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The Sun plunges into the depths of Pisces II at 4:13 am EST on the last day of February this year. Austin Coppock called this face of Pisces, “The Net”, and compared it with the magical net of Indra from Hindu mythology — a magical device of hemp or jute cord, with a faceted diamond lure tied at every knotted crossing of the cords. Designed to capture fish in the sea, or opponents in battle, the diamonds attract our attention and distract us with their glittering reflections of light; yet the cords are strong enough to hold and bind us fast. We are at risk of being deluded by the flashes of light and believing ourselves within a palace, while truly being snared within a strong and dangerous trap that is certain to render us helpless.
The ancient Greeks of Alexandria certainly recognized the nature of the next ten days of the calendar as perilously wrapped in trickery. They assigned them to a mysterious figure, Dolus, whose name means “trickery”, who was apprentice to Prometheus the shaper of humankind and all the animals. According to myth, Prometheus made a goddess, Truth, out of clay, and then started a second figure in her exact likeness. But then, other responsibilities called him away from the pottery shed, and he assigned Dolus to finish the work. Dolus was not a bad ceramicist, but he was not the equal of Prometheus. Returning at the close of day, the master craftsman found two figures — one with graceful stride and one with awkward feet; one with a stern frown, and one with smiling face and eyes. “One is Truth,” he said, “and therefore the other is Falsehood.” He put both through the heat of the kiln, and breathed life into both of them. The result is that mortals today are fully enabled to speak Truth, and to speak Falsehood — and telling them apart is a matter of some difficulty, of course, particularly as we see the Truth and the Falsity at greater and greater distances from ourselves. Up close, it’s easy to tell them apart, maybe — but when a politician on a stage fifty yards away invokes Falsehood rather than Truth, it’s hard to tell the smiling goddess from the frowning one. When a salesman you’ve never met slaps an appliance in a store with a little too much enthusiasm, is it Truth he invokes, or Falsehood? When a preacher in a church that seats fifty thousand people invokes such a spirit, it’s a little more difficult, is it not? On television, it’s even harder still. The greater the distances between you and the source, the harder it is to tell the master potter’s work from the apprentice, and the more difficult it is to see if it is Truth or Falsehood on display. Is it the palace of diamond, or the ropes of jute, that surround us? Are we captives or are we free? That range of challenges are on full display in this decan.
The duodecimas, or twelfth-parts of the signs of the Zodiac, speak to this nature. The middle decan of Pisces is subdivided into four of these duodecimas, reflecting Cancer, Leo, Virgo, and Libra — here, we see the story of four aspects of this truth or falsehood on display: is this shell or armor a home, or is it a prison? Is this lion going to eat me or does he only want to play? Is this woman studying me as a potential partner, or as a threat to be neutralized? Am I winning or losing in this financial transaction?
Jupiter is the ruler of Pisces as a whole, and this decan is his particular domain — the last place where his expansive and generous nature is on full display. Generosity, though, can be a kind of trap. Indra’s net is a splendid prison indeed — caught by rough jute, we are nonetheless surrounded by diamonds. Dolus’s apprentice-work as a potter is enough the equal of his master Prometheus’s work, that the two goddesses of Falsehood and Truth look much the same without careful attention; even the little white lie can do lasting harm and bring ruin. Mythmaking, in all these stories, hinges on the problem of separating truth from fiction. I’ve just moved to a new house, myself, and I find myself thinking often about how I must frame my current perceptions on either the window frame and curtains, or what lies beyond the window — the shift of perspective, the acceptance of different points of view, is an essential part of understanding whether we are trapped in falsehoods, or accepting of the truth of current limited circumstances. The two states are not dissimilar.
The Sun is well below the horizon, making this a Night Chart — and the Moon, just past full in Virgo, is tending toward darkness, making this a powerful chart for the night-loving planets Venus and Mars. Venus is under the Sun’s beams and therefore weakened, but Mars stands square-by-house to Saturn and thus offers troubles and difficulties that cut off our fun and hobbies or causes disruptions in the lives of our children.
Beginning with the Ascendant in Capricorn, sharing the decan called The Throne with Pluto, we find the toxic problem of leadership creates substantive patterns around the next ten days. I choose the word ‘substantive’ here rather than ‘substantial’ quite deliberately, meaning something having independent existence or a basis in reality — the rights we receive, and the responsibilities we owe to one another, are strongly defined in the next week or so, and likely to be experienced as necessary. Matters of principles, rather than rules, are likely to come into strong sympathy with one another.
In the second house of money and finance, Saturn, Mercury, and Jupiter occupy the first and second decans of Aquarius. In the first decan, Saturn receives the Mark of Exile, warning us that we cannot possibly go on living like this — there is an unsustainable and simplified model of reality overlaid atop a more complex and interconnected truth of reality or ‘really real world’ — and the two cannot be so far out of alignment as they are now, without challenges or difficulties. Mercury and Jupiter in the second decan invite us to consider the that higher or deeper order of truth in our practical decision-making; it’s not possible to live so far out of balance without communicating our beliefs. At the same time, we need to be merciful with ourselves (for now), for living out of that balance. Squares from the Mercury-Jupiter pair connect to the Midheaven and the Imum Coeli in the 11th and fifth houses, too — If your personal happiness and your reputation among your friends is being driven out of balance by your ecological, food, or financial choices, maybe you should look at that.
In the third house of neighbors and extended relations, Venus is in the decan called The Labryinth, The Sun is in the The Net, and Neptune holds the first degree of the last decan The Cup of Blood. Only two signs, Pisces and Taurus, have all three decans activated at the moment — here we have Venus wandering in search of a way out of the mess of the pandemic; the Sun focusing its light on the very real difficulties of being stuck at home all the time compared with the reality of the peace and happiness that it has also brought to many people; and the widening influence of the vaccination schedules making it possible for more people to be out and about in your neighborhood. COVID hasn’t gone away, mind you — but this is about re-knitting the connective tissues that join us together, for both good and ill, in the next ten days. We’re not likely to be finished with this work, but it will at least start.
In the fifth house of pleasures and happiness and children, we find Uranus, the Imum Coeli, and Mars all in Taurus, each lighting up a single decan — The Plow, the Yoni-Lingam, and The Prayer Beads. It strikes me as significant that mutable water and fixed earth are both so active in the next ten days. The shape of our emotional and practical day-to-day thoughts are likely to be at the forefront of our minds; while the genuine pleasures of daily life will be going through some upheavals as more of our friends become vaccinated, and it feels ‘safer’ to meet people after a long absence or distant socializing at best.
The North Node – South Node axis remains on the Gemini-Sagittarius polarity, which ancient and medieval sources tell us is the most dangerous configuration of the eclipse points. At 15° and some minutes, they activate The Hermaphrodite in Gemini and The Bridle in Sagittarius — giving us a hunger for a more-balanced approach to work and illness in the future, but making the shits come out in how we rein in our animal instincts and face dangers in a more humane way, especially when we consider and reflect on our experiences in the past year or more. Post-pandemic, we’re likely to want a more sane approach to our labor than we’ve taken in the last year — but we may not get it. The dangers posed by this configuration persist in some form until January 2022.
The Lot of Fortune, a point calculated from the relationship of the Sun and Moon to the Ascendant — we are promised good times in the company of others, particularly our close peers like spouses and business partners. These relationships require greater nurturance than usual, but also a fair bit of analytical work too.
Finally, the Moon is in the third decan of Virgo, The Sarcophagus, and the Fourteenth Mansion of the Moon, “The Unarmed”. The Sarcophagus speaks to the transformation of what is dead by new life into new forms; while the Fourteenth Mansion promises the breaking apart and dissolution of incongruous bonds. Positioned in the ninth house, The Moon indicates the beginning of some transformation of long-distance travel and tourism, and perhaps some changes in the realm of higher education. However, these changes are likely to have both winners and losers — a fresh body in the coffin is a feast for the worms, but not necessarily a happy occasion for anyone else.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
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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, as is my Almanac for 2021.
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.