Alfred Nobel and a star named Spica - the cultural embedding of a star's message into our annual calendar.

Written with the Stars: the sky narrative in your handwriting.

StarLogos Notes


StarLogos >>> 2010, the next Visual Astrology conference being held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA 9 - 13 September, 2010.


During the StarLogos >>> 2010 Gathering we will have access to the on-site planetarium at our conference venue, the Santa Fe Community College. Therefore we have designed the conference to take advantage of this, guiding your eyes in the safe environment of the planetarium first before we take you out that evening to touch the night sky in all her glory.

StarLogos is different - so if you are an astrologer who wishes to add a unique skill to your work, or if you are an astrologer who has a deep need to "touch the sky", then come and join us.


Do your astrology a favour and spend a few minutes at the StarLogos >>> 2010
web site.


Some feedback from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous on last month's Visual Astrology Newsletter with some insights on the Stare of Cetus:


Thank you Darrelyn, for the wonderful expose on liminal places of the zodiac. In case it helps, my Mars is at 10 Taurus and disposits my entire chart from the 4th whole sign. I can truly relate to the Stare of Cetus stories as my grandfather came home from WWII an incurable drunk after serving in the marines in the Pacific theater. This contributed to my father being neglectful and even abusive towards me, and I have lost 3 brothers prematurely in this lifetime -1 to a birth defect and 2 to mental illness. Anyway, I just thought I'd share that I think this is profound work you are doing. Many kudos and hope to see much much more of it!

Alfred Nobel and a star named Spica
The “Spica Honours”

Bernadette Brady M.A.

Nobel Medal

With the news of President Barack Obama winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize it is a good time to step back and look at the Nobel Prizes and their place in our culture and our sky stories.

The idea of a world prize came into being in Paris on the 27 November 1895 when, a year before his death, Alfred Nobel (1833- 1896), a Swedish chemist and inventor, wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prizess. These prizes were to honour the outstanding achievements by individuals in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace. Since that time the field of economics has also been added to this list.

On that day the sky map showed that Venus was a bright morning star (rising before the sun) and was radiating the beautiful blue star in the constellation Virgo named Spica.

Venus radiating Spica
Venus radiating Spica when Alfred Nobel signed his will, creating
the ideal of the Nobel Prizes. Composite image from Starlight.

Now whatever Venus shines upon is, within the Mesopotamian view of reading a sky narrative, greatly enhanced or empowered. Thus a radiated Spica on that day spoke of a moment when brilliance was allowed to shine through, an honouring of that which is exceptional. The brilliance voiced by Spica is that which is a gift or an aid to the whole of humanity, for Spica's original gift was the goddess' bequest of the knowledge of argriculture, the expertise of how to grow food. Indeed the fact that Alfred Nobel’s idea grew probably well beyond his dreams is partly, I believe, because he instinctively signed his will when the milieu of the moment was perfect for the acknowledge of works of brilliance.

Alfred Nobel

However, the life of Alfred Nobel (pictured left) was in contrast to his great ideal, for he made his vast fortune through the invention of dynamite and the subsequent ownership of arms factories. Both of these activities are evidence of his own brilliance, yet a brilliance directed towards the destruction of life rather than its honouring.

Nevertheless when we look at his own natal stars, (he was born on 21 October, 1833, in Stockholm, Sweden), we see that on that day Spica was his heliacal rising star, thus taking a focused role in his life.

The heliacal rising star is the star which rises before dawn and which is the most recent star to return to visibility after its period of invisibility due to its closeness to the sun.

This star, whatever star it is, represents a deep vocation for the individual and symbolises a driving force within them.

From Starlight’s report[1] for Alfred Nobel, I have pulled the following text:

Spica as the Natal Heliacal Rising Star
Wanting to use one's talents for the greatest possible good.

This is the star that has been walking the path of the underworld and has now emerged to be visible in the world of humans. This star, the Heliacal Rising Star, is the star under which you were born and it will bear gifts to you from the land of your past, your family and your genetics. It is your past, in a mythic sense, the jewel or the treasure, which your ancestors handed to you at your birth. This star is a theme in your life; helps to build your philosophies, and can at times take on a vocational pulse.

Spica is the star in the wheat sheaf in the hand of the goddess, and was considered a symbol of her gifts to humankind. These gifts were originally of harvest and bountifulness. The wheat sheaf, therefore, symbolised human knowledge of cultivation. In present times, the wheat sheaf is the symbol of knowledge and insights which are respected. The star is not connected with any particular field or profession but rather shows the potential for brilliance. Spica is a gift of brilliance, an innate talent, skill or ability which is out of the ordinary. With Spica in such an important position on the day of your birth, you have the mark of a gifted person who truly does have something to contribute to the world.

Given his genius of invention, we can see Spica at work in Nobel's own life. However, what I found more moving was the way that this great gift of the goddess that had been used in Nobel's working life as the brilliance of destruction had been turned to the better purpose of the goddess of seeking those who give their great gift to humanity.

A time and place

October is the time of the Nobel Prize announcements in Stockholm and it is also the month of birth of Alfred Nobel. Thus echoing down though history, it is also the time when Spica is the heliacal rising star for Stockholm.

So for me the Nobel Prizes are actually the “Spica Honours”.

Wheat field

Whether we agree or disagree with all the different people who are honoured with these awards, we can, as astrologers, step back and recognise that at least once a year, the establishment world of power and politics actually listens to the golden voice of the goddess, the silent powerful rain of wheat that fertilizes and feeds.

1. Starlight software is designed to examine a natal chart in its relationship to both the stars and their major mythology and the narrative of the sky map for the time of birth. It is available from www.Zyntara.com. You can find your own natal heliacal rising star by requesting your free natal parans from Starlight's web site.

Written with the Stars:
the sky narrative in your handwriting

Darrelyn Gunzburg


Quill and book

In the Visual Astrology Newsletter we look at the great narratives that are writ large in the sky and which are reflected in our lives through our horoscope. We also talk about the fixed stars that sit underneath the planets and luminaries of our horoscope and which calibrate the difficulties that may be found within aspects of our chart. Knowing the sky myths that bind and underpin our horoscope through visual astrology greatly enhances our ability to better understand our place in the story of the cosmos.

Parallel with this, I have always been fascinated with handwriting and how that, too, reflects our behaviour.


To this end, over the last two decades, I have slowly mapped handwriting with astrology, the fruits of which have recently been published in my book ‘AstroGraphology: the hidden link between your horoscope and our handwriting’. In this work I look at the handwriting of clients and ‘read’ the visual narrative of the handwriting, recognizing that it is giving me a perspective on a client’s natal horoscope, what parts of the chart they find ‘easy’ to do and what parts they find hard. In this Visual Astrology Newsletter I want to look at one of the case studies I use in my book. However, I want to take this work a step further by considering the handwriting as reflecting the person’s sky narrative and how handwriting can be used as a tool for helping to work with and refashion some of the more difficult aspects found in the person’s sky narrative.

Meet 'Suzanne' [1]

This small scrap of handwriting reveals much about its owner, her thoughts and feelings, and how she sees herself in the world. More importantly it reveals issues that might be relevant for discussion in the consultation room. So what is she presenting to me here?

Hand Writing

Suzanne's written request for her horoscope


Firstly, Suzanne has offered two sets of handwriting: she has printed her birth data with an even hand and with consistent spaces between the words. However, the request for her horoscope is written in cursive script with the letters tightly bunched together. The printed letters of the birth data are of even height, sit uniformly on a horizontal plane and there is plenty of space between the lines. The cursive letters, however, slope upwards, emphasized in the final signoff, ‘Thankyou’ written as one word, and the line spacing is tighter. The left hand margin of the printed letters is evenly vertical; the left hand margin of the cursive script moves to the right. Already we can see that there are two opposing sides to this person, the one of the primary school printed letters and the other of the adult cursive script.

Whilst there is a balance of letters in all three landscapes of her life [2] the eye is drawn to the backward flick of the capital ‘P’, the backward hooks of the ‘y’ and ‘g’, the forward hook on the end of the ‘p’ of ‘horoscope’ and the convoluted flourish of the ‘y’ of ‘Thankyou’. These hooks sit below the line in the realm of her emotions. Angles and hooks in the emotional landscape of the valleys are an awkward mix. The leftward movement indicates issues from the past holding her back. If these are family concerns or unresolved emotional issues, they will probably be reflected in her chart by planets or luminaries in the 12th house, or conjunct the South Node, and, being a hook, perhaps planets concerned with betrayal and deception. Even the hook on the ‘y’ of ‘Thankyou’, the word itself slanted upwards indicating optimism, moves forward only to be pulled backwards again. As well, tight letters pulled in close point towards fearfulness. Suzanne is not allowing anyone in to her personal space.

This piece of handwriting describes Suzanne’s state of mind at the time she requested her horoscope. When she writes her birth data, she uses her intellect; when she makes the request, she is fearful and closed. Already Suzanne has told me a great deal about herself through her handwriting regarding the issues she unconsciously needs to be discussed in an astrological consultation.

Now look at her chart...

Suzanne was born in 1964 and has a Sagittarian ascendant. She is seen by others as inspiring and passionate. Her primary drive is to gain power and freedom of action (Fire Ascendant), achieved through the ruler, Jupiter in the 6th house in Taurus square to the MC, making it a pro-active planet. Yet Jupiter is also part of a Fixed Grand Cross which also involves a 12th house stellium.

Suzanne's Chart

As astrologers we can observe such a chart and note possible difficulties that she may be encountering in this lifetime. However, it is Suzanne’s handwriting with its angles and hooks in the emotional landscape of the valleys (the loops below the line) that visually shows you that she has difficulties in her emotional area.

Now we can ask ourselves: 'How has this client been working with her 12th house stellium?'

Suzanne's hand writing


Returning to her chart, and focusing on this 12th story, we see two strands: firstly, the triple conjunction of Sun-Neptune-Mercury in Scorpio, suggesting a family issue of betrayal and deception around the men in her family. However, she also has her Moon in Sagitarius in the 12th house, implying a deep emotional link to her mother and the women of her family. Those hooks and angles that you can see in her handwriting imply that these issues are still unconscious for her.

Suzanne's Sky Map
The sky for the moment of Suzanne's birth.


We can also learn more about this part of her chart through the sky narrative at the time Suzanne was born. The constellation rising in the east is the striking and beautiful constellation Scorpius, one of the great symbols of life and death, lying parallel to the horizon with the Moon in its jaws. If we asked ourselves whether this was an easy placement for the Moon or not we would have to say it was not. That which nurtures and nourishes is placed at the very mouth of the underworld, either being swallowed by it or feeling its bite. Suzanne’s deep intuitive link with her mother (the Moon in the natal 12th house) is connected through its sky mythology with ferocity and passion, along with issues of life and death. This sky narrative of the Moon in the jaws of Scorpius thus illuminates the natal family issue around the women of her family, suggesting that they may have been forced to handle deep emotional issues of life and death which remain unresolved.

We can gain even more insights into Suzanne’s Moon by considering one of her fixed stars that is in paran with it:

The Moon is culminating when Zosma is setting
The pacifist or the warmonger - to hate, or enjoy, the suffering of others. To be sympathetic to the pain of others. [3]

Zosma is the star on the back of the lion in the constellation Leo. It is where Hercules broke the back of the lion and how he was able to extinguish non-establishment concepts or beliefs.[4] Here is the family empathy to suffering which may have occurred as a result of their own suffering and pain.

To the sky narrative of Suzanne’s Moon in the jaws of Scorpius we now add the threads of her being drawn to causes which are connected with women’s pain or suffering. In so doing, she will need to encounter her own or her mother’s fears around such issues (Moon in the 12th house).

How can ‘Suzanne’ help this part of her sky narrative to achieve
a more positive outcome?

We know that one tiny change in a person's life can run like a ripple across a pond, eventually leading to bigger changes. The beauty about your handwriting is that it is a simple and easy way of creating some of those ripples and thus moving this energy in your life. If Suzanne consciously changed the hooks to loops every time she wrote, this would become a deliberate signal and reminder for her every time she made those strokes not to buy into the family pattern, not to repeat the same issues embedded in the history of the women of her family. It would also send a message to her unconscious that it was time to let go of some of these old and deeply entrenched family issues. The resulting journey may not be easy for Suzanne and indeed she would need to want these changes, but the power of beginning lies literally in her hands.

Suzanne's writing

Changing the hooks and angles of her "Y" to a flowing loop may allow Suzanne to begin to access her 12th house issues.



We could look more closely at any of the sky narratives in Suzanne’s chart, or indeed in any chart, and in the same way map their reflection in the person’s handwriting. Since handwriting changes as we change, the advantage of doing this is that in conjunction with the natal chart, visual astrology and fixed stars, our handwriting comes alive to us in ways that it may not have done before.

Therefore handwriting can act like a fast-track to our current issue, bringing it into focus. Instead of focusing or worrying about issues that may not need such consideration, we can see more quickly the issues that are crying out for help.

Whether you write consistently with a pen or simply make shopping lists, have a go now and look at your own handwriting. What do you see there? What are you grappling with at this time in your life? Now think about the changes that you can make in your handwriting to help your sky narrative achieve its more positive expression every time you pick up a pen.

If you are interested in learning more about this subject, click here.

  • 1.Gunzburg, Darrelyn (2009). AstroGraphology: the hidden link between your horoscope and your handwriting (Bournemouth: Wessex Astrologer), p.59.

  • 2.Ibid., p.6: If we consider how we write, then a page of handwriting can be viewed as a landscape, a map of the space we inhabit. The way the letters structure the space on the page tells us how we inhabit that landscape, and as a result how we understand the time and spiritual dimension of the world in which we live. We are in effect forming a constructed landscape via the shapes of our handwriting. Such a landscape will include three areas formed by the gestures we make: those that sweep upwards away from the body – the mountains landscape; those that maintain steadiness – the plains landscape; and those that flow downwards towards the body – the valleys landscape.

  • 3.Brady, Bernadette (2008). Star and Planet Combinations (Bournemouth: Wessex Astrologer), p.251.

  • 4. Brady, Bernadette (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars (York Beach: Samuel Weiser Inc.), p.260.