Libra – The Scales – September 23 to October 23

“Libra – sign of harvest and karma’s balance –
is a bridge builder and a diplomat.
She’s charming and graceful,
artistic and refined.
She’s warm and personal
with a quick and active mind.
Seeing all sides to a story
she strives for peace and harmony.
With elegance and style
she’s inventive and adventurous
and never fails to smile.”
– by Silvestra Silvermoon

Goddess Symbolism

The sign of Libra didn’t exist in the ancient Mesopotamian zodiac. Instead it was part of Scorpio. Modern western astrology inherited the sign of the Scales from the ancient Egyptians, although the original sign wasn’t quite what it is today.

The Egyptian glyph which the Romans interpreted to represent the scales actually depict “the sun rising over the hilltop”. In other words the sign known to us as Libra originally signified the Ascendant or Rising Sign.

The constellation known to us as the Scales first appears on the eastern horizon when the Sun is in Aries. In ancient Egypt, about 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, this took place in early March, which was the beginning of the harvest or dry season “Shemu”. The first month of Shemu was dedicated to the child god Chonsu (or Khonsu, Khons) and was known as Pa-en-khons or Pashons. Chonsu was “The Traveller of the Night Sky”. He was the new moon that was first seen in the west when the constellation of Libra was rising on the eastern horizon. Chansu represented the vegetation and the harvest.

When the Romans saw the Egyptian glyph that depicted the sun rising on the horizon they interpreted it to symbolise the scales that were used for weighing the harvest. With the month of Pashons being the first month of the harvest season, their mistake was understandable. As in Europe the harvest takes place in late summer, the Romans placed the sign of Libra in September after the sign of the Goddess (Virgo) and before the sign of the Otherworld (Scorpio). In western astrology the Sun enters Libra at the autumn equinox when night and day are balanced and equally as long.

Apart from the obvious weighing of the harvest and the balance of night and day the Romans also gave the Scales a third meaning, that of weighing the souls of the dead before entering the Underworld.

The Romans and the ancient Greeks were great believers in Law and Justice. These concepts and that of personal responsibility and karma were also adopted from the ancient Egyptians. Maat is the Goddess of Wisdom, Time and Fate. She wears an ostrich feather on Her head and carries scales in Her left (heart) hand and an ankh – the symbol of eternal life – in Her right hand. She weighs each heart against the ostrich feather to restore the balance and equilibrium of the universe. Maat often replaces Saturn in feminist astrology, which is very apt, as Saturn is co-ruler over Libra.

Throughout the ancient world and even for us today the concepts of Justice such as democracy, freedom and equality have always been female. To this day Lady Justice stands in front of courtrooms, while her sister Libertas, the Goddess of Freedom, continues to hold the torch as the famous Statue of Liberty.

Justice is female because she IS the Goddess. She is all and everything, and Her law, that of nature, cannot be broken and must be obeyed by every living creature. She is the restorer and maintainer of order and harmony. She is wisdom. She is karma. And Libra is Her sign.

Libra’s Characteristics and Traits

Librans are beautiful people, very refined and incredibly artistic. They are charming, graceful, elegant and sophisticated in everything they do. They abhor vulgarity and rudeness and will try their utmost to restore peace and harmony. Librans love all things beautiful.

True to their Airy nature Librans are real people’s people who thrive within a team or partnership. They have incredible verbal skills and a real flair for presentation. For that reason they make excellent advertising and marketing executives who with natural style and eloquence are highly attractive and can be very persuasive.

Librans are natural diplomats who can see all sides of every story. They are objective and able to empathise with all parties involved. Due to their courteous nature and sense of delicacy, they are natural peacemakers.

Librans are often concerned with social justice and often dedicate their lives to bringing about change and betterment for their communities.

Due to their cardinal nature Librans are driven and active people with a sense of adventure.

Librans are strong willed with a youthful, joyous disposition.

In summary Libran women (and men) are:

– refined
– elegant
– sophisticated
– charming
– graceful
– courteous

– highly critical
– curious
– observant
– quick-thinking
– with an active mind

– artistic
– lovers of beauty
– inventive
– with fresh ideas

– sensitive
– diplomatic
– harmonising
– balancing
– seeking change
– objective
– able to see all sides
– about social justice / equality
– co-operative
– adjusting
– willing to compromise
– peace-loving

– with great verbal skills
– with a flair for presentation
– persuasive

– team players
– about partnership (i.e. without hierarchy)

– strong willed
– driven
– active
– ambitious
– youthful
– with a love for life
– adventurous
– with a zest for experience

– warm
– personal

Libra is a cardinal Air sign that is ruled by Inanna, Goddess of Love, Beauty and Harmony. It is co-ruled by Mother Holle, the Crone of Time and Fate.

Libra is associated with pink, blue-green and any colour combination that is stylish.

Within the body Libra is linked to the loins, the kidneys, the adrenals and the lower back.

Libran qualities are most prominent when the Sun, the Moon or the Ascendant (Rising Sign) are in the sign of the Scales.

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Virgo – The Goddess – August 23 to September 22

“Virgo – the sign of the Goddess Herself –
has a mind that’s sharp and clear.
She’s independent and self-reliant,
a valued friend amongst her peer.
She’s objective and observant,
a perfectionist, discerning and refined.
She’s broad-minded and exclusive,
she’s generous and kind.
– by Silvestra Silvermoon

Goddess Symbolism

Virgo is the sign of the Great Cosmic Mother, the Goddess Herself.

The Virgo imagery is that of a young maiden to represent the Goddess as Virgin, but not in the Christian meaning of chaste and intact. The Goddess is the Universe, She is everything and all. She is Mother Nature who brought forth all of life, all order and harmony. The Goddess is a virgin under the original meaning that She gave birth to all existence by Herself, from within Herself, out of Herself.

The Great Mother Goddess as the Universe, as Mother Nature, creates life without another. She is Virgin. That is the original meaning behind the word. It it with that original meaning in mind that we can understand why Goddesses such as (the pre-patriarchal) Artemis were called Virgin Goddess. She was once upon a time seen as the Great Mother Herself.

As time went on, the meaning of the title Virgin was elaborated on. In ancient Greece, for instance, a virgin or “parthenos” was once a woman who was bound to no man. She was free and independent and not necessarily someone who’d never had sexual intercourse. Before patriarchy made pre-marital sexuality for women a taboo, Virgins were merely young women before pregnancy and motherhood. Throughout the ancient world virgins were the Priestesses of the Goddess, their main focus in life not being motherhood but rather the search for truth and knowledge.

As human consciousness evolved so did the imagery of the Goddess. Especially in ancient Greece in Her manifestation as the Moon She was represented no longer as one Goddess, but was portrayed as a Triple Goddess – the Maiden as the Goddess of the waxing crescent, the Mother as the Goddess of the full moon and the Crone as the Goddess of the waning crescent and dark moon.

The Virgin or Maiden Goddess symbolises birth, growth, freedom and youthful exuberance. (To find out more about the Moon and her three phases, please check out my post “Moon Magic and the Triple Goddess“)

So the first connection of the Maiden imagery of Virgo is the Goddess Herself – first as the Creatrix of all existence from within and out of Herself and second as the Maiden Moon Goddess who is free and unbound and symbolises new beginnings. As that the image of the Virgin also represents the Virgin Priestess who dedicates her life to the Goddess and Her teachings. (cf. the Tarot card “The High Priestess” or “Popess”)

The second connection of the Virgo imagery is linked to the timing of the sign. When western astrology was first written down by the ancient Mesopotamians the Sun was in Taurus and not Aries at the time of the spring equinox. So Virgo, the sign of the Goddess, fell not at the end of August, but rather at the beginning of the month when the first crops had ripened. Lammas on August 1st or 2nd to this day celebrates the harvest of the first crops, the grain or corn harvest.

So Virgo also represents the Corn Goddess, such as Demeter in Greece and Ceres in Rome. She symbolises abundance and Earth’s fruits. She is Mother Earth Herself who feeds and nourishes us from Her own body.

Interestingly, the sign of the Goddess is preceded by the sign of the Lioness. In the ancient world two lionesses (later lions) were often depicted flanking gates and thrones in their sacred role of Protectresses and Guardians of the Mysteries. With that in mind it probably is no accident that Leo precedes Virgo.

Virgo’s Characteristics and Traits

Virgo is one of those signs that get a lot of bad press. They’re often portrayed as boring, geekish and frigid. Nothing could be further from the truth! These erroneous and pretty slanderous descriptions are obviously based on the false belief that Virgo, the Virgin, is a chaste, prim and proper little lady who only does as she’s told. Well, let me tell you the truth…

When you hear Virgo don’t think of some Puritan maiden who’s prim and stiff and wouldn’t like sex if Adonis himself came begging for it.  Instead, visualise the Maiden Goddess of the Moon, a young woman who is strong, independent and free-thinking. Although wisdom is generally associated with the Crone aspect of the Moon, the Virgin Priestesses of the ancient world were the keepers of knowledge. They were not celibate but selective and every year participated in the celebration of the Sacred Marriage. The image of the Virgin Priestess captures the essence of Virgo very well.

Virgos are exceedingly clever, sharp, observant, analytical and free thinking. They are professionals who seek perfection and wish to create order and harmony from chaos. Virgos are mentally exceedingly agile and broad minded. They’re objective and tolerant of other’s life choices.

Virgos are great team players and are valued by those around them for their sensitivity and gentleness.

They are independent and self-reliant with a great sense of judgement. Virgos make excellent healers.

As is to be expected from an Earth sign Virgos are very much at home in their bodies. Their sharp Mercurian minds live in perfect harmony with their earthy sensuality. Virgos don’t just reside in their heads, but are generally dextrous and highly skilled at physical tasks.

In summary Virgo women (and men) are:

– clever
– intellectual
– sharp-minded
– rational
– objective
– analytical
– learned
– mentally agile

– professional
– with great judgement

– discerning
– acute
– researching
– comparative
– observant

– kind
– refined
– gentle
– shy
– peaceful
– seeking harmony
– sensitive

– great with people
– team players
– generous
– egalitarian

– responsive
– flexible
– broad-minded
– tolerant

– with high expectations
– exclusive
– perfectionists
– self-correcting
– achievers

– health conscious
– healers

– independent
– self-sufficient
– self-reliant
– uninhibited
– courageous

– practical
– responsible
– tenacious
– disciplined
– conscientious

– creative
– imaginative

– at home in their bodies
– sensual
– “marriage” of mind and body
– dextrous
– skilled

Virgo is a mutable Earth sign that is ruled by Freyja, the Goddess of Communication, Travel and the Power of the Mind.

It is associated with purple – the colour of wisdom – and earthy colours.

Within the body Virgo is linked to the intestines.

Virgo qualities are most prominent when the Sun, the Moon or the Ascendant (Rising Sign) are in the sign of the Goddess.

Leo – The Lioness – July 23 to August 22

“Leo – Guardian of the Mysteries –
is a sign of strength and generosity.
With a warm and open heart
she’s radiant and attractive
her leadership skills quite set her apart.
She knows she’s fab and loves being centre stage.
With eloquence, charisma, honour and grace
her life force burns bright and vital
bringing sunshine to every space.”
– by Silvestra Silvermoon

Goddess Symbolism

The lion, a strong, proud and powerful animal, has long been associated with the Goddess. What is little known, though, by most people is that it was in fact the lioness who was the orginal Protectress of the Mysteries.

Lions are very much a matrifocal animal. The females – mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, aunts and grandmothers – live together in prides all of their lives. They look out for one another, hunt together or individually and protect each others cubs from newcoming lions.

Lionesses are independent, fierce, loyal, brave, strong, graceful and agile. They are the primary hunters of their pride and are highly protective over their young.

Male lions are large and heavy with a lazy disposition. Within a pride they are quite placid unless they’re fighting with incoming males.

Once grown up young males leave the pride of their birth and wander about either alone or in a so-called coalition of fellow males – both related and unrelated – in order to find a new pride and thus females. To be able to mate with the females of a new pride the invading males have to fight the resident males. On average adult male lions stay with the same pride for about 3 to 4 years only before they are evicted or killed. If the usurpers succeed they try to kill all cubs under the age of about 18 months, as that’s the only way the females will enter estrus immediately. That is when the protectiveness of the lionesses comes in – all the females unite to protect the cubs from the intruding males.

So, as you can see, the Goddess is much more linked to the lioness, while the patriarchal invaders of the ancient world were perfectly represented by the male lion.

The lioness is a very ancient symbol, as old as the bovine head and horns (i.e. bucrania).

The earliest representation of a lioness can be found in the cave “Les Trois Frères” in Ariège, France, where a drawing from some time between 27,000 and 14,000 years ago was discovered leading into the inner sanctuary. The image is situated in a prominent position looking directly at all persons who wish to enter this most sacred location.

As the Queen of Animals the lioness at “Les Trois Frères” is the Fierce Protectress and Guardian of the Mysteries of the Goddess. Throughout the ancient world from the Paleolithic era onwards the lioness can be found on the sides of gates and thrones, protecting either what is beyond the gates or whoever sits on the throne.

In Çatal Hüyük a statue was found from about 6,000 BCE of the Mother Goddess giving birth while sitting on a thones flanked by two lionesses. They are guarding and protecting the Goddess as She’s bringing forth new life. She trusts them inherently, as they are a part of Her as She is a part of them. The Goddess as the Mother of All Animals feels perfectly safe giving birth, a time of great vulnerability, with one of the world’s most dangerous predators!

This image is the forerunner for later historical Goddesses such as Inanna, Ishtar, Isis, Sekhmet, the Minoan Goddess of Animals, Cybele as well as Durga, the Mother Goddess of the Hindus.

The Great Goddess Inanna Herself was often called “Labbatu” which translates as “Lioness”.

The statue of the Minoan Snake Goddess from about 1,600 BCE wears a miniature lioness on Her hat.

From as late as the 7th century BCE several images of lionesses were found in the temple of the Goddess at Prinias on Crete.

Just as the lioness in the Paleolithic cave painting in France represented the Guardian of the Mysteries, the Protectress of the Sacred, so did all the other lionesses of the Goddess throughout the ancient world sybolise the same.

Once society became patriarchal and solar-based the male lion replaced the fiercely protective lioness. The lion with his spectacular mane became a symbol for the sun, for stregth, power, bravery and warrior’s valour. He became the emblem of kings and would be attributed all of the lioness’s qualities plus of course his own superior physical strength and fighting power.

As said before, male lion behaviour and their life styles within an all-male loyal coalition was perfectly suited to the new patriachal leaders of the ancient world. Fact is, most of the traits and characteristics of the sign of Leo such as generosity and warm-heartedness are qualities of the lioness and not the male lion.

Leo’s Characteristics and Traits

Leos have a passion for life that makes them such radiant and bright characters that people feel attracted to them and would quite literally follow them to the end of the Earth. Leos are natural born leaders whose enthusiasm and vitality shines through no matter what field they’ve decided to focus on. However, they themselves are far from being domineering or hierarchical. They’re in fact independent characters who are non-competitive and non-agressive and believe very much in equality.

Leos have a huge heart, are loving and caring and famous for their generosity. They love being the focus of attention, enjoy drama and dressing up. They’re beautiful people who are graceful and charming.

Leos are noble and honourable with a strong will and great sense of self-worth. They are intuitive with a deep and rich inner experience that helps them express themselves creatively. The arts and theatre are amongst Leo’s passions.

Leos are individuals whose intense life force makes them untamable – something that only adds to their magnetism.

In summary Leo women (and men) are:

– noble
– honourable
– honest
– admirable
– stable
– with great integrity

– warm-hearted
– large-hearted
– generous
– caring
– loving
– non-competitive
– non-aggressive
– egalitarian
– personal
– down-to-earth

– sunny
– optimistic
– cheerful
– enthusiastic
– joyful

– natural leaders
– influential
– attractive
– unconventional
– individual

– vital
– intense
– passionate
– radiant

– outgoing
– open
– with a love for being centre stage

– strong-willed
– self-confident
– aspiring
– with high stamina
– energetic
– powerful
– untamable

– beautiful
– graceful
– charismatic
– eloquent

– romantic
– sensitive
– with a love for theatre, dressing up, the arts and children
– with a love for creative expression
– intuitive
– deep
– with a rich inner experience

Leo is a fixed Fire sign that is ruled by Hathor-Sekhmet in Her aspect as the golden and fiery Sun.

It is associated with gold, glitzy and bold colours.

Within the body Leo is linked to the heart as well as the spine and upper back.

Leo qualities are most prominent when the Sun, the Moon or the Ascendant (Rising Sign) are in the sign of the Lioness.

Cancer – The Crab – June 21 to July 22

“Cancer – sign of water and the Moon –
is strong and caring
and fiercely protective of all she loves.
The matriarch of the zodiac,
she’s a guardian and the keeper of all treasures past.
She’s wise, intuitive and sensitive to those around,
she’s original and imaginative
and values her sanctuary to help her ground.”
– by Silvestra Silvermoon

Goddess Symbolism

Since classical times the crab, a sea creature, has been associated with both water and the Moon. Both Hellenic Hera and Her Roman counterpart Juno are linked to the crab as well as the Moon. By then both Hellenic Hera and Juno were seen merely as Goddesses of Marriage, which most likely is where the sign of Cancer got the “wet-weekend” traits from that many mainstream astrology text attribute to it. (Please check out my post entitled “Hera – The Great Mother Goddess of the Minoans and Mycenaean Greeks” to find out more about the original pre-hellenic Hera. And read below to find out what Cancer is really like!)

What few people are aware of is that the original sign of Cancer wasn’t a crab at all, but rather a turtle (including terrapins and tortoises)! In ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of modern western astrology, the turtle was closely linked to water, the Moon, Mother Earth, time, immortality and fertility.

These attributes can be traced back all the way to Paleolithic times when turtles alongside fish, frogs, toads, hedgehogs and bucrania symbolised regeneration and renewal and were inherently linked to the Goddess.

In many mythologies turtles are a symbol of creation, wisdom, longevity and protection.

During pre-dynastic times turtles were also held sacred in Egypt, especially in the southern region of Naqada where many other prehistorical Goddess artifacts have been discovered. Turtle bones, pottery and imagery have been abundantly found. Still showing their paleolithic roots turtle amulets were associated with healing, renewal and regeneration.

As Egypt entered the dynastic era and became increasingly patriarchal, the turtle became a symbol of the underworld – which originally was seen as the Womb of the Goddess, a place of renewal and rebirth, but eventually became a terrifying place full of monsters and dangerous animals.

The turtle was also associated with the Goddess in Greece. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Fertility, who was born from the Sea and used to be known as the Mother Goddess Astarte in Phonoecia is often depicted with one foot on a turtle. Like Astarte, Aphrodite is also a Moon Goddess.

The other animal that Cancer was once represented by is the scarab or dung beetle.

In ancient Egypt the scarab dung beetle was sacred and symbolised resurrection and transformation. It was seen as a creature of immortality and was closely linked to Egyptian burial rites. This is due to the reproductive cycle resembling a process of rebirth.

The dung beetle spends a lot of time rolling balls of dung for food and laying eggs into. While the female digs an underground tunnel, the male rolls dung balls ready for the eggs. The female then lays one egg in each and leaves them underground for the babies to hatch and mature. Sustained by the dung they undergo all the stages from egg to adult insect while still underground and eventually after about 28 days emerge as fully grown scarab dung beetles.

It’s not surprising then that the ancient Egyptians believed that the dung beetle was a “creature of immortality” that went underground for one Moon cycle only to be reborn again thereafter. During those early days the Scarab was still a lunar animal and associated with the Goddess.

Again, as Egypt became more patriarchal and solar-based the scarab dung beetle became associated with the Sun, specifically the god Khepri who was said to push the Sun across the sky just like the Scarab beetle pushes the ball of dung. At some point, apparently, the Egyptians went as far as believing that the dung beetle was a purely male species who place their semen inside the dung to create the next generation!! However, whenever we come across a god that is linked to creation, transformation and / or rebirth and regeneration, we’re dealing with an ancient Goddess symbol that has quite literally been stolen from Her to be attributed to a male upstart.

Going back to the crab itself, although most likely not the original animal associated with the sign of Cancer, there are a couple of Goddess connections with it.

The first relates to the crab as a sea-spider. Many people have commented on the general shape of the crab, which definitely resembles that of a spider. And the spider, another “creature of immortality”, is most certainly linked to the Goddess. Like snakes so do spiders shed their entire skin, making it seem like they are continually reborn. Spiders are also often associated with wisdom and the creation of the universe as in the Hopi Goddess Spider Grandmother.

The other Goddess animal that the sign of Cancer is connected with is the bee. Amidst the constellation of the Crab there is a cluster consisting of about 400 stars. This group of stars that is embraced by the Crab is called the Beehive.

Bees are the ultimate representatives of a true matriarchy. The Queen Bee is their Mother Goddess who gives birth to all bees, both workers and drones. All worker bees, who are the producers of honey, the caretakers of the eggs, are females. The male drones have no task beyond the fertilisation of the Queen’s eggs.

Bees are inherently linked to the Goddess, especially Hera, the pre-Hellenic Mother Goddess of the Moon. Honey is often described as the ambrosia of the Goddess and symbolises richness and abundance.

Cancer’s Characteristics and Traits

Cancer is a very special sign, as it is ruled by the Moon Herself (although most of the planets represent what once were purely lunar attributes. See “The Planets” for more details). Cancerians are traditionally linked primarily to those aspects of the Goddess that are associated with the full moon, i.e. Her mothering aspect. While this is mostly true – although they also exibit the independent nature of the Maiden and the wise intuitive nature of the Crone – Cancer’s “mothering” does not refer to the watered down patriarchal interpretation of motherhood, but rather that within a matrifocal society:

Cancerians are caring and loving yet independent and strong-minded. They are gentle and sensitive yet fiercely protective over who and what they consider to be their own.

To my mind the best example of a typical Cancerian woman is actually a lioness. Both mother and huntress, she is an independent strong female who is soft and gentle with her cubs. Lionesses are exceedingly affectionate and loving mothers, who will protect their babies with incredible ferocity if threatened.

Cancerians are pretty much the same way, both with their human babies as well as any other creation of theirs. And there will be many of those! Cancerians are creative and original with minds of their own. They make great artists, actresses and designers. They have a superb brain for business and due to their natural ability to take the initiate are often successful entrepreneurs.

Cancerians are naturally wise women, who are in touch with their deepest intuitions and feelings and can easily empathise with those around. With their fantastic memories they often are the keepers of humanity’s past.

Although very people-oriented, Cancerians need to have a place they can call their own, a sanctuary of sorts, where they can focus inwards and recharge their batteries.

In summary Cancer women (and men) are:

– personal
– bonded strongly to family and friends
– warm-hearted
– devoted
– protective of who and what they love

– strong
– fierce at times

– emotional
– with deep feelings
– idealistic
– with a great sense of humour

– sensitive to others
– empathetic
– intuitive

– creative
– original
– unique
– initiatory
– driven
– adaptable
– dextrous
– crafty, as in “good at crafts”
– musical

– maternal
– nurturing
– caring
– responsible
– tenacious
– with great organisational skills
– self-determined

– cautious
– slow and deliberate
– with retentive memories
– drawn to the past
– sentimental
– collectors

– private
– in need of sanctuary, usu. the home, to relax and unwind

– drawn to water and especially the sea

Cancer is a cardinal Water sign that is ruled by Hera, the pre-hellenic Mother Goddess.

Due to its close connection to the Moon the sign is associated with white, silvery and pearly colours.

Within the body Cancer is linked to the breasts and the digestive system, esp. the stomach and the gall bladder.

Cancer qualities are most prominent when the Sun, the Moon or the Ascendant (Rising Sign) are in the sign of the Crab.