A joint publication of: Astro Logos and Zyntara Publications



July 2005

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Nergal claims the empty sky: a return to the summer of 1800 - Bernadette Brady
    “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet, Act 2 Sc.II) - Darrelyn Gunzburg  

VAN Archive - www.Zyntara.com


The Beginning of the Beginning

Bernadette Brady M.A.

When the Visual Astrology Newsletter started I was confident of the astrological use of fixed stars in paran to natal planets. That work has been my major theme of astrological endeavour for many years and although this type of fixed star work may still be new to many astrologers, for me it is a mature piece of research which is now in its crafting and polishing stages. However, the full visual astrology -   reading the sky narratives, listening to the whole sky and acknowledging the power of astrology beyond the ecliptic - intrigued me, for it was once the heart of astrology but a heart that has been abandoned since the development of the horoscope by the Greeks. I longed for a public forum in which I could test  these magnificent myths rather than the private space of personal research and hence Darrelyn and I began this newsletter as a platform for this public research.

Since that time we have had six issues of the V.A.N. and from the beginning my approach has been to simply look at the sky narrative and combine that with the translations of the letters of the Chaldean priests, mixed with a good bit of common astrological sense. This approach has yielded successful insights, firstly with the death of the pope – February, 2005  VAN, The Gathering of Kings - and now in the June, 2005 VAN The King, the Prize, the Rumour and the Merchant, with the successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, which defined not only the winner but also the rumours beforehand. The French president (the favourite city) was overheard by a journalist insulting English food and this conversation was reported in the world press, an example of French arrogance just before the final vote for the Olympics. These two clear predictions, correct in outcome and also in their symbolism or quality are, for me, a strong indication that visual astrology is a subject that is worthy of continual exploration.  

But what fills me with wonder is that the concepts discussed by the Chaldean priests of over 2,500 years ago are still functioning today. It would appear that the sky has never stopped talking. Rather we have stopped listening.   

So here we are at the beginning of the beginning, at the first few steps of a brave new journey in astrology, lifting our eyes from the safety of the ecliptic and its neat two-dimensional view of life and straining our ears to listen to a more ancient tongue, the sound of the heavens in conversation with earth and life. If you want to join the journey, then next time you look at a chart ask yourself these questions:

What did the sky look like at that moment?  
How bright or dim was that planet?
How low or high is the moon or a planet in this moment?
What stars were rising/setting?

Maybe you do not have the tools yet to answer these questions but at least as an astrologer you can be aware that these questions are genuine. 



Nergal claims the empty sky:
 a return to the summer of 1800

  Bernadette Brady M.A.

STOP PRESS: Just before emailing this newsletter, news broke on the BBC of terrorist bombings in London today - 7th July, 2005. The first bomb was recorded at 8.49 am (BBC TV broadcast on the day).

In the summer of 1800 Napoleon was taking advantage of what was known as the "campaign season" and was continuing his conquest of Europe. In that summer Saturn was in Leo and Mars was in Aries and then later in Taurus. With the sun moving towards a conjunction with Saturn, that planet - that is, Saturn - was effectively disappearing from the night sky in a phenomena known as "to be with the sun" . Additionally as the king (Saturn) disappeared from view in that summer of 1800 Mars, known as Nergal, the god of pestilence (Rochberg, 2004:46), rose shining brightly amongst the stars of the Pisces.  With Jupiter also below the horizon, for a short time Nergal owned the entire night sky. 

Every night bright Nergal (Mars) rose earlier and earlier dominating the night sky for the summer months. Now Napoleon had been conquering Europe since 1796, so his activities of the summer of 1800 (his defeat of the Austrians, his advance on Vienna and, finally, his conquering of Italy) was a continuation of his activities. Given the dominancy of Nergal, it can be argued that the Chaldean priests would have warned their king that a well-known and recognised warrior, an external force claiming territory that shouldn't be his, would once again gain an upper hand and threaten to overthrow the kingdom. However, within this style of thinking, they would also have announced that when Saturn (the king) returned in early September, then the balance of power would shift to him, rather than stay in the hands of Nergal.

Not since 1800 has Nergal had such a clear run of the summer skies in Europe, that is, not until this European summer of 2005.

Saturn, the king moves towards the zodiac sign Leo and as the sun moves into Cancer and Leo, Saturn joins the sun, causing it to disappear from the night sky, while Marduk, (Jupiter) who had been so visible in the early evenings, also slips from view. But the sky is not empty, for just like the summer of 1800, into this empty sky rises Nergal, the god of pestilence or war, bright and shining in full strength.  He rises on the back of Cetus, the great sea monster (see the images below). Now we do not have a Napoleon rampaging through Europe but the threat that dominates the world at the moment and has done so since September 11, 2001, is, of course, terrorism. Based on these patterns, we may well be seeing a return of terrorist activities in Europe in this coming summer and if this is the case, then it will not be until the return of Saturn in late August early September that the authorities are able to gain an upper hand or to have some form of victory.

We are entering a time of Nergal and whatever the events, they will be, at the very least, a little rocky: a clash with authority, maybe further riots by the people or, in extreme cases, more terrorist activities. 

For Nergal is a known warrior, a known threat, a known challenge to order.

These could be an interesting few months and whatever unfolds will give us all an insight into the role of Mars in visual astrology.


Special Note
: Given the news of the last few hours, we can unfortunately start to see the the story unfolding in the streets of central London and with this being the opening events of this drama, we may be able to conclude that this will not be in isolation and that a major arrest or step forward in the battle against terrorism will occur as the king finally returns to the sky in late August.

Rochberg, Farncesca (2004) The Heavenly Writing, Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture. Cambridge, UK:Cambridge University Press.




“For there is nothing either good or bad,
but thinking makes it so”

(Hamlet, Act 2 Sc.II)
A Case Study by Darrelyn Gunzburg

Recently I was asked to read the chart of a little girl. “Denise” had just turned two and was storming her way into self-determination. Denise’s parents booked in for a consultation as they were having trouble disciplining her. Indeed she was described by her father as “a spirited girl who is very feisty and wilful. She knows her own mind and has a tendency to rush at things a little. She is very quick on the uptake has a good memory, loads of energy, loves a thrill and insistent on trying to do everything she can do for herself.”  Hence one might want to rush immediately to look either at her Mars (anger) or her Saturn (problems with authority). However, it has been found that children at this age can experience great frustration through a lack of communication skills. [1]

With this in mind, my approach was to unpack her Mercury, not only its sign, its aspects and its natal house position but also the ancient myths on which it stood. All of this in any chart will give insights into the person’s intellect and the way they express themselves.

 As can be seen in the chart, Denise has Mercury in Taurus ruling the MC and Ascendant sextile Uranus ruling the 6th house. This aspect suggests people see her as (Mercury ruling the Asc) a fast-thinking, fast-talking individual (Mercury-Uranus) who is able to ground (Mercury in Taurus) her innovative ideas into useable data through research (Mercury in the 8th house) and hard work (Uranus in the 6th house and ruling the 6th). From this she is able to create opportunities (yin element sextile) to work with other people’s resources (8th house) in her daily work (6th house); and since Uranus is at The Bends (square the nodal axis), her unusual and pioneering ideas may well form part of her profession.

But underneath this potentially brilliant Mercury with all its communication skills are two wonderful ancient sky stories captured by the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, and the star linked with creativity, Acubens, the major star of Cancer. To quote Starlight:

Sirius on the Nadir as Mercury is rising.
Skilled with language or ideas 

Sirius is one of the great stars of the sky. The Egyptians called it the Great Shining One or The Scorcher and it was linked with the rising, life-giving waters of the Nile. The impact of Sirius can either be severe, blistering an individual and leaving them burnt out; or else it can bring fame and glory. Thus in Denise’s future are novel ideas, innovative business dealings and the potential to influence many, many people.

Thus one of the foundation stone’s underpinning Denise’s life is this clever, bright, innovative mind struggling to express itself through the mouth and word-power of a two-year old child.  

Added to this Denise also has Acubens culminating as Mercury is setting. Starlight says of this star-planet combination:

To have an interest in the ways of life; to explore how
life works socially, or physically

Acubens, the Scarab Beetle, is linked with the energy of life-giving and the concept of resurrection or, as we might interpret it, since it is connected with Mercury in Denise’s 8th house, the idea of change. Now we see that as Denise reaches past her Saturn Return, so her ideas take mature shape and start to be focused into the nature of people and animals: how they think, what they do, how they act. For Denise, it would seem that as she matured and found her voice, so she finds a purpose and application for her ground-breaking ideas and can, in some way, revolutionize or change things for people or animals.

Denise’s parents had finally resorted to using the “time out in the bedroom” method to control what they saw as Denise’s “vicious temper”. Perhaps what we may be seeing is The Scorcher, stymied and frustrated by its lack of vocabulary, expressing itself in burning rage. One wants Denise to be able to harness Sirius connected with her Mercury-Uranus so that her thinking and her ideas make an impact on other people, rather than have it destroy her.

I suggested to Denise’s parents that an alternate method might be to feed and stimulate Denise’s sharp and clever mind through, for example, teaching her to sign (see Joseph Garcia’s method mentioned above) so that she had better ways of communicating exactly how she was feeling and what were her needs. This then has the effect of empowering her communication so that, even at this young age, she begins to express herself and her ideas with confidence. Then as she matures, she can harness real life experience and thus connect it with her expressive capacity to make a difference (Mercury with Acubens).

As astrologers we can be seduced into believing that behaviour is manifest in only one planet of a chart, for example, anger and temper equals Mars. Such a simple example shows us that by broadening our search for the seed of the child’s frustration via planets and stars, we can be of far greater service to the client in helping them to guide their child in self-expression. In this case anger and temper equals Mercury-Uranus-Sirius-Acubens, a more complex arrangement reflecting the nature and scope of Denise’s Mercury and giving great understanding of where and how it was pulling her through time. It can even give insights into the style of schooling and education that she will need which can be of the greatest help to her for her future.

[1] Garcia, Joseph (2002). Sign with Your Baby: How to Communicate with Infants Before They Can Speak. Seattle: Northlight Communications. We are led to believe that children learn language quickly. The truth is that whilst babies are in a state of rapidly absorbing the world around them, it takes at least three-to-four years for a child to be able to participate in a continual conversation and to be almost completely intelligible. Hence one of the difficulties confronting children of around two years old is that their developing language does not match their growing comprehension of the world, as research carried out by Joseph Garcia has shown. So what might appear as defiance or naughtiness may simply be frustration at being unable to express personal need.

Note: We are about to offer 50 copies only of Starlight software. The English pound has weakened against the US dollar and thus with our sale the price of Starlight will be (if the rates do not change too much) below $300 US - the lowest price for Starlight since it was launched in 2002 - Visit our web site for more information on Starlight. - www.Zyntara.com

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For those interested in self-study  - A Studyshop by Bernadette Brady on star phases and star myths.