The solar myth of Libra

I’m a bit late on this, oops!  With less than a degree to go before the Sun heads into the depths of Scorpio, I thought I should add a post about one of the myths traditionally associated with Libra.

The one I use most that seems to speak to the Sun Libra is the Judgement of Paris, traditionally told as a precursor to the Trojan War.  Paris, the son of Priam King of Troy, finds himself roped into judging a goddess beauty contest.  Given that Zeus has already backed out of the judging as he didn’t want to deal with the fallout, we can guess that this isn’t going to go well for Paris.

The prize for the winner of the contest is a golden apple from the Garden of Hesperides and the three goddesses competing are Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.  It is said that Paris had previously proven himself to be fair when judging a bull fighting contest Ares has been part of.

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All the goddesses make themselves as beautiful as possible, but are so keen to win that they decide a little bribery might be in order.  Hera offers to make Paris King of Europe and Asia, Athena offers wisdom and skill in war (something he might wish he’d chosen later!), and Aphrodite offers Paris the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife.  The woman in question is Helen of Sparta, who just so happens to be married to the Greek king Menelaus.  The story tells us that Helen was so sought after as a bride that when her father accepted Menelaus as her suitor, he made all other suitors swear to come to his aid should she ever be stolen from him.

Paris is a young man and Helen’s beauty sways him to choose Aphrodite and he heads back to Troy with his prize.  Unfortunately Menelaus and all Helen’s previous suitors follow him, amounting to quite an army and so begins the ten year siege of Troy.  Libra, like Paris, is drawn towards beauty in all its forms – colour, shape form and balance.  They are the interior designers of the zodiac!  As they get older they realise that beauty is more than skin deep and there is more to love than looks.

Librans are often called indecisive, seeking harmony and balance in all things.  They are praised for their tact and diplomacy, but accused of constantly sitting on the fence, coming down on neither one side nor the other.  The key to the myth is the fear within Libra of the possible consequences of making a decision.  The challenge for Libra is always, how can I assert my own individuality and make my own decisions without upsetting anyone (and starting a ten year war!).  With the Sun in fall in Libra, this will always be challenging.  An unbalanced Libra Sun may become overly aggressive or angry, in a worst case Aries (it’s opposite sign) way.  The trick is to be able to say what they want and need in a way that is true to themselves and to those around them.  Not easy!

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Weighing the heart: the solar myth of Virgo

The Sun moves into the sign of Virgo tonight – really, it’s that time of the year already.  The days are getting shorter and we even had a conversation about Christmas the other day, yikes!!

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These amazing images can be purchased as posters or cards at http://www.johfraposters.com/

I really love using myth and stories to help people understand the challenges faced by the different zodiac signs.  I know I might have implied in the past that I struggle a little with the more difficult expressions of Virgo…  BUT the myth really helps me to understand what Virgo is up against.  The one I find works best is the ‘Weighing of the Heart’ from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Egyptian funeral beliefs tell us that after death the soul journeys through Duat, the underworld and faces various challenges before the final judgement.  This final judgement takes the form of a test to see what sort of life the individual has led and what therefor what the fate of the soul will be.  The heart would be placed on a scale opposite Ma’at, Goddess of law, truth and justice who weighed no more than a feather.  If the individual had lived their life correctly, then the scales would balance perfectly, no more and no less.  However, if they had lived a life of excess the scales would tip and they would slip into the jaws of the waiting crocodiles, nice!

In order to achieve this perfect balance, our Virgo friends can become overly concerned with correct procedure and doing things ‘right’.  This search for perfection can mean others see them as being critical or judgemental, but it gives them a sharp eye for detail and a precise mind.  They have an ability to find ways to improve things, but need to learn how to communicate the ‘faults’ they find in themselves and others gently.  Underlying all this is a deep-seated fear of being judged and being found wanting.  Understanding this can help Virgo use the gifts of precision and craftsmanship in a way which allows them to say, ‘I did a really good job there and it’s finished’.  Recognising when their work is ‘good enough’, rather than constantly seeking to improve and therefore never finishing is a valuable skill for Virgo to learn.

Using the myth helps me to understand the challenge Virgo faces and makes me a little more sympathetic and a little less ‘Virgo’ towards them!   Happy birthday to all you Virgos!

When that difficult Aunt comes to call…

I can’t speak for everyone else, but one of the reasons I study and work with astrology is to learn more about myself.  I find it useful to have a greater understanding of how I tick; why I respond to certain situations in the way that I do; and to gain enough insight to maybe do things differently or better the next time a situation arises. The obvious by-product of this is that in learning more about myself I learn more about other people. I also have become much more aware of the behaviours I struggle with most, both in myself and others.  This isn’t a judgement because in and of themselves the behaviours aren’t negative, they simply are.  I’ve been doing this long enough to know all the astrological cliches, ‘we aren’t just one sign, we have all the archetypes of the zodiac within us’, is one Matthew and I use all the time with our students. Of course, in part, this is to try and move new students away from the sun sign astrology they are often so familiar with, but it is also perfectly true. All of the signs are present in our charts, some are simply emphasised more due to the presence of planets.

Ok, so I’ve set the scene and pointed out that I recognise that what I’m about so say probably indicates that there is a deep, dark hidden part of myself I’m ignoring…  But, in truth, don’t we all have favourite signs? And consequently, those signs we maybe don’t get along with so well? Or simply don’t understand?  Having studied astrology for so long the signs of the zodiac and the planets feel so much part of the family.  I suppose this means I’m talking about those family members who fit the saying, ‘you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family’. I’ve really tried hard to develop an understanding of these distant cousins so that when they come to family get togethers we can get along better. Unfortunately, I’m still struggling a little. I find the more difficult expressions of these signs (there’s two of them) very challenging.  That isn’t to say that they don’t have very fine qualities too, but when you come up against someone expressing the more difficult qualities associated with them I struggle!

Should I come clean and tell you who I’m talking about? Perhaps I should change the names to protect the innocent?  Well firstly, there’s that great aunt. She’s one of those relatives who no matter how much you try to be ready for her, she’ll always find the speck of dust when she comes to visit. Or will thrill in telling you how you could have done something better and she wouldn’t have done it that way in the first place!  I know she’s an amazing crafts woman and certainly has a way with words, but I simply can’t do with the nitpicking!

And then there’s a third cousin who is incapable of listening to any other side of an argument.  He knows he’s right and simply refuses to budge despite all compelling evidence from the opposition.  Granted he is usually arguing for the ‘greater good’ and not just for selfish reasons and he does all that voluntary work and recycling, but sometimes it would be nice for him to say ‘actually, you may have a point there, I’ll consider it’.

So, yes I struggle with the more difficult aspects of Virgo and Aquarius.  They have lots of good qualities, but when the more difficult qualities are expressed it really pushes my buttons!  Perhaps it’s the large amount of water in my chart, and the fact I have nothing in these signs at all, which means I find it much more difficult to deal with these energies.  Of course the universe in its wisdom sees that I need to learn this lesson and presents me with lots of opportunities.  My day job places me in a very Virgo and Aquarius environment.  Lots of intellectualising and attention to detail to ensure that when the more difficult family members come to call I’ve had plenty of time to practice how best to cope with them.  And the real trick here is recognising that bit of myself that I’m avoiding and projecting on to other people!