Sun in Libra III

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The twelfth of October, as sundown approaches, welcomes in the start of the third decan of Libra: called The Gyroscope by Austin Coppock in his book, 36 Faces, this face of Libra is ruled by Jupiter. The idea of the gyroscope, of course, is a series of counterweighted circles and spheres which move independently of one another, but provide the whole mechanism with stability… as long as it keeps moving. Once it stops, it’s a tricky thing to get going again; once in motion, it will remain in motion, but once at rest, and it’ll stay there forever without outside help. So it is with the next ten days. If you’re moving now, you’re going to have to keep moving. If you slow down or stop, you’ll need some outside motivation to start up again.

We look to other sources to see why this is so. Giordano Bruno, in On the Shadow of the Ideas, described the figure or image of this face as “a centaur followed by a man with a goblet of wine and a loaf of bread, and preceded by a completely naked man.” The image suggests a man without benefit of community, naked in the world, about to be trampled down by wild forces beyond his control… and likely about to receive Last Rites. Bruno may have been reminded of ancient descriptions of the ruling deity of this part of the year from Alexandria, Egypt: Nemesis, the punisher of arrogance against the gods — the fatal flaw known as hubris. Hubris of course is the destructive pride or misplaced self-confidence that allows men to contend with gods… briefly. Nemesis’s name is derived from an ancient Greek term which means “to give that which is due,” a thought not unlike Westerners’ ideas about karma or fate. Often shown as a naked goddess carrying a tally stick, a bridle, a whip or scourge, a sword and a chalice (most famously in an Albrecht Dürer engraving), she delivers to every mortal what is their due. Alas, as Mister Billy Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet,“Treat every man as he deserves, and who shall escape whipping?” It’s a good question — yet her other implements suggest a range of punishments beyond whipping — being bound or harnessed to a task, being cut down to measure against the tally stick, being executed, or perhaps poisoned. Not a nice range of fates, really.

The ruler of the decan, Jupiter the noble benefic, indicates that Nemesis has a habit of leading us down the garden path that trends ever downward. Venus the queen of love invites us as the overall ruler of Libra to sample all the pleasures of the marketplace — as long as we recognize their cost. Yet with both Jupiter and Venus tipping the scale here, the attitude is one of enjoyment of all pleasures, to their greatest degree and in all their variations: pleasure, taken too far, turns into pain. A love of delicious food becomes obesity; a love of leisure becomes the shirking of work; a love of sexuality becomes dissipation. With Venus and Jupiter both tipping an extra thumb on the scale, we get an extra-double-dose of sweetness… and the diabetes that comes with it.

By Terms or Bounds, this time belongs overall to Venus as the ruler of the sign — but the first degree belongs to Jupiter, the next five to Venus and the last four to Mars. Again we see the habits of Nemesis play out: the expansion or overextension of pleasure and happiness, the giving way to the aesthetic and the assembly of a coherently-beautiful world-view, and finally the surgeon’s knife and cauterizer or the executioner’s blade and the heretic’s burning-stake. Nemesis always finds us in the end.

By Duodecimas, the twelfth-parts of each sign, the last ten degrees of Libra belong to Gemini, Cancer, Leo and Virgo — the decision to have both instead of just one; the avoidance of the underlying emotional issues; the overly dramatic display of one’s triumphs and achievements; and finally, the moment when the bill comes due for all the prior excesses. Here again, Nemesis finds us out, and presents the account for our analysis.

It’s tempting, in this American election season, to point the finger at the other and demand that the opponents and the rivals face the reckoning alone. In truth, though, the reckoning comes due for all of us. Nemesis is unsparing in doling out her bridles and her poisoned cups, or bringing her sword down on the neck of the unwary who believe the accounting never comes due. She’s rare with her pardons, generous with her more unfavorable distributions.

The Decan is in the last part of the 8th house, a position usually warning of death, grave illness, and the broad range of tragedies we experience in life. In a pandemic, I dare not shie away from the reality that many could die in any randomly-chosen ten day period — but Nemesis has her tally stick out: I must speak a warning that pride goes before falls, most especially now. Tread lightly, tread carefully… tread humbly. Nemesis finds us all in the end.

Planetary Placements

The Ascendant of the chart is in Pisces, suggesting that we’re in deep waters where we know our own minds least-well of all observable things. It’s a common trait among those infected with hubris — we see our own faults and flaws least-well of all, and use camouflage and hidden depths and clouds of white coral sand to obfuscate and misdirect any close investigation. Neptune‘s close proximity serves to further cloud our minds against our own minds, cloaking in layers of delusion and confusion who we ourselves are, and what we may be trying to achieve. The Ascendant rushes forward into the third Decan of Pisces, The Cup of Blood, eager for sanguine solutions to common problems; as long as blood is spilled, does it matter whose it is? Yet Neptune retrogrades back into the middle Decan, The Net, suggesting a level of internet-addled fog covers over a widening trap. Beware those prepared to rush ahead — and those prepared to linger back.

Mars retrograde in Aries occupies the second house, in the Decan called The Burning Rose. Squaring Pluto within a degree and opposing the Sun, the warrior planet takes on a Venusian guise — refusing our higher natures, and expressing our pustulant venoms at our friends and allies, Mars gets passionate about protecting our own assets, at the expense of communal goods and common weal. Even when we know that we benefit from a shared life with others, we are likely to drive some friends away, and say ugly words about others who are intertwined with us in ways we don’t understand. Very little of the next two weeks may make sense, except that we may rage against any threat that threatens our belongings. For some in the western US, the fire-damage to our personal belongings may be literally true, though, and my heart goes out to them.

Uranus in Taurus in the third house indicates that the themes of extended family and neighborhoods are likely to be struck with some degree of revolutionary shift and new fervor. The upstart planet’s presence in The Plough suggests that we are in the process of planting seeds now, in the wrong time of the year, that will yield difficult fruit later in the spring or summer. Seeds that need an overwinter in the ground are often unusually hard, and need the frost followed by the spring warmth to crack their shell; what emerges is rarely expected

In the fourth house, the North Node and the Imum Coeli occupy the last decan of Mercury’s Gemini; this is a province administered by the Sun called The Executioner’s Sword, which is trine to the Sun as the distance between them narrows. As the distance between the North Node and IC widen, we can expect that the need to complete home projects that are out of synch with our personal dreams may appear — COVID may require you to put off a bathroom remodeling; or maybe it will require you to keep your car outdoors this winter, so as to make extra space in the garage. In general, it is a time to act rather than to wait, when it comes to safeguarding your home and immediate family.

We find the Moon at 25° Leo, in the last decan by Mars and called The Banner. Waning toward the dark of the solar conjunction on 16 October, the Moon indicates that we’re likely to be carrying other people’s banners for them — acting as proxies on behalf of people who barely know we exist. The Moon is also in the Twelfth Mansion of the Moon by tropical astrology’s rules, indicating that strife and competition are likely to dominate the next ten days. Sometimes the sidereal astrology is better, but not in this case — the stars behind the Moon belong to the Ninth Mansion, associated with severity, discord, and misery. Collecting the light and energy from these stars, and from Mars’ and Saturn’s present antagonisms, she promises a great deal of coming trouble both in the world and within ourselves.

The Seventh House, representing the most-significant others in our lives — spouse, business partners, statistically-significant-others — is ruled by Mercury in Scorpio, and is presently home to Venus and the Descendant Venus holds the middle decan, called The Hammer and Anvil, where she’s most at home in Virgo: the artist and artisan find this a useful creative place, making objects that are often both artful and practical. The Descendant, usually representing our partners, is in the third Decan, though, The Sarcophagus — signaling not the literal death of our partners, but rather the symbolic death where something must be transformed before new options can appear.

Our relationships are presently ruled by Mercury in the ninth house, in Scorpio, attending to questions of household and partnership and family. Mercury is slowing down, about to station retrograde, and warning us that the problems of isolation in quarantine are about to intensify and deepen, with access to education and the limits on travel taking a front seat. As weather cools in the northern hemisphere (and the northern part of the northern hemisphere), we can expect the pressures imposed on our households to heat up and let off steam, as we review the secrets withheld and the communications avoided in the late spring and early summer.

The Tenth House which examines our careers and reputations contains no planets, but here we find the Midheaven and the South Node. Both are in the last decan, The Horse’s Skull, which I often associate with the metaphor of ‘beating a dead horse’ — doubling down on failed strategies that no longer work. The Sign of Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, and this decan is ruled by Saturn… but both are in the next house over, where their sightlines are obstructed and their ability to affect career and professional matters favorably are significantly impeded. The South Node drains away happiness from this place, and delivers the crap — your chance of a promotion is significantly diminished; your boss may be dumping extra work on you without reward; or you may be discovering that it’s significantly harder to seek career advancement or reputation with the ‘big boss’ when you’re out of sight and out of mind.

The stellium of Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn all continue to occupy the second and third decans of Capricorn — The Pyramid is home to Jupiter at 18°, while Pluto and Saturn share the Labyrinth with the Lot of Fortune. Swift(er) moving Jupiter is gradually overtaking Pluto, ‘crushing’ it like a pimple in a slow-closing vise, against the anvil of Saturn; Jupiter’s own sextile with Neptune promises illusory rewards for those seeking advancement or advantage by mingling with friends; while Pluto’s square with the Sun suggests a lot of searching around for your “apocalypse team” or your “zombie defense squad” or your “Covid-19 pod-squad” may be a fruitless exercise: no one is equipped to go it alone, but no one is quite equipped to form the bonds of togetherness that the present moment needs, either.

Horoscope by Rising Sign

Pisces: Hate to break the news to you, but there’s some critical piece of information that you believe whole heartedly, that just isn’t so. Your spouse or a peer is genuinely, gently, trying to hammer some sense into you, but there on the verge of giving up. Bring your attention from the political realm back to the immediate circle of your family, and you may be able to bring about some good in the next week and a half. Don’t be too lost in dreams of career advancement.

Aries: Try to avoid burning through all your funds in the next ten days, and be prepared to amuse yourself in solitary. I’m not talking about internet-based alone-time; I’m thinking, maybe you should read a book this year? You’re feeling the weight of the world in your career life right now: professional colleagues are pressuring you, and the responsibility (and the money) are both huge. But both you and any partners are caught in a difficult part of your workflow; and you’re having difficulties bringing entertainments all the way from nebulous plans to “we’re living it!” A sudden rebound in your money-troubles may be possible: but if you’re living large, be on guard against a relapse.

Taurus: The question of where your neighborhood is, and who your neighbors are, looms large in the next ten days. Expect ongoing disruptions to the answer to this question, especially as Mercury retrogrades through the next three weeks and helps you distill a better answer. You may feel more alone than usual, or you may feel jammed up against more people than you’ve seen since last March; either way, your financial situation may be affected. Look around at friends that you think of as your professional development network; or at your learning community — is there anyone there that should be a closer friend? Anyone who needs to be pushed out? Your partner wants to focus on hobbies, but it’s probably needful to direct them toward their work… and you have to spend more time on creating a steadier footprint in your household.

Gemini: More dreams of a real home or a real family to cal your own? Does that seem at odds with your current relationships, or your current self-image? Is the life that you want in conflict with you career? Those emotions will be unusually present in the next ten days, but that doesn’t mean you have act on them. At the same time, you may find that the work you do in the world, or your responsibilities to an employer, are out of sync with what you think of as ‘right living’. You may have to be present to a romantic partner or spouse, and communicate a new aesthetic for your shared quarters, in order to pierce the illusion that either of you owe your life to your professional status or your careers.

Cancer: Work-work-work. You need a break, some time off from whatever you’re doing, but your friends and allies are laboring under oppressive conditions, and it’s hard not to carry the banner of your own projects in such trying times. Part of what has to happen is that you’re going to need to make more time for yourself, rather than prop up an ally’s career goals. For your own part, you may be discovering that an online learning opportunity isn’t all it was advertised to be; and you may have to shepherd your financial resources more carefully in the next ten days. Look to a sibling, or even a sibling’s spouse, for good advice in their professional field.

Leo: You may be souring on being a standard bearer for someone else’s goals or plans, especially as a daily or regular labor. Step back, and discuss with a close friend, intimate partner, what you’re getting out of this work that maybe you’re not seeing… and maybe some clarity about why you got into it in the first place. You may need to shine some light onto the historic legacies of your family tree: not just the honors and the dignities, but the balancing challenges and ugly baggage that may come with it. Some lines of communication in your household are clogged — you’re going to have to bring some heat to the discussion to melt that block, but you have to be prepared to get the fire aimed back at yourself: heat slowly, with much care and deliberateness.

Virgo: The question of partnership may be much on your mind these days — keeping the one you have if you have one, or losing them; or getting one if you haven’t got one. These questions aren’t just romantic; they have household and career implications too, whether talking about housemates or team leaders at your job-site. You’re the sort who goes along to get along, and right now the final-assembly task falls to you: but delusions from some allies, oppression from others, and the sheer exhaustion that arises from being simultaneously “at work” and “at home” shows that everyone else is not as reliable as you’d like. Whatever you do, don’t make the decision just on the basis of who entertains you the most — but do recognize that mutual entertainment and happiness has to be part of the framework of your allyship.

Libra: You’re all about the work-life balance usually, but these next ten days your past work may come back to … haunt?… too ghostly and attenuated a word… but besiege is too militant and confrontational. Let’s say visit — with a context that leans more toward the idea of an inspector or a critical reviewer than to a family friend. The good communicator has left, the caring boss has not yet arrived; in between is the busybody and nosy neighbor, poking into your business. This may take the form of a series of visitors to your home: one kind and one generous, and perhaps two unwanted troublemakers. Some false claims or internet trouble at your workplace may cause a money-argument between you and a spouse or ally; try not to upset the whole of your paid-labor apple cart in the next ten days, though.

Scorpio: Mercury’s presence in Scorpio these next ten days invites you to be scrupulously clear in your communications — but expect a review of what you mean and how it came across to be on the table, too, especially as the retrograde begins. You thought you were laying out a plan for long-term revitalization — and instead you’re going to have to explain yourself. A lot. It may not lead to the fights that you were expecting, though; and try to adopt higher safety precautions than usual in your daily labors, or when dealing with your pets. Some close friends are trying to be friendly, but although they bring good fortune your way, you’ll also have to establish boundaries during such visits, and decontaminate afterward.

Sagittarius: Clarity about what your dream is may never have felt farther away than right now — Your partners and allies, your household and parents, and you all seem to need so much immediately, and you don’t have much time to think about what you yourself need. A major financial decision looms in your future — and it’s difficult to plan for it, because it affects all other decisions so intimately. You also don’t know how to talk about it, either, because you’re lacking information and there are so many twists and turns to this situation. First things first: relax. Take the time you need. Put your dreams in some kind of order, and aim to figure out the big ones first. The rest will be addressed in the due course of time.

Capricorn: Sometime in this past year, that Game of Thrones quotation, “Chaos is a ladder” may have occurred to you, not simply as the ravings of a TV villain, but as an actual strategy for dealing with 2020. Maybe you’ve climbed far, possibly even as far as a throne. The thing is, once you’re on the throne, there’s nowhere to climb up to, and the chaos isn’t over yet. So it may be time to think about what allies secure your present position, and determine which associates and communities feed your well-being. Home, though, is a place where chaos doesn’t belong; and even if you’ve got your dream job, you have to do this work exceptionally well in crisis times to get to keep it. A partner may also be close to shaping the perfect job for themselves, too: be prepared to support their efforts with your own resources.

Aquarius: An effective cordon sanitaire in the next ten days is in your best interests. I’m not saying go do all your grocery shopping for two weeks and then go into lockdown before sunset today, mind you — but even as your friends generously lend their resources and advice to you, there’s also an expectation of mutual benefit that you haven’t thought through completely; and a surprise at home may shake things up quite badly, too. What seemed like an ideal arrangement could become a bit nightmarish as you try to carry out the completion of someone else’s dream. A partner may have to address lingering expectations from elder family members.


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 and artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to the well-being of the world. 

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.

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