Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fixed Stars in Taurus

Continuing the series of monthly posts on Fixed Stars in each tropical zodiac sign.

Data for Taurus from Astroweb (HERE), showing star positions in 1900 in the left-hand column and in 2000 on the right. Click on the list for enlarged view.

Alternative lists of Fixed Stars are available online, most give star positions for the years 1900, 2000, or 2010. A good overall list, including traditional interpretations, is an updated one from Rob Tillett, see HERE. Repeating a word of caution: ancient astrologers were either a tad gloomy or way over excitable about a person's prospects. Take the interpretations with a large pinch of salt!

I'm picking just a couple of Stars about which to scribble further. I was tempted to choose Algol, but there's already a detailed archived post on that Star of ill repute - SEE HERE. Also, clicking on "Algol" in the label cloud in the sidebar will lead to other posts where Algol has been mentioned.

I've chosen to scribble a bit today about Fixed Stars Hamal and Menkar, underlined in yellow on the star map below. Clicking on the image should bring up a slightly sharper version.

Hamal (roughly translates to head of the ram/sheep), is the alpha, brightest, star of constellation Aries, though its current zodiacal position is in Taurus. The star marks the ram's forehead. Long ago, between 2000 and 100 BCE, Hamal held more importance for astronomers, and presumably astrologers, than it does today. Back then the Sun aligned north and south with Hamal at the spring equinox (northern hemisphere) in March.
See EarthSky HERE and Wikipedia HERE.

Ptolemy, for some reason likened the stars in the head of the ram to Mars and Saturn in nature, whereas those in the tail were likened to Venus, those in the hind foot to Mars, in the mouth Mercury and Saturn. (Skyscript HERE).

Hamal was generally considered unfortunate in interpretation, associated with violence, danger, and head injuries. Ancient astrologers were a gloomy lot, couldn't see a positive side in anything! Modern astrologers might be inclined to interpret Hamal, if tightly conjunct a personal planet natally, as indicating a headstrong independence in some area related to the conjoined planet or, perhaps, as emphasis on great strength of mind or body, in sport for instance -as in a boxer, wrestler or athlete.

I had originally intended to scribble about The Pleiades but there's so much related and interesting information on that star cluster it'd need a full post. So I changed mind and, as I happen to have Menkar conjunct Uranus and south Node of Moon, thought I'd use this star instead - not out of self-interest particularly, but to discover and show whether Fixed Stars might have any interperative value when highlighted natally. In my case, because the star is conjunct an outer, rather than a personal planet, it's perhaps not an ideal example (my generation will all have Uranus conjunct Menkar), but as that outer planet is my natal Sun's modern ruler and is also conjunct South Node of the Moon - it might be more significant.

Anyway... first where is Menkar? It is the second brightest star of constellation Cetus, the Whale or Sea Monster. Menkar is located on the creature's nose. Cetus is one of the 48 original constellations charted by Ptolemy and remains one of the 88 constellations recognized by the

International Astronomical Union. The majority of the constellation is just below the ecliptic plane, bordered by Aries, Pisces, Aquarius, Sculptor, Fornax, Eridanus and Taurus. The whale is said to represent the human collective unconscious.

In an article in Mountain Astrologer magazine in 2013: Thoughts on a Few Fixed Stars, its author, Mary Plumb opened with this:
I have always thought of the fixed stars in natal astrology as operating at a deep stratum in the psyche. That impression was in part formed by experiences of people in my life with Menkar, the brightest star in the constellation Cetus the Whale, in a prominent place. The early myths of this constellation connect it to a massive sea monster that is destructive and all-powerful. He arises from the depths of the sea, unannounced and terrible. We understand that the sea is a symbol of the unconscious. Of Menkar, Bernadette Brady writes: “The unconscious becoming conscious. The sudden emergence of deep unconscious issues.”

I have seen Menkar (13°37’ Taurus) conjunct the Sun in the radix of someone who suffered from devastating mental illness and someone else who is an astute psychological astrologer. Another person has Menkar conjunct Jupiter (the Ascendant ruler); this is the nativity of a psychologist who focuses on bringing the unconscious into consciousness in quite dramatic ways.

I heard John Frawley say once that the fixed stars influence the body, not the soul (except in rare situations).
I found an interpretation of my own Menkar placement at Constellations of Words website :
With Uranus: Active mind, artistic, scientific and mystical interest and ability, troubles through opposite sex, loss through fire and false friends, good fortune and misfortune alternately, severe injuries from animals. [Robson*, p.177.]
Well...I've not had any severe injuries from animals - a nasty bite from a dog when I was a child has been the worst, I can still detect a faint scar on my arm - but it didn't put me off loving dogs! As for the rest, yes indeed, I can relate on some level, especially to "loss through fire". I lost everything, absolutely everything except the few clothes I was wearing, my purse and our car, as a result of a fire in 1996. Whether Menkar's input to events has any bearing isn't clear - the fact that transiting Uranus was 2 degrees from my natal Sun at the time....well!


mike said...

During 1996, there weren't any of the slower planets conjunct 13* Taurus, but Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, or Mars are possibilities. Were any of these in aspect at the time of fire? The year 2000 had the personal planets including Jupiter and Saturn conjunct your Uranus-S Node...anything of interest occur at that time? Saturn was conj this point from mid-1999 through March, 2000.

Twilight said...

mike ~ No, nothing close to 13 Taurus in April 1996 - I've checked the ephemeris.

I think you've seen the post on events in my life + related astrology, around that time - if not it's here.

I don't recall any specific event around 2000; from then to early 2003 were difficult times though.

LB said...

Just a thought, Twilight ~ but might your progressed angles (IC/MC) have been close to 13-14 Taurus/Scorpio at the time of the fire?

If your natal Ascendant is mid-Cancer it would fit, particularly since then your natal Uranus would've been opposite your progressed IC and natal NN, representing the sudden material loss of your old home (Taurus SN-Uranus) and past, a transformation (Scorpio NN) that led you to your new home (conjunct the progressed IC).

I know you don't normally use progressed charts, but it would be interesting to check.:)

Twilight said...

LB ~ Hmmm - I visited Astrodienst and pulled up my progressed chart for the date of the fire. Yes, you're right! MC was at 11.13 Taurus.

A bit of wiggle room needs to be allowed too, because I don't know my exact time of birth - just within around an hour, and I suspect it was around half an hour later than the mid-sign Cancer position the astrologer who rectified my chart suggested.

Combined with transiting Uranus conjunct my natal Sun... :-(

Thanks - yes that does fit rather well.

LB said...

Interesting how it all ties in. As I was fiddling with my own time of birth, I realized even a few minutes can make a difference when it comes to our chart's progressed angles.