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September 22 at 9:31 am sees the start of the first Decan of Libra, called the Blindfold and Sword, according to Austin Coppock‘s book 36 Faces. The Hellenistic era assigned this decan (or face) to the avenging Erinyes, or Furies (sometimes called “the Kindly Ones” to avoid offending these spirits of justice and vengeance). Punishing crimes of youth against age, children against parents, guest against host, and householder against city councils, the Erinyes promise vengeance in the next life as well as this one on all oath breakers.
As I write this, the United States is in mourning for the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the author and architect of a number of important recognitions of civil rights in this country; the fear is that the President and Senate will appoint and confirm a heavily-conservative replacement to her seat.
Yet it’s impossible to talk about justice — in this country, or any other — without discussing the very idea of Law as rooted in vengeance, and its very conservative origins. The Erinyes and their fearsome reputations are attested in Linear B, the oldest texts in pre-ancient Greek. There, we see their responsibility to punish the crimes of insolent youth, disobedient children, violent guests, and obstinate householders within the city, for what these things are — a divine enforcement of the status quo, a rigid defense of the establishment against the challenges and vagaries of change. In other words, the blindfold is partly off, and the sword is only pointed at one kind of offense, and one kind of offender. The protestors in the streets ought to be more careful than usual in the next ten days, and I say this as a warning rather than a threat — the next ten days offer more cover to authority’s excesses than to the release of captives.
Of late, I’ve been playing around with two further subdivisions of the Zodiac beyond the decan, and it seems time to introduce them in this column. The first are the Terms, which are five unequal divisions of each Zodiac sign. Somewhat out of step with my astrological colleagues, I use the Chaldean Terms, which break each Zodiac sign up into parts based on elements (Fire, Air, Water, Earth), and in chunks of regular descending size — 8°, 7°, 6°, 5°, 4°, all together equalling 30°.
Each Term is ruled by a different planet (in the Chaldean Terms), and the first eight degrees of Libra are ruled by Saturn (by day), and Mercury (by night). Thus, this first decan of Libra is mostly ruled by the slowest planet in daylight — Saturn, the harsh and elderly and essentially conservative force of the heavens; while the night belongs to mercurial youth, diverse and ever-shifting, sexually precocious, of shifting mores and morals, philosophically unbound, and committed to no firm position. Yet by the end of the next ten days, these positions are reversed: Saturn’s commitment to order and firm boundaries that cannot be crossed shall rule the night; and the herald-planet Mercury with all their trickster ways will rule the day.
Both of these changes occur under the rulership of Venus, the queen of heaven, who has overall command over everything that occurs in Libra — and she is perpetually seeking concord and cohesion, unity and peace above all else. It is in this context that she deploys her two magistrates Mercury and Saturn to do her bidding: the one to use language and symbolic actions to pacify and soothe the concerns of the present moment; the other uses all sorts of traditional techniques — the hospital, the cathedral cloister, the courtroom, the prison, and the grave — to bind and control the upstarts who have caused their elders such distress. And the Erinyes will say, yes, justice has been done here, and hold their peace.
The second technique I’ve been experimenting with, are the divisions called the duodecima, or twelfth parts. Each Zodiac sign (30°) is divided into twelfths, one for each sign of the Zodiac; these units are 2° 30′ wide, and thus each Decan contains four duodecimas. The first Decan of Libra is thus quartered into the duodecimas of Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn, ruled by Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. While these duodecimas are not a major part of any astrological system today (except perhaps this one, mine), they suggest four adjectives that may represent the next ten days in a kind of rough sequence: balancing, fierce, authoritarian, and unforgiving. Another might explain them thus: evaluative, intense, fundamentalist, and cruel. Any way we choose to explore these themes — with the Erinyes, the balancing of Mercury and Saturn in the terms, or by duodecimas, we’re about to see a shift in how the status quo responds to its discontents.
The Sun, the glory and wonder of our solar system, enters its fall on September 22, and the moment of the entry to Libra marks the Autumnal Equinox in tropical astrology: the Sun will cross the line of the equator from north to south, literally falling in the sky toward the South Pole. The days get colder and shorter — and some sources describe a planet in fall as “a man under house arrest, in the house of a sick man”; the Sun is little able to act on behalf of our careers or our professional reputations. Our higher minds and attention cannot be directed to seeking honor or reputation at the moment — it is all we can do to run in place, like Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass. In a configuration with Venus called mutual reception, he is able to take her direction for our effective isolation and contentment in that state; but he is less-skilled at directing her to manage our work-related projects effectively. We can hold out for mere coherence and a few short-lived kudos from the boss.
Mercury’s co-presence with the Sun, in the last decan of Libra called The Gyroscope (and in the second duodecima, associated with Cancer) spins out for us a series of disconnected but emotionally-charged images, designed to rein in and control our more-feral natures (freedom- and individuality- seeking), and getting us to pull toward a more civilized (collective- and responsible- and status-quo seeking path). The visuals of the next ten days are likely to be heavily laden with propaganda designed to keep us spinning in place, able to stay upright but unable to choose direction or trajectory; the whirling spiral exposes us to many points of view but promises no certainty about who to follow or where to lead others.
The Ascendant, though, is in the first Decan of Scorpio, called the Jawbone — a place for violent and vicious talk. Mars’s retrograde motion at the end of Aries makes it both cadent and inconjunct to the rising sign, so it may remain only vicious talk… but we should remember that any conciliating language at the beginning of these next ten days is likely to descend into cruelty before the end of them. The very fixity of Scorpio means that perceptions and philosophical positions rooted in emotion are unlikely to be abandoned — once spoken, little can be taken back; we are likely to hold and defend our positions with our last words.
The Moon approaches its monthly conjunction with the South Node in Sagittarius, suggesting a lessening or limiting of our old frames of reference when it comes to money and property. In the decan of the Bridle which she rules, the luminary of Night invites us to understand what harnesses we wear, and how we pull with our whole strength toward goals that other people desire. The separating thing between the Moon and the Midheaven may indicate an awareness, if not a genuine disconnect, that our careers are not the be-all/end-all of our lives; while a separating sextile to the Imum Coeli suggests that we’re re-evaluating all our old dreams at the same time. One wonders what can emerge from an era where both our careers and our home lives are up for significant reconsideration and review. By tropical placement, the Moon is in the twentieth Mansion, called The Beam, associated with the targeted pursuit of a goal, or the containment of inimical or hostile powers through deliberate actions; and the establishment of alliances. Associated with the bow and arrow of Sagittarius, there’s a mechanical or technical component to this position — such as the use of AI to find and constrain specific protestors, or to build new communications channels. Yet by sidereal position, the Moon is in the 18th Mansion, associated with the malefic star Antares (“not-Mars”) and promising both poison and death, and complex defenses against hostility and challenge. In the context of the Erinyes’ presidency, this can look quite ugly — let’s be careful out there, folks.
In Capricorn, we find the ongoing stellium of Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn moving toward a resolution that I call the “Whine press” — now that Jupiter has gone direct, his motion will first besiege and then squeeze out whatever remaining toxicity and poison continues to be held in the shadowy, outermost darkness of the solar system (and whatever hardened venom remains in the depths of the unconscious). Jupiter as the lord of grace and mercy will be the slow-falling hammer here, and Saturn as the ruler of harsh responsibility the anvil, crushing Pluto between them like a grape or a poisoned apple. This conjunction will not pop like a pimple or a canker in the next ten days, but its angry, pustulous whitehead will be visible to all who have eyes to see it, souring and embittering many with its foul contaminates. Occurring atop the decans of the Pyramid and The Throne, we’ll find that we see this corruption most obviously in the structures of power and the leaders who operate them like giant Japanese mech-robots — clearly mistaking the powers of their offices for personal privileges inherent in their flesh.
It’s unlikely to get better, and near-impossible to make such leaders see their categorical errors — Neptune in the fifth house retrogrades through the middle decan of Pisces, The Net; while Uranus retrogrades in the first few minutes of the middle decan of Taurus, the Lingam-Yoni — our attachments to the idea of the othered Other is almost sexual in its intensity; we barely believe in the humanity of our intellectual opponents from the Uranian influence, while the lord of waters renders suspect all our own wellsprings of information. It is the curse of the present moment that the smartest are full of doubts and uncertainties, while the strongest hold deep convictions and are easily manipulated by them.
Cadent Mars in Aries in the sixth house offers some redemption these next ten days in hard labor — in other years, and other times, this would be a time for getting in the firewood and filling the pantry with good and nourishing food. Instead, great storms tear at the almost-ripe fields, and whirlwinds of fire burn the timber ere it’s turned to cordwood and stacked for winter’s return. In total, the Burning Rose of the third decan (and the duodecima of Capricorn) throws off a great deal of light as beautiful things are destroyed — yet no heat and no labor is done by the flame; there is cold comfort in the ashes that remain.
Venus alone in the tenth house offers much in the way of coherence in the next ten days — brief laurels, briefly worn, and quickly discarded. At present, we’re often only as good as our current project, or our next. There will be altercations between us and our spouses or business partners or bosses, give and take between what we owe to others, and what we seek for ourselves. Remember and recall the tendencies of the present moment to draw us toward cruelty and cold calculation: if there is to be any warmth or love or light, any creativity or artistry, we must ourselves be the morning stars of kindness and compassion, shining invisibly at the heights of our powers. She may be somewhat out of her element, somewhat out of sorts and up too early for her comfort, but at a time when Saturn promises harsh responsibility and Mars endeavors to bring authoritative violence to bear, she alone offers kindness and coherence in the challenging days ahead.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Scorpio: You’re not doing it for the boss’s praise, but the boss’s praise likely feels pretty good this week; just be careful because it may lead to less-pleasant work with a lazy new partner down the line. You may have to bring your addictions to heel in order to keep your income and expenses balanced. A family member or neighbor is a source of ongoing irritation, and finding a suitable, well-designed salve is beneficial.
Sagittarius: You’re harnessing your natural tendencies toward money-making enterprises effectively these days, and learners seek your advice more often since you have something to teach: offering a short class or program of study may be beneficial. Review and reassess what kinds of actions make you happy; help your friends understand what sort of business you’re in, so they can best convert your dreams to assisting actions.
Capricorn: You’ve likely felt that you’ve been in charge of all sorts of problems (in your family, in your community, in your personal life) for a long time — most of the last two years, in fact — and you can feel some relief that all that is coming to an end in a few months. But you can feel the pressure building up, and there’s just an urge to let all the pestilence explode over everyone around you. A more surgical approach is beneficial: before lancing your boils? Boil your lances, and remember that light and heat
Aquarius: Take a look around your house in the next day or two with a critical eye. What doesn’t match your dreams? What can be fixed? What junk is keeping you from being creative at work, what’s getting in your kids’ ways, what’s preventing your partner (if any) from expressing themselves? You don’t have to clean everything, but you want to start restoring your house to a state of functional divinity.
Pisces: Not every addiction is a marriage-wrecking, home-destroying horror; but you still ought to take a look at the ways that your attachments are damaging relationships with friends, or using up funds you ought to save for other projects. You likely have a few things you’d like to create, and there’s another project that needs some finishing touches in your career that requires either travel, or some secret learning… and you may find that a significant personal pleasure has to take a back seat for a time while you get other things done.
Aries: Take care with your fingers during the Mars retrograde in Aries — in your ambition to cut corners, you may wind up cutting yourself; burning through your bad shit, may result in a self-burn of challenging proportions. Of course you’re overburdened at work, doling out cold grace and responsible doses of bad medicine… but you may have to work on your bedside manner.
Taurus: Your partner (if you’ve got one) is doing quite a lot of work at the moment on securing a future, but it probably doesn’t look like it. Meanwhile, you may be finding sex and romance a thing to rebel against — or to hold on for dear life. Mars is trying to restructure how you spend your solo time, and wants you to rediscover your passions and ambitions, but you keep clamping down on your own efforts to learn and grow. Home is where you’re going to have to energize your artistic gifts, one small project at a time.
Gemini: The standard rule in baseball (and justice) is three strikes, but right now you’re only allowed two, especially if it concerns how you get others to give you money, or how you respond to the legacies of your family history. A new creative response to the community or to your family may be the way to make peace with your past — but you’re also in need of some downtime away from others, where you have a chance to plant yourself in a chair and untie some of the knots that hold you down.
Cancer: The next ten days may start with a sense that you need to learn some new skills — but that the press of work is keeping you away from your studies. Shine a light on your home habits, particularly on your solo spaces; and lift up your blinders: it’s likely that work has eaten into your personal time during the pandemic. You may gain some insight into how to spin this to your advantage, and reclaim your time.
Leo: Public kudos for a recent project at work bring notice of your artistry and skill, but chances are that you’d rather be at home with your sweetie. A family member (perhaps a neighbor) is hoodwinking you into an effort to relieve boredom, or spin a situation to their advantage — form a gentle alliance with a figure on the other side of the question to keep things balanced. Your partner is trying to reclaim independence from a work environment that’s too comfortable, but it it may require a shock to your work-flow before they see their chance to look for greener pastures.
Virgo: “I work alone” is the mantra of every righteous cop in every police drama, but you may be feeling more isolated than ever (and getting a reputation for curmudgeonly retreat). Be ethical in how you use your money in the next ten days, but be prepared to be in the flow, too: money-in roughly equally money-out. Home needs a bit of polish, and a little extra protection; A few professional colleagues may see some pretty-harsh layoffs. See if you can pick up a new certification quickly, to distinguish you from the pack; recommend the same to a partner if you can. Someone who was planning to pay you, may try to cut-and-run.
Libra: Sources as ancient as the Bible and as modern as Britney Spears have spoken about the anxiety and difficulty of loneliness, and you’re likely feeling that pretty hard right now. You still have to work the fluff of your life into a strong thread — and be prepared to cut off the thread in the right places to make a strong weave, or to knit the fabric of your next big move. But this also means that you have to get out of your big chair at home, and do things for yourself; you may also have to retreat a little from a contemplated conflict with a partner for a while. Until you understand how your own obsession with the current news cycle has blinded you to a larger truth, you’ll have a hard time getting your own point of view across to others.
I now have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it continues its second year. I use Patreon funds (as well as my own funds) to support artists, artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to my well-being and the world’s. You can schedule an appointment with me using Accuity Scheduling, for a natal or solar return consultation.
I use iPhemeris for my charting software, and screenshot it to make charts. I want to thank the team that develops iPhemeris for the addition of Terms and Decans to their charts, appearing here for the first time!
I use Christopher Warnock‘s The Mansions of the Moon as the basis of my Moon placement delineations, and Austin Coppock‘s 36 Faces as the basis of much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me. My own book, A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight, is now available as PDF download from my Etsy website.
Any errors in these columns are my own.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with me, you can find additional information on the Services and Classes page.
If you want to read some of my other astrologically-oriented poetry, To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions mentioned in these columns. For the Behenian Stars is a collection of hymns to the first/brightest sixteen stars. The Sun’s Paces are hymns to the thirty-six Hellenistic-era deities and ascended souls of the Greco-Egyptian Decans-calendar. While not astrological, Festae contains hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits from the calendar created by Numa Pompilius, the second ancient King of Rome.