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Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead, was celebrated by the population of Hellenistic-era Alexandria during the next ten days, as the Sun entered the third decan of Aquarius. It will do that at 8:22 am EST on 8 February 2021 over my new home in western Massachusetts.
Moving into a new house has not been without difficulties of its own. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces, about the Decans, called this Decan The Knot, and associated it with the story of Alexander the Great at Gordium. The Macedonian king found a chariot of Ares there, bound by a complicated knot to a pillar in the temple. Whoever untied the knot, of course, would become ruler of all of Asia. Faced with a complex intellectual problem, Alexander took the direct solution. He drew his sword and sliced cleanly through the knot, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy — whoever loosed the chariot would become the conqueror of Asia, and Alexander set himself immediately to that task. It’s strange to contemplate the story of the loosener, or the severer, of the knot of Gordium, with the story of Osiris as the king of the Egyptian underworld, pharaoh of the two lands under the world or behind it. Alexander ruled over the realms of life, but did so through conquest of vast territories and through the murder or death of thousands of innocent civilians — Osiris’s realm grew immeasurably vast during Alexander’s conquests, as armies and city populations were put to the sword, and the conqueror of Asia loosed the chariot of Ares upon the world.
As a fixed air sign ruled by Saturn, Aquarius all too easily represents the challenges of COVID quite clearly — it is the stiffness of the lungs reported from the beginning of the pandemic, and restriction of the airways. It is the restriction of information, and the boundaries on useful treatments for those who already have it (though the vaccine to prevent infection appears to come from somewhere else besides Aquarius). [N.B., the symbols in this new glyph at left are a font set called Physis devised by Hugh Tran, a professional astrologer, on twitter at @hughtranastro, and you can buy them only from him, here.] This third decan is ruled by the Moon, providing a feminine and nocturnal shape to the days ahead (and mirroring Osiris’s relative passivity in the story of his own death and dismemberment, and his own relative gullibility when faced with his brother’s treachery). The Moon moves roughly the same number of degrees in two and a half days, as Saturn moves in two and a half years — and so there is a sense, here, that the Moon will bring a degree of difficulty and slowness to the next ten days as though it were acting like (or in the place of) Saturn — who is also naturally present in Aquarius (although in the third decan, The Mark of Exile).
This matters because the next ten days will see all the visible planets except Mars in Aquarius, up to and including the Moon. It is as though we see a council of the Solar System’s natural rulers, gathered together in a parliament to discuss high and mighty matters. As the moon passes by each planet in the next week, she will consult with Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, the Sun and Mercury, favoring each of their opinions in turn — stern and limiting Saturn, connecting and gracious Venus, generous and merciful Jupiter, the Sun high and mighty and hot, and finally amoral and analytical Mercury. She will thus consider a range of options, and yet is likely to side most of all with reigning Saturn, urging other planets to yield to his capacities for restraint and dissolution of norms. Additionally, these planets meet in the twelfth house of endings, obstacles, and decline — larger restrictions and limitations seem to be destined to arrive shortly, with the darkening of the Moon.
The duodecimas, or twelfth parts of the signs of the Zodiac, speak to this decline and fall: four of them make up the ten degrees of this decan, beginning with Libra, passing through Scorpio and Sagittarius, and ending with Capricorn. In a metaphorical sense, we begin with a restriction on the Sun’s capacity to ease, help and heal; followed by a period of intensity and harshness; an attempt to use both wisdom and technology to problem-solve; before a final descent into darkness. There’s a roughness to the ten days ahead, in other words, which is not easily overcome.
As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, most of the visible planets have already gathered in Aquarius for a conference: Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, the Sun and Mercury are already here, in the twelfth house of obstacles, limitations, institutionalizations, hospitals and difficulties. The more planets there are in a single sign, the harder it is to unpack meanings or understand the progress of events; here is a perfect example of that kind of stellated trouble. Saturn is the ruler of the sign, and that privileges his communications over all others; yet the presence of the Sun overshadows his presence and forces him to be a somewhat less-miserly host: the food may be cold and badly prepared for the feast of the gods, but there is a feast of some kind. The presence of both benefics, Venus and Jupiter, offers both grace and mercy in the days ahead; we’re likely to see falling COVID numbers and beneficial results from declines in the number of infected persons and deaths. Yet we’re still a long way from out of the woods, of course, and our long periods of isolation are unlikely to end this week. The expertise of Mercury applied to medicine, though, is essentially amoral; and they are also a political weather-watcher — but even though politics and medicine make poor companions, the herald-planet is still likely to split the difference and prefer one solution over another, accepting limits and boundaries for the sake of moving forward. Ironically enough, Mercury is retrograde, so “forward” is walking clear-eyed right back into limitations and probably quarantines as well. The Lot of Fortune is also here, suggesting that our best fortunes are pursued in isolation from others.
The Ascendant is more or less conjunct Neptune in the First House, in the third decan The Cup of Blood. Neptune is the dissolving force, the action of mass movements and crowds that disperses and dilutes the actions of kings and emperors or that gives popes their authority and their divisions; thus there is the sense here of our own selves being committed to one or more such mass movements, roped in and yoked to medical and social issues without necessarily knowing that we are.
In contrast, Mars and Uranus are both in Taurus, with the warrior in the middle decan of the Yoni Lingam and the inventor in The Plough. Each is square to other planets in Aquarius, with revolutionary Uranus establishing themselves in conflict with Saturn (yet likely to be defeated by borders and fences) and with Venus (and yet unable to craft a coherent narrative). These obstacles plant seeds for the future but fail to deliver an immediate result. The visible and red solider Mars establishes his own place of conflict, jumping the gap between the Lot of Fortune and the Sun — a cadre of people who lack good fortune yet see a way to unite their neighborhoods and families in a state of discontent with other powers. Perhaps inarticulate and enraged, he nonetheless has practical steps to take toward a closer and deeper union with his tribe of allies.
The North Node – South Node axis plunges downward from the heights of heaven to the depths of the Imum Coeli, urging us to spend less time at the office and find more ways and excuses to find time at home. Trines from the twelfth house invite us to seek ongoing isolation, and an alchemical union of activity and easiness, forcefulness and moderation. No good comes from rushing forth without a plan; the hope of happy households requires a mix of reticence and reserve.
Pluto and The Moon hold the eleventh house, indicating that we have occasion to open up new lines of communication and practical assistance with our friends, and build tribes of our own to support a new normal for ourselves. Yet we must recall that underworldly Pluto is both the accumulator of riches and the force-multiplier of poisons — there’s wealth to be found through association with our friends and allies right now, but also potentially deadly difficulty. The Moon in the Twenty-Second Mansion promises a return to good health, but frees the already-sick and infirm first. In the current state of affairs, this argues for a successful vaccination program for the rich, the old and the infirm — but ongoing challenges for the poor, the staff of essential workers, and those who remain committed to the nominal framework established through the usual, lawful channels.
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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 Hugh Tran‘s Physis typeface to craft logos for this blog, as well.
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.
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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