by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spica and Arcturus

The Moon, Mars, Venus and Spica as seen from Nashville, TN
 (photo credit - Goddard Space Flight Center)

Brightest star in constellation Virgo, Spica has been known to cultures around the world and down through the ages. Hindu astronomers and Chinese astrologers…evidently Spica’s prominent twinkle-power has not only added a lot to our night skies but stirred many a thought over many, many years.

Known in medieval Arabic tradition as ‘Azimech’ (the Undefended) or ‘Alarph’ (the Grape Gatherer), Spica has also allegedly played an interesting part in the development of science, too. How did it do that? Well, apparently those uber-builders of ancient Egypt liked focusing temples and monuments on particular stars. So that’s what they did.

In the course of this, somewhere around 3,200 BCE they built this one particular temple in the city of Thebes which was focused on Spica.

This particular temple was dedicated to the Menat, an early ‘Hathor-figure.’ And since Hathor was a major goddess of home, hearth, childbearing and providing that which life depended on, when this one temple failed to “stay in alignment,” folks started wondering why.

What they came up with was a theory - later validated by Copernicus – which is now understood as scientific fact: the idea we know as precession.

It’s hard, living here on Planet Earth, to really grasp that our planet is zooming through space, rotating as it does, and…(this is the precessional part)…wobbling ever so slightly in the process.

What this amounts to is that the imaginary ‘stick’ we tend to think of as ‘stuck through’ Earth and around which Earth rotates…that stick wobbles ever so slightly, rotating as a top does, describing a little circle. That circle - which moves in the opposite direction as Earth's rotation - is precession. And it moves one degree each 72 years, meaning the Earth precesses one zodiacal sign (30 degrees) every 2,160 years, with a full Great Precessional Age taking twelve times that amount: 25,920 years.

 From the Egyptian Book of the Dead / Papyrus of Ani, 
a scene which shows the goddess Hathor - here
portrayed as a cow - standing in the reeds (c 1275 BCE)

Now, you’ve heard people (including me) talking about Astrological Ages. That’s a function of precession. And what Spica has to do with all this is that Spica is the star which for whatever reason was the star everybody focused on down through the ages as they figured precession out. Arab, Egyptian, Greek (his name was Hipparchus), Polish (Copernicus), Chinese, Indian…everybody's eyes have seemingly focused on Spica.

Is it the brightest star in the sky? No.

hough it , though it is one of the brighter ones – the 15th brightest, to be more precise.

So what's the draw?

For the moment, let's just call that 'coincidence.' Though as someone once remarked to me, 'coincidence is just God's way of remaining anonymous.'

That said, a little about the science-side of Spica. There are astrologers (and those interested in astrology) who simply fluffy off science. Yet if metaphysics works, it has to work across the board. That says that we can learn more about the metaphysics from the science.

So let's consider the facts: Spica isn’t just ‘one’ star. It's evidently a closely tied pair of stars – a binary star. That tells us that in all things Spica, there's more than one 'part' of the question to consider if we are to arrive at our 'full brilliance.'

Next concept: Spica is classed as a ‘Beta Cephei’ type star (star formation) which means one or both of these energy spewing objects displays a ‘variable brightness.’

Easiest to say here is 'better them than us,' but maybe that's the point. Known as Alpha Virgo (the brightest star in the constellation Virgo), for our earth-bound purposes Spica 'illuminates' the Virgo concept of getting to our goal. Therefore the variable brightness says sometimes we'll do that 'attending to our work' well, and sometimes we'll be a bit more dim about it!

Interestingly, the rotation of this pair is estimated to be 4 days. Why would that be interesting? Well, being the brightest star in our constellation of Virgo, Spica could very easily be seen to have something of an overall association with life’s cycles. Four seasons is easy to associate with the agricultural cycle, and Virgo is the sign of the harvest.

Then again, seeing that the lunar cycle is 29.53 days long (rounded), that pretty much gives us four weeks of seven days in our month (a rough approximation of the lunar cycle).

And a week is how our lives are organized. Virgo is all about neat and organized, right?

More to the point, that's what our world uses to function. And that's seriously Virgo!

Yet beyond that, Virgo is a sign not just about getting from seed to harvest, or about morality, duty and responsibility (and all the effort mental and physical required to hold ourselves to our schedules and prevailing rules of conduct). No, Virgo is also about the ordered process and the ordering of the process, and about thinking through what it takes (for instance) to get something we plant - be it a ‘seed’ or a relationship or a company we want to grow to profitability - what it takes to bring those to full fruit and not to keep them from...spoiling, shall we say!

Growth, nourishment, food – it all has a connection to Virgo. Often associated with motherhood, the better Virgo word is probably ‘nurturance.' And on the flip side, Virgo would also be about how to handle 'toxicity' (which on the physical side leads us towards health, health care workers and medicine as a business)... and how eliminating our toxicity mental, biological, physical, moral, intellectual, fiscal or otherwise - is something which requires thinking through.

It's a process. Virgo is all about the process of getting from Point A to Point B, which is why the well-known Virgo 'caught up in details' thing is not exactly considered a Virgo positive.

Put this all together and what is Spica, this brightest star in Virgo? Known sometimes as a star of knowledge, considering the effort, patience, and diligence which Virgo honors, Spica would seem to be a star all about ‘know-how.’
Having the ‘know-how’ or learning to do something so that you have the ‘know-how’ - being able to help others who know less and all the Virgo responsibilities which weigh out what I 'owe' me and what I 'owe' them (that binary thing? That would appear to be in play here. And knowing when you can prioritize one thing (the 'me' versus the 'them or it') that would appear to be part of our Spica learning curve.

So! With all this said, what does Spica have to do with our world and our life as we meander, stumble or frolic through 2012?

  Copernicus' Conversation with God  by Jan Matejko (1872)

I’m glad you asked. For reasons I’m not going to get into at any length here, Spica (this star which is part of Virgo) is currently positioned at 24 Libra.

What? Why is Alpha Virgo's star in Libra, you ask? No, this is not a hostile takeover of Libra by Virgo (though that is a thought worthy of contemplation...). 

Part one: fixed stars do move, if slowly. And let’s face it. Any way you slice it, whether you’re hedging your bets Greek style or you're into going all the way back in astro-thinking to 3,200 BCE when the Egyptians were changing their ‘we're building this temple in Thebes,’  it’s been a seriously long time. Long enough for Spica to have moved a sign or so down the line.

Here's the skinny: Spica left the mathematical Virgoan space on February 12, 285 CE. As for the constellation Virgo, (this being Part two of 'What's Alpha Virgo doing in Libra?')Virgo is absolutely one truly large constellation. You might say Virgo ‘sprawls’ across a broad swath of sky. (Ah yes, a very earthy sign, Virgo!)

Also: not only is Spica a binary star in its own right, but for thousands of years now, it's been traveling through the zodiac (the sky as seen from Earth's perspective) in conjunction with Arcturus.

And what's Arcturus? Arcturus is brightest star in the constellation of Bootes and the fourth brightest star in our sky (third brightest if you're looking only at individual - not binary- stars).

Together, they're 'lighting up' 24 Libra as we live and breathe.
But is this a ‘focus’ on 24 Libra? Or is it a distraction - a 'hiding something in the light' sort of thing?

Arcturus has long been thought of as representing the courage of individualism. Wherever we see Arcturus, we see someone who is willing to be their own person or walk their own path.

Is it always for the best? Not necessarily. But the instinct is surely there.

So if Spica is 'know-how' and Arcturus is 'having the courage to be our own person' together, they ask if we know how to be our own people.

Though these two stars have been in conjunction for plural milennia, they do separate ever so briefly (in celestial terms) in changing degrees. Arcturus entered 24 Libra on December 5, 1983. Spica entered 24 Libra on January 12, 2011.

So what's 24 Libra about?

Being a 3rd decan degree (a degree between 20 and 29 of some sign) we know 24 Libra is about the quality of interactions we encounter, based on the quality of self (or other "product") we bring to the discussion.

Because this is Libra we're talking about, this is the 'idea of the thing' and thus the idea of how we are regarded by others or received by the world. Part of Libra's nature is to cause us to seek out and find ourselves through relationships - but the big mistake is to think it's them (or their fault) when 'they' are only giving us a heads up on either our quality or the equating of the qualities between two parties (or ideas).

24 Libra is not known as a particularly strong degree - which in Libra terms can lend itself to cooperation and a willingness to work out compromises with others. On the other hand, because 24 Libra is also know for a peculiarly black/white conceptualization, Arcturus having entered 24 Libra back in 1983 makes sense when we think of the 1980's as time when there was a decided upswing in materialism coupled with the extensions of credit needed to finance that.

But then we look at this metaphysically. Is this not a signal that this is a time when an entire generation of people began to think they - as human beings - should be able to act on credit too?

Taking this back to Arcturus' quest for individuality, as Arcturus moved into 24 Libra, there would be a rise in the temptation to think of ourselves in black-and-white terms. And to be confronted with our own willingness, the question of whether we have the courage to be our own person.

Then in comes Spica. As of 2011, Spica reinforced the 24 Libra in a time when the have-nots were asking can I live this way? as the 'haves' were saying will I be able to continue living this way?

All over the world we see people acting bizarrely. We ask 'how can they be doing that?' and 'how can anyone let that happen?' 

The question is partly about them, yes. But it's also about us. The Arcturus/Spica energy drives us to figure it out. It asks that we have the courage to stand for what we really believe in our own minds and to learn - not be judged - by the reactions of others.

Remember, in Libra there is always a balance. When there is a problem, the first Spica-Arcturus question will tend to be 'who is right or wrong' when the more correct question is probably who is willing to be their own person? Who is willing to learn more (or better)?

And that isn't about our 'group.' The human tendency is to retreat to those who will agree with you or at least coddle you. Why others do that is also something to think about. Is theirs an act of Virgo nurturing? If so, they will care for you, but not instruct you. After all, you need to be your own person - which includes learning how to be an independent being.

But again - why care about that now?
There are two very good reasons why this is important to us now. One is because Venus – planetary ruler of Libra – is about to go retrograde. It’s going retrograde in Gemini, the ‘other’ sign ruled by Mercury, the planet which rules Virgo.

 Constellation Bootes

Metaphysically, this may give us a very really good hint about Spica as part of Virgo-the-constellation being now positioned in the sign of Libra. Virgo always requires that we think. Virgo is about getting it right being effective – if not barbaric – about achieving your goals. This is where the world ‘morality’ enters into the Virgo conversation. Virgo morals aren’t about being a prude or a clean freak, it’s about achieving the aim without undermining your own goals, breaking accepted collective standards or hurting/harming others.

Given that Libra is always about the quality with which we present ourselves and act in this world – those two can very easily go together. So for Venus to be going into a Mercury-ruled retrograde as of May 15th, that really is reason to think.

Or to be thought of…how?

Or to be critiqued or supposed based on whether we actually do or don’t have the ‘know how’ to support our claim, actions, efforts or position in life?

Venus will go direct again on June 27. But just before it does so, Saturn will have backed up to 22 Libra and go direct right atop a galactic Black Hole.

Saturn itself will be retrograding over 24 Libra from May 1st through May 16. After going direct on June 25th, it will make its final forward pass (for this time around the zodiac) over 24 Libra between August 3rd and August 17th.

If I just tell you that, it’s sort of like letting you watch Act II and Act III of a play. What happened to Act I – when we met all the central characters and set up all the plot and conflict stuff?

Right! When did Saturn first roll over 24 Libra? That was November 14 through 23rd of 2011.

Now…when you’re trying to piece this puzzle together in your head remember: this is NOT a literal ‘connective.’ We’re looking at themes of daring or know-how. Unless you have a very special natal chart which for whatever reason gives you ‘immunity’ to this passage (which would mean you use this concept of Arcturus ‘daring’ and Spica ‘know-how’ on an everyday basis) …unless you have that, you’ve been feeling this passage for some time now. It may be wonderful, it may be ugly, it may be ‘I’m good at this and I suck at that.’

Constellation Virgo

Two votes for individuality: being our own person is evidently very important in this day and age. And if it’s being stressed so on the zodiacal level, doesn’t that suggest that a lot of us need lessons in just that issue?

Uh, probably yes.

No matter what your situation here is, This Venus retrograde/June Saturn station is a test probably not so much about who you are as who you are willing to be or become.

And that’s the ‘up’ side of Saturn. Saturn is a symbol of long-term growth. When we refuse to grow at a structural level, that’s when the astrological Saturn represents problems. Saturn isn’t about the social status, it’s about being the upstanding citizen who merits the social status. Famous for representing an intolerance of fakery, Saturn transits (personal or global) bring us advances or collapses, depending on what we’ve earned.

With all that said, do you know how your know-how quotient is doing? Do you know how to best utilize it? Choosing to do something more or something better if things are tough could be just the boost your life needs. 

So (Mercury) think it over. Consider how well (Spica) things are, or aren’t working. Make a (Venus retrograde) plan and if/where necessary, own your (Saturn) responsibilities.

Ultimately, ‘know how’ is all about us. It’s not just about what you can do, it’s knowing when you should and shouldn’t do things. Saturn’s turnabout atop a Black Hole in the wake of Venus retrograde and May’s Gemini solar eclipse is a glimpse into our future.

The Black Hole tells us that it isn't going to be what we think it is right now. Black Holes always indicate the 'alternative' reality. So we can change...or be changed.

Wherever Spica and Arcturus are in your natal chart, that's the 'venue' they will operate through during your lifetime. You'll see year-to-year shifts on the nature of the interaction depending on solar return charts and transits to your individual natal chart.

Yes, there's that individuality thing again! Your Spica-Arcturus combination is not 'just like' anyone else's. And that's the point. It shouldn't be. Nor should you want it to be, assume it to be or acquiesce to, should anyone else try to render you incapable of being your own person.

Whatever house Arcturus and Spica appear in, that will also be a 'department' of life where you meet up with their issues. Those areas of life will probably hold some almost 'magical' draw for you. Why? Because it's through those Libran interactions with others that you learn more about yourself and therefore are prompted to work on your individuality.

This duo seems more obviously dynamic when natally positioned on the right (reactive/responsive) side of the horoscope. But don't be fooled. Though a 'right-side' Arcturus/Spica placement would be doubling up on the manifest 'reactive' quality of having this pair in 24 Libra, those with a proactive left hemisphere Arcturus/Spica are probably more obviously at odds with who they are.

And what they're doing.

And how they're doing it.

And if they can deal with others not liking it...or what they do when others don't like who they are.

Either way, it's tough to remember it's not how they're treating you (or reacting to you) which is the prime and eternal thing. It's who you are being to evoke those reactions. Not all which glitters is gold, they say...and not all applause is healthy. Wherever and whenever we surrender our individuality or give up the job of being a courageous human being, we lose. It doesn't matter how much money you have, how glorious your lifestyle is - there are plenty of rich and famous and beautiful people in this world who are obviously and painfully unhappy.

Arcturus/Spica may, in fact, be part of the difficulty of being famous. Even notorious. Is the image the person? Libra tempts us to say 'yes,' especially in a 3rd decanate degree which has everything we do being commented on or critiqued.

And maybe that's the point - even for those of us who aren't 'famous.' We all wear social and societal masks and to a greater or lesser extent care (or don't care) about what anybody thinks of us.

Maybe we should be more involved in being who we are than listening to our own 'press,' as it were. Good or bad, they don't know everything that we are. This probably applies even to those we consider part of our 'group.'

Nobody knows what goes on in our head, in the depths of our heart or in the boundless insight of our soul.

Do we? Probably whether we do or don't know ourselves, Arcturus and Spica represent the (Libra) relationships and (Virgo)  responsibilities/areas/effort where we learn the most about ourselves.

And in the end, whether 'they' like us...does that matter as much as whether we like ourselves?

One last note here: if you have a planet, axis point or natal nodal placement in 24 Libra, you probably know that you polarize people. You are - in a sense - part of their Arcturus/Spica learning process.

But what you do with you deal with that thing...that 'responsibility'? That's on you. At some level, even how we relate to things in our own minds - that's a Libra dynamic too.

It may even be the most important, for from how we deal with ourselves comes how we deal with others - and how they respond to us.

Modern life connects us to others - and allows them to react to us. Or more exactly, to whether we have the know-how and courage to be the people we'd like to think we are. 

We live in nakedly Spica-Arcturus times. 


  1. Wow! Very intersting! I favorited this page! I have MC conjunct Arcturus,Spica and Pluto and my chart is full of virgo-libra interactions (7th house leo sun, virgo mercury and venus-> libra MC's ruler) I must meditate about what you wrote here, thank you very much.

  2. Lots to ponder over , my sun is @ 24.14 libra in the fifth house .. Like this !!!

    1. An interesting synastry connection between Descendant is @ 24 LI and my Neptune at 25 LI - which is probably why both of us find Spica and Arcturus worth thinking about!

  3. I came here by a seemingly odd series of random events and like the poster said above, I have much to ponder. I am slightly more versed in Human Design rather than astrology, but do know about both. I was pondering a personal question earlier today…one where I felt quite stuck in my life and couldn't figure out how to get beyond this stuckness. So I looked at my Tao Oracle cards and pulled the iChing card of 50. (I told you this was random). I looked at my own Human Design chart (it contains aspects of the iChing) and saw that my 50th gate in my chart was not defined. So what was the significance of this card? I went on a search to find that my Ascendent of my natal astrology chart was 24 Libra. Yet rising signs/ascendents aren't part of Human Design. No matter…this intrigued me. So essentially, I saw that if Ascendents WERE a part of the Human Design chart, my ascendent would have defined the 50th gate in my chart. Looking to see what was happening at 24 degrees Libra, I found Arcturus and now Spica. So like I said, I have a lot to ponder. Thanks for the seemingly random dot….

    1. You're welcome...and if you have room for another morsel of pondering, my Descendant is 24 Libra.

      Please feel free to visit my random dot any time!


  4. A scientific study by James SPOTTISWOODE found that optimum ESP results are obtained at 13:30 sidereal time ... which is when 24 degrees Libra is on your local midheaven.

    For those unfamiliar, scientists now use the term "Anomalous Cognition" for what the public calls ESP. Some of his research papers are available here ...

    One can get your current local sidereal time here ...

    Here is a sidereal calculator that allows you to change time & place ...

  5. Hello,

    Thank you for this great post. My Pluto is 24 degrees Libra in my 12th house. Regards.

    1. You're very welcome - and with your Pluto, I can well understand why this post would interest you. Hope it's of some assistance along the way!

      - Boots


  6. I don't have any significant aspects to Arcturus in Ecliptic Longitude, but I do have Sun conjunct Arcturus in Right Ascension (Equatorial Longitude) within 1 degree.

    Two transneptunian dwarf planet/candidates Varda (Valar Queen of the Stars, the Kindler, spouse of Manwë in J.R.R. Tolkien's mythology) and Sedna (Ocean Underworld Goddess Ruler of the Underworld, Adlivun in Inuit Mythology) are also connected to my Sun.

    Sun at 14h12m11s (213'03) 3'03 Scorpio
    conjunct Arcturus at 14h14m24s (213'46) 3'46 Scorpio
    conjunct Varda at 14h15m00s (213'45) 3'45 Scorpio
    oppose Sedna at 2h15m05s (33'46) 3'46 Taurus

    I am a highly multiethnic, neurodivergent, sex-hormonal divergent male.

  7. correction:

    Arcturus (213'36) 3'36 Scorpi0

  8. I just came across this post. Thank you. It is very informative. I have not come across any other article on the topic that is so clarifying.
    Penny (natal Venus @24 Libra 2nd house)

  9. Wow I too have spica conjunct my midheaven and Pluto, fascinating! I've just discovered this and am enjoying learning so far, thanks!

    1. Speaking of Pluto, it's worth noting that Pluto will come into orb of a square aspect to Spica and Arcturus as of early 2018, with the square coming into full focus during 2020-2021 - - all of which is likely to change your view of the world along with your place and ideas about purpose and overall goals.

      - Boots

  10. I found what was written very interesting. I have Moon at 20 degrees 14' Libra and Sun at 26 degrees 36' Libra. Both Spica at 23 degrees 17' and Arcturus at 23 degrees 41 are sandwiched in between. I am on the verge of leaving my marital partner of 8 years standing. The sexual assault that occurred about 2-3 years into the union destroyed it. My partner has begged for me not to leave - even threatened suicide. Regardless, I cannot bide the relationship anymore. There is no love. I have learned a lot and will be forever grateful for the wisdom I have acquired but it must end. It has taken its toll on my self-esteem and I have begun hating myself - being like a machine and hating her and hating me for hating her and treating her the way I do (resentment, anger, so toxic). I pride myself on being a strong individual and now I must summon the courage to leave for the good of both of us. I will let the readers derive their own analogies and make their own analysis in regard to myself in connection to the nature of these bright stars written about and their conjunctive relationship to my luminaries.

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  12. I have sun at 24° and have always resonated with this. It also conjuncts my descendant. Have been so fascinated with this. What are your thoughts on it conjunct descendant bs Ascendant? I was initially searching for 25° Aries as Egyptian/Vedic astrology places such high importance on the Ascendant point. Always thinking about reincarnation and where the "window" would be. What are your thoughts, would it be the suns degree or Ascendant?

    Deleted my other comment cause it was too vague - I hope this isn't just as bad

  13. I have them conjunct my Ascendant, which is also conjunct (wider orb) Moon, Pluto and Saturn. Lol wonder what it says about me.

  14. I my sun at 23°Libra and my Jupiter at 24°libra. Back in 2012 I was graduating from highschool during the Venus retrograde in Gemini with Saturn retrograde in Libra which was passing over these points as well as my sun/Jupiter.

    Now in 2020 a full quarter Saturn cycle later, Venus is now retrograde in Gemini (my 7th house) Saturn is trine my Venus in libra (0 degrees)
    Going retrograde in aquarius and I'm trying to piece to get the story or themes of what's repeating/echoing. My Saturn is an exact trine to my sun and Jupiter at 23/24 degrees aquarius so apparently those fixed stars are far more prominent then I originally understood.