Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Here in the northern hemisphere we're about to welcome in the fall/autumn of 2010. The equinox will occur sometime between late tonight and early tomorrow. In the southern hemisphere, our esteemed guest blogger Gian Paul, in Brazil, will be welcoming the spring.

Accompanying the equinox, Sun is about to move into the zodiac sign we call Libra, Cardinal Air sign, ruled by Venus.

I'm borrowing, once again, from Louis MacNeice's book, Astrology. It is, apparently, not too well known, published in 1964, possibly shunned by "the astrological elite" as MacNeice wasn't an astrologer by trade. He was a classical scholar and poet and by no means a "hack writer". I'm finding that the book highlights much from a different perspective, refers to sources not often heard of nowadays, as well as some ancient classical sources, and puts them in context. This, I find very helpful.

From Astrology by Louis MacNeice ~ Zodiac Sign Libra

One would not expect to find Venus as Libra's ruler (it has little in common with the other Venusian sign, Taurus) but Venus.....stands for harmony and so can promote a proper balance not only between persons but also within an individual. So the Libra type is easy to get on with, being diplomatic, gentle and tolerant. (William J.)Tucker comments that this type has "many of the traits common to the Chinese race". (This was before China went Red). Being the other equinoctial sign, Libra is the opposite number to Aries, and we could well imagine that it might do Aries some good. But this is contrary to the opinion of most astrologers who think that any two signs 180 degrees apart must be opposed to each other in every sense, just as planets are when in "opposition". There are, however, a minority who think that such opposed signs would naturally complement each other, and certainly the signs of spring and autumn equinoxes would seem to be a case in point.

Note that Libra is the only one of the signs that is inorganic; thus it seems quite fitting that (John) Varley summarizes its "elementary notions" as follows:
"Libra, independently of its appearing in the world's horoscope, to mediate the Zodiac horizontally, and to balance, as it were, the sign Aries, has been found to signify straight lines and regular buildings, and the sublime uninterrupted horizon line of the sea; it represents also the blue color of the sky and the distances."

We might add, thinking of of this blue seascape, that the Venus who rules Libra is more the Venus Anadyomene of Botticelli than the sensual goddess who prompted the Wife of Bath.

The picture that emerges of the Libra (type) person is a sociable, cultured, and courteous person, perhaps only too pleased to sparkle in embassies. He seems to be humanist, empirist, and eclectic, and almost entirely lacking in aggression. He would do most things for peace and finds it very difficult to say no. Perhaps his chief virtue is that he can see both sides of a question; his chief failing that he is too easily influenced. As for the Libra woman, she is extremely soignée. Barbault includes among Libra types Erasmus, Katherine Mansfield, Gandhi the apostle of non-violence, and, as its typical painters, Boucher and Watteau. Libra could hardly frighten anyone.

With regard to that last sentence - Louis MacNeice hadn't met my mother ! Her birthday was 28 September. She didn't fit comfortably into much of textbook Libra, nor did my first husband, whose birthday was the day before my mother's. As always I have to mention that the sign in which the Sun resides as we were born is not the be-all and end-all. In the case of Libra there is a very good chance that Mercury and/or Venus will be found nextdoor in Scorpio - "a horse of a very different colour", or nextdoor in the other direction, in Virgo, which sign lacks much of the tolerance and diplomacy that Libra is known for. Rising sign and the sign in which the Moon lay at our birth must also be taken into consideration, and their respective positions in the chart - whether close to an angle (ascendant and its opposite angle, midheaven and its opposite angle), where the main strength of the chart is found).

There's no such thing as "A Libran", except as a shorthand description of someone born between around 22 September and 22 October. But there can certainly be Libra-types: people who display all or many of the textbook Libra traits - though not necessarily coming via natal Sun.

Ronald Searle's whimsical take on Libra from Searle's Zodiac

A sidelight, when considering Libra, is that the last half of of the sign and the first half of Scorpio were known to ancient astrologers as Via Combusta (Burning/Fiery Road): from Skyscript:

The area between 15 Libra and 15 Scorpio is termed the Via Combusta: 'Fiery Road' or 'Combust Way'. It is considered to be a debilitating area, particularly detrimental to the Moon. Al Biruni wrote of it:

"The combust way is the last part of Libra and the first of Scorpio. These two signs are not congenial to the Sun and the Moon on account of the obscurity and ill-luck connected with them and because each of them is the fall of one of the luminaries. They also contain the two malefics, the one by exaltation (Libra, Saturn) the other by house (Scorpio, Mars)."
This may be a very ancient aphorism, originating from the period when 15 Libra corresponded with the autumn equinox.
Clicking on "Libra" (or"via combusta" if interested) in the Label Cloud at sidebar(right) will bring up relevant archived posts.


Astrology Unboxed said...

I know Libra has a reputation for being nice and gentle and diplomatic. But something I have noticed and is often overlooked about Libras is that they can be ruthless and frightening in their pursuit of balance, harmony.They can go after it with intensity, determination. But qualities are often disguised under much sweetness, tact and diplomacy.

Gian Paul said...

Hi Twilight, it's getting spring here in Brazil indeed: The snakes are out (where I live) and the birds are changing: those to whom we feed bananas, papayas etc. during winter are gone, southwards, and others are coming from where you live, to bread and spend their second summer here. Like some rich people, European summer in Jersey, winter in Morocco or the Seychelles.

On Libras: in my personal observations I found that Libras as such are difficult to discover. Unlike a Leo, or Aries or an Aquarius. Is it that they merge too easily with their environment, agreeing most of the time?

Or is it that I being Aries am "Libra blind", for Libra being my opposite sun-sign?

The Libra Ascendant signs I have known match better the picture you describe, and one of them matched totally what Fabienne, the Unboxed Astrologer is saying.

Twilight said...

Astrology Unboxed: Hi Fabienne.

Yes, that could explain quite a lot....especially when what "they" might consider to be "balance" isn't what others define as such (and that CAN happen a lot).

This next sentence isn't good astrology, but think of Virgo and Scorpio flanking Libra, and think what might happen if the two were mixed'd get the determined intensity from Scorpio and the need to "get things right" as they see it, from Virgo - et voila- Libra?

Of course you'd then have to do the same for Virgo and Scorpio and the whole thing would descend into one big network of a muddle - which is what humans are I guess.


Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ Ah yes, I wonder if some of the many birds who visit our backyard feeders have been to yours a few months before, or will do so a few months after?
Nice thought!

You might have a point there GP - I might be Libra-antagonistic, rather than blind (as you said you may be). My Moon and Saturn in Aries - the only sign containing more than one planet in my chart, opposite Libra could be a clue.

I haven't knowingly met anyone with Libra rising, so can't comment on that. Astrologers say the rising sign is "what you show to the world" so your observations would prove that. :-)

Astrology Unboxed said...

Just found Louis MacNeice's book "Astrology" at a used bookstore and could not resist buying it. Interesting book! In addition had a wonderful conversation about MacNeice's poetry with the owner of the bookstore. Thanks Twilight!

Astrology Unboxed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wisewebwoman said...

My g-girl is a Libra and fits the profile exceedingly, she's had far too much to balance in her wee short life but has a depth of understanding very rare in one so young.
I had a Libra business partner was back in the last century and she was a good counterpoint to my more passionate tendencies.
good post.

Twilight said...

Astrology Unboxed ~~~ Great! I hope you find it as interesting as I'm doing, Fabienne. I found my copy on E-bay. :-)

I love his poetry too. His name ought to be better known in the USA.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Ah - you seem to relate to the sign better than I then, WWW.
Perhaps I should relate a paraphrase of Shakespeare's words to myself ;-)

The fault, dear Twilight, is not in your stars, but in yourself...