The Love Embrace of the Universe
Venus entered Aries and and I am inundated with too many books.
All of my library holds are coming in at once. I just received the thousand-page “Inheritance Trilogy” by NK Jemisin1 that I haven’t been able to pick up because I’m still finishing “The Shamanic Bones of Zen: Revealing the Ancestral Spirit and Mystical Heart of a Sacred Tradition,” by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel.2
On top of that, both of my copies of Demetra’s 2-volume “Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice” arrived yesterday and I am torn between jumping around to the juicy parts and reading it cover to cover because Demetra is that good. For those that don’t know, these books total a collective thousand-plus pages and contain a comprehensive collection of astrological theory and techniques spanning thousands of years. It is an extremely practical book, with exercises in between chapters to begin integrating the techniques, but it is also extremely poetic and insightful.
“Early peoples have looked upon the heavens as a source of spiritual guidance for earthly affairs since at least the Third Millennia B.C.,” Demetra tells us in the introduction (emphasis mine).3 This sentence echoes the words of John Frawley, who tells us “[t]he point, as always in astrology, is to look beyond towards the Divine”.4 I find it interesting that the more I study “Ancient” astrology,5 not only does my astrology get more technical (re: accurate), it also becomes more and more an expression of my spirituality.
Of course Aries rules my 9th House, opposite the 3rd, the place of higher knowledge, long journeys, and direct divination of Spirit. While continuing my rituals, daily walks and intuitive check-ins, I find my inner life bolstered by the presence of established knowledge to back up its visions.
An example: Two of my favorite astrological fields of study are the decans6 and the fixed stars. Demetra reminds us that the images for the zodiac signs came from the constellations. And “because of the fixed star’s closer proximity to the source and the regularity of their motion, the zodiacal signs has the greatest quality of divinity in the astrological trinity of sign, planet and house”. This arises from the fact that the fixed stars are farther away from earth than the planets and have a more regular motion than the erratic planets, thus connecting them with the divine regularity of the Heavens.
The decans are a sub-division of the 12 zodiac signs into 3, 10º slices, totaling 36 unique sections of the sky, each with their own imagery, meaning and magical potential.
In 36 Faces, Austin Coppock points us to Stobaeus Fragment no. 7 which states that “the decans were located beyond the zodiac itself, encompassed by nothing but the ultimate boundary of the universe”. (24) “In regard to other bodies,” Coppock continues, “[the decans] are ‘above them all, as though they were errant Guards and Overseers of the whole, they night and day surround the universe”. (24) Fixed Stars act in much the same way as, their meanings acting as the foundation for our souls.
But these Egyptian Hermetic fragments affirm “the decan’s place above even the other fixed stars”. (24) What I’m trying to say is there’s a reason I’m so interested in both of these topics beyond my personal affinity. They both connect to the highest heavens and contains information about ourselves that transcends our earthly containers. Both the decans and the fixed stars connect us to our divine manifestation and purpose. This is what happens when the 9th and the 3rd come together: the inner and the outer support one another, the former providing the unique slant on the issue and the latter giving us jumping-off points for further study and connection.
But don’t just take my word for it: let’s see the decans in action. Currently, Venus is traversing the first decan of Aries, the beginning of the zodiacal wheel. Coppock uses an axe to symbolize this part of the sky, as it is a “tool of the first individual, bravely severing himself from the primordial mother and building a distinct and individual life”. No wonder, then, that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade (the literal severing of mother and child) took place at the beginning of this ingress. In this decan, Venus has difficulty “with the compromise necessary in relationships” as well as understanding “with more nuanced power relations” beyond Domination and Submission. What interests you this week may not be understood by others. You may find that you must go it alone.
In other words trust your affinities. Your unique likes and interests. Let outside sources ground and elaborate your felt truths rather than supercede your inner knowing. Going it alone is sometimes a necessity but watch for it becoming a reactive pattern to past hurts.
If you want to learn more about these divine components of your charts, my consults are currently open. We can dive into the decans in your chart in natal and transit readings and I have a whole offering dedicated to solely understanding the fixed stars in your chart. I would be honored to facilitate this deep knowing.
Why Fixed Stars?
One of my favorite ways to practice astrology is to go outside. In February, for example, the steady rain and emerging blooms told me it was Pisces season. The sight of Venus in the early dawn told me she had emerged from under the Sun’s beams and was ready to begin her morning star phase. However, it is the night sky that continually holds my attention. If I’m lucky, the Moon will be out, and perhaps a planet or two. But as long as the sky is clear, there’s always stars. For thousands of years, the fixed stars have had a prominent role in astrology, rekindled in the last few decades due in large part to the work of Bernadette Brady. In this article, I invite you into relationship with the stars as I discuss why fixed stars are unique in astrology and what sort of wisdom they can offer us.
As software has made knowledge of astronomical phenomena and direct observation unnecessary to cast a chart, we have lost our connection to what is primarily a visual art. While there are a handful of invaluable books and resources about the meaning of the fixed stars, I believe so much can be gained by simply witnessing them. The fixed stars invite us to use our direct experiences to make meaning rather than the other way around… The fixed stars connect to our direct experience, helping us bring our astrology into the here and now, where insight truly lives.
Excerpt, “Why Fixed Stars?”
This Wednesday, I had the honor of seeing my introductory essay on the Fixed Stars published on The Mountain Astrologer website. For years, the constellations that fill the night sky have held my fascination and deeply strengthened my astrological practice. I am so glad to have a piece of writing that explains how fixed stars function and why they’re worth adding to your pantheon (hint: their function is quite different than that of the planets).
You can read the essay below, and may this encourage you to look at the night sky, perhaps even get you to dip your toes into the field.
This Week on Recent Bedroom
Castor and Pollux were also related to games: they presided over Sparta’s annual competitions and, according to Robert Graves, “because they invented the war-dance and war-like music are the patrons of all bards who sing of ancient battles”. Even in moments of war, the Twins maintain their creative power, their ability to play even when things are serious.
I think this points to a deeper meaning for this star: an ability to understand that any point of view is limited. That truth can come through our unique lens rather than solely through a search for objective truth. Additionally, play and art-making is what allows us to make this change. There is a truth behind any point of view, any story, any game.
-Excerpt, “The Flower and the Stone: on the Fixed Stars Castor and Pollux”
This Tuesday, paid subscribers received my next essay focusing on individual or pairs of fixed stars. Castor and Pollux are part of the Gemini constellation and represent the fusing of polarities, often through narrative or storytelling. But, look deeper, and we see the slipperiness of truth, the connection between opposites and the value of play in meaning-making.
This quote comes to mind as a lesson of these stars:
The 19th-century French writer Gustave Flaubert once took five days, working 12 hours a day, to write one page…How to explain the song that somehow emerges out of the same chords strummed over and over; the commotion and sense of impending doom backstage and then the pin-drop hush on opening night; the vast stillness that precedes the decisive gesture?
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And so I leave you with this exhibition pamphlet from the Frida Kahlo exhibit I just visited, which also reads like a poem.
May it provide you with beautiful strength.
P.S. Where is Venus in Aries currently transiting in your chart? How have you felt that beautiful fire? Feel free to comment or discuss below. And if you have any questions about the transit, you can place those questions below as well. I always welcome the thoughts of any of you lovely people.
I’ve already sped through her Broken Earth Trilogy and highly recommend her work, especially if you have any connection to the Fixed Star Alphard, which is her heliacal rising star and whose themes features very prominently in her work.
a full revelation in and of itself; excited to write about this book in the coming weeks
“Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice” Vol. 1, p. 11
“The Real Astrology,” by John Frawley, p. 41
i.e. any astrological tradition that took place from Ancient Babylon to the Renaissance
the division of the zodiac into 36 10º segments (three for each sign), primarily used for talismanic or magical purpose. Rather than giving direct delineations, it has mostly been preserved throughout history in the form of fantastical, magically potent images. I.e. the decanic image from the Picatrix for Taurus II where the Sun currently is is: “A man whose body and face look like those of a camel, his nails similar to the hoof of a cow, wearing an old garment, interested in developing land and buildings, and using cows for planting and cultivation” (36 Faces, 295)