Stargazing in the south has the potential to confirm the northern resonances of the constellations, because we see them in the opposite season to their conjunction with the sun. The same opposition in the north was I am sure the seed of astrology’s structure of polarities.
On the other hand, conventional astrology in the south continues to assert seasonal resonances on the basis of where the sun is. Can we marry the zodiac’s interplay with personality by season with our experience of seeing the constellations? I don’t know, but I continue to develop a synthesis to that end.
The two most prominent constellation groups in the culture I grew up in were Scorpius and Ophiuchus in winter, and Orion, Taurus and Canis Major in summer. I didn’t focus on Ophiuchus or Canis Major while the scorpion and saucepan were being pointed out to me, but they were in my field of vision, and a definite sense of possession accompanied their dawning familiarity.
I embrace the astrological importance of cardinal directions because they confirm my experience. They are familiar like the great dog and the shield, secrets out of the corner of my eye. Looking east does feel different from looking west, a rising star does have power over a sinking one, and turning west does bring my awareness back, from a quickening of the spirit in the east, to the complexities of my time and place in the world and their eclipse.
This is the basis for my exploration of the resonance of the orientation of the zodiac. If its arc is crowning to the west when I am oriented to the meridian, a different significance imposes itself than what I feel if I have to slew east. The secret I have discovered out of the corner of my eye in this regard is that the stars of the zodiac and its background have a different weight according to whether they are west or east around the crown of the zodiac arc.
It is there for you to discover that the zodiac crowns north at the solstice points, Sagittarius on winter evenings and Gemini in summer, that it is moving west with Sagittarius and east with Gemini, and that it changes direction with Pisces and Virgo as the solstice points rise and set.
It seems to emphasise the extremes of its oscillation by standing still for a month as it changes direction. We have a sol-stice and a luni-stice, and this period could be called an eclipti-stice, when the dim fishes are a ghostly jockey on the back of Pegasus with the wasp of Cetus investigating his rump, or when the diamond facet of Denebola, Arcturus, Spica and Vindemiatrix imposes its irony on the imperceptible outline of Auntie Virgo’s crib.
Have you noticed how long the zodiac seems to be dominated by emptiness? It is not merely that Pisces and Virgo are the zodiac’s largest constellations, but also that they hog the crown for so long.
There is one other phenomenon to tax you with, if you have read to here, and it occurs as Sagittarius tops the arc and then crosses the meridian. At all other times the background stars to the high point of the ecliptic follow each other in succession as they move westward, but at the summer solstice point the midpoint of the zodiac arch moves from third to fourth house, and we couldn’t allow the highest point to trail its marker star behind in a different house, could we?
Accordingly, just before the alignment of ecliptic and equator, we see Scorpius and Ophiuchus move into the fourth house and my marker star becomes Nunki, the vane of the arrow in Sagittarius. The readiness of Nunki is about to be replaced by the vision of Altair, when suddenly the background influence reverts to caution as the midpoint passes into the fourth house now occupied by Rasalhague and Ophiuchus’ unmistakeable outline of a shield (beneath the danger of the scorpion).
All signs have different stellar influences except Scorpio and Sagittarius. You may be unimpressed by this nebulous concern I call a familiar secret, but it just might bear on the characteristics of these two signs, that one faces east and the other west as it crowns, each with the same stellar influence, caution. Perhaps I am an astrologer after all.