Thank you to “Wren” and to “Victoria”, whose contributions made it possible to make this entry free and available to the public.
The Sun enters Aquarius III — the realm of Osiris, which Austin Coppock named The Knot, on February 8, 2023. T. Susan Chang notes that this decan is associated with the middle part of the month of February, and the 7 of Swords in the Rider Waite Tarot deck. Inviting us to use diplomacy instead of aggression, and to sidestep direct confrontation through the use of cleverness and intelligence, the card and the god together invite us to imagine new possibilities.
The Moon is the administrator of this decan — reminding us that it takes vision and imagination to undo knots. Coppock referenced the famous story of the Gordian Knot, the complex tangle of rope that joined the chariot of Ares the god of war to a post in the sacred precinct of the temples of Gordium, a city in what is now Turkey; whoever untangled the knot, it was prophesied, would rule all of Asia. Alexander the Great visited shortly before a decisive battle, contemplated the knot for a while, and then cut through the rope, knot and all. He went on to achieve a decisive victory against the Persian emperor, and take Asia Minor, Syria, Lebanon, and the whole Middle East for himself. Sometimes untangling a knot leaves the whole rope in pieces.
Osiris’s story has a little of that sense of disassembly. The ruler of Egypt in myth, he came to a banquet in his honor, held by his brother and rival Set. Set had a jeweled and gilded box set before all his guests, and declared that whoever fit inside would receive the box as a gift. The various guests took turns seeing if they fit, with some being too tall and others being too short. Comparing himself with them, Osiris realized that he had a chance of fitting perfectly, and winning the contest.
He had relaxed his guard a little too much at the banquet, and seeing how the other guests were treated safely and honorably, he offered to put himself in the box. Of course he fit — it had been made as a trap for him! No sooner had he climbed inside than Set slammed the lid down and nailed it in place. Then the coffin (for that was what it was intended to be) was flung into the Nile, and for good measure after it had been submerged for a good long while, chopped up in pieces. Much later, Osiris’ queen Isis collected the pieces and reassembled her brother-husband. But Osiris’s penis, his generative organ, was missing from the reconstruction. Thus disassembled beyond repair as a living person, Osiris went into the underworld to become ruler of the dead. Like Humpty Dumpty, not everything broken apart can be put back together again.
The dodeks or twelfth-parts (2° 30′ of arc) of the third decan of Aquarius tell something of this story, too, as they run from Virgo to Sagittarius — Virgo representing the too-clever-by-far youthful expert, down-to-earth and analytical, enters the marketplace of ideas represented by Libra, and face off against a wide variety of options — should the cord be cut or untied? Should I try to enter the contest for the box or remain aloof? Not every choice is a good one, and not every option is successful — Alexander didn’t win all of Asia, and died without figuring out how to sustain and manage his empire effectively; Set destroyed his rival, but in a manner so harsh and unforgiving that he never became ruler of Egypt. The effects of the choice, good or bad, are represented by the dodek of Scorpio — the desire that hurts or harms or even destroys us, or prevents us from achieving a different, longer-term goal. Finally we emerge on the other side of the consequences of our desires, in the dodek of Sagittarius: wiser and with greater insight and perception —unable to have the thing we most wanted, but possessing an internal light and fire that is more cautious of random desire in the future.
The Sun is below the horizon, making this a Night Chart — but one in which only the malefic planets have much dignity as a result. The Moon and Venus both share the underworld sky with the Sun; Jupiter is above the horizon in the night sky. Only Mars and Saturn are in the correct places, and Mars is angular and in his own decan in addition — lending special warning and threat in his malevolence over the next ten days. It’s appropriate for a season associated with an underworld god, but it carries a terrible message.
The Moon is closest to the horizon in the east, about to rise in Virgo as a waning gibbous moon in the fourteenth mansion — a way station called The Unarmed, with a carved sign illustrating a dog chasing its own tail. Popular in the early morning hours with divorcees and surgeons, prostitutes and pimps, highway bandits and the truck drivers they target, the fourteenth mansion is considered favorable for the dissolution of bonds and the messy break-up. Trine to Mercury and Pluto, the Moon seems to suggest that there’s difficult conversations ahead, in which questions about how we find and use happiness are going to be high priorities — and yet the answers may be flippant and minimizing. These sorts of dialogues deserve your full attention, though, in the days ahead. Treat them seriously but be cautious about blowing them too much out of proportion.
The South Node remains in Scorpio I the Jawbone — but this time around, it’s steadfastly “not looking at” Jupiter in the same way that you or I might avoid the steady gaze of an ex-lover in a restaurant with a new paramour… or the way that an adulterer talks to their new lover about their spouse. I’ve said before that the South Node, or Tail of the Dragon, is where the poop comes out; this week, it’s in the talking-trash about your duties and responsibilities, particularly to an intimate friend about your spouse or significant other or business partner, that gets us into trouble. Keep your mouth shut.
Mercury and Pluto are both in Capricorn III The Throne in the fifth house — with a supporting trine from the Moon, remember — and both in the last term governed by Mars. A long-overdue communication about pleasure, happiness, pastimes or children is long due in your household; one partner is the acknowledged expert or point-person, the other appears uncaring. Yet the wrong person in the arrangement holds the purse-strings at the moment, and the result is a complex risk of argument in which one needs to overreact to get attention, and the other appears to minimize or misdirect. The combination can be explosive. One possibility is to avoid the argument until Mercury is full past Pluto on February 10, or even in Aquarius on February 11. Yet that also risks the potential that the issue won’t be actually addressed — consider opening the conversation even if it’s risky.
The Lot of Fortune, The Sun, and Saturn are all in Aquarius in the sixth house, with the Lot experiencing a separating square from Uranus in Taurus. The Lot invites us to think about what we need in terms of health management, illness-prevention, and personal development, as an ideal — and then take one or two practical steps toward that. You may not be able to change your entire diet and exercise plan right now, today; but you can stretch and go for a walk at lunch time. The Sun and Saturn together at their annual conjunction usually represents a moment of “harsh reality” — an awareness that something isn’t working right. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the broken thing gets fixed, or that the solution is immediately apparent. You may find that the next few days involve confronting something that isn’t working for you in your daily routines. What you do about it, will depend on you. Just know that the solution sometimes doesn’t come until the arrival of Mercury’s conjunction with Saturn, which in this cycle happens on March 2.
Venus and Neptune occupy the second and third decans of Pisces, as the planet of love and desire approaches her annual conjunction with the watery dreamer on February 15. Often indicating a day of romantic day-dreaming, this conjunction coinciding with Valentine’s Day may offer some unusual opportunities for romance… if you or your partner actually plans for something with a bit of pizazz and delight! But it’s often an occasion when our bubble bursts if we’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t see eye to eye with us on what ‘romance’ means. Get on the same page with your statistically significant other(s) about what you want and expect, so that you have the delightful occasion the sky invites you to have.
Jupiter in the eighth house in Aries invites you to make friends with the folks who wield axes. I’m thinking about donating to the fire department here, as a preventative measure that demonstrates goodwill — but maybe you know some Vikings or have friends who’d like to try out an axe-throwing booth at a bar? (Drink after the axe-throwing, not before). More seriously, Jupiter in Aries suggests scope-creep, a common problem for designers and artists everywhere; a small project metastasizing into a larger set of duties and responsibilities because so many different aspects of the same problem cohere to it. Be aware of scope-creep in your own daily activities, and be aware that of Wendell Berry’s insight that when you pull on one thing, all the rest of the things come with it because everything is connected.
Uranus in the ninth house with the North Node brings a hunger for new learning opportunities and new adventures in distant places. There’s a desire to plan things for six months from now, certainly; but there’s also an urgent immediacy to everything, too. A long drive or a short flight is probably in your near-term future; classes and workshops in a “pop-up” or last minute sense should be taken advantage of, wherever possible.
Mars is in his own decan in the tenth house. The likelihood of a confrontation in the workplace, or a challenge to your reputation and honor, is particularly high. For transgender persons, the risk of being deliberately misgendered or subject to micro aggressions — or macro aggressions — is particularly high at the moment. Some kind of education and reconciliation is possible in the early part of Mars’ transit of his own decan — but a more confrontational attitude may have to be cultivated between February 23 and March 4.
Both the Midheaven and the Imum Coeli are in their usual places in the tenth and fourth houses, rather than off at an angle. Our greatest happiness in the next ten days will likely be found at home, in the comfort of family and familiar insights, and perhaps rehashing or reviewing old and familiar difficulties in light of new information. However, our greatest chance to extend our reputation and honor comes from completing tasks and following through on promises kept — it’s a good idea to review your long-range to-do list and get some things crossed off that have been on your mind, if not on the front burner.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Virgo: The Moon invites you to break apart some old habits and to start experimenting with some new ones. This may require you to assert sovereignty over some bad habits that benefit merchants at your own expense, which may be difficult — but there’s never been a better time to loosen the restrictions that bad habits place on you. Some opportunities appear to connect with an existing partner, or to form new connections to others; however, you are going to have to demonstrate care for their resources, and do what you can to extend them. Some sudden learning may need to take place: be prepared to pack for a trip on short notice.
Libra: You’ll find that your daily plans for personal time unravel, but likely in service to a sudden burst of good fortune and freedom (though it may not seem like that at first). Think about what relatively small and locally achievable goals have been pulsing in the back of your skull for some time, and prepare to act on those dreams should the occasion arise. Several key allies are needed for your workplace routines, and you may be eager to connect with them — but some delays are both unavoidable… and yet completely predictable. Have low expectations around having your own needs met, but document the fact that you showed up to meetings that others blew off (or however else that manifests). You have to be the responsible one here, though — act with kindness and truth so it works out in your favor.
Scorpio: It’s possible to feel like a peer or rival’s needs or wants completely subsume your own in the next ten days, especially if they want to go somewhere or take a class on short notice. You will be left holding their bag. You’re likely to find yourself drawn into a bit of a public argument about money if you’re not careful… and face the reality that your significant other really does need your financial help… or you need theirs. Having “enough” is a big dream, but dreaming about it won’t change certain local realities that require facing up to harsh truth. There might be enough to sustain your hobbies and diversions, but in your local situation you probably have to do more for less in order to look like a contributor. Consider making some changes in the near term, while you’re still motivated to climb free of the crap.
Sagittarius: The dream has been beating on your skull for a while, about shifts at home and routines. Really, your home connection is desirable but unlikely to come to pass in the next ten days. You can loosen other familial constraints, but financial matters may be dicey for some time yet — communicate a clear plan, if only to yourself. A career move requires that you resurrect your old plans and build anew — but cast off self-presentations that don’t serve you. A major personal move by a significant other has opened up new potential, but you’re not out of the den of robbers yet. Pleasure carries unexpected responsibilities, and sudden shifts in routines for the sake of travel are not off the table yet.
Capricorn: There’s an alignment of your financial desires with something that you can do with your current level of authority and power at home. It may not be a good idea, and it may not be ethical, but the temptation is there, and obvious. The nature of the desire should be considered more carefully than usual, until the downside is spotted and understood. If you can’t see the downside then remember the ancient adage in its various forms: “a sucker is born each minute,” or “a fool and his money are soon separated from one another,” or “if you can’t spot the bozo in the room full of investors, you’re the bozo.” Once you know the risk, you can decide if the upside is worth the risk. Otherwise, walk away — especially if the “too good to pass up!” offer comes from family. There will be an argument about it, but you still should be sure of your responsibilities — and the potential for failure — before you take this leap.
Aquarius: It will be all too easy to let money flow through your fingers in the next ten days, or more accurately through your partner’s (or would-be partner’)s fingers, all in pursuit of love and beauty. The situation is fluid, but you may find that you’re head over heels in zeal for an amazing Valentine’s Day. That said… it’s not a great time for you to be climbing into boxes that are just your size, especially if you’re the bozo that everyone is trying to con. I know you are, so often, the smartest person in the room — but remember that a committee of low cunning can take down a talented but high-minded individual without allies. Walk into every meeting and make eye contact with friends; keep new alliances loose and easy, and station a claque where you can activate them easily. What’s a claque? Opera singers used to hire professional applause artists to launch their careers; stationed in the audience, they could sway the audience into thinking a mediocre performance was magnificent. Find your own committee of low cunning, in other words — and lull an audience with favorable, well-managed reports.
Pisces: There’s an opportunity to put your most lovely and idealized self on display pretty soon — but you have to remember that this is an imaginary construct. If you want it to be real, there’s a whole lot of sweat and tears between the vision, and the eventual reality. By all means, go for the dream, and show off the dream: costumes, make-up, the works. But after creating and displaying the vision, be realistic about how you’ll achieve that reality. Enlist the help of your most significant others, and be prepared to be generous with resources to achieve that dream. It may be lonely, it may involve taking a lot of crap and micro-aggression from friends, and it might even cost you an inappropriate relationship, or a role in your household or family. You don’t have to take all the big steps today, or tomorrow, or next week, though— start with the vision, and then slowly go in the direction it leads you.
Aries: OK. You’ve been on your own a while, and things have been gently favorable after a few weeks of difficulty and challenge in which knowing how to solve a problem was more important than solving it. But now you have to solve the problem, and that means needing resources, and using resources requires responsibility. You are going to have to be more generous with your time and energy, and divide yoru attention between multiple calls of duty, to get what you need. A relationship may feel important and new and worth protecting — and it is, but you have to get your act together or it will go out with the tide. Friends will blow away in the wind if you haven’t made your commitments to them endure. And the boss may have a gently-delivered but deeply harsh message for you if you haven’t been plugged in to your work. A lot of things may come undone daily, these next ten days… and it will be a sign of where you haven’t been doing your work. Time to get to knitting together what comes apart. No one can do it for you.
Taurus: Be open to the new information that rocks your world about autonomy, sexuality and agency in the next ten days. It has a chance to be a remarkable Valentines Day for you. There are some bad financial choices you can make, but they are yours to make, and they could turn out to be good ones. Just do some careful analysis of what pleasurable entanglements are appropriate and which ones should be mourned but properly buried. Sudden financial swings are possible — don’t blow your cash on grand gestures. It’s easy to dream big dreams in the dark of your own head, but remember that other people may be playing in the pond already. Don’t disengage completely if your big idea isn’t accepted; just think on how you’re going to keep at the daily project of your own goals for their own sake
Gemini: You may find your ideas and selfhood personally attacked in the ideas-marketplace of your workplace in the next ten days. A lot of people may think you over-promise and under-deliver, or make gentlemen’s agreements on a handshake and a promise that you then flake out on like a sorority girl after a post-breakup bender. If these gender-norm stereotypes anger you or annoy you — good. The point is that some of the time you need to be receptive and spin the situation to your advantage and weave together a team to do the work that’s required — and culturally all of that’s seen as a woman’s job. But sometimes you have to go out and hustle and win over customers and placate vendors and do deals on a handshake and a promise scrawled on a napkin with panache… and all of that culturally is seen as a man’s job. But these next ten days, play both sides of those roles, regardless of what gender norms you hold to, or what gender norms you ignore. Fight for what you want like a man, but fight dirty-quiet like a woman, as the saying goes. Expect most of the next ten days to be public, and for you to have to play the reaction to someone else’s initiative. It’s likely to put you on the defensive, so be prepared to make them slow down, to give you time to get sneaky.
Cancer: Make a point of excising self-deprecating talk from your own social media posts, and recording your most horrifying self-criticism only in the most private places for the next ten days. Cut that villainy from your life, deliberately: you don’t need to be your own traitor. Instead, make last minute plans with friends for an unexpected lunch when you’re hungry, and follow it up where possible with a consensual sexy ‘kidnapping’ or private ‘booty call’ in the middle of the night. The goal here is a playful reconnection with your significant other, with no deeper attachments; in fact, the goal should be to get loose, not to be overly constrained by conventional roles. A lover might come through with a romantic get-away, or an unusual workshop together. Nothing serious may come of it, but an adventure is sometimes a good thing. Be on the lookout for a new but generous division of labor in the workplace, and a shift in responsibility.
Leo: It’s shaping up to be a lonely ten days, in which you’ll be scrounging the odd box and jewelry case and sideboard drawer for change and the forgotten dollar bill. Maybe you won’t be scraping the bottom of the barrel literally — but frugality would be a virtue well worth adopting for part of the next week, at the least. Giving up one small daily pleasure won’t kill you — but neither will delaying putting your butt in the chair to do your work right at the starting bell, either. A few cleverly managed delays will be a happy reprieve from the likely coming argument with a significant other. What will you argue about? Interest rates, inflation, the cost of beauty in your mutual lives, and who really does the work around here anyway? Will all of that be in the open, easily spoken of, and properly aired and resolved? Probably not — and a fight with a work friend will round out what has the chance to be a tough stretch of workdays. Still, see if you can learn something useful in your job, something that you can put into immediate practice; a future chance at greatness emerges from some inner journey you take this week.
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.