Darrelyn Gunzburg

In the October 2006 VAN I looked at what can be classified traditionally as a “difficult” star, Zosma, yet in considering the charts of Abraham Lincoln, Charlie Chaplin and Paul McCartney, we saw how each of them used their difficulties as a lever for change in their lives. In this issue of the Visual Astrology Newsletter I want to look at another so-called “difficult” star, Algol, the head of the Gorgon in the constellation Perseus, this time as the heliacal rising star in the chart of a client, Patricia (11 June 1960, 9:03 am, Mount Gambier, Australia).

In the October 2005 issue of this newsletter I reflected on Algol as the heliacal rising star in the chart of Simon Wiesenthal. Patricia does not lead the life of a celebrity, yet Algol walks with her everyday as her heliacal rising star, so the question is: How does she handle this difficult star?Patricia is a social worker. Her chart contains Mercury in Cancer on the Ascendant and people meeting Patricia for the first time are struck by her skill with language and her ability to communicate with care and compassion. As a social worker with Algol as her heliacal rising star, Patricia is well placed to step forward and give voice to those who are under-resourced, an attribute that forms part of her remit with government organizations.

Thus, Patricia in her career as a social worker is successful and we can see how Algol plays a fitting part in that success.

(Note: see the August 2005 issue of the Visual Astrology Newsletter for information on the star phase of heliacal rising)

Brady defines Algol in Starlight when it is in the phase of Heliacal Rising as:


                  Algol – Led by one’s passions, to create or destroy

In simple terms, Algol is intense female passion and power and if one can contain an unconscious compulsion to take revenge and focus that passion into a more productive outcome, Algol holds one of the most intense and emotional myths in the sky.  So what did Patricia’s life contain that made it possible for Algol to empower her rather than destroy her?

Patricia came to see me with a much more private dilemma. Her concern was with the resurfacing of an old love. A man she had met five years ago and with whom she had formed an intense connection had become scared of that intensity and of her passion and married someone else. With Algol as her heliacal rising star, the strong consuming passions of anger and rage could easily have devoured Patricia with revenge for a thwarted love. Yet she had wisely chosen to channel that energy into her work. Now, five years later, the man had returned with freshly-minted divorce in hand, wanting to take up where they had left off.  

As she gave voice to her question, “should I go back to this man and accept his offer of marriage?”, Patricia changed from a confident, fervent woman articulating social injustice into a cowed, frightened woman speaking in a small, scared voice. For Patricia’s chart also contains a Moon-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn in the 7th house in opposition to her Mercury. Having been rejected once for her ardour and her passion, Patricia’s Mercury was now being throttled by that part of her chart that feared rejection and was giving rise to her having separation anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.

Thus Algol which strengthened her voice and allowed her to heal wounds in her social work was now the very same power and passion which frightened her lover and from her fear of rejection she was suppressing Algol’s strength in her attempt to protect herself from further  hurt.

However through the consultation Patricia came to understand that unless Algol was given the same expression in her intimate relationship as it had in her working life, then no relationship was worth the suppression of that passion, and that it could end up destroying the relationship.

Of course there are fixed stars which sit underneath Patricia’s Mercury-Moon-Saturn opposition which help flesh out the meaning of that opposition; but in terms of a so-called “difficult” star, understanding the meaning of Algol as her heliacal rising star allowed Patricia to gain insights about her needs in relationship and gave detail to the larger picture.

Algol is often given “bad press” but we should remember that this star represents the raw passion of an empowered woman and should be embraced in one’s life rather than avoided or suppressed.