Issue No. 77
May 2011

ARCHIVES
On related topics

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October 2005
The Moon sets with Unwashed feet - Lunar Eclipse

September 2006
Babylonian and Eclipses

March 2007
A Shuffling of Crowns - A Blood Moon over Europe. To be born on an eclipse.

October 2007
A focus on Myanmar (Burma) Monks and Moons a country's pattern of lunar eclipses


February 2008
Pluto - its pathway through the heavens. As Pluto moves into the tropical sign of Capricorn but it also cuts a unique pathway through the constellations. 

June 2006
The Seven Years War and Visual Astrology


IN BRIEF...
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This issue is focused on two stories - the birth of a new saros series; and a look at the Centaur in history as Pluto begins its journey through one of the Centaurs in the sky, the constellation The Archer.


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VISUAL ASTROLOGY SKY HAPPENINGS

June 2011

Saturn is now culminating as the sun sets, so Saturn and all it symbolises reaches its full strength. It still stands alone in the sky. At the moment Saturn is sitting right on the girdle of Virgo, the star Porrima, the belt of the Virgin or Goddess.

Jupiter has become Sagmegar, so the young leader begins to lose some of his or her charisma. The Moon moves over the top of Jupiter (northern hemisphere) on 25 June.

Mars now moves into the stars of the Great Cosmic Bull. These stars talk of new beginnings, cosmogony - how things come into existence. New ideas, new endeavours. This is a time of new things.

Venus continues to be a morning star and rides the Great Cosmic Bull along with Mars. She sits on his shoulder for the solstice.

The crescent of the New Moon will occur on 4 June and will be at the feet of Gemini - a dangerous place suggesting an interesting month not only ofeclpises but also of endings.

 

Calendar of
forthcoming Events

4-5 June, 2011
Bath, UK

SKY and SYMBOL
T
he ninth annual Sophia Centre Conference
In ancient Babylon the movements of the stars were seen as the writings of celestial deities, to be read and interpreted by the astrologers. In medieval and Renaissance Europe the notion of the sky as a chapter in the ‘Book of the Creatures’ or the ‘Book of Nature’ was current, suggesting that the heavenly bodies might function as symbols conveying higher – or deeper – truths. This academic conference will consider the ways in which celestial symbolism has been incorporated and portrayed in culture. Darrelyn Gunzburg will be presenting work at this conference.

Registrations now open.


9 July, 2011
London, UK

PROFESSION, 
Faye Cossar and Bernadette Brady iin association with the London School of Astrology - more information.


26 - 29 August, 2011
Oxford, UK

FAS Summer School, 
Bernadette will be teaching a weekend of fixed stars and sky maps - if you live in Europe this is your chance to add visual astrology to your astrological knowledge. more information

 

16-20 September, 2011, Wyboston Lakes, UK
AA Conference
Plenary sessions and lectures by both Bernadette Brady and Darrelyn Gunzburg. more information.

 

14 - 16 October 2011 - Bristol, UK
Heavenly Discourses: Myth, Astronomy and Culture
An academic conference at The University of Bristol, UK.
Co-convened by Darrelyn Gunzburg and Nick Campion.

Early Registration is now open.

 

21st April 2012
The Bolton Astrological Society Spring Conference.
Two half days by Darrelyn Gunzburg and Bernadette Brady. Visual Astrology and AstroGraphology. more information.



24-29 May, 2012
New Orleans, USA

UAC 2012
Bernadette Brady on Fate and Free Will in Astrology and Darrelyn Gunzburg on visual astrology. visit the UAC web site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Features

The birth of a new Saros Cycle in July - Saros Series 13 South New.
Pluto Rides with The Centaurs - a look at the myth of The Centaurs and what it means as Pluto touches the tip of this fearsome constellation.

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Announcing the Birth of a New Saros Series in July 2011

Bernadette Brady M.A

A new eclipses series is beginning. This is a rare event and it is a 'first' for me since I began watching eclipses (30 years now). This new series will run from 1st July 2011 for 1200 years and will not end until 3237. Indeed Saros Series are one of the long cycles that we have in astrology. This will be Saros Series 13 New South (to use the Jansky naming system) or Saros Series 156 (van den Bergh numbering system). This Saros Series begins as a tiny solar eclipse around the South Pole area on the 1st July, 2011, and captures in its birth chart a Grand Cross involving the New Moon in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn. The closest midpoints are Pluto on the midpoint of Mars/Jupiter and Jupiter on the midpoint of The Sun/Neptune.

So the theme of this new saros series which will now occur every 18 years and 6 - 11 days for another 72 times, will incoperate the dynamic of this Grand Cross, carrying this pattern forward with each occurance (18 years) until its end. This theme is one of huge endeavours and the endings of a long struggle. This is linked with the raw energy of the Pluto to Mars/Jupiter which suggests extradinaory effort and achievement. Added to this is the Jupiter to Sun/Neptune which brings long and difficult issues to gentle conclusions.

This eclipse is also happening amongst the stars of Gemini which, within the Assyrian astrologer/priests' letters to their kings, usually indicates the death of a king or the ending of an issue.

With this in mind, in this issue of the Visual Astrology Newsletter we are not only announcing this new saros series but also looking at Pluto's journey through the constellation The Archer which also describes the ending of an issue.

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Pluto Rides with the Centaurs
The World is a changing place... and it just goes on changing

By Darrelyn Gunzburg and Bernadette Brady M.A.

SatoryiWith Pluto in the top of the bow of The Archer and at the start of its 14 year sojourn in this constellationas it goes through the zodiac sign Capricorn. We thought it might be helpful to look at the mythology behind the Centaurs in history[1] to understand the implications of Pluto amougst these stars. There are two Centaurs in the heavens. The first is Sagittarius and the second is Centaurus in the southern sky.

A Centaur

The Centaurs, or Kentauroi, were depicted as men from the head down to their human loins but with the four feet and the body of a horse. (Drawing right, reproduced with permission from C.A. Stigliano, 1982.) Sometimes they contained the facial features of normal men. At other times they had the snub noses and pointed ears of Satyroi, (image above). How they came to be part of the mythos is unclear. What is clear is that the cauldron of time had to simmer with the domestication of the horse, the invention of the bow and arrow and the leap from horse drawn chariots to cavalry before the myth could take root.

Horse, chariot, archer

The first undisputed evidence for the domestication of the horse dates to c. 2,000 BCE, when horses were found buried with chariots at Sintashta, on the south Ural steppe.[2]  A short time after this, the domestic horse erupted across Europe. By the middle of the second millennium BCE horses were being used to pull chariots in places as far apart as Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Eurasian steppe and in China by the 14th century BCE. Chariots were the new technology of the day. They were fast, mobile platforms for composite bow archers and were prominent in the accounts and pictorial representations of battles from 1700 BCE to 1200 BCE.

Assyrian ChariotIn all the settled kingdoms and palaces of the late Bronze Age, from Egypt to Babylon to Assyria to Anatolia (the Hittites) to Knossos (Crete) and Mycenean Greece, chariots dominated battles. Chariots were designed to contain two men, driver and archer. The constellation Auriga, The Charioteer, the harnesser of the horse, located close to the North Pole, indicates how pivotally important was this fighting machine to these cultures at this time. [3] The archer was the killing machine on the moving chariot. The archer in ancient times was a feared and powerful warrior. Essential to his work were his sharp, piercing eyesight and steady stance. Indeed keen eyesight was the archer’s most valued possession. Facies, the nebula in the face of the constellation Sagittarius, The Archer, represents the piercing stare of a lethal weapon which penetrates without regard.[4]

‘The Catastrophe’

It is in the period 1225-1175 BCE that chariots finally lost their battlefield dominance. In a period of roughly fifty years, they toppled into obscurity, coinciding with the collapse of most of the great kingdoms and palaces of the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East. City after city, including Troy of The Iliad, were combusted, destroyed beyond repair and the cuneiform clay tablets they left behind became silent. This widespread destruction of cities, termed by historians ‘The Catastrophe’, swept across the entire region and it signifies the beginning of the transition from Bronze Age to Early Iron Age societies in the eastern Mediterranean.[5] Only Egypt and Assyria escaped immediate destruction and the region entered a five-hundred year Dark Age.

The emergence of horseback archers Mounted Archer

The defining element in steppe warfare was now the massed attack by mounted archers. By the middle of the ninth century cavalries were well established and mounted archers using saddle, stirrups and better bridles emerged between 900-700 BCE. Ninth-century BCE Assyrian bas-reliefs[6] show that the Assyrians were the first military power to deploy both mounted archers and war chariots in battle. Placing the archer on the back of a horse was an idea of powerful luminosity. Freed of the bulky chariot, the combination of man, horse, bow and arrow fused into armies of horsemen, welded as a weapon of war, trained to attack and retreat as one, firing clouds of arrows in unison, must have been an awesome and fearful sight. The word 'cavalry' comes from the Italian cavallo 'horse' and the Latin caballus and from this period on until late into the nineteenth century, cavalry has remained one of the essential parts of 'civilized' warfare.

The birth of the Centaurs in mythology

The Greeks travelled by walking or riding in chariots; if they were wealthy, they were carried in a sedan chair. No saddles are found among the ancient Greek works of art, apart from a mosaic of Alexander the Great (336 - 323 BCE). By the time of The Iliad, the story of the conflict between the early Greeks and the people of Troy in western Anatolia, dated by historians to Late Bronze Age (c.1190 BCE), heroes rode to the battlefield in horse-drawn chariots, drove them up and down the field in display, dismounted them to fight or charged into the thick of the battle, fighting from their chariots.[7]  

Greeks and Centaurs

It is easy to see how the Greeks, who knew only of chariots, hearing of a barbarian, ferocious and militaristic society that used new techniques of warfare, could only make sense of these men seated on a horse with easy mobility and the accuracy of the archer by calling them 'uncivilised Centaurs'. They were incorporated into Greek mythology as lustful, feral and barbaric and the many fights between humans and centaurs, known as the centauromachy, became a popular feature of Greek art, as witnessed from pottery shards dated 700 - 300 BCE [8] and by the marble friezes on the south side of the Parthenon,[9] built between 447 - 432BCE which depicts in frozen action, the roar of battle, the sweat of bodies and the drumming of hooves as Greeks and Centaurs do battle.

The Greek sky

As these myths are Greek myths, so it is appropriate to ask about the sky, the canvas on which the constellations were painted, at the time these myths were being written down. That The Centaur and Sagittarius The Archer were of profound importance in the minds of early Iron Age Greek civilisation is reflected in the fact that they both rose together and stood with each other fully visible on the horizon as night constellations during the summer and early dawn constellations in the winter in Athens, Greece, in 900 BCE:

Sagittarius and Centaurus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Sunrise for the latitude of Athens, Greece, for the time of the emergences of the mythology of the centaur. At that time both Sagittarius and the centaur of Centaurus would have both stood on the horizon facing each other!

At the moment Pluto is in the tip of the bow of Sagittarius and will slowly move into the face of The Archer and then down The Archer's arm. Even the most optimistic reading implies that change with regards to warfare is imminent either matters to do with war or the development of new weapons or changes in weapons.

History supports this concept, 1763 was the last time Pluto was in this place. This year was the end of the first global conflict known as The Seven Years War which established Britian as the greatest colonial power. The war was changed by the death of two monarchs: George II of Great Britain and Elizabeth, Empress of Russia. The time before that when Pluto was in the tip of the bow of The Archer was in 1516 and saw the end of an 8-year battle known as The War of the Holy League which involved most of Europe at different times. It was predominantly a conflict between France and the Papal States and was ended with the death of Louis XXII in 1515 and the Treaty of Brussels in 1516. Thus this sky story has, in the past, told of the the death of a king which leads to the resoloution of a long-held conflict. We could therefore hypothesise that, with the death of Osama bin Laden after a 9-year conflict, the world will see changes or treaties with regards to terrorist activities.

Sagittarius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History moves in cycles and the cycles in the past gave the end to a long-lasting conflict following the death of an individual important in the conflict. In this current long-lasting conflict we have had the death of that individual. Maybe now we will begin to move into a more peaceful decade.

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1. Gunzburg, Darrelyn (2004) 'New Wine in Old Bottles: The Centaurs and Grief' in Life After Grief: An Astrological Guide to Dealing With Loss, Bournemouth: Wessex Astrologer, pp.229-235.

2. Levine, Marsha A. Domestication, Breed Diversification and Early History of the Horse, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, UK, at: http://www2.vet.upenn.edu/labs/equinebehavior/hvnwkshp/hv02/levine.htm - accessed 14th May, 2003. Indeed several sites associated with the Sintashta-Petrovka culture in the southern Urals and northern Kazakhstan contain graves of warriors who are accompanied in death by burials of vehicles with two spoked wheels (defined either as chariots or light carts) and teams of horses. http://www.metmuseum.org/ - Accessed 17 May 2011

3. Brady, Bernadette. (1999) Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars, York Beach: Samuel Weiser, p. 69

4. ibid, p. 294.

5. Drews, Robert. (1993) The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 BC, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

6.Dossenbach, Monique and Hans D. (1985) The Noble Horse, Exeter: Webb & Bower, Figure 3, page 92.

7. For examples of chariot fighting in The Iliad, see, 5.9ff, 5.38-47, 5.159f, 5.608f, 7.13ff.

8.78ff, 8.256ff, 8.309ff, 11.91ff, 11.122ff, 11.179ff, from: Gallucci, Ralph. The Horse in Early Greek Myth, University of California, Santa Barbara, at: http://cla.calpoly.edu/~jlynch/Gallucci.html - accessed 18th September, 2001.

9.The Parthenon Marbles are currently on display in the British Museum, London, UK.