by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Orionid Meteor Shower

The constellation Orion over Arches National Park in Utah
(photo credit: Daniel Schwen/2004)

Having begun just as Venus went retrograde, October 12th marks the height of the annual 2010 Orionid meteor shower.

Named for the constellation Orion, the Orionids don't actually come from the constellation itself, rather from an area just outside of the 'body' of Orion - between Orion and Gemini.
And astrologically, knowing just that is the key to understanding this annual event.

Gemini we know. Gemini is the process of thought and all which comes from thinking - or the lack thereof. We either choose or choose not to. We are organized or not. We are neat or not. We talk or we are silent. We are mobile, stationary, hasty or simply stuck. We understand or we're confused, we're seekers or we know and comprehend. We communicate our thoughts through the mail, email, text, writings, speech or otherwise. We communicate ourselves or our ideas via phones, books, computers, mail carriers, cars, bicycles, planes, trains and last but never least, our mouth, hands or feet.

Gemini is the everyday. Gemini is 'temporal time' - the schedule, the people we meet along the way (shopkeepers, neighbors, etc.) and those who are 'part of our world' but not part of our core mom-pop-and-kids family.

Orion, on the other hand, is one of the most famous constellations in our sky which most people know simply as The Hunter.

 Constellation Orion

But astrologically, it takes only a little looking at the diagram of Orion to realize how many 'statements' are made in its form. No less than three well known fixed stars (Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Rigel) are part of the full 'Orion picture.' 

So what does this tell us?

First in line, Betelgeuse is a red giant star nearing the end of its astronomical life. Known as a star of 'ease or easy process,' Betelgeuse is a wonderful example of how fixed star influences work, starting with the idea that though they are referred to as 'fixed,' this is 'fixed' in the astrological sense (slow to move) not 'fixed' as in concrete - forevermore set in place. Currently moving at roughly one minute of longitude per year, Betelgeuse is currently at 28 Gemini, having moved out of 27 Gemini towards the end of 1945.

Twenty-seven Gemini is a degree typified as either a 'sleeping giant' or a 'genie in a bottle' - you don't know quite what is going to happen until you rouse the giant or free the genie. That Betelgeuse moved out of 27 Gemini into 28 Gemini as WWII came to its end (a world-wide example of genies and sleeping giants if there ever was one!) is apt.

Since 1945, Betelgeuse has been colored by 28 Gemini's legendary preoccupation with values...whether you color that as money and wealth or morality and integrity. A degree known for just enough intuition to be confused and enough suspicion to promote caution, 28 Gemini often functions as a degree at which whatever is positioned there prompts situations through which we learn. That would be in keeping with 28 Gemini being a 3rd decan degree, to be sure - any degree between 20 and 29 of any sign is known as where results are only known through worldly/outside input or reaction.

Of course the down side there is that if Betelgeuse is about 'ease' and we see how it did when at 27 Gemini, then it's no wonder that so many difficulties have arisen in the last sixty (plus) years. We keep trying to take the easy way out and life teaches us to be more cautious and to opt for truly global rather than self serving values inclusive of the idea that though it's easy to assume and assert the meaning of 'morality' and 'integrity' that in the greatest of big picture perspectives, those ideas are always far, far more global than we tend to think.

 Young Stars Emerging from Orion's Head
(source: ASA/JPL/Caltech/Spitzer Team - 2007)

Betelgeuse is the star at Orion's right shoulder, representing that which is, and from which we respond. Opposite that is Bellatrix, a star known to represent a difficult process - apt, seeing as left is 'what is yet left to do' and thus the unknown. Thought by physicists to be too small to ever go supernova, the brilliant light emitted by Bellatrix is created by extremely high temperatures at its core: a metaphysical emblem of 'high power' and 'great friction,' both of which fit well with the challenges and struggles associated with Bellatrix.

Currently at 21 Gemini, Bellatrix operates through situations where the world reactions to whatever we have (or have not) done. That this degree represents an elevated tendency to scatter one's efforts, waste time and energy and in general, dilute one's effectiveness through lack of focus on the actual goal (through getting distracted) isn't very helpful, particularly when we think of Orion as the Hunter. Hunters need to be focused and aware. Bellatrix in this position suggests that individually and as a world, we are in a period where our ability to discipline our thoughts and efforts is being tested.

But all is not lost. Not in the least! Orion is a fascinating structure in that the 'shoulders' of the hunter are indeed burdened by difficulties in moving ahead and desires to live in or respond from values held over from the past. Yet even if this is emblematic of the 'shouldering of so much tension' in today's world, there is a third star - Rigel - which is Orion's left foot.

A left foot represents our metaphorical step into the future. And Rigel is a star all about being 'under the foot of the teacher' - the necessity to learn. Positioned at 16 Gemini (a degree all about emotional thoughts) Rigel asks that we use our emotions as motivations and from that, learn what we actually can accomplish - and become.

 Orion as a guide by Mysid

As a 'hunter' in the sky, Orion is also a mythic guide; as above it helps point to other major stars...other resources in our life. Using Betelgeuse, we find our way to Procyon, a star of opportunities which come and go if not grabbed onto and used. Rather like Betelgeuse, don't you think? We have a chance to prevent things from going wrong...and if we just ignore it, then the genie gets out of the box.

Fortunately, Bellatrix points to nothing in particular, but there is a line drawn from Rigel to Castor and Pollux, the double edged sword of creative brilliance against personal angst. Positioned in the 3rd decanate of Cancer, this duo becomes evident as a test of personal character once we try to make our way in our worldly life, reminding us that our emotions are powerful enough to get us off track even when we (Rigel) know how to get things done.

Maybe the best news with Orion is the ideas this constellation's famous three belt stars guide us to...

  Orion's Belt (source: NASA) one direction the belt points to Sirius, the most brilliant star in the whole of the sky apart from our Sun. Called either 'the Scorcher' or the 'Shining One' by the ancient Egyptians, Sirius - sometimes also called the 'Dog Star' reminds us that small things can have great consequences, and that often times our personal desires need to be sacrificed for a greater good.

(Yes, just like sometimes our beloved canine companions sacrifice for us!)

Positioned at 14 Cancer, Sirius is said to grant grace in either writing, math or money-making, but seldom all three. It's a sign of resourcefulness and grace - a resource which relates it's position on the same side of Orion as Betelgeuse, the symbol of that we find easy to cope with or do.

Maybe most importantly is the fact that Aldebaran stands in the opposite direction. One of the Royal Persian Stars, Aldebaran promises great success if, where and when we hold ourselves to levels of true integrity.

And maybe, just maybe that tells us what it is which makes moving ahead so hard. Just as the belt 'marries' the bottom and top of this constellation's figure together in a metaphorical union of emotion and the ability to move ahead, so integrity is just that quality which is held to when we marry our needs and our aims to the positions, goals and necessities of others.

With all this said, it's to remember that the Orionid meteor shower comes not from the heart of Orion, but from that deep spatial gap between Orion and Gemini: the gap between thinking and formulating our ideas, choices and priorities with knowing how to 'hunt' down the means and find guidance so as to achieve our greatest goals. 

Occurring just as and after Venus has gone retrograde in Scorpio, this year's Orionid meteor shower would seem to be bits of light...recognitions, ideas, realizations...

...probably pertaining to what we're mulling over inside, retrogrades always being about internals.

There are things we want (Venus).

And they aren't going to just drop into our laps. We're going to have to deal with others (Scorpio).

And maybe most of all, we're going to have to find the right combination of what we already know and what we're willing to 'go forth and learn' (Orion).

We know there's some risk to what we're undertaking (Scorpio). But without taking some sort of Scorpio risks, we never make Scorpio gains.

And maybe worst of all, we know time passes by. If we do nothing, a year from now the Orionids will come yet again, their little streaks of light in the sky reminding us that our life is flashing by without our even having tried to live it.

No, no one wants that.

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