A Super Moon led astray

A Super Moon led astray

I figured I’d share my view of tonight’s Super-Moon with you. In my location, she was modestly veiled at her 5ish o’ clock rising. Later, though, I got to see her after she’d performed her Dance of the Seven Veils. By this time, she’d risen to 26 degrees Taurus to join the red and evilly-blinking Algol in Perseus, purportedly the most dangerous star in the heavens.

According to diverse legend, Algol has never brought anyone any good. At times, it was Rosh ha Satan to the Hebrews, which is to say, Satan’s Head. At others, it was Lilith, Adam’s wayward first wife who abandoned him to become a vampiric demoness announcing her presence with the call of a screech owl.

Thus, tonight’s full-moon is severely tarnished by the company she keeps and astrologers of old would fearfully have pulled their curtains against her!

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Interpreting the Trump Card: The Tower

Interpreting the Trump Card: The Tower

Now and then, particularly shocking world events open up wormholes in the spacetime continuum. What happens is that a moment of emotional intensity constructs a bridge between then and the future so that memories later trigger a violent return to that instant after which nothing would ever be the same again. I suspect that the moment we all heard that Donald Trump has been elected as the next American president is one of these.

So what was I doing when I heard?

Well, I’d just returned from my morning run and was greeted by the news which was given to me by my husband. My words: “FFS!” I was like, “I know it wasn’t much of a choice American but, honestly, Trump?!” BTW, I’m sorry about the bad language but it was an emotional moment.

But it shouldn’t have been a shock – not to an astrologer worth her salt anyway. She could comfortably have predicted all this on 19th July 2016 when Trump was nominated by the Republican Party to run for president. How? Well, it was writ large in the full moon that rose that day in 27’Capricorn 40’’.

Now, I will admit that, on the face of it, with all planets within their bounds and the moon ambling back from her apogee, it was an apparently unremarkable syzygy. But all that humdrum would not have rused that clever astrologer I mentioned above. She would have noticed that the moon was in the antischion of the fixed star, Yed Prior, in the left hand of the Serpent Bearer, Ophiuchus, and that this was a portentous sign in conjunction with Trump’s nomination.

A couple of reasons: First, the star is associated with the Hebrew letter, ʿayin ע (correlating to the Greek Omicron) which is one of the seven letters which receive a tagin, a crown when written in a sefer Torah (a handwritten copy which is stored in the holiest spot of a synagogue). Second, it is associated with the tarot card, The Tower: Trump would clearly get the opportunity to set the cat amongst the pigeons when, despite all early signs, he makes the Whitehouse on 20th January 2017(coincident, within three days, of the related new moon on 17th @ 26’ Capricorn 54”).

With this, The Tower is, of course, an oft-repeated symbol of disaster and it was clear that, globally, we’d reached a critical point even before Trump’s victory. But perhaps it’s not the best time to dwell in too many End of Days narratives. Perhaps it would be better to focus on how The Tower can also be interpreted in terms of the Descensus Christi ad Inferos or, in other words, Christ’s “Harrowing of Hell”. You’ll recall that his assault on Hell’s demons happened, according to the Bible, during the three days following his Crucifixion when he descended into hell. And you’ll also remember that the end result of a miserable time for him was his triumphant release of hell’s captives. Thus, when the heavens pointed their yad to July’s full moon, perhaps therein was the possibility of a happier kind of liberation. Anyway, it’s an interpretation we ought to work with.

Is Stella Polaris the Star of Bethlehem?

Is Stella Polaris the Star of Bethlehem?

Over the circling years, I have come to realise two things: the first is that size doesn’t always matter; the second is that shape always does. I will admit that I wasn’t convinced of geometry as the axis upon which the earth turns when I was at school. But I have become so.

Still, I can’t deny that I must be slow on the uptake because this idea that configuration is meaningful is foundational to human culture. I guess that’s why we argue about it. Take the shape of the earth for example: haven’t we ever argued about this?! Shape really matters here! Various ideas are floated. One comes to us from Ancient Greece where the earth is pictured as a disc adrift on primeval waters. Not too dissimilar to this is the notion of a hollow earth which is something like an amethyst geode within which life passes a gloomy subterranean existence. Then there’s the inference drawn from the Biblical Revelation (7:1) that the world is square and has angels posted as the Royal Stars of Persia to guard its four sharp corners. But the majority of us have finally resolved to agree that the world is a sphere. True that even in agreement there remains dissent on the central point of whether our whirling progress happens in the centre of the universe or at some forlornly forgotten outpost. But, still, the fact remains that the world is to most of us a spherical gyroscopic spinning top.

So our earth turns widdershins on her unique axis once every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds. Within the daily round, she spins to the east and the sun, moon and starry backdrop circle towards the west and, accordingly, our world organises chaos. But, above us, at the two poles, circle a species of celestial life that is, symbolically, immortal. These are the circumpolar stars which neither rise nor set.

The name and number of these circumpolar stars depends on individual latitude. As an incomplete list, at 51 degrees 27 minutes north, I have the best part of Bootes always in the heavens, plus Auriga, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Draco too and, of course, Ursa Minor. If your northern latitude is lower, you will have more circumpolar stars than me because a greater number will never reach the horizon. If you have southern latitude, then the water snakes of Hydra will encircle your zenith. But, wherever you are, if you find your celestial pole, north or south, you will be gazing at the axial point of steady stillness on which the world turns. This axial point is the bottomless well of eternity…or, at least, that’s the story.

Finding the northern pole is easy on a starry night. All you need to do is locate the two ‘pointer stars’ of the Big Dipper, Merak and Dubhe, and follow their line into Ursa Minor, to Stella Polaris. This great star marks absolute north or, at least, almost absolute north, since its latitude is +88°8 (maximum latitude, or declination, is + or -90°). The constellation, Draco the serpent, coils around this because he, in never setting, never sleeps either. For a good long time it has been his job to guard eternity from those whose hearts, when weighed in the balance, are found wanting.

But finding the Celestial South Pole by way of the stars is harder. It’s easy enough to find the general area since it, too, is surrounded by serpents – those of Hydra and Hydrus – and the actual star to look out for is Sigma Octantis, in the modern constellation, Octans. The trouble is that this star is 25 times dimmer than Stella Polaris so that, even despite its very close proximity to the pole, Sigma Octantis is a useless navigational star. Instead, it’s left to the Southern Cross, or Crux, to point seafarers into the Southern event horizon of a gaping eternal void that is the black Coalsack Nebula.

As an aside, I would avoid the colonialist crime of reading the universe in exclusively western terms by pointing out that the ‘Crux’ is obviously a western name and concept. The indigenous Australians don’t see a cross here. What they see, instead, are various animals offering useful cues to foragers. For instance, they make out the head of the Emu in the Sky in the Crux and Coalsack while our Milky Way is its body. It is important to note that this difference of opinion doesn’t undermine the sign. It just tells us that signs are only universal in a wholly standardised world. In anything less, the sign requires a contextual purpose like, for instance, a seafarer seeking a beacon as opposed to a forager requiring a tip-off to say that emu eggs could possibly be on tonight’s menu.

Be that as it may, back to the celestial poles and the fact that, despite symbolic appearances, these don’t actually possess the geometric properties for timeless eternity. What they do, instead, is provide the coordinates of the aeons. This is because, rather than being permanently fixed against a set backdrop of stars, the poles of our gyroscopic earth trace out celestial circles of 25,700 years in circumference which we call Great, or Platonic, Years. Within a standard solar year, of course, there are 12 months. In just the same way, there are twelve Platonic Months in a Great Year and these are around 2160 years in length with each one amounting to an astrological age. It is mooted, of course, that we are on the cusp of the Aquarian Age having now left the Piscean Age through which we have travelled since Classical Antiquity.

And what this means is that, as the poles plot their circles, so the proximity of the stars alter in respect of them. We’ve turned upon Stella Polaris since Late Antiquity but, come the 22nd century CE, this ‘ship-star’ of ours will lose its compass and drift for an entire Great Year before finding its moorings as the Lodestar again. In the meantime, Samsara will prevail as a ceaseless round of stars take turns on the world axis. And, sometimes, there will be no guiding northern star at all just as there is presently no real southern star – as there was nothing on the northern celestial pole during Classical Antiquity after Thuban in Draco abandoned its post.

So cutting to the chase and speaking of being firmly guided after a period of making our own way, it occurs to me that Stella Polaris’ credentials as a candidate for the Star of Bethlehem aren’t terrible and actually have merit. This theory of mine could only come from an astrologer since it requires no small amount of post hoc analysis! But, never mind that, hear me out:

Before the Common Era, Stella Polaris was nothing more than Kynosoura to the Greeks – their “Dog’s Tail”. Sure it shone brightly in the ancient world, and offered much as a navigational star too, but it was one amongst many. However, in the second century Kynosoura found its way into the stellar catalogue of the second century astronomer, Claudius Ptolemy, and, lo and behold, a new star had risen: gone was Kynosoura; in its place was the pole star, Stella Polaris, the first amongst equals!

By this time Christianity was a star in the ascendant too. For the first century or so following Christ’s crucifixion it was on a low, slow burn but then a milestone was reached in 312 when Emperor Constantine converted. A year later he used the Edict of Milan to legalise Christianity. A hop and a skip after, Emperor Theodosius the Great made it the Roman state religion. Thus, the Classical Roman religious world was transformed because, thereafter, the countless little tutelary spirits and gods who, until then, had rustled every leafy tree and grass and flower were progressively swallowed into the belly of the Abrahamic monotheistic faiths. Hence my thesis:

When there was no pole star in the northern hemisphere, pagan religions abounded; the rise of a powerful pole star brought a jealous god which led to one faith and; since the south has no bright pole star, the conversion of that hemisphere into northern-themed religiosity has gone unchecked.

Truthfully, I’m not expecting to receive academic honours on the strength of this thesis so it really doesn’t matter if you can’t swallow the notion of steady Stella Polaris as the wandering star leading the Magi to Jesus. But, anyhow, the Piscean Aeon of Eternityis either drawing to a close or has already ended. For the record, I don’t think the Age of Aquarius is actually with us yet because Stella Polaris has yet to perfect her conjunction in declination with the Celestial Pole. But, be that as it may, it’s star like all others and must submit to the wheel of Samsara and eventually fade.