The Moon: Hera, Pre-Hellenic Mother Goddess (Crete and Mycenaean Greece)

The Moon in western astrology mainly deals with the Mother aspect of the Moon. (see “Moon Magic and the Triple Goddess“)

I could have chosen any of the Mother Moon Goddesses such as Roman Luna, Thracian Leto, Celtic Arianrhod, Greek Selene or even the Earth Goddess Demeter to represent the astrological Moon.

After some research and more thinking I decided to assign the pre-Hellenic Minoan and Mycenaean Great Mother Goddess Hera to the Moon. She seemed to be the perfect fit, as Her character exibits exactly those qualities that our matrifocal foremothers would have considered to be those of a Mother. She is also linked to the crab and the bee, which in days gone by was another animal connected to Cancer. Finally, I felt that the Great Mother Hera deserved to have Her real story told: She is SO much more than what the Classical Hellenic Greeks turned Her into! Please read my post in the Goddess Spirituality section entitled “Hera – The Pre-Hellenic Great Mother Goddess of the Minoan and Mycenaean Greeks” to find out more about Her.

Hera‘s traits and what She is about

Hera represents the Mother, but not with any of the stigmas that our still very male-focused society attaches to that role. Hera is the kind of mother that our matrifocal / matrilineal ancestors would have known and esteemed.

Hera is life-giving and nurturing. She is strong and independent without being tied to a husband who takes care of Her. Hera takes care of Herself and all those She loves and holds dear. She is affectionate and forgiving, but can lay down the law when the need arises. Hera is fiercely protective of all She creates and loves.

I feel that Mother and Motherhood don’t necessarily have to refer to a woman with children. Instead Hera‘s mothering qualities broadly describe the aspect within all of us of Creatrix (or Creator in case of a man). Yes, this may be a child of course, but may also be a project.

Hera‘s main areas of focus are:

Unconscious “gut” feelings / right brain thinking

– emotions
– feelings
– moods
– instincts
– intuition

Mothering

– motherhood (with regard to both real and ideas children)
– nurture
– protection
– home / sanctuary

The Past

– roots
– background
– heritage

Habitual behaviours

– habits
– everyday lives

Reactions

– change
– adaptability

Hera‘s metal is silver.

Hera is linked to water and cups / recepticles which are symbolic for the Goddess as Life-giver and are therefore inherently linked to women.

Hera is associated with the womb and body fluids, especially menstruation.

Hera in a Horoscope

In astrology Hera is one of the personal planets. She represents:

* our soul
* our unconscious
* our psyche
* our deep desires
* our personal needs
* our nurturing self
* our comfort levels
* our ability to adapt
* our instinctive reactions
* our habitual behaviours

Hera rules Cancer and is exalted in Taurus, which means that She is perfectly at home in the sign of the Heifer / Bull. This is as expected considering that Hera Herself is the Holy Heifer and Taurus is a highly creative sign.

Advertisements

Hera – The Pre-Hellenic Great Mother Goddess of the Minoans and Mycenaean Greeks

Pre-hellenic Hera is the original Mother Goddess of the Old European matristic Cretan people. She is most likely based on the Egyptian Mother Goddess Hathor. I’m not sure what exactly Her name was on Crete, but once the Mycenaean Greeks brought Her with them to Greece, She became known as Hera. The Mycenaean Greeks were already a mixture of Indo-European and Old European people, but their culture was still matrilineal and Goddess-worshipping. Hera’s birth place was said to have been Samos in the Aegean Sea just off the west coast of Anatolia (today’s Turkey) which alongside Argos was Her main area of worship.

Hera is the emanation of the Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess: Hebe – Hera – Theria (see also “Moon Magic and the Triple Goddess“)

She is a Moon Goddess and as such was originally depicted as a heifer – a wild large-horned aurochs cow.

Unlike modern cows aurochs cows (now extinct) were large and strong with only slightly smaller horns than their male counterparts. They also didn’t have as prominent udders as today’s cows have. Many of the pictures of Minoan art that have been interpreted as depicting bulls might very well have been images of heifers with the purpose of representing the Goddess as life-giver and nurturer, as well as being the Mother of Civilisation and Agriculture. This premise is supported by the fact that bovine horns and heads were often depicted in stead of the Goddess’ womb and fallopian tubes. No doubt bulls were also revered by the Minoans for their vitality and as the son and eventually the consort / lover of the Great Mother, although probably less so in the early days when males had not yet been connected to conception.

Hera, the “cow-eyed” Goddess, and Io, the Heifer, from the classical era might actually once have been the same Goddess. According the Hellenic mythology Zeus turned Io, one of Hera’s priestesses, into a heifer after his seduction of her in order to protect her from Hera’s jealousy [1]

The original pre-Hellenic Hera was the same as the original Cretan Great Mother Goddess who reigned supreme.

Hera which means “Lady” was synonymous with words like woman, house, temple and womb.

She is THE creatrix. She is the archetype for motherhood in a matrilineal / matrifocal world, where women are respected and valued, where they are independent and free to make their own choices, where they are seen to be strong and capable and where their ability to give birth and nourish their babies from their own bodies is seen as a miracle and a blessing.

Hera, as the Mother Goddess, is life-giving, nurturing, generous and kind, but She is also strong and fiercy protective over Her children. She is not a push-over, but just in her judgement.

Anyone who has ever seen a cat mother with her young – be she a lioness, a tigress or a domestic queen – knows just what sort of a mother Hera is: She loves Her children with all Her heart and is affectionate and gentle with them, but threathen Her babies and She will rip your head off! Perhaps that’s another reason why Hera was occasionally depicted with lionesses by Her side, as is the case with other Great Mother Goddesses such as Inanna in Sumer, Ishtar in Babylon, Astarte in Canaan, Hathor-Sekhmet in Egypt and Kybele in Anatolia.

Hera’s Ambrosia, the Nectar of Immortality, used to be only given to Her daughters in the form of their moon blood and their ability to create new life. [2]

Pre-hellenic Hera is no man’s wife, but has plenty of lovers, one of them interestingly was Herakles (or Hercules as he is better known). His name means “Glory of Hera”. Later classical Greek mythology took Herakles under its wing and used him against the Great Goddess.

As is the case with all of the Cretan / Minoan Moon Goddesses, Hera’s symbol is the double labrys axe.

Her sacred animals include the crab, the bee and the peacock.

Her sacred fruit is the apple with its pentagram-shaped centre. It grows on Hera’s sacred tree in Her garden and is protected by Her sacred serpent Ladon. This is of course a precursor of the later Hebrew myth of Adam and Eve and the snake in the garden of Eden.

Hera is….

the Ancient Mother

the Foundress of Civilisation

the Teacher of Agriculture, and

the Goddess of Battle.

When Zeus’ patriarchs tried to conquer Her lands, Her daughters (and sons!) fought tooth and nail against the invadors. Even after their lands had been robbed off them and they themselves had become subordiates to their new male leaders, Hera’s children would not give up their Goddess. Their worship remained so strong that She was eventually given a place on Mount Olympus alongside Zeus. She was, however, forced to marry him (after a long “courtship” of 300 years). Hellenic Hera is portrait as the nagging and jealous wife, when the truth is that Hera simply never submitted to Zeus and made his life a misery. I have no doubt in my mind that this part of the myth is in actual fact talking about Hera’s strong Amazon daughters not backing down to their oppressors.

Let us sing now of Hera, the women’s goddess,
she who rules from her throne of gold.
Let us sing now of the queen of gods.
Let us sing now of the most beautiful goddess.
There is no one more beloved than you,
womanly Hera, no one we honor more.
-Homeric hymn

NOTES

[1] One of the purposes of Hellenic classical myth seems to have been to change the Greek worldview from that of a matrilineal one to a patrilineal one. It seems that Hellenic mythology was a tool for cultural manipulation. Much of what is going on within the stories and legends is actually a metaphor for that very conversion and the dominance of the new father-right over the old ways. Many of the myths are preocupied with showing just how virile and powerful Zeus and his fellow gods were and how the goddesses were either fluffy playthings that enjoyed being ravished or evil monsters that would turn a man to stone. The particular myth of Io, the Heifer, was, I believe, a form of early propaganda. I believe the purpose of the story was to portray an imaginary split within the old matrifocal world in order to, on the one hand, justify their own actions of conquering the lands of the Mother and, on the other hand, hopefully sow doubt in the minds of the women themselves: Io represents the young women who the patriarchal Greeks (through her affair with Zeus) claimed preferred the new father-right where men are the supreme leaders and heads of household, while the old women / elders / priestesses (i.e. jealous Hera in the story) rejected the new ways and stopped the young women from “following their hearts”.

[2] Classical by then patriarchal mythology calls Hera’s Ambrosia “the food of the gods”.

Moon Magic and the Triple Goddess

The Moon has three visible phases:

Growing crescent )
Full moon O
Waning crescent (

)O(

This is followed by three days of darkness, the dark moon.

The Moon with her large and impressive presence taught our ancestors that like her own phases all life was cyclical, going from birth to growth to death back to rebirth.

Since the earliest times the Moon has been linked to water, as her gravitational pull affects the oceans’ tides. Her primary connection, however, has always been to women whose menstrual cycle mimicks the Moon’s phases: pre-ovulatory, ovulatory and post-ovulatory stage followed by bleeding.

Our moon-times are intrinsically linked to moonlight. Women who sleep without artificial lights and who are exposed only to the Moon’s light, tend to ovulate around the full moon and bleed at the time of the dark moon.

The Ancients considered moon-blood to be a source of incredible insight and power. Every month a woman would bleed without having sustained an injury and would have “healed up” after just a few days without any lasting effects. For that reason women were believed to be particularly blessed and in possession of great intuition and healing powers. At the time of bleeding when women’s powers were seen to be at their peak, they would separate off from the rest of the group to connect with the Goddess. These women would later be known as Her priestesses.

Just as the Moon was understood to be responsible for germinating the seeds in the ground, the Ancients believed that she was directly responsible for human conception. Whenever a woman became pregnant it was thought that her moon-blood had “coagulated” to form a baby. There would be no more monthly bleedings until after the birth.

After menopause when a woman ceases to bleed altogether, her moon-blood with all its magical powers was seen to have been absorbed by her permanently. Presumably a similar explanation was given for nursing mothers who also retained their moon-blood, although only temporarily. Instead of only being able to access her great spiritual and healing powers during her moon time, a post-menopausal woman could do so all the time. For that reason older women were greatly revered and respected for their immense powers of intuition, healing and divination. They became their tribe’s elders, leaders, healers and advisors. They were also seen as being closer to the Goddess in Her aspect of death and birth bringer and were esteemed midwives and priestesses.

Once our foremothers had spottend the connection between the Moon’s phases and their own monthly cycles, they started to use that knowledge to measure time. Women made early lunar calendars by marking bones with special grooves and indentations. This eventually lead to measuring, mathematics and formal sciences. Words such as mental, measure, month and menstruation all come from Moon [in Latin “mens” means “mind” and “mensis” means “month”; in Germanic languages words for “month” are all derived from the word for “moon”].

The same as the Moon’s own phases are cyclical so were our lives understood to being part of a spinning wheel with no beginning and no end. The three phases of the Moon were seen to be a representation of a woman’s life cycle: young, mature and old. This would eventually evolve into the emergence of the Triple Goddess.

The growing crescent moon is the Maiden Goddess.
The full moon is the Mother Goddess.
And the decreasing moon is the Crone Goddess.

The Maiden

The Maiden aspect of the Moon Goddess is the Virgin in the true original meaning of the word: She is a strong and independent young woman who belongs to no-one other than Herself. She can do as She pleases which includes making love with whoever, whenever and however She wants. The Maiden is a young woman who has not yet been pregnant or given birth.

The Maiden Goddess is all about beginnings, about birth and growth. She is adventerous and curious with youthful exuberance.

She is best known as Artemis-Diana, the huntress, the protectress of women and children, the Lady of the Wild Beasts.

This aspect of the Goddess has been retained by patriarchal society, although in a twisted way. In today’s world a virgin is a young woman who has never had sex with a man. She is not just seen as innocent, but also as meek and chaste. The Catholic Virgin Mary on her moon sickle is an example of the maiden aspect of the Moon Goddess in a male-oriented society. [1]

This is a far cry from the free and untamed Artemis with her crescent bow: Artemis of Thrace, the land of the strong and independent Amazons.

Artemis and as such the Maiden Goddess is the archetype for Sagittarius.

The Maiden Goddess is Jupiter.

The Mother

The Mother aspect of the Moon Goddess is the full moon.

She is all about fertility and the nourishment and sustenance of life.

The Mother is ripe, lush, full-bodied and sexual. She is strong, powerful and fiercely protective over all she creates and loves.

She is pregnant, giving birth and nursing Her children, both real and idea ones.

Like the Maiden the Mother is also an accepted role-model for patriarchal women minus the sexuality minus the fierce power to protect. Protection is now seen purely as a man’s job and until recently a mother had to be tied to a husband. The Catholic Mother Mary holding baby Jesus is an example of the mother aspect of the Moon Goddess in a male-oriented society.

Demeter, the Greek Goddess of the Earth, is one of the best known examples of the mothering aspect of the Moon, although She is neither represented as being sexually active – like Aphrodite – nor nursing an infant – like Isis. The classical Greeks who wrote down the tales and legends that we now know as “Greek Mythology” were already patriarchal in their worldview and as a result Demeter’s character isn’t showing all of the aspects of the Mother Goddess.

In the most famous tale about Demeter She features alongside Her maiden self / daughter Kore, who represents spring and growth. She nurtures and sustains the Earth with Her abundance, both plants and animals. One day Hades (Roman Pluto) kidnaps Demeter’s little girl. Demeter is frantic and searches for Kore all across the Earth and the Heavens, leaving no stone unturned. Eventually thanks to the Crone Hekate She discovers not just Her daughter’s whereabouts, but also that Zeus actively encouraged her abduction and subsequent rape. At that point Demeter goes maaaaaaad. She is so furious that She stops all growth on Earth lest Her daughter is returned to Her.

This is a perfect example of a mother’s love for her child and her fierce need to protect.

The Mother aspect of the Moon is the archetype for Cancer.

The Mother Moon Goddess is the Moon in modern western astrology.

The Crone

The Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess is the part of Her that modern society is most afraid of. We no longer believe that life is cyclical, that death is followed by rebirth. To us death is the final end. As a result, we fear the Dark Goddess and Her representative the Crone and try to deny Her existence. It is time to relearn who She really is!

The Crone Goddess is the waning and dark moon. She has lived Her life, has nurtured Her children and contains the wisdom of both the Maiden and the Mother.

The Crone or Dark Goddess is about wisdom, intuition and healing. She is the Goddess of Transformation who receives the dead and prepares them for rebirth. She is the Goddess of Destruction AND Creation, of Death AND Birth. The Crone is the time keeper who reminds us of our limitations and boundaries.

Far from the Dark Goddess being our enemy as She is often portrait, She is in fact our beloved ally. She is our guide through the darkness, the unknown. In Her dark womb we can rest and transform for the next stage on the everturning wheel.

In some parts of the ancient world it was believed that the souls of the dead travelled to the Moon where they would wait as the Unborn for their return to life.

In Her aspect as Goddess of Rebirth the Crone is also the midwife, the protectress of women and their babies in childbirth.

The Dark Goddess isn’t always depicted as an old woman (like Hekate or Mother Holle). She is also often shown as a Snake (Medusa or Dikte) or Spider Goddess (Grandmother Spider) who both represent the continuity of life through rebirth – both shed their skin and appear to be continuously reborn. The Goddess as a bird (Lilith or Circe) is another form of the Dark Goddess as according the Marija Gimbutas during the Neolithic carnivorous birds especially nocturnal ones were encouraged to eat the flesh of the dead in order to complete the death process. As the layer of eggs the Bird Goddess is also the Bringer of Life.

The Dark Goddess / Crone is the archetype for Scorpio.

The Dark Goddess / Crone is Saturn – Grandmother Time, the Setter of Limits and Boundaries
The Dark Goddess / Crone is Uranus – the Destroyer
The Dark Goddess / Crone is Neptune – the Guide to Inner Wisdom
The Dark Goddess / Crone is Pluto – the Transformer

NOTE

[1] Interestingly the Virgin Mary with Her immaculate conception really shows Her neolithic roots, when the Goddess was still seen as being androgynous, i.e. having a womb and containing all of the generative life force so as to impregnate Herself.

The Planets

Modern astrology recognises 10 planets (this includes the Moon and the Sun) as well as several asteroids that are located between Mars and Jupiter.

The Sun is bright and hot. She’s life-giving yet can be destructive. Because we can’t look at Her radiance directly, the Sun is more coarse than delicate and more powerful than magical. For that reason She rarely features in the mystery religions of the ancient world. Until Patriarchy hi-jacked Her, in most parts of the world the Sun wasn’t given too much attention. However, the fact is that She IS the centre of our solar system and without her radiance and heat there would be no life on Earth. She may not be considered magical and mystical in quite the same way as the Moon (although there are plenty of scientific mysteries surrounding our very own star), without a shadow of a doubt the Sun is vitally important. For that reason instead of going along with the notion that the Sun is male, we need to reinstate Her as the Great Mother Goddess that She is!

The night-time planets – the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and the asteroids – is where the real magic and mystery lies.

The most prominent lights in the night sky are:
the Moon
Venus
Jupiter and
Sirius.

Sirius, which the Ancient Egyptians linked to Isis / Osiris, is the brightest star we can see from Earth. She’s not a “wanderer” (planet) and so doesn’t feature in astrology.

The Moon, Earth’s very own satellite, is the brightest and most magical body in the night sky. She’s big (as big as the Sun from our vantage point), can travel both in the day and at night and is born, grows to maturity, dies and is reborn every month. It is no wonder that She is the main manifestation of the Goddess. The Moon has always been linked to women, menstruation, fertility, wisdom, intuition and water. She has so many more sides and powers beyond what modern male-oriented astrology gives Her credit for. (See also “Moon Magic and the Triple Goddess“)

Venus is by far the brightest planet and is simply stunning to look at with Her true 5-pointed star shape. Like the Moon She appears, disappears and then reappears. She sometimes graces the eastern sky as a morning star and sometimes the western sky as an evening star. Venus has always been linked to the Great Goddess such as Inanna in Sumer, Ishtar in Babylon, Astarte in Canaan, Aphrodite in Greece and Freya in Germanic northern Europe to name just a few. (See also “The Original Venus – Goddess of Heaven, Earth and the Underworld“)

Jupiter is also an exceedingly bright planet that slowly wanders across the night sky. With Her being an outer planet unlike Venus (and Mercury) She travels literally across the sky without appearing and disappearing. I have no doubt that due to Her brightness Jupiter also featured prominently as a manifestation of the Goddess in earliest Mother-worshipping astrology. However, despite my long research I couldn’t find any reference that linked a particular Goddess to planet Jupiter. The earliest astrological records from the by then patriarchal Babylonians called Jupiter Marduk, the slayer of the Great Sea Serpent Tiamat. Alternatively, they referred to Her as Nibiru, the Planet of Crossing or the Ferry Boat.

Mars is another planet that can easily be seen with the naked eye. She’s bright orange and definitely stands out, more so than other orange stars like, for instance, Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion. However, Mars is nowhere near as bright or spectacular as Venus, so I’m not sure just how much attention our foremothers would have given Her. Many of the qualities that modern male-oriented astrology attribute to Mars – such as carnal sexuality and drive – used to be a vital part of the Goddess as Venus. She was always both a Goddess of love / sex as well as of battle. Modern astrology has split up romatic love and beauty (Venus) from its sexual expression and general human drive and passion (Mars).

Saturn, which was for a long time considered to be the outermost planet of our solar system, is also clearly visible with the naked eye. However, only through a telescope can Her true beauty be appreciated: there’s not much that’s more spectacular than Saturn’s rings! Due to Her small size and average brightness when viewed with the naked eye Saturn doesn’t stand out in the night sky. For that reason I doubt our matristic foremothers paid much attention to Her.

Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, is similar to Venus in that She appears, disappears and reappears, in this case, throughout the year. Like Venus She is also either a morning or evening star. Mercury never strays far from the Sun and so is difficult to spot from Earth. She can only be seen within 40 minutes of the Sun setting or just before rising. In addition to that Mercury is also a very small planet that doesn’t look very bright. For that reason, the same as Saturn, I don’t think She would have featured very prominently in early Goddess-worshipping astrology.

The outer planets – Uranus, Neptune, Pluto – as well as the asteroids have only been discovered recently and so have no Goddess-worshipping past.

I believe that with exception of the Sun all the characteristics modern western astrology attributes to the planets used to be aspects of only the Moon and Venus.

The astrological Moon only deals with Her motherly aspect, while Jupiter represents Her maiden form. The crone aspect of the Moon has been split up into Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. (See also “Moon Magic and the Triple Goddess“)

Equally, astrological Venus only deals with the romantic loving nature of the Goddess in Her manifestation as Venus. Her driven and sexual side have been attributed to Mars and Her capacity for relationships and magic are now aspects of Mercury. (See also “The Original Venus – Goddess of Heaven, Earth and the Underworld“)

The Sun is different and a newer introduction to astrology. I don’t believe that our early foremothers included Her theme of core character and life purpose in their teachings. Such ego-centrical thoughts would have been quite alien concepts to them.

In the following entries I’m going to reassign Goddesses to the various planets. This has been done by several other wonderful and inspiring women already, but I’m going to do it again, as it can’t be done often enough. Although it might appear at first glance that my doing so is no better than patriarchs assigning all male gods to the planets (with exception of moody Moon and beautiful loving Venus of course), I’m doing this in order to heal the devastation patriarchy has left behind in our women’s hearts and souls. After 5,000 years of oppression today’s women no longer feel a sense of self and self-worth, we no longer KNOW what it means to be female or feminine. As a sex we have become completely dependent on male approval and quite naturally accept the lie that all creatures and objects are essentially by default male, not to mention that humanity’s early achievements were all acomplished by mankind. Our women’s past has been violently erased. The main religions on Earth today only have one god-head who is a male. So when you consider that gods are usually archetypes based on real human traits that people of all walks of life can (or should be able to) relate to, to just have a male god-head makes 50% of the population worth-less.

Patriarchy tells us that in order to be feminine, a woman needs to wear dainty clothes and act submissive and chaste. We are first the property of fathers who then kindly pass our care on to our husbands. We first carry our father’s name, then our husbands. We don’t have names of our own. Many women are happy with this, even crave the traditional wedding and marriage set up. Some of today’s women have chosen to do completely the opposite of what we’re taught a woman should be like. They act and dress more like men and choose not to marry or have children in order to stick their proverbial fingers up at society’s male ideals. I believe that neither of those are true representations of what it means to be a woman.

It is no doubt that today’s women are much freer that we’ve been in thousands of years and yet it’s a far cry from the freedoms, appreciation and power our Goddess-worshiping foremothers must have enjoyed. If they could see us, their daughters’ daughters, now, they would surely weep! Women are estranged from their own selves, from their mothers and sisters and rarely are able to enjoy true women-women friendships.

The fact is that unless we listen to our hearts and try to open the door to our imprisioned and indoctrinated selfs, we will not find our true woman selves. We have been robbed and left as empty shells! However – and this is so very key – although our women’s past has been consciously erased, it has not been forgotten, but continues to slumber on in the recesses of our memories. In order to heal ourselves and become whole again, we need to rouse those memories and rediscover who we truly are. We need to decipher and de-power patriarchal value judgements and not care what anybody think of us. We need to rediscover our self worth, our inner strengths and natural magical and mystical powers. By assigning Goddesses to the planets we will be able to see all of human traits in a female light. The images will nourish our souls and teach our inner selves that it’s good and valid for a woman to be strong and passionate like our Amazonian foremothers were and that it’s equally as good and valid to be a mother or an old wise crone.

A Journey across the Zodiac

After a long winter the weather is finally warming up. The days are getting longer, the flowers are blooming and new life is spritting everywhere. The world is awash in green and bright colours, animals are waking from their long slumber and babies are being born. It’s the beginning of spring, the season of birth and growth. The zodiac signs that the Sun travels through in spring are Aries, Taurus and Gemini. [1] They are young and fresh, ready for life and raring to get going: Aries, the Pioneer, starts off the season as well as her own projects, Taurus, the Creatrix, builds and makes practical yet beautiful things that make life more comfortable, and Gemini, the Lovers, makes friends and connects with other people.

After a warm spring, summer arrives and with it comes the heat. It’s hot and dry, the fruits are growing and getting bigger, as are the baby animals. The year is in full swing, life is at its peak. Summer is the season of maturity and ripening. The zodiac signs that the Sun travels through in summer are Cancer, Leo and Virgo. They have matured from spring’s exuberance and are busy taking care of the fruits of their efforts to help them reach completion. Cancer, the Protectress, looks after what is dear to her: her sanctuary, her close friends and family. Leo, the Leader, is full of life and exudes confidence. She inspires those around her to be their very best. And Virgo, the Professional, analyses and dicerns the facts available. She has high standards and works hard to meet them.

The summer comes to a close and the nights are starting to cool down. Summer’s fruits have ripened and the leaves are turning yellow. Autumn has arrived and with it the season of the harvest. But as the nights are getting longer and the Dark Goddess yet again begins Her reign, life on Earth is slowing down and getting ready for winter’s sleep. The zodiac signs that the Sun travels through in autumn are Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius. They bear the fruits of previous work and are increasingly concerned with life’s darker side. Libra, the Diplomat, weighs up the pros and cons and with great charm mediates between the parties, Scorpio, the Investigatrix, delves deep to discover the secrets of life and death, and Sagittarius, the Adventuress, is a free spirit that won’t be contained.

Finally winter has arrived and with it the longest night of the year. From then on the nights are getting shorter again, but darkness will reign for a while longer yet. Winter is a time for rest and recuperation. The animals have slowed down or are hibernating and next season’s seeds are buried deep underground in Mother Earth’s protective womb waiting for spring. The zodiac signs that the Sun travels through in winter are Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. As winter is a time of rest, so are the signs of the zodiac at this time concerned with inner work and contemplation. Capricorn, the Keeper of Tradition, works hard to keep the wisdom of the old, while Aquarius, the Revolutionist, cuts away the unnecessary to make way for the new. And Pisces, the Empath, transcends the mundane into the spiritual realm, ready to give birth to the new season that starts with Aries, the Pioneer.

NOTE

[1] According to Geraldine Thorsten in God Herself the sign at the spring equinox used to be Taurus. Aries used to be the last sign in winter representing the process of rebirth that would culminate in the birth of the new season.

The Zodiac Wheel

 

The zodiac wheel spins round and round year in year out. Like the Moon’s phases and Mother Earth’s seasons there’s no beginning and no end. It has always been and will always continue to be.

In our modern western world, where death is seen as the final end and rebirth is impossible, the concept of “no beginning” is a difficult one to understand and accept. For that reason western astrology starts the wheel with Aries on the spring equinox and ends it with Pisces just before that date. However, the old belief of the never-ending wheel, the continuity of life through rebirth, is retained, as inevitably and forever more Aries comes after Pisces. The wheel keeps on spinning.

The 12 signs of the zodiac are categorised into the four elements they belong to: Earth, Water, Air and Fire. These alternate throughout the year: Fire followed by Earth followed by Air followed by Water followed by Fire, and so on and so forth. Each season is started off by a different element: Spring – Fire, Summer – Water, Autumn – Air and Winter – Earth.

Similarly the 12 signs are categorised into three modes: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. Again, these alternate throughout the year and each season follows the same pattern: Cardinal – Fixed – Mutable.

As there are 12 signs, four elements with three signs each and three modes, each elemental group includes a cardinal, a fixed and a mutable sign.

Fire

Aries – Cardinal – Spring
Leo – Fixed
Sagittarius – Mutable

Water

Cancer – Cardinal – Summer
Scorpio – Fixed
Pisces – Mutable

Air

Libra – Cardinal – Autumn
Aquarius – Fixed
Gemini – Mutable

Earth

Capricorn – Cardinal – Winter
Taurus – Fixed
Virgo – Mutable

Some astrologers have tried to organise the 12 signs into developmental stages that mirror the seasons or “age” of the year. Aries, being the first sign at the spring equinox, represents birth, while Pisces, the last sign, represents transcenscion to a higher plane. [1] As with the Fool’s developmental journey through the Tarot’s Major Arcanas, the 12 signs of the zodiac can also be read as a journey to enlightenment.

Another way to organise the 12 signs is in terms of the issues they concern themselves with. As the year progresses the signs are increasingly concerned with matters further away from the immediate environment. The first four signs after the spring equinox – Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer – tend to focus on matters that are of concern primarily to themselves such as starting projects, building things, making friends and looking after their own territory. The next four signs – Leo, Virgo, Libra and Scorpio – focus mostly on issues within their larger community, such as leading others, working with others, mediating between different parties and investigating life’s mysteries. Finally, the last four signs – Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces – tend to be concerned with universal often abstract matters such as freedom, traditions, humanitarianism and spiritual enlightenment.

NOTE

[1] According to Geraldine Thorsten in God Herself in the original zodiac Taurus was the first sign at the spring equinox and Aries the last one.

About Modes and Qualities – Our Approach to Life

The mode or quality (sometimes called quadruplicity) of a sign describes how someone approaches life and deals with its challenges.

Nobody acts in just one way all of the time, but based on a person’s horoscope a tendency can easily be identified.

According to Jonathan Tenney in The Motherpeace Tarot Playbook a person’s principal mode is usually determined by their sun sign. In most cases the supporting mode is either someone’s Moon sign or their Ascendant especially if the personal planets are in the same mode. In case of the Ascendant determining the supporting mode it also helps if the planet that rules the sign of the Ascendant is in the same mode.

Broadly speaking there are three modes or qualities a person may operate in – Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable mode.

* Cardinal signs tend to face challenges by doing something about them.

* Fixed signs tend to face challenges by remaining strong and perservereing.

* Mutable signs tend to face challenges by circumnavigating them.

Cardinal Mode

Signs that operate in the Cardinal mode are those that start off the seasons, i.e. they are those signs the Sun enters at the equinoxes or solstices. [1]

For that reason they are all about beginnings, initiations and fresh starts.

Someone operating in this mode who is faced with a new situation will do something about it. They will grab the proverbial bull by the horns.

Cardinal signs deal with things in an outward-facing, dynamic way.

Their approach to life is vibrant, spontaneous, impulsive, self-motivated and goal-oriented.

Aries (Sun in 1º at spring equinox)
Nature: Idealist (Fire)
Approach to life: do something about it (Cardinal)

Aries is an idealistic “go-getter”, a pioneer

Cancer (Sun in 1º at summer solstice)
Nature: Empath (Water)
Approach to life: do something about it (Cardinal)

Cancer actively protects all that she loves.

Libra (Sun in 1º at autumn equinox)
Nature: Analyst (Air)
Approach to life: do something about it (Cardinal)

Libra is an engaged diplomat.

Capricorn (Sun in 1º at winter solstice)
Nature: Realist (Earth)
Approach to life: do something about it (Cardinal)

Capricorn is a hard-working organiser.

Fixed Mode

Signs that operate in the Fixed mode are those the Sun enters in the middle of the seasons. The cross-quarter days – Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain – fall at the time when the Sun is in 15º of the respective Fixed signs. [1]

For that reason they are all about maintaining, perservering and remaining steady.

Someone operating in this mode who is faced with a new situation will stay solid and continue as before. Fixed signs are in it for the long haul and continue what Cardinal signs started. They are the ones that say “the show must go on”.

Fixed signs deal with things in an inward-facing, persistent and constant way.

Their approach to life is steady, loyal, determined, intuitive and self-willed.

Taurus (Sun in 15º at Beltane)
Nature: Realist (Earth)
Approach to life: get on with it (Fixed)

Taurus is a steady creatrix.

Leo (Sun in 15º at Lammas)
Nature: Idealist (Fire)
Approach to life: get on with it (Fixed)

Leo is an honest dependable leader.

Scorpio (Sun in 15º at Samhain)
Nature: Empath (Water)
Approach to life: get on with it (Fixed)

Scorpio is about intense emotional strength.

Aquarius (Sun in 15º at Imbolc)
Nature: Analyst (Air)
Approach to life: get on with it (Fixed)

Aquarius is a persistent revolutionist.

Mutable Mode

Signs that operate in the Mutable mode are those the Sun enters at the end of the seasons when its energies are dissolving. [1]

For that reason they are all about change and transition.

Someone operating in this mode who is faced with a new situation will attempt to go around it. Mutable signs are adaptable and elusive. They don’t like conflict and strive to lead a peaceful life.

Mutable signs deal with things in a flexible, easy-going manner.

Their approach to life is fluid, adaptable, elusive and, whenever possible, avoiding of trouble.

Gemini (late spring)
Nature: Analyst (Air)
Approach to life: adapting to life’s circumstances (Mutable)

Gemini is a versatile communicator.

Virgo (late summer)
Nature: Realist (Earth)
Approach to life: adapting to life’s circumstances (Mutable)

Virgo is a versatile professional.

Sagittarius (late autumn)
Nature: Idealist (Fire)
Approach to life: adapting to life’s circumstances (Mutable)

Sagittarius is a freedom-loving adventurer.

Pisces (late winter)
Nature: Empath (Water)
Approach to life: adapting to life’s circumstances (Mutable)

Pisces is an adaptive and elusive empath.

NOTE

[1] According to Geraldine Thorsten in God Herself until the arrival of the patriachs the first sign of the zodiac at the spring equinox was Taurus and the last one just before that date Aries.

Previous Older Entries