The Sun enters Sagittarius II, the decan that Austin Coppock named The Bridle (I sometimes call it The Harness) on December 2 at 12:27 am EST. T. Susan Chang points out that this decan is associated with the first part of December, roughly December 1-10 (but sometimes, as in this year, with December 2-11). The Bridle, of course, is how the rider forces the horse to obey their commands, but also connects the horse to the rider in such a way as to enable throwing and trampling: it’s a two-way street of partial control. The ancient Alexandrians assigned this Decan to Kore, “the maiden”, the youthful woman kidnapped by Hades. Roughly 120 days from now is the Spring Equinox; Aries I was assigned to Hades, and Aries II to Persephone — and so, it is here at this time of year that the marriage of Demeter’s daughter to Hades was acknowledged, and the maiden’s second time in the darkness begins.
Yes. Kore’s journey to the underworld has its parallels in the grain life-cycle in Greece. Greece’s landscapes are well-suited for the planting of winter wheat, which is typically put into ground between the middle of October and the end of November. It gets the cold shock of temperatures below 50°F underground, and sprouts quickly, creating ground cover. As snows and rains blanket the ground, it goes through a winter hardening cycle, which matures the plant and makes it ready to germinate and bring forth seed. Wheat that doesn’t get a hardiness period of super-cold temperatures (down to about -15°F) … won’t germinate or put forth flowers and seeds. And it’s the wheat germ, the seed, that you and I get as flour and make bread, pies, croissants, and so on from.
Without an autumn planting, there is no spring.
But similarly, Kore the daughter of Demeter was originally kidnapped by Hades, and taken underground. There she ate six pomegranate seeds, and so was destined to spend half the year underground. Even though Demeter got her daughter back from Hades, she had eaten of the underworld, and so had to spend some time in its shade.
In addition to needing time in the darkness, and a hardening in cold temperatures, winter wheat also needs its seeds to stay at a favorable temperature, below about 65-70°F, in order to be viable seeds. Greece in the summertime is much too warm for this, so seeds intended for the following year’s planting need to be kept viable. To do that, the ancient Athenians and their farming colleagues in southern Italy, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt, all kept their seed reserves hidden in jars underground. There, relatively constant temperatures kept seeds viable for several years after their harvesting — easy to turn into flour if not needed; easy to turn into a fresh field of wheat in a pinch.
This, then, is the cycle concealed in some of the Decans — Persephone, emerging in the era of Aries II around April 1-10, celebrates the flowering of the winter wheat and the demonstration that the queen of the underworld is re-emerging to feed humanity. Isis and Serapis, acting as wheat-deities in Leo II and Leo III around July 23-August 20, represent the harvest and the grain ground into flour, and stored in hidden ways against future misfortunes. Finally, here in Sagittarius II at the end of the winter-wheat planting season, the Alexandrians acknowledged the third part of the cycle: Kore the maiden goes of her own free will into the underworld, to be queen of the dead and the departed. The three-fold promise of the grain is represented in the worship of the deities who preside over the planting, the harvest and the storage of the seed-corn of the next planting, and finally the next planting.
It’s not uncommon, either, for the Full Moon in Gemini to take place on or near the shoulders of the constellation Orion… and throughout the Greek world, there was awareness that the coming-of-age rites of the Spartans occurred during the period of the full moon before the winter solstice. By the Roman era, this had turned into a bloody spectacle where the youthful participants were whipped until they let go of an iron bar outside the temple of Artemis. In an earlier age, it was a test of bravery and agility, as Spartan youths stole wheels and wedges of cheese off of the altar of the moon-goddess while the priestesses tried to prevent the theft with birch switches — something far more similar to the summer camp game Capture the Flag than body-horror porn. That full Moon occurs on December 7 at 11:08 pm EST.
It’s appropriate, then, that this decan is given to the Moon. Thanks to its associations with Kore, it’s closely connected to the idea of passing time, of both birth and death, beginnings and endings, and the formation of children into adults of reason and intellect.
With the Sun not even a half-hour past midnight, we’re looking at a Night Chart in which the Night-sect planets Mars and the Moon are above the horizon, but neither Venus nor Mercury are. This lends Saturn a little more strength, canceled by his cadent position; while Jupiter is in the wrong part of the sky to take full advantage of his angularity in the seventh house. The ebb of a separating square is implied by the placements of Mars, Neptune, and the Venus-Mercury alignment in Sagittarius, which put considerable pressure on us personally at around the American Thanksgiving holiday; the immediate drama is over, but the consequences (or rubble) may still be bouncing.
The Ascendant is in Virgo III The Sarcophagus, inviting us to remember with gratitude the successes of our harvests in the previous year — whether in the form of garden produce, lines of code for an employer, or patients or clients served in operating theater or therapist office, or students taught in classroom and field site. The old year is in the ground and dead — and yet it can be resurrected through memory and recollection.
The South Node is in Scorpio II The Double Distiller, opposite the North Node and Uranus retrograde in Taurus II The Lingam-Yoni. Familial obligations of the last ten days are receding, as are errands close to home, in favor of more long-distance travel and self-imposed learning opportunities. Uranus in particular promises unusual surprises: challenges to autonomy and opportunities to set boundaries that protect your personal freedoms.
The Sun in Sagittarius II The Bridle is followed by Venus and Mercury in close alignment with one another in Sagittarius III The Horse’s Skull. The Sun promises a growing confrontation between home and professional life in the next ten days, as he inches toward opposition with Mars retrograde — the planning in the workplace reaches a fever pitch, even as our attention turns toward home-bound holiday preparations. Mercury and Venus, both in the night sect but in close proximity to the Sun, wearily trudge over the same ground this time of year: how do we make a happy holiday in a season affected by both economic recession and ongoing health issues?
Pluto in Capricorn III, now direct, covers the same ground as before: asking us to take charge of our happiness and pastimes, and acknowledging the work that must be done both before and after holidays. A fair bit of time must be spent with “butt in the driver’s seat” doing the work, in order for the early phases of winter to go well. However, it must be noted that this decan The Throne is associated with the frosty airs and storms of middle January: don’t assume good will come from keeping your seat warm.
Saturn, also direct, stands at the end of Aquarius II, Heaven and Earth. This time of year, we often begin turning our attention to next year’s plans and New Year’s resolutions. Saturn advises us to start making this plan, recognizing that ideals and practical reality are often out of alignment with one another. Stiffness, inflexibility, and lack of mobility are common complaints this time of year, as cold is one of the triggers for arthritis; and lack of exercise can also reduce our movement while holiday parties swell our waistlines. Use Instagram or some other platform to choose a short flexibility routine you can do every other day, as a counter to Saturn’s stiffness.
Jupiter and Neptune are both above the horizon in Pisces III the Cup of Blood — promising a mixture of zealous law enforcement and deep currents of misinformation dragging us away from the truth. Be cautious about speeding and other minor forms of rule-breaking this season, but be aware that either you or your significant other(s) may get caught up in molehill-mountains and teapot tempests manufactured as clickbait and propaganda. Treat outrage as a rationed commodity these next ten days.
The Moon is in the first degree of Aries in the house of duty and responsibility, and in the First Mansion of the Moon. This rest stop on the Moon’s highway overlaps with Aries I The Double Bladed Axe, and its image is an armed warrior with a turban. A favorite haunt of cops, lawyers, and military types, it’s associated with both confidence and action-packed adventure. Whatever duties or responsibilities you’ve been putting off… now’s the time. Get them done!
Uranus in Taurus is still retrograde, and still surprising us with challenges to personal autonomy and opportunities to establish revolutionary goals for ourselves. Here, we’re invited to challenge ourselves with new learning opportunities related to caring about and for others in immediate and specific ways. What does that mean, though? It means that you should make some of your gifts for winter holidays, a) handmade, b) edible or consumable, c) high quality, and d) traditional. If you don’t know how to bake cookies, now’s the time to learn. If you don’t have the time or space to bake, send out handwritten cards. Make something personal, immediate, and a type of lasting intimacy for someone else as part of your holiday preparations.
Mars is retrograde in his own sign and decan (The Hermaphrodite) in Gemini in the tenth house, forceful and lordly and full of arrogance about his plans for the future. The boss, in other words, is angry about something, is full of plans to make mischief, and eager to cause trouble. This boss doesn’t have to be male or female, by the way — and can operate by either fulminating rage, or subtle takedowns and vengeful microaggressions. Be aware of upcoming layoffs in your industry or company, signaled by drops in sales, rising costs, or anti-competitive behaviors from rival teams.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Decan I of any sign (usually covering the 21s of the month to the first of the following month) is free to all visitors; Decan II is only available to Patreon and Ko-Fi.com subscribers; and Decan III is available to Patreon, Ko-Fi, and MailChimp subscribers.
I have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it continues its third year. Those funds support artists, artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to the well-being of the world. You can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments; 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.
If you want to read some of my astrologically-oriented poetry, the largest collection is called A Full Volume of Splendor and Starlight, available through my Etsy shop, and containing poems and hymns to the planets, constellations, decan deities, and Moon Mansion angels. 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.
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. I also 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 for much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me.