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
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StarLogos >>> 2010.
The Stymphalian Birds over
A look at the skies for StarLogos >>>2010
Darrelyn Gunzburg and Bernadette Brady
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 –
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 
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.’
Hercules and the Stymphalian Birds
Albrecht Durer, 1600
A Cape Griffon vulture in full flight
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
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.
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.
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.
Lyra (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
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
all it promises to be an extraordinary event.
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.
best of all - if you can - come join us!
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. Brady, Bernadette (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars (York
Beach: Samuel Weiser), p.155.
Brady, Bernadette (2008). Star and Planet Combinations
(Bournemouth: Wessex Astrologer), p.148.