by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alcyone: The Taurus Point

 The star group known as the Pleiades
(photo credit: NASA-ESA-AURA-Caltech-Palomar, June 2004)

Currently positioned at 0 Gemini, Alcyone is a star I haven't heard about much. Nevertheless, it's part of the constellation Taurus - which certainly gives it some importance.

And there is that little fact that the South Node, Sedna and Algol are doing a mish-mosh conjunction thing - which we should probably think of as either an exacerbating or strengthening of Taurean tendencies, issues and necessities, whatever that may be in your world.

We do talk a bit about Algol in astrology. Maybe it's because Algol has acquired such a bad reputation for stubbornly self-involved reactivity (read: pig-headedness). Astrologers - like everybody else - do seem to like celestial train wrecks. (Yes, we sky ogle.) But there is always that concept that there is a good side of every astrological placement if we can understand how to get there. With Algol, it's the end to which you use/aim your reactiveness and outrage. It's the why behind the pouncing on something which counts.

No, that doesn't defend going around shouting 'Off with their head!' like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.  Being self-centered is still a Taurus downfall - as is going after money and material things purely for their own sake.

But back to Alcyone. Alcyone is not just ‘part’ of Taurus, it’s the brightest star in Taurus. So why don't we hear more about Alcyone?

Well...this is just a guess, but people do think about  Taurus as the sign of security, satisfaction and self-worth. They just don't like the process of getting to that sense of inner security, satisfaction and self-worth.

So what do people do? They try to get things which will provide them with security, satisfaction and self-worth, which isn't the point of Taurus at all.

Taurus is about what you do and how that affects how you feel about yourself. All three of the zodiac's first trio of signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini) are focused on 'Who am I? Who can I be or become?'...Aries is the physical part, Gemini is the mental part, and Taurus is that heart, soul and sense of personal sensitivity.

Hence why Taurean Sun sign people like things which feel good and luxe goods. But those things will never make a Taurus feel good. Or safe. Or secure. And part of the 'why?' of that may lie in Alcyone - the star which is the tip of a Taurus horn.

This gets back to that old Taurus/Scorpio polarity. Scorpio is the sign of war and in that light Alcyone is the ability to go to war if needs be...with the understanding that the optimal sort of life involves not going to war at all, but finding (Scorpio) ways to live with others and keep the peace (maybe even advance the cause) by enduring our sense of possible invalidations along the 'what, my way ISN'T the high way?' experiences in the (Scorpio) interactive arena.

Having our values is one thing. Testing them is quite another. And learning that other people may have different values which are quite different and equally as valid in their life? That's Taurean security.

If the old expression 'speak softly and carry a big stick' holds water (which it tends to) and the greatest use of power is not to ever have to use that power (ditto) then Alcyone is about capacity. It's about the readying and the readiness of the Self to take on and endure through whatever life brings on. It's the (inner) knowing that you are at least secured by....whatever....and if it came to it, you would be willing to stand up for your Self.

That's self-worth. When we could saber-rattle but don't have to saber-rattle, that's because we are satisfied enough with our Self to just go about our own business.

That's Taurus. And more to...uh...the point, that seems to be the 'bright point' about Taurus - which gets back to Taurus as a star all about self-development. It's the work we put into developing our Self which we then have confidence in. Which enables - and perhaps even motivates us - to go out there and take on the world and bring home that bacon.

Or maybe that fancy car, yes! 

Constellation Taurus as pictured in the 'Uranographia' of Johannes Hevelius back in 1690

As a star, Alcyone is no shrinking violet, either. Classed as a Blue Giant, Alcyone is in the same sort of category as Thuban, Arcturus and one of the most easily found stars in the sky, Alnitak – one of the trio which makes up Orion’s starry belt. So again, considering how ‘mainline’ Thuban and Arcturus are as astrological stars, it’s interesting that Alcyone doesn’t get more press.

That it deserves our attention would seem likely. After all, Alcyone changed signs in September of the year 2000. Any time a fixed star changes signs that’s a pretty good signal that the ‘base harmonics’ of life as we know it are going to change. Maybe that change will be pretty subtle…but over time, subtle accumulates and can become a big deal.

Now positioned at 0 Gemini, Alcyone evokes and ‘lights up’ a degree described in the Sabian Symbols as “A Glass-Bottomed Boat Reveals Undersea Wonders.” Astrologer Marc Edmund Jones (he who collected the Sabian symbols to begin with) referred to this degree as ‘the revelation of unconscious energies and submerged psychic structures’ which, considering this is Gemini we are talking about, seems apt. Thus Alcyone is bringing to light unconscious energies…which with water being referenced are either emotional, or emotionally driven. (Water is always, always, always about our emotions!)

Gemini itself is an air sign – so this ‘unconscious emotionalism’ comes from and comes to us (“to light”) via the realm of mentality, thought, verbalism and choice. It will also be filled with that Gemini tendency towards ‘much, more, many, varied and variable’ which as we’ve sorted through before (in talking about the Gemini stars Castor and Pollux) tends to go for the (Castor) ‘sheer strength of numbers’ where ultimately it’s the (Pollux) thoughtful choice – replete with sacrifice where necessary – which saves the day.

And lets remember also…the ‘lit lens’ (if you will) – the Alcyone ‘quality’ through which all this Gemini-ism is funneled (yes, I just made up that word!) is still Taurean. It still aims to fulfill our personal sense of security, importance, satisfaction with our place in the world – all that.

As I started thinking through all this it didn’t seem remarkable to me – considering these ideas – that it’s just since 2000 that we’ve had the invention and rise of things like Facebook and Twitter. Particularly since whenever we find references to ‘the unconscious’ that’s not just ours but the global unconscious…the whole, the mass, that which connects us all or which is common to us all…things like Facebook and Twitter would seem to apply.

But to really understand Alcyone, we need to add in her myth. For one, Alcyone is one of the Pleiades. Seven in number, the Pleiades were the daughters of a sea-nymph (more water equals more emotion) and Atlas – the one person saddled with the task of holding the entire world on his shoulders.

 A wonderful rendition of Atlas holding the weight of a world which here is beautifully fashioned from a Nautilus
(circa 1630, housed at the Walters Art Museum)

As a group, the Pleiades were in service to Artemis – sister of Apollo. Associated with everything ‘under the Moon’ and always referred to as chaste (besides which she was the goddess of hunting and the chase) Artemis symbolizes the need to reflect on what we do and why we do it…and the Pleiades serve this cause.

We can guess that papa Atlas was probably happy with his daughters’ choice of partner, too. Not that in those primal times there was all that much choice of course.

Three of the sisters (Maia, Electra and Taygete) were taken in by Zeus. One was claimed by Ares and another turned Orion the hunter down for (of all people!) Sisyphus.

Bad choice, that. Sisyphus ends up being one of the great sinners in all of Greek myth and in astrological form embodies that edgy testiness we feel when we know we can take advantage of a situation (or person) and know we shouldn’t. The fact that Sisyphus falls prey to his inner carnal weakness is a commentary on how easy it is to do just that.

Even if we always pay. Maybe the injured party doesn’t catch us. Maybe we get away with the nasty moment, the illicit act, the misuse of power.

The truth is, we only get away with it on the surface. We always know. We will always bear the scar of having known we did ill when we didn’t have to.

I’m really thinking this one sister would have done better to marry the hunter. At least Orion has a fabulous belt. As the story goes, he chased all the Pleiades – and caught not a one of them.

Maybe he wasn’t that good a hunter?

As for Alcyone, she and her sister Celaeno were claimed by Poseidon (aka Neptune) which in underscoring the idea of emotionalism tells us that Alcyone is part of the urge – even that which ‘goads’ us to become part of the ‘emotional mass consciousness’ of life which has come to be part of life really since the year 2000.

 The Pleiades by Elihu Vedder
(1885, oil on canvas, housed at Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC)

The ‘up’ side of 0 Gemini is that it implies a fresh mentality. For those of us born prior to the year 2000 we are challenged by the new and challenged to reformulate our perspective on life as a whole. For those born after September of 2000 (the month Alcyone moves into Gemini) the whole of life…and their life will be part of this new and different world of communication and perception.

Yes, it’s something to think about, parents. Your kids are made not of ‘different stuff’ than we are, but along a different line of perspective than we were born with. What we have had to learn will be native to our children, who will grow up in a world which indeed has the ability to see into the depths of our lives as through a glass-bottomed boat.

Of course there’s a down side to 0 Gemini too. That down side is the naivet√©, the vulnerability which comes as the other side of a fresh, clean outlook. 0 Gemini is really Gemini at its least experienced…and thus probably at Gemini’s least reflective.

Maybe self-measured is a better way to put it.

And that may mean that Alcyone is asking us to ask ourselves 'what's the point?' before we take something on. Before we join that crowd. Before we sign onto that standard. Or even taken on that job.

Also to be considered here is how at 0 Gemini, the Alcyone ‘vibe’ is also colored by Algol - what with Algol being currently positioned at 26 Taurus. But then, after rolling through the star charts back to about 2,000 BCE and forward to 2,200 CE, it seems to have always been that way.

So Alcyone - which we're seeing here as a sign about our ability to do things - may 'suffer' some from the Algol 'because I can' sort of vibe. Hence malice. Hence materialism. Hence....

A star on the tip of Taurus horn…is that life goading us? Is that us human types attempting to ward off that which makes us uncomfortable? Is that 'I only want the cherry on top, never mind what it takes to milk the cows and make ice cream' marking us as self-indulgent and unrealistically so?

Maybe yes.

Yet at the same time, through the implied connection with Neptune and Artemis, Alcyone would also seem to represent a myriad of possibilities which we tap into through recognizing how we are connected to others. And how that connectivity and our ability to 'drive the point home' needs to be judiciously used if we hope to achieve our aims and not just get put out to pasture in the regards of other people.

Our new age is filled with new prospects which we can tap into, of course. But to make the most of that, maybe we need to look deep inside our Self. Maybe we need to be honest about how secure or insecure we really are and how that plays out in our it affects our relationships and our ability to relate to others and be related to in turn.

The bull is a noble beast. Yet plenty of bulls will shake their heads and threaten even when there's no evidence of danger.

What is our point? What do we lead with? Do we over-react? If so, why do we do that? What do we need to do to understanding our own feelings - and how that which stirs us doesn't just connect us to one another, but is probably the very thing which humans have most in common?

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