This morning was a brief window for the Second Decan of Cancer. Thanks to Christopher Warnock of Renaissance Astrology, and the fine folks on the Spiritus-Mundi email list, I’m learning about astrological magic in the 1600s and 1700s. This morning was an astrological window for the second face or decan of Cancer. Associated with joy, mirth, riches, and gladness, this opportunity seemed too good to pass up. Accordingly, it generated both some artwork (not very good, and strongly based on someone else’s art), and a poem:
O Somachalmais, Mercury’s sweet friend,
warden of Cancer’s second decan or face,
a full measure of your dignity lend
with the gentle radiance of your grace.
For riches, mirth, and gladness are your way,
and games of chance and skill provide your delight.
In you is the joy of the winning play,
and this virtue comes to earth with your light.
Let your pneuma focus upon this art,
and send your mirth: so riches rest on me
who speaks your praise in gladness from the heart,
mirroring your joyous divinity.
Somachalmais, let these words be a sign,
of a life enriched by your love divine!
It’s now 6:50 am, and this ‘window’ or opportunity has closed for I don’t know how long. As I understand it (and my understanding is not particularly well-developed at this point), the Second Decan of Cancer is the 10-degree portion of the sky which forms the middle part of the traditional zodiac sign of Cancer (which is 30 degrees wide, like all the other astrological Zodiac signs — so each Zodiac sign has three decans. Got that?). Each Decan, of which there are thirty-six, has a planetary ruler, or one of the seven visible planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Sun and Moon. When the Sun is coming up over the horizon — in astrological language, on the ascendant — and the planetary ruler of the Decan is in that 10-degree window with which it’s associated — then that astrological window opens. For somewhere between four and twenty minutes, it seems.
And the goal is to create a piece of artwork — a poem, a piece of jewelry, a drawing, a diagram, a thing of some kind, preferably with some of the resonances or theoretical energies of that particular window of opportunity, between when the window opens and when it closes.
Today I did pretty well. I got a poem that mentions the name of the being, the name of the window, the planetary ruler, the names of the resonances or theoretical energies, and some words of sucking up. I also managed to frame the poem in my notebook with some line art and some calligraphic work, and it came out looking OK. I like that there’s this narrow window of time, that there’s some specific themes that the poetry or artwork (or both) have to touch upon,
The more complicated question, I suppose, is do I believe it?
This is harder. I don’t disbelieve it. Rockefeller was famous for saying “Millionaires don’t use astrology; billionaires do.” Gordon had a great piece, a sort of terrifying piece, about this exact theme. How does one decide what’s important and what isn’t important? How does one decide where to invest belief? I’m a poet. I can believe six impossible things before breakfast, and decide by lunch that I don’t believe any of them — but while in the midst of writing the poem, I have to believe it completely. Right now, a degree of mild skepticism is returning, but in the process of quick-composition and line-drawing for about 25 minutes this morning, I believed that Somachalmais is going to help me with a few things.
And maybe belief doesn’t matter quite so much. Maybe the opportunity to create art, and to write poetry, is much more important than what I think that I think, or what I believe I believe.