The Sun enters Scorpio for the first time at 12:51 am EDT on 23 October 2021. Austin Coppock, in his book 36 Faces on the history and astrology of the decans, called this part of the sky The Jawbone. As with all signs ruled by Mars, this decan is ruled by Mars, bringing some additional force and heat to the sign that is often called secretive, intense, and fierce.
The ancient Greeks gave these ten days to the Nymphai, spirits of place and spirits of craftiness. In much ancient myth, they were simply the goddesses who lived on earth and could be pursued by mortals — which often made them the targets of horny ‘heroes’ eager to play. Some were transformed into trees, or rivers; some others successfully drove off their stalkers; and some of the nymphs killed their assailants, by drowning or strangulation, fires or falls from great heights. A rare few agreed to become mortal brides, and achieved status as queens and priestesses.
The Nymphai were also said to be the assistants and co-workers of Hephaestus in his forge. While the Olympian smith-god made tools and weapons, the Nymphs concentrated on other skills and goods: the gowns and robes for the goddesses, the leather straps that held on armor, the bracelets and diadems, the tapestries for the gods’ halls, the ceramic vessels for their nectar and ambrosia. In this work, mortals were imitators and copyists — we learned the skills of craft and artistry from these divine women, undying like the gods but dwelling on earth like mortals. Every stitch of clothing, every button and zipper, every biker jacket, bangle bracelet and necklace owes its existence, in some mythic measure, to the Nymphai and their engagement with mortal artisans. They are, as it were, the engine of creativity — the means and mode by which vague ideas become enmeshed in patterns and plans that can be carried out by mortal hands. The knitter’s pattern and the weaver’s draft, the lacemaker’s bobbin chart, and the leatherworker’s template may all come from the mortal mind, but they had their exemplar and origin in the gifts of the Nymphai to humanity — a gift that we have all too often sought to claim by force and right, rather than by the slow accumulation of practice that leads from apprenticeship to intermediate skill, and from skillfulness to mastery.
Mars, the planet of war and conflict and ambition, rules over this decan called The Jawbone, indicating that our engagement with the knowledge and craft of the Nymphai begins with the ambition to learn new skills: “I’d like to learn to do that!” We tend to think of artistic or artisanal endeavor as a peaceful thing, the laborer at their bench, carving a spoon or sewing a garment. The real crafter knows that the desire to use force or to drive for results is a perennial constant in the art room or at the workbench. “I have cut this piece of wood twice and it is still too short!” is a byword among carpenters and woodworkers; “Oh, fuck!” is not just a sailor’s outrage but also the quilter who realizes she has assembled a block backwards. Stopping to sharpen a chisel at a crucial point in the work is annoying and frustrating — but if you don’t take care of your tools right before the most precise operations, there will be more than sweat in the work: the blood gets in there, too.
The dodecatemoria, or twelfth-parts of a sign, tell this same story: the four of Scorpio are recapitulations of Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius. We can read them as a microcosm of the artisan’s journey — the secret but intense struggles of the apprentice to learn to do some new skill or perform some new operation in their chosen art is represented by Scorpio, the sharp-stinger and venomous attitude of the beginner who yells and curses at each thing that goes wrong. Sagittarius stands as the skill of the fellow craft, the more patient but more skilled artisan who knows enough to look skillful but not enough to be incomprehensible; their explanations and instructions make sense and can be followed by the beginner. Capricorn stands for the master or mistress of the craft, a little scary in their dedication to the methods and modes of the art form, and the frightening clarity with which they explain their procedures. Finally comes the exemplar of the craft, Aquarius, who is not only famous for one masterwork but many, and whose explanations of process and philosophy are nearly inscrutable and opaque. For this master, the work they create almost speaks for itself: perfect knitting without a dropped stitch or an added purl, luminous varnish over silky smooth wood, a mirror polish on a damascus steel blade. To the beginner, their explanations make no sense.
Yet the jawbone rules over all of it. The beginner speaks the words, “I would like to learn this skill. Will you teach me?” The intermediate artisan asks, “How should I do this next step in my project?” The would-be master says, “to elevate my craft and demonstrate my prowess, I must do each step with utmost care.” The one who has surpassed mastery says, “Here is a flaw so minuscule, and yet I must try to eliminate it in my next effort.” At each turn, the jawbone must move, in order to speak into reality the next step. Only Mars generates that sort of ambition for what comes next — just as only the Nymphai remind us to woo these skills gently and without lust for results.
The Sun is in the fourth house, sharing the decan with the Imum Coeli, making this a Night Chart, although the Sun rules the Ascendant and is angular and square. The Sun nearly conjunct this point is suggestive of the higher mind attending to dreams of a happy and healthy household — which can manifest as either argument and conflict over how to manifest such a home, or as constructive ambition to create a joyful living situation one step at a time. The Nymphai’s patience and Martial ambition should be in equal harness here — make immediate changes to support a home that is sheltered and protected, while planning for long-term shifts that shut out foes and rivals and competing interests. Although the first and fourth houses are of course normally square, there is a suggestion that we must compromise or draw back some of our selves and our personality in favor of a happy home in the next ten days: our ambition to be personally recognized must take a back seat to familial needs — you don’t need to announce every time you change the toilet paper roll!
In the opposing sign of Taurus, The Moon is exalted and in the house of career, where she’s angular and and in the Fifth Mansion, “The White Spot.” As the reigning luminary in a night chart, she could hardly be better placed — waning toward completion of her current activities, in a position where she’s an honored guest and assured of success and safety in all present endeavors, and promising achievements that enhance and grow reputation — in all ways, she indicates strong promises of positive results from your efforts to perform above expectations in your workplace, and to enhance your reputation among colleagues in your industry or field.
It’s just… recognize that this work may come at the cost of the peaceful and harmonious household indicated by the Sun. There’s a “one or the other” trade-off suggested here, with the Moon holding a great many dignities and potentials for your short- to medium-term career goals; and the Sun holding out hope of building a long-term happiness at home. Recognize that both of these paths will have some personal costs to yourself, which will be temporary but feel like loss of face or diminishment of importance. Thus, it’s important to decide on your priorities first, and act accordingly.
The Ascendant is in Leo’s second decan The Laurel Crown — we are in some kind of competition in the next ten days, but the rewards of winning or losing are temporary. There may be some short-lived personal embarrassment if we lose; but the rewards of winning are not of lasting value either. You may be red-faced to be picked last for your touch football team or for a pick-up game of basketball, but being kept on at work while everyone else is let go in the current round of budget-cuts isn’t much fun either. Set your real priorities elsewhere than in the praise or blame that comes to you.
Mercury and Mars both occupy Libra as the third house in this chart. Mercury, the herald-messenger-expert, is better placed, being dignified by term/bound and in favorable relationships with both the Ascendant and Descendant: their message is likely one of links and connections: a friend or family member sending you articles relevant to your interests, or a teacher providing you with new information that’s valuable to your current goals, or a neighbor giving you the gossip that helps you understand a local issue more clearly. Mars is peregrine, a wandering tourist eager to buy the right souvenir in the marketplace, but currently wandering stall to stall and shop to shop and just not finding what he wants. Allow yourself time to talk to friends and community members in a general way, and don’t get too bogged down in specifics for now. Clarity and focus should emerge late morning EDT on the 27th.
The South Node and Venus share Sagittarius as the fifth house. The South Node always indicates less of a thing or idea than usual, and often indicates where the shit comes out. Here it promises less swiftness and speed — which is to say, more delay and difficulty than usual, especially when it comes to getting things done for your children, or moving your hobby projects along toward completion. Venus, however, is favorably inclined at the beginning of the decan (less so by October 24th) for creative pursuits and intimate gatherings; you may prick your finger finishing a quilt or wake with a headache after a party, but you’ll have a good time doing either.
The Lot of Fortune and Pluto occupy Capricorn. The Lot represents the idea of good luck (usually in the form of money) and we find it in Capicorn’s middle decan The Pyramid and the sixth house —which deals with hierarchies at work and the employment of servants at homes and the issue of health in the body. Make a list of things that you’d like to fix in each of the environments: circle the job on the organization chart that you’re in, and circle the job that you’d like — some adjustments in behaivor and direction may be required to get rom one to the other. A similar list of “to do” objectives around the house and garden should also be made up — collect the names and contact information of reliable handymen and fixers to do this work; even if you can’t afford to do it right now, having the list and the projects to do will be useful when the funds appear. Finally, make a list of health-maintenance concerns: an appointment to get new glasses, a dental cleaning, a gym membership, your yoga class. DON’T put “lose weight” on this list — “go for a daily10-minute walk” is much better; “eat healthy” is a worse list item than “cook butternut squash for dinner.” A focus on specific, actionable things is what’s needed here. Why the caution about making lists of genral goals? Pluto is in the decan called the Throne, and Pluto stands for small actions achieving big results; but also big plans coming to naught — surrounding any monarch are a legion of bureaucrats, flunkies, and courtiers who all have their own ideas about how to carry out (or delay) their master’s commands. No big plans are likely to succeed for the moment— too many little obstacles are arrayed against them. Small specified objectives, though, are easily obtained.
In the seventh house of the most important others in our lives — our spouses, romantic and business partners, and enemies — we find Saturn and Jupiter. The princes of the outer solar system are strongly arrayed against our favor at the moment. Saturn rules Aquarius, and shares the sky with the Sun, and stands in the decan called the Mark of Exile — we are seeing our relationships from an outsider perspective, where the boundaries of loneliness and separation drive a wedge between us and our beloveds. Jupiter is above the horizon in the Moon’s dark night, holding up a ray of hope from the decan call The Knot — suggesting reprieve is best found beyond the pale of our customary relations. It’s an ugly recipe for divorce, in more ways than one. However, between these two planets — one promising loneliness if we stay, the other enjoying connection if we go — is the Descendant, the actual position of our beloveds and loving co-creators, the peers of our starry realm, in the decan Heaven and Earth… despite the present tensions of the current moment, we’re expected to operate in the liminal space between the divine ideals and the practical realities of being in relationship. The current tension between staying in the long-term agreed-upon bounds, and the temporary longing to disconnect, is where the actual magic is happening: be awake to what these tensions mean to you personally, and be alert to your own specific circumstances, before you jump to irrevocable decisions.
Neptune in Pisces rules over the eighth house in much the same way that a turbulent ocean at high tide overwhelms the shoreline, or a small police force struggles to contain a large and cheerful crowd. Traditional lore about the eighth house makes it the place of death, taxes, and debts — I choose to call it the House of Obligations. We’re all likely to find that the running list of our duties to others is amorphous, ever-changing, and somewhat out of control: while some signs may experience bureaucratic stiffness and official inflexibility, it’s far more likely that we encounter changing circumstances on the ground, or formerly certain paths overgrown or washed away by present conditions. This may manifest for some (particularly Leo risings) as partners having financial difficulties or problems with identity theft; all of us should be more careful with credit card receipts and bank data than usual.
In addition to the Moon in the tenth house, we also find Uranus retrograde in the middle decan of Taurus, The Lingam-Yoni. The tenth house governs career and reputation, and it’s one of those typical coincidences of astrology that sex workers and sex educators have been struggling with questions of how to get paid for their labor during this retrograde. This decan in particular may see the emergence of new setbacks in the form of censorship of their online forums, the deplatforming of prominent speakers, and sudden challenges to their payment-collection systems (like the OnlyFans decision of a few months ago to prevent adult-content creators from getting paid through their credit card processing system). Uranus in this position may also suddenly reveal old sex scandals in new places, including political and economic forums, as the ongoing economic issues of our time embolden people to speak out.
Finally, the North Node in Gemini retrogrades into the first two degrees of Gemini, in the decan called The Apple of Eden (the nodes normally travel retrograde). The North Node indicates where the hunger in our lives is, and what sorts of hopes and dreams we long to fulfill; in the eleventh house, the North Node indicates a hunger for a new range of friends and allies, a wish to network and connect to others. However, although Gemini indicates a desire for knowledgeable friends, the Apple indicates a longing for particular kinds of friendships: friends who don’t simply have book knowledge… but people who know from doing, from experience, who can help you learn to learn in the same way. Make a list of things you’d like to know from raising chickens to grafting apple trees to how to make a wooden bench to how to win at chess — and cultivate the right sort of friends for the list of skills you’d like to acquire some day. The people you hang out with are likely to be the friends who help you achieve those results.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Horoscopes of Decan I of any sign are free to the public; Decans II and III are available to the $3/month tier and above on Patreon.
Leo: Sun is square from Scorpio, angular but peregrine. As described above, you can focus on your career or your household and family right now, but probably not both at the same time. Some problems with partnership can be expected to arise, but make no hasty decisions. It may be better to react over the next ten days to situations that arise, rather than trying to force your own agenda forward. List-making and calendar-reminders are your best bet for getting the most out of this time; you benefit from some creative activities, so make sure to schedule them for most effective results. Use this time for long-term thinking, rather than short-term plans.
Virgo: Ruling Mercury is inconjunct in Libra, cadent but dignified by term, and they share the sky with the Sun. Financial matters take the wheel as you face minor investigations and must rebalance monetary matters in new ways. Setting your house in order is important, but don’t try to do a whirlwind house-cleaning: strive for serenity in the act of gently polishing, rather than anxious scrubbing (my mother’s first employer, Mrs. Mac, used to look around the house after a party and say, “I am looking for things that are out of place and will upset my eye in the morning.” Cultivate the upset eye in the morning and resolve those issues, not ‘everything’. Recognize that you need some form of daily celebration or honoring of an achievement, but also recognize that you can’t afford to overdo it. If you are partnered, there’s some ‘buckling down’ that they need to do: the obvious limits on their lives are likely dragging them down, but new opportunities should arise soon. You yourself need to take stock of the skills you have and identify the gap in your professional experience — and take a step or two toward closing that hole.
Libra: Ruling Venus is sextile from Sagittarius, succedent and dignified by term. A close family friend (or maybe a niece or nephew) will be looking to you as a mentor or expert in the next few days — you may want to think about whether and what you will teach them, and how you will make it both fun and useful, while also not impinging on other time commitments. If you’re too young to have such friends, it might be that you should think about a skill you want, and what relative or neighbor could help get you started. Looking to have some fun times with a partner? It may be difficult to find the spontaneous time, so consider scheduling your liberation: ask for time off from work to make space for your pleasures. At the same time, keep track of the way that your daily duties (and your partner’s) spill out of the allowed work time into your own reserves: you may want to stage a revolt, strike, or at least a conversation with a boss or supervisor about unrealistic expectations.
Scorpio: Ruling Mars is inconjunct in Libra, cadent and peregrine. A focus on household dreams and desires proves valuable right now —spending some money on making home into an expression of self would be good, but if you can’t afford it, at least spell out your wish-list — talking though the changes you’d like to make is a great way to put secret desires on the table. You’re also going to need a little bit of time on your own to express and communicate your ambitions and goals to yourself, and cut through a backlog of projects or processes that need your attention. A family member is a source of good fortune, but they’re also likely to try to run your life in some way; don’t be afraid to assert your own sovereignty, but recognize which of your kin you might need to have long-term associations with and try not to burn any bridges. A partner’s career is going through some positive but sudden upheaval; encourage them, but also help them be mindful of new expenses as they sort out their new priorities.
Sagittarius: ruling Jupiter is sextile from Aquarius, angular but peregrine. Questions of what to wear, what artistries to promote, and what sort of entertainments to enjoy take center stage — and this is also the place where difficulties arise about what to do next. You are likely aware of the need for solo time and yet there’s also pressure to accept a range of local invitations to community events where difficulties arise. Family stresses require you to be alert to your clan ties and obligations, but you also need opportunities to uncouple and be on your own. A significant shift in what you do as daily labor and how you do it is coming in the near future, so a review of what you’re doing now and why is useful: you may have to write up a guide for your successor. Household management is likely a series of never-ending tasks and changes. Look for an opportunity to learn something that comes with some kind of temporary award or recognition; it’ll benefit your long-range plans.
Capricorn: Ruling Saturn is inconjunct in Aquarius, angular and in a sign he rules and sharing the sky with the Sun. Pluto is present. The next ten days are likely to be full of the daily grind. You may often find yourself “put in your place” or reminded of your role in the organization — and what decisions are and aren’t made at your pay-grade. Make the decisions that are your to make decisively, and kick the rest up the ladder… but remember that sh*t runs downhill. Plan accordingly, and make plans for having fun separately than your duties to paycheck providers. Your financial situation may feel quite limited, so set up your budgeting and expenses to establish some level of freedom over the next three months. Sit down with a friend to vent in secret… but use that same meeting to establish some bucket-list dreams or plans for creating the context for your happiness in this life.
Aquarius: Ruling Saturn is present, angular, in a sign he rules, and sharing the sky with the Sun. Whenever possible over the next ten days, give your partner your full and undivided attention. You’ll likely learn some important information, and you’ll be developing the skill-set necessary to walk together through the challenges that are coming, rather than trying to navigate the rapids in separate boats. It’s easy to see the good fortune that would come from being on your own right now, but there’s an ugly side to that luck that is invisible right now — but will be all too real if you get what you think you want. The next time that bills come in, review them thoroughly: what are you dispersing that you’re not really using?
Pisces: Ruling Jupiter is inconjunct in Aquarius, angular but peregrine. Neptune is present. There are restrictions and limitations on your solo time, which is when you tend to do your best thinking and planning, but you’re also finding that these constraints are leading to better results. A friend offers to help with the day to day work as a learning experience, but you may have to fire the volunteer if they turn out to be more trouble than they’re worth — the trouble is not every volunteer is going to be incompetent! Family matters are upended but in favorable ways that are to your public benefit; try to roll with the sudden shifts. You may need to consult with “uncle expert” or “auntie aficionado” about an issue, but be aware of the difference between getting or giving advice and starting an argument: be clear and careful about your intentions, and whether your intention is to forge stronger connections or spin up a family feud.
Aries: Ruling Mars is in opposition, cadent and peregrine. Your studies are interrupted by a partner’s family matters, which may require your expertise or knowledge, but could just as easily lead to unpleasant drama. Recognize that your happiness may require you to intervene and speak your mind about something you’d rather keep quiet about — and that you may have to speak over and over on this topic. Try to get clear with yourself about the overall message, work on kindness, and accept that you may wind up reinforcing some bad behaviors if you’re not specific enough. A financial issue can work in your favor, but recognize that the bureaucratic wrangling can be tedious and spill into other parts of your life. Work issues require you to labor with and under others, but adopting the attitude of “I see things differently, here’s my suggestions — but we’ll do it your way first,” will win you long-term support.
Taurus: Ruling Venus is in aversion from Sagittarius, succedent and dignified by term. Uranus is present but retrograde. There is a loose “yod” in your chart at the moment, representing a tension or a mis-match which is seeking release and refocus. It’s represented by Uranus trying to figure out how to reinvent yourself by both profession and reputation, which is out of alignment with both your intellectual capacities (Mercury) and your creative desires which are both feral and civilized (Venus). The Sun’s position at the IC shines a light on what you must do, and what you want, to achieve a larger context of happiness and balance in your life. This is best resolved by talking about what you want and need, in ways that are out of your natural inclination and character: you tend to keep secrets around your deep desires, but now you have to channel that emotion to the surface if you want your garden to flourish. It may feel like throwing more money at the problem will fix this situation, but not nearly so much as identifying how you want your prestige or status in your working life to change — and that’s going to happen only if you talk about about what you want. Act and speak accordingly.
Gemini: Ruling Mercury is trine and dignfiied by term, but cadent. You probably feel like you need more from your friends than you’re getting. You probably want some kind of gift from the universe, channeled through their mouth, about what you should do next or what your next steps are (and home and house and parents may be a specific concern in the next ten days. But — and hear me out on this one even though you won’t like it — maybe what you need is a retreat or period of separation guided by professionals. You’re looking for a big shift, in how you think about yourself or your body or your mind, and that sometimes requires someone other than a cool friend: an actual therapist, a Zen retreat director, a clergy person, a Sikh guru, a Benedictine nun who’s been working on social justice issues for three decades. It’s not to say that family members and close friends can’t or won’t help; those kinds of ties and connections can keep you going. But working with a professional religious or spiritual guide as a peer and ally will help you in ways that are difficult to articulate.
Cancer: Ruling Moon is sextile from Taurus, angular and exalted and in the Fifth Mansion. You have a great teal of goodwill, favor, and well-being to put to use in the next ten days, but there’s a strange mix of “alone and together, alone and together” at issue. When you do it (whatever ‘it’ is) for yourself, be alone; when doing it professionally, find someone to work with. At the same time, be choosy about who and how you work with them; you’re looking for the favorable outsider, the friendly upstart, the creative but accepted rebel. You can be the traditionalist on their team, and be credited for helping to rein in their least useful impulses. At the same time, recognize that you partner may be challenged by unexpected limits on their metal and emotional resources in the next ten days: as a result, home may be a haven, or it can be a place where argument spins out of proportion to the issue at hand, even to the point of the neighbors getting involved. Make a point of having some private fun to ease tensions and create space for more positive emotions to flow.
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.