Sun in Libra III: Nemesis

The Sun enters Libra III on October 12, 2021, at 11:01 pm EDT, engrossing to the decan that Austin Coppock titled The Gyroscope. The Greeks of classical-era Alexandria acknowledged Nemesis, the goddess of retribution, as the ruler of this ten-day period.

Depicted as a youthful and tireless goddess, Nemesis had a shrine in Attica but as far from the city of Athens as was possible. It was famous for a statue crafted by Phidias from a block of marble left behind by the invading Persians, in which she was depicted wearing a crown composed of alternating stag heads and Nike-figures (the winged goddess of victory, by the way, not the shoe). She was the punisher of hubris, the crime of arrogance or pride before the gods, and she was shown with a bow, a dagger or a whip, and a measuring rod. In her chariot drawn by griffons were additional bridles, “with which to bind the frivolous insolences of men,” as a second century AD poet wrote. Although she appears to have been originally a goddess who balanced bad fortune against good luck, by the fourth century BC she was exclusively a bringer of retribution and the one who punished the outrages that ignorant or prideful mortals committed against the gods. Though she was the daughter of Okeanos, she was also a warrior — and a mighty one — in the service of Zeus.

The Gyroscope’s Chaldean ruler or administrator is of course Jupiter, closely connecting this expression of Nemesis with the patron planet. Venus rules the whole sign of Libra, but the Greater Benefic (as Jupiter is sometimes called) is the local agent in Libra III. The Tarot card of this decan in Pamela Colman Smith’s deck, the four of swords, shows a tomb in a church with a knight or a Crusader laid out in armor beneath a war memorial — the swords arrayed point-down next to a stained glass window. Themes such as rest and retreat, meditation, and contemplation are common themes for the four of swords. Yet when we contrast this with Austin’s name for this decan, and with the watchful Nemesis standing guard, it’s hard not to escape from the idea that the real themes of this decan are piety, consistent devotion, loyalty even unto the grave, and death before dishonor. All of which, for most of my readers, is probably a serious stretch if not outright terrifying. We’re not used to sticking with one set of religious guidelines for our entire lives, and obeying them consistently. The notion that any of us are due an honored place under a carven stone in a cathedral, bathed in the light of stained glass…. well, it goes against the grain of what I know about you, dear readers.

And yet we must remember that Venus is the overall ruler of Libra. Accordingly, this piety takes the form of living dedication, rather than rote ceremony. One of the Old Testament prophets speaks The LORD’s words, “I hate, I despise your offerings, your sacrifices and your solemn assemblies,” and goes on to remind us that doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with G-d are the essence of true piety. Venus is the harmonizing power that rules Libra overall. Rather than being a punitive force, she is well-disposed to draw us into webs of relationships that improve our capacity to act in ways that draw divine favor rather than the arrows, scourges and bridles of Nemesis. When we are disposed to act with kindness, we act with the kind of piety that is suggested here.

The four dodecatemoria of Libra III speak to this version of humility before the gods, though. In order, each of these 2.5°-segments of the sky are Gemini, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo. Mediated through the ruling and harmonious power of Venus as the sovereign of Libra, the Gemini slice reveals two courses of action, one sacred and one profane; the Cancer slice touches on our gut reactions to sacrilege and blasphemy, as well as our emotional uplift from stirring ceremony, song, and parable; the Leo slice engages our sense of pride and dignity; while the Virgo slice expresses itself as practical action on earth that serves the gods and helps the world.

Thus, in Libra we see Venus creating opportunities to harmonize the world around us, mediated through the three administrators of the decans: In Libra I, Venus works with the Moon to rebalance and divide what is improperly connected. in Libra II, Venus works with Saturn to rebalance and firmly connect what is improperly separate. In Libra III, Venus works with Jupiter to rebalance and re-invigorate that which must be kept lively.

Planetary Placements

The Sun is in the Fourth House, making this a Night Chart and giving special prominence to the Moon, which is above the horizon (good) but low on the western horizon and progressing toward full (not as great as you might think). In Night Charts, Venus and Mars have special prominence if they’re above the horizon, but neither is. Instead, day-sect planets Jupiter and Saturn share the night sky with the three invisibles: Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus. Mercury alone is in the part of the sky where they have favor — but the messenger is retrograde, inviting us to review our links and connections to assure ourselves that our household relationships are strong.

The Ascendant is in Cancer’s middle decan the Walled Garden, symbolized by the Three of Cups in Tarot. Getting together with friends to celebrate and lift a glass together is probably required at this point in life, but a certain amount of discretion is advised: don’t attract too much notice, and have your celebration outdoors.

The Imum Coeli is in the third house, in the third decan of Virgo the Sarcophagus. Whether you’re wishing Aunt Mildred would die or just contemplating life without her in the family, it would be useful to consider the arrangements for end-of-life care for elder members of your extended family. Neptune’s retrograde opposition is separating, but the question of who holds medical powers may weigh on some people more than others. A favorable trine with Pluto indicates that only one or two people are considered trustworthy enough to take on this role, but there’s something useful to be said for decentralization of decision-making power.

In the fourth house, a stellium of Mercury retrograde and Mars and the Sun activate the latter two decans of Libra: Tw links of a chain, and this one, the Gyroscope. We’re a few days past Mars cazimi, which is like a New Moon for Mars — a reset of Martial energies for another two years. Gossip and rumor become ugly forces at home, and Mercury’s retrograde makes good communication harder than usual. Some people, particularly Pisces risings, may have difficulties with bureaucratic agencies like the tax authorities; while Taurus risings may suffer from challenges in the workplace; Capricorns may face the ‘none can serve two (or three) masters’ problem at work — or could be one of the masters struggling for dominance. As the next ten days pass, look for bubbling rumor and uncertain gossip to break out into full-blown stories with facts and figures and hard proof of ugly behaviors.

In the sixth house, Venus and the South Node share the first decan of Sagittarius, the Poisoned Arrow. The South Node is often where the crap comes out, suggesting that daily life for the next ten days is going to have some difficulties, but that some sweetness will remain nonetheless: clean the bathroom, change the bed linens, and set expectations for any workmen that may come to your house: a sextile to Saturn suggests that you’ll do better with older and more experienced hands fixing your leaky faucets or checking your circuit breakers.

In the seventh house, the Moon and the Descendant share Capricorn’s middle decan the Pyramid: questions of hierarchy and precedent are in the forefront of your partner’s mind and likely causing a fair bit of gut-punch distress. This is the twenty-third Mansion of the Moon, “the fortune of the swallower”, associated with devouring forces and waste of materials, time and resources. It’s an unfavorable but short-term position for the Moon, and under normal circumstances it would be nothing to write home about. However, the Moon’s next aspect is an unfavorable square to the Sun followed by a conjunction with Pluto in the third decan The Throne. The square pits gut instincts against the rational higher mind, while the conjunction lends explosive multiplicative force to whatever decision is arrived at: questions of house and home between ourselves and partners may come to a head in the next ten days.

In the eighth house of duty and responsibility, Saturn is direct in Aquarius’ first decan The Mark of Exile, while Jupiter is still retrograde in The Knot. THis indicates ongoing difficult relationships with bureaucracies and with responsibilities to employers and clients — tough situations that are not easily resolved. In may also indicate tightened restrictions on a partner’s financial situation. In both cases, Jupiter indicates that slow but continued persistence is the way to get free of the situation — there’s likely no pure escape from whatever the obligation is except to do it. Saturnian activity in Aquarius has also been associated with COVID since the beginning of the pandemic — I would expect to see unfavorable and worrisome numbers in the next ten days, although with signs of hope for the future indicated by Jupiter’s station direct on October 18-19.

Neptune retrograde occupies the last decan of Pisces the Cup of Blood, indicating an ongoing swirl of rumor and misinformation around medical decision-making. In the ninth house and in a separating conjunction from the Midheaven, there’s hope for a subsidence of the currents and undertows of bad data — but a very public mistake may come to light in the next ten days. The trouble is figuring out which piece of correct data or misinformation is the mistake: every side of the political spectrum will be playing “gotcha!” with the data, and the truth will be difficult to detemine. Only historians years hence may know for sure.

In Aries in the tenth house, the Lot of Fortune holds our attention at the midline of the middle decan The Crown. Leadership in your career may be offered, and now is a good time to take it — as long as you have considerable support from home and are willing to discuss the issue with a spouse, roommate, or significant ally. If you’re offered a big leap in pay or leadership role, it’s a good time to say, “let me talk about it with my partner and run some numbers. What’s the offer?” Get it in writing if you can, and don’t just say “yes! absolutely” the moment the offer is made. At the same time, don’t dawdle: a 24-hour turnaround should be enough time.

Uranus in Taurus in the eleven house brings sexual tension to your friends groups, and the planet’s current retrograde may bring a sensual scandal to light. You’re nt likely to be one of the participants in this scheme, but the details and circumstances should absolutely be discussed at home, in relative privacy. But it’s not water-cooler chat: don’t be talking about what you don’t know to colleagues — or people may remember that you had opinions and ‘inside information’ if lawyers come calling.

The North Node in Gemini’s first decan Mother and Child indicates a hunger for solitude and down-time. Whether you seek the embrace of a lover, or the soft laughter of a cosseted and swaddled baby in your arms, or the bedside of a parent, be gentle with yourself in the next ten days — the world has some hard truths to hand down, and you don’t have to wait on them to arrive. Give yourself space for the ease and solitude and kindness of a quiet word in the dark to someone you love.


Horoscopes for the Decan II and III columns are open to Patreon subscribers only.


I have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it approaches the midpoint of its third 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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