Total Solar Eclipse of 8 August 1496 – The Mayan Apocalypse

Macrobius, Solar Eclipsxe

A dramatic Total Solar Eclipse occurred on 8 August 1496 with maximum eclipse at 20:36 UT. It must have been frightening for the indigenous people  The eclipse plunged the Sun into darkness for 5 minutes and 30 seconds at maximum, creating an extraordinary spectacle for observers in a broad path up to 236 km wide. The dramatic quality fo this eclipse means that to a great extent it speaks for itself.

First, we do well to put ourselves in the position of the observers. The Maya, for example, were sophisticated astronomers time-keepers and interpreters of eclipses.  This eclipse had dire implications for several cultures in the region, but it behoves us to focus on one for the time being.

Pyramid dedicated to KuKuulKaan”a Universal Solar Calendar. tracking the five movements of our Planet in relation to the sun, namely Equinoxes, Solstices, and the Zenith of the Sun.

Ethan Watrall provides a succinct comment on Mayan culture: “The Mayans religion involved several aspects of nature, astronomy and rituals. Most Gods represented a form in nature, for example, Sun God, Kinih Ahous, or Maize God, Yum Kaax. The Mayans were known for their calendars and astronomical buildings. These were used during their religious rituals. Similar to the Egyptians, the Mayans built Pyramid like temples for religious reasons. The main difference in shape being [sic] that the Mayan pyramids have a flat top to build temples on top. The best-known pyramid is El Castillo or Temple of Kukulkan in the archaeological site Chichen Itza, in the Mexican state of Yucatan.” Mayans Religion: Gods, Animal Spirits and Pyramids

.The first encounter with the Yucatec Maya themselves may have occurred in 1502, when the fourth voyage of “came across a large trading canoe off Honduras. The eclipse appears as a tidal wave of death for the inhabitants of the region. Keeping in mind that all these cultures held a special place for the Sun as a source of life itself, it must have a profound effect and would no doubt be taken as a bad omen.

I managed to recreate the chart, using Cancun as the location. However, the eclipse path continued through Mexico, Central American through what is now Venezuela and beyond.Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus), whose name means “Christ-bearing colonizer was the catalyst that changed the world of ancient American civilisations forever.

New Sun God Temple Reveals Maya Beliefs – Courtesy National Geographic

Most immediately, we can see that the eclipse is in the Fixed Sign and Leo, with Mars and a Venus ahead of the Sun. This is all happening in the Eighth House, associated with Death. Even Jupiter and Saturn are disposited by Mars. Moreover, according to Bonnati, the Sun is Hyleg, giving a stronger sense of the loss of life.

In a Fixed Sign and of above average duration, at 5 minutes and 30 seconds, we can expect the full force of this to be felt more than five years into the future. In fact, in the same region, the concerted plan to exterminate as many natives as possible and sieze both lands and resources was well underway, just a few short years after contact. We can say that even by the time of the eclipse, there was no realistic option of reversal and the Spanish used everything at their disposal, including germ warfare in the form of smallpox-infected blankets. The natives had no resistance to these diseases and were reduced by as much as 90% For these people, the events of the late 15th C. to the mid 16th C. in particular, were like an apocalypse.

Sanderson Beck tells us that by the end of 1499 Columbus had discovered “that there were extensive gold fields in Española. Columbus had already written to the Spanish sovereigns saying he planned to take as many slaves as he could; now he told them of the rebellion and asked them to send a competent judge. Meanwhile, they had authorized Ojeda to visit the mainland Columbus had discovered and which Ojeda named Venezuela, where he found valuable pearl fisheries.”  Spanish Conquest 1492-1580 By the time of the eclipse, the seeds were already being sown and an apocalypse was unleashed on the indigenous population of what are now several countries.,

Map of America by Sebastian Munster

The Eclipse of Thales

The eclipse of May 28, 585 B.C is of interest to a variety of disciplines such as history, astronomy, philosophy and not least because, as  Isaac Asimov noted, this would be the earliest recorded eclipse the date of which was accurately determined in advance of its occurrence. ” I doubt the veracity of that very much because there were civilizations in the Middle East and Central Asia who appear to have understood Saros cycles earlier than this. Nevertheless, it is true that it was the first accurate prediction of its kind in Classical antiquity. Recent scholarship has provided a wider view of the transmission of ideas from Egypt and the Middle East

This eclipse is known by a few names and one of these is The Eclipse of Thales because he us the one credited with the prediction. Panchenko writes:

“While doubt has been cast on the truth of the story, there are other accounts of it besides that of Herodotus. Diogenes Laertius says that Xenophanes, who lived in the same century as Thales, was impressed with the prediction, and he also gives additional testimonies from the pre-Socratics Democritus and Heraclitus. …  If the account is true, it has been suggested that Thales would have had to calculate the timing of any eclipse by recognizing patterns in the periodicities of eclipses.

It has been postulated that Thales may have used the Saros cycle in his determination, or that he may have had some knowledge of Babylonian astronomy” Panchenko, D. (2004). “Thales’s Prediction of a Solar Eclipse”. JHA. p. 275– If this is the case, we have an earlier Greco-Babylonian exchange of knowledge of celestial prediction than is usually accepted.

AristarchusOn the Distances and Sizes of the Sun and Moon 10th C. Reproduction

Thales is said to have visited Egypt and studied forms of mathematics, such as those used in land surveying, [he} “brought back to Greece the ideas of deductive geometry later codified by Euclid. Before 450 BC, Merton realized that a single period of 235 lunar months (19 years) would cause the popular lunar calendar to return to synchrony with the solar, seasonal calendar. At this time, the same lunar phase would be recorded at the same time of the solar calendar year. This period also gives a rough guide to when a lunar eclipse will recur at the same geographic location.” (2009). Solar Eclipses: Ancient Greece. Retrieved from http://www.trunity.net/cosmos/view/article/51cbeab47896bb431f685660

Contact with the Medians (today’s Kurds) would have given him an opportunity to learn star lore from the Persians and Babylonians, if not the Medians themselves.

According to the historian Herodotus, a Total Solar Eclipse occurred in the late afternoon during a battle between the Lydians and Medes at Kirzilmak in what is now Turkey. The battles for the hegemony of Anatolia had been ongoing for years. This is what he tells us that they “were still warring with equal success, when it happened, at an encounter which occurred in the sixth year, that during the battle the day was suddenly turned to night. Thales of Miletus had foretold this loss of daylight to the Ionians, fixing it within the year in which the change did indeed happen. So when the Lydians and Medes saw the day turned to night, they stopped fighting, and both were the more eager to make peace. The Histories Book 1 Chapter 74

At what must have been approximately 4.17 PM. the sky suddenly turned dark as the Sun was eclipsed by the Moon.  The warring parties took this as an omen that the heavens commanded peace. The battle and the war ended on the spot.

I managed to recreate the time of the eclipse for the specified location. This has more than one function. Not least is the doubt that the eclipse occurred on the specified date. See this rebuttal to Panchenko.

The eclipse is well into the last degree of Taurus. This degree is referred to by a few names, the best known is the Anarectic degree. It is the degree in which the Sign is said to be exhausted. In effect, the sign is ended and the transition to the next is about to take place. Venus is the Lady of the Eclipse.  How fitting this appears to be at the end of a war! It is as if the eclipse spelt out the end and the fighting turned to awe and mutual surrender.

The sight of the eclipse precipitated an unexpected and immediate ceasefire between the Lydians and the Medes, who had been fighting for control of Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) for five years. Both sides of combatants interpreted the eclipse as a sign to reconcile. More often than not, eclipses have been seen as either a harbinger of some form of evil or a judgment of some sort. The latter would be a case such as an eclipse that occurred prior to the death of Richard III in the War of the Roses.

According to NASA, .in a solar eclipse, the Moon’s shadow falls across the Earth in a relatively narrow path, and the maximum duration of totality at any given place is often about 7½ minutes. However, the duration of eclipses is usually taken as the length of time between the first sight of the eclipse to the last, which includes all phases of the eclipse. This is not helpful and is often virtually impossible to reconstruct in the case of a historical eclipse.

The astrological community, past and present,  either makes no mention of either magnitude or duration, often making a vague suggestion that it might last for about six months or so. To begin with, this doesn’t take into account the relative strengths of mutable, cardinal and fixed signs. To be fair, many astrologers who make such claims are only interested in natal astrology and not mundane.

One of the clearest and most plausible guide was published by Sam Bartolet in a booklet “Eclipses and Lunations in Astrology” and has an introduction by Llewellyn George. My copy is showing signs of advanced age, but I believe the publication may still be available by special order.

Bartolet states that with regard to predicting the period of influence, or indeed when the effect will be noted at all, is a year for every hour of the eclipse. This is impossible for obvious reasons, so I take it that this is a typographical error (its typed by hand) and that minutes and not hours was intended.

Please note that I do not imply an influence of the eclipse, except for the initial shock, but instead consider all celestial events as signs.

In the case, of the Eclipse of Thales, the effect was virtually instant. The fact that the eclipse was in a Fixed Sign and third decan of Taurus, which is sub-ruled by Saturn would auger for a longer period of influence. Nevertheless, there appears to have been a civilizing effect and seven years after the eclipse, we have events such as the building of the Ishtar Gate and throne room wall from Babylon, Iraq is made.

The Hour is Saturn and the Almuten is Venus. This all seems to tie in well with the events of day.- a mighty judgement resulting in peace!

The Face of the Revolution

Iran revolutionary victory poster in Arabic. C. 1979

I recently posted a brief article on the Chart of the Year for Tehran. You may wish to consult that in concert with charts in this article.

The geopolitical position of contemporary Iran will be well-known to anyone likely to read this article. The situation is becoming acutely dire as western powers continue to impose sanctions and essentially treat the Iranians like wayward children. Persia is an ancient and proud culture and her people don’t take well to manipulations by other nations who most assuredly do not have their best interests at heart. Moreover, these other nations are considered as the abodes of the unbelievers. Prior to the ousting of the Shah, there was certainly corruption, but Iran was not a Theocracy. This allowed for a porous relationship with the rest of the world.

In the abstract to his 1994 MA Theis,  Bhasin Gurbeen writes “the Iranian Revolution is an historical quagmire and anomaly which has left behind it a legacy of perplexing questions. There are primarily two reasons for the rise of these questions: the rapid pace at which the Revolution occurred and its religious elements. ” (See) His points are well-taken but the fact of the matter is that it was to a great extent all about The Ayatollah himself and Iran took on much of his personality.

He knew how to harness Shiia Islam, itself the result of a kind of revolution, that would be an absolute Theocracy, with himself in power, tied to a millennialism focussed on the return of the Mahdi. The Mahd[ ” (Arabic: مهدي‎, ISO 233: mahdī, literally “guided one”) is an eschatological redeemer of Islam who will appear and will rule for five, seven, nine, or nineteen years (according to differing interpretations) before the Day of Judgment (yawm al-qiyamah, literally, the Day of Resurrection)[and will rid the world of evil.” (Momen, Moojan (1985). An introduction to Shiʻi Islam . G. Ronald. pp. 75,166–168. )

With the worldly skill of a Leninist dictator, god himself was the guarantor of national salvation, which included the ousting of the Great Satan, the USA. In a very real way, the Ayatollah himself was the face of the revolution and the face of the new Islamic Republic.

Birth of Islamic Republic of Iran

At the same time, the current regime that took power after the exile of the Shah is not popular even within Iran, except by the most fundamentalist. Shariah police are hated by many.  Women may not mind wearing hijab, but being forced to do so another thing entirely. In fact, only certain colours are allowed to be worn by women. There are penalties for disobedience. In the fundamentalist core of the Islamic Patriarchy, drabness is next to godliness. An Iranian woman I had met stated it both clearly and ominously: “the be a woman is to be a slave in Iran.” Nothing can entirely erase the rich traditions of Persia, but there are some who try to do just that. That suppression cannot endure.

The inception of the Islamic Republic came about as a reaction to the excesses of the Shah, a thinly veiled puppet of the USA. It is said that a billion dollar banquet was the trigger for revolutionary fever. The Ayatollah, who had been exiled in Paris, was returned to become the supreme leader. A journalist on the plane asked him what his feeling was in returning to Iran. His response was a curt “nothing.” The Ayatollah famously said that religion had nothing to do with fun. Of course, religion was his life.

Oriana Fallaci

The famous and usually controversial Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci interviewed the Ayatollah later in the same year.   She asked: “How do you swim in a chador?”  He replied: “Our customs are none of your business. If you do not like Islamic dress, you are not obliged to wear it,” Khomeini replied. “That’s very kind of you, Imam. And since you said so, I’m going to take off this stupid, medieval rag right now.” She removed her chador. The interview was called off.

In an email to author Margaret Talbot, Fallaci wrote about the incident.  She came back to interview Khomeini and his son Ahmed had asked her not to mention the word ‘chador’ again. But Fallaci did. And the theocrat laughed.  Later, Ahmed told her that it was the only time in his life that he had seen his father laugh, The leader was the embodiment of a legalistic and authoritarian mind.

David Patrikarakos of FT Magazine asks “What is the legacy of that old man’s return three decades ago? “Make no mistake, the Islamic revolution was the greatest calamity of Iranian history since the Mongol invasion,” says Homayoun. Reza Pahlavi agrees: “Iran gave the world its first human rights declaration under Cyrus the Great. Now it has become a synonym for repression.”

With this bare bones of an introduction, we can turn to the chart.

The Moon is applying to an opposition to the Sun (Full Moon). She is Lady of the Cancer Ascendant but is in aversion. This creates a degree of chaos. Jupiter is also in Leo and retrograde. Mercury, Sin and Mars are in the eighth house in Aquarius, also in aversion to the Ascendant. Both lights are debilitated by this relationship to the Ascendant. which is the life force of the nation. Imagine a ship that has no navigator, but nobody knows that this is the case. The Sun is debilitated by sign and disposited by Saturn retrograde in Virgo and with the Node.

The Coming is Upon us – Iran – Imam Mahdi – Dajjal – Messias [ENG SUB]

The seventh house of partners and open enemies holds Venus, the planet of Islam. It’s as if she entered while everyone else was busy or disoriented. I think in no small part this reflects the lack of planning at this point. It is not a pre-considered chart and the heavy fumes and flames of revolution are there for all to see. Still, it’s one of two equally important charts  Considering the threats against Iran and the way the nations of the world are positioning themselves,  it cannot help but be a worrisome time. There have not been so many concerns of another WW for decades.

Below is the chart for the Islamic Consitution itself.

Islamic Consitution

This gives us the triumph of the Islamic revolution. The Sun disposited by Jupiter in the House of God. Venus, the planet of Islam has ascended to the MC. The Sun can see the Ascendant, in the sign of the Sun’s exaltation.  The Sixth House of the common people spells oppression but the power has been established.  Iran may fall again, but she won’t do so easily. As I mentioned in a recent article, however, I believe that Iran is ripe for some form of regime change.

The events of 1979 and the tenure of the Ayatollah made the world a very different place. For the first time, the US sat helpless and confused as Americans, many of them diplomats, were held for 444 days to force the repatriation of the Shah to be tried and likely executed. The speed of the New World Order agenda quickened considerably and the US fought one war after another in the Middle East, most viciously and extensively under Obama. International law has been ignored time and time again. Israel doubts its security in ways that could hardly have been imagined even in 1967.

As is shown in the video, conflicts in the Middle East also have foundations, going back to the days of Ali and the breaking away of the Shiia. The battleground is theologized. Iran is openly opposed to Saudi Arabi and sees her allies in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It’s a dangerous mix and the West would be well advised to stop the seemingly endless atrocities in the region.

I leave the last word to David Patrikarakos:

“The introduction of the Islamic Republic’s constitution on December 3 1979 that created the role of “Supreme Leader” for Khomeini, and a “Guardian Council” to veto “un-Islamic” legislation, formalised a new political establishment built on Islam. The Revolutionary Guards corps, founded in May 1979 to uphold the ideals of the revolution, gave it teeth. All competing factions had been defeated. The republic had had its October, and Iran would have its winter. “(Patrikarakos).

 

Total Eclipse of the Sun in 0029

A bird flies in front of a partial solar eclipse in Jerusalem photo credit REUTERS

Luke 23:44&45 “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.”

This a short piece which constitutes little more than a footnote. The interested reader will find it easy to reconstruct the events surrounding the crucifixion. I have not gone into the reported events narrated by Mark: ” And Jesus uttered a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. [39] And the veil of the Temple was rent in two, from the top to the bottom.  [Mk 15:37].  But no doubt some will wish to refer to this also.

As is the case of many biblical and ancient narrative, it is often difficult to separate literary convention or what might now call propaganda from historical fact. It has proven to be often the case that a given narrative requires more than a bit of effort to discover the intended message and the facts of the matter. Religious texts are,  as often as not, metaphorical. Indeed, the idea of a completely objective history is a fairly modern invention and not without its own problems. It has yet to be seen whether humans are capable of perfect objectivity.

Nevertheless, there are some physical, astrological events such as we saw in the Star of the Nativity, that can be verified, albeit with a pinch of scepticism. The story, told in three of the four Gospels, of the darkness that came upon Jerusalem when Jesus was on the cross, fits nicely with other biblical tropes of a celestial darkness as a symbol of a spiritual reality. I’m not a dedicated biblical scholar and have little interest in the minutiae of the text at this time, as it does not serve our immediate purpose.

Many scholars have fallen victim to the expected date of the crucifixion,m which we associate with Passover and sure enough, there was an eclipse in that general temporal vicinity. That was the Total Eclipse of March 0033 March 19 (Saros 59)

Naturally, ancient and medieval Christians considered this to be a miracle and there was a widespread belief that this event was one of a few in the New Testament were confirmed by non-Christian sources;. However, modern scholars have discovered no contemporary references to it outside the New Testament. itself. 

The Total Eclipse of the Sun in 0029 November 24 was quite a spectacle as shown by the image below. The path of totality, shown by the red swath, crossing from the Near East to the Straights of Hormuz and beyond couldn’t be missed. However, it is almost four years prior to the estimated date of the crucifixion.

It becomes increasingly apparent that this is the eclipse referred to, but that was not as an actual event in 0033. It is a widespread convention in Eclipse lore that momentous events are ‘foreshadowed’ four years prior to the cataclysm. This is a misconception based, I think, on two famous eclipses that were in fact approximately of 4 mins duration. The great eclipse of 1910 is case in point and was said to have been a presage of the onset of WWI.  However, the eclipse in May of that year which is credited was only visible from the Southern Hemisphere and with the exception of Austrailia was not seen in any of the of countries associated with the war that broke out in 1914. 90 was one of the years that Halley’s comet visited us and perhaps the significance of the eclipse was later conflated with that.

If this is the case, and it is difficult to argue with on the grounds of the eclipse itself, the fact that none occurred anywhere near Passover, the passage wherein the light is extinguished may very well have been a literary convention looking back to the eclipse of 0029. This merging of physical events with spiritual significance is by no means rare in ancient narratives. The core symbolism of the eclipse of the luminaries, particularly of the Sun, is the death of a great light. That would certainly include the “light of the world.”

Regulus – Watcher of the North

The Sun (ruler), Leo and lunar mansions – Persia 17th c.

Regulus is perhaps the best-known of the Watchers. He is of the nature of Mars and Jupiter and is Guardian of the North. Regulus provides success if revenge is avoided. The success must be pure. maintaining power without ever resorting to revenge is, of course, a great challenge. Still, there is a gentleness in this powerful lion and it comes as no surprise that the healing angel finds his place, here in the North. Jupiter and Mars can be read as Mercy and Severity, the essential symbols of the Pharaohs as rulers was the crook (heka) and the flail or flabellum (nekhakha). A good King needs to know when to use one or the other for the sake of the Kingdom. I, therefore, find the following passage from Manilius to be exceptionally jaundiced:

“Who can doubt the nature of the monstrous Lion, and the pursuits he prescribes for those born beneath his sign? The lion ever devises fresh fights and fresh warfare on animals and lives on spoil and pillaging of flocks. The sons of the Lion are filled with the urge to adorn their proud portals with pelts and to hang up on their walls the captured prey, to bring the peace of terror to the woods, and to live upon plunder. There are those whose like bent is not checked by the city-gates, but they swagger about in the heart of the capital with droves of beasts; they display mangled limbs at the shop-front, slaughter to meet the demands of luxury, and count it gain to kill. Their temper is equally prone to fitful wrath and ready withdrawal, and guileless are the sentiments of their honest hearts” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, p.237.]

Venant – Raphael The Healing Archangel (Regulus) Watcher of the North.

Nevertheless, Manilius’ list of the pitfalls of avarice, wrath and their fellow demons should be required reading for those who grasp for power. The good King or Queen is a healer – avoiding needless conflict and undue suffering, acting for the greater good.. This is the essence of nobility.

The North as a direction is associated with wisdom as well as achievement. in a wide variety of cultures. These are decidedly 1oth House themes. The ability to excel, to show mercy and possessing of the ability to communicate with and lead others, to recognize the special skill of those around him are all marks of nobility. The royal stars reach lofty heights and falling from them rarely ends well,

The real and imagined qualities of lions led to associations with kingship, in concert with the Sun, from earliest times and this was the case in parts of the world that had no actual lions. The leonine reputation as the king of the jungle combined with a mane evocative of the Sun produced an archetypal image adopted by Kings and Emperors to adopt leonine titles and iconography.

 

Ancient Persian Talisman – Lion and Sun

Fomalhaut – Watcher of the South

According to Ptolemy, Fomalhaut, in Piscis Australis and Watcher of the South, is of the nature of Venus and Mercury. It is generally a fortunate star and indeed very powerful and yet to cause “malevolence of sublime scope and character, and change from a material to a spiritual form of expression. Cardan stated that together with the stars rising with 12 Gemini it gives an immortal name.” [Robson*, p.165-166.]

The name Fomalhaut comes from the Arabic meaning Fish’s Mouth, which is how Ptolemy described it Fomalhaut is a very bright star among dim ones This makes it easy to see, but the constellation isn’t a great deal of help in finding it. In the heavens, the fish can be seen drinking water flowing from the jar of Aquarius. Other stories credit the stellar fish swallowing the waters of the great deluge, thus saving the world. The Fish is interpreted as a saviour in several traditions, including Hinduism and one of the main manifestations of Vishnu is as the Cosmic Fish.

According to the brief account of Eratosthenes, the Syrian fertility goddess Derceto (the Greek name for Atargatis) is supposed to have fallen into a lake at Bambyce near the Euphrates river in Syria and was saved by a large fish. Hyginus says, in a repetition of his note on Pisces, that as a result of this the Syrians do not eat fish but rather they worship the images of fish as gods. See Ian Ridpath Star Tales and my own article on the origins of Pisces entitled “Ikhthus Unchained.”

Canopus, alongside Achernar and Fomalhaut, which are corresponding stars in Eridanus and Piscis Australis, made up the Tre Facelle of Dante’s Purgatory, symbolizing Faith, Hope, and Charity:

“When the Southern Fish rises into the heavens, leaving its native waters for a foreign element, whoever at this hour takes hold of life will spend his years about sea-shore and river-bank he will capture fish as they swim poised in the hidden depths; he will cast his greedy eyes into the midst of the waters, craving to gather pellucid stones (pearls) and, immersed himself, will bring them forth together with the homes of protective shell wherein they lurk. No peril is left for man to brave, profit is sought by means of shipwreck, and the diver who has plunged into the depths becomes, like the booty, the object of recovery. And not always small is the gain to be derived from this dangerous labor (implying that a diver’s life was usually an unenviable one) pearls are worth fortunes, and because of these splendid stones there is scarcely a rich man left. Dwellers on land are burdened with the treasures of the sea. A man born to such a lot plies his skill along the shore; or he purchases at a fixed wage another’s labor and sells for a profit what it has brought him, a pedlar in the many different forms of sea products”. [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 5, p.333.]

To move from the absurd to the sublime, the association of Venus and Mercury is a very apt one. Gabriel is the messenger Archangel and Aquarius is the human face among the four Fixed Signs. An image of Gabriel can often be found in the Southern areas of Churches.

Saint St Archangel Gabriel Christian Russian Handpainted Orthodox Byzantine Icon

Fomalhaut can bring unexpected honours as symbolized in Gabriel’s role in the Annunciation.

The Babylonians are credited with identifying the water-bearer pouring out water to a giant fish. The water-bearer represented their god Ea, and he ruled the period either side of the winter solstice when Babylon was subject to flooding. The Great Fish was supposed to be the parent of the Pisces fishes, in both Babylonian and Greek myth.

The Mercurial nature becomes very clear in nativities that have a close association of Fomalhaut and Mercury. Conjunctions produce strong intellects unless otherwise diminished.

Aldebaran (Tascheter) the Watcher of the East.

Icon of Archangel Michael (detail), Yaroslavl, 1216.

The constellation of Taurus holds the red eye of Aldebaran (Tascheter) the Watcher of the East. He is almost universally considered to the be the Watcher of the Pleiades. The association is with the Spring Equinox when the system was conceived. The Pleiades are associated with rain and even tears. To suffer a dry Spring was considered a bad omen indeed, as crops would fail.

The Pleiades aka The Seven Sisters is probably the best-known star clusters in the heavens. It is easily visible with the naked eye on a clear night in the winters of the Northern Hemisphere.  It has also been of particular interest since antiquity and to a variety of cultures. There are references to the Pleiades in Hesiod, The Odyssey, The Bible, and the Quran. The asterism is also revered in  Hindu mythology. The Plaiedes have always been one of the most studied asterism in our history. Manilus writes: ”

Auroch (Bull No 18) Hall of Bulls Lascaux

“The Bull will dower the countryside with honest farmers and will come as a source of toil into their peaceful lives; it will bestow, not gifts of glory, but the fruits of the earth. It bows its neck amid the stars and of itself demands a yoke for its shoulders. When it carries the sun’s orb on its horns, it bids battle with the soil begin and rouses the fallow land to its former cultivation, itself leading the work, for it neither pauses in the furrows nor relaxes its breast in the dust. The sign of the Bull has produced a Serranus and a Curius, has carried the rods of office through the fields, and has left its plough to become a dictator [eque suo dictator venit aratro]. Its sons have the love of unsung excellence: their hearts and bodies derive strength from a massiveness that is slow to move, whilst in their faces dwells the boy-god Love (Cupido).” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 4, p.233].

The Pleiades (M45) as imaged with the Takahashi E-180 Astrograph from Bifrost Observatory. For complete details about this image, see Pleiades (M45). Photo copyright 2012 by Fred Es[panak of NASA

In the image of the Bull from the Lascaux caves, we find that the astronomical detail is stunning. The Bull is enmeshed in the Hyades, with the Pleiades clearly articulated just above him. You can also see the belt of Orion. That we have such a clear a Neolithic representation of the constellation is a testimony to how long the heavens have held a particular meaning for us and also that there has been far less changing in our interpretations than we might reasonably expect. Of course, this begs the question why.

The Angel of the East is Michael the Archangel. He is best known as something of an Avenging Angel but is more properly known as a protecting Angel. His sword is always ready.  The East is the place of the Sunrise and the beginning of things.

This is what Vivian Robson says about Alderaban: “It gives honor, intelligence, eloquence, steadfastness, integrity, popularity, courage, ferocity, a tendency to sedition, a responsible position, public honors and gain of power and wealth through others, but its benefits seldom prove lasting and there is also danger of violence and sickness. [Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology.  p.120.] Aldebaran is known as the Eye of God but also associated with blindness. Many of these attributes are the blessings and shortfalls of youth. We are facing the origins of creation.

We can’t forget that this is the element of Earth or that the Hebrew meanings are oxen in the sense of the yoked power of the Bull, Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabets and speaks to powerful potential. The name aleph is originally derived from the West Semitic word for “ox”, and the shape of the letter derives from a Proto-Sinaitic glyph.  It is thought that this glyph was in turn based on Egyptian hieroglyph, however, I find insufficient evidence of the last claim.

The tarot card that embodies this quite consciously is The Fool. The Fool is in a sense outside of the system and has the value of zero and perfect potential. In mosy decks, the Fool is shown with a staff with a sack over his shoulder, which is undeniably associated with virility. the Fool is youth personified: optimistic for no particular reason and most of all, unaware of the potency he carries and is about to walk off a cliff while sniffing a flower.

The name Aldebaran (pronounced /ælˈdɛbərən/) comes from the Arabic word al-dabarān, meaning “the follower.” The name refers to the Pleiades cluster (Messier 45), which the star appears to be following across the sky.