The Sun enters Taurus III The Prayer Beads on May 10, 2023 at 6:21 pm EDT — in Greek myth, it’s the realm of the Litai, the spirits born out of the prayers of mortals.
It was Austin Coppock who named this decan The Prayer Beads, as a part of the sky that’s ruled by Venus but managed by Saturn. Monastic minimalism is the aesthetic of this realm — plain unbleached linen and a sturdy rope of worn onyx beads over more linen of orange or black or gray or white conveys a remarkable but austere elegance. Melismatic voices raised in a droning litany echoes off of plain limestone walls centuries old — chambers roofed with fire-seared oak replaced every thirty-seven years, seven months, and nineteen days for centuries on end — red-shaded lanterns and endless cups of tea keep the sky-watchers awake and watchful. Sometimes all that can be done is to wait and hope: adding ornament and decoration to the moments when all we can do is wait and hope… maybe that’s what it means to pray?
Saturn manages the decan, and Saturn is practically speaking the planet of waiting and delay and patience. Marathon six-hour zen meditation? Sure. Four hours of Gregorian chant in the middle of the night? Bring it on. Long and apparently pointless stories shared around the dying fire on the edge of the desert, while the waning moon rises and then sets, while the beasts make night noises all around? This is his jam, man. The four dodeks of Taurus III reiterate this nature — Capricorn’s bustling practicality gives way to Aquarius’s secret knowledge, followed by Piscean drifting between sleep and wakefulness (or ordinary and extraordinary consciousness), ending with the new fire in the head of Aries. Saturn rules two of the four dodeks, a full five degrees of the decan, followed by two brief forays into the agencies of Jupiter and Mars — awareness of what must be done, expanding into what I will do immediately.
The Hellenistic Greeks of Egypt gave this decan to the Litai, the spirits of prayer. To them, burning incense or sacrificing animals or pouring out libations or singing hymns or speaking petitions to the gods were somehow the same: it was, in a Platonic or animistic sense, releasing the spirit or soul of a living thing (be it water or wine, cow or colophonum, dove or devotion) from the prison of matter back into the realm of spirit. The theology here might be a bit confused… but in basic framework, it seems that the acts of libation and sacrifice, prayer and litany, served to release soul from matter, and for embodied spirit to rise to the empyrean and deliver the tidings and petitions of mortals up to heaven… prayer requires the embroidery of time spent in waiting patience for the beautiful answer to emerge.
We should be so lucky.
It is perhaps appropriate that so many elements of this chart are in the seventh house right now, and that all the planets except the Moon are in the reactive, western half of the chart. In much traditional astrology (I’m currently reading the Ben Dykes translation of Dorotheus of Sidon’s Carmen Astrologicum), the western half of the chart is reactive, contentious, and risky — six of the seven traditional planets are falling away from the midheaven toward the horizon, and only the Moon rises toward the horizon; of the three Outer planets, only Pluto rises toward the Ascendant. Only the Sun is strengthened by this being a day chart; only the Moon is strengthened as a member of the night sect. All the other planets are in placements which suggest that they’re fish out of water, or divers deeper of their certified depth.
It’s always challenging to unpack a stellium in a single house, but let’s try — Mercury is retrograde in their own decan, The Plough, a place of long-term planning of at least six months. With the sextile to Saturn in Pisces, they urge us to look ahead to October — and back to December, as well. What did you plan in December, and how far has that plan gotten? Where do you intend to be this autumn? The position of the South Node and the Descendant invite you to consider what and how you will eat later this year… and who do you expect to have at your dinner table? Uranus is in the decan called The Lingam-Yoni, urging you not to give up your agency and autonomy now for the sake of food on the table later — absolutely you should be prepared to revolt against current conditions for the sake of freedom… just have a few ideas about how to get past the first stage of the protest. The Sun, though, casts a light on the place beyond the immediate anarchy and beyond the six-month mark, to the interstitial places where the soul is purified and where the creative act touches on holiness — this present world is irredeemable without accepting both friends and foes as normal; you must make some sort of compromise with both your consort and counterparty, companion and competitor, to make a world in which you have a place. Back in the Cold War, we called it detente.
When the Seventh house is so active, we can expect Others — spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends, significant others, primary partners, rivals and foes, business partners and peers — to play significant roles in the ten days to come. All of the planets except Jupiter form either sextiles or squares or trines to the seventh house — bringing up issues of intimacy, travel, daily routines, and household management. In contrast, Jupiter’s keystone presence in the Sixth (squared by the Moon from Capricorn) indicates an expanded set of daily routines and responsibilities are necessary to sustain both communication and gentility within the extended network of your blood family and closest, most intimate friends.
But there’s another component to this as well — the Head of the Dragon (North Node) is in the seventh in Taurus, while the Tail (South Node) is in the first in Scorpio. This arrangement tends to dump crap on us — damaging gossip about us between our peers, damaging physical labor, damaging excuses and deflections coming out of our mouths which do us more harm than good. Be of good cheer, this combination says, keep your head down, put your back into your service to others (but don’t work too hard), and shut up already. Also — maybe don’t stick your genitals where they don’t belong for the next ten days? However delectable this particular dude or dame or dandy may be, if there’s as much drama as decoration in this particular package, maybe this week you should follow the 1980s hair band Poison’s advice, “you can look but you can’t touch // because the best things in life ain’t cheap.”
We turn from the seventh house to the trines joining the fifth and the ninth. The fifth, represented here by Pisces, is understood to be a place of contrasts between pleasures — sex, drugs, and rock n roll — and the duty to the children that often arise from such pleasures. The ninth house is a place of travel and education, of writing and publishing, and of questions of public religion. Here represented by the sign of Cancer, the ninth invites us to rest in the comfort of a safe and comfortable shell and let ourselves get mushy. The two water signs contain four planets between them — Mars and Venus in the ninth, where they promise both coherence of intellectual vision and ambition to achieve it through both external and interior journeys; and Saturn and Neptune in the Piscean fifth, where they promise both circuitous structural issues and dreamy, visionary delusions that all can be made well if we only think good thoughts.
Alas, it takes more than vision and good thoughts to make things right, as the square from the fourth makes clear. Here, ravenous, retrograde Pluto prepares to make his re-entry to Capricorn, steadfastly slouching toward the goat-fish which will bring him to the decan called The Throne on June 12, 2023. Whenever Pluto has been in Capricorn III, the plutocrats and the oligarchs have done very well for themselves, while Pluto in Aquarius I has tended to favor the trade unionists and the working class. The contest is about to go well for the wealthy unless some issues can be resolved in the next six weeks. Once retarded, the tide won’t flow for the wage-slaves again until January 22, 2024, some months from now. My sympathies are with the WGA and other organizers… but they’ve got a narrow window for results that favor them.
The Moon in Capricorn in the third house, the place of her joy, stands waiting for Pluto, though she’ll get impatient tomorrow and cross over the line to meet him in Aquarius, this time. Her present home is a high-end fern bar with fancy cocktails and black-tie waitstaff called The Luckiest of the Lucky. With high-backed chairs at square tables where every guest faces the fountain, it’s an eatery where successful marriage anniversaries are marked with champagne and filet mignon, where billion dollar deals are hand-shaken over oysters or caviar… and where the corrupt politician is caught in the open with their mistress. The Hollywood star gets his first million bucks at a table here… and, unfortunately, there’s a casting couch just upstairs in the exclusive adjoining hotel. She’s got one more aspect to make, with Jupiter, before she leaves for Aquarius in the late evening hours of May 12 — if a shot at power, glory, and wealth comes your way in the next two days, take it… but know that it’s going to look a lot like hard work.
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