Cancer and The Chariot – Tenacity and Responsibility

Tarot The Chariot, Astrology Cancer
The Chariot – Radiant Rider Waitte
The Wheel Turns.  At the Spring Equinox we entered Aries season – the First sign of the Zodiac that explores the question of identity and individuality with the phrase “I AM”, and we meet the Tarot card The Emperor.  Next, the sun travels through the sign of Taurus, and we learn all the pleasures and pains of physical embodiment, and thus learn that our identity is shaped by what “I HAVE” and what we value – even building structures and systems like The Hierophant to try and save or maintain these things we find beautiful.  Yet- all of these ideas about identity and value don’t get us very far without deeper thought and communication – and Gemini season begins to teach us about how we present ourselves in more refined ways, echoing “I THINK” (therefore I Am?”) out into the universe.  With our thoughts come counter-points presented by others and thus we begin to enter into the realm of partnerships and duality with the tarot card The Lovers.
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Then at the Summer Solstice – the first quarter of the year has ended and we come across Cancer energy. Cancer is the nurturing, affectionate, emotional force of the Zodiac. Through Cancer energy we learn about intuition, loyalty, sympathy, and imagination. Cancer nature is also dualistic and sometimes contradictory, much like Gemini energy which is always changing based on who they are around… Cancer energy transforms within itself. On one side it wants to be nurturing and helpful, but on the other side it is self-centered and brooding. It longs for adventure yet craves security. The tarot card related to Cancer is The Chariot, and you can see the opposing forces present on this card. But the one thing about Cancer energy is that it is tenacious. Once a crab grabs hold of something, it won’t let go. The Chariot teaches us that once our choices have been made, a commitment is made. (This is the realm of Consequences – very fitting to first really face this lesson through the soft mothering sign of Cancer – in direct opposition from the more strict sign of Capricorn where this lesson is taken to the next level) For now, no matter what, whatever choices you made have set the wheels in motion and you have started down this path. The Chariot and Cancer teach us about responsibility, about having strength of resolve. We might not know exactly what lies on the path ahead of us, or how many turns onto new paths we might take. But once we take hold of the reigns and make the choice, the journey has begun! Don’t let go of the reins, don’t loosen your grip, keep your head up and accept responsibility for whatever choices you have made. Once you accept responsibility, you will find that you can channel your emotions more clearly, use your intuition to your advantage, and you will find yourself seeing creative answers to whatever problems and roadblocks you may face.  We first encounter these lessons of responsibility and consequences at home in our early childhood – often from our mothers.  The sign of Cancer is deeply associated with Home, Early Childhood, and the type of nurturing stability we seek as a home environment in our adult lives.

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From the book; “The Everything Tarot Book” by M.J. Abadie;” The Chariot is related to the sign of Cancer, which symbolizes the sheer tenacity of the life force. It’s image, the Crab, is known for the ability to hold on, just as the Charioteer holds firmly to his steeds. Cancer is the first water sign, and it represents relatedness, whether with others or with the opposing forces within one’s self. Cancer represents the process of the growth of the soul through the sustaining efforts of the life forces, which are by nature dual. Thus, Cancer’s primary characteristic is Tenacity. The Crab is known to never let go. Also representative of motherhood and family, Cancer is an extremely powerful sign, for the pulsating life force within it is extremely strong. Cancer’s relation to the moon and the High Priestess identifies this connection to The Great Mother and the strong inner force represented by this energy.”
In the Great Wheel, Cancer is the first Water sign that is encountered in the Zodiac year – bringing in a new layer of intuitiveness and nurturing to the Fire, Earth, and Air already experienced.  It is the second Cardinal sign of the zodiac – so we’re revisiting the Cardinal energy first introduced with Aries, but it takes a totally new approach with water as it’s guide.  Cardinal Fire can be pushy in a way that burns quick and bright – while the Cardinal Water energy has a more patient pressure, like the water of a river carving out a canyon.  The symbolism of The Chariot can provide more clues to these elements of responsibility, drive, and tenacity of the astrological sign of Cancer.

 

  • The main figure sits beneath a canopy of stars – both 5 pointed and 6 pointed stars adorn this canopy – representing the celestial influences or a connection to some kind of deeper intuition beyond body and mind.
  • Alchemical symbols on the man’s cloak represent the transformative power of mankind,while the cresent moons on the shoulders represent a receptiveness to collecting and holding space for the world around him.
  • The laurel and 7tarot the chariot-pointed star of his crown represent a higher level of spiritual awareness has been attained, while the square on his chest represents Earth – a certain groundedness and strength or stability has been obtained.
  • The wings on the chariot represent inspiration and the ability to seek new heights or elevate ourselves.  The wings also represent the union of opposite forces – perhaps the union of the duality that we experienced in Gemini.
  • The black and white sphynxes also represent this cohesion or union of duality – much like the yin-yang of Buddhist philosophies.  Balance is gained through the mastery of both positive and negative forces.
  • The driver holds no reins – only a wand like that seen in the tarot card The Magician.  This suggests that his control over the chariot comes not from physical power or force – but from a more refined willpower and focus.
  • The city is behind the chariot – the driver has already learned as much as he can from the structures of the city (the first quarter of the zodiac year) and has now struck out to create his own life, his own path, and create a new home for himself.  There is also water behind him – indicating he has made a journey across water – often a metaphor for a transformational and spiritual experience.

Take some time to notice how you feel the influence of The Chariot in your life during Cancer season.  You can intentionally sit with this card and some of the lessons of it in meditation, or place it on your altar to see it frequently and try to activate it’s energy in your life.  Ask yourself how you can be more like the chariot driver.  Or, if you ARE the chariot driver – what is it that is behind you ?(your city and water that you have already passed through)  Where is it that you are going?  Are you trying to use force (reins) when you could just be using your willpower and magick?  Have you mastered balance over duality well enough that your sphynxes (horses) will both go in the same direction when you give the command?

These are some great questions to explore as we approach the New Moon in Cancer coming up on July 13, 2018.

Spica: Virgo’s Light

The Hermit from The Celestial Tarot by Kay Steventon & Brian Clark

Spica; Virgo’s Light

My eyes search the darkened cosmos
Searching for a light to lead me
Orion, he is always there, and
Ursa Major dominates the night sky
I recall an ancient phrase;
“Arc to Archturus, then speed on to Spica.”
Following the Arc of the Great Bear
(once the pure and chaste Callisto, princess of Arcadia; Raped by Zeus and cursed by Hera)
Past her protector, Archturus
To find Spica, brightest star of Virgo –
A yellow sheaf of wheat,
Golden ear of corn
White Spark of light
Fire of Hearth,
In the hands of a something so Pure
That one name will not suffice.
She is the Virgin, Virgo
Astraea; Goddess of Purity and Innocence who clung to hope for human kind longer than any other
Shala, Goddess of Grain
Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home
Vesta, Keeper of the Flame
The Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Time has watched her transform,
Watched her name change,
Watched as Man’s study of Spica
Brought the knowledge of the Equinoxes.
What other secrets may she hold?
Father Time, the Hermit only nods and winks
As if to say
“Time Will Tell,”
And he turns to walk away “but don’t give up the search”.
And suddenly I know
I am beautiful
I am pure
You are beautiful
You are pure
And Astraea can return;
Through us.

~ Wendy @Hestia’s Muse
08/01/2010

Notes:  I wrote this poem in 2010, inspired by the image and meaning of The Hermit Tarot card from The Celestial Tarot (pictured above).  The booklet that comes with that deck described the Star called Spica as the central star of the constellation Virgo. Quote from the booklet to The Celestial Tarot: “At this point in the journey we meet the Hermit, the Major Arcana card associated with Virgo, the harvest maiden, intertwining the paradoxical themes of fertility and purity. In the Celestial Tarot she holds the wheat in her left hand and disseminates seeds with her right. The card depicts the season of withdrawal. For psyche the time of harvest has come; it is time to withdraw and prepare and reflect. In the background is the traditional image of the hermit holding the lamp of inner guidance necessary during this time. Virgo embodies the wisdom of cycles, a respect for fate and an openness to destiny. The Hermit augurs a period of meditation where the inner world is fortified to prepare for a major shift on the life path.”
Original poem post at my old blog.

At the time, I did some research on the star Spica, and the Virgo constellation and was inspired because I was also working closely with Hestia / Virgo – Virgin Goddess of the Home & Hearth.  Astrea is the Greek Goddess of innocence and purity – known as the Celestial Virgin.  Ovid wrote that Astrea fled the earth during the Iron Age -“fleeing from the wickedness of humanity”, she maintained her innocence and ascended to Divinity and became the constellation Virgo.  Legend states that one day Astrea will return, bringing with her the next Golden Age.

Here are some highlights on the star Spica from Constellation Guide:

“Spica, Alpha Virginis, is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo and the 16th brightest star in the sky.  The name Spica (pronounced /ˈspaɪkə/) comes from the Latin phrase spīca virginis, meaning “Virgo’s ear of grain.” The Latin word spicum refers to the ear of wheat Virgo holds in her left hand. In Greek and Roman mythology, the constellation and the star were associated with Demeter (Ceres), the goddess of the harvest.”

“Spica can be located by following the arc of the Big Dipper‘s handle. The first bright star along the imaginary line is Arcturus, the Bear Watcher, and following the same curving path, the second bright star that appears is Spica. The apparent distance from Arcturus to Spica is roughly equal to the distance between Arcturus and Alkaid, the star marking the tip of the Dipper’s handle.”

“Along with Regulus in Leo, Alpha Virginis is believed to be one of the bright stars that made it possible for Hipparchus (160 – 120 BC) to discover the precession of the equinoxes, after comparing his data to that of the Alexandrian Timochares, who had observed Spica and Regulus around 300 BC. Spica was later observed by Nicolaus Copernicus, who also used it to study precession.”

“A number of temples were oriented to Spica’s setting, including the temple of the Sun at Tell el-Amarna (2000 BC), two temples at Rhamnus in Greece (1092 and 747 BC), another two at Tegea, Hera’s temples at Olympia (1445 BC), Girgenti and Argos, the temple of Diana of the Ephesians (715 BC), and the temple of Nike Apteros at Athens (1130 BC). The temple orientation indicates that these cultures had knowledge of the precession of the equinoxes far earlier than Hipparchus documented his discovery.”

“Babylonian observers called the star Sa-Sha-Shirū, meaning “the virgin’s girdle.” The star represented the wife of Bel.”

 

Exploring Gemini – Twins, Apotheosis, and Binary Stars

Gemini

GEMINI – The Twins

May 21 – June 21
3rd Sign of the Zodiac
Mutable Air Sign
Ruled by Mercury
Opposing Sign – Sagittarius
Tarot card: VI The Lovers
Anatomy: The Lungs & Pullmonary system, the Arms and Hands
Animals:  Birds – especially Finches, Magpie, Parrot & Mockingbird
Deities: Castor & Pollux, Apollo & Heracles, Janus, Frey & Freya, Hermes, Bast & Sekhmet

Gemini Traits

Gemini Traits – Intelligent, Thoughtful, Rational, Logical, Talkative, Expressive, Willing to learn, Thirst for Knowledge, Witty, Clever, Persuasive, Charming, Quick, Flexible, Adaptable, Energetic, Athletic, Trickster or Class-Clown, Impulsive, Changeable, Dual-natured, Indecisive, Anxious, Always On-The-Go, Easily Bored

The Dioscuri

Gemini
Gemini constellation – Johannes Hevelius, Prodromus Astronomia, volume III: Firmamentum Sobiescianum, sive Uranographia, table DD: Gemini, 1690.

The twins of the Gemini constellation are named for the Greco-Roman stories of Castor and Pollux*, also known as The Dioscuri.  These brothers were twins – sons of the Spartan queen Leda.  However, they had different fathers.  Leda’s husband, the Spartan King Tyndareus was the father of Castor (Kastor), while Zeus was the father of Pollux (Polydeukes).  The twins also had a sister – Helen – daughter of Leda and Zeus.  (Yes, that famous Helen!) The brothers were said to have the greatest affection for eachother, always displaying support to the other and never getting into spiteful battles of sibling rivalry. (Though a friendly competitveness between the two is implied)  Castor was a renowned Horse Trainer and Pollux was known as a Boxer, a champion fighter.  Both became military generals and took part in the Voyage of The Argonauts.

Dioskouri – “Il Defonso Gruppo”. Roman copy of Greek statue, by Praxiteles C4th B.C.
http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/S33.1.html

The twins had one day attempted to steal some cattle and they were caught in the act.  When a fight broke out, Castor was killed.  His brother Pollux cried out to Zeus, for he did not want to live life as an immortal without his brother by his side.  He asked Zeus to make Castor an immortal so they may always be together.  Zeus agreed to allow Castor to live as an immortal, but only if his brother Pollux was willing to give up half of his time as immortal and give it to his brother.  Pollux agreed, and the twins alternate every other day between living among the Gods in Olympus, and dead in the Underworld.  Thus Castor was granted Apotheosis – a mortal man becoming a god, yet he and his twin spend half their time as gods and the other half dead.  For Pollux’s selfless gift of dedication to his brother, Zeus also granted the twins a place in the heavens as the Constellation Gemini.

As Gods, Castor and Pollux rule over Safe and Swift Travels, Protection of Guests, Travelers and sailors, and patron Gods of Horses, races, and the Olympic Games.
(( Read More at theoi.com ))  
* Some Greek and Roman authors attributed the constellation of Gemini to Apollo and Heracles – sons of Zeus with different mothers.

Astronomy of the Gemini Constellation –

The constellation Gemini has several interesting features, including a few binary stars (not suprising for the constellation of The Twins!) and some beautiful nebulas!  I have only included here a few of my favorites.

Gemini constellation

Pollux – β Geminorum (Beta Geminorum)

Pollux is the brightest star in Gemini and the 17th brightest star in the night sky. It is an evolved orange giant and is 33 light years distant from our solar system.  Beta Geminorum has about nine times the solar radius of our Sun, and is confirmed to have one planet in it’s orbit.  The planet, Pollux B, is at least 2 times the size of Jupiter and has an orbital period of 590 days.

Castor – α Geminorum (Alpha Geminorum)

Castor is the second brightest star in Gemini and the 44th brightest star in the sky. It is a visual binary star system, and each component is in itself a spectroscopic binary star, which makes Castor more technically a four-star system. Both components of the system are red dwarfs, and are about 51 light years from our sun.

U Geminorum

U Geminorum is a dwarf nova in Gemini constellation. It is a binary star composed of a white dwarf that closely orbits a red dwarf star. About every 100 days, the star has an outburst that causes a dramatic increase in brightness and luminosity. The two dwarfs have an orbital period of just 4 hours and 11 minutes, very rapid for a binary system!

Eskimo Nebula
Eskimo Nebula – photo from NASA’s Hubble Telescope, 1999

Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392, Caldwell 39)

The Eskimo Nebula is a bipolar double-shell planetary nebula in Gemini.  (To be honest I’m not sure what a bipolar double shell planetary nebula IS, but it sounds very Gemini and I love the beauty of it!) The nebula is surrounded by a layer of gas that used to form the outer layers of a star similar to our Sun.

NGC 2371-2 

NGC 2371, image: Friendlystar at wikipedia.org

NGC 2371-2 is a planetary nebula in Gemini. It is a dual lobed nebula, one that looks like it could be two different, separate objects – which is why it was originaly recorded as two seperate listings in the New General Catalogue, NGC 2371 and NGC 2372.  The nebula is located to the southwest of the bright star Castor.

(read more about the stars and nebulas of Gemini at Constellation Guide)

 

Gemini’s lessons – Duality and Change

I find it fascinating that within these heavenly bodies we can see traits of Gemini; dualistic, changeable, expressive systems in which two are one.  Gemini can teach us about the dualistic nature of all the universe and how partnerships can be so fruitful and beautiful with the right blend of compatability and devotion!  Yet the existence of Nebulas such as the ones seen above remind us that nothing is permanent – not even the stars.  All is fleeting, ever changing and shifting to play different roles in the cosmos at different times – just like Gemini.

I’ll be back later to talk about Gemini and the Tarot Card VI The Lovers!

 

 

Pluto Transits of 2018

Pluto. Hades. The Lord of Death & The Underworld. Wherever Pluto goes, change & transformation will occur.

pluto in capricorn
Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 and will stay there until January 20, 2024.  He’s a slow moving planet, taking time to fully deconstruct whatever sign he visits. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn we had The American Revolution and Thomas Jefferson was writing the early drafts of the American Constitution.  The individual person’s right to a “Pursuit of Happyness” supported by a government was certainly a radical idea born of Pluto transitting Capricorn.   Capricorn is the Cardinal Earth sign of the zodiac – Pragmatic, Diplomatic, Focused.  Capricorn energy moves slowly and patiently, waiting for just the right moment to elevate and shine.  This sign rules over a lot of structures in life, like politics, finances, and economy.  On a personal level Capricorn rules over Career and Public Standing – or how you are seen by the world and the impact you make on the world around you.

Hades isn’t really in a big hurry to do his work, just as the transformation that occurs in a pile of compost takes a long time.  It’s not usually a quick flash of death and rebirth, but a slow process of decomposition and decay.  Pluto not only rules over death, but over all that is mysterious, hidden or secret.  The dark part of our souls – the drive to understand and see beyond what is just right in front of us in the physical realm.  Pluto dredges up the unseen for all to see – all the murky stuff decomposing at the bottom of the pond gets brought to the surface.  It’s no wonder we have the president we now have, and all the hate and racism that was somewhat hidden before is now glaringly visible.  Pluto in Capricorn says, “Hey, how’s that pursuit of happiness going?  Not so good for some of you, eh?  Let’s look at that and see how we can change it.”  He’s forcing us to look at the rotting foundation of whatever structures are holding us up.  Either we’ll have to do some major renovations, or evacuate the building before it falls down around us completley.

Pluto transitting through the signs can have major impact in your personal life depending on your natal chart.  When Pluto crosses over a planet in your natal chart, this is called a Pluto transit. It will also make aspects (squares and trines) to other planets in your natal chart and instigate changes in those areas. If you have any planets in Capricorn, you’ll experience a personal Pluto transit sometime between 2008 and 2024.  This year as Pluto stations and retrogrades, he’s spending a lot of time between 18 and 21 degrees of Capricorn. If you have any planets there, you’ve probably already felt a lot of deep ( and sometimes painful) transformations in your life. Pluto will Trine with planets in Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo) so transformations may also be happening if you have planets between 18 – 21 degrees in those signs, though Trines are usually more harmonious in nature so those changes might be a bit easier to handle.  December of 2017 through February of 2019 will be particularly hard-hitting for anyone with planets in 18 to 21 degrees Capricorn as you can see in this graph below:

pluto stations retrograde 2018

Read More: https://www.pandoraastrology.com/transits-this-year/planetary-retrogrades-stations/pluto-station-retrograde/

Pluto will square (challenging aspect) any planets in other fixed signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra) so if you have any planets between 18 and 21 degrees of those signs, this may also be a crucial year for you in terms of transformation and change.  Don’t worry, there are profound lessons for you here.  I think of a caterpillar in a cocoon transforming into a butterly.  During that metamorphosis, the DNA of the caterpillar breaks down into a living goo, which then rearranges itself into a new form.  A pluto transit can feel like a stagnant stasis at times, you just KNOW there is something better around the corner but you can’t quite get there.  Hang in there and be willing to really let go of that which no longer serves you.  Clinging to the past is not the way to get through this.  My motto for the year has been, “The only way out is through.”  (I’m having a MAJOR Pluto transit as my Natal Sun is at 21 degrees Capricorn and my Natal Pluto is 21 degrees Libra. Oh, hey Hades, whats up?)  The only constant in life is change, and Pluto is here to remind us of that.  So, let’s go!  VIVA LA REVOLUTION!

((( If you want any help looking at your Natal Chart and interpreting how (or if ) the Pluto Transits are going to hit you this year, I’d be happy to help!  I’m doing astrology readings on a sliding scale rate of $25 to $50.  Email me at hestiasmuse@gmail.com to set up an appointment.  )))

Sky, Earth & Fire – Memories of New Moon 5/15/18

The New Moon in Taurus happened on May 15th, early in the morning.  Shortly after the New Moon, Uranus entered Taurus for the first time since the 1940’s.  Later that afternoon, the moon moved into Gemini, and after sunset Mars entered the sign of Aquarius.  It was a powerful day for setting intentions, especially dealing with any type of revolution.

My partner and I gathered some friends over for an evening of food, fireside chats, and ritual.  I shared with some friends my thoughts on the power behind the Uranus/Taurus and Mars/Aquarius transition.  New Moons are generally always a good time for setting intentions and planting seeds of ideas or desires that you want to manifest.  Uranus is the planet best described as the Revolutionary.  He’s the ultimate non conformist, anarchist, and humanitarian; the driving force behind the awakening to higher consciousness.  Wherever Uranus goes, there is bound to be some sort of revolution against structures or ideas that hold us back from our awakening.  Taurus is the earth sign that best embodies Mother Earth in her most fertile time; also potentially powerful for manifesting desires into the physical plane, like a New Moon.  Uranus here will break down or shake up any structures, beliefs or ideas that are holding us back from physically manifesting our desires… as long as those desires are for the greater good of mankind.  Mars, the God of War, planet of drive, passion, courage, and fight – just entered the sign of Aquarius (ruled by Uranus) – sign of friendship, brotherhood, invention, and revolution.  This is adding some fire to the Aquarian quest for Brotherhood and Ascension.  I described these Planetary transits with the Tarot: The Fool & The Hierophant for Uranus in Taurus, and The Tower & The Star for Mars in Aquarius.  As you can see, I felt it was a perfect and powerful time for gathering some friends and setting intentions with magick!

Before ritual, my partner was digging around in the earth to clear the area around the fire pit.  As he dug by hand, he found this beautiful quartz crystal:

The Hierophant & The Fool cards on the altar:

Tarot and Astrology, The Hierophant and Taurus, Uranus and The Fool
Uranus enter Taurus

Friends gathered around the small fire pit in the back yard:

I love the Rey of sunlight beaming through the smoke in this picture!

After sunset, more friends arrived and we worked together to build the fire a bit bigger, and each added a piece of the wood to the fire to represent something we wished to release or burn away to make room for our own personal growth or revolution.  I was very honored to hold space and cast a sacred circle for those who gathered with us, and we called upon Uranus (God of the Sky) to celebrate his reunion with Gaia (Mother Earth, Taurus).  We each spoke our intentions up to the sky and then “planted” them into the earth to be nourished, gestate, and then born or fulfilled when the time is right.  We ended the ritual with some singing and chanting around the fire.

It was a lovely ritual and gathering and I wanted to write it down somewhere to keep it preserved (yeah, the sun is still in Taurus and I want to hold or keep that which I find beautiful).  After the ritual we had some fun times all gathered in the living room.  We looked at a couple astrology charts, danced to an old Jazzercize video from the 80’s, shared some food and talked about life.  I’m beyond grateful for the friends that I have made over the past year; the community that has embraced me and uplifted me through hard times.  Taurus season has asked us to examine beyond the “I AM” of Aries, into the “I HAVE” mode of The Bull.  I’ve discovered that the greatest things I HAVE are friendship and community.

A very blurry picture or me and some great friends!

 

Taurus and The Hierophant; Preserving our Values

I’ve been thinking a lot about Taurus and the tarot card The Hierophant.  It’s always been an odd correspondence for me, since I tended to think of Taurus in a more Venusian light as a sign of sensuality, pleasure, and desire.  While the tarot card The Empress ceratinly fits with it’s correspondence to the planet Venus, I was always a little unsure about how The Hierophant could represent the sign of Taurus.  Perhaps I was so focused on the Feminine, receptive, sensual side of Taurus that I was just missing this whole other side to Taurus energy!  Meditating with The Hierophant over the past week, I’ve begun to see this other side of Taurus (see my earlier post Taurus & The Hierophant (plus Minotaurs and Judges)

Hierophant, Tarot, keywords

The Hierophant represents Institutions such as monetary systems (banks), Religious Organizations (churches), Educational Systems (Schools), and Group Institutions (Clubs, Communities, Governments, Political Bodies, and even Secret Societies)  All of these institutions were at one point created for the purpose of maintaining order.  Why do we find the need to maintain order surrounding anything in life?  Well, simply put, if we VALUE something, we try to preserve it.  We found value in a system of currency exchange to streamline and simplify our need to trade and barter.  We found value in the preservation and passing on of knowledge (both practical and esoterical) so we created schools, colleges, and religious orders.  We found value in a structured family unit, so we created the institution of marriage.  (I am using “we” to describe a collective consciousness, though I will add that not all cultures have developed these values in the same ways, and some cultures have totally different sets of values altogether.)

These structured institutions and status-quo parts of life seemed so opposite of the sensual Venus-ruled Taurus to me.  But I began to realize that within all of these structures lie one simple driving force: desire.  Somewhere along the line, all these conventions were created as a way to collect and preserve something that was good or beautiful (at the time).

Within these structured institutions there is the potential for greatness, but also the risk of great corruption.  Just like the story of Minos and the Minotaur, (previous post) greed and desire can have dire consequences, especially when the greed is perpertated by a person in a position of power and influence.  I don’t think that The Hierophant will always represent corruption in a reading, there will be other factors and intuition to help you determine whether these institutions are positive or negative in a reading.  For example, The Hierophant might represent:

  • persuing a higher education
  • seeking great knowledge
  • finding a spiritual leader or wise teacher
  • sharing a cultural heritage
  • having loyalty to a group or community
  • honoring ritual and ceremony
  • getting married, graduating, or becoming a community leader
  • working as part of a team
  • Fitting in

Taurus, astrology, traits of Taurus

Reflecting back on Taurus energy and personality traits, I began to see how their stubborn, immovable nature combined with determination and a strong desire for stability could create exactly the type of personalities who dvelop and maintain the institutions of The Hierophant.  When I am learning more about an astrological sign, I like to look up some famous people who have this sign.  What I found in searching for famous Taurus people was a whole bunch of Hierophant archetypes!  (This was the “OH! DUH!” moment for me with connecting the dots between Taurus and the Hierophant)  There was wide range of Politicians, religious leaders, scientists and writers (preservers of knowledge) – both who operated as creators or shifters of sytems, or as conservative preservers of systems.  Here is a list of a few here that stood out to me as strong Hierophant personalities. (Including four United States Presidents, two popes, an Emperor, a Queen, and a couple Tyrants)

  • Roger Ailes (creator of Fox News Network)
  • Tony Blair (Former British Prime Minister)
  • Antoinette Brown (First female Clergy woman in the United States)
  • James Buchanan (15th U.S. President)
  • Prescott Bush (Father of George Bush & Grandfather of George W. Bush)
  • George Carlin (political comedian)
  • Tucker Carlson (conservative talk show host)
  • Stephen Colbert (political comedian)
  • Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector of England, 1653-58)
  • James Dobson (Founder and host of Focus on The Family)
  • Sigmund Freud (founder of Psychoanalysis)
  • Ulysses Grant (18th U.S. President)
  • Stephen Harper (former Prime Minister of Canada)
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Jim Jones (Preacher who led 908 followers in mass suicide)
  • Karl Marx (founder of modern communism)
  • Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City Bomber)
  • James Monroe (Founding Father and 5th U.S. President)
  • Michael Moore (Political film maker who created “Bowling for Columbine”)
  • Nicholas II of Russia (Last emperor of Russia)
  • John Oliver (political reporter)
  • Pope Pius IX (the longest reigning Pope in history)
  • Pope John Paul II (the first Polish Pope)
  • Queen Elizabeth II (the Queen of Great Britain)
  • Maximilien Robespierre (French Revolutionary leader)
  • Rick Santorum (U.S. Senator 1995 -2007)
  • Harry S. Truman (33rd U.S. President)
  • Melania Trump (First Lady of the United States)
  • Malcolm X (leader of Black Power movement in the 1960’s)

Taurus Positive Keywords

Taurus Negative Keywords

As we can see in these lists of Positive and Negative traits of Taurus, there are the traits of the Hierophant as well – both when fuctioning at it’s best and at it’s most dysfunctional.   Taurus energy activates within everyone the simple desire to maintain what we have that is beneficial or feels good and right to us.  It asks, “What do I have?  Is this worth having?  If so, is it worth preserving and sharing?”  Taurus energy inspires a very deep devotion to whatever it is that we value . . . and perhaps this devotion can sometimes lead us to try and force our values upon others.  When we find something that makes us feel good and safe, of course we want to share that with others!  Sometimes, sharing what we value with others can have great and positive impact on the world around us!  Yet it is important to remember that not all of us value the same things, and pushing our personal values or beliefs on others often leads to conflict.  Taurus energy can teach us this balance – both by helping us define our values, and by strongly resisting anything or anyone that may be pushing values on us that don’t align with our own.   In a couple weeks Uranus, the planet of Rebellion and Revolution will enter the sign of Taurus and really begin to challenge some of the structured institutions that are currently imposed upon us.  The last time Uranus transited the sign of  Taurus was in 1934 to 1942.

Note that not all famous Taurus people are religious leaders or politicians – there are quite a few actors, musicians, scientists, and writers.  Here is a great list of many more famous Taurus people.  I only shared the ones listed above as I found they really embody the energy of The Hierophant that is relevant to this post.  

Taurus and The Hierophant (Plus Minotaurs and Judges)

The fixed Earth sign, Taurus, is related to the Major Aracana card The Hierophant. Taurus energy is Powerful, yet patient, with a great deal of reliance on the physical senses. The Hierophant rules over the physical world; the earthly realm, and worldly concerns such as material possessions, marriage, religion, established institutions, and academic knowledge. Taurus’ nature is to not only accumulate things, but to preserve these things… whether that be material possessions, people, or knowledge and status.

Tarot The Hierophant TaurusKey Characteristics of Taurus Energy:

Practical, Materialistic, Determined, Stubborn, Affectionate, Possessive, Sensuous, Self-Indulgent, Loyal, Rigid, Unyielding, Patient, Preserving, Unimaginative.

Key Traits and Lessons of The Hierophant:

Education, belief systems, conformity, group identity, pursuing knowledge, seeking a deeper meaning, adapting to the system, fitting in, expressing loyalty, working as a team member or team leader, seeking religion or spiritual truths, making choices, conforming or non-conforming, the quest for meaning in life, organized institutions.
Mythology of Taurus:
The representation of Taurus as The Bull comes from the Greek Mythological tale of Zeus and Europa. Zeus, the King of The Gods, became obsessed with a Phoenician princess, Europa. Zeus knew that his godly masculine form would frighten the young maiden, so he transformed himself into a Bull. Europa saw the magnificent yet gentle bull, and became intrigued. She went to pet the bull, and eventually climbed onto his back. Immediately, Zeus turned back to his godly form and flew away to Olympus with Europa on his back. Taurus is the great bull who abducts us into pleasures of the body and the rapture of our passions. Beyond our physical experiences resides the essence of the Hierophant, helping us guide our passions toward self understanding and knowledge but continuing to remain grounded and gain a respect for our physical realm.
Minos and the Minotaurs
The tarot card The Hierophant is also related to the mythological story of Minos and The Minotaur.  The union of Zeus and Europa resulted in the birth of the demigods Minos and Rhadamanthys – two of the three judges of the dead and ministers of Hades.  Of the three judges who would decide whether a soul passed on to blissful Isles of the Blest, or descend to Tartarus, Minos was the third and final vote and would therefore break any tie in the vote between the other two judges.  (Side note: there is a fourth judge called in when a soul is an Initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries)  The Hierophant tarot card traditionally represents a priest-like judge, similar in status to the Pope.  He may not be The Emperor or king, but he does hold a place of power in the world, particularly over large institutions like churches, schools, and the institution of marriage.  In the mythological stories, Minos also lived as the King of Crete, but sadly grew into a selfish and somewhat tyrannical king.  After Minos had become King of Crete, Poseidon had sent him a beautiful white bull that he could sacrifice to the Gods in gratitude for his success.  However, Minos was overcome with greed and decided to keep the bull for himself.  The Gods were displeased with Minos and punished him by cursing his wife, Pasiphae, to fall in love with an ordinary herd bull.  She became so obsessed with this bull, that she eventually devised a way to couple with it and bore as a son the Minotaur – a beast with the body of a man and the head of a bull.  Minos created a labyrinth outside of his capitol city and hid the Minotaur within it and would send people into the labyrinth as judgment for some crime or failing (and sometimes simply for his own sick amusement) where they would be devoured by the Minotaur.  In the most commonly told stories, Athens would send young maidens and youths to Crete as tribute to Minos and he would send them into the labyrinth to feed his monster.
Here we see potential corruption of the Taurus energy – for within our desires lie judgments of ourselves and others, and these judgments may indeed create a trap or labyrinth with monsters residing within.  Also within this tale is the warning against greed and how selfish actions can have consequenses far beyond our intent to just own or possess something beautiful.  (All of this could have been avoided if Minos had just sacrificed the White Bull with gratitude and trusted that he already had everything he needed.)
Taurus & The Hierophant’s Lessons and Reflections
Taurus is the Fixed Earth sign, which explains why many Taurus individuals are seen as stubborn and determined. The Hierophant acts as the preserver of Human experience, the collector of ideas and philosophies. The Heirophant recognizes the importance of certain social institutions such as education, marriage and religion, while urging us to either find our own place in these institutions or challenge them. Taurus is ruled by the planet Venus, which attributes to Taurus’ innate sensuality. Just as a Taurus has the tendency to over-indulge in physical pleasures such as food, sex, or gaining material possessions – the Social Institutions in the world have a tendency to over-indulge themselves in power trips and as controllers of the people. The Heirophant represents the power to direct these passions. In a card reading when one sees the Hierophant, they must ask themselves, who has the power here? What am I doing with my passionate energy and power? Am I self indulging, or am I seeking knowledge and understanding? Am I being controlled by worldly institutions, or have I found my place within them?
As the Sun transits through the sign of Taurus, we all have this energy somewhat activated within us and around us.  Are we being like Europa – following our deepest desires and sensuality?  Are we being like Zeus, putting on disguises to get what we want?  If we DO get what we want, what is our tendency to behave like Minos?  Will we be careful to not create monsters and labyrinths of our own greed?  However, within Taurus resides the potential for great wisdom and balance.  While the story of Minos and the Minotaur may leave you feeling apprehensive about the role of Taurus or the appearance of The Hierophant, I will leave you with this further information as a counter-point.
Aldebaran
The thirteenth brightest star in the sky, which has been a guide to travelers for ages, is the distant red dwarf star called Aldebaran.  Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, it is called ‘The Eye Of The Bull” and it is known as the Star of Illumination, or “God’s Eye”.  Aldebaran is said to be the Portal to the Mysteries of The Mind, and all knowledge and Truth can be found through this portal.
I once had a dream that I was sitting under a tree observing a herd of cattle on a field below.  I realized it would be nice to read a book while I sat here under this tree, but I didn’t have any books with me.  I followed a path that seemed like it might lead to a town where I could find books.  When I arrived, there were dozens of famous philosophers, teachers, and sages just milling about talking to eachother.  Socrates, Ovid, and Homer were engaged in conversation with Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud.  I noticed that this was a unique and beautiful place to be, but I still desired to sit under the tree and read a book.  I approached the group of philosophers and awkwardly asked them if they had a book I could read.  They LAUGHED at me, and one of them said, “What need for books is there in this place, where all knowledge exists without the need for paper bindings?  You’re in the bull’s eye. ”  I became greatly distressed at the thought of a place with no books. (I was 17 years old and had just finished reading “Farenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury)  I wandered away from the group of wise teachers, wondering how they could be so happy in a world without books.  How would the knowledge be preserved and passed on?  What did they mean by Bull’s Eye, was this some target I had been shooting for?  Or a target created by others in some attempt to create a Utopic world?
I woke up and the dream was clear in my mind.  Actually, waking up from that dream was terrifying, I thought for several moments that I had died and after a brief glimpse at heaven I had become afraid and now I was somehow trapped in my physical body again.  My physical body was dead and I couldn’t move.  This is the first time I remember experiencing Sleep Paralysis, and had no idea that’s what it was at the time.  I remember trying to convince myself that it would be safe to “let go” and trying to convince myself to let go of whatever fears now held me bound to this useless dead lump of flesh.  Eventually though I realized I was indeed breathing, and was able to move my toes, and then my legs and other body parts.  (Oh!  The simultaneous relief and regret as I realized I was indeed, still alive! )  I thought about all of this for many days and did not fully understand it for some time.  Mostly I chalked it up to having just read about a Dystopian fictional  world in which books were burned, but I felt this place in my dream had somehow preserved the knowledge.  It was like Heaven for all the great thinkers and teachers.  What need would you have for books if you just had all the Teachers gathered in one place?  Years later when I was studying astrology, I came across the term “The Bull’s Eye” in reference to Aldebaran and the constellation Taurus, and the Star of Illumination and I instantly remembered that dream from when I was 17.  I don’t know how or why I had access to that place in a dream as a teenager without even hearing about it before, but I’m sure that’s where my Astral Travels took me.  This is the place I think of when I think of Taurus.  This is the place that the Hierophant holds the keys to, and he knows how to access that Portal.
As The Sun God Apollo travels though each sign, he brings Light and the potential for Healing to whatever that sign has to teach us.  I am open to the Light that is shining through the Eye of The Bull and The Hierophant.  I am open to Minos’ judgments, and bring awareness to my own labyrinth and whatever bull-headed monsters may reside within it.

Astrology – Watching the Ongoing Mythology Unfold

I’m constantly in awe of the movements of the planets through the heavens and how I see this cosmic story playing out here on Earth; both personally and through the broader scope of cultures at large.  The way I see it, the Gods are alive and well, still playing out their comic tragedies and transmitting messages to Earth and eachother, and if we wish to know how this story is currently playing out all we have to do is look to the stars and Astrology.

When people get me talking about Astrology (which, admittedly isn’t very hard to do these days) they often hear me refer to the planets as Greek or Roman Gods and excitedly explaining what they are doing.  Example; when Mercury was retrograde a couple weeks ago I am pretty sure the phrase “Hermes is flying backwards in trickster mode” came out of my mouth in a variety of ways as I refererenced the planet’s transit.  Some people have asked me to elaborate on this concept a bit more, so I wanted to put together a simple list of the planets and the Greek or Roman Gods/Goddesses they might be associated with through their Archetypical Roles.  Most of the planets are already named after Roman Gods anyways, so forgive the obvious redundancy in this list.  (Side Note, in Astrology, all the heavenly bodies within our solar system are referred to as “planets”, including the Sun and Moon.  Yes, we know these aren’t Planets in the scientific sense of the definition.)

Please note–   This is in no way a complete list, and I’m eager to hear if you have any personal associations that are not listed here.  I’m also not an expert on Mythology and Deities so while I am sure there are many Gods from a variety of cultures that would fit these Archetypes – I have only included the Deities I am familiar with rather than guessing or making assumptions about the nature of Gods I don’t know.  I hope to someday include Deities from a variety of cultures here in this list, and invite you to share in comments or email your own learned assocations.

Planets:

THE SUN

  • Apollo (Greek, Roman) – God of the Sun, creativity, music, healing, poetry, prophecy, and children.  Son of Zeus & Leto.
  • Helios (Greek)

THE MOON

  • Artemis – Goddess of Hunting, Wilderness, Wild Animals, Protector of Children.  Twin Sister of Apollo.  Daughter of Zeus & Leto.      –AND/OR….
  • Hekate / Hecate – Goddess of the Moon, Magic, Witchcraft, Night, the Crossroads, Ghosts.  Daughter of the Titans Perses & Asteria.        –AND/OR ….
  • Selene (Greek) – Titan Moon Goddess.  Daughter of Titans Hyperion & Theia

MERCURY

  • Hermes (Greek) – God of travel, trade, diplomacy, language, writing, astrology, and cunning.  Son of Zeus and Maya.
  • Mercury (Roman)

VENUS

  • Aphrodite (Greek) – Goddess of Love, Beauty, Pleasure, Procreation.  Born of Sea Foam when Oranous’ castrated genitals were thrown into the sea by Kronos.
  • Venus (Roman)

MARS

  • Aries / Ares (Greek) – God of War, Battle, Courage, Masculinity, and Order.  Son of Zeus & Hera.
  • Mars (Roman)

JUPITER

  • Zeus (Greek) – King of the Gods, God of law and order, destiny, fate, weather.  Son of Kronos & Rhea.  Brother of Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Hestia, Demeter.
  • Jupiter (Roman)

SATURN

  • Cronos / Kronos (Greek) – King of the Titans, God of Time & Lessons.  Titan son of Ouranos & Gaia. Father of the Olympian Gods – Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia
  • Saturn (Roman)

NEPTUNE

  • Poseidon (Greek) – God of the Sea, Rain (floods, droughts), Earthquakes, and Horses.  Son of Kronos & Rhea.  Brother of Zeus, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Demeter.
  • Neptune (Roman)

URANUS

  • Ouranos (Greek) – Primordial God of the Sky.  Father of the Titans (Including Cronos)
  • Uranus / Aion (Roman)

PLUTO

  • Hades / Aidoneus (Greek) – God of The Underworld and Death.  Son of Kronos & Rhea.  Brother of Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Hestia, Demeter.
  • Pluto / Dis (Roman)

Asteroids:

VESTA

  • Hestia (Greek) – Goddess of the Hearth Fire & Sacred Flame.  Daughter of Kronos & Rhea.  Sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera and Demeter
  • Vesta (Roman)

CERES

  • Demeter (Greek) – Goddess of Agriculture, Grain, Bread, Fertility.  Daughter of Kronos & Rhea.  Sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Hestia
  • Ceres (Roman)

JUNO

  • HERA (Greek) – Queen of The Gods, Goddess of Marriage, Women, the Stars.  Daughter of Kronos & Rhea.  Sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, and Hestia.  Wife of Zeus.
  • Juno (Roman)

PALLAS ATHENA

  • Athena (Greek) – Goddess of Wisdom, Defense, Justice, Protection, Good Counsel, Weaving and other crafts.  Born of Zeus’ head.
  • Minerva (Roman)

CHIRON

  • Kheiron (Greek) – Half Titan, Immortal king of the Centaurs.  “The Wounded Healer”, Master Healer, Warrior and Teacher.  Son of Kronos and the nymph Philyra.
  • Chiron (Roman)

It is also important to note that each of the Gods (Planets) rule over the Astrological Signs and Zodiac Wheel Houses.  I see it as the Houses are the Kingdoms that the Gods rule over, and the Signs are the Energy/Lessons that each God/Goddess rules over or activates.

SIGN      HOUSE         RULED BY
Aries      1st                 Aries/Mars
Taurus   2nd               Venus/Aphrodite, Ceres/Demeter
Gemini  3rd                Mercury / Hermes
Cancer   4th                Moon/Artemis/Hecate/Selene
Leo         5th           Sun/Apollo/Helios
Virgo      6th          Mercury/Hermes, Vesta/Hestia
Libra  7th Venus/Aphrodite, Pallas Athena/Minerva, Juno/Hera
Scorpio   8th          Pluto/Hades, Hecate, Aries/Mars
Sagittarius   9th         Jupiter/Zeus, Chiron
Capricorn   10th         Saturn/Cronos, Pan, Pallas Athena /Minerva
Aquarius    11th         Uranus/Ouranos, Saturn/Cronos
Pisces         12th          Neptune/Poseidon, Jupiter/Zeus

When you look at the signs and houses as energies that the Gods are teaching us through or playing within, you get an even deeper picture of the Living Archetypes and how the Mythology stories continue.  For example, let’s say that Mercury is in Aries.  So Hermes (Mercury) is still operating as God of Language, Writing, Commerce and Travel – but he’s doing it through the realm and kingdom of Aries, the God of War.  So how is Hermes’ behavior and teaching style altered by his surroundings? What specific lessons come along?  Hermes is bound to be a bit more pushy in fiery ways as he transmits his lessons of communication through the filter of Aries’ individuality and drive.  How is this different than when Hermes is in one of his own Kingdoms like Gemini or Virgo?  Chiron just showed up in Aries’ realm too, what kind of pain (and medicine) does he want to teach us about here?  Now add in more layers – Artemis and Hecate (the Moon) are shining through in the Sign of Virgo (Hermes and Vesta’s house).  Cronos, Hades, Aries, and Vesta are having some kind of important meeting in Cronos’ Realm (Capricorn).  Meanwhile, Zeus is behaving oddly and having a backwards stroll through the Underworld  (Scorpio).  Apollo seems comfortable and happy visiting Aphrodite’s realm (Taurus – and Aphrodite is home too, though she’s quietly slipping out the back door on her way to Gemini).

Are you still with me?  Good.  Because the story of the Gods is ever unfolding.  I humbly wish to tell you their stories as a faithful Oracle and Astrologer.  I’m still learning and growing, but I’d be honored if you follow along with me in this journey.

 

Aries Season’s Fiery Conclusion

Aries season has had us rushing around in a big busy flury of discovering and expressing our self-identity in new ways.  With the start of the zodiac calendar year, Aries bursts onto the scene with the great shout of “I AM”!  No matter what your zodiac sign, we all feel the sun’s transit through Aries and the Spring Equinox on some level as a rebirth of our personal identity.  I touched on this a little with my previous blog post, “I’m back!  Renewed by Aries Sun” yet even I wasn’t prepared for the profound renewal I would experience.  How was it for you?

Aries is the Cardinal Fire sign of the zodiac.  As a Fire Sign, it is transformative, purifying, and energetic.  As a Cardinal sign, Aries is direct, initiatory, and carries the “start up” vibe of the spring season.  So within Aries energy we have this ability to find initiative, burn away the excess, and jump right into the next big thing.  This can be powerful and it can also be dangerous.  If you have ever jumped head first into a new project because of passion and “it seemed like a good idea at the time”  but then get tripped up on some minor detail and fall on your face?  Yeah that might have been an Aries Energy influence at work in your life.  But don’t hate!  Life NEEDS that risk taking fiery force of nature!  Where would we be without the instigators, risk-takers, and “do it now” moments?  Spring would never come if the seeds didn’t take that chance to crack open and send a fresh new blade of grass up through the dark soil.  As the Sun, Venus, and Mercury emerged from the watery depths of Pisces we collectively awaken from the cozy dream that is the end of winter and say, “Oh!  I have things to do!  I have individual goals that are important to me!”  With a fresh new spark of fire, it’s time for some soul-alchemy to turn this seed into a sprout.  We’re inspired to step up as the leader of our own life.

Tarot, tarot card The Emperor, Aries, Aries Astrology
IV The Emperor. Rider-Waite Smith Tarot

In the Tarot, Aries is represented by Major Arcana card IV – The Emperor.  The Emperor brings messages of Strength, Leadership, Structure, Stamina, and Reasoning.  As you can see in the classic RWS version of the card, the Emperor is depicted as a wise military type leader, his age represents wisdom and experience.  Robed in red (fire, action, strength) with armor underneath (knowing that sometimes he has to fight for what he wants).  His throne is adorned with carvings of the Ram’s head (the symbol of Aries).  In one hand he holds a golden sphere (the world) and a scepter (status and leadership) in the other.  In the background there are mountains, depicting the lands he has conquered or trials he has overcome.  Yet with all his wisdom, the Emperor knows that at times he needs to be the one to take risks, push for change, challenge the status quo, or shake things up a bit.

I know, it’s all very Patriarchal.  But there is value here.  Remember that there are different kinds of leaders and emperors.  Some might rush into war head first or abuse their power, and Aries certainly has the potential to start some epic battles!  Yet, look again at this Emperor. He’s not holding a sword or weapon.  He’s holding the world – and he seems quite aware of the weight of it.  He’s not standing up and rushing into battle.  He is sitting down, listening and waiting for the right time to act.  This Emperor is the type that has seen battle, but has developed the wisdom to know that there are times to fight and times . . . not to.  He knows how to choose his battles with the thought of the greater good at heart.  The Emperor is refined Aries energy.  This card depicts Aries energy at it’s very best; powerful yet reserved.

As we approach the end of Aries season – ask yourself, “What kind of Emperor am I”?  If you’re truly the master of your own life (whether you are a leader or authority figure to others or not), you have moments when you have to make big decisions.  Should I fight for this ideal?  Should I fight to defend who I am?  Wait, in order to really know my ideals or defend who I am, I have to know WHO I AM and what my ideals are!  Thus comes the transformative, purification and rebirth of the Aries season.

Tarot, Justice, Tarot Card Justice, Libra
XI Justice. Rider Waite Smith Tarot

In the middle of the Sun’s transit through Aries, there was a balancing point with the Full Moon in Libra.  Libra is the polar opposite sign of Aries and brings balance by focusing this energy outwards through community and relationship.  Libra encourages us to reflect on how the “I AM” is changed by the presence of and awareness of “WE ARE”.  We can’t just run amok pushing our identity and goals into the world with much success without the cooperation and support of those around us.  Here is where the Wise Emperor differentiates from the Oppressive Dictator.  The wise Emperor knows the value of community, relationship, cooperation, and even love.  Without these, the Emperor’s reign is short lived and remembered as terrible. The Tarot card associated with Libra is XI JUSTICE – the great balancer.  Interestingly, here is where we find the sword.  The wise Emperor does have a sword nearby, but he trusts in Justice to tell him when it is time to use it.  Libra teaches about balance through the lens of relationship to others, reminding us that our individual actions have an impact on those around us.  Through the balancing counter-point of Aries and Libra I am reminded of the quote, “With great power comes great responsibility.”   That Full Moon brought our relationships into light and many revelations may have occurred about what kind of support system you have around you.  How are you building up or supporting your community and your partners?  Are your partners and community supporting you in meaningful ways?  If you think of the Tarot and Astrology in terms of Greek Mythology, the Aries/Libra connection is like Aries (the God of War) working side by side with Athena (Goddess of Justice).  Together they can create powerful and lasting change.  On that Full Moon I found myself surrounded by an amazing group of like-minded people.  I reveled in the glorious feeling of finding my “soul tribe”, and I even fell in love.  (THAT was unexpected but has been transforming my life in powerful ways – THANKS ARIES & LIBRA!)  I had been struggling to define who I am and what I should be doing with my energy – and found this loving embrace of a community that appreciates who I am and what I do!

On Sunday, the New Moon will be in Aries.  Soon the sun moves on into Taurus and the next cycle begins, but first it’s time for one last fiery celebration for The Emperor.  The lesson will be driven home as Aries asks “What have you learned from me?  You’ve worked with my energy for nearly this whole month and had the chance to redefine who you are and what you fight for.  You had the illumination of the Full Moon in Libra to remind you of balance and others.  What kind of Emperor are you striving to become?”

These will be some powerful reflections for you to make as you set your intentions with the New Moon on Sunday.  I hope that this Aries season has brought you just the lessons you need to help propel your growth forward in positive ways through the rest of this year.  So Mote It Be.

Artwork by valhadar

 

Vesta

Vesta is the Roman Goddess of the Hearth, Home, and Sacred Flame. (Her Greek counterpart is Hestia.) Daughter of Saturn and Ops, sister of Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Ceres, and Juno.  Saturn feared one of his children would overthrow him so he swallowed them each whole when they were born.  When Jupiter was born, Saturn was tricked into swallowing a rock swaddled in cloth instead of his newborn son.  Jupiter grew up and did indeed challenge his father, and he was made to spit out his children.  Vesta was asked what she would like to do with her power as a Goddess (what realm she would like to rule over) and she wished to simply remain pure and serve as gaurdian of the flame.  In many ways She IS the flame, and was often simply depicted as the sacred flame of Rome, the Home, and Sacred Divinity.

Vesta

A virgin Goddess, she did not marry or have children like most of the Roman Gods and Goddesses, yet she is still seen as a maternal, mothering figure.  This is because the fire of the Hearth which she protects – was recognized to be an essential part of a nurturing and safe home life. Without a fire in the hearth, families would be cold, hungry, and unprotected.
Today, we don’t have a “hearth fire” in our homes; that has been replaced by a stove and a microwave. Most of us don’t cook our food over an open flame (except for those fun family barbeque nights) and a fireplace is more of a luxury than a necessity for warmth. Although our methods have changed, many Neo-Pagans are still drawn to honoring a Goddess of Hearth and Home.  The Ancient Romans would honor Vesta by throwing some of their food into the hearth fire as an offering . . . giving back to the life- force that had provided for them. In Vesta’s temple, a fire was constantly burning. Guarded and tended to by the Vestal Virgins . . . women who had dedicated their lives to honoring and serving Vesta.  It was believed that if the Sacred Fire in Vesta’s temple ever went out, Rome would fall and die.
Today, many who call themselves “kitchen witches” are drawn to honoring Vesta (or Hestia) as part of their daily spiritual practice. Recognizing that the kitchen with all it’s modern gadgets is still a center of the home – a place of creation and nurturing, where we prepare our food.  Vesta has also been honored as an aspect of the Divine Feminine who holds great power without a male counterpart.  She was seen as the great nurturer… as Fire represented not only the means to survive, but also represented wisdom, inspiration, focus, community, purity, power, and even divination and sacred sexuality.

A votive candle of Mother Mary that has become part of my altar to Hestia and Vesta

Personally, I work with both Vesta and Hestia as interchangeable; different faces of the same Goddess.  I have also found the energy signature of the Sacred Flame to resonate in other Goddesses as well – namely Brighid (Celtic) and Mother Mary (Christian/Hebrew).  Hestia and Vesta are both usually depicted as veiled or wearing some kind of head covering, as is the Virgin Mother Mary.  They are all virgins, although Mary did bear a child but the stories still depict her as a virgin anyways.  Vesta is represented in historical drawings and carvings with an Ass (donkey/mule), and the Mother Mary is also associated riding an ass from when she rode pregnant into Bethlehem.  Catholic nuns who devote their lives to service of God, wear headcoverings, and their vows of celibacy bring to mind the Roman Vestal Virgins. I recently found a votive prayer candle in the religious candle section of my local grocery store that depicts “The Sacred Heart of Mary”, with a picture of Mary and the glowing heart within her chest is burning with a bright orange fire. (see photograph above)  The connection seems obvious to me and even though I know most pagans are probably not comfortable working within the “Christian Pantheon”, it is something worth considering.  Brighid or Brigid also has many similar associations, a fire Goddess who was seen as gaurdian of hearth and home, wisdom, purity, domesticated animals, and the Sacred Flame of Kildare (similar to the sacred shrine of Vesta in Rome).  I have found that when I work with Brighid, Mother Mary, or Vesta, I am working with an aspect of Hestia.

Working With Vesta – you can call on Vesta (or Hestia) for all these matters:

  • Honoring all that is Divine and Sacred
  • Purification
  • Devotion
  • Home matters (safety, prosperity, and love within the home)
  • Kitchens, food, nourishment
  • humbleness and gratitude
  • Rebalancing pain or corruption within governments
  • protection of cities or countries
  • protection from assault or unwanted sexual advances
  • forgiveness for crimes and mistakes
  • sacred sexuality
  • service and sacrifice

Vesta in Astrology

The symbol of Vesta in Astrology

In Astrology there is an asteroid named Vesta (it was recently reclassified as a “baby planet” and resides within the asteroid belt.)  Looking to the placement of this asteroid in your natal chart can show you where the energies of Hestia and Vesta are most present in your life.  It can show you where you are most likely to place your Devotion and what you honor as Divine or Sacred.  It can show you where your connection to the Sacred Feminine originates, and issues around sexuality and Feminist issues.  Vesta in your chart can teach you about how you identify with matters of Home, Family, Security, Sacrifice, and our own inner light.

“Vesta is the place in our charts that belongs to us and us alone. She is the inner spark we need to survive all odds, and to keep our spirits intact on the darkest day. She is also the light that guides us and allows us to take joy in our lives, and in our accomplishments. She is our inner light and the life inside ourselves.”  ~Isabelle Ghaneh (see more)

It is my hope that this post has helped you understand Vesta and Hestia, and perhaps inspired you to work with them in some way in your life.  May your Inner Fire always burn brightly, may you always find home that is warm and safe, and may you find ways to serve humanity and the Gods through your strength and Devotion.  Blessed Be!

**COMING SOON!**  I am working on an e-course called Hestia & Vesta Dedication Course.  In this course you will receive a manual including lots more information about Hestia and Vesta, how to work with them, and some spells and rituals.  You will also recieve an astrology reading in which I look at the placement of Vesta and Virgo in your natal chart, and an attunement to an energy system called “The Gems of Hestia and Vesta”.  I am so excited about this upcoming course and hope you will join me!  Join my Facebook Group – Unwinding The Universe With Hestia’s Muse to get updates, or sign up for my free newsletter if you are not on Facebook.