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The Sun enters Aries at 5:38 am EDT over my location in western Massachusetts, bringing astronomical spring to the Northern Hemisphere. At this moment when the Sun enters Aries I, he does three things: first he crosses the celestial equator from south to north, beginning his journey through the Northern Hemisphere and the northerly constellations: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo. Second, he passes from Pisces, a changeable and watery sign, to a fiery and initiating sign — signifying the start of the astrological year. Third, he brings equilibrium of day and night, and enters a place where he is an honored guest, the bringer of light and warmth and heat.
Hellenistic Greeks in Alexandria in the first century BC through the second or third century AD (and perhaps even later) asserted that this decan was the season of the god Aidoneus — one of the titles of Hades, meaning something like “The ruler of many”. The Greeks gave the name Hades, possibly meaning “the Unseen One” to this deity who was lord of the underworld. Hades Aidoneus, though, was a little terrifying, so he was also called Pluton, “the wealthy one”. Three titles, all referring to the same entity, that being or spirit or god or daemon who ruled over the underworld realms where all spirits eventually arrive — and ruling over the first ten days of spring.
The god of the dead? Ruling the first ten days of spring?? What’s up with that?
As Sara Mastros has said, All wealth comes from ownership of the land and so it proves here. Aidoneus, “the ruler of many”, is an epithet of Hades, “the hidden one”, which is itself hidden behind the name Pluto, “the wealthy one”. We are reminded that the richness of the soil, and the nutrition of the plants that rise from it, and the healthiness of the animals that eat those plants… are all a side-effect of the dead who are buried in it. Aidoneus, the ruler of many, is indeed ruler of all: the dead who go into the ground return to new life in new forms because they are warmed by the welcomed Sun. The wealth of Hades is… us. We who are nourished by the soil, come to life and remain living, because of the wealth of the realms beneath our feet. Aidoneus is indeed ruler of many, and to him we will naturally return in the due course of time. Our existence as the future property of Hades is the most inescapable fact of life: we will take on new life only if we are willing to accept our future roles as significant soil.
Austin Coppock hints at this, of course, in his book 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans, as did H.C. Agrippa in Three Books of Occult Philosophy — and as Tripp, Inc. and numerous fashion imitators have demonstrated in the ultra-gothic combination of dark red and black, or the intertwining of bouquets of roses with skulls and bones. The figure in the castle of Pamela Colman Smith’s Two of Wands is dressed in red and black, and stands between two living saplings — both severed from the earth and mounted on the walls of a castle’s battlements. Nearby are the blazons of Hades’ wife: the roses and lilies of the queen of spring Persephone, who brings forth fresh living greenery from dead-black earth. What does this ruler hold in his hands? The whole world, the globe in its entirety — and he gazes from the castle walls upon the whole of the earth, too. The rose cannot rise except from fecund earth, and the earth cannot be thought fertile if it cannot birth the rose; the lilies, too, promise both life and death forever intertwined.
Austin Coppock called this decan “The Double Bladed Axe” — the tool not merely of violence, but of execution: lawfully constituted murder, sanctioned by the state or the king or the headman or the social rules. As he notes, there is no better tool for separating one thing into two, whether the thing be a block of wood to be split into kindling; or for turning a live tree into a dead log; or dividing a living human into two dead components, a head and a body. Heavy and forceful, it derives its power and strength not from its sharpness (though it does have that), but from its speed and its weight. Gravity, combined with the rotational speed of the earth, binds you to this planet with a force that humanity could not equal until the middle years of the twentieth century. Only force, perfectly applied, can sever that connection.
The decan of course is ruled by Mars, and as the Sun enters, it follows a chain of rulership down through multiple layers: Aries the sign is ruled by Mars the planet; the decan is also ruled by Mars, and its first duodecima or twelfth-part is also Aries ruled by Mars. Only when we turn to other rulership schemas do we find other planets in the mix: The Sun is exalted in Aries, and is (in one system) the first triplicity ruler by day. Saturn is the triplicity ruler by night, though; and the first term or bound of Aries is ruled by Jupiter. We see therefore a highly-empowered Mars ruling over the Sun’s placement here — only lightly constrained by a desire to do right by the laws of expansion and contraction, and to make the Sun a welcome guest. It’s the perfect combination for the onset of spring: the shattering of the shells of seeds, the thrusting up of the first leaf-blade through the soil, the cutting root forcing a path through significant soil.
Go outside in bare feet. Look upon the ground, squat down. Touch the earth, and say, “Here are my father’s father’s fathers, and here are my mother’s mother’s mothers. I am this soil, and it is me. The first division is between earth and sky, which also makes the line between eternity and mortality.”
This is where the astrological year begins: with you, yourself, under sky and over earth. You are the foundation of the astrological year, where earth seeks sky, and sky finds its resting place on the earth.
The Ascendant is in Aquarius, a fixed sign of Air, making the next ten days (and the next year) a period of great intellectual discussion — but one which is unlikely to change anyone’s mind. What’s floating about is ‘stale air’ or ‘dead air’, and it’s all too easy to assume that everyone will have much to say but that no one will be inclined to listen. We can expect a fair bit of effort at persuasion to fall on deaf ears; and we ourselves may find ourselves holding back from argument or discussion with the thought, “no one will believe me, why bother jumping into the fray?” Co-present with the Ascendant are Jupiter and Saturn, both quickening and delaying these discussions: rousing the chatter but dulling the ears, increasing the noise and decreasing the signal. If we consider their placement by Decans, Saturn promises Heaven and Earth — the divine reality’s limits and boundaries translated into practical terms — while Jupiter and the Ascendant promise a growing expansion of the untying and loosening of existing bonds: what we have, will continue to come undone; what remains is the divine signal drowning out the worldly noise.
In Pisces, Mercury occupies the later degrees of the first decan, The Labyrinth, indicating ongoing difficulties with communication and challenges to big-picture expertise by nagging details: is it safe to go out in public or should we still be quarantining? Further out, or further in? Their expertise touches on numerous subjects, notably finance and moveable property, the well-being of your wallet and pantry. Think big picture, friends, but keep the details close at hand, too. Neptune and Venus occupy the third Decan The Cup of Blood, promising both ongoing confusion as well as coherence in our search for medical certainty. Our hopes and fears are wrapped up in a not-very-appealing package, some vaccines that we’ve been promised are safe (and genuinely appear to be working) but are closely attached to corporations, business models and imperialism that we don’t really find comforting or attractive. Is this permanent safety? Too soon to tell, and the opinions sloshing around in the cup lend themselves to a fair bit of both-sides-isms. Be cautious about dithering.
The Sun of course is in the first Decan of Aries, patterning and partnering with the lord of the underworld to bring forth bread from the earth — or at least the green blade that will become the ripening wheat. In the third house of neighborhood and family, of kith and kin, he promises continued time close to home, perhaps learning to tune yourself to your garden.
Uranus in Taurus occupies the fourth house of your own immediate household, where he promises disruptions and challenges to the work of planting seeds for the future. Trine to Mercury, he invites you to bear their advice in mind about what to plant and what to delay, what to prepare for future harvest and what to let lie fallow a while yet.
Mars and the Moon occupy the first two thirds of Gemini in the fifth house: Mars holds sway in The Apple of Eden, revealing the almost gnostic ambition that lies behind most of our hobbies and pleasure-seeking activities these days. Will this get us through to the end of the pandemic? Probably not. Will it give satisfaction or joy? Maybe. The Moon holds the middle decan The Hermaphrodite, putting its usually-considered-feminine wiles on notice that a more martial and ambitious effort to find a third way forward is better than playing either-or games. And of course, the Moon is always considered to be in one of the twenty-eight mansions: At the start of this decan, she is waxing in the sixth mansion, called “The Little Star of Great Light” — where she promises desire for deeper connection and union, and stronger unions, and richer friendships. It foretells promises of improvement over the next ten days. Yet she also stands in close proximity to the North Node in Gemini, who usually signifies “too much of a good thing” — it may be that limited hang-out time with friends and family are still written in the stars, and that anxieties about exposure may rise high after a year spent in separation.
The South Node, co-present with the Midheaven and the South Node, similarly promises “not enough” time with friends and colleagues, and indicates a continuing period of separation. Realistically, some parts of the current quarantine may outlast our own personal vaccinations by several weeks or months… it appears that even if you’ve gotten your double shot of mRNA, your friends may not yet be out of the woods.
Pluto in the twelfth house and the sign of Capricorn sits upon the third decan called the Throne, indicating a lot of lonely time in the chair for a lot of us, plotting our returns to in-person meetings and experiences, yet not getting very far beyond the planning stages. New options may exist i the future but the next ten days are unlikely to bring too many of them to fruition. It’s a season of seed-planting, in some regions only seed-planning. The fruit will have to come much later.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Aquarius: You may have to keep a tight rein on your idealism in the next ten days, while expanding your commitment to both compromise and to letting go. Both are boundary-setting of a type, but uncomfortably so. Ongoing turbulence at home puts pressure on finances, and causes something of a disconnect with friends and professional contacts. Does your household have a coherent strategy or plan for dealing with any children in the house, or their present entertainment? Consider developing a more holistic approach.
Pisces: Your expertise as a financial planner or a fashion maven may be called upon in the next ten days, but try to use the influence to effect long-term gains for both yourself and the nominal client. You have a chance to expand on your side hustle or dream job, but it will require some attention to the obstacles in your way. Trouble at your house may take the form of difficulties with the heating and cooling system; you may lose a day of work while you sort out the practical details of the transition. A friend’s greediness may lead to some unexpected solo time that you expected to treat as a duet.
Aries: Some priorities in your extended family are expected to take center-stage for the next ten days, and be at the center of your attention and focus. You may resent this expectation, but you have the expertise and holistic viewpoint to make a success of the whole plan. Family plans conflict with your personal intentions. A boss expects work of you that they wouldn’t do on their own; is this job being given to you because you are the obvious choice? Or is this falling to you by default? You may have other options besides reigning in hell. Keep some of your paycheck in reserve: a financial bump is likely to cause upset.
Taurus: You are the likely source of most of the present upheaval in your world, though circumstances may arrange themselves so that it looks like your friends or finances are at fault. This is especially true if you’re in your early-to-mid-40s and dissatisfied with your family for some reason. The question is, are you going to be a ripple of complaint wriggling through the world? Or will you be a strong wave of individuality and independence that brings a better life to all around you? Just understand: you can’t throw money at every problem without difficulties down the road; and you can’t expect to be generous to many without being similarly stingy to others. Sooner or later, the Britney Spears motto, “you better work, _____” comes to the fore, even for Tauruses. You have the mental and physical capacities to work wonders for yourself, for your family, for your friends, and you don’t necessarily need money to do it.
Gemini: It may feel like you’re working on the “rough cut” of yourself right now, and maybe you’re nursing a dumb injury or two on your hands as a result of skylarking or roughhousing (and maybe this has happened to your kids). If you’re dealing with the aftermath of an injury over the next ten days, see if you can figure out what you learned from it, or what lessons this was intended to impart? Try to develop some sort of intuition about the future from the present debility. Is there a part of the workplace that needs attention and re-management? Do your now-expert eyes observe a risk that hadn’t been noticed before? There’s a chance to expand your academic credentials, but it’s worth noting if this really expands your opportunities or gives someone a chance to shove you out. Are you ready for the change in status, and does it give you a Plan B to go along with the risk?
Cancer: The next ten days carry an air of drudgery: some mentally-challenging knowledge-work is required, but there’s no feeling in it and no sense of richness or emotional reward from completing it. Some of it is cutting through a mass of misinformation to find the right answer; but some of it is recognizing that there’s less of a “one right answer” and more of a “many possible routes” model at work. An unusual friend may help slot together part of the puzzle; a higher-up at work may divide the problem into smaller parts for a partial solution. You may not get a raise at work for solving this one, but you’re likely to be called upon as a detail-oriented expert with a clear sense of the big picture and a creative attitude toward future challenges. Take the kudos, at the least — if the chance arises, invite the bonus with a joking manner that allows a backpedal but can still be seen as a serious request.
Leo:Turn your attention toward something you want to learn, and carve up the study of it into several big pieces; the next ten days is likely to see some significant progress toward that goal. Your love life may be a bit topsy-turvy, with a partner alternating between warm and cold, generous and boundary setting. A long and honest communication about your shared finances and resources may be apropos: your individualistic and coherent approach to resource management may reveal a few chances for better outcomes, but there may also be a few tears and troubles as you work through the profit-loss statement together. There may be a temptation to pull back on things that bring you happiness — but that’s also where your luck is likely to assemble, and the synchronicities pile up. So a bit of austerity may feel right… but that’s no reason to miss out on a spoonful of ice cream, either.
Virgo: You’re likely to gain recognition of some achievement in the next ten days, and some financial projection you made some time ago is likely to come down to earth and yield results. You may find it difficult to explain exactly what you predicted, though, or why it matters — if it’s important, try to present the big picture and don’t get bogged down in the details. There may be an outburst or trouble at work, but try to help people remember that a coherent strategy that focuses on overall unity is likely to result in better outcomes; a way forward is better than my way or the highway. Accept that others will put forward plans of limited vision with uncompromising rigidity; your growth may come from unlinking yourself from this kind of project, and finding a way to exit. Shine a light on family finances first, and be sure that you can stand on your own through a rough separation from current career plans.
Libra: You may find that in the next ten days, it’s hard to bring anything into balance or establish your own worthiness as a bringer of equilibrium. Your ordinary abilities to create harmony or bring normality to most situations aren’t abandoning you, though it may feel like it. They are going through a sea-change, and that concerns local fire burning away some of the norms and constants you’re used to. That will make less time for friends and less time for the moments of syncronistic good fortune, at least for the time being. You will have to spend time taking charge of issues at home, and there may be curtailment of your usual round of entertaining experiences. Try to remember that any current disharmony is temporary, and don’t allow it to rattle you. You’ll be able to reassert your normal patterns in just a few months.
Scorpio: You may be putting a lot of time into developing a career right now, but first that may feel like a slog of planning drudgery that isn’t advancing your overall goals; and second it probably feels like you’re not getting anywhere. Your romantic partner may feel that you’re not doing enough for them, and that your attention is too consumed by outside interests and risqué business. There will be opposition from a partner, too, who may feel that your habits, hobbies and friendships are costing them your time and attention; a deeper connection in that direction necessitates giving up certain attitudes. Starting with freshened boundaries around the house, and clearer expectations around the rules of shared living, will likely give you a renewed sense of purpose, and be a quality medicine for improving current conditions.
Sagittarius: Every discussion with a partner may feel like it’s about to devolve into an argument, and yet it’s important to recall that your partner wants more, not because they want you to have less but because there is a shared dream in a quality of union and common purpose. That doesn’t mean it won’t feel like a contest; just try to remember that it’s “us against the world, kiddo,” and the tactical cadence of the moment favors their view of the situation. Don’t give in on everything, mind you — but pick the battles carefully, and remember that austerity is not one of spring’s traditional powers: you cannot hold back at planting time, and expect to reap the rewards at harvest time. A mix of discipline and generosity is required in local negotiations and family politics alike. Lend expertise freely, devise creative solutions wherever possible, but maintain your independence regardless of the calls of common blood. Expect your daily work habits to undergo some ongoing undulation; but a career-boosting recognition is coming your way.
Capricorn: You cannot simultaneously break new ground on a project, and try to command the staff to do your bidding. Either you are out in front showing where and how deep to dig the trenches, and carry out your bold new plan; or you can give orders from the back-office while the worker drones follow the existing maintenance routines. You don’t get new results, or extra zeroes in your revenue column, by sticking to the usual operations. At the same time, it’s a rough week to try to go off-book. If you earn your wealth through comprehension of a fixed data-set or a standardized body of information, recognize that a new fact may upset the apple cart this week, and require you to bring that information down to earth intelligently and quickly. Be prepared to be taught something new by a local expert; keep your ears open and be the first to know. At the same time, don’t be taken in by some sort of pseudo-intellectual scam that is easily vivisected by your professional colleagues — ask yourself if the heartiest skeptic at work would buy it first, and then you can think about buying it for yourself.
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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.
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.