Sun in Leo III: Serapis

The horoscopes of Decan I of any sign are free to everyone, but Decans II and III are available to supporters of my Patreon account at the $3 or greater tiers. Your generosity through other means, like Ko-fi or PayPal opens the column to any potential readers. I have closed readings through most of August, September and Octber due to my upcoming wedding. My Almanac is also available! It’s for sale through my Etsy website as a PDF.

The Sun enters Leo III on August 12, a scant 36 seconds before 8 am EDT, in the decan that Austin Coppock called The Banner. Mars and Venus are under Mercury’s thumb for a change, as the herald-planet in Virgo uses its singular authority, expertise, and mastery in this sign to manage the affairs of half the chart: expertise is in the driver’s seat for the next ten days, for both good and ill.

Astrology chart for 12 August 2021 at 7:59 am EDT over a place in western Massachusetts: Sun at 20° Leo 0', Moon at 9° Libra 6', Rising at 13° Virgo 1'.

The Egyptianized Greeks of Alexandria in the first century BC gave the last decan of Leo to Serapis, the syncretic or synthetic deity of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. The first Ptolemy had been a general under Alexander the Great, and he established the worship of Serapis as an official state-sponsored religion to unite the Greeks and Egyptians under his family’s reign. Serapis was depicted in the Greek way, but with Egyptian trappings and symbols. In surviving literature and inscriptions, the god is shown as a combination of the Egyptian gods Osiris and Apis, but drawing titles and symbolism from chthonic powers in Greek mythology like Hades, Persephone, Demeter, and Dionysius. He’s associated with abundance and surplus, particularly of grain and the goodness of the harvest as it springs forth from the earth. A story about the death of Alexander the Great connects Serapis with a Mesopotamian god, as well — Ea or Enki, the god of the watery depths of the ocean, which is another way of saying a god who dwells in the realms below surface appearances.

In some texts, like the Greek Magical Papyri (as translated by H.D. Betz amazon), Serapis is seen as the ruling deity of the Decans themselves — the overarching prince and primate of the thirty-six decans. This is his ruling time, when he alone commands our attention. I find this to be an oversimplification of his role in the magical and astrological work of the decans. It does seem to be the case that the decans are chthonic or terrestrial in nature, as opposed to celestial or Olympian. Serapis thus occupies an ambiguous place in the circle of the decans: is he chief of thirty-five spirits? Or is he primus inter pares, first among equals? My own experiences and studies suggest the latter, but I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure of this.

Austin Coppock named this Decan “The Banner”, and I find the name to be entirely appropriate — those who have planets here seem to find ambitions in advancing a cause or a philosophy, rather than themselves. Leo as a whole is about showing off, but Leo III is about showing off for a reason, or having a rationale for action. It’s an important distinction.

The dodecatemoria of Leo III are Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer. Each of these 2.5°-wide segments of the Zodiac bring the Sun an assistant or associate to help with advancement of the cause — the ambition of Mars, the creativity of Venus, the intellectual chops of Mercury, and the intuition of the Moon. They also flavor the Sun’s passage over the next ten days — first the fire or the ambition to get something done, then the physical labor and the logistics, then the “what did we forget??” before the emotional release of “it will be fine without that” or “we simply must include…” The next ten days are in large measure about finalizing preparations for my own wedding, so I feel this force strongly!

Planetary Placements

The Sun is above the horizon in the twelfth house, making this a Day Chart. Yet the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn are all cadent, and only the Sun is above the horizon — it’s a difficult time for any of the planets to act with any power.

In the first house, Mercury, Mars and Venus are all in Virgo, bringing intellectual prowess, ambition, and creativity to all powers of self-reflection and presentation. Nearly everyone I know is in some form of consideration of the past year and a half in quarantine or isolation, and the question of how to be someone new looms large on the horizon for everyone. Venus shows the desire for a makeover; Mercury shows the desire for an intellectual reset; Mars shows our ambition to grow into someone new. At the same time, Mars in the first house signifies fever and illness and sudden risk — we’re not out of the woods yet.

The Moon in Libra is the chief power in the second house — with Venus next door in Virgo, the Moon is like a guest we trust in our own home, who takes the time to snoop in all the drawers and cabinets. SHe’s in the last degree of the first decan, The Blindfold and Sword, and promises to shape the issue of justice around financial matters in the next ten days. This part of Libra also belongs to the Fifteenth Mansion of the Moon, The Covering, promising the realization of desires and wishes through financial means. If you’re due for a promotion or a raise, it’s a good time to get your ducks in a row and make the request; just don’t wait too long, as the Moon moves quickly.

The Lot of Fortune is in the first decan of Scorpio, with Mars sextile by sign — favorable results for family members, short trips and neighbors are likely; if a neighbor or a sibling gives you a lead on a job or a benefit or side-hustle, remember to follow-up.

The North and South Nodes are separating from conjunction with the Midheaven and the Imum Coeli. You can expect that home will be a bit out of sorts and a bit of a toxic environment for a bit, as expectations around being in-person at your job site increase. This doesn’t mean that you have to go back to work there; only that that the pressure to do so (and the desire) is likely to be more strongly felt.

Pluto is retrograde in the fifth house in Capricorn. You’re going to have to assume a leadership role when it comes to personal happiness, and that’s likely to take the form of direct action, and a careful consideration of what you enjoy. You may also have to impose some restrictions or limits on your children in ways that feel decidedly authoritarian and not-fun, if you have children. Try do so in a caring and creative way, though and leave you and your partner a fair loophole, since it’s likely that the children will find a way to wriggle out of this particular prison. Make the care and creativity the keystones of your response, and the results won’t be too bad.

Saturn and Jupiter, as already noted, are in Aquarius in the sixth house, and both retrograde. This is associated with illness, the prevention of illness, and with subordinates as well as with workplaces and daily activities. The result is that we’re all likely to experience an unusual mix of both opportunity and openings, and restrictions and limitations — mask guidelines are likely to make a comeback in the next ten days, but so are new experiences and in-person activities. It’s a mixed bag trying to identify what’s a necessary precaution and what’s an unnecessary extravagance right now: Saturn has greater power in this position, so a dry caution rather than fluid optionality is probably the wiser choice — but there’s no way that every reader is going to treat ‘caution’ the same way. What’s caution to some will be totally off the charts dangerous to others…

Neptune is retrograde in Pisces, above the horizon in the seventh house. A lot of boundaries and expectations with a partner are likely to be fluid and open to misinterpretation and difficulty in the next ten days. Notice when you seem to be ‘worn down’ by a partner’s frequent requests, or by the expectations from others that you will fold or give in if a request is made more than once. Be prepared to stick to your guns, and recognize which boundaries are necessary and which ones should be allowed to crumble. The last decan of Pisces The Cup of Blood also points to challenges around clear medical information for the next ten days.

Uranus is in the ninth house in the sign of Taurus, trine the sign-ruler Venus in fall in Virgo. The middle decan of Taurus is associated with sex and sexuality, and the ninth house is associated with learning and long-distance travel. These areas of your life may be disrupted or experience upheaval in the next ten days, and you may find that standard comforts are lacking or badly adjusted. It’s not likely to last forever, but do find ways to use the upset in advantageous ways.

Horoscopes by Rising Sign

The horoscopes for the third decan of any sign are available to my patrons on You’ll find the regular horoscopes return with the start of Virgo I, The Tree Bearing Fruit, on August 22, 2021.













I have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it approaches the end of its second year (I began with Leo I in 2019 )We’re currently doing a decan walk through some Tarot, astrology, mythology, and magic. If you don’t want to become a regular patron, you can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments, and any column I write after receiving a Ko-Fi donation will be open to the public.  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, as is my Almanac for 2021. I follow T.Susan Chang and the Reverend Erik Arneson for insight into Tarot. 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, “A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight” contains these smaller collections: 

  • To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions 
  • 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. 
  • Festae, hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits.
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