A joint publication of: Astro Logos and Zyntara Publications



June 2005

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The King, the Prize, the Rumour and the Merchant  - Bernadette Brady
    Sky Maps and Medieval Astrology - Darrelyn Gunzburg  

VAN Archive - www.Zyntara.com

This month we are looking at the medieval technique of prediction combining with a person's star parans - see Darrelyn's case study. We also lead off with a sky story of drama, rumours and the awarding of a prize. To help all of us (including myself) to understand the unfolding sky story, I have laid out the story one piece at a time and endeavoured to find references from the letters of the Chaldean priests, as well as used some recent history to help with a prediction about a forthcoming event. Once you read the sky story, if you come to a different conclusion and a different prediction then please let us know and if you are right, then next month we will put your logic in the July newsletter. We are all on a learning curve, so let your astrological heart engage with the whole sky and join in the adventure. We will look forward to your emails.

The King, the Prize, the Rumour and the Merchant
Untangling a Sky Story
Bernadette Brady M.A.

The full moon this month and next month hangs low in the sky, while there is a dance between Mercury, Venus and Saturn (see the figure below). Mercury, visible in the early evening sky, catches Venus and the pair then rise above Saturn, the King. Meanwhile Jupiter joins the story by finishing its period of retrogradation on 6th June. 

All of this, I believe, would have been taken quite seriously by the Babylonian sky watchers, so in this issue of the newsletter I am going to try and step through each piece of this sky-story and then draw some conclusions and hopefully enable you also to draw your own conclusion or generate your own ideas.

In searching through the translations of the Chaldean letters by Simo Parpola (1) one can suggest how these images may have been considered. 

The full Moon lies low in the sky:  

This is the first concern. As the moon becomes full, the Moon god fails to climb in the sky (for an explanation of this see the February newsletter – “The Gathering of Kings”). The monthly opposition of the Moon god with the Sun god was watched carefully and recorded. This bright shining full moon was considered to be the “Moon god … covered with the crown of Splendour" (2)  and any interference, even by weather, was a concern. 

The most consistent interpretation for weather or other obstacles preventing the full moon from being observed (apart from a lunar eclipse) was “.. the king is bound to his palace…. a powerful enemy will raise his weapons against the country and destroy the sanctuaries of the great gods." (3)

There are no known letters concerning the actual altitude of the moon but one can surmise that the low full moon would have been seen as an interference with the Moon god’s ability to gain his crown of splendour and thus an omen or a threat to the kingdom or the king.

Mercury visible and catching Venus

Mercury was known as Sihtu to the Babylonian/Chaldean priests. It gained its modern name from the Roman messenger god because it so quickly appeared and disappeared from the morning and evening skies. Before the 5th century B.C.E., the planet Mercury actually had two names, for observers did not realize that it could appear alternately first on one side of the sun and then the other.  Its visibility was not a happy sight, interpreted as an unwelcome visitor or a messenger with false news. There is a letter on this subject from a Chaldean priest named Istar-sumu-eres who, around the year 670 B.C.E., wrote a letter to his king concerning the appearance of Mercury:

           “An ignorant one frustrates [the j]udge, an uneducated one makes the mighty worry" (4)

We do not know if Istar-sumu-eres is referring to Mercury in the east or in the west.

In this month of June, Mercury enters the court from the west – becomes visible in the early evening sky – and then races towards Venus and gives her a message or has a meeting with her. Due to its elevation above Saturn, this could be interpreted as undermining the authority of the king.

Venus a bright evening star meeting with Mercury.

Venus is the goddess Ishtar. She is currently bright amongst the stars of Cancer which, to the Chaldeans, was a sign of fecundity, wealth, full harvest bins and much grain. So the messenger who carries lies or illusions whispers in the ear of the one who holds the prize or a pot of wealth; or else the meeting is about the awarding of a pot of wealth or a prize.

This Venus is prosperous and the king expects to gain the prize held by Venus because Venus has   joined with Saturn. However, the secret meeting with the fleet-footed Mercury changes her mind or alters the situation.

Saturn the King

The king is joined by Venus, yet when Mercury catches her ear, both Mercury and Venus rise over the top of him to have their meeting. In Chaldean thinking, Saturn is always the king. Any celestial activities involving Saturn were regarded as events influencing the king: Saturn rising above a planet was the king being more powerful than another, while Saturn involved in an eclipse was a threat to the king's life. Thus Mercury and Venus conjoining directly above Saturn is the king’s power being made subservient to these two planets, or people, who are having a meeting. Additionally we know we are talking about events in the northern hemisphere because in the south Saturn appears above Mercury and Venus. In  the southern hemisphere the king is not overruled by the message or the outcome of the meeting.

Some questions that arise from this story are:

  • Who meets with the messenger and does so in a way that undermines the king?

  • Does the king’s wife or daughter have a secret lover?

  • What meetings are happening that are not to the king’s benefit? 

  • Who hands out a prize that does not meet with the king’s delight?

  • Who gains from this secret meeting?

Jupiter turning

To the Chaldeans, Jupiter was the crown prince, general or a high official. He was not the individual with the greatest power, not the expected leader; not weak, either, nor a minor player but simply not the main player. The stars of Virgo were seen as blessed, especially Spica, and the constellation has a long association with harvest or grain which could be translated in modern terms as productivity and trade. We can therefore suggest that this Jupiter figure is either a wealthy merchant or a country that is a wealthy trader.

Whoever or whatever Jupiter is symbolising in this lunar month, this is the one/the group who gains from this meeting of Mercury and Venus.  He is the one who gains the prize and now has a job to undertake, a mission to complete, a journey to travel. Additionally the gaining of this prize by Jupiter is not what the king expects or desires as it is an unhappy king, symbolised by the low full moon and the Venus Mercury raised above him.

One possibility

This is a raw reading of the sky story and while writing this, I realized that in this lunar month (first day of a visible crescent moon to next first day of a visible crescent moon), the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games is being announced (6th July, 2005) - and that is indeed a great prize. Competing or battling for this prize are five "kingdoms":  

 New York City

The prize will go to Jupiter, the wealthy and successful trader. New York may be the centre of the world’s trade with Wall Street but the city itself is neither a place of trade and shipping, nor a place of wealth. Moscow and Madrid would also have to take second place on this score. This leaves Paris and London.

In looking back on a bit of history a few insights can be gained:

When France won the World Cup in soccer on 12th July, 1998 (they beat Brazil 3-0) Mars, the warrior, was moving amongst the stars of Gemini. 

This was the same for the time of the
German invasion of Paris 14th June, 1940. Mars the warrior was also amongst the stars of Gemini but this time Jupiter was in battle with Saturn, gruesomely located in the mouth of Cetus the Whale (see figure below), the monster from the great depths, the German tanks rolling into Paris. 

The beginning of the London Blitz was 7th September, 1940. The Jupiter-Saturn battle in the mouth of Cetus was still in tow but now the warrior, Mars, had moved on to the stars of Virgo. German bombs now fell on London.

By the time of the Liberation of Paris (25th August, 1944), Jupiter had left Saturn and was amongst the stars of Leo with Mars. Saturn was in the stars of Gemini, the mark of more than one king, and these kings were in the place symbolised by the stars of Gemini. Since Mars was in Gemini when the allied tanks rolled into Paris, I am hypothesising that Gemini may symbolise Paris.

Granted the briefness of the above and that it is based on the reading that Jupiter represents a wealthy trader, nevertheless to me it seems as if the stars of Virgo have more connection with the city of London and the stars of Gemini or Leo more with Paris.

If this is the case then the story may be read as follows:

Paris takes on the role of the king as it is the favourite city, sure of its victory. But a report or a rumour spreads through the IOC delegates late in the month of June, unbeknown to the Paris bid organisers. This rumour or whisper sways the vote towards London, a powerful bidder but not the favourite. London is then awarded the 2012 Olympic Games.  

Now I am not going to bet on this but I am going to watch the results with great interest, as it will give us a lot of clues as to how this sky story is unfolding. But just as this story will unfold before us in the media, the story will also unfold in your family, in your work and in your community. So ask yourself who or what does Jupiter represent in your story? Who in your life is going to be given this new responsibility over the next four weeks?  


[1] Parpola, Simo.(1970). Letters form Assyrian Scholars to the Kings of Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal, Part 1. Germany: Verlad Butzon & Bercker Keelaer.

[2] Parpola:1970:33

[3] Parpola:1970:71

[4] Parpola:1970:9



Using Visual Astrology in the consulting room
Sky Maps and Medieval Astrology
The periods of one’s life

A Case Study by Darrelyn Gunzburg

My client’s life seemed full and fruitful. A teen romance leading, in her early twenties, to a marriage without financial worries, blessed with four talented children and favoured with the first grandchild sounded like the thread of dream-spinners. Yet she felt her days now lacked substance. Some years earlier her husband had been unfaithful and the marriage was still silted with distrust but from that distrust she now wanted her own life, her own identity. She approached me, aware that her life had jammed, not knowing how to change gears to move forward.



A Starlight paran printout will divide a life into three sections: stars of one’s youth, stars of one’s prime and stars of one’s latter years. If life can extend anywhere from between 70-90 years, then we could say that the first third of life may contain all that occurs up to the first Saturn return, the second third up to the second Saturn return and the final third the years thereafter.


Medieval astrology also claims a technique of looking at a person’s life in terms of thirds, this is known as directing by triplicities and one planet/luminary will symbolise one’s youth, one planet/luminary will symbolise one’s prime and one planet/luminary will symbolise one’s latter years.




The two techniques are quite different, the stellular technique coming from the Egyptian theology of tri-partitioning and the medieval technique coming from the principle of triplicity rulers. However they do reflect each other in the sense that both systems see life in terms of youth, prime and latter years or years of wisdom. So it is interesting to interweave them and look at the fixed star parans that sit underneath my client’s triplicity rulers of the thirds of her life. 


We can look at the thirds of life by looking at the triplicity rulers of the main luminary of the horoscope, and since my client has a diurnal chart, we therefore look at the triplicity rulers of her Sun. Her Sun is in Pisces in the 12th house. The medieval triplicity rulers of a water Sun are: Venus, Mars and the Moon in that order.

Her Youth - Venus in Aries

Natally her Venus is in Aries (detriment) conjunct the Ascendant and in the same sign as the Ascendant. It opposes Neptune conjunct the Descendant. We could say that the first third of her life up to her first Saturn return was dominated by the romantic illusion of relationships and that her approach had to, in some way, contain that which was unusual or different (Venus in detriment). My client, of Anglo stock, did this by marrying a man of Chinese decent and culture, thus bringing an “alternate” cultural influence to the marriage. It also brought disillusion and despair (Venus opposite Neptune) when my client learned of her husband’s infidelity.

Starlight shows that there are no fixed stars connected with Venus for my client, so there are no hidden agendas, no added pitfalls of which my client needed to be aware in this part of her life. 

Her Middle years - Mars in Leo

Natally my client’s Mars is in Leo conjunct Saturn in detriment. (Saturn is also conjunct the Moon and Pluto but Mars is probably too wide in orb to affect or be affected by them). The Mars-Saturn combination indicates that, when young, there is a limitation on my client’s ability to instigate and take action and move forward in achieving her goals. Such a combination can indicate frustration or blocked anger. However, this was now active in my client’s middle years, from roughly age 30 to 60. By its very nature this combination forces her to develop persistence, stamina and endurance.


When we add the fixed stars that are sitting underneath the Mars we find:

Ras Algethi
Starlight says of this star and planet combination:

Wanting to live by a moral code; strong principles and sense of justice

Starlight says of this star and planet combination:
An assertive and at times aggressive leader.


We could say that in this second third of her life my client put a great deal of hard work into raising her children and focusing on their needs, (aspect in the 5th/6th houses) and possibly living vicariously through their achievements (Leo) at the expense of her own talents, resulting in creative frustration. Perhaps now with the last of her children no longer dependent upon her, it was the annoyance of seeing her own creative life passing her by that led her to seek external guidance. Perhaps this was also the indication that my client was approaching her third triplicity ruler, The Moon.


Her Latter years - The Moon in Leo


Natally my client’s Moon is in Leo in the 5th house, caught in the net of Saturn and Pluto. Normally as astrologers we would expect this to give a harder life, a life with less fruitfulness, less happy with children and money or with children who brought her unhappiness and worry. But this Moon, like any planet or luminary in a chart, can be projected onto those emotionally close to her and focus on their expectations. In this case it moulded itself into the expected role of wife and mother and thus gained vicarious creative expression through the achievements of her husband and children. The Moon was thus a “sleeper” in her chart and could have remained so – except that it was destined to be the ruler of the latter part of her life.


Now as she reached her mid-to-late 50’s it stirred, kick-started as it were with the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. But what really awoke in my client were the deep and intense needs of the Leo Moon and what sits underneath this Moon, for also becoming active in the last third of her life is one of the great Royal Stars, Fomalhaut.


Fomalhaut, like the other Royal Stars (Antares, Aldebaran and Regulus), presents the person with a trial or a temptation through which the individual must work before true success can be achieved. All four Royal Stars talk of a road of difficulty and potential danger but offer great success. In this case, Fomalhaut connected with my client’s Moon suggests a highly creative ability touched with a sense of magic based on high ideals or lofty visions but undertaken through a path of emotional difficulty (Moon-Saturn) and intensity (Moon-Pluto) and all of this was being awakened.


Now if this had been activated in her early years, then it would have been extremely difficult, as she would have had to learn maturity and wisdom through isolation, loneliness and separation (Moon-Saturn and Moon-Pluto). Now, however, my client had the support of four adult children and the knowledge of a strong family base around her (the Moon rules the IC).


Armed with this, she has suddenly become aware, during the course of the consultation that she could seek the things that she wanted for herself. What she realized she wanted was her own education. She has become inspired - Fomalhaut - to seek a university degree in social science. She has always thought that a university degree was beyond her, that such a possibility was only open to her husband and her four children. Now she could see that pathway for herself.


The marriage of these two systems yielded for me a vision that I could share with her to help her fulfil the now-encountered burning need of her Leo Moon.

Note: Astro Logos offers a two year diploma in Medieval Astrology taught by Bernadette Brady. The diploma is in a format that enables you to study at home or, you can just buy the materials only and listen to the many hours of lectures and self-study. The Medieval Study Guide, the electronic book,  accompanies the course. For further information on the course click here.  For information on buying the materials only click here.

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