Darrelyn Gunzburg
October 2006

The constellation Leo currently occupies our pre-dawn skies and can be seen rising magnificently before the sun during October. Usually when one discusses Leo, the star which takes our focus is the Royal Star Regulus (see VAN February 2006). However, there is a little-known, little-loved, unglamorous star who carries a myth linked to our everyday lives. Its name is Zosma and it is the star on the back of the Lion in the constellation Leo. 

During this month the constellation Leo is rising just before the sun. If you are up early around 6 am for most of us,  look due east and if the sky is clear you will see Saturn just below the head of the lion. Once you spot that then look down the lion’s back (as shown in the right hand image) and the next bight star (not as bight as Saturn) you will see is Zosma. Use the two identical sky views above to help you learn to see Leo.  For those of you in southern latitudes Leo will be tilted to the left, lying on its back but still rising before the sun (Images from Starlight)

Brady [1] writes:

Zosma is the place on the back of the Nemean Lion where Hercules crushed it. This myth is a symbol of the point in Greek and Roman mythology where the feminine, or rather, where non-establishment concepts or beliefs were extinguished. Zosma itself is not feminine but rather it belongs to those whom the establishment, either directly or indirectly, makes powerless. Generally it does not belong in the charts of the rich and famous, unless they become such a victim. However, it is present in the charts of victims, of people who are abused by the system. It is not an evil star but its presence means that the particular planet with which it is connected will potentially be abused in some way. The planet in your chart that is involved with Zosma [by paran] will potentially suffer. It may be through naivety, allowing you to be led into a victimising situation, or you may work with these issues as a social worker or care-giver in some way. This is not a star of glory and fame but rather of the invisible work of dealing with the victim, either in oneself or in one’s work.

When we combine this with last month’s eclipse on 22nd September, Saros Series 8 South at 29 degrees Virgo, which was concerned with completion, separation and letting go, [2] we start to understand why for some of us this time period has felt like a heavy burden weighing upon our shoulders.

Whilst such attributes in western society are often experienced as difficult, they can, of course, have their positive expressions. If you were a student completing a course of study, or were moving home, getting married, or taking on a new position in life, then the eclipse may well have helped you to complete some business at this time in order to begin afresh. Even the pain and confusion of an overwhelming loss such as the death of a loved one may well have been bathed with privileged insights by this eclipse, offering you clarity regarding the process of endings. [3]  

This month’s Visual Astrology Newsletter is thus focused on three charts al of which have Zosma in paran to their natal Venus.  Traditionally Zosma can be difficult but these charts show that such difficulties can be a lever for change in a person’s life.

                                                      Zosma in paran with Venus  
                                            Depression, a difficulty with self-esteem


 Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s natal Venus is in Aries in his 2nd house and trines his Saturn conjunct Neptune in the 10th house (see chart below):

Lincoln’s tremendous tenacity (Venus-Saturn) to his vision (Venus-Neptune) was fuelled by inspiration (fire trine) – his dedication to restoring and preserving the Union and putting an end slavery – but he had to dislodge certain established structures in society (Saturn-Neptune) in order to implement this vision. As well, Venus in Aries in his chart is in detriment, so his was the way of the extraordinary, the non-traditional. This natal configuration of Venus when also linked to Zosma gives us insights into his desire to end the suffering of others and being prepared to take the unpopular non-establishment line to achieve this.

Thus it is fair to say that as President Lincoln’s Zosma-Venus did not affect his personal self-esteem but was reflected in the social networks of the people of the country he was elected to lead. His policy of reconciliation with the South, and the changes to laws relating to the people who were abused by the system, the enslaved nation within a nation, transformed the country forever. Zosma may have been a burden to him in his grinding fight to maintain the Union but it also became his flagship.Unfortunately Zosma’s suffering also affected him personally when he fell victim to the bullet of assassin John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, yet this very act also assured Lincoln’s continuing immortality. 

Another Venus with Zosma – Charlie Chaplin

Actor, mimic, comedian, composer

Chaplin’s Venus, unlike Lincoln’s, is in rulership in Taurus and forms part of a T-Square with Mars in Taurus in the 7th house opposite the Moon in Scorpio in the 1st house conjunct the Ascendant and Saturn in Leo at its apex in the 9th house conjunct the MC. (see chart below)

This T-Square describes someone who resolves difficult issues of relationship (passion, possession and trust versus rigidity, inflexibility and betrayal) with authority, isolation, separation and control. Beneath it all sits Zosma connected with Chaplin’s Venus – being a victim of relationship in some way.

This was expressed in his early years by a mother with acute mental instability who was eventually confined in mental institutions. Chaplin along with his older half-brother, experienced acute privation and were often hungry. Eventually he was taken into public care.

Four months short of his tenth birthday, Chaplin’s life changed dramatically and thanks to his father’s professional connections, he became a professional stage artist. By the time he was seventeen Chaplin was already being given top comedy roles.

So how was Zosma-Venus expressing itself in his life? Chapin’s personal life was often stormy. He was married four times and his divorces were sensationalized in the media. But he had a genius for comic creations but the ones we remember most are the ones which portray the victims of society, in particular The Tramp – who can be seen almost as a personification of a face of Zosma.

A final Venus with Zosma – Paul McCartney – former Beatle and singer/composer

McCartney’s Venus is also in Taurus but he has it in the 9th house square his Moon in Leo in the 11th house. Early imprinting from his mother taught McCartney to fill his emotional appetites with love and praise from the masses (Moon in Leo in the 11th house). One would think, astrologically, that this is an indication of fulfilled personal relationships but Zosma, in paran to his Venus brings into this mix a sense of victimisation

An early expression of this Venus-Zosma-Moon aspect came in McCartney’s fifteenth year when his mother died from breast cancer. Venus-Zosma-Moon aspect does not mean the early death of mother for everyone but it was how McCartney experienced it. The fixed square forces him, through slow-paced action (fixed square) to express his feelings as a victim of early loss and to become an emotional relater (Moon-Venus). When Lennon’s mother died a few years later, their common bond of grief gave McCartney’s Zosma-Venus the platform it required. We hear that voice of loss and depression in his early song lyrics with Lennon:


(“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away/ Now it looks as though they’re here to stay…”),

You’ve got to hide your love away

(“Here I stand head in hand /Turn my face to the wall / If she’s gone I can’t go on / Feelin’ two-foot small /Hey you’ve got to hide your love away…”),


(“I’m the kind of guy / Who never used to cry / The world is treatin’ me bad… Misery!”),

Nowhere Man

(“He’s a real nowhere Man / Sitting in his Nowhere Land / Making all his nowhere plans / for nobody.”)

“To allow someone in grief to give voice to their experience is not just being kind. It is saving their life” (Gunzburg, 2004, p. 135). This Zosmic voice (Zosma in paran with Venus) strengthened McCartney’s understanding of steady and loyal relationships (Venus in Taurus). At the same time he gave the world some of its most memorable musical experiences.

In conclusion…

This Visual Astrology Newsletter has considered the fixed star Zosma in paran with Venus in the charts of prominent people as a way of untangling what we mean by the word “burden”. For it is easy to fall prey to the notion that sacrifice and burden must cause devastation. Indeed from the above examples we can see that burden – the letting go of something which we hold dear – is often the grit in the oyster that produces the pearl of wisdom and insight.  If you have Zosma in your chart, have a look at the planet with which it is in paran and ask yourself what burdens you may have been asked to carry in your life.


[1] Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Maine, USA:Samuel Weiser, pp. 267-268.
[2] Brady, Bernadette.(1992). Predictive Astrology, the Eagle and the Lark. Samuel Weisers: York Beach, Maine.
[3] See Gunzburg, Darrelyn. (2004) Life After Grief: An Astrological Guide to Dealing with Loss, Bournemouth: Wessex Astrologer.