A joint publication of: Astro Logos and Zyntara Publications

 

ISSUE NO. 28

April 2007

 

In this issue: 

The Hare and the Eggs… a sky story     
An Egg and Three Kisses: A case study of Faberg
é
 

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The Hare and the Eggs… a sky story      
 Bernadette Brady M.A.
          

Located at the feet of Orion and running from Canis Major (the great dog) is Lepus the hare. The constellation consists of faint stars and has been defined as many different objects over time. The Arabs saw it as a thirsty camel bending down to drink from the Milky Way. The Egyptians claimed it as Osiris' boat and the Chinese called it The Shed.  

 


The Hare was well established in the sky by the time of the Greek poet Aratus (3rd century B.C.E.), yet its position and its actual presence among the constellations has raised questions from the Greeks to this very day. For Lepus the hare is an ancient constellation, not a modern addition like the house fly Mucas placed in the sky by Johann Bayer in the 17th century. So why would a timid insignificant creature such as a hare be honoured in the sky and why placed at the feet of the mightiest of hunters (Orion) with his hounds chasing such a unworthy prey?   

The Hare seems to be symbolic of far more than just a timid creature.

In Egyptian mythology a sacred hare is associated with both the sun god Ra and the moon god Toth and its role was to guard or collect and/or deliver the sacred egg of life. Additionally, the hare was often depicted by the Egyptians as greeting the dawn, thus paying homage to the sun god Ra who himself was believed to be born of a great egg.

The constellations Orion, Lepus and Canis Major.

 

 

This loyal servant and priest of Ra, the hare, thus being faithful to his task of sun-watching and fast-footed, became a messenger between the sun god Ra and the moon god Toth.  
 


Adding to its sacred place the hare was also associated with Osiris who was sometimes portrayed with a hare's head. Osiris was sacrificed to the Nile each year (possibly in March or April, a few months before the flood) in the form of a hare to guarantee the annual flooding upon which the Egyptian agriculture (and indeed their entire society) depended.

[Left - From the coffin of Bakenmut, divine father of Amum. Thebes 21st dynasty. (British museum)]

This is reflected in the hieroglyph ‘Wn’ which is the word for the very essence of life, depicted as a hare on top of a single  blue-green ripple which means 'to exist'.

T
his link between hares, eggs and the moon is also in Hindu mythology where the moon is named Cacin or Sasanka which means Marked with the Hare.

 

In recent times it is generally agreed that the placement of the hare next to Orion is representative of the union between the sun and the moon (Jobes:199). Such a union would involved the dawn-watching-hare receiving the light of the sun just as the moon "watches" the sun to produces the lunar phases, seen as the rhythm of life and fertility.

 

Of course this symbolism is still with us today. The Christian world celebrates its only lunar festival of the year at Easter, the death and resurrection of Christ, which echoes the Egyptian sacred time of the death of Osiris with his hare ears to ensure the rebirth of the Nile.

 

We still have the hare symbolism at this sacred time of Easter but not really knowing what to do with it we have turned it into a Disney-like rabbit that brings children eggs. Indeed not wanting to lose our hare, we have morphed it into characters deeply embedded in our literature but always as one who challenges the domination of the solar order.

 

Briar Rabbit
(US Folk Story)

The March Hare
( Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland)

Bugs Bunny
 (Walt Disney)

Peter Rabbit
(Beatrix Potter)

 

Even the idea of decorating eggs is much older than Christian Easter, for the ancient Persians also painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration falling on the Spring Equinox. 

 

So as you munch away on a chocolate egg this Easter, take a moment to think about its history, the lunar symbolism and dead gods with hare ears, and if you have time, take a look at the western night sky in the early evening and you just might see the Easter Bunny as he/she slips below the western horizon to go into the underworld and find more of those precious eggs.
_____________________________

Jobes, Gertude and James. (1964). Outer Space: Myths Name Meanings Calendars. London. The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

 


 


   An Egg and Three Kisses: A Case Study of Fabergé
Darrelyn Gunzburg

For most of us we connect Easter with eggs. So we thought it would be of interest to consider some of the parans in the chart of the man who, in 1885, gave eggs to jewellery: Peter Carl Fabergé . The son of a jeweller, Fabergé began what was to become his trademark when he presented Czar Alexander III with a bejewelled egg that the Czar had commissioned as a gift for his wife, Czarina Maria Feodorovna. Easter is the most important feast of the Russian Orthodox Church calendar, celebrated with the exchanging of eggs and three kisses. The egg reminded Czarina Maria of her homeland and from that moment on it became an Imperial tradition: the Easter gift was to always have an egg shape and it was to contain a surprise which was to be kept a secret. When Czar Alexander III died, his son, Nicholas II, continued the practice and over this time, fifty-six Imperial eggs were created, including eggs commemorating the coronation of Czar Nicholas II, the completion of the Trans Siberian Railway, the Uspensky Cathedral, the Gatchina Palace, and during the time of war, the Red Cross and the military.  

  The Jewel in the Design:
Fabergé ’s Venus

Fabergé  is a jeweller, so an obvious starting point when looking at some of the fixed stars that sit underneath his chart is to consider his Venus in Aries (in detriment) conjunct Uranus. This combination suggests an independent, challenge-orientated approach to his relating, socializing and networking pattern (Venus in Aries), flavored with the love of difference or freedom to engage with many people (Venus-Uranus) yet a difference that still relies on the support and help of other people and/or taking an alternative, non-mainstream approach (detriment). In his young years he has the following star-planet combination:

Venus is rising as Scheat is on the nadir
Independent ideas concerning fashion,    relationships and social customs

 Peter Carl Faberge - 18 May 1846, St Petersburg, Russia
unknown birth time

 

 

As part of the Great Square of Pegasus, this star adds intellect and the challenge of logic to his personal and business networks. Brady writes of this star in Starlight:

                      You will want to think independently and may well have issues about needing  
                       to break with conventional thought or philosophy.

 

Thus we begin to see that this love of independence of thought and difference expressed by the Venus-Uranus natally is being emphasized in the fixed stars that connect with the Venus by paran. This is seen most clearly when his younger brother Agathon, a trained jeweler, joined him in the business in 1882, for it was then that a new dimension came into Fabergé’s work. The two began to make copies of ancient Russian treasures and sell them. Their designs were inspired by historical art works imitated or copied by Fabergé from his travels or from the Hermitage, a treasury which stored all of the precious objects of the Russian czars, including gold artifacts and ancient treasures and where Fabergé volunteered his time.

 

However, until that time many felt the value of jewelry was intrinsic, based upon the precious metals and stones that were used in the piece, such as malachite, jade and lapis lazuli. Fabergé believed it was the fine craftsmanship of jewellery that made it art and that it was this artistic creativity that transcended bullion value.

 

Resurrection Egg -1887

Renaissance Egg -1894

Azova Egg - 1891
 

15th Anniversary Egg - 1911

Peter the Great Egg - 1903

 

As one visitor to an exhibition of the Fabergé eggs at the Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia wrote:

 

              The eggs are each unique masterpieces with intricate designs and clever       
              engineering created with precious metals and gems, each capable of fitting into one
              open hand. Though small, the eggs are dazzling to behold.

 

Fabergé also has the following:

 

Venus is rising as Altair is on the nadir
The bold artisan, a person who is sexually and sensually orientated

 

 Altair is the bright star in the Eagle and is associate with boldness of action and thought. Again, the story of his natal Venus in Aries conjunct Uranus is being underscored with Altair in paran with Venus, allowing him to take a non-mainstream approach and changing the idea of value in jewellery (Venus).

 

 

The hard work that makes it happen: Fabergé’s Saturn

 

Fabergé’s Saturn is in Pisces conjunct his Moon, suggesting an empathic connection with mother but which suffers from some form of separation anxiety at birth. Without a birth time, we do not know the natal house placement or house rulerships of this Moon-Saturn. However, the Fabergé family is French by origin. Their home had been the village of La Bouteille in the Picardy region of North Eastern France and they were Huguenots in a predominantly Roman Catholic country. In 1685 King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes and they lost religious freedom and civil liberty and fled east, living over the next 150 years firstly in East Germany, then Livonia, then Russia. Given this background, it is possible this Moon-Saturn may be an inherited pattern, particularly since Faberge repeated this pattern of escape later in his own life.

 

More closely, young Fabergé was educated in Germany and gained his apprenticeship as a goldsmith there. His father was a Master Goldsmith in St Petersburg but retired at the age of forty-six in order to live in Dresden, leaving the business in the hands of two managers, and at the age of twenty- four, his elder son.

 

Taking over as head of his father’s business suggests the striking once more of this bitter-sweet chord, the gift of responsibility mixed with the wrench of emotional separation. Yet under this Saturn sits some potent fixed stars:

 

In his young years Saturn is rising as Deneb Algedi is rising

A person who believes in the value of persistence and hard work

 

Deneb Algedi is the star in the tail of Capricornus, the sea-goat, the law-giving, justice-orientated ancient god who is trying to civilize his people. Translated into this star-planet paran in Fabergé’s pre-Saturn Return years tells us that he has the strength not only for such early responsibility but the gift of hard work that can achieve productivity through a genuine desire to help through a leadership role.

 

As well, Saturn is rising as Sirius is setting

To be a founder of an institution; an idea that goes from strength

 

Sirius is one of the great stars of the sky, the brightest star in the heavens. When it touches a person’s chart through being in paran with a planet or luminary, the mundane becomes sacred through that planet. In this case, touching Fabergé’s Saturn allows him to take an idea and build it into an institution.


Fabergé and his younger brother exhibited their work at
the 1882 Pan-Russian Exhibition held in Moscow. Their work was a sensation. Czar, Alexander III, and his wife, Czarina Maria were in attendance and made a purchase at the Faberge exhibit and Faberge was presented with a gold medal honoring him as "...having opened a new era in jewelry art". In 1885 he became the Tsar’s Court Goldsmith.

 

Fabergé changed the face of jewellery through his designs and raised the humble egg to exquisite proportions, all because the most important feast of the Russian Orthodox Church calendar is Easter, celebrated with the exchanging of eggs and three kisses.

 ______________________________________
Sources:
Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady's Book of Fixed Stars. York Beach, Maine USA: Samuel Weiser, Inc.
Starlight Software (2002) Barnswood and Brady:Zyntara Publications




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