December 1 at 6:43 pm EST sees the Sun’s entry into the second decan of Sagittarius, which Austin Coppock called The Bridle, and which Giordano Bruno described as “a sad woman dressed in mourning clothes, and by turns holding a child in her arms and leading it by the hand.” I’m reminded by Bruno’s image of those paintings or images set on a gridded or grooved or triangular surfaces, so that when seen from one angle, the woman is observed holding a baby; and when seen from another she leads the child. Meanwhile, the 36 Airs of the Zodiac, a Hellenistic text, gives these ten days at the beginning of December to Kore, “The Maiden” — the pre-underworld guise of Persephone the bride of Hades and chthonic queen of all the realms below.
These three images — the horse tack, and the world-weary woman with an infant or a toddler, and the innocent maiden about to be dragged into the abyss — all speak to the idea of dutiful continuation of life despite desperate brutality.
The mourning woman still cares for the child, alternately carrying and leading them. Her sorrow does not keep her from continuing to act for the living. The bridle holds the horse to the chosen path, no matter the horse’s terror at the nature of the path. Kore descends into the underworld, knowing that she will be changed by what she learns about herself in the darkness but not how she will change — and yet she goes anyway.
In the northern hemisphere, at least, this is something of the nature of winter, is it not? All around us, the green ones die and the land grows hard with the first of the cycle of frosts that will keep the seed in the ground until spring. We go into the dark time of winter with that same energy, with sorrow about what is to come, and yet holding to our duty to keep living: for our selves, for our family, for our community, for each other. Life, whatever its heartbreaks, goes on.
More than this, Kore is a living power, despite her journey to the underworld. The myths tell us that Hades kidnapped Kore and brought her into his palace to make her into his queen, Persephone. Yet the ancient Greeks (farther south and Mediterranean) kept a three-fold cycle with their wheat — and this time of year is when they planted their seed, for harvest in the spring. Longtime readers may recall that Persephone rules the third decan of Aries, roughly 140 days from now — the time when the winter wheat will be ready for harvest. The summer and early fall, the time that many Americans at least associate with harvest, would have been too hot and too dry for most food-bearing crops in Greece… and that was the season when the farmers of Athens and the Peloponnese would have hidden their seed-grain in jars underground, to keep it from the heat and the light. Their starvation time was high summer, not spring — and that was the time when they remembered Demeter’s daughter, kidnapped and hidden. Now, in this season, is when they honored the living Kore, going into the earth as a living being, a seed going into the realm of death to emerge as new life and new sustenance. She may mourn for the life that she once led, dancing in the fields of flowers — but she will rise with the grain as the Queen of All Below, her duty to the living world still maintained.
The dodecatemoria or 12th parts of a sign that subdivide this decan, are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer —the springtime heat that cracks the seed, the dryness that makes room for the taproot, the seedling that sends the first two leaves into the sky, and the moisture that makes the green one flourish. Something must die and be broken open for new life to emerge; something must be grounded in order to be renewed, and a maiden must go into the land before she emerges as a queen. Even then, what is to be renewed must go through all the elements of fire, earth, air and water before it is able to find its growth.
The Sun is below the horizon, making this a Night Chart ruled by the Moon — but both the Moon and Mars, as well as fickle Mercury, are below the horizon. Venus alone of the night sect is above the horizon, and soon to set. Jupiter and Saturn are above the horizon and succedent, further diminishing their power in the chart.
The Ascendant is in the middle decan of Cancer, The Walled Garden, suggesting that there’s a need to play our emotions close to our chest in the coming ten days. A firm wall should keep out the riff-raff, while those who are willingly invited in shall find a lush garden — albeit one that is waiting for spring, or even the sunshine of the day. Ruling Moon is trine but in exile and under the thumb of Mars in Scorpio, suggesting that it will be hard to keep out all troubles, and the garden is in need of maintenance even now in the foothills of winter. All the planets but Uranus are in the occidental half of the chart, indicating that we’re likely to be reacting to events beyond our control, rather than actively deciding on a course of action — the work of bringing surprise and joy to our friends is likely to be the only thing we can actively create in the next ten days. The North Node in the 12th house indicates a hunger for separation and isolation, rather than connection and community; the South Node promises that challenges arise in how we cope with underlings and employees in the course of daily activity.
The Imum Coeli is in the 3rd house, indicating that the context of our happiness is found close to home, with intimate friends and extended family or close neighbors, even though our public personas may range all over the world as indicated by the Midheaven in the ninth house. This looks a lot like continued reliance on videoconference tech in the face of ongoing Covid challenges.
In the fifth house, Mars and The Moon in Scorpio trouble our recreational time. The two planets will activate the three decans over the next few days, with the Moon first talking about fun, then trying to instigate it, before being reduced to collecting shiny new toys rather than bringing about meaningful change. Something important to a hobby, or a treasured possession of one of your children, may break in irreparable ways.
In the sixth house, The Sun and Mercury both occupy the middle decan, leading communication toward long-range plans even in the midst of troubles. Daily procedures may require significant adjustment; hiring of new employees or contractors is likely to be rough.
In Capricorn, Venus rides her chariot through the seventh house. The evening star brings reconciliation and beauty, even in merely practical ways, to relationships with spouses and business partners, significant others and even foes. Maybe it’s the Advent Truce; maybe it’s the gentling of the ego that occurs in the rush to the holiday seasons of so many faiths. Maybe you’ll just be on the right wavelength to deal with everyone in a more human, and humane way. Enjoy it while it lasts — her upcoming conjunction with Pluto on December 11 promises intense and dreamy experiences with new lovers, but gaslighting and manipulative tactics to and from your regular steady partners: jealousy and insecurity are not uncommon, though the effects rarely last long.
In the eighth house, Saturn and Jupiter bring forward questions of duty and responsibility. Jupiter is the more humane and kinder advisor, inviting you to disentangle from current onerous obligations, and go off and play hooky, take it easy. Saturn puts a hand on your shoulder, though, and stares at your work in a more supervisory capacity: “how can you make your ideals and your ethics more visible in this labor? Do you really believe in this, and does it match your understanding of how nature really works? How are you going to make this happen, assuming it’s worth your time and attention?” Of the two of them, Saturn has the greater chunk of power in the current situation — you ignore him at your peril — but that doesn’t mean that Jupiter doesn’t have the right idea.
In the ninth house, Neptune in Pisces III the Cup of Blood dissolves learning and promises dubious results from both genuine experiments and pseudo-scientists. Expect truth to be slippery as a fish and as unreliable as gossamer; even while you’re certain of your own facts, it’s worth knowing something of what others are thinking and saying, and exposing yourself to different view points. Much prayer and meditation should accompany all your decision-making; the non-rational choice that come after 30 minutes of natural silence may be more valuable than the well-considered and carefully argued bullet points of a SWOT chart. Remember Jean Baptiste de la Salle’s advice: “30 minutes of meditation a day is necessary, unless I am busy. Then an hour is required.”
Uranus in Taurus III The Lingam-Yoni, holds the eleventh house in thrall. The retrograde ends today, promising the ‘unsticking’ of many relationships with friends and colleagues in the next few weeks. However, since Uranus promises individuality and upheaval, this may manifest as a number of relationships in your circle of friends coming unglued, or a number of people deducing that either ‘cheating’ or some form of polyamory is acceptable. Not all such relationship-shifts begun at this time are assured of working out for the better, though.
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.
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.