A joint publication of: Astro Logos and Zyntara Publications



November 2005

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The Rhythm of a City - using a parapegma in the 21st century.  Bernadette Brady
     Rosa Parks, the woman who sat down to be counted - Darrelyn Gunzburg  

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The October lunar eclipse

The Moon with Unwashed Feet which was the Moon on which we focused in the last issue of the V.A.N. has heralded the removal of two top officials. One was from the Bush administration, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the top aide to the Vice President, Dick Cheney, and the other, David Blunkett, was a minister in Tony Blair's cabinet. Both officials resigned in the last few weeks due to the revelation of previously hidden or unknown alleged improper behaviour finally coming to light.

We can thus begin to see that the "Moon with Unwashed Feet" might be focusing onto the "kings" substitute (the high official) in true Babylonian fashion. However, if we draw wisdom from the history of the last occurrence of this phenomena (the beginning of the English Civil War and the first battle fought by Charles I), it is probably safe to assume that there is still more to unfold. Nevertheless what is of real interest for visual astrology is the occurrence of two top officials being removed from power under this intriguing moon.


The Rhythm of a City 
 using a parapegma in the 21st century

Bernadette Brady M.A.

One of the ways that we mark events in our culture is not only in their calendar dates but also in their location. To us, place and date are interwoven. We raise monuments at these places and hold ceremonies at these monuments on the calendar dates of the events enshrined in that time and place – the anniversary. Our culture and our national identities are perpetuated by the recognition and celebration of these relationships between time and a particular place.   

An example of this in the USA is the events of 9/11, now enshrined in New York City. For Australians, one of these is the cold and windswept cliffs of Gallipoli and the date 25th April, while a British example is the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in October of this year (2005) at Gibraltar. So strong is this desire that we even locate our mythic figures and events in physical places, such as Father Christmas or Santa Claus in Lapland; and television commercials for Easter products would have us believe that the Easter Bunny lives in Chocolate Land. We instinctively link dates to places.

But our version of astrology is focused on time rather than place and does not really provide us with a tool to explore the potential of a place to produce an event, to explore the inherent quality of a location. Granted we do have the technique of AstroCartoGraphy but this method views the earth as a neutral canvas, blank and empty, waiting for a planetary line to impregnate it. Yet the earth is not a neutral canvas.

Our experience is that places and regions do have an inherent quality, some of which may come from its history and some of which may well come from the actual spirit of a place. However, some of the inherent quality of a location, I believe, comes from a location’s relationship with the sky, the whole sky.  For the stars, unlike the wandering planets, do not change their relationship to each other, nor, if we ignore precession, do they change the actual place in which they rise or set on the line of the horizon and they will always rise before dawn for the same calendar date from one year to the next.

The stars are fixed and regular and you can set your calendar by them which was exactly what the Babylonians did. By 1100 B.C.E. the Babylonians were using a simple instrument called an astrolabe but which was actually a type of parapegma or star calendar.

This instrument listed the stars in the different parts of the sky. These were Ea (south of the ecliptic and the outer ring of the instrument), Anu, (the ecliptic zone, middle ring) and Enlil (north of the ecliptic the inner ring) which would rise before dawn for each of the twelve Babylonian months. By making their instruments circular they could also see what stars would be setting or, more importantly as it was easier to see, what stars were culminating at dawn for any given month.

The culminating stars were called the
ziqpu-stars and the emphasis on observing and recording the ziqpu-stars may well have been the origin of the M.C. in horoscopic astrology.   
Babylonian astrolabe from Schott (1934).


But such instruments were only useful for the latitudes for which they were made, for if we observe the sky for different latitudes, then different sets of stars would be rising at the key times of the year.

And this is the major point. Depending on the latitude, there will be a particular pattern of stars which claim rulership (I prefer the term 'governorship' when talking of stars), over a period of time for a particular place. For any given latitude a star may govern a period of just a few days or perhaps a few weeks. It will then give way to another star of different mythological meaning and different symbolism which will take over the governorship, and then that star will give way to another, and so on, throughout the calendrical  year, only for the whole cycle to repeat itself in its timing and its order from one calendrical year to the next.

The Pulse of New York

If we consider New York City, we can construct a modern parapegma to observe the city’s rhythm, its unfolding annual star-pattern. The following is such a parapegma using only the heliacal rising stars for New York’s latitude. [see the August, 2005 Visual Astrology Newsletter for a definition of the Heliacal Rising Star].

[Starlight Users Note: A parapegma for any latitude and time period can be constructed by using Tools/Parapegma from the main page].

Date Star - Heliacal Rising Quality of the time period
January 3 Acumen – the sting of the Scorpion Scandal and rumors run through the city.
February 13 Rukbat, the foot of the archer Steadiness, a time of no change  - the strength of a city to maintain its daily rhythm.
February 17 Deneb Algedi – the tail of Capricorn A time of the Establishment and the law.
April 13 Fomalhaut – One of the Royal Stars Idealism, illusion, and even deception, abound – parades, parties, concerts.
May 6 Al Rescha – the star that joins the fishes of Pisces

A time where ideas or people come together – conferences, exhibitions or new ideas.

May 24 Menkar  - in the mouth of the sea monster

The emergence or revealing of hidden issues  

June 7 Aldebaran – the red eye of the bull – a Royal star

Seeking the noble solution, honoring the noble individual.

June 11 Ankaa – the phoenix A time of recovery, to rise up from the ashes, to rebuild.
June 29 Bellatrix – the left shoulder of Orion A time of encountering the shadow or taking the harder pathway.
July 5 Betelgeuse - the right shoulder of Orion A period of optimism, a time of success.
July 7

Alnilam & Alhena - The belt of Orion and the foot of Gemini

Bringing different ideas and people together where they can be inspired by a mission or cause.
July 8 Rigel – the foot of Orion

The government releases new policies, to act with authority.

July 28 Procyon – the bight star before Sirius Explosions or eruptions, the sky is lit up with celebrations or city fires.
July 30 Murzim – the little dog An announcement, a proclamation or a protest march.
August 2 Sirius – the brightest star in the sky The potential for an historic event.
August 9 Acubens – the star of Cancer Questions and issues around the sacredness of life, the role of the family.
August 29  Alphard - the heart of the Serpent

Emotional upheavals and/or distress, criminal activity from a repressed group.

September 24 Alkes - the cup

A cup, a chalice, a vessel, be it a person or an object, is important. A time of healing.

October 18 Spica – the wheat sheaf An opportunity, a new concept or a time of learning.
December 5 Antares - the heart of the scorpion A period of strong passions, strong obsessions, intense focus.
December 27 Aculeus – the sting of the scorpion

A time of strong debate or criticism – newspapers challenging the system.

December 31 Facies – the eye of the archer The shadow of cruelty or aggression emerges.

Now what one is looking at with this parapegma is not the events which will happen every year but rather what is the quality or potential of the different parts of the year for New York's latitude. This is the stellar background into which the planetary patterns will settle. For example:

At the time of 9/11 the planetary pattern was Saturn/Pluto, so the whole world was encountering a difficult planetary pattern. At the latitude of New York it was ALSO in paran with difficult stars AND additionally, at the latitude of New York, governorship of time period was Alphard, the Heart of the Serpent.

All three points came together in time and place - planet, stars and latitude.

Another example for New York was the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883.

At the time of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge ( 23th May, 1883) there was a Sun, Saturn and Pluto conjunction but, at the latitude of New York it was not being stressed by difficult stars and it was under the governorship of Al Rescha the star which joins two things together - in this case it was the two sides of the East River.

Yet the very next day, with the Sun, Saturn Pluto conjunction still tight, Menkar took over governorship. This is the star in the month of Cetus the whale and it is a star which opens us to the power of the collective. Amid the novelty, joy and city pride of the bridge, there was tragedy. A woman who was walking up the steps of the Manhattan side tripped. Her female companion screamed. The scream triggered off a rumor that the bridge was about to collapse. In the panic and resulting crush, 12 people were killed and 35 others were seriously injured. The great beast from the collective, rising and linking with the Sun, Pluto, Saturn conjunction, combined to bring the darker side of the conjunction to bear.

We can therefore use a parapegma to gain insights into how a location will deal with a difficult planetary patterns by firstly considering the planetary pattern and then considering the stellar quality of that time period for the city.

November, 2005:
A fixed T-Square of Saturn opposite Neptune being squared by Mars

Later on this month we have a fixed T-square which could prove difficult for somewhere on the planet. Will it influence New York? The planets themselves indicate pollution, oil spills, environmental accidents, outbreak of plague, the breaking down of some form of barrier or a disaster caused by the weakening of a system. As astrologers we are all aware of the beginnings of this with the threat of a Bird Flu pandemic. But where in the world will we see the expression of this particular T-square? 

For most of the northern hemisphere from mid-October to early-December, Spica is the heliacal rising star as this star is close to the ecliptic and therefore affects most northern latitudes for the same period. Spica is the wheat sheaf in the hand of Virgo and not a star given to crises and difficulties. But what of the Southern Hemisphere?

In a band of latitude between 25 South to 15 South, this difficult T-Square links up with difficult stars. Additionally Zuben Eschamali is the heliacal rising star around 15 South. This is a star which is concerned more with personal gain than collective needs. The stars are:

 Neptune and Saturn both in paran with Menkar
(the star involved in the Brooklyn Bridge tragedy)

  Saturn in paran with Capulus
(a ruthless, aggressive star)

Neptune in paran with Alcyone
(a star about harsh judgment)

If visual astrology can help us with location, then it is at these latitudes that we can anticipate the expression of the Mars, Saturn and Neptune T-square - whether this is an outbreak of Bird Flu, a major oil spill or a breakdown in some city system. The fixed stars are also implying that it is unlikely to be a natural disaster, unless the consequences of the disaster are magnified or are the result of corrupt officials.

Albert(1934). "Das Werden der babylonisch-assyrischen Positions-Astronomie und einiger seiner Bedingungen" in Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft 88, 302-337.  


Rosa Parks – The woman who sat down to be counted 

A Case Study by Darrelyn Gunzburg 

This month like the last sees another iconic figure end her sojourn on planet earth. Rosa Parks died on 24th October, 2005 at the age of ninety-two. Fifty years earlier, tired of being humiliated by an outmoded, outdated and outrageous set of rules which discriminated against black Americans travelling on buses, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the middle rows of a Cleveland Avenue bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white man. One small step for a woman which ignited a flame of injustice and catalysed her title as "the mother of the civil rights movement".



Rosa Parks
4 Feb, 1913, Tuskegee, Alabama


But that day in December 1955 was not the first time Rosa Parks had confronted a bus driver.


In 1943 when she was thirty years old, she had confronted James Blake who had thrown Parks off his bus. Twelve years and many miles of walking later, Parks again confronted a bus driver. She was forty-two years old and the bus driver’s name was James Blake. It was the same bus driver! This time Blake demanded that the four blacks sitting in the middle section of the bus give up their seats so a lone white man could sit down. Three of them complied but Rosa did not.




As with Wiesenthal, we can consider the soil into which Rosa Parks’ chart was seeded in order to gain an understanding of the nature of her life.

Parks’ heliacal rising star is Rukbat. This is delineated in Starlight as:

             Rukbat - To lead a life that is unswerving from what is held to be the true path

Rukbat is the brightest star of Sagittarius the Archer, in the knee of the left foot. Picked for his sharp eyesight and his steadiness of stance and strength, the Archer was the feared and forceful warrior at a time when archers were the most important and powerful pieces in the game of war, for he was able to fight from afar rather than face-to-face with a sword. Rukbat is the star that offers steadiness and consistency, so as this helical rising star emerges from the Underworld into the light of day, Rukbat gives Parks a rudder or anchor to her life, allowing her to fight for long-term goals, rather than looking for easy or short-term solutions.

Her actions on that day in December 1955 risked legal sanction and even physical harm. She was fined $14 and arrested for not giving her seat to a white man but her arrest led to a three hundred and eighty-one day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, organized by a then unknown Baptist minister, Reverend Martin Luther King.  Rosa Parks had become the symbol of the mass movement which culminated in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and an end to segregation.

To add to the story we can look at Parks’ sky map and parans. Like Wiesenthal last month, we don’t have a timed chart for but the strength of the method of parans used in Starlight is that parans consider the first twenty-four hours of life and searches for the potential of each star-planet combination. There are many star-planet combinations we could examine but her natal Jupiter in fall in Capricorn square to Venus in detriment in Aries and at the Bends (square to the nodal axis) stands out as an obvious one to explore. In her sky map (below) we can see that at the time of her birth Jupiter was in the face of the Archer - so we can see from the visual astrology that this is a combative Jupiter [also see insert of Sagittarius at the top of this article].


Additionally there are three stars that link their myths to her natal Jupiter through parans.

Jupiter rising when Acumen is rising:

                   A person who puts themselves at risk in response to their social conscience

Acumen is one of a pair of nebula in the tail of the Scorpio (the other being Aculeus). Both of these stars are linked with mental, verbal or spiritual attacks, with Acumen carrying the shadow side. The lesson is to avoid lashing out or getting angry and simply confront problems in the clear light of day. The paran of Acumen-Jupiter again put Parks directly in the line of the bus driver’s fire but it took a complete Jupiter cycle before it matured and gave her the strength to respond as her social conscience dictated.   

Jupiter culminating when Facies is culminating:

                   Strong but potentially abrasive religious or philosophical views

Facies is the penetrating stare of The Archer. It describes a lethal weapon which can destroy others or be destroyed. Connected with Parks’ Jupiter, it suggests someone who is strongly focused, a non-diplomatic but achieving person whose alternative philosophic views allows her to turn around the notion of being the victim.

“Are you going to stand up?" the driver, James Blake asked. "No," answered Parks. "Well, by God," replied Blake, "I'm going to have you arrested." "You may do that," Parks responded.

Jupiter culminating when Alhena is on the nadir:

                   The scholar or explorer; the person with a mission

Alhena is the star in the in the foot of Pollux, known as the Proudly Marching One. To have Alhena connected with a planet in your chart is to have a cause to follow, a belief for which you will 'march'.

In conclusion

From this small investigation of Parks’ heliacal rising star and her Jupiter, we start to gain a glimpse of some of her dance card and the partners with whom she moves: 

  • Parks' fame brought its own burdens, for having won her Supreme Court challenge, she was unable to find work in Alabama, and suffered harassment and a number of threats against her – expressing the difficult side of Jupiter in fall in paran with Facies.
  • She and her husband relocated to Detroit where from 1965 until her retirement in 1988 she worked as an aide to Congressman John Conyers Jr. – showing the evolving expression of the steadiness of her heliacal rising star, Rukbat.
  • Widowed in 1977, Parks founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in 1987 to develop leadership among Detroit's young people – a clear expression of Jupiter in paran with Alhena.

In 1996 Parks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom before being awarded the United States' highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1999. On Sunday 29th October, 2005, Parks became the first woman to lie in honour in the vast circular room under the Capitol dome. A woman who sat down to be counted.


Starlight can be explored on the Zyntara home page
A diploma in Fixed Stars is offered by Astro Logos

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