleague of Isaac Newton who calculated that the comet that was to bear his name was the same comet that repeatedly returns to the vicinity of the earth in a predictable pattern of time. Halley was indebted to Newton’s physics and it is perhaps one the greatest ironies that Newton practised astrology, while Hally considered it nonsense and was greatly puzzled how his brilliant and learned friend could succumb to such an ‘irrational’ pursuit. Halley once confronted Newton, asking him how he could believe in such things. Newton famously answered; “because I have studied it sir and you have not.”

Edmond Halley

Halley published his findings, “A Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets” in 1705, cataloguing what he had discovered from researching historical records of 24 comets from 1337 and 1698. Three of those observations were strikingly similar in relation to orbit and other parameters. Halley proposed that the same comet appeared to be returning to Earth again and again.

Based on the appearance of the comet in 1531, 1607 and 1682, he was able to predict that the comet could return to Earth in 1758.  He wrote ““If it should return, according to our predictions,” he vowed, “impartial posterity will not refuse to acknowledge that this was first discovered by an Englishman.” Halley died long before that in 1742, nevertheless it was natural that the comet would bear his name. The comet returned on Christmas day in 1757.

We know that observations of the comet had been made by Babylonian astronomers in the third century BC, It had been recorded by the Chinese and later the Japanese and throughout the European Middle Ages. It was of varying brightness. One report stated that the comet appeared to be half the size of the Moon and just as bright. Ancient Greek texts reveal the earliest recorded sighting of Halley’s comet, 2,500 years ago

1607-skeletons with comet

I will focus on three events that coincided with a visit from the famous Comet in which the world was radically changed in one way or another. Halley’s Comet has been plummeting through the solar system for approximately 200,000 years. Comets had always had a sinister reputation according to ancient astronomers and astrologers alike. Halley has lived up to the reputation as a harbinger of massive changes in established order, including its coincidence with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, described by Josephus a devastating attack by Ghengis Khan, the fateful and successful invasion of  England by William the Conqueror. Halley is in fact included in the Bayeux tapestry.

 

Babylonian tablet recording Halley’s comet

Ian Redpath writes: “A comet looks like a portent, and it is not surprising that people always regarded them as such. Writing 2000 years ago, the Roman astrologer Marcus Manilius summed up the prevailing opinion: ‘Heaven in pity is sending upon Earth tokens of impending doom’. Included in his list of cometary ills were blighted crops, plague, wars, insurrection, and even family feuds. In short, anything could be blamed on comets, and usually was.” (A Brief History of Halley’s Comet)

Josephus provides us with a vivid image of the comet and what ensued: “like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews’ rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war” (The Wars of the Jews J. BJ 6.288)  The comet was Halley’s and the writer’s sense of horror is unmitigated.

Roman soldiers brought back a Menorah and other holy relics from the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

This event and other associated with a visit from the comet is of incalculable importance. It was the end of the temple elements of Judaism which has not been restored to this day. The Roman victory was massive, leaving the Jewish population in a state of humiliation and disarray.

Alireza Salzberg writes “Jewish people following the destruction of the Second Temple. The story of the founding of Yavneh represents the birth of rabbinic Judaism, a way of life focused on Torah and Jewish law, rather than Temple worship or political sovereignty.” (Judaism After the Temple) The singular event of the temple’s destruction and desecration radically altered the path of Judaism for the next two millennia.

Turning to the Battle of Hastings: “at that time a star appeared in the north-west, its three-forked tail stretched far into the southern sky remaining visible for fifteen days; and it was portended, as many said, a change in some kingdom”.(attributed to William of Jumiege).

Halley’s Comet appeared above England 24 April 1066. It was immediately interpreted as signifying an event of considerable significance. It was believed that it was a divine symbol, a warning that the kingdom was in great danger. The main elements of the Norman invasion are well known. But it is sometimes forgotten that this was the most brutal battle ever fought on English soil. Needless to say, with a Norman king on the throne, the country would never be the same again, for better or worse.

Comet lore is such that they are regarded as sufficient omens unto themselves. Most of the usual astrological considerations take a back seat. While it is true that not all visitations of Halley’s comet presaged disaster and mass destruction, there have been more than enough to assure it’s sinister reputation.

Tapisserie de Bayeux – Scène 32 : des hommes observent la comète de Halley

But spurring on the Norman invasion of the British Isles wasn’t sufficient for Halley’s Comet Its return in 1222 augered far worse violence.  Genghis Khan considered the comet as his own personal star. The trajectory of the comet was westward and this inspired Genghis to travel west, instigating an invasion of southeastern Europe. Millions of Europeans were butchered, their towns and cities sacked. The comet always seems to favour the aggressor. It is hardly surprising that the visit of a comet (they did not yet know it was the same one) struck terror and foreboding in populations.

There are of course dozens of other examples which lend substantial support to the ancient idea that comets are signs of devastation of all kinds. However, not least is the awe-inspiring 200,00 years of predictable returns which speaks of cycles longer than we usually consider of something that had appeared to be ephemeral. Further, the date roughly coincides with the emergence of modern human beings, making it something of a shadowy companion to humanity itself.

Prise_d’Alamût_(1256) Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des Manuscrits. Division orientale. Supplément persan 1113, fol. 177v

When Halley’s Comet returned in 191o, it brought forth fear of an apocalypse because Earth would pass through a small part of the tail. The spectroscopic studies of comet tails conducted by Sir William Huggins revealed that among the many organic molecules found in comets was lethal cyanide gas. Speculation became hysteria in some cases, convinced that the humanity stood a very good chance of being asphyxiated by cyanide molecules. Newspapers fueled the panic, people sealed off their chimneys and doorways. There were many suicides, strange new remedies were offered for sale and oxygen sold for high prices.

Apparently, many people also confessed to crimes they had committed because they believed they would soon be deceased in any case.

Of course, every year has its share of disasters and political strife at least somewhere in the world. Nevertheless, 1910 is mostly remembered as the calm before the storm of WWI  or the sinking of the Titanic. Although the details were entirely spurious, it is fair to say that the Comet was a sign of the events in the terrestrial world – that it somehow mirrored mundane events, rather than being the cause of them, I will concede that some of the other instances may require some reflection.

Hermes in Sassanian Iran – Transmission Part 1

Sassanian Empire

This article barely touches on a very important issue in the history and transmission of ideas, and in particular to those that are related to the celestial arts and related cosmologies. This should be read as one might read the newly exposed contents of a roll-top desk. The topic is potentially so extensive, that a small library would be required to cover even the main points. It should, however, serve as a decent introduction and I have referenced some particularly useful sources for those who wish to delve further. My hope is that this and the articles which follow will ignite further interest in this topic by cultivating informed reflection and discussion.

By way of extending this discussion, I’ve decided that it will best be done by a reasonably detailed account of the part played by three Persian astrologers and polymaths: Māšāʾallāh b. Aṯarī, a Persian Jew from Baṣra, was one of the leading astrologers in the ʿAbbasid caliphate from the founding of Baghdad in 145/762, Biruni, Abu Rayhan (362/973- after 442/1050), scholar and polymath of the period of the late Samanids and early Ghaznavids and one of the two greatest intellectual figures of his time in the eastern lands of the Muslim world, the other being Ebn Sīnā (Avicenna) and Abū Ḥafṣ ʿOmar b. Farroḵān Ṭabarī was an astrologer from Ṭabarestān who translated Pahlavi works into Arabic (for example, the five books on astrology by Dorotheus of Sidon) and paraphrased Ptolemy’s Apotelesmatica Tetrabiblos in 812. The few astronomical theories with which his name is associated are Indian; he presumably derived them from Pahlavi books.  Biographical details courtesy of Encyclopedia Iranica.

There is a great volume of scholarly editions and studies of the Greek Hermes Trismegistus. Although the origins remained murky in the early European Rennaissance, that did nothing to quell the enthusiasm of Marsilio Ficino and those 0f ensuing generations of scholars, philosophers, and demagogues.  However, when we look to the Hermes of the Persians and Arabs, there are precious few studies. One exception to this otherwise bleak outlook is the work of Kevin Van Bladel The Arabic Hermes. The title of this article is the name of a pivotal chapter in that work. In the 2010 edition of the Classical Review, Bryn Mawr provides an admirable summary of the work:

Modern Iran

“Kevin van Bladel has produced an admirable study of the Arabic Hermetic tradition, fleshing out in considerable detail the evolution of Hermes’ image, his identification with Qur’anic prophet Idris as well as the forces driving this transformation, and his connections, real, imagined, and still controversial, with the Harranians, the last organized group of astrolators to continue functioning within Islamic civilization.” .

The most direct source of the reception of Hermetic knowledge in the oriental tradition was Sassanian Persia, the last period of the Persian Empire before the Islamic invasion. The empire took its name from the  House of Sasan who governed from 224 to 651 AD. The Sassanians succeeded the Parthian Empire and was a leading regional and ‘world’ power,  alongside the Roman-Byzantine Empire. Iy held this position for four centuries. This empire was perfectly situated to be a  cultural conduit between India, Greece, Rome and the Middle East and this had been the case for a very long time. Even to this day, the strategic geography of Iran is extraordinary, sharing borders with Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan,, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and beyond. The US military currently has Iran surrounded in ten countries to make sure she is contained. Persia had long had relations with Asia, including China long before the onslaught of Alexander the Great and the subsequent Hellenizing of much of the known world.

In Alexandria, Priests of Isis mixed with Hindus and Buddhists as well as  Jews, Christians and a wide array of Greek philosophers, Gnostics, and Pythagoreans. Ideas, traditions, and wisdom were not merely shared but in many cases, syncretized.  It has been said of the Parsis in India that they are like sugar in milk. This is true of many traditions. It is difficult, for example, to read Plotinus without being reminded of Hindu metaphysics or to read St, John’s Gospel without being reminded of Philo, a brilliant Hellenized Jew. It is not always an easy task to see where one tradition ends and another begins.

Until the Islamic conquests, which began in the lifetime of Muhammad and spread from Spain to India within 60 yrs of his death, the desert-dwelling Arabs had a primitive, but fascinating desert culture. It mostly consisted of an oral tradition and the level of literacy was not high. Written language had no great utility beyond that used in trade. Indeed the Prophet himself was known to be illiterate. The Arab tribes were frequently at war with each other, which further impeded a scholarly tradition, As a trading people, they did, of course, come into contact with other cultures.  However, there were no centers of learning and those who were identified as learned were most often the Christians, Jews and to some extent the Chaldeans. The work of transposing the spoken word of the Prophet into the written Quran would have mostly fallen to Jewish scribes.

Massive invasions are usually violent and demonstrate little or no interest in the culture being conquered unless it can be readily turned into profit,  either of monetary or propagandistic.  The second form takes places when places of indigenous worship are destroyed and replaced with the religious symbols of the invading force. This has been the key to the creation of hegemony since earliest times. Typically, indigenous languages are also replaced by the language of the conqueror. This was certainly the case with Arabic. The Persians had not taken the threat of an Arab invasion seriously. That was a fatal mistake and one that proved that a sufficiently riled up group of illiterate desert dwellers could do hitherto unimaginable damage to a greatly advanced society. The Armies of Islam would prove the same point, time and time again. Temples were razed. Religions outlawed and Mosques built where previously sacred places were celebrated by the vanquished indigenous culture. Conversely, invading forces are exposed to cultural ideas, including ones seen as scientific, that serve to edify the culture of the invader.

Van Bladel writes: “Middle Persian, the language of the Sasanian court and administration of government, as well as their Magian (Zoroastrian) religion, was displaced by Arabic after the Arab conquest and colonization of Iran in the seventh and eighth centuries.3 Arabic, the prestigious language of the new rulers and of their new religion, Islam, superseded written Iranian languages almost entirely. Education and literacy in Middle Persian and other Iranian languages became practically obsolete for Iranians who converted to
Islam. The children of converts learned Arabic, the language of their scripture, as their own literary medium.” (p.21)

An illustrated leaf from the Sharafnama of the Khamsa of Nizami: Queen Nushaba recognizes Iskandar [Alexander the Great] by his portrait, Persia, circa 1490-1500 miniature 15.5 by 11.2cm.

However, Persia had already suffered a much earlier blow at the hands of Alexander and beyond the savagery and brutal destruction, Persian culture was to attain the advantage of being part of the Hellenized world which, ironically perhaps, helped preserve core texts, even if many were lost forever. Alexander must have seemed a complete monster to the Persian and to this day he is known in Iran as “the horned one.”  It is an irony that beggars belief that Alexander would be included in the line of the Prophets of Islam.

Even then, western knowledge of eastern religions was distorted, mostly out of disinterest. For example, both Greek and Latin sources treated the Magians somewhat vaguely as representatives of eastern cults.  Distinctions between a Magian, a Brahman, and a Chaldaean were of little interest:

“although it was known that they were from three different countries, Persia, India, and Babylonia. But their activities seemed interchangeable, at least from the first century CE onward. Therefore, the ‘wise men’ mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew are called Magians, although the correct term for people observing celestial omens would have been Chaldaeans, mathematicians or astrologers (Chaldaioi, mathematikoi or astrologoi).” (Magians after Alexander.

This is usually interpreted as a diminished occidental view of the orient and it may very well be that. Nevertheless, it may also be a case of a general recognition and familiarity, since European groups such as the Druids were also similar in almost all respects. It may be a case of “a rose by any other name.” Certainly, all these came together in Ficino’s prisca theologia  This is the doctrine that asserts “that a single, true theology exists, which threads through all religions, and which was anciently given by God to man.” (Yates, F., Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Routledge., London, 1964, pp 14–18 and pp 433–434)

In light of the many considerations, it may very well have happened that the ‘un Islamic’ Persian Hermetica would have been lost to history. As it happens, much of it not only survived but made its way into the Islamic world and the Arabic language.

Van Bladel tells us: “The name Hermes was invoked in Sassanian Mesopotamia as a source of occult power. A few surviving texts of Syro-Mesopotamian origin provide the attestations: two Babylonian Aramaic incantation bowls containing the same formula, found at Nippur (modern Niffar) in Iraq, once part of the Sasanian Empire, and a magical amulet written in Syriac on parchment dating to Sasanian times.11 Incantation bowls are a type of popular magical apparatus inscribed with texts in different Eastern varieties of Aramaic made from about the fourth to the seventh century, that is, under the Persian Sasanid dynasty, in Mesopotamia.

Unfortunately little is known about exactly how they were used.12 The two bowls mentioning Hermes invoke him as a magical power, so that the protective operation is performed not only in the name of four angels but also in the name of “Hermes the Great Lord.” One of these bowls was made for the benefit of “Yazīdād, son of Yazdāndukh(t),” both Middle Persian names indicating a Persian, perhaps aristocratic, recipient. As for the parchment amulet, although it was written in Syriac, it was made for the protection of a certain ¢warrawehzād, called Yazdānzādag, daughter of De¯nag, whose name is also clearly Middle Persian” pp.25-6).

These types of bowls were not uncommon: “Across the ancient world, demons and other forces of evil were treated as genuine threats to reckon with. In Sasanian Mesopotamia from the fifth to the seventh centuries CE, clay Aramaic incantation bowls, commonly known as magic bowls were widely used to expel demons and protect houses.” See the work of Avigail Manekin Bamberger, a doctoral candidate in the department of Hebrew Culture Studies at Tel Aviv University. It needs to be said that these bowls were used for the same purposes by Jews and Christians.

Al Kindi

One could fairly ask, why the Islamic and Arabian world couldn’t have simply taken the Hermetic teachings from the Greeks. particularly during this time period, when there was no dearth of excellent translators and as had been mentioned, various cultures had been blending for a very long time. It was not a Persian, but Al Kindi who was largely responsible for the transmission:

Abu Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn ʼIsḥāq aṣ-Ṣabbāḥ al-Kindī, known as “the Philosopher of the Islamic empire.” He was an Arab Muslim philosopher, polymath, mathematician, physician, and musician. :

“A description of Hermes and his teachings is preserved in the collection of wise sayings made by al-Mubaššir ibn Fātik in Fātịmid Egypt, Kitāb Muxtār al-ḥikam. These passages are treated extensively in sections 5.2 and 5.3 in this volume, but a brief summary here will help to make this survey of testimony about Ḥarrānian Hermetica complete. Al-Mubaššir’s source describes Hermes:

“as a prophet teaching pious commandments in the form of maxims, as well as an outline of rules for Hermes’ religion and his wise advice. Although al-Mubaššir’s treatment of Hermes and his instructions include no direct references to Ḥarrānians or to Ṣābians in general, the religion taught by Hermes in this account is similar to as-Saraxsı’s description of the Ḥarrānian Ṣābian religion: it included feasts at astrological conjunctions and at the sun’s entry into a new zodiacal sign, as well as sacrificial offerings to the planets at the appropriate times. Hermes is also said to have commanded them “to perform prayers that he stated for them in ways that he described.” On the other hand, the religious laws of Hermes given here bear close resemblance to Islamic law: they require ritual purity, abstinence from intoxication, gˇihād against the enemies of the religion, alms (az-zakāt), and prescribe most of the punishments called ḥadd punishments in Islamic law. All this leads me to conclude that the “religion of Hermes” described here was developed and described well after the establishment of Islam and Islamic law.” (pp 94-5).

This was a clever maneuver but certainly not unprecedented. Most importantly, it ensured that something of the indigenous religion of Iran would prevail and with this many other elements entered the Islamic world.  This was also the case with the Angelology of Zoroastrianism. It not survived but was exalted by Islamic Persian artists in some of the most exquisite miniatures. Core beliefs of the Persians were passed on. It may well be surmised that without this transmission the Golden Age of Islam would have been far less likely to have occurred.

Persian miniature (1555)

With regard to the import of the book, we began by discussing is brilliantly summarized by “Bryn Mawr in the same classical review article.  I leave the closing words  of this first part of the study to him:

“Hermes the prophet of science is a combination of “ancient Judaean lore” concerning the biblical Enoch with Hellenistic astrology, including stories of heavenly ascents in order to receive science from the angels. ….. With Hermes as its prophet, science becomes revelation and as such is superior to the musings of the philosophers.” (Classical Review 2010.02.63).

In articles to follow, we will look at a variety of other Persian and Indian sources.

Autumnal Equinox – 2017 PDT.

The Autumnal Equinox – 22 Sep 2017. 1:10:00 PM. PDT, Victoria, British Columbia.

I enjoy offering Mundane readings from time to time. I also believe it’s crucial not to lose focus on even larger astrological phenomena. Here, I attempt to offer insight into the nature of recurring cycles and why they are so important to read. In so doing,, I will comment on the specific chart of the Autumnal Equinox.

Since ancient times, the charts for the two Equinox and Solstice Points have had special significance. The representation of the Wheel of the Year by the four Cardinal Signs provides us with specific information about what might be expected from each season. On a deeper level, there is something wonderful about being able to read the year in this way at all. It is a great reminder of the axiom what is above is below and that we are an integral part of all that is, was and ever will be. We have an inexorable relationship with the stars.

We are made of stardust and as all major religions and most philosophies tell us that the stars can guide us in profound ways, ranging from the celestial navigation used by seafarers, the demarcation of the seasons used by almost everyone, agricultural cycles watched closely by farmers, spiritual guidance offered through astrology, medical insights used not only by physicians, but anyone with an interest in healing and, of course, augury, never to be confused with fortune

We have an inexorable relationship with the stars. We are made of stardust and as all major religions and most philosophies tell us that the stars can guide us in profound ways, ranging from the celestial navigation used by seafarers, the demarcation of the seasons used by almost everyone, agricultural cycles watched closely by farmers, spiritual guidance offered through astrology, medical insights used not only by physicians, but anyone with an interest in healing and, of course, augury, never to be confused with fortune telling.

I believe these pivots on the wheel should be celebrated, no matter what the details of the message. Indeed, they are a reminder that we are participants in cycles of astonishingly long periods of time in a multitude of dimensions.

There is a particularly important significance to the two Equinoxes and Solstices that are usually ignored and the key is found in the Horoscope of the World. The rendition above is from the brilliant essay on “Zoroastrian Astrology in the Bundahisn by I. N. MacKenzie.

The Solstice/Equinoctial points are on the Angles in Cardinal Signs on the Horoscope of the World. The Autumnal Equinox is the Ingress of Libra, the Exaltation of Saturn and the Fall of the Sun.  It is also Squared the Ascendant, of course, so we have a perfect Celestial illustration of a Mundane event – the annual falling away of the Sun, as the nights grow longer and longer until the Winter Solstice. In contrast, the Vernal Equinox is the first degree of Aries, the Exaltation of the Sun.

Displeased Heroine_( Kalahantarita )_Nayika Painting Appended to_a Ragamala (Garland of Melodies)_LACMA_M.73.2.3

Bearing in mind that this chart is for PDT, it provides a wealth of information for the regions specified.  The Moon is in the Via Combusta (ie between 15 Libra and 15 Scorpio) and Saturn is in the 1st house and conjunct Ras Alhague 0 52′ in Ophiuchus, (the head of the serpent charmer,) and is associated with perversion and depravity.  Nature of Saturn and Venus.

The Lord of the 7th House aspects Mars. He is situated between Venus and Mercury in the 10th House. conjunct  Zosma, in Leo. This star carries the name “the girdle” of the lion, and is associated with selfishness, immorality and a tendency to calculatingly use other people.” The star is also of the nature of Saturn and Venus. Mercury has a great deal of Essential Dignity but is Under the Beams. Mars is freer to act.

The Sun and Venus are never more than 48 degrees apart, so the only traditional aspect they can make to each other is the conjunction.  Nevertheless, this limited distance apart allows for the possibility of Venus being in more than one astrological sign on any given Autumnal Equinox. If Venus at the time of the Equinox is in Libra, she is in her own domicile and therefore strong. If she is in Virgo, as she is this year, she is in her Fall. This one placement can change the tone of what will manifest.

This year, Venus is in her Fall in Virgo at this time. Mars is between her and Mercury, who is in his Exaltation. The image on the left shows the scene of a “displeased heroine” which seems to be a very fine image on Venus in Virgo.  Mercury in Virgo is too particular to allow the necessary merging of erotic energies to be maintained for the long haul. One of the things that amuse me about the painting is that the man seems exasperated, desperate and perplexed at her turning away from him.

Venus takes on particular meaning because she disposits the Sun in this chart. The Moon is in her Fall in Scorpio, so both Feminine planets are afflicted.

Saturn is in aspect to the Node in the 9th House, which informs the 10th House. The chaotic squabbling we see there is mitigated considerably by the Sun on the MC and Jupiter in the House of the Good Spirit.

There are n imminent catastrophic indicated, even if all fall short of harmony.  The Autumn will be drier than usual in the Pacific Northwest. There is no indication of excessive seismic activity, which is always of interest in this region.

I have always rather liked the term: “it came to pass” which isn’t used much these days. At the end of the day, it’s the grand scheme that matters and not the incidental in life that is here one day and gone soon after. The image of the dancing Shiva reminds us of the great dance and personally of the quote by Rumi: “We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.”

Commentary on Averrores – BBC

Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rushd‎ (Latinized as Averroes), lived from 14 April 1126 – 10 December 1198. He was a Medieval Andalusian polymath who wrote profusely on logic, Aristotelian and Islamic philosophy, theology, the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence,  psychology, political and Andalusian classical music theory, geography and mathematics, Averroes is of great importance in Islamic philosophy for multiple reasons. He argued for the reconciliation of reason with revealed religion, pointing out passages from the Qu’ran to support his position. He was a powerful proponent of Astrology for the same reasons. He was accused of shirk or polytheism, for referring to the planets, and most particularly Venus, as if they were divine. He was exiled but eventually embraced back into court in Morroco.