The Astrology of Venus in Scorpio

(Astrology Explored) Venus swings again into the heady sign of Scorpio on September 11. Yes, 9/11. There are no accidents. Venus in this placement sheds the party girl persona of Venus in Libra and gets dark, serious and seriously intense. A relationship starting during this time will test your limits of endurance, plunge the depths of how much you love and take you on a thrill ride that will either scare you or scar you. Oh, yes. It is that dramatic.

The only way to get through this time with your hide intact is to be brutally honest with yourself when you stare into the abyss. If you lie, well . . . you’ve been warned.

To give you more of a background of what Venus in Scorpio means I’m linking you back to my original series of posts on this theme. Featured is the original Mistress of the Dark herself, Persephone, and how her quest illuminates our own in searching the dark and the light.

First, however, a post about her handmaiden, advisor and wing man, Hecate.

Hecate —The “Dark” Goddess & The Space Between

The Astrology of Venus in Scorpio: Persephone and Pieces of Rose, Part 1

The Astrology of Venus in Scorpio: Persephone and Pieces of Rose, Part 2

The Astrology of Venus in Scorpio: Persephone and Pieces of Rose, Part 3


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Hecate —The “Dark” Goddess & The Space Between

Hecate

(Astrology Explored)

note: play YouTube video at the end while you read

Dave Matthews sings:

The space between what’s wrong and right
Is where you’ll find me hiding, waiting for you
The space between your heart and mine
Is the space we’ll fill with time

Twenty-five years ago, I visited a friend who was doing quit a bit of channeling work. Halfway into the reading she said, “Ooh, this is quite unusual. Someone is coming through, and she is dressed all in black. She is saying that you came here to learn astrology. She is quite stern and serious. She is saying you need to learn astrology, or else!

It didn’t take me much prompting to get serious with my astrology studies, even with the “or else” ringing in my head whenever I started to slack on my studies. Soon I found an astrologer giving weekly classes in a mid-level group who took me on with some reservation. Her reservations however didn’t last long.

Who this entity was, though, eluded me many years until I stumbled upon a Celtic goodess the Morrigan, and her earlier incarnations, one of them being Hekate.

Modern times has Hecate, the third of the goddess triad of the mystery religion, the Elysian mysteries as a crone, or hag associated with witchcraft. However, there is evidence that the ancient Greeks did not view Hecate as an old woman, but rather as a young maiden and her role was very different from that of a purveyor of magic.

The ancient role of Hecate is obscured by the very veil of mystery the congregants of the Elysian Rites spread over their practice. Only a few scrapes of the rituals remain in texts, though it appears to be a religion based the idea of resurrection and the return to the source of life.

Hecate, in the Greek myths, attends to the wife of Pluto, Persephone, the daughter of the earth mother, Demeter. Persephone’s essential role is that as a bridge between life and death, spending half of the year in the underworld with her husband and half of the year on the earth with her mother.

Hekate assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her through the night with flaming torches. After the mother-daughter reunion became she Persephone’s minister and companion in Haides.

Hecate’s twin flaming torches are said to be twin aspects of ever present Venus, as the morning star and evening star, the beginning and the end of the day.

But what is Hecate doing with these torches and why is she guiding goddesses in their quests and journeys? The answer to this question reveals Hecate’s essential nature.

In Greek statuary, Hecate’s image would be shown on panels in a three sided triangular column and placed at door posts and crossroads. Thus Hecate could watch the road in front of you, in back of you and the place in between front and back.

The places “between” were of special concern to the Greeks. In the story of Ulysses, he and his crew had to pass through the channel containing Scylla and Charybdis. Wikipedia tells us:

Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters noted by Homer; later Greek tradition sited them on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the Italian mainland. Scylla was rationalized as a rock shoal (described as a six-headed sea monster) on the Italian side of the strait and Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily. They were regarded as a sea hazard located close enough to each other that they posed an inescapable threat to passing sailors; avoiding Charybdis meant passing too close to Scylla and vice versa. According to Homer, Odysseus was forced to choose which monster to confront while passing through the strait; he opted to pass by Scylla and lose only a few sailors, rather than risk the loss of his entire ship in the whirlpool.

In traveling to the Underworld, the soul would first pass through and underground passage to encounter the River Styx, the dividing line between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Once a soul crossed the river, they would be forever bound to the realms of the dead, and their ultimate fate.

Hecate herself seems to a version of the Sumerian war goddess Innana, and later Istar, who were identified with the planet Venus. In Innana’s own story is an episode where she died in the halls of the Underworld ruled by her sister Ereshkigal and was resurrected by actions taken by other gods. Thus identified with a version of Venus, it is not so unusual for a dark aspect of Venus to be bearing the torches that associated with Venus.

With Persephone’s essential role is that as a bridge between life and death, spending half of the year in the underworld with her husband and half of the year on the earth with her mother it was Hecate’s specific task to act as a guide as Persephone journeys taking her through the places “in between”.

The place ‘between” then was a place of transition, the end of one thing and the beginning of another. Hecate, in bearing the torches of beginning and ending, was the guide through the place “in between”.

What then can we say about Hecate in our charts?

In astrology, Hecate is asteroid 100. To find the position of Hecate in your chart go to Serennu’s asteroid page and enter your chart info and the number of the asteroid.

In my personal chart Hekate is buried deep within my twelfth house, poised between my Mars in early degrees of Taurus and my Ascendant in late degrees of Taurus. Talk about your prophetic utterances! She is sextile my Moon in Pisces and squares my Sun/Chiron combination in Aquarius. This Sun/Chiron combo opposite my Uranus is the marker in my chart for my profession as an astrologer. With Hecate in challenge aspect to this no wonder she said, “Or else!”

If you look up your Hekate, don’t get too worked up if you don’t find a direct connection with other planets in your chart. If I was counseling on Hekate’s position, I would look to see if she was making a conjunction or tight aspects to any personal planet and check out where she was by house. If nothing was going on currently but I saw that there was a transition coming on, I would look to her house position and the ruler of the house to see where you might get guidance on handling the transition.

Despite Hekate’s fearsome reputation, there is no need to fear her. If she is grim, it is because she’s walked places few mortals have tread. Nontheless, there is no better guide for the places “in between”.

If you would like a single question answered on these pages, please send your birth date, birth place and birth time to starrynightastro@aol.com. Sorry, time limitations prevent answers to anything else than a specific question.


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Moon Astrology: The Hunter’s Moon and the Month of Ivy

Fairies and Moon(Astrology Explored) The Full Moon after the Harvest Moon is what the American Indians called the Hunter’s Moon. The Moon at the full is reddish orange and the indigenous tribes gathered and prepared the meat that would sustain them through the winter. For the ancient Celtic tribes, this is the Moon of Ivy, the evergreen plant that is said to harbor fairies dancing in its abundant folds. This association with fairies, an immortal race that rides the backs of butterflies, invokes the themes of the timelessness of the soul, physical death and resurrection. It is the time of Samhain, (Sow’ when) when the veil between this world and the next thins and those sensitive enough can communicate with the souls of the departed.

For the astrological significance of this moon we turn to the book the Celtic Lunar Zodiac by Helena Paterson, a painstaking and rich work that recreates the meaning of the lost Celtic Calendar.

“Astrological rulership is partly designated to the moon, for in esoteric astrology the sun and moon are said to veil or eclipse hidden planets. The moon in the month of the ivy is therefore veiling a hidden planet yet to be discovered, and which, according the ancients, lies on the other side of Pluto. The of name of Persephone has been chosen because of the evidence for this planet . . . This choice of name is not by chance, but fits into the mythological cycle of the planets in our universe. In Greek mythology, Persephone, daughter of Ceres, the great earth mother goddess, was kidnapped by Pluto, god of the underworld, forced to remain with him for six months of the year.”

This planet was discovered, but not named Persephone. It is now called Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the Sea, who among other things, demands a shaman to visit her from time to time in her watery depths, to tell her stories and comb her long beautiful hair so she would allow her sea children, the seals, the whales be hunted for food. Sedna was transmuted into the Goddess of the Sea by the betrayal of her father. He murdered her rather than face the wrath of Sedna’s demon husband. Persephone, of course, was forced into marriage to the powerful god of the Underworld who kidnapped, then raped her, to make her his bride.

In the story of Persephone and Sedna the common theme is that of facing the overwhelming force of the male principal as controllers of our destinies, those that will use any means, murder, kidnapping, rape, to secure what they desire. But the story of Persephone and Sedna hold hope as well. Against impossible odds, Persephone is released into the light six months out of the year and despite her betrayal Sedna provides the bounty in the frozen wastes to those that considered her the Mother of the creatures of the sea.

The message is that no matter what the hardships, the female bounty of birth and life will not be denied even as we enter into the Month of Ivy and the dimming of the light for the winter months.


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The Astrology of Venus in Scorpio: Persephone and Pieces of Rose, Part 3

Hades and PersephonePersephone

(Astrology Explored) Daughter of immortal deities, called the Goddess of Spring, Persephone’s story is Scorpionic in nature. Her birth, her life and her eventual role as Queen of the Underworld speaks to us about unrelenting forces that transform our existence.

The French say, “Mama, yes; Papa, maybe” and certainly this is true in Persephone’s case. Some accounts have Neptune as her father, others, Zeus. As with all things Scorpionic, there is more than a little mystery involved here.

The daughter of Demeter was given more than one praise of her beauty in Greek literature. She was called “white armed” and “slimmed ankled”. As Persephone came into puberty, all the male gods vied for her hand in marriage a situation that was said to be sparked by Aphrodite (Venus) herself. Aphrodite became concerned that Persephone would turn out to live life as a virgin just as her cousins Artemis and Athena. She, in a moment of Plutonian overkill instructed her son Eros to let loose his arrows on every god in Olympus. Even Zeus was so struck by Persephone’s beauty that:

The ruler of the universe, the charioteer of heaven, bowed his neck to desire–for all his greatness no thunderbolts, no lightnings helped him against Aphrodite in arms: he left the house of Hera, he refused the bed of Dione, he threw away the love of Deo, he fled from Themis, he deserted Leto – no charm was left for him but only union with Persephoneia.

Demeter was so alarmed by all this attention towards her daughter, that she sought the advice of an astrologer, which I include here in its entirety because of the fascinating detail of the astrologer’s process.

She hastened with quick foot to the house of Astraios the god of prophecy [or more specifically astrology] . . . She laid her left hand on the knees of the kindly ancient, and with her right touched his deepflowing beard in supplication. She recounted all her daughter’s wooers and craved a comfortable oracle; for divinations can steal away anxieties by means of hopes to come. Nor did old Astraios refuse. He learnt the details of the day when her only child was new born, and the exact time and veritable course of the season which gave her birth; then he bent the turning fingers of his hands and measured the moving circle of the ever-recurring number counting from hand to hand in double exchange [reckoning the number of days in the years of her life on his fingers]. He called to a servant, and Asterion lifted a round revolving sphere, the shape of the sky, the image of the universe, and laid it upon the lid of a chest. Here the ancient got to work. He turned it upon its pivot, and directed this gaze round the circle of the Zodiac, scanning in this place and that the planets and fixt stars . . . When he had noticed everything and reckoned the circuit of the stars, he put away the ever-revolving sphere in its roomy box, the sphere with its curious surface; and in answer to the goddess he mouthed out a triple oracle of prophetic sound : `Fond mother Demeter, when the rays of the Moon are stolen under a shady cone and her light is gone, guard against a robber-bridegroom for Perephoneia, a secret ravisher of your unsmirched girl, if the threads of the Moirai can be persuaded. You will see before marriage a false and secret bedfellow come unforeseen, a half-monster cunning-minded: since I perceive the western point Ares the wife-stealer [the planet Mars] walking with the Paphian [the planet Venus], and I notice the Drakon is rising beside them both . . . ’

Concerned and alarmed by this prophecy she bore her daughter away in a chariot drawn by dragons to a secret cave. The dragons were then given the task of protecting Persephone. All seeing Zeus however, found the hiding place, and transforming himself into a dragon, seducing Persephone with cunning. He lured the girl into a sleep by surrounding her with his soft coils and sweet kisses. Their union produced Zagreus, who by virtue of his father’s deception, was born In the snake like shape of a dragon. Zeus took this child to Olympus, intending to set him on the throne of heaven, but the Titans rebelled against Zeus decision and tore the child into pieces. Grief stricken Zeus put the pieces of Zagreus’ heart in a drink and gave it to Semele, the moon goddess to drink. She became pregnant with this genetic material and bore to Zeus, the god Dionysis, known to the Romans as Bacchus, another god whose mystery religion was revolved around transformation through the consumption of wine. Thus Persephone was associated with two mystery religions, that of the Eleusian Mysteries and the rites of Dionysis.

Persephone herself was forever transformed by her foray into the Underworld. On the surface, Persephone can be viewed as a voiceless victim. Her fate is decided by Zeus, her husband and her mother. But Pluto is seductive for sure. Unlike Zeus, Pluto is intent on making her a permanent fixture in his life. He makes solemn pledges to her:

“… I shall be no unfitting husband for you among the deathless gods, that am own brother to father Zeus. And while you are here, you shall rule all that lives and moves and shall have the greatest rights among the deathless gods: those who defraud you and do not appease your power with offerings, reverently performing rites and paying fit gifts, shall be punished for evermore.” (Hades to Persephone, Homeric Hymn to Demeter 2.363).

Was it the power that Pluto offered that ultimately seduced her, or was it the dark charm of lord of the Underworld? Those among us who have experience of love that can not be denied know the addictive nature of such relationships. Whether by one or both, Persephone is initiated in to the sexual world as a wife.

There is evidence that Persephone’s own nature may have had an manipulative element to it. Persephone blamed Hades for the consumption of the pomegranate seeds, telling her mother that he secretly forced the seeds in her mouth. Yet how he “secretly forced the seeds” in to her mouth is yet another story. She would have needed to take the food willingly for the doom of Hades to fall upon her.

There are other stories of Persephone’s Scorpionic nature. When Venus gave Persephone the youth Adonis to care for, the dark goddess was just as enthralled as Venus with his beauty and refused to give him back.

Hades had one affair, with the nymph Menthe, who jealous Persephone trampled and transformed in the mint plant. (Crushed mint was added to a drink made of grain that was said to be drunk by her mother Demeter, and possibly was served during the enactment of the Eleusian Mysteries). Clearly, Persephone was not about to share her dark husband with anyone. Hades was not known to step out on her again.

And despite her initial (and probably faint) protests over her marriage, Persephone fulfilled her role as Goddess of the Underworld, sometimes even displaying more power than Hades himself.

Here is the influence of the Pluto we know, secretive, controlling, manipulative. The story of Persephone is illustrative of the lies, obsessions and jealousy as any one subject to Venusian, Scorpionic and Plutonic forces, the epitome of Venus in Scorpio.

As with all those under the influence of a Pluto influenced Venus, Persephone epitomizes the archetype of transformation. From innocent goddess of the spring to the queen of the underworld, Persephone held the promise of life and ultimately the promise of the life to come.


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The Astrology of Venus in Scorpio: Persephone and Pieces of Rose, Part 2

Demeter and Perspehone In Their ChariotThe Mother’s Story: Ceres/Demeter

We often forget as women of a modern era that in the ancient world that as many 1 in a hundred women died from childbirth and as many as 30 infants died for 100 births. This meant that to embrace life women had to embrace the reality of death.

The Romans knew her as Ceres, the Greeks called her Demeter. No matter. They are different names for the the same goddess.

Demeter was the goddess of fertility. You might know her by another name “Mother Nature”. The daughter of the ancient primordial god Cronos (Saturn) and Mother Earth (Rhea) she along with her other siblings were swallowed by her father at her birth to prevent a prophecy that one his children would overthrow him as master of the world and heavens. Demeter was freed when Rhea betrayed her husband. At the birth of Zeus, who we call Jupiter, she swaddled a rock and fed it to her husband. She then raised the child in secret, and raised him to avenge her misery at the hands of her husband. Zeus freed all of his siblings, and Neptune and Pluto joined Zeus in overthrowing Cronus. Rhea’s boys thus split the seas, the underword and the heavens among themselves, but none of them could rule their mother, Earth. Demeter, as Rhea’s daughter, however, ruled the fertility of the earth itself. Demeter had one daughter, Persephone, also called Kore (maiden) with Neptune being Persephone’s father.

So Persephone was stolen from her mother by Pluto (Hades) with a wink a nod by her father and his brother, and no one would tell Demeter why her daughter mysteriously disappeared. Thus in a totally Plutonian manner, Demeter was betrayed by her family.

Demeter, unlike the other Olympian gods and goddess of the time, walked the earth and worked directly with the people. During her desperate journey to find her child she shared the gifts of wheat and corn with the people she met. While Prometheus brought fire, she was the civilizing force, bringing stable food sources to the subjects of the gods.

Eventually Demeter found where her daughter was and who had her. She appealed to Zeus to have Persephone returned. The jig up, Zeus was in a real situation. Pluto wouldn’t give up his bride, promising to let the dead lose on the living if Zeus tried. Zeus couldn’t upset the balance of power between Neptune, Pluto and himself which would only lead to another heavenly war. Zeus denied Demeter’s petition. Mother Nature responded in the only way she could. In her grief she failed to bless the fields of man, and famine came and humans starved. Men and women railed against the gods, blaming them for their troubles and would make no more sacrifices to the gods. Since Zeus could not intercede himself, he appealed to more ancient forces, the Furies, who declared according to their laws that Persephone could return if she did not eat any of the food of the dead. The question was of course, did Persephone belong in the world of the living or the dead? This was the crux of the mystery religion that revolved around Demeter and Persephone.

The Eleusian Mysteries

The worship of Demeter and Persephone was ancient, possibly predating Greek civilization as a redux of a similar Minoan cult and thought to be established 3,500 years ago.

But we should not omit to mention the very great benefaction which Demeter conferred upon mankind; for beside the fact that she was the discoverer of corn, she also taught mankind how to prepare it for food and introduced laws by obedience to which men became accustomed to the practice of justice, this being the reason, we are told, why she has been given the epithet Thesmophoros or Lawgiver. Surely a benefaction greater than these discoveries of hers one could not find; for they embrace both living and living honorably.
(Diodorus Siculus V, 5)

The mysteries lasting two thousand years, were a major festival during the Hellenic era, later spreading to Rome.[4] The name of the town, Eleusís, is a variant of the noun έλευσις, éleusis, arrival.
The rites, ceremonies, and beliefs were kept secret, as initiation was believed to unite the worshipper with the gods and included promises of divine power and rewards in the afterlife.[5] There are many paintings and pieces of pottery that depict various aspects of the Mysteries. Since the Mysteries involved visions and conjuring of an afterlife, some scholars believe that the power and longevity of the Eleusinian Mysteries came from psychedelic agents.[6]

Now the details of the initiatory rite are guarded among the matters not to be divulged and are communicated to the initiates alone; but the fame has traveled wide of how these gods appear to mankind and bring unexpected aid to those initiates of theirs who call upon them in the midst of perils. The claim is also made that men who have taken part in the mysteries become both more pious and more just and better in every respect than they were before. And this is the reason, we are told, why the most famous both of the ancient heroes and of the demi-gods were eagerly desirous of taking part in the initiatory rite; and in fact Jason and the Dioscuri, and Heracles and Orpheus as well, after their initiation attained success in all the campaigns they undertook, because these gods appeared to them.
(Diodorus Siculus V, 48, 49)

The initiates of the Eleusian mysteries were promised a land of plenty in the Underworld in which to spend eternity, the Elysium fields watched over by the daughter of Demeter, Persephone.

And those that have three times kept to their oaths,
Keeping their souls clean and pure,
Never letting their hearts be defiled by the taint
Of evil and injustice,
And barbaric venality,
They are led by Zeus to the end:
To the palace of Kronos [the ruler of Elysium]

As the story goes, because Persephone had eaten a few pomegranate seeds, (and more on that later) curiously a symbol of fertility, it was decided that she would spend the four months of the winter in the Underworld and the rest of the time with her mother. When she was in the Underworld however, she is said to watch over the humans in Hades care. Persephone was seen as a vital link between the world of the living and the dead. and the reason why the fields returned to fertility in the spring.

The mysteries themselves, though the exact nature of the rites are not known, celebrated the love of a mother for her child, the child’s death and the symbolic rebirth of the child in the reunion with her mother.

Saturday: Persephone


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Celtic Astrology Working the Modern World: The Month of Ivy

fairies-and-moonFor ancient Celtic tribes, October is the Moon of Ivy, the evergreen plant that is said to harbor fairies dancing in its abundant folds. This association with fairies, an immortal race that rides the backs of butterflies, invokes the themes of the timelessness of the soul, physical death and resurrection. It is the time of Samhain, (Sow’ when) when the veil between this world and the next thins and those sensitive enough can communicate with the souls of the departed.

For the astrological significance of this moon we turn to the book the Celtic Lunar Zodiac by Helena Paterson,published in 1992 , a painstaking and rich work that recreates the meaning of the lost Celtic Calendar.

“Astrological rulership is partly designated to the moon, for in esoteric astrology the sun and moon are said to veil or eclipse hidden planets. The moon in the month of the ivy is therefore veiling a hidden planet yet to be discovered, and which, according the ancients, lies on the other side of Pluto. The of name of Persephone has been chosen because of the evidence for this planet . . . This choice of name is not by chance, but fits into the mythological cycle of the planets in our universe. In Greek mythology, Persephone, daughter of Ceres, the great earth mother goddess, was kidnapped by Pluto, god of the underworld, forced to remain with him for six months of the year.”

This planet was discovered in 2003, but not named Persephone. It is now called Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the Sea, who among other things, demands a shaman to visit her from time to time in her watery depths, to tell her stories and comb her long beautiful hair. In return her allows her sea children, the seals and the whales, be hunted for food. Sedna was transmuted into the Goddess of the Sea by the betrayal of her father. He murdered her rather than face the wrath of Sedna’s demon husband. Persephone’s story is that she was forced into marriage to the powerful god of the Underworld who kidnapped, then raped her, to make her his bride.

In the story of Persephone and Sedna the common theme is that they faced the overwhelming force of the male principal as controllers of womens’ destinies, those that will use any means, murder, kidnapping, rape, to secure what they desire.

The Month of Ivy is a time of examination of what had gone before and a time a prophecy to see what it is to come. It is a time to look at the darker places of our soul. Maybe this is why of all months, for us Americans, October, in the natural synchronicity that governs our lives October is designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This month we look at an ugly side for the life of some Americans, the abuse of family members at the hands of their significant others. This hidden side of women’s lives masks a bigger problem, that of a cultural dynamic that is so out of balance that one in four American women are subject to violence at the hands of their partners. However this is a world wide problem. In Afghanistan, one in nine women are abused.

The Celtic peoples strove to maintain balance in their lives with dire consequences if it was not maintained. The story of Branwen, the abused wife of the High King of Ireland, demonstrated the serious consequences of not valuing women. In the end, not just her and her husband’s families but two nations lay in ruin. This is a lesson to bring forward to our time, and something to reflect on during the Month of Ivy.

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