Astrology of Now: Bright Ideas, Shiny Synapses

Thursday January 24th 2013
The Moon from De Sphaera

As I write, the Moon is running the gamut of an opposition to Pluto. She’s in her own sign, Cancer, so she’s no pushover, even for the lord of the Underworld. But as she slides through the sea of Cancer, she brings into action all kinds of interesting aspects between the outer planets.

She’s creates a Grand Trine with Neptune and Saturn, stimulating this emotional interaction between the numinous and the practical. She’s squaring Uranus and Pallas in feisty Aries, watch out for unexpected and maybe unwanted brainwaves.

She’ll quincunx the Sun and Mercury in Aquarius today too, that’ll be more ideas, conversations and theorising.

Meanwhile, Jupiter, the planet that makes things grow, is in the other ideas sign, Gemini, and trining Mercury and the Sun in Aquarius.

So what does this all add up to? It is a day for ideas, for sure, especially with Mars also in Aquarius, which is the sign of the grand design, the theory that explains everything. Charles Darwin is a good example of an Aquarian Sun with a big idea. Einstein had Jupiter in Aquarius opposite Uranus. Mars will be in Aquarius until March 12th, before sliding into dreaming Pisces and making a series of aspects to the outer planets again.

The picture I’ve used is from a Renaissance manuscript known as De Sphaera, which was made for the powerful Sforza family in Ferrara around 1470. It’s a series of very beautiful illustrations showing the attributes of the planets visually, rather like a deck of tarot cards.

This is the Moon. She stands precariously on two wheels, perhaps denoting her changeability, and above Cancer the crab. She holds a horn in one hand and a torch in the other. And it’s true, we don’t associate the Moon with lighting fires, but she does trigger the action of other planets.

Here is the following page from the manuscript, showing (apparently) occupations ruled by the Moon. The man in the middle looks curiously like the Magician from the Tarot, but he seems to be doing the three-cup trick. There’s a pilgrim in the bottom right, and at the top some fishermen. Right in the middle is a peasant, who seems to be thrashing his poor donkey.

If you have any bright ideas about these intriguing pictures, I would love to hear them.

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  1. Thanks for the introduction to De Sphaera which I hadn’t come across before. Just googled it and you can view a virtual book of the 7 traditional planets/heavenly bodies at this website Very interesting.

  2. HadesMoon says:

    Two of the occupations seem moon related – fishing and sowing seed. I am unable to see what the man in the tree is doing. As for the character in the foreground – perhaps this scene is related to a moon governed time. Such games would probably occur in the village when people went ” to town” – market day, or fair day. Anyone think of a moon related time?

    • Christina says:

      Good points. I also wonder about the horn she’s holding. I wondered if the people in the foreground were gambling or if it were sleight of hand, the moon can be illusion.

      It’s interesting to see think about how much of the stuff that we now consider ruled by Neptune used to belong to the Moon.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Paul F Newman’s book ‘Luna’ has some info about the older associations with the moon. He suggests mythical half-human, horned creatures like Pan were under the moon’s rule; citing him as the origin of the word ‘panic’, a lunar state, and Pan’s habit of sleeping during the day and emerging at night. Maybe that’s the link to the horn? He also makes lots of links to the images of 3’s being related to the 3 phases of the moon (new, full, old). I did read some link to a magician somewhere but can’t place it now. But wonder if those 3 cups allude to the 3 phases of the moon – too far a stretch? Maybe the torch is simply her light.

    • Maya Panika says:

      I hadn’t even noticed the cups until now (that poor, tragic donkey is stealing all my attention), but cups in Tarot represent water, and so the moon… Maybe that’s a stretch?

      I LOVE that Pan-panic reference! My Cancer ascendant approves. 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Thanks for the book recommendation & I think you are on to something with both points. My friend looking over my shoulder asked if I was sure those were actually cups, or are they medical!?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know if I’m right, but to me the horn seems to be the Cornucopia, the horn of abundance – it was the horn of the goat Amalthea, who feeded Zeus when he was in hiding in Crete. Later he gave Amalthea her place in the heavens and whoever holds her horn will receive much wealth and joy. It was also very often used in heraldics (familyweapons). Furthermore I think I detect air (in the corners above), water (ships), fire (left hand) and earth (under her feet) and maybe the horn is ether ?? In addition to that I see the sun in front of her.

    The other picture shows a money lender (Scales), earth (working it), fire (the man in the wood is collecting wood for a fire?) and water (two fishermen) ?

    Can you agree with me?
    regards – mimi

    • Christina says:

      Oh yes! I do agree with you about the elements in there. Luna was considered the sailor’s friend, and I wonder simply if July was a particularly good month for sailing too. There are four lines of text under the image of luna in Italian. But I can’t read the gothic script.

  5. Anonymous says:

    hi christiana,
    i tried to read the lines, of course it is in italian of the sforza time. I think it says something about the moon ruling the elements (how she works through the elements).

    I can read the words like this :
    La luna al naumgar(?) molto conforza
    er in pelchare er accelare er ciccli
    A min i fuor figlunoh apec la posci
    er anche al folassare che so altra piscci

    Don’t know if it is all correct, but maybe you can make something of it.

    regards – mimi

    • Christina says:

      oh thank you, that’s really great. now we have to figure it out.

      Maybe that’s navigar? Like navigator? The Moon brings the navigator much comfort, then er is et like and. and the fisher and accelerates the cycles.

      It occurred to me while I was swimming just now that in medieval times, summer was high season for the big pilgrimages. July is ruled by Cancer, of course. I would have thought that travel was under Mercury you see….

  6. Isy Aweigh says:

    I’d noticed the weary traveler in the corner of the foreground. I’m also struck by all the fertility — the muscular fishermen, the full sack on the donkey, the bird on the lure. Nobody is thin. Did you notice the trees — bare on the right, as if passing away; greening in the middle; heavy with fruit on the left. The passing of time was coded into images by sequential placement, as I recall.

    • Christina says:

      Oh yes. you’re right about the trees.

      I note the dog in the foreground. Diana goddess of the Moon always had a couple of dogs with her.

    • Isy Aweigh says:

      It’s worth noting that beasts of burden were not viewed as feeling beings, as we know them to be, but as things used for purpose, rather as we see wheebarrows or trucks. That’s a big load of grain the farmer is taking to the mill, so he has to use extra gas to get the truck there….

      The cup-and-pea man looks very much like illusion as a form of entertainment and profit. Interesting.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The horn – Gabriel is the Archangel of the Moon.
    The cups – Triple Goddess (along with the triple phase of the trees).
    The flow of the river matches the ‘flow’ of the people (fishermen, man in tree, farmer, townfolk).

  8. Sabrina says:

    The Circle surrounding La Luna seems to be made of Oyster shells. The Moon-Pearl inside. Fertility, erotism.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to say : it is not a cup-and-pea man, it is a money lender, he weighs gold with the device he holds in his left hand. If you use a looking glass you can see, that on the table there is gold and what seem to be cups are in fact little bags for handing out money (or gold) to people. In the middle ages there were travellers who lend money to people and they would weigh it against gold (the sign of Libra).

    The little man in the front right to me seems to be the fool (like in the Tarot).

    the river could be the river Tiber, there is an allegory of Zeus with the river Tiber being the horn of abundance (she brought fertility and therefore wealth – also a capacity of the Moon).

    regards – mimi

    • Christina says:

      Yes, I see what you mean exactly. He’s got lumps of gold hasn’t he and a stick for scales. So a money lender. How did the Sforza, who commissioned the book, make their money? Were they bankers like the Medici? I’m going to check.

      But that guy in front is a pilgrim – he’s got the staff and the hat and the blistered feet.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I read the Sforza family were at first farmers. Later on they became very wealthy and prosperous and became rulers in Milan and other cities.

    The fool is also a pilgrim, because he walks the road of life and becomes a wise man in the end. In the Middle Ages painters very often used images from the Tarot.

    Have been trying to see what the text beneath the Moon is all about, but it’s ancient Italian and I think it can’t be just translated to modern Italian or English. You might miss the exact translation.


  11. Christina says:

    I have. It’s medieval Italian isn’t it. I think I’m going to use our local resource (the university) and try to find the right person to talk to here! What fun

    • Anonymous says:

      I fully agree with you – it’s really fun trying to discover this kind of paintings and see what you can learn from them. Those medieval painters were very funny and cunning guys who could put a lot in a painting that could nog be said in words in those days.

      Have fun and have a good weekend

  12. Anonymous says:

    You are so in the flow Christina! This represents the alignment of the Leo Full Moon today. A pentagram made from Venus (Cappy Horn), Saturn (Ultimate Aughority Higher Power – me thinks it is a scorpion, not a crab at the bottom), Moon (Fire of Leo), Uranus (her foot is in the wheel – she is plugged in) and Jupiter (Gemini – her foot is above the wheel – in the world but not of it).
    The water is Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.
    This is Malachi 3:1 playing out – The Day of the Lord. The evildoers getting burnt is Hybris at 0 Gemini.
    Tis a truly glorious day for all today – make sure to absorb this awesome Moon vibe, it’s filled with love and peace and healing.

    • Christina says:

      I love it! A pentagram, yes, like the path of Venus, and today’s planets, ha!

      A scorpion like in the tarot card for the moon. I does look like that. Or actually a crayfish! It reminds me of a freshwater crayfish I once found wandering around on a footpath in France. (It was beside a lake, but still a very strange thing to find.)