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Late afternoon of 19 January 2021, the eve of the US inaugural, finds the Sun in the first decan of Aquarius, the Mark of Exile. Associated with the rulership of Saturn and the administration of Venus, the ten days when the Sun occupies this part of the sky are sometimes associated with Cain, the murderous son of Adam and Eve, or with other gods-marked kinslayers like Oedipus and Orestes. In Tarot, this decan parallels the five of swords, the single fighter defeating two others and taking their weapons as trophies.
But for the Greeks of Roman-era Alexandria, these ten days belonged most of all to Diké, the goddess of justice, the blindfolded and sword-wielding queen who presides over the government of laws and not of men. It’s perhaps fitting that her first day in office this year comes on the day between the memorial day for Martin Luther King, Jr, who recited the Bible in calling for “justice to roll like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream,” and inauguration of the next U.S. President. Justice is much on people’s mind that the moment, with the unequal execution of the laws being so widely on display over the summer and autumn, into early January of this year. The question of who administers the law, and how fairly it is administered, will be much on people’s minds for the next ten days.
Given the Sun’s placement in the eighth house as it enters this decan, the legacy of the law is likely to be much in mind. By and large, laws are made by dead people, and for the priorities and considerations of the dead. In the US, Constitutional precedent relies on key documents that are now 245 years old, and on historical examples from English common law that are centuries older than that. Australian aboriginal law is structured quite differently, based on principles laid down perhaps 40,000 years ago. Surviving Native examples of law and tradition from the northeast US indicate a greater degree of equality between the sexes, and a thoroughgoing awareness of the relationships between the human and non-human persons on the land. Religious law, whether Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu, whether centuries or millennia old, still begins in negative and positive frameworks built around this core idea, “don’t do to others what is hateful to yourself.” Some law, and some justice, is clearly a mortal affair: the current consequences of one group or another’s past political dominance. Some justice behaves more like an oral tradition f ancient wisdom; Over all of this framing, Diké stands in sightless watch, officially to bring down the sword on the neck of anyone who disobeys. In practice, we know that her attendants and courtiers stay her hand sometimes, for less than honest reasons; or ask her to bring down the blade slowly and with terrible cruelty. Is Justice herself perverse? Or her servants that think themselves her master?
The duodecimas of this decan tell something of that story. These 2.5°-wide sectors parallel Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, and Taurus — first, the discovery of the loophole or the challenge, then the wide-ranging and all-encompassing search for a solution; followed by the forceful imposition of new rules or techniques for determining what a truly just solution might be; and finally establishing a new and acceptable norm or status quo which locks in this state of affairs for a period of time. We may expect a similar flow over the next ten days — An awareness of the loopholes or flaws in existing systems, a wide-ranging investigation, and forceful efforts to manage or destroy the flaws in search of a new equilibrium. Because Aquarius is ruled by Saturn and is also a fixed sign, the next ten days will see the launch of this process, but are unlikely to see its conclusion — watch for the start of efforts at legal reform, but don’t expect their ending any time soon. Gandhi’s observation about fighting the system is relevant here: “First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” — but note that the word then gives no indication of how long it will be until then. Even inevitability can tread slowly and with much delay.
The Ascendant is in Cancer, the cardinal water sign, in the decan called The Walled Garden, and it’s interesting that the US inauguration takes place tomorrow behind one of the most visible and forceful displays of government power at an inauguration since the US Civil War. US inaugurations are not usually shows of military force, but tomorrow it will be. In the context of justice, it’s a thought-provoking display: a high wall keeping a certain portion of the populace out, and providing fear-free lushness within. Ruled by the Moon and administered Mercury, the combination invites us to consider technology’s and medicine’s role in how we shift our self-presentation to the world, and suggests that there’s a need to cloak or hide the self in coming days.
The Imum Coeli is in the third house and Virgo’s third decan the Sarcophagus, and in aversion to Mercury’s placement in Aquarius. Our best hopes and dreams for the future are likely going to need to be localized to our extended family, close allies and neighbors; and some portion of our dream may have to die and be reborn in the near future.
In close proximity to the IC is the Lot of Fortune, another theoretical point, in Libra’s first decan The Blindfold and Sword. Associated with the Eyrines in Greek myth, a collection of spirits that punished crimes of children against parents, youth against elders, citizens against the state, and spouses against each other… well. It’s hard not to notice some prominent stories about adult children, ex-wives and girlfriends who have turned in their partners from the Capitol riot and invasion of 6 January. It’s also not hard to see the stories of some of those invaders being rounded up and queued for their day in court — The Eyrines and Diké appear to be working in partnership here, suggested by the trine between them.
The South Node – North Node axis runs between Sagittarius and Gemini, indicating a shift away from more time in a working environment, and toward “more time alone with our families.” Each is in the middle decan of each sign, indicating a fairly certain promise of steady change over the next ten days — drifting away from work and more toward solitude, away from controlling the beast of our daily lives and more toward an alchemical reunion of our disparate parts.
The occidental quadrant is really heating up, preparing for a grand but invisible display in February when all the visible planets except Mars shall occupy Aquarius. In the Capricornian seventh house, Venus in The Pyramid and Pluto in The Throne demonstrate the basic challenges of life in quarantine: the necessity of creatively managing the hierarchies of our relationships in the oppressive environments of lockdown conditions, and the toxic build-up of too many decisions made in too short a time with too few inputs of wisdom or expertise.
In the eighth house, The Sun, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury are all vying for our attention. Saturn and Jupiter are both under the Sun’s beams, which is normally considered a debilitating condition… but Saturn is the ruler of the place. Like a noble who is currently hosting the king in his country estate, cold harshness applies in the management of affairs, even if there is temporary levity and generosity to accommodate the sovereign. Additionally, Saturn for the moment monopolizes the monarch’s time, with Jupiter’s mercy and generosity, and Mercury’s expertise, both held at bay by Saturn’s more boundary-setting concerns.
Neptune and The Midheaven are both found in the ninth house of Pisces, in the third decan The Cup of Blood. With Pisces’ ruler in aversion, Neptune assumes considerable authority here — a crowd of vague and undirected souls, chasing uncertain sacraments under the public eye.
The Moon occupies the tenth house, Aries’s second decan The Crown, and the Second Mansion “The Belly of Aries”. This last is a position of significance for reconciliation, serenity and sovereignty — and the Moon represents the people. Together these overlapping positions promise new roles for women in our lives in the next ten days, but also indicate reconciliations or unity on important matters of public business.
The real challenge in the chart is found in the eleventh house of allies, friends and associates, where Mars and Uranus prepare for a conjunction in about 24 hours, squaring Jupiter and Saturn, in the third decan of Taurus called The Plow. Seeds of violence, uprising, and turbulence are being planted in the present moment. As the conjunction becomes exact, they’ll be joined shortly thereafter by the Moon, giving a real world and material shape to conflicts that were previously beneath the surface. Robert Hand, in Planets in Transit, regarded the Mars-Uranus conjunction as one of the most malefic in all of astrology; it reminds us to hold onto our hats and our seats in the coming days.
Rising Sign Horoscopes
Cancer: Watch out for arguments and fights with and between your friends over the next few days, and stay out of them; nobody wins these and you will likely come out looking bad — and so will the cause you’re supporting. Be cautious with supporting traditions for the sake of traditions. You’re in over your head in trying to understand the current medical issues… but you could, maybe, possibly, leave it to the experts? Avoidance of large gatherings recommended — but hey, you’re a Cancerian, that shouldn’t be hard, right?
Leo: See Cancer above, but this time the argument is likely between your colleagues at work rather than close friends. Work environments are going to be especially difficult for peers at your same managerial or employment level these ten days. You might be ok at a big event — but you might be carrying a bug home to your partner, spouse or significant other(s). There’s no harm in waiting just a little bit longer — or setting up a period of isolation before you head home. A short-term learning or writing project yields kingly rewards.
Virgo: Ever find yourself dreaming about living in the country on some big acreage with a dozen of your closest friends in some sort of hippie community? Yeah… about that. Remember that those sorts of societies tend to come apart over mundane matters, like who takes the garbage out and who washes the dishes. Good fortune for you comes from recognizing the true value of the sort of home you have, and recognizing the mix of fairness and responsibility that comes with it. If you’re in school, there’s a real risk of a breach of protocol or a serious argument with a teacher or a student — or for an accident if traveling long-distance. Maybe give your biting reply-all email a few hours, or your travel plans a few days, to settle before making any sudden moves?
Libra: You’re not likely to be blind to what actual justice looks like, feels like, or sounds like — but all the same, put some time into explaining to yourself what justice IS. There’s no shame in reconsidering what fairness or basic humanity should look like, but there’s benefit to you right now in burying some old ideas and putting a fresh polish on some new ones. Home is likely to be both a creative nest at the moment and a painful prison — but sharing this miniature hell with someone you love might make it more heavenly. If you’re feeling too caged, experimenting with going back to older entertainments would be beneficial. There may be a fight coming with your partner over shared finances; or with the government over taxes. Be prepared for a shake-up at work.
Scorpio: a shakeup in the romantic realm may be coming, and it may be over who you can be friends with, or what that friendship looks like. For some, this may look like jealous behavior; for others it may be some necessary and appropriate boundary setting; and still others may see it as a chance to go to war for their friends… or on their friends. Before you rush into the streets, though, take a look at your personal finances, and your shared finances. Don’t barricade the streets or strap on the body armor for a fight if you can’t take the consequences: you won’t walk away from this without your treasury drained and your chariots smashed, as Sun Tzu warns. A work project you thought was going to make your reputation dries up. But there’s also time for fun with friends, as long as you hold appropriate boundaries.
Sagittarius: Your reputation has a chance to blow up this week, and not necessarily in a good way. Your work might catch fire and you’ll be in high demand, though: be prepared to batten down, or blossom, depending on which way the wind blows. Your partner may need assistance with financial matters: try not to be the penny-pinching ass on the throne, but find a creative solution to building a structure for success. Family members go through some health challenges, and your opportunities for happiness wax and wane. Keep a close eye on the state of your household and emerging expenses.
Capricorn: Spend some luxuriant hours in company with your partner if you have one, and use that time to let go of the authority-based stress that comes from having too much responsibility. Your finances will be under a lot of pressure in February: use the next two decans / twenty days to put your accounts to rights, gather your tax info, and batten down the hatches for that storm. One of your regular forms of entertainment may explode in the next ten days, or you may have a falling-out with the people with whom that you pursue that fun: the question of how much it costs may have something to do with putting that fun on hold. Taking on a small, intellectual project that solves a problem in your living space carries benefit. Don’t get sucked into weird arguments with the uncle who believes every conspiracy theory: it’ll make you question the medical decisions you’ve already committed to.
Aquarius: Doomscrolling is not helping you: when you’re alone, spend time on painting or sculpting. Crayons would be better than constantly refreshing for the news, really. Part of it is that there’s an enormous amount of weight on your life right now: Sun, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury are all insisting that it’s time to adjust your life to their plans for you — and soon it’ll be Venus and the Moon as well, a chorus of voices screaming to work out, get in shape, read a book, dance more, eat better food, listen to the experts, set better boundaries, be kinder and more compassionate and gentle, and oh, yeah, drink more fluids. Moderation in all things, folks —home life is where things get dicey and revolutionary, and it would be better to move in the direction of what makes you happy than what makes you a better person.
Pisces: Internalize and hold close the learning that you’re doing right now, but recognize that it may take some larger expenses before you can fully complete what you’ve begun. An argument with a family member or neighbor can go badly, with risks to both of you — is it worth carrying on about this immediately, or can you let it lie for a few days? Solitude is impossible to find right now, and yet it would be so valuable, even to take a ‘morning long retreat’ to a bathtub or an attic for a few hours of writing reflection or drawing. Schedule an art date with a friend; if you’re single or polyamorous it might turn into something more frisky. Less work, more home time, carries benefits: nobody at work wants to get into harness and help you pull the load that has to be dragged across the finish line, so you may as well assemble your Frankenstein’s monster under the comfort of your own roof.
Aries: Reconciliation is hard, but it costs you little, relatively speaking. What is costly is the bang-crash if you’re not paying attention. More caution is required. Yet you also need partners in this life: which means more tuning-in to the potential fights with friends (and former friends), and less living in your own bubble. COVID may affect someone in your own monkey circle before February. A difficult boss or supervisor may reject your attempts to improve the culture and aesthetic of the workplace.
Taurus: Stay safe the next few days — the Mars-Taurus conjunction is coming for you, likely in the form of a sturm-und-drang fight with a friend, possibly over perceived advantages and unearned privileges. It’s likely not worth getting sucked in. Recognize that your desires are going to run out of control for the next while, but that your efforts are not necessarily up to the task of meeting those desires fully. A professional retreat, to think about your business or career goals, may be beneficial; at the same time, there’s actual work to be done. Your partner may be spending a lot of time in front of the computer, too. If they are, identify if it’s to create constructive and positive materials, or if it’s accumulation of distress. Interrupt the latter, but let the former continue whenever possible, to its logical ending point.
Gemini: It’s said that Geminis can be summed up as the verb “I think”. These ten days or so until February are likely to go a bit further: “I think I want…” and the list becomes never-ending at that point. Where possible, a hybrid solution should be sought — this is especially true if your own daily habits and work life are not up to par on solving the cash flow issues you may be experiencing. There’s a growing risk for a fight between you and an important ally, potentially over the issue of travel, and specifically travel for reasons of compassion or health. Do you really care about what they’re doing? Or is it your own defense mechanism causing you to lash out at them? Or are they lashing out at you for breaking quarantine or isolation for transparently bad reasons? Your program for learning new skills gets shut down, or at least paused —redirect that energy and attention toward slightly different goals for the moment, so it’s more easy to recover and get back to the main program, later on.
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. if you don’t want to become a regular patron, you can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments. You can also 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