Turnings and the Return of Nut - Looking at the
sky and the solstice. Five thousand years ago Nut was
involved with the earth's seasons and now she is with us
The 2010 June Solstice - some mundane points -
Observations on the parans to the partile Sun square Uranus
in the Solstice chart and how being latitude-sensitive
changes how they affect countries.
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StarLogos >>> 2010
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Your tutors are Bernadette Brady, Darrelyn Gunzburg, with guest tutor, Darby
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Turnings and the Return of Nut
Bernadette Brady M.A.
In the 3rd century BCE Aratus wrote
the Phaenomena, the Greek poetic work which described the
constellations as well as the celestial sphere. In this poem Aratus talked
of the place in the sky of the 'turnings', the location amongst the stars
where the Sun 'turns' or what we now call the solstice locations.
Aratus, who did not comment on
precession, lamented that these important sky points were not occupied by
bright stars, for in his time the summer turning was amongst the small dim
stars of Cancer the Crab.
Precession, of course, shifts the location
of these two turning points of the summer and winter solstices, just as it
shifts the location of the equinoxes. These four key seasonal points shift
backwards along the ecliptic in a cycle which takes close to 26,000 years.
Aratus, with his descriptions, drew the
lines of the celestial sphere through the constellations so that one could
identify them in the night sky. In this way he defined the equator, and the two
latitude bands that we know as the tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. He carefully
traced these through a series of stars and constellations so that an observer
could stand under a starry sky and 'see' these lines arching overhead, (see
Where the ecliptic is furthest from the equator in the
north, marks the Tropic of Cancer. When the Sun occupies this position it
is at one of its 'Turnings'.
Figure 1 is the position of the summer solstice
at the time of Aratus, (c.300 BCE). It is located in the dim stars of the
Due to precession, the constellations which occupy this
position slide backwards. Now, in 2010 (figure 2) the stars
which mark the summer solstice in the north lie between Gemini and Taurus,
just above the club of Orion.
The Milky Way and the
However, before Aratus began his description of the celestial sphere, he
digressed from his topic and talked of the natural circle of stars in the sky
that we know as the Milky Way. In this poem he acknowledged that, although
wonderful to observe, it did not form a part of the important circles that he
was about to describe. Nevertheless he marvelled at its beauty and wrote:
If ever on a clear night, when Night in the heavens shows
to men all her stars in their brightness and no star is borne faintly gleaming
at the midmonth moon, but they all sharply pierce the darkness – if in such an
hour wonder rises in thy heart to mark on every side the heaven cleft by a
broad belt, or if someone at thy side point out that circle set with
brilliants – that is what men call the Milky Way. A match for it in colour
thou wilt find no circle wheel... 
However, the ecliptic does cross the Milky Way, with the
stars of Orion/Gemini being located in one side of the arch and the stars of
Sagittarius on the other. Thus, with the slow movement of precession, over its
26,000 year cycle, the seasonal markers of summer or winter solstice or one of
the equinoxes will eventually become located in "that circle set with
brilliants". Indeed this is the case for our current era, and this will
continue so for the next few hundred years. As can be seen in figure 3,
the location of the summer solstice occurs just above the club of Orion (winter
solstice for the southern hemisphere) in the Milky Way.
Figure 3 - The Milky Way and a bright moon just set.
The ecliptic (red) cuts through the Milky Way in the place of Gemini/Orion
shown above, and Sagittarius (not shown). Currently the summer solstice (or
winter for the southern hemisphere) is located at a point just above the
club of Orion.
It has been a long time since we
have had a seasonal marker amongst the stars of the Milky Way. The last time was
in the 3rd millennium BCE and it was acknowledge by the Egyptians of
the Old Kingdom. For them the times of 'equal day and night' occurred in this
natural starry belt and they embraced this in their mythology and religions. For
the Egyptians of this period the Milky Way was their sky goddess Nut. Indeed
Nut is one of the earliest known expression of a goddess located in the sky.
Previously the icons of goddesses tended to be associated with the earth,
located in caves and stones. But Nut changed this pattern and in her starry sky
role she was the mother of the Sun disk, Ra, and hence the mother of all of
life. Thus Nut as the anthropomorphic form of the Milky Way allowed the
Egyptians to raised the goddess into a stellar concept rather than belonging
solely to the earth.
Figure 4 - 2700 BCE, the summer solstice is conjunct
Regulus in the constellation Leo while the March equinox, which occurs
when the Sun is at point where the ecliptic crosses the equator, is
located on the edge of the Milky Way, around the stars of Taurus and
In Egyptian mythology the head of
the goddess Nut was placed at the location of the equinox in the stars of Orion
and Gemini (see figure 4). As the Sun moved into this day of 'equal day
and night' and began the seasonal time of the lengthening of days and the
commencement of summer, Egyptian mythology talked of Nut swallowing or ingesting
the Sun. Nine months later, at the winter solstice, she would give birth to him
when the Sun rose with an horizon alignment to Deneb Adige, in Cygnus the
Swan, located in her
Figure 5- The star goddess Nut was the arch of the Milky Way and
the in the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE the Sun was located in her head
at the time of the spring equinox.
Now this same position is the location of the current summer solstices.
Since the time of the Old Kingdom Nut has not been involved with the earth's
seasons, for since that time no seasonal turning point has fallen within the
Milky Way. However, after five thousands years, one of our seasonal markers is
back in this same place (see figure 5). Our northern hemisphere summer
solstice is in the head of Nut. This has not just happened. It has been the case
for the last hundred years and will continue to be so for the next few hundreds
years, so it it not so much a comment about the coming year but rather a comment
about the epoch in which we find ourselves.
As visual astrologers with an awareness of cycles, patterns, sky images, and
history, we acknowledge the importance of this visual event. We may not
understand its expression but we accept the intent of its symbolism.
If we step back and look at our era we can see that it does present different
problems to those of the past. Our era is defined by the globalisation of
economies, environment, social networks, knowledge and information. So our
crises are global, unlike the problems of war and the plagues of history, our
problems involve issues such as pollution, energy crisis and matters of
petroleum. In this way we are only too aware that the problems of one country
become the problems of the world.
As visual astrologers we would like to think that the summer solstice occurring
in the head of Nut suggests that we are at an era of change, that a 'turning
around' is possible. It may well take a few more hundred years but somehow we
can take comforted, or even feel a little optimistic for the earth, as now the
ancient sky goddess has returned and once again is engaging with our earthly
see the Head of Nut in the sky at the moment, because the Sun is there. However,
next September through to March, or indeed the next time you look upon the stars
of Orion, let you eyes blur a little, particularly if it is, as Aratus
suggested, a moonless night. Then look to the club of Orion and follow the train
of foggy or glowing stars and see if you can begin to see Nut, the goddess of
the sky who is once again retouching the earth and its seasons. If you do
see her then welcome her back.
[Note: For those of you coming to StarLogos >> 2010, we are hoping to be able to
see Nut - the milky way - in the dark velvet night sky in Santa Fe. It is going
to be one of our focuses on the star-watching night.]
"The Phaenomena" in,
Callimachus, Hymns and Epigrams, Lycophron, Aratus.
Translated A.W. Mair, G.R. Mair. Harvard University Press, London, , 1989.
2. Wells, R.A., "The Mythology of Nut and the Birth of Ra", Studien zur
Altagyptischen Kulter, Bd. 19,1992. p.309.
The 2010 June Solstice - some mundane points
The June solstice
this year occurs as the Sun forms a partile square to Uranus. This is also part
of a T-Square with Pluto. However let us just focus on the partile square to
Uranus at 00 Aries. 
As astrologers we
all know that the symbolism of this combination suggests a season of sudden
mishaps or unexpected events. In truth we can look at any year in the past and
point to unexpected events but this exact square at the solstice is
One of the points
about working with fixed star parans is that they are highly latitude-sensitive.
By focusing on the nature of the Uranus and looking at its parans for some of
the world's key capitol cities, we can observe how differently the parans are
being expressed and thus suggest how different nations may handle this
Sun-Uranus solstice square.
The following list
will highlight to you the importance of latitude with fixed star parans and give
us all some clues as to the issues that will unfold from this 'turning' to the
next seasonal change at the September equinox.
[If you own Starlight, have a look to see if there are any parans to Uranus for
your latitude. Select 'Mundane Parans' from the text buttons.]
DC - latitude 38N55'
Uranus Culminating when Ras Algethi is Setting
A sudden upset in the political balance of power
This may have more to do with the BP oil rig disaster
in the Gulf of Mexico and describe a change of focus by the current
- latitude 51N30'
Uranus on Nadir when Aldebaran is Setting
The population is asked to act with dignity and social awareness
This may reflect the aftermath of the Cumbria gun-shooting
massacre where Derrick Bird shot 12 people and then himself on Wednesday 2nd
capitol of the European Union
- latitude 50N50'
Uranus Setting when Vega is Setting
A popular leader, being loved by the masses
On Nadir when Aldebaran is Setting
The population is asked to act with dignity and social awareness
On Nadir when Alcyone is Setting
An angry group in the community
The European commission based in Brussels is currently fighting off the
IMF based in New York who are advising the beleaguered socialist government
of George Papandreou to seek help from Washington. The solstice may see
an escalation of anger in the Brussels administration but also the emergence
of a leader who can navigate this difficult financial situation.
Pretoria, South Africa - latitude 25S42'
Uranus Rising when Scheat is Rising
Educational, or sports, institutions come under investigation
World Cup happens in South Africa in June 2010.
- latitude 40N04'
Uranus Rising when Zosma is Setting
A controversial, or upsetting, outcome
Egypt signed a peace
deal with Israel in 1979 and is one of only two Arab states maintaining
diplomatic relations with Israel. However, on 5th June the State Council's
Supreme Administrative Court backed annulling the citizenship of Egyptians
married to Israelis in cases which Egypt's national security may be at
- latitude 37N59'
Uranus Setting when Alkes is Rising
A person who holds a special place in people's hearts
On Nadir when Antares is Rising
Collective worry, collective concern about wellbeing
Culminating when Ras Algethi is Setting
A sudden upset in the political balance of power
Greece has a long track record of defaulting on its
monetary loans and has been through five big defaults in less than 200
years. The risk of another default or – the doomsday scenario – of
Greece, has frightened investors. These parans suggest the situation
may in fact worsen.
- latitude 31N46'
on Nadir when Sirius is Setting
Seeking awe and wonder
Culminating when Castor is Rising
A popular author, film, or cause takes the community's attention
Given the complexity of Israel position in world events
it's hard to make any suggestions with regard to these particular parans.
However, Sirius always brings resolutions through very difficult events, so
it is well worth keeping any eye out to see how it emerges.
considered but with no parans
Pakistan (latitude 33N42). Beijing,
China (latitude 39N56'),
(latitude 48N52'), Kabul,
Afghanistan (latitude 34N31'), Berlin,
Germany (latitude 52N31'), Ottawa,
Canada (latitude 45N25'), Tokyo,
Japan (latitude 35N41'), Canberra,
Australia, (latitude 35S17').
breaking up of old situations
at the grass-roots level through upheavals is one of the most common mundane
expressions of a Sun-Uranus combination. These parans to Uranus sitting
underneath this aspect suggest, at the different latitudes, the various ways
such change may be attained. It will be interesting to see how these expressions
emerge in the coming months.
Some astrologers will argue that Uranus forms an out of sign
opposition with Saturn at 280 Virgo and thus creates a Grand Cross
with the Sun opposition Pluto. However, we prefer to take in-sign aspecting
Rogoff, Kenneth S and Reinhart, Carmen M. (2008) “This
Time Is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises”