by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pholus + Ras Alhague @ 22 Sagittarius

Binary star Alpha Ophiucus (known by it's older name, Ras Alhague, to astrologers) is about 400 Light Years from Earth. Near the top of this photo, the yellow star is royal fixed star Antares and at top left is IC 4592, the Blue Horsehead nebula.
(photo credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo, September 2012)

'It’s all in what you do with it,' people say. And since that’s probably a keyword for a period starting December 27th when centaur Pholus perfects its conjunction to fixed star Ras Alhague, I'm fine with people saying it.

(Like they asked me?)

Ras Alhague – also known as Alpha Ophiuchi (and apparently ‘a Oph’ to its friends) - is a binary star located in the constellation of Ophiuchus with a binary (self-orbiting) period of about 8.62 years.

(I do love it when scientists give you this ‘about’ thing and then list things out to infinitesimal fractions. It’s so geeky!)

Over twice the size of our Sun, Ras Alhague’s astrological meaning goes along with it’s placement in Sagittarius, a sign which is as much about finding out about what is wrong (so that you can correct it, or at least consider it) as learning or trumpeting the right, the truth, the opinion and that which is a touch over-opinionated.

You know…just ever so possibly over-opinionated.

As for the star, Ras Alhague (and no, I wouldn’t Ras you about this) is about two associated, if very different things: harming and healing. Wherever we see Ras Alhague – or wherever and whenever we see it being set off by some other energetic, we know that whatever is at ‘stake’ (the other object’s energetic) will either flow in one of the two stated directions…OR there will come to be a very Sagittarian sort of learning about which is which and what is appropriate when considering some fact or known parameter. Additionally, that these ideas – the healing and harming concepts – are associated with a star in Sagittarius should tell us that we are talking less about the actual incident of a physical injury than the idea of it. Or the theory about what to do to a.) cause it…or b.) fix it. And that very much goes along with the fact that Sagittarius is also the sign of law and medicine as bodies of knowledge.

In Sagittarius, we think, we talk, we discuss, we muse, we explore. We grow our understanding of what works and what doesn’t work – and from that, we make choices which will be most productive and effective for us.

You know, everything that the Sagittarius/Gemini polarity is about - and exactly what Ras Alhague embodies as an overall or ‘backdrop’ to some of our various live situations. Located in the head of the Ophiuchus wrestler fighting with a snake, the star Ras Alhague symbolizes our choosing to use what we learn or learn about to ‘heal’ or ‘harm’ ourselves or others. Ras Alhague is also about how others ‘heal or harm’ us…and theoretically about what happens to us in life as we’re going about trying to reach our (Capricorn) aims - so that WE learn something.

Pholus meanwhile, represents our cyclic processes of retreat specifically from others or from what we are able to do but choose not to do - inclusive of asking why we choose what we choose to do or not do. Next to Ras Alhague, Pholus comes off more as the motivation next to the action. And thus, since conjunctions signify times when we are so ‘close’ to something that we don’t see it (but tend to embody it) OR times when we become highly aware of a certain attribute, whatever this Pholus-Ras Alhague period means to you you’re going to see, feel and probably hear a lot about it. That conversation or ‘sense’ may be wholly internal – or it may be between you and someone else. Or you and some life circumstance. There is no ‘rule’ here about whether we’re the actor or the witness, so what we could learn now spans the gamut from how we may have harmed our own efforts to how others have – knowingly or unknowingly - helped or harmed us.

Mind you, this isn’t an ‘instant’ process. It hasn’t been hasty pudding getting here and it won’t be ‘just add water’ changing anything. Coming from Sagittarius as an emotionally-driven centaur and (more to the point, perhaps) a fixed star, Pholus and Ras Alhague probably represent mindsets more than anything else, though in this case we are given to know that said mindset at least in part concerns a “centaur-type” conflict. Any time we see an astronomical centaur the astrological meaning is described as being challenged by one’s willfulness or more emotional/primal nature.

Does this mean we’ll learn more about such challenges and our willfulness (and/or lack of same) at this time? Probably. And if we decline the invitation to do a little mind-searching on our own, chances are life will provide a few…uh…incentives.

You know, those charming little incidents which mean so much to us in all the most ouch-ish of ways?

But again…this isn’t anything we’ve arrived at overnight. Pholus came into (standard 5-degree) orb of Ras Alhague back in January 2011, pretty much right in the wake of a Capricorn solar eclipse at 13 Capricorn – a degree Pluto is going to conjunct and ‘transform’ during 2014. For those whose charts answer to 13 Capricorn whether by planet, node, chart axis (horizontal or vertical) or dwarf planet, you probably remember the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 very well. (And maybe not all that fondly.)

Put simply, IF at that time you ‘initiated’ (or began) to pull back or pull away or ‘shut something out’ of your life, you now have the ability – again, if you choose – to understand more about what happened then now and turn things around. At the very least you may now see ‘how you got here’ and thus become able to ‘heal’ something in your own life and going forward, profit from that rather nicely.

Kepler's Drawing of Ophiuchus, one made in the wake of a supernova in 1604 in the constellation's 'foot.' For those who may hear of the often-circulated rumor that constellation Ophiuchus is (or should be) made a sign of the zodiac, that answer is 'no' by the simple definition of what the zodiac is: a list of constellations which lie on or across the ecliptic, Earth's path around the Sun. Pure and simple, Ophiuchus doesn't quality. But that doesn't stop the rumor!

Even if the end of 2010/beginning of 2011 doesn’t mean a lot to you, this here-and-now time still matters. (When doesn’t time matter?) Pholus’ initial conjunction to Ras Alhague will only last through January 17th, though it will retrograde back into 22 Sagittarius (the degree of Ras Alhague) next May 27, after which it will remain at 22 Sagittarius until early December, 2014.

And that’s a long time.

These two periods may represent two different situations or aspects of your psyche. Then again, it may represent the ‘inkling’ of an awareness now which comes more into focus – for clarification or  rehabilitation (of your own approach), or for the ‘switching’ of sides – come next year.

A lot of the diversity (some would say the conflict) involved here comes from Ras Alhague. More comes from the internal emotional testing we experience through the energetic we call Pholus. Apart from this, some also from the nature of 22 Sagittarius, a degree known variously as sympathetic and supportive and unfeeling, manipulative and perfectly willing to take advantage of others.

And what divides these two extremes? That would be an interesting and seldom spoken-of Sagittarius concept: the need for attention. We often think of Sagittarius as a place where we excel and ‘shine’ but few of us talk about the very real and human need for attention. Ras Alhague’s various pluses and minuses react to and are driven by the need for attention (whether that’s too much or too little attention) meaning that we manifest from this psyche quadrant, positive or negative aren’t always…or even generally about who we’re dealing with. They’re about us and our ability to cope or respond to situations which trigger our better or lesser natures.

In other words. Ras Alhague – the star which arrived at 22 Sagittarius in 1968 and which will be resident in this degree until 2040 – is all about our Self. And thus Pholus, in conjuncting Ras Alhague asks us whether we are ready to take a step back so that we can heal as opposed to taking a step back because we haven’t.

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