Monday, 22 December 2014

While We Were Sleeping

As Saturn plays up in the final degrees of Scorpio, it might have been a little hard to get some decent shut eye. Scorpio invites us to have a good old probe at what lies beneath and Saturn gives us order and structure to do it. Together Scorpio in Saturn is, to put it mildly, a little intense and heavy. Recent headlines have been awful: the “execution style” deaths of two policeman supposedly in retaliation of police brutality, the slaughter of high school children (many in the years between their first Jupiter return and Saturn opposition) and teachers in Pakistan, the siege in Sydney and the mass murder of eight siblings reportedly by their own mother in Cairns have evoked enough nightmares to get some sleep. Although I am not directly affected by these events, I am deeply affected and I send out my condolences to all who mourn. In my own home, I suffered a meningitis scare that lead to a serious meltdown of parental concern.
As awful as these events are, time continues to march on. And on this very important day, I am taking a bit of time to reflect on my work (the ingress chart has 4 planets in Capricorn after all, closely followed by the New Moon just hours later). For some time, I have wondered what I should do as an astrologer, where do I fit in the astrological world and how can I best use it to help others. I think these are questions all astrologers ask themselves despite being the diverse bunch people we are. When you are invited to step into the astrological world, you are suddenly faced with a myriad of choices and decisions. No matter what sceptics say, astrology is a vast field and one that seems to resist being tamed.
As you read this, we have just passed the longest night of the year. It is the re-birth of our sun and it comes with the assurance that the cold and darkness will come to end. But yet it is also a reminder that it is a part of an ongoing cycle that (hopefully!) never ends. This teaches us, in my opinion anyway, that we need to use this knowledge to take advantage of appropriate opportunities.

The Snake Charmer

Recent events do have a common theme as they occurred not only as Saturn was in the final degree of Scorpio but as significant connections were made to the Galactic Centre at about 27 Sagittarius. There seems to be a deep and meaningful effect on humans—and that is not a bad thing if the result is in said humans doing something about it.
Ophuichus has had a lot of press in recent years for being the so-called “Thirteenth Sign” because the constellation is so close to the ecliptic and therefore he can be called a “Sun Sign”. Um, that not only confuses signs and constellations, it detracts from the story. For a more in depth explanation, go here. So in the sky, Ophuichus is about to step on the Scorpion’s sting and also about to receive an arrow from the Archer. This is how Kepler drew it (the lines I've added and explained below):

Within the red circled area, the tip of the Archer's bow can be seen in the lower left and the Scorpion's stinger can be seen lower down in the centre. The pink line represents the ecliptic, the blue line represents the Milky Way and the yellow dot is the Galactic Centre. Ophuichus' right foot is about to step where three points--the Archer's arrow, the Scorpion's sting and the Galactic Centre--converge (interestingly, Ophuichus' left foot is stepping on Antares, the heart of the Scorpion but that is a story for another day). In terms of the background of stars, where the blue line and pink lines intersect is roughly where the New Moon of the Ingress chart (below) happened. You have to bear in mind that Kepler's star chart was drawn over 400 hundred years ago and so more precession has taken place since then. I'm just using it to illustrate my point.

The Galactic Centre is not too far from where the New Moon last night took place. Here’s the ingress chart:

Mythologically, Asclepius was born by being cut from his dead mother’s womb and was carried by his father Apollo to the centaur Chiron who raised him and taught him in the art of medicine. In addition to becoming a great healer, Asclepius was the wide Epione (the goddess of soothing pain) and the father of Hygieia (the goddess of hygiene), Iaso (goddess of recuperation), Asesco (goddess of the healing process) Aglaea (goddess of adornment) and Panacea (the goddess of universal remedy). To this day, the rod of Asclepius, a snake wrapped around a staff, is still used to represent the medical profession. Asclepius got himself into hot water because he had found a way to bring back people from the dead which angered Hades. It is also alleged Asclepius accepted gold for bringing back Hippolytus to the land of the living and accepting gold for doing so. Hades asked his brother Zeus to stop Asclepius which pissed off Apollo so he (Apollo) killed the Cyclopes who was in the process of creating the thunderbolts which were intended to finish off Asclepius. Zeus suspended Apollo from his godly duties and killed Asclepius as planned and then placed his body amongst the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus.
The constellation of Ophuichus is described by Marcus Manilius’ poem as: “Ophuichus holds apart the serpent which with its might spirals and twisted body encircles his own, so that he may untie its knots and back that winds in loops. But, bending its supple neck, the serpent looks back and returns: and the other’s hands slide over the loosed coils. The struggle will last forever, since they wage it on level terms with equal powers.”[i]  Manilius implies later that those born as the constellation rises over the horizon will suffer no harm from “poisonous monsters”.
Although the recent horror stories in the news did not have Ophuichus rising, the New Moon of the ingress chart highlights his story. We may be but mortal beings but we can cry out in rage and protest at what can seem to be the acts of unmerciful gods. And we can do something about it. In the aftermath of the Sydney Siege came the #Illridewithyou campaign--something Australians are very proud of and the whole world can learn from. The execution of the police officers in Brooklyn brought pleas for calm in an ever escalating temptation for revenge. The mother who murdered her children is thought to have exhibited erratic behaviour and worrying signs of mental distress, i.e. she needed help before she committed her terrible crime and thus is likely to call attention to more better diagnostic care. Pakistan has lifted its six year moratorium on the death penalty and has already executed several of the people responsible for the school massacre. As much as I hate the death penalty I think it is pretty safe to say I hate the idea of armed terrorists gunning down innocent pupils and teachers even more. Like just about everyone else in the world, I hope a deal or an understanding between warring factions can be found very soon. I suspect, as Asclepius and Chiron did in mythology, we will begin to search for better ways to help ease the suffering of our fellow man over the coming months.
At least I sure hope so.

[i] Manilius, Astronomica, l.333ff

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