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Threshold Crossers - Empty spaces in the sky have the potential for teaching us about how we deal with times of transition.

 
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Notes

StarLogos

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

 

We are now one year out from this learning, gathering, sky-melding experience and already we have 5 of our 45 places filled. Next month we will open the special forum for delegates so that those who have paid deposits can get to know each other and share travel plans.


StarLogos is different - so if you are an astrologer who wishes to add a unique skill to your work, or if you are just 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.

 




Threshold Crossers

Darrelyn Gunzburg

 

 

In Between

The sky presents us with a celestial landscape. When any of the planets or the two luminaries travel through the sky, then we can and do attribute meaning to this via visual astrology. However, it is easy to be swayed by the fact that our eyes are used to seeing and reading the flat horoscope. When the Greeks neatened the ecliptic into 300 slices they divided each sign into different segments such as bounds (terms) and since then astrology has experimented in different ways with considering that not all degrees of a zodiac sign are created equal.  

However, another approach to this question of meaning to different parts of zodiac signs is to realise that not all parts of the sky are equal. Furthermore, all zodiac constellations are not equal in size.

 

Some constellations are larger than others, some wider, some taller. The stars of Aries the Ram, for example, extend across about 150 celestial longitude whilst the stars of Taurus extend across approximately 300. Additionally, if you look carefully at the zodiac constellations you will see that they do not neatly abut each other and that there are parts of this ring of life, the zodiac,  that are ‘empty’.

 

Hence in a planet’s journey through the zodiac constellations, there will be times when a planet will be travel between one constellation and the next, beyond the influence of the first but not yet within reach of the stars of the next.

 

The question to ask it this: ‘Do these “in between” parts of the sky have meaning and if so, what does it suggest for planets when they travel into these areas?’


The liminal space between Aries and Taurus - the Stare of Cetus

(The Zodiac degrees between 50 and 200 of tropical Taurus)

We have already seen one such area of the sky with The Stare of Cetus (see VAN April and May 2008), the area of the sky between Aries the Ram and The Great Bull of Heaven. As each planet moves across this space, so they move from a sense of independence and personal glory (Aries) but have not yet engaged with the concept of integrity through contracts with others (Taurus). Furthermore as they make this journey planets have to pass between the stare of Cetus and the gaze of the Gorgon.

They are in what I call a liminal space, a space of transitions.

 

Monk

The word ‘liminal’ comes from the Latin līmen, meaning ‘a threshold’. We cross liminal spaces continually in our mundane lives. Every time we leave a room to go into another we cross a līmen, moving from a room where one type of activity occurs into another. However, in the anthropological theories of ritual, such writers as Arnold van Gennep, Victor Turner [1] and [2] and others define liminal spaces as sacred spaces, places where, via rites of passage, change can happen.

The transition for people with planets in this liminal space between Aries and Taurus is via the Stare of Cetus, so as they make this transition, they are continually dealing with change.

 

However it is not the upheaval and change of the 8th house. They are making a transition from a state of independence (Aries) to a state of understanding commitment and contracts (Taurus) and so, due to the stare of Cetus,  it occurs with great intensity connected with one’s family or community. Hence it can bring either tragedy, or great insight.

 

The liminal space between Aquarius and Pisces – Equus naissance

(The Zodiac degrees between 170 and 210 of tropical Pisces)

In the July 2008 Visual Astrology Newsletter we considered how the sky pictures that collect around the horizon for the time and date of birth appear to have relevance to the client’s emergent story. However, we can also consider that this area located between blessings and abundance (Aquarius) and the sacred fish of wisdom (Pisces) is another liminal space. Above this ‘door between two rooms’ and influencing this transition lie Pegasus and Equuleus, the horses in the sky. These two constellations of Pegasus and Equuleus embody the concept of the sanctified horse, of animal instinct twinned with intellect.

Horse Head

However, since, Pegasus was born from the severed head of Medusa which released her from a place where she was jammed and immobile, this area of the sky is where that which is whole or holy can also be released from its trapped position. As planets move through this part of the sky, they symbolise that the person can become trapped into thinking that the good times, the fertility and abundance of Aquarius, will always be there and will always flow. However the journey  across this space indicates that the person will have to learn not to take this for granted and so will be woken or shaken out of complacency. Such a jolt can eventually lead to the wisdom and insight, if only by hindsight, as this is what is promised by the fish of Pisces.

There are, however, more then just these two liminal spaces. The zone that lies between Gemini and Cancer is where Mars is focused at the moment:


The liminal space that which lies between Gemini and Cancer

(The Zodiac degrees between 150 and 280 of tropical Cancer)

Gemini and Cancer


Above - The Liminal space between Gemini and Cancer which is watched over by Ursa Major.

Planets / luminaries crossing this liminal space travel between the right side of Pollux and the shell of Cancer the Crab. The Twins in the sky represent polarities and each one takes a perspective that allows polarities to be understood. Pollux signifies the awareness of opposites through pain or angst, the more shadowy side of life, hence the journey is one where insights are gained through encounters with problems or difficulties. For the Egyptians Cancer was possible the Scarabaeus, the sacred beetle that was linked with immortality, and since its earliest records, this constellation has been linked with life, the protection of it, and the sacredness of it.

What sits above this area visually is Ursa Major, the Mother of all Life and the protector of all animals, the goddess in one of her original forms. She is oriented with her legs pointing towards the ecliptic, ready to walk upon the earth, observing as it were this area beneath her. As planets /luminaries cross this liminal space, they signify a move from wrestling with opposites and the pain and angst of life (Pollux) towards the recognition that all life is sacred (Cancer) via an engagement with protective female energy and the acknowledgment that life on earth is to be protected (Ursa Major).

Ursa Major symbolizes the Mother of all Life and the protector of all animals, the goddess in one of her original forms, and an excellent example of this is Clare of Assisi, an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of all animals. Saint Clare founded the Order of Poor Ladies (renamed the Poor Clares after her death). She was born on the 16 July 1194, in Assisi, Italy and in her natal chart was a partile Venus Pluto conjunction at 180 Cancer, located right in the middle of this liminal space.

Saint Clare

Saint Clare's Chart

Altar Piece of Saint Clare, Author : ITALIAN UNKNOWN MASTER Date :1280s
In the Monastery of Santa Chiara, Assisi.
Right, Saint Clare's birth chart - no time - for 16 July 1194, Assisi, Italy.

The order she founded, which still exist today, is a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition. The recognition of a ‘fated’ relationship (Venus-Pluto) with God via a spiritual calling was catalyzed in Clare at the age of eighteen when she heard Saint Francis preach in Assisi. Her father, a Count and the wealthy representative of an ancient Roman family, expected her to make a fine marriage and did his utmost to stop her from entering the Order. Her firmness of vision eventually meant he was obliged to leave her in peace. Saint Clare’s initial struggle with the material world as she pursued her spiritual calling (Pollux) continued on throughout her life, for the Order she founded owned nothing and depended entirely upon charity.

Her spiritual calling was to live a life where she could eventually encounter immortality (Cancer) but it is interesting that, as was noted in the VAN of June 2009, in Christian Europe, the Crab with its manger and two donkeys had morphed into the Christian nativity scene.

This liminal space is one that is meditated by the protective energy of Ursa Major, the goddess, Great Mother, and protector of animals and all life, a mainstay in the teachings of Saint Francis, her spiritual guide.

A more modern example is Anne Frank who had her Pluto at 170 tropical Cancer. Her Diary which began as a private expression of a young Jewish girl’s thoughts whilst in hiding from the Nazis in the Netherlands, became the epitome of what Time called “a searing voice to the fight for human dignity" [3]. Here again is an example of the struggle with the tortuous existence of life in hiding (Pollux) and through her writing she came to an understanding of the sacredness and the gift of life (Cancer). Whilst her life was not spared, her Diary that lived on after her has come to symbolize how all life on earth is to be protected (Ursa Major).

James Lovelock

A final example is James Lovelock (see also VAN June 2009), inventor, independent scientist, author, researcher, environmentalist, and futurist, known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, in which he postulates that the Earth functions as a kind of superorganism. He was born when the Moon and Jupiter were both passing through this liminal space.

The Earth, as a living entity, was first formulated by Lovelock during the 1960s as a result of work for NASA concerned with detecting life on Mars, the Gaia hypothesis proposes that living and non-living parts of the earth form a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism.

James Lovelock (above) born 26 July 1919
14.00 Letchworth, UK.

 

If you have a planet or luminary in this place in the sky, then look to see where you struggle with divisions, splits and schisms in your life and how, in seeking to understand what creates and makes life, you also receive the protection or guidance or understanding that all life on earth is sacred. 

Conclusion

Building on The Star of Cetus and Equus Naissance, this Visual Astrology Newsletter is a consideration of the idea of liminality which we will pursue with other areas of the zodiac constellations in further newsletters. For the moment it appears to be that when planets / luminaries occupy this part of the sky they are making a transition between one way of doing things and another. In so doing they may pull in other constellations which visually sit above or below them, adding meaning to the visual narrative.  Look to see if there are planets in your sky map which occupy these transitional spaces and think about what it might mean for you in your life.

Sun set

Finally, liminality is not just relegated to space but also occurs in time. Sunrise and sunset are liminal times. Falling asleep and waking up are liminal times. If you meditate or smoke, or even when you are having a shower, these are all liminal times. If you have planets in liminal spaces, then these liminal times are not 'ordinary', they are extraordinary and hold the potential of great insight.


  • 1.Turner, Victor. (1995)  ‘Liminality and Communitas’, in The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction Press.

  • 2.Turner, Victor. (1967) ‘Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage’, in The Forest of Symbols, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

  • 3. Rosenblatt, Roger (1999-06-14). "Anne Frank". The Time 100. Time. http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/frank01.html. Retrieved 2009-09-15