By Bernadette Brady
February 2005

This is the story of the Gathering of Kings. It is a story that has slowly been unfolding in our sky over the last year and in this coming month one of the key moments of the story is emphasised. It is a pattern we have seen only twice before in recent history – once in the summer of 1914; and again in late 1945, both of these being interesting times.

So to our story. Saturn is currently turning around in the stars of the twins (or, in modern horoscopic language, Saturn is retrograde at about 150 – 25Cancer). Now according to letters from Mesopotamian astrologers, Saturn is the planet of the king and thus its activity of turning amongst any stars was – and still is – of great interest to sky-watching astrologers. Therefore we can read its turning amongst the stars of Gemini as more than just one king. We can read this as two kings joining together or a group of kings in concert with one another.  

Now the action of “kings” coming together in this manner will happen every twenty-nine years as Saturn passes through the zodiac sign of Cancer and thus the stars of Gemini. Yet Saturn passing through this part of the sky is simply laying down the first part of the story. For as Saturn has been in this position, it has also been squaring Jupiter. Jupiter is currently extremely bright in our evening sky and, also retrograde, has been turning around near the beautiful star Spica in Virgo.

This pattern of Saturn and Jupiter has not been seen in the sky since late 1945 – 1946 coinciding with the end of the WWII and the formation of the United Nations.  

In Mesopotamian philosophy, Jupiter is classed as a force separate to the king, one which is capable of overpowering the king. If, for example, it turns in the stars of Leo, then the king will be overthrown. Jupiter is therefore the “Crown Prince” or foreign king or general who can gain the throne. A bright Jupiter harbingers a threat to the kingdom, a challenge to the establishment. However, this Jupiter is amongst the stars of Virgo and close to the brilliant star Spica and these parts of the sky are linked with harmony and gifts.

So this particular sky narrative may be a story about a “Crown Prince” who will take or secure a title in a peaceful manner, by agreement from the kings or gathering of kings. This story has been building in the sky for the last few months and will continue to do so until early June, 2005, but it is in this month of February that the Moon adds a most important comment, heralding the arrival of the peaceful “Crown Prince” between now and early June when Jupiter turns direct.

To understand how the Moon adds to this story, we need to take a step back and look at a basic rhythm that the Moon performs every month. This rhythm is neither the rhythm of its phases, nor of its aspects. It is another rhythm: that of the pathway it takes through the sky, night after night.

The moon in the northern hemisphere starts its cycle by rising in the south-east. When it rises from this position, it will only gains a small amount of altitude before it falls to earth again. (This is the dotted red line in the diagram which happens every month when the Moon is in the sign of Capricorn). The next night it will rise a little closer to due east and it will rise a little higher in the sky. It then sets a little further towards due west. Every night its arc moves. Half-way through this rhythm it rises close to due east, sweeps a “middling” arch through the sky and then sets close to due west. (This is the white line in the diagram which happens every month when the Moon is in Aries or Libra). After this the Moon begins its time of high-flying. Every day it keeps rising further towards the north and each time it climbs higher and higher in the sky. (This is the yellow line in the diagram which happens every month when the Moon is in Cancer). Eventually it turns in its rising position and repeats the whole cycle again.

The diagram is the monthly rhythm of the Moon as it sweeps its arch through the sky. For the northern hemisphere, if the Moon is in Capricorn, then it is low in the sky and in the south. In Aries or Libra it rises and climbs to its “middling” height; and when in Cancer, it rises further around to the north-east and  climbs much higher in the sky before setting in the north-west. [For the southern hemisphere reverse the signs of Cancer and Capricorn and swap north and south.]

So what has this to do with our sky story?

Well, if you were a sky-watcher, you would know the pathways of the Moon, how high the Moon could reach in the sky and the nature of this rhythm.

But on the 19th February, 2005, a new dynamic is added to the sky story. The Moon will leave its well-trodden path and climb higher in the sky than normal. It will be in Cancer, so we know it will gain its highest altitude. It will also have a northern declination of 270 43’ (technically called “out of bounds”) meaning it will be pushed higher above the ecliptic. What we will see is that the Moon will trace an arc through the sky climbing very high, and as it does so, it joins with Saturn (the king) and dares to rise above him, passing over the top of Saturn as Jupiter rises brightly in the east with Spica.

The above sky map (from Starlight) is for the evening of 19th February, 2005, for the northern hemisphere. A bright Jupiter rises with Spica (bottom left, the black rim is the line of the horizon) as well as the Chalice (Crater the cup) – next along the horizon to the right – as the Moon “breaks free” from her pathway and climbs higher (660 of altitude) and passes over the top of Saturn in the stars of Gemini.  

The last time the Moon climbed above Saturn in the stars of Gemini (The Gathering of Kings) was the summer of 1914. At that time Mars was eclipsing Regulus, the Heart of the Lion, and thus the rage of hostility overcame the kings of Europe and filled their eyes with the blood of war. This was, of course, the commencement of WWI. 

If you own Starlight, have a quick look at the sky map for 23rd June, 1914. It is a powerful lesson on the role of sky omens for astrologers. Thankfully there is no Mars in this latest event. The Gathering of Kings which is being overshadowed is by a “Crown Prince” who gains power by consensus. The harmony and peacefulness of Virgo is the major statement in this pattern and it describes the quality of the force which is overpowering the gathering of kings.

There are several meanings we can link to this. Firstly, it may mean nothing at all. We may just enjoy a lovely visual of a high Moon climbing above Saturn followed by Jupiter rising with Spica. Or we can probe the meaning of the sky story and ask questions of this sky. Such questions are:

Will there be a Gathering of Kings?
Will there be a special meeting of the UN?
Will there be a gathering of the College of Cardinals in Rome due to the death of the Pope?
Will a crown be handed to a Crown Prince, officially or unofficially?

These are the questions in my mind as the sky sets the stage for this event to unfold any time between now and early June, 2005, when Jupiter finally goes direct. We have not had such a sky story since 1914.

Finally there is one other question we can ask: what will this say about any child born on this night in the northern hemisphere? For in their horoscope it will simply look like they have a Moon-Saturn conjunction when actually they have a great sky story. Watch the Moon on the 19th. I will be.