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The Dark Moon in the 2nd Decan of Capricorn, 6th January 2019

January’s Dark Moon occurs at 15 degrees 25, in the second decan of Capricorn (exact at 01:28 am GMT).

This decan is under the rulership of Mars, which is exalted in Capricorn, and so receives all the respect accorded an honoured guest. As might be also expected of such a guest, Mars is on his best behaviour and exhibits all his most positive characteristics in this sign (courage, confidence, endurance), which are also reflected in the attributes of this decan. The tarot card attributed here is the Three of Pentacles, entitled “The Lord of Material Works”. Aleister Crowley, who titled this card “Work” wrote that it describes the energy of Mars as “constructive, like that of a builder or engineer”. Combined with the reflective, internalised qualities of this month’s Dark Moon, this decan favours planning, forging harmonious links with and laying a solid foundation for future plans and projects.

The degree of this month’s Dark/New Moon (15 degrees 25) is conjunct the position of the powerful fixed star Wega), one of the brightest stars in the heavens. In the medieval astrological magic of the European and Arabic worlds, the image of this fixed star was a traveller, hen or vulture (this last being associated with the goddess Nekhebet, an Egyptian protective deity). Wega has rulership over the protective gemstone chrysolite , the strengthening herb succory (chicory) and clearing and balancing fumitory (also known as earth smoke). This star was employed in the construction of talismans which bestowed the qualities of magnanimity and pride on the wearer, and which provided power over beasts and devils; all gifts and attributes related to Mars. However, it would not be wise to attempt such a talisman with the Moon here, for the reasons given below.

The lunar mansion which holds sway over 15 Capricorn 25 is the 23rd, called S’ad Bula: “The Fortune of the Glutton”. The unfortunate reputation of the Moon in this Mansion may be attributed to her being in the sign of her detriment in Capricorn, a debilitation which tarnishes the expression of the positive energies of Mars, and which, according to the Picatrix, makes the Mansion fit only for talismans dedicated to works of discord and destruction. Additionally, the Moon here seems to dilute the strength of Saturn (ruler of Capricorn) , although with potentially positive results: The dissolution of boundaries inherent in the Moon’s placement in this Mansion is noted by Cornelius Agrippa as useful in magic aimed at liberating captives.

By LouiseOfArabia

Bibliography

The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology by Vivian E. Robson

The Book of Thoth (Egyptian Tarot) by Aleister Crowley

Tarot and Astrology by Corrine Kenner

The Mansions of the Moon by Christopher Warnock

Stars and Stones: An Astro-Magical Lapidary by Peter Stockinger

The Picatrix (Liber Atratus Edition) Trans. by John Michael Greer and Christopher Warnock

Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim (Llewellyn’s Sourcebook Series Ed. Donald Tyson)

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by Catherine Yronwode

The Astrological Tarot by Georges Muchery

Chart calculated with Astrogold for Mobile

 

 

The astrology of Oswald Cobblepot; The Penguin

On 21st October 1941, issue 58 of Detective Comics hit the newsstands: This publication, (the birthplace of Batman), would now witness the debut of one of Gotham’s most dashing and formidable villains; Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin.

Throughout his long and chequered career, the ruthless and elegant Gentleman of Crime has escaped the pages of “Batman” comic as often as he has eluded his captors in Blackgate Pentitentary and Arkham Asylum, inspiring acclaimed portrayals both in the Batman television series and a number of forays into film. For the last five years his most recent incarnation, played by Robin Lord Taylor, has been winning new plaudits in Netflix’s Batman prequel series “Gotham”.

What can Astrology tell us about this most enigmatic of villains? To my knowledge, there is no record of Penguin consulting an astrologer but we do have a birth chart of sorts. A “Sunrise” or solar chart set for Gotham (which according to Batman lore is located in the state of New Jersey) fits the approximate time when issue 58 of Detective Comics went on sale and marks the emergence of Penguin onto the world stage. When a birth time is unknown, the ‘sunrise’ chart can tell us much about the promise and abilities of those born on the day in question, and (as might be expected) the 21st October 1941 was a day rich in potential.

On the Midheaven (signifier of public image and fame), Pluto Lord of the Underworld in regal Leo certainly fits the profile for the mobster, nightclub owner and self-styled “King of Gotham”. Chiron is here, too; often signifying someone perceived as a maverick or outsider; there are many accounts of him suffering cruelly from childhood bullying. However, this inability to ‘fit in’ served as the impetus to his ambition – for him, without doubt, the greatest revenge has always been success – on his own terms. Saturn, ruler of the 4th house (home, family and ‘roots’) is in the 8th house in Taurus, conjunct Algol: Among the many versions of Penguin’s backstory, there are numerous examples of which feature the early death of his father (4th ruler in 8th house) and his subsequent rejection by his extended family. Saturn is conjunct Uranus and Algol; in many stories, a sudden reversal of circumstances denies the young Cobblepot his inheritance and birthright, perpetrating the crisis which sets him on the path to crime. Algol is a fixed star associated with uncontrolled desires; in the 8th house (other people’s goods and resources), this seemingly limitless appetite is directed towards the property of others; be it money, real estate or jewels. Venus, the ascendant ruler in the 2nd, points to a complex connection with material goods and self-worth and also reveals his talent as a snappy dresser.

As a Libra, he works well in partnership with others and is a networker par excellance. He has been the architect of many an imaginative underworld alliance throughout his career, and (when it suits him) is not above dealing with the Caped Crusader or the GCPD if it will allow him to manipulate the balance of power to his own ends. Charming when he wants to be, under that elegant exterior beats the heart of a ruthless fighter; Mars strongly placed in Aries in the 6th house shows that he views violence as an occupational hazard, and a way to get the job done when plans call for it.

Mercury in Scorpio describes a formidable strategist, with a fascination for the hidden and the mysterious. Power, crime and the taboo are all topics which often have an irresistible allure to those with this placement, and it is nearly impossible to keep a secret from them. Mercury is retrograde, endowing him with an unusual approach to problem-solving: Whilst others flounder in chaotic circumstances, he keeps a clear head and knows how to turn the situation to his advantage. The Moon, also in Scorpio, adds a more dangerous tone to the mix. The Moon rules the emotions and is natural significator of the mother in the birth chart. With the Moon in intense Scorpio, this is a man who will never forget a slight. If you hurt his feelings or (God forbid!) his mother, there will be no forgiveness. The comic books, in particular, are full of blood-chilling accounts of the fates of those (and their friends and families) who got on the wrong side of the King of Gotham; the usual mob vendettas resemble a picnic in comparison.

“Gotham” has brought Penguin before a whole new audience of admirers, with many clamouring for a spinoff series dedicated to the Gentleman of Crime, in no small part due to Robin Lord Taylor’s mesmerising and charismatic performance. We have no birth time for Robin Lord Taylor either, but the comparison of his chart with that of Penguin’s ‘sunrise’ chart shows some intriguing links. Radical and unconventional Uranus in Scorpio (Robin Lord Taylor’s chart) is conjunct the Moon and Mercury in Penguin’s chart. Robin’s highly original and Machiavellian portrayal of the young Oswald Cobblepot has electrified viewers and, from the first, earmarked Penguin as the show’s breakout character. Furthermore, the Sun in Robin’s chart conjunct Jupiter in Penguin’s chart is a fortunate and expansive influence which has introduced them both to a whole new audience.

Some Penguin quotes (taken from the “Gotham” television series) and their astrological correspondences:

Sun in Libra : “…walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light” and “maybe its not our friends, but our enemies that define us”

Pluto in Leo conjunct the Midheaven : “Foolish arrogance led me astray. But I learned my lessons. I’ll be back, stronger and smarter than ever” and “This is Gotham City. There will always be crime. What I am offering is crime in the hands of professionals, and held to agreed upon terms”

Mercury retrograde in Scorpio “Gotham is rife with crime…who better than a criminal to clean it up?”

By Louise of Arabia www.louiseofarabia.com

Image of Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot; The Penguin from “Gotham” Series 5

“Gotham” distributed by Warner Bros Television

Batman and and the Penguin are characters published by DC Comics

Beauty is Truth : The 3rd Quarter Moon in Libra, 29th December 2018

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know”: Astrology is as much art as science, and these lines written by John Keats in his beautiful, ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ express the quintessence of this month’s 3rd quarter Moon in Libra, which occurs on 29th December 2018 at 09:34 GMT at 07 Libra 16. The Moon in this air sign, ruled by Venus, the goddess of love, is the personification of grace, elegance and poise. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn assigned the Two of Swords to the Moon in Libra; its key meanings of clarity, balance and peace describing the element of Air acting through the Sephiroth Chokmah, (meaning ‘Wisdom’) on the Tree of Life. The 3rd quarter Moon forms an exact square to the Sun at 07 Libra 16, a degree associated with the 16th Lunar Mansion, of which Christopher Warnock writes; “The recurrent theme of the scales reminds us to exercise moderation and maintain balance even in the midst of abundance”.

This month, the finer qualities of this lunar placement are hindered in their expression by a difficult reception with Venus in Scorpio, the sign of her fall and an impending square with Saturn in Capricorn, sign of the her detriment, and may require more effort to bring to the fore. Nevertheless, the waning Moon is an excellent time for reflection which, in combination with the discernment of Libra, can assist in cutting and clearing away that which no longer serves, and enable us to approach the New Year lightly and in a spirit of clarity and grace.

Astrology by Louise of Arabia www.louiseofarabia.com

Painting of the Goddess Themis by Howard David Johnson

Chart by Astrogold for Mobile

Bibliography:

The Mansions of the Moon by Christopher Warnock

The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley

Winter Solstice: Full Moon 22nd December 2018

Following close on the heels of the Winter Solstice, this month’s Full Moon occurs on 22nd December 2018 at 17:49 GMT at 00 Cancer 49.

In the first decan of Cancer, this degree is allied with the tarot card Two of Cups – a favourable card to which the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn attributed the astrological energies of Venus in Cancer and titled the “Lord of Love”. The card from the Rider Waite Smith deck depicts an adoring couple, toasting to their love from chalices of gold. The Two of Cups often heralds a new romance, but can signify a friendship or even a happy working partnership. It speaks of two people (or complementary elements) in complete accord. As Aleister Crowley writes, this card signifies; “perfect and placid harmony, radiating an intensity of joy and ecstasy”.

The auspicious meanings of the Two of Cups are reflected in the mostly fortunate attributes of the 8th Lunar Mansion, Al-Nathrah, which was originally located in the constellation of Cancer and of which it is written in the Picatrix; “…in this Mansion it is good to make images (talismans) for love and friendship, and for the safe travel of those who go by wagon through villages, and to cause friendship between allies”, although the it is less favourable for captives, and is also less beneficial for mice and bugs, who can be expelled from ‘whatever place you wish’ under the influence of this Mansion. Just as a strong and well placed Moon can often denote fame and popularity in a Natal chart, or the potential for a favourable outcome in Horary and contest charts, the Moon in this Mansion can augur victory or the attainment of a cherished goal.

The Moon is in her own sign in Cancer, making this Full Moon particularly powerful for manifesting any goals relating to a harmonious home and family, promoting love and reconciliation in relationships and working on personal attraction, glamour and brilliance. Those with the sign of the Crab prominent in their charts, and particularly those with key planets or angles in the early degrees of the sign, may find this Full Moon particularly magical.

Following on from the Full Moon, the next lunar aspect is an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. With Saturn and the Moon both so strongly dignified, this aspect may not be as challenging as usually expected and could even contain the potential to translate the inspirational, visionary qualities of the Moon into concrete results (although not without some Capricorn diligence and hard work). Expansive Jupiter in his own sign of Sagittarius underscores the meanings of the Two of Cups by highlighting the joy and generosity of the Yuletide season, his influence magnified by the Full Moon in Cancer, the sign of Jupiter’s exaltation . Providing we remain mindful that Mercury is still in the sign of his detriment and ensure we attend to words and details with care, this month’s Full Moon marks a hopeful start to the Astrological season of Winter and promising outlook to the New Year.

By Louise Of Arabia www.louiseofarabia.com

Chart calculated by AstroGold for Mobile

Bibliography

“The Book of Thoth” : Aleister Crowley

“The Mansions of the Moon” : Christopher Warnock

“The Picatrix” (Liber Atratus Edition) : Trans. by John Michael Greer and Christopher Warnock

The Fortunate Fish: Reflections on the 1st Quarter Moon, 15th December 2018

This month’s first quarter Moon makes an exact square to the Sun from the degree of 23 Pisces 27 on 15th December at 11:49 am GMT and occurring in the 28th Lunar Mansion, known in Arabic as “Batn al-Hut”: The Belly of the Fish. As might be expected from the last in the cycle, this Lunar Mansion carries with it associations with gathering-in of the harvest and reaping the results of work that has gone before.

The 9th century grimoire of astrological magic “Picatrix” incorporates references to the correspondences of Pisces, Venus (who is exalted in this sign, and Mars (who rules the decan most closely allied to this Mansion, when it says; “make images (talismans) to increase merchandise, besiege cities, increase harvests, to get rid of things and to destroy an area, to make treasures be lost, to travel safely by wagon and safely return, to cause peace and concord between man and wife, to make the incarceration of captives firm and to inflict evil on sailors on the sea”.

The primary image of this Mansion is a giant fish, swimming amongst a shoal of its smaller fellows, whilst fishermen cast their nets to harvest the abundance of the sea. The fish is a creature of the water from which all life springs (the symbol for Pisces is believed to have originated from the Babylonian zodiac, where the two fishes were associated with the goddesses Annunitum and Simmah, who symbolised the rivers Tigris and Euphrates), hence its association with material and spiritual sustenance. The name Annunitum is believed to have been closely associated with Ishtar, the Babylonian Venus. The 28th Mansion was originally marked by stars in the constellation Andromeda, which according to Ptolemy is of the nature of Venus. Additionally, Venus is exalted in this mansion (at 27 degrees Pisces) and is herself traditionally a bringer of love, wealth and the finer things in life. Her Hindu counterpart, Lakshmi, is the goddess of beauty, wealth and prosperity: In Hindu culture, a wife may traditionally be referred to as ‘the Lakshmi of the house’ and is considered to have the power to attract wealth and prosperity into the home.

In the Chinese practice of Feng Shui, fish are believed to bring wealth-luck – not to excess, but enough to live happily and without worry. A tank of goldfish or koi carp, (or an image depicting them) can often be seen in Chinese places of business to draw in prosperity.

Water is also symbolically the realm of mystery and spirituality; the Bible relates how Jesus by the lake of Gennesaret exhorted Simon, James and John to become ‘fishers of men’ (Luke 5:1), there is also reference to the miracle of the feeding of the multitude with five loaves and two fishes (Matthew 14:13) and the tale of Jonah who was swallowed by a giant fish and released only when he repented for reneging on the task set for him by God (Jonah 1:11): The themes of abundance, gratitude and the obligation to nourish the self and others, both materially and spiritually, are all contained within the 28th Lunar Mansion and also within the tarot card linked with the final decan of Pisces; the 10 of Cups.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn called the Ten of Cups “The Lord of Perfected Success”: Mars acting through Pisces supplies the will and drive to turn inspiration into reality. The famous Rider Waite Smith deck depicts a scene of domestic contentment overarched by a miraculous rainbow – combined images of material and spiritual happiness, and a message that we should not ignore one in favour of the other. There is a Buddhist tale of a giant fish who was so enamoured with the beauty of his wife that he failed to see the fisherman’s net until he had swum into it and was caught. His life was saved by an enlightened man who told him; “You foolish fish! If I had not seen you today, you would have been killed. Your blind desire was leading you to continued suffering. From now on, do not let yourself be trapped by your own desires!”.

By Louise Of Arabia www.louiseofarabia.com

Chart by Astrogold for mobile

Bibliography:

The Holy Bible (KJV)

The Mansions of the Moon (Christopher Warnock)

The Picatrix : Liber Atratus Edition (trans. John Michael Greer and Christopher Warnock)

The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology (Vivian E. Robson)

Tarot and Astrology (Corrine Kenner)

Parker’s Astrology (Julia and Derek Parker)

http://www.buddhanet.net

The Art of Archery: Reflections on the Dark Moon, 7th December 2018

“It is necessary for the archer to become, in spite of himself, an unmoved center. Then comes the supreme and ultimate miracle: art becomes “artless”,…the end a beginning, and the beginning perfection.” (Zen and the Art of Archery)

This month’s Dark Moon on 7th December 2018 at 07:20 GMT occurs in the 20th Lunar Mansion, whose Tropical boundaries range from 04 Sagittarius 17 to 17 Sagittarius 08. According to Christopher Warnock, in his book “The Mansions of the Moon”, this lunar mansion goes by the Arabic name Al-Na’am; “The Beam” and was originally located in the foreleg of the constellation Sagittarius, the centaur/archer; hence the association of this mansion with the concepts of hunting a quarry, aiming for a target and embarking on a quest. Making alliances, and all actions taken to contain and restrict the malevolence of chaotic and aggressive forces also fall under the remit of this Lunar Mansion. The common theme is mastery of the self, concentrated and focused effort directed at a much-desired goal.

The Dark Moon when located here counsels us to turn our gaze away from the target and reflect instead on mastery of the self, the better to improve our concentration and focus: “Fundamentally the marksman aims at himself and may even succeed in hitting himself.” (from Zen and the Art of Archery)

The exact degree of December’s Dark Moon (when the Moon is exactly conjunct the Sun) is 15 Sagittarius 07. This occurs in the second decan of Sagittarius which is ruled by the Moon and corresponds (in the system of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) to the tarot card the Nine of Wands. When designing this card for the famous Rider Waite tarot deck, the talented and visionary Pamela ‘Pixie’ Colman Smith chose to depict a battle-weary warrior steadfastly defending a barricade or blockade.

Although the boundaries of the 20th Lunar Mansion overlap but do not exactly match the limits of the decan the tarot image from the Rider Waite deck is very much in keeping with its attributions: The soldier is the embodiment of self-contained strength, the barrier he guards keeps the forces of chaos at bay. The changeable influence of the Moon, ruler of this decan can also be observed; our warrior knows that the situation is in a permanent state of flux (as Aleister Crowley observes in relation to this card; “Change is Stability”): The peace may be shattered at any moment and he must be constantly on the alert against hostile forces, whether they attack from without or undermine from within.

Just prior to this month’s Dark Moon (when the Moon conjuncts the Sun at 15 Sagittarius 07), the Moon separates from a tense and emotional square aspect with Mars and Neptune in Pisces (at 13 Pisces 33 and 13 Pisces 44 respectively) and following the conjunction with the Sun moves on to apply to a trine with retrograde Uranus in Aries (28 Aries 59): Conflict and confusion are left behind, and following the reflective period of the Dark Moon there lies the possibility of a sudden, potentially positive breakthrough. If we, like the warrior or the archer, counsel ourselves to remain in a state of disciplined focus and alertness, we will be better placed to make the best of the coming revelations and opportunities, whether they manifest on a worldwide or individual level.

By Louise Of Arabia www.louiseofarabia

Chart calculated with Astrogold for Mobile

Image of the 9 of Wands Tarot Card from the Rider Waite deck (artist: Pamela Colman Smith)

Bibliography:

“The Mansions of the Moon” by Christopher Warnock

“36 Faces – the History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans” by Austin Coppock

“The Book of Thoth (Egyptian Tarot)” by The Master Therion (Aleister Crowley)

Jean Cocteau and the New Eve

“O you, most beautiful of women, loveliest of God’s creatures, you were the best loved. So I want you to be my best piece of work too…”

With these words, Jean Cocteau began work on three murals dedicated to the Virgin Mary which adorn the walls of one of London’s hidden treasures, the chapel of Our Lady of France in Soho.

A church has stood on the site since 1865, when a distinctive circular building (which originally housed a tourist attraction called Burford’s Panorama) was purchased and rededicated by the local French Catholic community. All but destroyed during the Battle of Britain, temporary repairs kept the church operational until 1953, when work was able to begin on a complete rebuild. In addition to the eclectic mix of artists and architects who donated their talents to the project, key events in the restoration show some astrological alchemy at work.

In astrological terms, the laying of the foundation stone (or cornerstone) marks the ‘birth’ of a new building: An astrological chart for this event can be read in a similar manner to a natal horoscope. In the case of Our Lady of France, we have a date, 31st May 1953, but no time. Nevertheless, the chart set for noon has much to reveal.

Saturn is very strongly placed in Libra (20 Libra 59), the sign of his exaltation. There is nothing temporary about a place of worship: Sacred buildings are designed to withstand the ages, so a strong Saturn (natural ruler of longevity) is an excellent sign. Saturn also rules boundaries, walls and – by extension – architecture: Strongly placed as he is here, Saturn lends his strength to the chapel and fortifies against further damage from man or time. The exaltation of Saturn might be viewed as referring to the heavenly purpose of the chapel. Furthermore, in an exact description of the building’s restoration to former glory, Saturn is retrograde.

Saturn is closely conjunct the fixed star Spica (Libra 22); the most benefic star in the heavens. Cornelius Agrippa writes of Spica’s efficacy in protective talismans “it conferreth riches, and maketh one overcome contentions, it taketh away scarcity and mischief” and Shakespeare might have been describing Spica when he wrote of “an ever-fixed mark, That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wand’ring bark”. A bright star in the constellation Virgo, Spica is closely associated with the Virgin Mary, both as Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”), guiding light for lost souls and also in her aspect as the New Eve, personification of the Spring, hope, renewal and redemption.

Neptune (21 Libra 22) conjunct both Saturn and Spica continues the theme of incarnation and redemption; the chapel as a spiritual ideal given material form (as well as faith as a means to transcend our earthly existence).

The restored

building was reconsecrated on 6th October 1955 (an event which might be viewed as similar in spiritual intent and importance to a Christening). No time has been found, but the chart set for noon shows Venus closely conjunct Spica, beautifully depicting the New Eve and her message of redemption described in the previous ‘foundation stone’ chart. Venus, natural ruler of art and creativity is also dispositor of the Arabian Part of Fame (25 Libra 51) . Not only is the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of France, it is also famed for the beautiful artworks created in homage to her.

Are all these astrological synchronicities a coincidence or something more? Traditionally, electional astrologers were often employed to determine auspicious times for the construction of important buildings, but whether astrology or divine inspiration was at work in the construction of the chapel of Our Lady of France may always remain a mystery.

What is clear, however, is that the astrological songlines established by the foundation and consecration of the new chapel were still very much in evidence years later and that Jean Cocteau was very receptive to their music.

Between 3rd and 11th November 1959, Cocteau would arrive at the chapel at around 10 am every morning. A celebrated artist (also poet, cinematographer and playwright), he worked behind a temporary screen, shielded from the considerable media attention his presence attracted. Each morning, he would light a candle and begin painting, talking to the Virgin Mary as he worked.

Grace. Beauty. Most loved. To astrologers, Cocteau’s words might also evoke the planet Venus, who was certainly making her presence known at the time Cocteau was painting his murals. On 3rd November Venus was in Virgo (sign of the Virgin), at 23 degrees 53, closely trine Cocteau’s natal ascendant at 23 Taurus 22.

On 8th November, transiting Venus exactly conjuncts Cocteau’s natal Moon at 28 Virgo 16, before moving into her own sign of Libra as Cocteau was finishing his work on the murals. Venus being Cocteau’s ruling planet, he would have been particularly receptive to the harmonious influence of his muse at this time.

“O you, most beautiful of women, loveliest of God’s creatures, you were the best loved. So I want you to be my best piece of work too…”

Did astrology, artistry, divine inspiration or a combination of all three bring Cocteau’s murals into being? An opportunity to visit the little chapel of Our Lady of France is not to be missed, and is a chance for each visitor to wonder for themselves about the mysterious alchemy which led to their creation.

Transits to the Moon are a particularly personal influence for Sun-sign Cancerians: Can you see Cocteau’s self-portrait in this mural?

Credits: Cornelius Agrippa “Three Books of Occult Philosophy”

Shakespeare Sonnet 116

Photograph of Jean Cocteau by Cecil Beaton

Charts created with Astrogold for Mobile

The Spirit Animals of Freda Kahlo

This Saturday, as the Sun transits her natal Venus, one of the world’s most iconic artists will again find herself in the spotlight when the V&A in London hosts an exhibition of the wardrobe and belongings of artist Frida Kahlo, many items of which have been locked away from public view for over 50 years.

Venus rules beauty in all forms, so it is appropriate that the exhibition will not only reference Kahlo’s paintings but also feature her clothing, jewellery and even items of makeup.

The Midheaven and 10th house give clues to the extent and form of our fame and public image. Frida Kahlo’s Midheaven at 23 Taurus 20 is ruled by Venus in the sign of the twins, appropriate for an artist with two dates of birth: A passionate political activist, she was born in 1907 but gave her year of birth as 1910, the year of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.

In keeping with the communicative nature of Gemini, Frida’s paintings were a means to tell her own story; “They thought I was a Surrealist but I wasn’t. I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”

The dual nature of Venus in Gemini is present in her paintings and in her self-image. She refused to conform to traditional stereotypes and her self-portraits display the many facets of her complex personality. In some the artist is in traditional Mexican costume, in others clothed in the European fashion. Most striking are those in which the she appears as a boy, sporting the three-piece suit she famously wore for a family photo.

The duality of Venus in Gemini was also present in her romantic life. In the words of Dusty Springfield, she was ‘as capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy’ and even while married to fellow artist Diego Riviera, had affairs with some of the most glamorous women of the age, including (it is said) the beautiful dancer, activist and agent of the French Resistance Josephine Baker.

Frida was fascinated with Mexico’s pre-Columbian cultures. Many of her paintings contain iconography related to Aztec beliefs and mythology. She and her husband even built a model of an Aztec temple in courtyard of their home (the ‘Blue House’ in Coyoacán) which can still be visited today. Many of the animals which appear in her self-portraits reference the Aztec and Mayan belief in the ‘nahual’; a spirit animal companion very similar to the concept of the daemon (a person’s ‘inner-self’ in animal form) which will be familiar to readers of Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ books. Unsurprisingly, the animal companions which appear in Frida’s paintings are all Geminian in nature; agile monkeys, talkative parrots, variegated butterflies and hummingbirds which were her constant companions, both in art and in life.

Natal chart of Frida Kahlo by Astrogold for Mobile 6 July 1907 from Astrodatabank (Rodden Rating AA)

Picture credits: 'Self portrait with Monkey' 1940 and 'Me and My Parrots' 1941 both by Frida Kahlo 

Astrology by Louise Of Arabia www.louiseofarabia.com

Blood Wedding : Death, Duende and the dark god in the chart of Federico Garcia Lorca

 

Duende : literally means “ghost” or “goblin” in Spanish…traditionally used in flamenco music or other art forms to refer to the mystical or powerful force given off by a performer to draw in the audience…unspoken charm or allure

(Merriam-Webster Online)

Cover image by Val Denham for Marc and the Mambas (7″ single ‘Black Heart’)

One of Spain’s greatest poets and dramatists, Federico Garcia Lorca was born at midnight on the cusp of 5th/6th June 1898 and was one of the first martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, killed by a Nationalist militia firing squad on 19th August 1936, his body buried in an unmarked grave which has never been found.

A leading light of the Spanish avant garde and a member of the influential group of poets and artists known as the Generation of ’27 (his passionate friendship with Salvadore Dali was intense enough to provoke Dali’s wife Gala into destroying many of Lorca’s letters in a fit of jealousy), Lorca’s plays and poems are characterised not only with the Surrealism which greatly influenced his writing, but by an elusive quality known in Spanish as Duende.

Duende is difficult to define. It can be literally translated as “elf”, or “magic” and relates to a type of earth spirit which in the folklore of Spain, Portugal and the Phillippines inhabits the Dionysian groves of wild forests, and the darkness of abandoned caves and wells. In art, particularly drama, dance and the music of Flamenco, it has come to mean a savage but ephemeral quality which possesses the work (and the artist) with otherworldly charisma and allure.

To understand the quintessence of Duende, there is no better reference than Lorca himself, who in a lecture he gave in Buenos Aires in 1933, describes it as ” a force, not a labour, a struggle not a thought”, “the mystery, the roots that cling to the mire we all know”, a creature who; “sweeping the earth with its wings of rusty knives”, “delights in struggling freely with the creator on the edge of the pit”. In contrast to the Muse, that creature of reason and the intellect, Duende “surges up from the soles of the feet”. It is everything that has “Dark sounds, behind which in tender intimacy exist volcanos, ants, zephyrs and the vast night pressing its waist against the Milky Way”.

What of the astrology of Duende? What might it look like in the birth chart? Again, Lorca gives us the key: Mystery and mire, death and darkness, volcanoes and the underworld – the imagery he employs to invoke this chaotic spirit is almost exclusively Plutonian.

Lorca’s birth chart has the Sun (creativity, identity) conjunct Pluto (death, tearing apart or destroying the self to be reborn) on the cusp of the 4th house; the ‘angle of the earth’ associated with roots, ancestry and all things hidden in and under the ground. There could not be a clearer astrological signature for a spirit who destroys in order to create anew and which might well revel in mortal combat with the poet on the edge of a well.

Federico Garcia Lorca

Astro databank Rodden Rating AA: Chart by Astrogold for Mobile

Although more usually a generational influence, when the the outer planets make their presence felt via contact with a personal planet or angle in a birth chart, the individual concerned can become a gateway for powerful forces, a spokesman for a generation or, perhaps, a channel for the inspiration of a god. Oliver St John in his book “Hermetic Astrology” writes; “Pluto conjunct the Sun transmits a magnetic force for transformation; the force is directed from the individual core of the person and so others tend to identify it with the person, although it is in reality an impersonal power”. With Lorca, (Sun/Pluto conjunction) the creative identification is total and permeates not only his poems and plays, but arguably his life as well.

Next time a song, dance, poem or performance speaks directly to your soul of dark mysteries and strange sorrows, wild woodland groves and the knife-edge of death on which we feel most alive, look in the chart for the signature of Pluto conjunct the Ascendant, Sun or Moon; Duende may be nearby;

“This knife/Left two men stiffening/With yellow lips/It barely fits the hand/But slides in cold/Through startled flesh/Till it stops, there,/In the quivering/Dark/Roots/Of the scream.”

From'Blood Wedding' (Bodas de sangre) : A folk tragedy in three acts' by Federico Garcia Lorca
Excerpt from "Hermetic Astrology" by Oliver St John, ORDO ASTRI IMPRIMATUR 2015

Astrology by Louise Of Arabia www.louiseofarabia.com

Antares and Alchemy in Picasso’s “Guernica”

This month’s Full Moon at 8 Sagittarius is exactly conjunct the warlike Antares (from Anti Ares; similar to, or rival of, Mars). Antares is one of the four Royal Stars of Persia, “The Watcher of the West”, linked with the death of the year in the seasonal cycle and also with the hour of sunset, when the Sun begins his journey through the underworld before his morning resurrection in the East.

Situated in the heart of the constellation of the Scorpion, Antares has a malefic and vengeful reputation, and is at his most destructive in the chart of one of the most infamous events of the Spanish Civil War, the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica. Carried out by aircraft sent by Hitler to support Franco’s troops, the bombing lasted for almost four hours and resulted in the near destruction of the town. The attack is widely considered to have been the first recorded instance of total war, where civilians are deliberately targeted.

In the chart of the bombing, Antares is conjunct Mars; increasing the martial character of the event and escalating its destructive nature. Mars is retrograde but still within the 5 degree orb of influence. Retrograde planets often have difficulty in expressing the best of their nature and this is Mars behaving very, very badly. The expansive North Node is close by: Paired with Mars and Antares, the Head of the Dragon becomes a ravening beast, devouring all in its path.

In Picasso’s chart, the Moon exactly conjunct Antares enabled him to reflect and articulate public outrage at the bombing of Guernica by creating one of the most powerful anti-war paintings in history.

In his mural inspired by the event, the Moon in her role of woman and mother takes centre stage. Most of the figures in the midst of the carnage are women; wives and mothers on their way to market to buy food for their families. (The bombing occurred on a Monday, day of the Moon, and traditionally market day in the region). The Moon also governs our childhood and early family life: Picasso recounted that at age three, he was almost killed in an earthquake. He witnessed the near destruction of his village and this, and his subsequent fears for the health of his mother and (then unborn) baby sister later inspired the scenes of annihilation in Guernica. In contrast to more traditional depictions of battle which glorify conquest and victory, Picasso shines the Moon’s light on the dire consequences to the innocent. Working through Picasso’s chart, the Moon as bringer of peace and Lady of Grace is able to effect a miraculous alchemy, transmuting the destructive nature of Antares into an enduring call for peace.

By Louise Of Arabia www.louiseofarabia.com

Image of ‘Guernica’ by Pablo Picasso (Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid)

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