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My Own Private Star
A new class and thoughts on my own heliacal rising star
I spend so much time with the stars because of how they make me feel. A phrase that has been passed around a lot lately in online circles of mine comes to mind: oceanic feeling. It comes from a letter Roman Rolland wrote to Sigmund Freud in 1927:
By religious feeling, what I mean—altogether independently of any dogma, any Credo, any organization of the Church, any Holy Scripture, any hope for personal salvation, etc.—the simple and direct fact of a feeling of 'the eternal'…as if oceanic…This feeling is in truth subjective in nature. It is a contact” (emphasis mine).
I highlight the few lines to demonstrate the qualities of a spiritual experience, matching my own. Because it is deeply rooted in the personal, our unique personhood, it is very easy to explain away spiritual experiences. But, Rolland goes on, there is contact nonetheless. With what? Something outside of ourselves, surely, but the whole point of the oceanic feeling is to remind us we are always a part of something vast.
We can only attain these experiences by rooting deeply into ourselves and our bodies, and yet this backward step is what connects us to the eternal.
The stars, unimaginably far, work in the opposite manner. Though distant, often not hearing human calls, they still tell very human stories and create rich images within the human mind. Studying the fixed stars, especially those connected to my chart, is a sacred experience for me and also deeply felt and personal. It is also why I spend time creating writing and classes to share what I’ve learned with others.
I’ve recently created another class to do just that. I focus primarily on the heliacal rising and setting stars, two phases in a star’s life, that also can be used in a natal context to identify two stars that act as your daimon, which James Hillman rightly calls our “guardian spirits”.From the outset “mutual caring envelopes the relationship” between a human and their daimon, the latter of which he also sees revealing itself in images, vivid scenes with a life of their own. “Our images are our keepers,” he tells us, “as we are theirs”. One of the ways that we recognize our daimon, or objects, people, fields of study, that help us on our path, is by if it makes us feel love and warmth. There should be almost a familiarity, a homecoming feeling, to what our daimon guides us towards.
Subjective feelings, in other words, particularly those that make us swell with boundless love, are crucial for identifying and connecting with your daimones, and thus the stars. Your feelings are wisdom here in the starry firmament that envelopes our sky.
So today I wanted to tell you about my heliacal rising star, Antares, one of my daimones, and hopefully give you a taste of why I care about the fixed stars (and think you should too).
Thoughts on Antares, Heart of the Scorpion
“Death takes place in my very being—how can I explain to you? It’s a
sensual death. ”
- Clarice Lispector, Antares Heliacal Rising Star
Antares is a royal star, but the one least talked about. It is part of the Scorpion constellation, a red and emerald binary star located in the heart of the stinging insect. When it was first recorded thousands of years ago, it rose around Scorpio season, marking the darkest period of the year before the Winter Solstice— a descent. Dutch astronomer Caesius calls it the “Lurking One”. Agrippa tells us that Antares talismans “give intellect and memory” as well as “help against evil daemons, make them flee, and confine them”.There’s a sharp intelligence to this star and its natives. Being of the nature of Mars and Jupiter, it lends its mind to strategy, hidden tactics, banishing ill forces as well as other spiritual matters.
There’s a connection with Antares and death as well, less as an evil force but inherently part of life. Part of being alive is to experience various little deaths while still breathing; letting the darkness and winter bring nothingness to the land or your own inner landscape, is vital for making way for the coming spring. Antares is an underworld star, and, if working with or influenced by this star, it behooves you to pay your debts with the chthonic to unlock your own depths, and return to the surface anew.
As a royal star, it is meant to portend eminence, power and describing a trait vital to rulership. But Antares rules from the shadows, a secret store of power it must fight to keep or bring to surface. Even its name “Ante-ares,” or “opposite to Aries,” the god of war, binds this star to struggle when attaining the glory and power it promises. Antares brings power, but with the expense of painful transformation.
I could tell you I relate to all the above or I could just tell you as I was about to type that I spilled coffee, a martial substance, onto my skirt and my white sheets, forcing me to go and pick it up. Luckily, I had secret skills to aid me. Years ago, I got a water-proof mattress cover to protect it from spills. I have spiritual practice, also years-long, that helps me sit with my anger and frustration, letting them pass through. Then, I have my kinship with Antares itself, who reminds me the struggle tells me I’m walking the path; that ease comes in the form of accepting whatever curve comes my way, knowing strength is more supple than mere brute force.
When I performed an Antares ritual last week in preparation for my Heliacal Star class, I saw a veil of black, and a sudden emergence of tiny red eyes. Soon a dark, fuzzy spider became differentiated from the surrounding void, pincers dripping and carnelian eyes gleaming.I saw a line of blood dribble from the haunch of a wolf, formed by a ravenous bat. I also saw a woman in a Vampira dress holding a red rose, blood dripping from her hands.
I can dwell in this image, a mark of the daimon, and see myself reflected back beautifully, the catastrophe of my personality suddenly interesting and modern again, or perhaps very very old.
People may call me intense sometimes, but as Antares dictates, I was born to experience, and embody, such intensity. Antares is made in the churning present, vast and wild like the ocean, so do you try and seize your power to fight it? Or do you die to the sublime force? Both. Neither. Depends on the moment.
Perhaps Antares is why I prefer to swim past the breakers when I’m in the ocean. Usually, I have to dive under them at just the right foaming crest point in the cycle, time it well, and then emerge in clearer waters. Out there, the building waves will pick you up without thrashing you around and if you jump the water catches you before gently placing you back down.
Perhaps this is the wisdom of Antares: the strategy of knowing when to enter the cycle, at what time; when to act with the least resistance and the times you must simply power through. I am sure I will be wrestling with the Scorpion heart’s secret for the rest of my life.
This sort of homecoming, this deeply rooted and felt wisdom, is what a better acquaintance with the heliacal stars can give you. Learn what they mean, how to interpret and calculate them, as well as how to connect with them yourself, as I do, by checking out my latest class.
Stay tuned or for my next newsletter folks, where I will explore how I use astrology to time my rituals and better connect with the deities I wish to contact.
Until next time,
James Hillman, “The Collected James Hillman,” p. 99
Clarice Lispector, “Agua Viva”, p. 32
Cornelius Agrippa, “Three Books of Occult Philosophy,” trans. by Eric Purdue, p. 654
an interesting sync Sasha Ravitch’s work on the Scorpion Stinger stars, where she also saw arachnoid imagery when working with this stars of this asterism
Interestingly, Dutch scholar Grotius said Antares signifies a bat.