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. Deborah Sam’s generosity through Ko-Fi.com has made all the Virgo columns available to all readers for free. I have closed readings through most of August, September and Octber due to my recent wedding. My Almanac is also available! It’s for sale through my Etsy website as a PDF.
The Sun enters Virgo III on September 12, 2021 at 9:20 am EDT, joining the realm of The Sarcophagus (according to Austin Coppock‘s naming conventions from his book 36 Faces on the Decans). In the third decan of Virgo, Mercury holds three special dignities: they are the ruler of the sign, exalted in the sign, and the administrator of the decan — particular, detail-oriented, deeply concerned with craft, observant and keen-eyed, and a holder of secret intelligence and the web of knowledge. It’s a powerful combination. As a result, it’s hard to understand why the ancient Greeks attributed this decan to the goddess Hestia, the keeper of the hearthstone of the Olympian gods — who wasn’t considered one of the Twelve Olympians herself, and was regarded as a somehow lesser or minor deity in comparison, although she was Zeus’s eldest sister — indeed, the eldest of all of Cronus and Rhea’s children: not only Zeus, but Hera, Demeter, Hades and Poseidon all saw her as their own big sister.
But a deeper look at Hestia (Vesta in her Roman name and guise) reveals something interesting. LEt’s consider her siblings before we look at her. Zeus, of course, rules the realms of air and the high heavens. The Sky-Father is difficult to ignore. Nor is Poseidon, the ruler of the seas, a being to be trifled with; Odysseus spent ten years wandering far from home because of the anger of the trident-bearer. Hades rules the realms beneath the earth. Called the lord of riches or the master of many, he is the keeper of the vast treasurers beneath the surface of the earth. Demeter rules the realm of the topsoil, where all plants useful to mortals grow; as the goddess of agriculture, she watches over the fields and the flocks and herds that are nourished from them. Hera is the goddess of marriage and of childbirth and of the woman’s realm in the home: the bedrooms and the private apartments of any house’s women.
In other words, the siblings are nobody to be trifled with. The Brothers rule the wild realms of earth and sea and sky. The Sisters hold the innermost parts of the house, and the soil where the plants useful to mortal grow.
And Hestia rules… the hearth? The Kitchen where mortals eat?
Ahem. It seems a bit of synecdoche (the rhetorical figure of speech where one small part of something stands for the whole) to say that Hestia rules the hearth. When we say, “do you like my new wheels?” when we want our friends to admire our new car, we’re practicing a bit of synecdoche… and when we say that Hestia is the keeper of the hearth, what we mean is that she is the keeper of the whole house… and when we say that she is the keeper of the house, what we really mean is that she is the holder of the human realm that is neither the fields, nor the innermost parts of the dwelling which is Hera’s special dominion.
The Romans extended this idea to the city. The city of Rome’s original land area was surrounded by a sacred line called the Pomeranium, identifying the city’s religious limits. Within this line (physically marked by a trench in the ground), the Vestal Virgins maintained the sacred hearth of Vesta; all households within that boundary were expected to receive an annual renewal of their hearth-fire from the city’s fire. Rome’s boundaries and the pomeranium were not always the same — but they often were. Hestia thus became the goddess of the habitations of mortals.
In this context, the name of the Sarcophagus makes a certain amount of sense. The word Sarcophagus is traditionally used to mean a coffin of stone in which a pharaoh or other person of importance could be buried for the purposes of ensuring immortality. But it also literally means “flesh-eater” — one who eats the meat cooking over Hestia’s fire, or who lives in a city that consumes vast amounts of material resources daily. And by synecdoche, it also means those places themselves.
House, home and town — eaters of flesh, mechanisms for achieving immortality from age to age (as a people or species rather than as individuals). Hestia, sitting at the hearth of Olympus, is well pleased. Here she becomes something more than just a fire-tender: here she is a household manager, a chief economist, a keeper of storehouses, an arranger of logistics, a chatelaine, a keeper of records, an overseer of legacy. It’s a role for a goddess the Romans would have understood well.
The dodecatemoria, or twelfth-parts, of Virgo III speak to this story, too: they are the recapitulations of Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo. Progressing through these 2.5° segments of the signs, we see a desire to analyse and study the building blocks of comfort and well-being in tTaurus; followed by the combination of Virgoan studiousness with the foresight and hindsight of Gemini. This is followed by the shielding of resources and the creation of a protective shell around home that we see in Cancer, and the celebration and triumph that comes from effectively building a nest egg of supplies and resources to have a happy life (and the desire to show off this wealth) through parties and escapades.
The Ascendant is in Libra’s third decan The Gyroscope, placing the Sun above the horizon and making this a Day Chart. This makes Jupiter and Saturn slightly stronger, but only Saturn is particularly strongly placed to begin with. The Sun is in the twelfth house and therefore cadent — he has little core dignity, and is strongly focused on internal matters and centering the self.
My friend Amy asked me recently about the sun transiting the sign of her twelfth house. It was a good question: every day the Sun transits the first house and the twelfth house in the first four hours after dawn. The first house deals with our selves and our self-presentation; the twelfth deals with our focus on creating our future world — and the self-imposed obstacles to that future. As I said to Amy, “this means that daily, you have a little less than four hours to re-shape who you are and what sort of future you’ll have… and if you miss the window, the day will shape you.” I’ve found this to be true: It’s much easier to write this column early in the morning than in the afternoon or evening; and even if I only write a few paragraphs before 9:30 am, it’s easier to come back to the work later. If I don’t start writing until 11:00 am or 1:00 pm, it’s much harder to write: I’ve missed the day’s window, as it were, for reshaping my own future. There’s also the month each year when the Sun transits your twelfth house, and this is also a good time to retreat from the world and plan your next steps for future success and growth (as well as to work on defeating your most frequent obstacles — your own poor habits or self-destructive patterns).
Right now, the Sun is favorably and serendipitously placed for you to reshape your future, particularly as relates to your ambitions and your physical activity in this decan — Mars is also in the 12th house, in the decan of Mercury but the Term of Saturn. This benefits us to take up a practice like yoga or tai chi, something that requires discipline and flexibility but is well-suited to the risks and challenges of old age. Yet the combination of planets here also encourages us to take up an analysis of our lives overall, and to think about reshaping our future toward the kind of lives we’d like to have.
Mercury is also in the first house, indicating a tendency to rebalance our intellectual selves or to talk up our accomplishments. The herald planet is in the second decan Two Links of Chain, so we may find ourselves needing to finish up one project and move right on to the next one.
Libra’s ruler Venus is in Scorpio, where she is in detriment and inconjunct; however, in a few days she and Mars will be in mutual reception, indicating a tough start to the decan with gradually improving conditions.
The Moon is in the first decan of Sagittarius called The Poisoned Arrow, and the nineteenth Mansion of the Moon, called “the Tail of the Scorpion”. The suggestion here is that, although our ambitions for the future are well supported, some kinds of goals are not well-supported in the present moment: it’s not really a good time for getting pregnant, or for going on cruises; trying to get your divorce approved or wriggle free of a lawsuit is likely to cause delays. However, it is a good time for planning of various kinds, including wills and trusts and estates, and other forms of precautionary measures. The Moon lines up with the South Node here, too — suggesting that there’s even less wiggle room than usual around family issues.
The fourth house is quite active, with the Lot of Fortune in the first decan, and the Imum Coeli and Pluto both in the third decan of Capricorn. Practical at-home activities may bring an influx of cash, and various small projects lead to some big dreams. Just recognize that what you want out of home and what your partner wants may not be fully aligned — be prepared for communication and compromise rather than insisting on your own way. Pluto is angular here, compounding the trouble of many small decisions to a blackhead of ugliness around household matters.
Succedent in the fifth house are Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius, both retrograde. Saturn is the stronger and indeed more domineering power here — of all the visible planets, he is the only one in a sign he rules. Trine and sextile to the North and South Nodes, he promises a certain amount of loneliness and isolation from others even as we pursue our happiness. Jupiter is peregrine, suggesting that you have a fair bit of disentanglement work to do — this may be because your knitting project has gotten out of hand; or because you’re experiencing anxiety around children going off to school or college.
Neptune in the sixth house of Pisces sends ripples of change through your workplace; keeps hired hands from showing up to fix your plumbing or your heating system, and trips you or stubs your toe (my partner and I have each injured our feet separately in the leadup to this decan). Widening circles of gentle disruption cause patterns of interference and disturbance in the realms of employees and daily life, and daily health habits.
In the eighth house, Uranus in Taurus brings shocks to sexuality and to the comforts of ordinary life, by disrupting our regular obligations to social norms, duties to partners, and challenges to our partners’ wealth and resources. With September 15 approaching, US residents may find themselves dealing with unexpected tax burdens caused by changes to the US tax code — normally these expenses come in April, but the pandemic made the tax agency and Congress shift these burdens to September. My own tax bill has grown significantly as a result.
The North Node in the ninth house in Gemini puts a lot of hunger in the realms of education and training, as well as travel; there’s a lot of pent-up demand from the last eighteen months of limited journeying and tourism, as well as in-person education being largely replaced by distance learning. We’re approaching a bisected education system here in the US, too, with a growing number of homeschoolers dissatisfied with both the content and delivery mechanisms of public schools, and a patchwork gallimaufry of different approaches to learning (distance or in-person) in public and private schools. Expect this trend to appear more and more pronounced in coming weeks.
The Midheaven in Cancer’s third decan The Overflowing Cup brings a public state of overwhelm to many readers’ business and professional lives, as workflow and projects in the office or workplace gradually try to resume pre-pandemic levels of both efficiency and productivity. Yet logistics and workflow are likely to be changed by both bottlenecks of materials and personnel for a while yet. As the Israelites complained to the Egyptians, you can’t make good bricks without straw — too much of one thing and not enough of another does not result in high quality productivity in any era. Insist on the full range of inputs, before you agree to match your old output.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
A brief glance through the first sentence of each horoscope reveals that most of the signs will have a rough week to ten days ahead (though Scorpios and Libras will have the easiest time). All of the planets are poorly placed to deliver favor or grace during the time that the Sun is in this decan.
Libra: Ruling Venus is in sect, but inconjunct, succedent, and in detriment. Questions of public persona may arise, and you should be prepared to answer them expertly or to baffle with a line of bull. Remember your own value and worth, always. A dreamy opportunity at home requires you to take charge, but there may be fallout from your authoritative approach. Family matters and your solo hobbies may stand in contrast. Take time to plan for your long-range goals, and be sure to record them in a way that you’ll recognize and acknowledge in twelve months. Hold to your obligations despite surprising news. Expect improvements to your financial picture in the latter half of the next ten days.
Scorpio: Ruling Mars is inconjunct, cadent, out of sect, and peregrine. Although situations will improve in the latter part of the next ten days, expect that your creative pursuits will be hampered by a lack of resources; beautiful things may have to wait for an improvement to your financial status, or a generous relative. Seek entertainment close to hme, but be forgiving when plans don’t quite work out; notice when the work-play divide gets blurred, especially around commissioned work for clients. A surprising duty may overwhelm a partner’s ability to manage their own affairs; be prepared to pick up some slack.
Sagittarius: Ruling Jupiter is sextile and succedent, but out of sect, peregrine and retrograde. Family questions come to the fore but won’t be addressed in as much depth as necessary. Focus on preventative measures and establishing safeguards rather than long-term solutions. Your current money strategies let you work from home, but put you in your chair too much and result in some unpleasant attitudes. You need to get back in touch with your body, and that may require some public commitment to exercise and well-being. Pleasure and happiness come from relationships with your primary partner at the moment (even if you’re in a polyamorous relationship, focus on the statistically significant other right now).
Capricorn: Ruling Saturn is in a sign it rules and succedent, but inconjunct, out of sect, and retrograde. Pluto is present. Working from home may give you a sense of power and authority, but be cautious of getting a big head about the level of control you have temporarily. A female friend may run into financial trouble you can solve, but don’t overextend yourself although there’s a sense that generosity may be well-compensated. A friend may provide you with a chance to re-create your intellectual self; take it, if you want to form a stronger bond with them. If a solo learning opportunty presents itself, or a chance to travel, take it — but go alone. This is no time for tour buses or lecture halls.
Aquarius: Ruling Saturn is present and succedent, but out of sect and retrograde. If you have children, you may find that their well-being takes center stage these ten days; focus on what they need with a mix of generosity and boundary setting. You too may need to set such limits around your intellectual hobbies, starting with a mix of knotty problems and creative work that you enjoy but that you find isolating. You may be taking on work that excites “genuine imposter” syndrome — you genuinely don’t havve the skills to do what you’re being asked to do. Remember the Abe Lincoln adage about cutting a tree down in ten minutes — sharpen the ax perfectly first. Spend the first eight days of this decan on the learning you must do, and then the last two days doing the first task.
Pisces: Ruling Jupiter is inconjunct, peregrine, out of sect, and retrograde. Neptune is present. You may find that you’re awash in self-awareness and personal critique over the next few days, and solo time is likely to be a weird mix of fun and anxiety. A friendship may bloom in little ways but also be tinged with red flags, and be especially on guard against efforts to rebrand your work as someone else’s labor. Is there a money-matter that distresses you: take some time to educate yourself, and communicate with a partner about your concerns. A hired hand or employee is needlessly aggressive or assertive: but judge the quality of the work carefully; only invite back the master, not the blowhard.
Aries: Ruling Mars is in aversion, out of sect, and cadent. Seeing to a partner’s needs becomes an important part of the next ten days; sexual energy may be pent up in a struggle for control of resources, too — beauty is an important standard, but it may not be an essential one at this time. A boss makes some challenging decisions that improve your financial picture and give you a leg up toward your dreams, but there may be unexpected costs down the road. Some limited celebration with friends, or a spiritual retreat, or a workshop with people you know, would be valuable at this time — but it’s more worthwhile to focus on the social time together than on traveling to a monastery or going to a distant artisan’s studio for personal instruction: pick something closer to home.
Taurus: Ruling Venus is in sect, but in opposition, succedent and in detriment. Uranus is present. A partner (spouse or business) is acting very much out of character, in part because of unexpected strains on their lives long delayed. Their expertises are currently needed and certain expectations have been put off. You may be dealing with certain financial hungers, but know the difference between the essential and the luxury at least for the moment. You have work you need to do for some friends and associates that is overflowing its usual boundaries. In order to manage this, you’re going to have to carve out some solo time to analyze and develop a solution. Once you have some clarity around that, it will be a lot easier to live up to your dreams in a public way.
Gemini: Ruling Mercury is trine and angular, but peregrine and out of sect. You have desires and wants that it’s difficult to put into words right now, and a partner may not be fulfilling these desires. You know those game shows where you phone a friend to get their take on a problem? That’s what you should do, but the friend should be the partner who isn’t living up to the hopes, and you have to try to put into language what you know is true but don’t know how to say: an imperfect answer is better than silence right now. Part of the problem may be that home feels lonely, and your career feels overwhelming. Setting some boundaries around playtime and work time will give you the option to restore normalcy to both environments.
Cancer: Ruling Moon is in her sect, but in aversion, cadent, and conjunct the South Node. It feels like you should be getting everything that you want right now, but the reality is that whatever you get is going to be something that’s more or less entirely unlike what you dreamed. It’s a difficult situation to be in. Financial matters come with apron strings and argument attached; family matters are at the forefront of your mind, but may require uncomfortable conversations you’re not ready to have yet. A relationship is struggling to manage household matters in ways that suit you; you’re fighting a rearguard action at work against difficult changes; you learn something surprising about friends that you’ll have to keep a deep secret, and that will change your alliances. This will all pass, but it’s going to be hard in the present moment.
Leo: Ruling Sun is in his sect (He’s always in his sect!), but peregrine, inconjunct, and cadent. You’re used to being the expert on stage and the center of attention, but for now a behind-the-scenes analysis is more likely to serve your needs and aims. A full balancing of your current money situation, and links to your gear and property is probably needed: don’t shie away from the debt, but recognize that you need to keep spinning your plan into action. A relative may provide you with a gift, but probably less than you want or something unsuitable. A close friend is holding a secret close to their belly, but it may not work out; be a source of comfort amid trouble. At the office be the source of wisdom and guidance, but counsel more caution and restraint than exuberance and expansion — everyone’s hungry but the meal can’t be plated just yet.
Virgo: Ruling Mercury is angular but peregrine and out of sect and inconjunct. It’s lonely out there right now and the result is probably a lot of anger mixed with tight shields. That moment when Captain Picard directs all power to the shields? Yes, that… but you may have some choice photon torpedos in the tubes, too. A lot of important peer relationships are currently awash in mixed emotions and riptides of difficulty. Know that this isn’t forever, but you won’t be able to resume your usual hobbies or work patterns much before October or November at the earliest; January or February is more likely. Spend some time on checking in on neighbors and friends in your neighborhood: something is perhaps stirring around residential arrangements, and you want to know what’s going on by seeing the bigger picture earlier than anyone else. At the same time, don’t jump to unnecessary conclusions, and keep your cards close to your chest: it’ll be easy to miss the target on this one, and shouting the wrong answer loudly can bring poison to a lot of your reliable wells. Delay longer to be right, rather than rush to judgment early.
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.