Sun in Gemini II — Cybele

The Sun enters the second decan of Gemini On May 31, 2022 at 7:12 am EDT. Austin Coppock called this decan The Hermaphrodite, after the Greek deity of the same name, the son of Aphrodite and Hermes who was united in one flesh with their spouse the nymph Salmacis thus combining the best qualities of male and female. Alexandria’s Greek-speaking population gave these ten days to Cybele the great mother-goddess of ancient Syria and Asia Minor.

It can’t have escaped the attention of longtime readers that I tend to use they/them pronouns for twinkish Mercury, the fast-flitting herald of the Solar System. The ruler of Gemini is retrograde and in Taurus until June 3: and thus out of their domicile, inconjunct, and deep into Venus’s territory (in the decan called The Prayer Beads which commemorates the goddess Tethys). Non-binary in classical literature — “masculine with masculine planets and feminine with feminine ones” and “masculine in feminine signs and feminine in masculine ones” — Mercury plays with gender more than any other planet. Here in Taurus they’re speeding away from the Sun and toward Uranus and Venus in a feminine sign. More feminine by planet, more masculine by sign, more committed to a trans identity by the retrograde, less sure of self-expression by being peregrine and in aversion, but more sure-footed by being the Sun’s dawn herald in a day chart … It seems significant that, as the Sun enters this decan, the non-binary planet is playing on all the possible permutations of their possible gender roles, from the homoerotic “no homo” mockery of frat-boys in bras and mini-skirts for an in-house hazing ritual, all the way to the sacred doors of the operating room where a trans person undergoes the mysteries of gender-affirming surgery. Trine Neptune in Pisces and square Saturn in Aquarius, Mercury defies existing intellectual structures and washes away old binaries: don’t think you know them, friends. They are just getting started.

Ancient compilers and priesthoods gave Cybele the festival of the Sun’s entry into Gemini. A goddess of ancient Lydia in what is now modern-day Turkey, her worship eventually reached Phrygia, an ally and client-state of Rome. When the Roman Senate, engaged in its century of warfare with Carthage, needed to form a deeper alliance with non-Italian powers (and to discourage and suppress the worship of Bacchus, whose followers had long-standing links with parallel cults in Carthaginian Spain and North Africa), they turned to Cybele and her castrated priesthood for assistance. The black stone meteorite that was Cybele’s cult object was brought by ship from Phrygia to Rome in great secrecy. A naked Roman youth — judged ‘the most virile’ in a grower or shower? contest on the beach at Ostia — swam out to the ship and brought the stone to shore, and then gave it into the hands of the mothers of the city’s most noble families, who brought it to the Palatine Hill to reside in the Temple of Zeus: Libations to the Great Mother were now expected of all those who sought to make promises to Capitoline Jupiter the All-Father. From castrated priests to horndog teenager to honored mothers, the Stone was passed hand-to-hand uphill from ocean to rocky height.

Cybele wasn’t any more free of sexual psychodrama or gender anxiety than the wine-god she replaced. The mysteries of Cyrenacean Bacchus were said to make boys into men by means of a sacrifice of a human being. That claim is likely lies and propaganda from a war already 2,226 years old, an ancient equivalent of modern Islamophobia — but what are we to make of the fact that Cybele’s male priests were themselves castrati, in honor of Cybele’s spouse (or depending on the myth one follows, her lover, or her child) Attis? Even as they allowed her stone to enter the city, the Senate forbade any Roman man to become a priest of Cybele, or any Roman woman to enter her priesthood (and thus gain the right and power to castrate others). What is a man, if he has no power to strip on the beach at Ostia? What is a woman, if she has the power to re-shape a man into something sexless?

Mars is the administrator of this decan — and I wonder if this is the Mars of surgical precisio? Or the barber with precise shears and clippers who etches lightning-bolts and victory logos into the buzzcut hair of men, a concession to fashion and style which men rarely make. This is a Mars who will cut a rival over a pair of smart sneakers, or who fine-tunes a law or contract in the legislature or board room until a single zipcode bleeds dollars and life-force — and another grows fat. It matters not if the legislator or lawyer is a woman or a man; there’s an expertise in certain kinds of predation, and it doesn’t always follow that a nice suit and nail polish means an honorable citizen, or that a sharp haircut and a biker jacket means a thug.

The dodecatemoria of the second decan begin with a recapitulation of balanced Libra, proceed through spaces belonging to secretive Scorpio and generous Sagittarius, before ending in the practicality of Capricorn —something in us requires rebalancing, impels us to clothe ourselves in armor and shelter at least for a time, come to terms with our own mythic truth, and then figure out how that requires us to live. If we’re honest, it’s not just a trans person’s story: it’s the story of every human being who inquires within themselves for a sense of how to make meaning out of life.

Planetary Positions

The Ascendant is in Cancer, making this a Moon-ruled chart, even though it’s daytime. The Moon is just past new (not even clear of the Sun’s nimbus yet), and in Gemini III The Executioner’s Sword, where she anticipates the summer solstice. The Lot of Fortune is also in Cancer, suggesting that our greatest freedom of action in the next ten days has to do with self-development and self-presentation. HOWEVER…

The Sun and Moon are in the twelfth house, both cadent and peregrine. They’re in the place that indicates that we’re likely to be our own worst enemies, and cause the greatest number of difficulties and troubles… for ourselves. Accordingly, it’s a great time to get a good haircut or take up a gentle exercise program — but don’t overdo anything, and be cautious about programs and projects that are two-faced.

The eleventh house is home to Mercury retrograde and Uranus, both in Taurus along with the North Node and Venus. The queen sits at the steering arms of Taurus I‘s Plough, preparing the ground for what comes six months from now, a successful harvest — but the North Node promises a kind of spiritual hunger that goes unfulfilled despite ongoing efforts. Uranus indicates an ongoing drive for autonomy and personal power, which we’ll likely see represented in the form of strikes and further unionization efforts. Mercury promises a tactical and strategic response from the security experts, but one which is likely to run up against certain limits and boundaries long before the plan is fully executed.

Mars and Jupiter occupy Aries I The Double Bladed Axe, separated by only 70 arc-minutes. Ordinarily Aries would be a poor position for Jupiter by daylight, but the generous planet is in his own term — a position akin to being the grand marshal in a parade, honored for community service. The result is that the soldierly Mars is counseled by the lawful and merciful Jupiter: the diplomat stands ready to offer counsel and guidance, and the carrot of peace is immediately visible beside the threat of the stick.

Finally solo in Pisces III The Cup of Blood, Neptune rides high and prepares to crest the Midheaven for the day, exporting the issues of reputation and recognition into the ninth house of writing, magic, religion, and academia. Scandals of zealotry and fundamentalism are about to experience a significant washing, as a tidal wave begins to infiltrate behind the seawall and greedily suck away the sand that supported the boardwalk.

Saturn in Aquarius III The Knot holds down the eighth house, promising a slow-moving disentanglement from the issues of life and responsibility. Prominent deaths may rock some communities of knowledge — less of the “sudden death by violence” and more of the “finally succumbing after a long illness”, but still wearying and full of despondency nonetheless. The applying square to Mercury retrograde implies that major expertises and skill-sets may be destabilized — such as when a prominent scholar’s death removes a major obstacle to consideration of new theory or process. Not all death is bad.

Pluto continues to hold strongly to Capricorn III The Throne, but this time in the seventh house of spouses, significant others, business partners, and open foes. The take-charge attitudes of our spouses are magnified and amplified, but so are the ambitions of those who oppose us; our corporate peers may be more willing to team up for greater success in pursuing a common goal — but the amount of room behind the sovereign’s big chair for advisors is always quite cramped and small. Who gets to be seen standing there? is a question that may haunt us.

The South Node digests and dumps the crap of the next ten days in the realm of Scorpio III The Crow — it’s easy to focus on having the right kinds of fun in the right set of circumstances or conditions, with the right gear and attitude. But — masks or no masks, vaccinated or vexed, boosted or boasted — it may not matter much. We run into trouble in the places where we’re having fun, or where our children are living their routine lives. Cautious living isn’t the answer here, but neither is reckless abandon. You know what you have to do when you get crap, though: wipe, flush, wash hands. Rinse and repeat.

Horoscopes by Rising Sign

I write horoscopes by rising sign for the public in Decan I of each sign. Decan II horoscopes are available to my Patreon and Ko-Fi subscribers. Decan III horoscopes are available to Patreon, Ko-Fi, and mailing list subscribers.

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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. Any errors in these columns are my own. Patreon subscribers at the $5 tier and higher get access to my Discord server and to the materials for a Decans Walk to learn tools and techniques for astrological magic.

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, To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions mentioned in these columns. 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. While not astrological, Festae contains hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits from the calendar created by Numa Pompilius, the second ancient King of Rome.

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