Darrelyn Gunzburg
February 2007

In previous issues of the Visual Astrology Newsletter I have been looking at charts which have planets or luminaries in paran with what are traditionally considered to be be “difficult” stars – Zosma and Algol. In this issue I want to continue exploring this group of challenging stars with a case study involving Facies.

Facies is the star in the head of Sagittarius the Archer. The earliest writings about this Archer are on cuneiform tablets from the Euphrates calling Sagittarius the Strong One or The Giant King of War [1]. The Egyptians saw it as a hand holding an arrow and Aratus called it the Wielder of the Bow. To the Persians this constellation was Kaman, to the Turks it was Yai, and in Syria it was Kertko, all names signifying a Bow or Bow and Arrow.  However it was translated in these various cultures, one quality was constant – to be of worth, the Archer had to find his target with this bow, otherwise he was of little significance.

So the Archer became known as a feared and powerful warrior, able to fight from afar rather than face-to-face with a sword. Picked for his sharp eyesight and steadiness of stance and strength, he was the ‘green beret’ of the squad when archers were the most important and powerful pieces in the game of war. Thus the soldier of Sagittarius was cruel, stormy, wild and feared, an extremely threatening figure whose greatest skill was his eyesight, embodied by Facies, the penetrating stare of the one who holds the lethal weapon, the one whose remit is to force a way without regard for others. As a consequence, Facies became known as being cruel and ruthless and its darkest shadow was the evil of war. Its mantle is that it is considered to be one of the most difficult and possibly most violent bodies in the heavens.

Yet whilst Facies may mean a person may be non-diplomatic, if balanced, they will also be one who achieves. For when Facies makes a paran to a planet or luminary in a person’s chart, the planet it touches will be extremely focused and driven and the person can push forward with their goals and aim high – as long as they are also aware that such actions can slide into ruthlessness, for Facies can as easily express itself as the leader as the dictator. Yet if Facies is the only difficult star in the person’s chart, then it will talk more of concentration, than cruelty; if other difficult stars are also present, then issues of heartlessness and even brutality could be a problem.

The other side of Facies is the individual who may be the victim of the archer’s stare. John Lennon, for example, has Facies as one of the stars on his angles. Brady in Starlight, says of this combination:

                  The soldier, athlete, or the aggressor; or alternatively, the wounded

Lennon was the victim of a fan’s bullet when he was murdered in New York City on 8 December, 1980, when he and his wife, Yoko Ono, returned home after a recording session.

But what happens when you are not famous or in the public eye? My client has her Venus-Mars conjunction in Capricorn in paran with Facies in the prime of her life:

Facies with Mars:
[from Starlight]
Endurance, physical or mental, for good or for evil

Facies with Venus:
[from Starlight]
Anger at injustices, seeking a different order

Although in the 8th house, this conjunction is within 5 degrees of the ninth house cusp and in the same sign as it, so one can read this conjunction as taking on more of a ninth house expression. This exalted Mars in Capricorn with its intuitive base (ruling the 12th house) and working best with the support of partnerships or business relationships (ruling the 7th house), uses its practical drive and action in order to gain outcomes and achievements. A planet in exaltation can be highly successful, as long as the person is prepared to put in continual effort and energy and not sit back on one’s laurels. Facies in paran with this Mars, adds turbo power to its hard-working capacity. Mars in conjunction with Venus makes this a highly creative combination, receptive (Venus) as well as driven (Mars). Thus my client was not only seen as steady and reliable (Venus ruling a Taurus Ascendant) and extremely hard-working (Venus ruling the 6th) in her networking (Venus) but Facies in paran with her Venus gave my client the right amount of anger at the injustices she saw to use her networking skills to create a climate of change.

Has my client use Facies well? Graduating with a law degree, by her early forties my client had risen to a position of executive advisor with the Family Court of Australia (Venus-Mars in 9th in Capricorn).

It was her vision and that of a colleague which in 2004 led to registries in the state of Victoria being able to share information and resources, hence to be more effective for their clients. Here we can see Facies with Venus in operation: my client recognized a weakness in the system that disadvantaged family law clients and with endless hard work and endurance (Facies in paran with Mars in Capricorn), set about changing the system (Facies in paran with Venus in Capricorn). 

The success of this venture led to her work on the joint initiative between the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, both independent courts established within the Commonwealth of Australia, in developing a new approach to the way services were delivered to clients in family law across Australia.

My client was recognized by her peers and the legal profession as having extraordinary qualities in legal management and the energy and vision to bring nationwide changes in service delivery to those in need. As long as my client had visions she could implement to help bring about change (Facies with Venues) and on which she could work long and hard with practical results (Facies in paran with Mars in Capricorn), this “difficult” star was happy.

My client’s story does not have a happy ending, however. In July 2005 my client was diagnosed with brain cancer and died two months later. Despite her sustained focus, my client had encountered the penetration of Facies. We could surmise that with Facies in paran with Mars, the arrow’s work was swift. Yet it is also important to remember that it is illogical to connect one difficult star with certain death. Other things were going on in her chart.

My client has since been honoured by the Family Court of Australia with an annual Award in her name, given to people who demonstrate the qualities she exhibited: innovation, pro-activity and providing exemplary service in response to community needs. Facies in paran with her Venus-Mars continues to drum her qualities of  physical and mental endurance for the good of others  (Facies in paran with Mars) and the ability to seek a better order (Facies in paran with Venus).

[1] Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Maine, USA:Samuel Weiser, pp.293-299.