The Stymphalian Birds over Santa Fe - Many of this newsletters readers have been asking us about the night sky at the time of StarLogos >>>2010. This article is about that sky and the Stymphalian birds.

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StarLogos - six months to go...

On 1 April the price of the conference has to rise to handle the shifting currency exchanges, but if you pay your deposit before this date you will swoop up a good discount.

We are 60% booked and we are still six months out from this amazing conference..  The full lecture program is now online, so when you have a minute, check it out StarLogos >>> 2010.


 The Stymphalian Birds over Santa Fe
A look at the skies for StarLogos >>>2010  

Darrelyn Gunzburg and Bernadette Brady M.A.

In this edition of the Visual Astrology Newsletter we want to show you why we chose this time of the year specifically in which to hold the next StarLogos conference. We timed the conference deliberately so that we have a new moon, visible as a thin crescent in the evening after sunset. This means that we will also have exquisitely dark velvety skies where, for those who have not had the fortune to encounter the bejewelled night, you can meet the gods and animals who live in the wide expanse of heaven at their most brilliant. At the VindHestar Ranch we will be able to see up to a magnitude of 5.5. What this means is that one can actually see the stars.

Venus-Mars and Spica

For the conference Venus will be extremely bright as an evening star and radiating Mars, and the beautiful blue star Spica. This threesome will be seen setting just after sunset with Venus looking like a 'Christmas' star. We will get our first chance to see this combination at the sunset dinner on the first night of the conference. This is a powerful combination as Spica, in the wheat sheaf of Virgo, symbolises the gift of brilliance, so this beautiful union suggests a concentrated time of great insight and creativity.

This lovely visual phenomenon was last seen in the sky on the 19 September 1773, some 237 years ago. This may not have great meaning astrologically but it will be a joy to see, setting just after sunset.

Arcturus, a bright red star will also be visible in the constellation Bootes to the north of this cluster in the sky, and the Great Bear Ursa Major will be about to walk along the ground (see image above).

In the north-east we will meet the Royal Family – Andromeda, the Princess, connected with the great square of Pegasus; Cassiopeia, the Queen; and Cepheus the King ;and as the night advances, so Perseus the Prince will rise, as will Cetus the Sea Monster.

Artist's impression of the crescent Moon, with Spica (just above the Moon), Mars (red planet) and a bright Venus - Sunset Santa Fe, NM 10 September, 2010.

The horizon views well be wonderful but there will be events above our heads as well. With over 50 bales of hay to lie on, we will be able to watch Cygnus the Swan swooping across the top of Aquila the Eagle with the Lyre of Orpheus sitting between them both.  Aratus (315 - 240 B.C.E.) called this the Lyre [1] but in India this constellation was linked with the vulture and, as Brady in Starlight notes, ’at times in the desert of Arabia it was the Great Swooping Eagle, in contrast to the constellation of Aquila which was the Great Flying Eagle. Up to a few centuries ago it was also known as the Swooping Vulture which held a lyre in its beak. In this guise as a harp-carrying vulture it was the third Stymphalian Bird.’[2]

Hercules and the Stymphalian Birds
Albrecht Durer, 1600

A Cape Griffon vulture in full flight

These three constellations were associated with the Stymphalian Birds in Greek mythology, man-eating birds with beaks of bronze and sharp metallic feathers, said to be able to shoot their feathers like spears in order to kill people before eating their flesh. Their dung was also highly toxic. These pets of Ares, the god of war, were thought to have migrated to Lake Stymphalia in Arcadia to escape a pack of wolves. They propagated quickly and infested the countryside, demolishing local crops and fruit trees. They were ultimately eradicated from Greece by the hero Hercules as part of his Twelve Labours.

We tend to forget these stories of fear and destruction wrought by these three birds, and indeed lying off the ecliptic, thankfully no planets wander into their midst. In our time these birds all still carry their own unique methods of vicious attack, whether while hunting or defending. Yet they also contain fixed stars of special note.

Deneb Adige is the star in the tail of Cygnus the swan. As this massive bird flies over head we always view it from underneath and in its tail feathers rests the mighty star Deneb Adige, brightly visible overhead.

Deneb Adige has for thousands of years been considered a star of transformation. This transformation however is not on a spiritual level but in a practical material manner. Brady refers to this star as the Shaman Star, a star that brings changes in how we see the world.[3]


Aquila the Eagle contains the bright star Altair and Ptolemy placed it in the back of the soaring eagle. In September and at the latitude of Santa Fe 35N40 we will see this bird high near the zenith. Like all eagles it prefers to hunt from on high, so it will be wonderful to see this beautiful constellation in its most preferred location.

The Stymphalian Birds soaring around the zenith (directly above your head)
 on the evening of star-gazing in Santa Fe, on 10th September, 2010.


Altair in the back on the soaring eagle is associated with boldness, strength and forthright action. Due to this association and the symbolism of the eagle, the name of this bright star has been appropriated for many products and businesses that wish to be seen as bold and innovative.

(the 'old' meaning of vulture) contains the beautiful and bright star Vega, linked with enchantment and spell-binding music.

Such a star which carries so much charisma can be used for artistic, spiritual expression or for deception.

So perhaps these three birds still do carry fear and destruction and their sharp metallic feathers that kill and consume are the underbelly of these beautiful stars: the shamanism of Deneb Adige which can turn to ego and excessive wilfulness; the boldness and daring of Altair which can turn to aggression; and the charisma and enchantment of Vega which can turn to deception.

Around to the north-west will be Draco guarding the treasure of heaven and we will see Draco’s eyes - Rastaban and Rastaben – watching The Phantom or The One Who Kneels, whom the Greeks named Hercules.

Later in the evening the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction will rise, shining brightly just under the Southern Fish of The Fishes/The Swallows. Of course only Jupiter will be visible but the last time this combination happened in this area of the sky was in January 1928 and before this in May 1884. In the sky narrative of the Babylonian astrologer/priest this is the Crown Prince going out on a limb to explore knowledge or territory, another wonderful placement in the sky for learning about sky mythology.

By the time we leave the ranch Capella in Auriga The Charioteer will be a bright star in the east, Cetus will have risen fully, Scorpius and Ophiuchus will be setting in the west with The Archer hard on his heels, and Arcturus will be a bright and glorious star on the north-west horizon.

For those who wish to spend the night under the stars, the constellation of Leo the Lion rises pre-dawn with the Hydra with Mercury close to Regulus, the heart. The Great Bull of Heaven culminates overhead and Cetus the Sea-Monster will be seen standing on his hind legs in the west.

All in all it promises to be an extraordinary event.

We know that most of our 6000 readers cannot come to Santa Fe, so if you live around 35 North in latitude, treat yourself to your own star night in a location near you and enjoy the view. If you live at another latitude why not also have a look at the sky that night. It would be lovely to think that on that one starry night so many astrologers were looking up.

But best of all - if you can - come join us!


1.    1.Aratus. The Phaenomena of Aratus. Translated by G.R. Mair. Edited by C.P. Goold. Vol. 129, Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989, p.229.

2.    2. Brady, Bernadette (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars (York Beach: Samuel Weiser), p.155.

3. Brady, Bernadette (2008). Star and Planet Combinations (Bournemouth: Wessex Astrologer), p.148.

Issue No. 63
March, 2010

On related topics

June 2006  -

Transits of Saturn and the stars - Deneb Adige.


June 2007-

Venus and her ability to radiate and a recap on the StarLogos held in 2007.

October 2009 -

Looking at the bright star Spica.


In brief...

Why we chose the skies we chose for StarLogos>>>2010.


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visual astrology  sky happenings


Saturn is still in the wing of Virgo, and will be seen to rise in the early evening. Around 9-to-10 pm local time on 25 April the gibbous Moon will pass under- neath Saturn. This is a good opportunity to learn to see the stars of Virgo.

Jupiter from  the Ides of March till mid-April is in his Sulpa'e phase, rising just before the Sun.  We have seen this active in the news with images of a victorious Obama with the US Congress passing the new health care reform bill. This is a time where the young and vigorous prevail.

Mars has now finished it time of 'seeding' in the Manger of Cancer and begins its journey of moving towards the king (Saturn). Nergal (Mars) will catch the king (Saturn) while he is still within the wing of Virgo. This will  not occur until 30 July 2010. We will talk more of this event in the July issue as it would have been considered a worrying time by the Babylonians as it is an indication of a king from a foreign land attacking the kingdom.  This will be a time when an outsider successfully challenges the system.

Venus is now becoming a bright evening star. All through April and into May Venus will be seen growing in light. By the end of April she will be radiating the shoulder of the Great Bull of Heaven - the Pleiades.



Calendar of
forthcoming lectures


10-11 April, 2010, The Netherlands:
Dutch Astrology Congress
with Bernadette Brady and Darrelyn Gunzburg.  

24 - 25 April, 2010    Bristol, UK
Imagining Astrology: Painted Schemes and Threads of the Soul Conference,
The University of Bristol, UK

Organized by
Darrelyn Gunzburg and Liz Greene.

Click here for further information, provisional programme and to register.


13-19 June, 2010   Shropshire, UK Conversations with Astrologers
with Robert Hand, Liz Greene, Bernadette Brady and Nick Campion.


24-25 July,2010
Bath, UK
This conference will, for the first time, bring together academics to investigate the theory and practice of astrology in the modern world, from c.1800 to the present day.

Speakers include: Rob Hand, Nick Campion, Liz Greene, Darrelyn Gunzburg, Bernadette Brady, and Garry Phillipson.


9-13 September, 2010   
Santa Fe, New Mexico

StarLogos >>> 2010
Bernadette Brady, Darrelyn Gunzburg, and guest lecturer Darby Costello.

The 2nd Visual Astrology Conference under Santa Fe's big skies.

24- 26 September, 2010   
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Workshops with Darrelyn Gunzburg

Friday evening 23rd September:
AstroGraphology at Astroinspiratie
Saturday 24th and
Sunday 25th:

Delineation, and Children's' charts.


April 2011 Bolton, UK
Bolton Conference

Medieval Astrology with Bernadette Brady and AstroGraphology with Darrelyn Gunzburg.

If you enjoy Visual Astrology and would like to look at sky maps and also create full fixed star reports for yourself as well as clients, then have a look at Starlight, the software that has provided the foundation stone for the development of visual astrology over the last 6 years.
 Visit:  www.Zyntara.com