Inanna & the Eternal Feminine

inanna (2)

 

The above artwork is from an unknown source. If anyone knows the identity of the artist, please drop me a line. It’s a great interpretation of a goddess who often looks more like a harpy in some of her traditional representations.

The attributes are all there, from the grain sheafs to the eight-pointed star, the horns of the Bull of Heaven, the lapis lazuli in her hair as well as the lunar symbols. Her gaze has something of a hypnotic quality and there is something disquieting about the whole thing, with her dark, hollow eyes, she has a decidedly nocturnal countenance.  She is fierce as well as strangely beautiful. There is nothing ornamental about her in the Venusian sense. She is the primary Sumerian goddess and Queen of the Night and Queen of Heaven.

If you’ve followed this blog over the last two years or so, you have seen me return to the theme of the early Middle Eastern, Sumerian, Babylonian and Pre-Islamic Arabian archetypes of the powerful Feminine deities which are more fully developed origins of Aphrodite and Venus. The record is very clear that what we consider the Classical deities associated with the planets and luminaries are the result of a devolution of original archetypes and, to some extent, made far more superficial than most astrologers realize..

Table of Venus

Mayan Venus Table from the Dresden Codex

This kind of research is problematic. We find that what is Classically known as Aphrodite and the planet Venus is represented in Sumer by a goddess that might be associated as well with planets other than Venus, including Mars and the Moon. There is also a Moon god, so things get complicated very quickly.

The Classical Venus is not without nuance of course, but when we compare the understanding to Inanna, I think it safe to safe the archetype has been drained of much of its potency and the raw  power of the Primal Feminine. Inanna , also known by the later Babylonian and Mesopotamian names of Ishtar and Astarte,  is not primarily a goddess of love, but one who embodied war, wisdom, agriculture, sex, fertility, prostitution and lust, as well as a representative of the vegetative cycle itself and the traveler to the underworld. In Classical mythology, Mercury is the psychopomp, the guide to the Underworld.

Inanna is an active heroine. The recognition of the archetype immediately associated with Inanna goes as far back as far as 8,000 years.

Modern astrologers rarely, if ever, take into account whether Venus is the Morning or the Evening Star. We have a ‘one size fits all’ goddess who is prone to misunderstanding.

The Venus cycle is of crucial importance and to ignore that is to risk running amok in interpretations. The two primary phases of Evening and Morning star have very different qualities, but Inanna encompasses both in any case, making her a representative of the Feminine in all her guises.

Some Feminist astrologers have suggested that the goddess only took on the qualities of warrior much later when the Middle East had become more violent. There are two problems with this.

There never was a time of anything much more than fleeting peace. The dream of an ancient society permanently at peace under a matriarchy are just that. In any case, in the earliest written work, Inanna is already a fully developed warrior of Heaven, the Earth and the Underworld.

Enkidu

Enkidu – Wild Man, Stronger Than Lions

She also demonstrates that there is no hell like a woman scorned, probably more than any woman before or since. In Tablet VI, Inanna desires King Gilgamesh, but Gilamesh turns her down, citing the horrific fates of all her previous lovers. She goes into a blind rage and demands of her Father that she be allowed to release the Bull of Heaven t gore Gilgamesh to death. Her father refuses at first, pointing out that Gilgamesh might have a very good point. Her threats become ever more horrible and daddy eventually surrenders to her rage. In this, she can seem all too human, but she is in a trinity with the Sun and the Moon and she is of inestimable power.

It gets worse. The Bull is killed and Enkidu throws it back into the heavens to form a constellation, thus adding insult to injury.

It seems normal that her traits would display a degree of androgyny. She is courageous, quick-tempered, fertile and wrestles to create justice and balance in the most sublime, as well as the most savage.way. Her association with the  scorpion and owls make her seem more like Lilith than Venus. In fact, Lilith is her adversary in the Sumerian creation myth. Lilith poisons the tree that Inanna had nurtured. More properly, we can say that Lilith is parasitic, as we shall see.

The poem begins: “when what was needful had first come forth,” when bread first started to be baked in ovens of shrines, and when the first separation occurred, that of sky and earth ” (Frayne 2001:130; Wolkstein & Kramer 1983: 4). A violent tempest uproots a huluppu tree, which  Inanna rescues and plants in her own “sacred grove” at Uruk (Frayne 2001: 131).

Unfortunately, three beings settled in the tree: in its roots “a snake which fears no spell”; in its trunk a lilitu, a female spirit; and in its branches the Anzu bird.

Unable to rid herself of these intruders and parasites, Inanna is reduced to tears and calls upon her brother Utu, the sun god for help, but he refused, The hero  Gilgamesh, Uruk’s warrior king, agreed to assist. Gilgamesh  “smote” the snake, the others fled.  Gilgamesh felled the tree, taking the branches for himself, The trunk was given to Inanna in a gesture that is difficult to fathom.

Presumably, it means that Inanna got the roots of the tree, In another version of the story, Gilgamesh uproots the tree, thus severing the connection of earth, heaven, and the underworld.

The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi

The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi

There are few passages in ancient literature that could out-do the erotic courtship of Dumuzi and Inanna and I’m certain there was never a better-crafted story of the descent to the Underworld on Tablet VI.. The imagery is stark., terse, vivid and terrifying. She is visiting her sister, Ereshkigal and makes elaborate preparation for the descent.

The following is from Table VI  Descent Of Inanna Wolkstein – Kramer edition.

“Naked and bowed low, Inanna entered the throne room.
Ereshkigal rose from her throne.
Inanna started toward the throne.
The Annuna, the judges of the underworld, surrounded her.
They passed judgment against her.
Then Ereshkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death.
She spoke against her the word of wrath.
She uttered against her the cry of guilt.
She struck her.
Inanna was turned into a corpse,
A piece of rotting meat,
And was hung from a hook on the wall….

Then, after three days and three nights, Inanna had not returned,
Ninshubur set up a lament for her by the ruins.
She beat the drum for her in the assembly places.”

She has become dead meat hanging on a wall. Her return to life by way of the intervention of Dumuzi is if course nothing short of a resurrection. With Venus in mind, we may well consider this as a metaphor for her stages of apparent and concealed visibility as part of her cycle The problem is first and foremost the specificity of three days from a culture well aware of the Venus cycle. In any case, the subject matter is quite unlike what we usually refer to as Venusian.

Quite simply, Inanna, Ishtar and Isis don’t have all that much in common with Venus at first blush. The Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn could all be described by her nature.  In fact the only luminary / planet that doesn’t fit is the Sun. By comparison, the Greco-Roman Venus seems rather thin and limited.

In the ancient Near East, Ishtar was an important and widely worshiped mother goddess for many Semitic* peoples. The Sumerians* called her Inanna, and other groups of the Near East referred to her as Astarte.

Inanna is a highly complex deity, combining the characteristics, both good and evil,of many different gods and goddesses. As a benevolent mother figure, she was considered the mother of gods and humans, as well as the creator of all earthly blessings. In this role, she grieved over human sorrows and served as a protector of marriage and motherhood. People also worshiped Ishtar as the goddess of sexual love and fertility. The evil side of Ishtar’s nature emerged primarily in connection with war and storms, much of it born of jealousy and rage. As a warrior goddess, she could make even the gods tremble in fear. As a storm goddess, she could bring rain and thunder, these events are now connected primarily to the Moon and Jupiter.

The eight-pointed star of Ishtar appears at top left, the crescent moon of the Moon God Sin is at top center, and the symbol of the Sun God

The eight-pointed star of Ishtar appears at top left, the crescent moon of the Moon God Sin is at top center, and the symbol of the Sun God

In the story of Inanna she is the daughter of the male Moon god Sin and sister of the sun god Shamash. Others mention the sky god Anu, the Moon god Nanna, the water god Ea, or the god Enlil, lord of the earth and the air, as her father. Most myths link her to the planet Venus.

There are a few things one can do with this comparison. The simplest and probably least disruptive would be  to take a closer look at what we mean by our mythical association of Venus with the planet that bears her name and also what we mean by the Feminine. Venus is a goddess with tremendous limitations. But perhaps the greatest of these is that is not a mother goddess. Whereas earlier depictions of the feminine, whether it be Ancient Near Eastern or Celtic represented her in three phases: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, Venus pretty much remains on the first stage, allowing the Moon to take the other attributes.

Of course, astrology uses the Greek and Roman Pantheon as metaphors for the planets. However. it’s all too easy to forget that and our understanding of the planet itself is likely to suffer. The price paid during the advancement of civilization can  be significant and I think it’s quite fair to say that the Greek and Roman Pantheon has little of the depth and earthy honesty of earlier cultures.

I’m certainly not suggesting that we give up on Venus, but we do well to remember the vast heights and depths that are found in abundance in earlier sources when it comes to more complete representation of the Feminine. This article does little more than introduce some issues regarding Astrology and the Feminine. I hope it sparks some interest.

Vernal Equinox & Nowruz 2015

Bas-relief in Persepolis, Fars province of Iran. A Zoroastrian symbol of Nowruz – on the vernal equinox the powers of the eternally fighting bull (personifying the Earth) and lion (personifying the Sun) are equal.  (Licence Wikipedia)

Bas-relief in Persepolis, . A Zoroastrian symbol of Nowruz – on the vernal equinox the powers of the eternally fighting bull (personifying the Earth) and lion (personifying the Sun) are equal. (Licence Wikipedia)

Nowruz is among the most ancient and significant astrologically based holy days celebration in the world. It began with Mithraism and Zoroastrianism and is still celebrated with zeal in several countries from Azerbaijan, Russia, Syria, Turkey , India and of course Iran. A repeating theme is the allegory of the balance of light and darkness illustrated by the bas-relief shown above. This is echoed in the celebration of Ostera or Easter which falls on the first Sunday after the first full Moon in Spring. It represents earthly fertility in the waxing day force as well as spiritual resurrection. What is above, is below.

The Aries Equinox chart is always of great significance, but here we have the confluence of a Solar Eclipse just hours before the Ingress, @ 29°27′ Pisces. This is a rare event and worthy of our close attention. This is a rare event and worthy of our close attention. We start with a reading of the chart of the year. The undisputed Lady of the Year is Venus in Taurus: Occidental, direct, free of the beams, in sect and of course in her domicile She protects from external enemies. .Mars is also in his domicile,in sect and in hiss house of Joy.and Aries is the Exaltation of the Sun. Noname1 The sixth house is the house of the common people in Mundane charts and here there are in a strong position, even with the unfortunate Moon in Aries. That leaves us with an unremarkable Mercury in Pisces, in his Fall but nicely placed by house and both Social Planets retrograde. Saturn in Sagittarius, Peregrine isn’t well placed at the best of times, but in the Second House income is seriously restricted and curtailed

This applies to the nation more specifically than to the individual. Jupiter in Leo, the domicile of the Sun occupies the Tenth House and is indicative of rulers, Although he enjoys some elemental sympathy from the Common People, we can say Jupiter is inflated and worst of all retrograde, symbolically moving away from the “throne.” The sympathy is amplified by the Sun in the Sixth House.This denotes the fall of a leader, Considering the pomp and circumstance of Leo, this may very well refer to a prominent member of the aristocracy or Royal Family. Noname2a The video below shows the progress and visibility of the eclipse. Eclipses affect most those nations and cities that fall under the sign of the eclipse as well as where it is visible. This would include Egypt, Normandy, North Africa, Portugal and Scandinavia.  My primary focus is on the United Kingdom and those places in the same time zone and visibility of the eclipse although much of what I have to say would apply in a lesser extent to Europe, Western Russia and  the Piscean nation of Egypt, the latter of course in a very volatile state. The time if the eclipse at GMT falls ominously in the 10th House. It`s almost as if the eclipse sets the stage for the fall of the *monarch* Jupiterean Pisces turns off the lights while Saturn holds the Seventh House.  It isn’t hard to read this fairly literally.  We could say that the strong Mars in the Eleventh House lends support to the Tenth, but with the S, Node and really no mitigating elements, it might very well do more harm than good.

The significance of an Eclipse is in the larger picture of the nation or nations rather than on the lives of individuals specifically, but of course whatever affects the nation will affect the people, sometimes in major ways and more often in ways that are not immediately detected. If you celebrate only one or two things a year, the Vernal Equinox is highly significant – the forces of darkness and light are balanced with the forces of light, with the Sun waxing in the Sign of his exaltation.

Shah Tahmasp I and Humayun. Novrouz festival From Chehel Sotoun Palace, Isfahan. Artist unknown. C. 1820

Shah Tahmasp I and Humayun. Novrouz festival From Chehel Sotoun Palace, Isfahan. Artist unknown. C. 1820

The Bull of Heaven II

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I make no pretense of being an expert in Egyptology, but there are some fundamental elements of that culture which allow us to see Taurus in a different way, in part by the relationship of the Bull of Heaven to Osiris

The region of the heavens occupied by the constellation Taurus is home to several powerful fixed stars from Algol (above left) the Pleiades, the Hyades and Aldebaran, the red eye of the bull – Watcher of the East and one of the Royal Stars of Persia. Babylonian astrologers would also be very interested in the stars associated with the horns – unsurprisingly they tend to be of the nature of Mars.  However, as an entity we can see the essential nature of Taurus is Lunar and Venusian.

The cultural interpretation of a constellation surely says something about the culture itself. The ravaging bull in eternal conflict with Orion the Hunter is a very good case in point. It takes more than simple imagination to see Orion as a brutal hunter wielding a spiked club at Taurus and to see Taurus as a determined wild bull bent on Orion’s destruction. Orion is just as often portrayed as an archer, aiming at the Bull’s eye! This is a rather violent view. Of course nothing is wrong just because it’s violent, but in this case we have what I believe is a far more convincing and satisfying interpretation.

Stele dedicated to Apis-Louvre

Stele dedicated to Apis-Louvre

Looking once again at the image at the top of part I, the white calf rising with the Sun is Apis. He is the Ka of Osiris:

“In ancient Egyptian religion, with the ba and the akh, a principal aspect of the soul of a human being or of a god. The exact significance of the ka remains a matter of controversy, chiefly for lack of an Egyptian definition; the usual translation, “double,” is incorrect. Written by a hieroglyph of uplifted arms, it seemed originally to have designated the protecting divine spirit of a person. The ka survived the death of the body and could reside in a picture or statue of a person”  Britannica

The Egyptian hieroglyph for the Venus cycle from Morning to Evening Star in the shape of a perfect pentagram as viewed from Earth.

The Egyptian hieroglyph for the Venus cycle from Morning to Evening Star in the shape of a perfect pentagram as viewed from Earth.

When we change the name and perception from Orion to Osiris, the idea of the god Osiris, the consort of Isis, charging to deal a deathly blow to his own life force is as silly as it’s poignant. In Egypt as in so many ancient cultures, the motif of bull’s horns with solar disks are all but universal. We find them shown even in the depiction of pre-Islamic Arabian deities.

wweeeeIn the sky map to the left,Sirius, the brightest star in the sky from our viewpoint, follows Osiris closely and is associated with Isis. The rising of Sirius signaled the inundation of Egyptian farm land by the Nile.  The association doesn’t end there, though. The Egyptians considered the Milk Way to be the “real Nile” just as many Hindus consider the Milk Way as the “true Ganges.” as even so called inanimate objects have soul in the Egyptian view, the relationship of Earth to the Heavens was divine and inexorable. We could say that they mirrored each other. Other articles related to Sirius

Egyptian religion wasn’t particular dogmatic and did in fact differ from one time and region to another to some extent. However, the primacy of Isis as the Queen of Heaven and of life itself, her brother Osiris the Lord or King of the dead, thier son Horus, god the Sun, Sky and Kingship, was widely understood.

Gwen Parker: tells us that when an Apis bull died “the body was embalmed and entombed with the great ceremony that would be afforded royalty. A Memphis temple housing large alabaster slabs was the place in which the bulls were embalmed.

Osiris holding crook and flail

Osiris holding crook and flail

After preparation of the body and internal organs, the crouching bull was intricately bandaged, artificial eyes were inserted, its horns and face were either gilded or covered with a gold leaf mask, and it was covered with a shroud. The Apis mummy was carried to the Serapeum (a catacomb preceded by an avenue of sphinxes), amid the formalities due a deity, for burial in a massive stone sarcophagus weighing over 60 tons. A papyrus from the 26th Dynasty explains the technique used to embalm an Apis bull.”Hathor-and-IsisHathor (Red Disk & Horns) and Isis

Wearing the crown. with the Royal insignia of the flail and crook on his hands, Osiris looks more like a shepherd king than a hunter. His best known epithets are “eternally good” or “eternally incorruptible” and his relationship with the Bull of Heaven is both essential and  benign, and offers profound insight to the nature of the Bull.

Isis and Hathor share various feminine qualities, with Hathor being more of a Luna deity and Isis being the Queen and Guardian of the path of the planets.

It’s easy to mistake one for the other, particular if Isis is not shown with wings. At the end of the day, we still have the Moon exalted in Taurus and Venus Isis ruling both Libra and Taurus. The Ankh carried by Isis is a slightly modified glyph for Venus, with the circle of Spirit and Cross of Matter. The cross differs from the modern glyph only slightly. The cross is further up towards the centre of the whole symbol, suggesting a greater level of relationship with Spirit perhaps.

Isis offering-Key of Life Ankh to her son Horus

Isis offering-Key of Life Ankh to her son Horus

We now know that the Bull of Heaven held a very important position in both Sumerian and Egyptian culture, possessing mystical qualities. Taurus, the Moon and Venus are all feminine and I cannot help but wonder how this came to be seen as something to be clubbed or shot.  I might suggest this has something to do with the denial of the Divine Feminine. Even Paleolithic paintings of Orion, crafted by hunter gathers do not associate him with a hunter. He is a Shaman. See the Stars of Orion. 

The extraordinary astronomical knowledge and skill of these ancients is staggering. Mapping the Venus Pentagram alone shows uncommon skill and all these things should give us pause when interpreting Venus or the Bull of Heaven.

Venus Exalted in Pisces

It's description is a angels but it looks like Moon in Pisces.

One of the most tortured and misunderstood concepts in astrology is that of Exaltation. There are two main reasons why this is the case.  First of all, modern astrologers are either unaware that a mystical system exists that permeates and underlies all astrology or fail to see its relevance. Worse perhaps, is that there is awareness of this system, but the modern practitioner takes for granted that it can be changed to suit ‘modern sensibilities’ or ignored all together.

If you can’t see why the system is the way it is, then what’s the harm in throwing a few extra planets or asteroids in for good measure. Who cares if there are enough asteroids to provide over a hundred of them for every degree of the zodiac. While we’re at it, why not add some new aspects because, you know, our subtle energies vibrate to a New Age to which the ancients had no awareness. They only used the seven planets and the five aspects because they didn’t know any better. Somebody ought to channel Pythagoras and let him know.

So when the question arises as to why a planet is exalted in a sign, those sufficiently divorced from the tradition, might attempt to understand it using, let’s say, psychological criteria that become increasingly exotic and usually highly subjective. In the case of Venus in Pisces, we are told that only Pisces can give unconditional and Universal love whereas Venus in other signs is presumably incapable.  Universal love or agape isn’t what Venus is about. She is associated with Eros, music, seduction, sweets and so on. Recently I read that Venus is exalted in Pisces because Venus was born from the sea, more accurately sea foam, which sounds good until you realize that Pisces is not the ocean. That belongs to Cancer.

A brief search on the internet will provide several other stock explanations that make little sense when examined in the light of reason or by simple reference to the system that brought about exaltations in the first place.

The most direct technical answer to the question . why is Venus exalted in Pisces.’ is to note that it’s opposite the Fall of Venus in Virgo. Exaltations are always in the opposite sign of their Fall Let’s begin with the Domicile of the Signs: below is the list of domiciles for each planet and luminary. With the exception of the Sun and Moon, all planets have two domiciles. One is Masculine or Diurnal and the other Feminine or Nocturnal.

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The system is a perfect symmetry, but may not appear to be at first glance.. If we take the Sun and Moon as the centre, then the rulerships follow the Chaldean order of planets. So for example, Mercury takes Gemini and Virgo as domicile – that is to say the sign before and the sign after the Luminaries.  Next will come Venus in Taurus and Libra Finally Saturn is left with Capricorn and Aquarius. See the diagram below.

In summary:

The Moon has only one Domicile, Cancer – Nocturnal Feminine

Mercury has his Domicile in Gemini and Virgo – Diurnal Masculine and Nocturnal Feminine

Venus has her Domicile in Taurus and Libra Nocturnal Feminine and Diurnal Masculine

The Sun has only one Domicile, Leo – Diurnal Masculine

Mars finds his domicile in Aries and Scorpio – Diurnal Masculine and Nocturnal Feminine.

Jupiter has his Domicile in Sagittarius and Pisces. Diurnal Masculine and Nocturnal Feminine

Saturn has his Domicile in Capricorn and Aquarius – Nocturnal and Feminine and Diurnal Masculine.

These Saturnine signs oppose the Luminaries:  Capricorn is the detriment of the Moon and Aquarius the Detriment of the Sun.  Saturn is the greater malefic. The domiciles of Mars, Aries and Scorpio, oppose both domiciles of Venus, Libra and Taurus respectively’. Jupiter the greater benefic has Sagittarius and Pisces for his domicile. Diurnal Jupiter trines the Sun and is Exalted in the domicile of the Moon. From this alone, it is easy to see why Saturn is the greater malefic and Jupiter the greater benefic.

Mercury appears to upset the balance by having his Domicile and Exaltation in Virgo, while he takes both detriment and Fall in Pisces.  Venus then takes her fall in Virgo and exaltation in Pisces.  This is because Jupiter opposes both domiciles of Mercury and visa versa.

Returning to Pisces, we find nocturnal Jupiter opposing Virgo, which is trine nocturnal Venus – thus  Venus is exalted in Pisces. The system is simple once one knows how to read it. Remember this is only one way of measuring planetary strength. Domicile is considered to be of greater dignity than Exaltation.

My sole intention in writing this article is to explain the nature of exaltations and, because Venus is exalted in Pisces at the time of writing. With this in mind, it’s neither the time or place to debate possible archetypal meanings. However, there is no doubt that Venus is very happy in the sign of the Fishes, but the happiness is more sensual than mystical in the ordinary sense of that word. After all, we have the greater benefic with the lesser benefic  Venus in the House of Jupiter will not auger restriction.  In the words of Mae West ““Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” 

The final analysis will look to the phases of Venus. She is known as Phosphorus as the evening and Lucifer as the Morning Star; but that is for another article..

Detail - Horoscope of Prince Iskandar Grandson of Tamerlane - showing Venus in Pisces

Detail – Horoscope of Prince Iskandar Grandson of Tamerlane – showing Venus in Pisces

 

Winter Solstice 2014

Sun from a Falnama (1580s) watercolor on paper

Sun from a Falnama (1580s) watercolor on paper

First allow me to wish everyone a joyous solstice, with blessings of all kinds, as we celebrate the return of the light in the Northern hemisphere. The recognition of the importance of the Sun appearing to stand still before he begins to move towards the North is celebrated virtually universally in many variants from the beginnings of recorded history and surely long before. This is the time to welcome and celebrate the return of the Sun, See my previous article for the symbolism, lore and practise of the Winter Solstice 

The Solar symbol of the dot within a circle is one of th3e most ancient symbols. The Sun is the primary source of life. The Chart for the Year is cast for 0° Aries, the Exaltation of the Sun.

Spherical hand warmer, brass middle east 18th - 19th C.

A very Solar Spherical hand warmer, brass middle east 18th – 19th C.

The Winter Solstice charts provides us with relatively short predictions which are concerned specifically with season on Winter.  Solstice Charts are generally used to tell us of the current climate, both literally and figuratively and employed with a particular interest in the season itself. That is not to say they cannot provide us with more. For people living close to the Ring of Fire, earthquake and tsunami warnings are crucial. These predictions also include weather predictions of a general nature because we are talking about a three month period.

Below is the chart for the Winter Solstice 2014, including the seven hermetic lots. It is drawn for the West Coast on 21 December 2014, 15.03 PST. Victoria, B.C.  This gives us a chart for Day of the Sun and Hour of the Moon.

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The angles are in Mutable Signs and Mercury, the most Protean of all planets is in Capricorn and the Almuten Figuris. He is of course also Lord of the Ascendant Moreover, the Lady of the Geniture is Venus, also in Saturnine Capricorn. The essence of the chart is Cold and Dry, or Melancholy, by Humour.

Sun, Moon and Mercury are all in the 22nd Lunar Mansion, known as the Head of the Dragon. The significance of this is speed, escape or personal power. Particularly because this is a Mundane chart, this planet and luminaries is stifled in the Eighth House. The Moon is Balsamic and Void of Course and the traditional decanate ruler is Saturn. The Sun is in the Decanate of Jupiter. The New Moon in Capricorn occurs at 5.25 pm

The Mercurial Hyleg is the Pars Fortuna in the First House, conjunct the Fixed Star Aldebaran, the Eye of God, in the fourth Lunar Mansion and often associated with blindness. The fact is the position of Al Debaran (the follower of the Pleiades) is crucial in interpretation. It is far better to have this star on the Ascendant, than in the Seventh for example. One of the Royal Stars on Persia, he is Watcher of the East. He can bring greatness if integrity and nobilit6y of character is preserved.

According to Vivien Robson, ” It gives honour, intelligence, eloquence, steadfastness, integrity, popularity, courage, ferocity, a tendency to sedition, a responsible position, public honours and gain of power and wealth through others, but its benefits seldom prove lasting and there is also danger of violence and sickness.”  [Robson Fixed Stars p.120.]

Aldebaran and the Pleiades are a prominent sight during Winter in the Northern Hemisphere

Mercury is Combust. Venus is Under the Solar Beams. The glimmer of hope lies in the fact that both the Lot of the Sun, the Moon and Venus are found in the First House with the Day and Hour of the chart underscored.taurus-the-bull

In the Seventh House of open enemies, we have the Moon  at 28.35° conjunct Acumen. This is interpreted as enduring attacks  that weaken.  The position of the Lot of Saturn only emphasizes the difficulties. Jupiter is extremely weak because he is deposited by the Sun in the Eighth House, retrograde and Peregrine – like a stranger in a strange land. As Lord of the Seventh he isn’t in a position to ameliorate.

We look then to Mars in the Ninth House and on the MC. in the 23rd Lunar Mansion known as the “fortunate aviator.” There is a suggestion here of attack from the air. Saturn is Lord of Mars, Sun, Venus and Mercury. Saturn is found in the Sixth House. and in Mutual Reception with Mars.

We have the potential for an attack – religiously motivated because of Ninth House placement – but on a limited scale, if not intercepted entirely  But there is definitely a need for heightened vigilance,  Again, we largely create what happens to us within prescribed limits and forewarned is forearmed

What initially appeared to be a fairly straightforward chart proves to be complex and suggestive of the following:

The weather will be changeable, from dry and cold to high winds and heavy rainfall. There is no indication of a major seismic eruptions, always of concern for those of us living on the West Coast, over the next three months. There is no indication of a Tsunami on the West Coast either.

The lot of the people collectively is somber and in need of leadership with vision and integrity. I would anticipate on-going protests to be particularly energized.

We are not passive observers in either our individual or collective lives. If the season is Cold & Dry we may elect to embrace its opposite, which in this case is Sanguine, or warm and wet.  This can be facilitated by the strong Mercurial signature in the chart, even with the afflictions. There is a reason that warm soup tastes especially good in the cold weather. Mild and pungent spices as well as squash, carrots and  other root vegetables may also help, unless there is some other reason you shouldn’t  eat these foods. If you are already of a Sanguine Humour, increasing its preponderance will server no useful purpose

Winter-Solstice-Lantern-Festival-Photo-by-eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee-via-flickr.Vancouver 2012

Winter-Solstice-Lantern-Festival-Photo-by-eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee-via-flickr.Vancouver 2012

Greet the return of the light with lanterns, candles, yule logs and solar incenses such as Sandalwood, Frankincense and Dragon’s Blood.  ,

Venus & the Temple of the Sun

Konark Temple of the Sun

Konark Temple of the Sun

This is really not much more than a brief note and inquiry into the nature of the Sun and Venus when they are very closely associated. – in this case in a very beautiful and enigmatic work of art

It’s been my contention for most of my life as an astrologer that Aphrodite is a charming but inadequate personification of the celestial Venus. It is necessary, I think, to broaden one’s view by examining various associations , not just Hellenistic ones, to get a glimpse of the many layers of meaning and variety of expressions to fully understand the significance of the planetary archetype.

There are few better opportunities for this study outside of the Western tradition than that afforded by the temple of Konark , a 13th century Sun Temple, imagessat Konark, in Odisha, India.  It was apparently built by king Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty around 1250. This temple to the Sun god Surya is built in the form of a Solar chariot, drawn by seven spirited horses.

The motif of the Sun in a chariot drawn by horses is ubiquitous in the ancient world, although the details do differ. Here we have time represented by the months of the year, seven days of the week and the number of hours in a day. The chariot wheels themselves are decidedly Solar, but there is also poetry, music and dancers described among the erotic figures and hence we find ourselves very much in the fuller spectrum of all things Venusian. In fact, this is very much the realm of the Fifth House where Venus finds her joy

Sarasvatī - Hindu goddesss of Music, Poetry , Nature

Sarasvatī – Hindu goddess of Music, Poetry , Nature

Venus is known as Shukra in Indian mythology and is male. Shukra means semen, so the associations of fertility and creativity only strengthen the fifth house associations.

Shukra is however also represented by a female deity, most commonly, Lakshima, but there are obvious and close associations with Sarsawati, the patron of music, poetry and learning. The temple appears to embrace the Venusian within the larger Solar context.

This may seem confusing, but is much less so if you consider the Fifth House. First and foremost the house is the realm of all that is creative, including offspring and pleasure in music, poetry and sex. This is the house of Good Fortune in Hellenistic astrology and the parallels between the European and Indian conceptions becomes apparent, as do their differences .konark2

Consider firstly the relationship between the Sun and Venus in the symbolism of this temple’s construction. Its more than proximity of deities. It expresses a deeply intimate relationship to the Sun and Venus. Like all great art, it leaves us with many questions, but the study is time well spent

The Taurean Venus

Venus Consoling Cupid - Benjamin West

Venus Consoling Cupid, Stung by a Bee – Benjamin West

Planets and Signs are Archetypes. Astrology is an art that considers the microcosm in relation to the macrocosm. That isn’t a modern idea. It’s an ancient one. So when we talk of the astrological Venus we refer to a rich matrix of attributes, each of which will manifest according to her Sign, her placement and her relationship to other planets and luminaries.

The glyph for Venus consists of the circle of Spirit, having precedence over the cross of matter. In medicine and in all the biological sciences it is still the symbol for the feminine.venusglyph Venus is the Ruler of both Taurus and Libra. In this article, I will be focusing on what I will call the Taurean Venus. This is her Earthly domicile. She is very much at home here, so it affords an opportunity for discussion of this particular expression of the Venus archetype

Taurus is a fixed earth sign and here Venus is the Earth Mother or womb from whose energy the earth receives the beauty of the natural world, as well as the comforts and pleasures it may afford. In Taurus, Venus is in her dignity and is best described as the voluptuary, a lover of physical, earthly beauty. This is the embodiment of Eros.

As the Sun waxes in Taurus, the Earth is green and full of new life. Venus delights in beauty, including the arts of poetry, dance, music and visual art.  She’s the creative force that bringing new life through erotic love as well as procreation. She rules the sense of touch. In Classical Astrology, she is naturally said to take her joy in the fifth house.

Venus was identified in tradition as the daughter of the Moon. The Moon and Venus are both reflective, feminine archetypes in the chart.

Venus is more than the figure of Aphrodite can describe. In Classical mythology she was a powerful, but potentially treacherous deity.

Lucretia Borgias by Lucas Cranach- A Darker Side to Eros

Lucretia Borgias by Lucas Cranach- A Darker Side of Eros gone awry. Cranach did a few paintings on the same theme, But here there is some ambiguity. Lucretia committed suicide but had poisoned countless people. She has been considered as an erotic serial killer .

The metal associated with Venus is copper. We know that copper is widely used in the cosmetic industry!  In alchemy, Venus is externally beautiful and highly receptive, but with a corrosive core.

The Venus cycle corresponds to the gestation period and underscores her role as bringer of life.Lakshmi - The Hindu Goddess of Wealth & Beauty

Lakshmi – The Hindu Goddess of Wealth & Beauty

In Babylonian tradition she was a “star” in a trinity with the Moon and Sun. She was at one time personified as the Great Goddess who gave birth to the Sun, and at other times known as Lucifer, the light-bearing attendant to the Sun.

As River and Gillespie have written, the deities associated with Venus in the Ancient Near East were “active initiators, for they brought in the day, awakening solar vitality. As the gentle and loving Evening Star, Venus was Zib, Hesperus and Shalem,said to speak the Word of Peace nightly to the Sun, giving the Hebrew and Arabic word for peace, shalom and salaam.

As Evening Star, Venus returns to the lunar world of the imagination.” (The Knot of Time. p. 79). It is easy then to see her connection to the idealistic,  spiritualized love of Pisces, the sign of her own exaltation.

The Venus element in the natal chart is a place of potential vibrancy and sensual delight. An unafflicted Venus in the fifth house can produce great artistic ability. Venus in the same house but afflicted and in a different sign, may signal no more than a profligate gambler.

In other cultures, such as India the equivalent of Ishtar, Aphrodite and Venus is revered as the Goddess Rati and as the Tantric Goddess Shakti. However. the most Venusian Hindu Goddess is Lakshima, particularly in relation to the Taurean Venus

The Hindu god Krishna Surrounded by Ladies - British Museum

The Hindu god Krishna Surrounded by Ladies – British Museum

In the painting above the god Krishna is enjoying the sensuality of earthly life. Many of the attributes of this painting seen quite Taurean to me.