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A Priestess’s Manumission

This is sort of a supplement to my book Exilium, so if you've never read it, you may be confused.

But then again, if you know anything about Roman slavery, or have read The Passion of Mary Magdalen, you may know what I'm talking about to some extent.

If you haven't read any of them, not a problem—you're about to get educated. (If you don’t mind spoilers, that is.)

[Caveat: this is a citation-free zone; I'm just going off what Elizabeth Cunningham wrote. If you want to do your own research, I suggest checking her notes section.]


In Roman marriage, ownership of the wife was notionally given to the husband through a document called the manus. (Slaves also had manus, so you can see how much the Romans cared about their women!) There were, however, cases where the manus was retained by the father, who could then manage and punish their daughters as they saw fit.

That's right! If Daddy caught you cheating, he could kick your little ass.

Or kill you, like he did with Paulina's sister in Passion.

(Pardon my spoiler, there.)

I don't know how it actually worked, but in Exilium, I presented an interesting notion about priestesses and their manus. Since I don't think I explained it very well—if at all—I thought I'd make a short post about it.

 

In Julia's world, a girl's manus was granted to the temple at the time of her initiation. This gave priestesses a wide-ranging set of freedoms, but could also make fathers very angry if, for example, the high priestess declared an orgy—the priestesses' fathers could not punish them for ruining the families’ reputation, because the paterfamilias was now the temple, as personified by the high priestess.

Serving the temple was also the fastest way to manumission, as if the priestess sought to marry a man of whom her high priestess approved, the manus would be burnt in the sacred fire and the priestess would be freed to do as she pleased.

Unfortunately, the temple's ownership could also trip a girl up, as Julia eventually learned.

[Original cover painting for Exilium, which I rendered in black and white.]

If you read the "Not-So-Historical Notes" at the end of Early One Morning, you know what happened to the other priestesses and their manus. But the nature of the kerfuffle over Julia's during Exilium was a little vague.

As high priestess, Julia officially owned her own manus; however, since it was on an institutional basis (as the temple personified, you may remember), she wasn't a freedwoman. In light of this, when Pontius kidnapped her, Livia was automatically promoted to high priestess and the control over everyone’s manus went to her.

Officially, only the Virgo Vestalis Maxima (and the emperor, of course) were superior to the High Priestess of Isis and only they could force Livia to sign over Julia's manus or that of any other priestess. In practice, however, the priestesses answered to the provincial prefect; so when Pontius threatened death or other bodily harm to the priestesses if Livia didn't sign over Julia's manus once he'd decided to keep her as his personal priestess, the high priestess hurried to respond.

Theoretically, once Julia betrayed Pontius and he exiled her, her manus should've been passed to whoever was receiving her in Ireland. However, it somehow got left behind in the rush to kick her out (he likely didn't have his own copy and would've had to go to the provincial record office), so that was the basis of the upset—Julia's manus being on file without a change of possession meant that Pontius still owned her and could do what he pleased. Without her manus, Lucius had no recourse against Pontius forcing Julia into marriage, which is why Lucius paid two hundred denarii and agreed to take as her his concubine. An executor was never appointed, of course, which is how Lucius was able to marry Julia without legal repercussions.

Though if you read the book, you know that Pontius got his way in the end.

Let’s be brave!

By some crazy stretch of the imagination, I decided it might be interesting to post my first attempt at a natal chart analysis. (My own, of course, but the chart of a former celebrity crush is in the offing.) One, so you could see what I can do (and I can show my mommy, who is very supportive…*giggle*) and two, so my astrology mentors (such as they may be) can comment and offer pointers.

I only did the sun (which I refer to as Helios) and its aspects, so here we go…!


(original linked)

17° Capricorn ~ Sixth House ~ Peregrine

Things like health, serving others and small animals drive you, which is why you love cats, studied health and worked in retail. As with many Capricorns, organization, attention to detail, time management and obedience to rules are of primary importance to you. Should someone be foolish enough to violate those four things—especially in relation to any sixth house issue—may the gods help them, because you will not be so inclined toward mercy.

While you often feel as if Capricorn doesn’t resemble the true you, you have a correctly-placed sense of Helios being the luminary of the Dayanara that lives deep inside. Your outgoing, enthusiastic and talkative nature may be the drywall, paint and carpet that make up your house, but your strongly-held Capricornian beliefs are the foundation of yourself and very little will ever change that.

 

Aspects

Conjunct Venus: you long to find a partner who is like you in both mind and spirit. If someone can’t see the world as you see it—or in a very similar fashion—they’re simply not worth your time. You understand that there’s no such thing as a “fixer-upper” partner, and that they have to come willing to work on themselves under their own motivation, or not come at all.

 

Square Midheaven: Having supervisors that don’t understand the way you work is something you find irritating. To you, the workplace should be one of trust and obedience to the rules; not one where your superiors hover over your shoulder and yell at you when they don’t like what they see. You (and your Leo self) would love to be at the top, but question your worthiness and hesitate to try being yourself in order to get there.

 

Square Lower Heaven: it probably doesn’t surprise you that not having a “husband, daughter, home and career” (as you’ve always wanted) bothering you actually appears in your chart. If you were doing this chart analysis for someone else, you might write that not having their “white picket fence dream” is a source of grief for them, and—reflecting on your own life—might cause tears in envy of others.

 

Quintile Pluto: death may not bother you as much as it does others. You’re the type that sees the funeral industry as more of a career and less of a thing to be ignored until the last minute. If you could apply your Capricornian nature to death, change and reincarnation, you certainly would.

 

Sextile Mars: when family conflict comes into play, you want to be the mediator. Not one to let resentment fester, you try to work things out with others. When the situation between you and another is untenable (like you and your mother), you find value in airing your problems in therapy. Having a shoulder to cry on when family problems arise is important to you, as is the ability to learn where to set boundaries and how to enforce them.


Wow, that looks really nice with the planets as bullet points/accompaniment!

If you're curious, the Midheaven is represented by the Milky Way, and Lower Heaven (imum coeli) is indicated by a cenote.

Start Your Engines!

Warning: I'm new to the astrology game, but I wanted to try this because it involves some things I've been studying and I wanted to treat it like a school assignment.


The word goes out that Kim and Kanye are headed for Splitsville. You're a newbie astrologer who only understands a few divorce signs on a transit chart and got a 55% on your zodiacal releasing quiz. What do you do?

Use both methods to come to a conclusion and publish it on Twitter, of course!

(That and keep studying to improve my score, of course. *chuckle*)

 

Okay, the first thing I did was check Astro's databank for birth information for both of them. Since Kim is the only one with a birth time, I chose to work only with her, so the next thing I would do is erect a chart for her in Solar Fire. (Below is how Astro has it, with her chart adjusted to whole house signs. Click to make it bigger.)

Usually, I'd be concerned that the subject (known in the art as the "native") has moved since birth when working with transits, but I'm going to guess Kim hasn't strayed too far from Los Angeles, so it's going to be easy to erect the transit chart. I'm setting the time for 6:45p my time, because I saw the tweet before I laid down for my nap. Here are the transits (also clickable):

I found this guide back in November, and (lucky for me), there are a handful of things Psychic Scoop mentions that even a newbie like me can handle. The first thing they suggest looking for is,

1. Transits or progressions through the 1st or 7th house by Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto.

The first house is empty, but the seventh house contains Jupiter and Saturn, which gives us a point.

But we're not done with the seventh house, because the second step I can handle is:

2. Jupiter believe it or not tends to bring on divorce – this is due to its expansive nature and if one has been in what they feel is an oppressive situation, they will feel optimistic enough to “break free” at this time – this would be seen by transits to the 7th, ruler of the 7th.

On one hand, I like finding the evidence I'm looking for. On the other? Poor Kim! (Two points.)

Clue number three reads:

3. Dual bodied signs on the 7th cusp (Gemini, Sagittarius, Pisces)

6/7 cusp is Aquarius, but I consider both and 7/8 to be valid, and what do we have on the latter? That's right, Pisces. (We're 3/3.)

Then in number four:

4. Ruler of the 7th in a dual bodied sign

Here's our first loss—the seventh is ruled by Aquarius. (But we're still 3/4.)

In five, we read:

5. Venus in aspect to Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus or Pluto

This one gives us a lot of leeway, as it doesn't say what kind of aspect, just "an aspect", and four planets to choose from. Since charts of any sort are invariably a web of lines, I turn to the list of aspects, which has really tiny font. (Alas. There's probably a way to fix that, but I'm too lazy to ask about it.) This one moves us to 3/5, because the only aspects Venus has in this transit are to Selene (the moon), Mercury and Mars.

Actually, we end up washing out totally, because six and seven say:

6. Moon in the 7th house can make one “restless” in relationships, especially if it aspects Uranus

7. Many planets in the 7th house

Moon's in three and there are only two in the seventh, so the final score is 42%. Dismal.

Even though I'm still not the best at ZR, I'll give it a shot. The calculators at Astro Seek tell us that the formula for the Arabic Part of Divorce is Ascendant + Venus – 7th House, which in Kim's chart gives us Aries in the fifth house. Since calculating parts beyond level two is tricky, I'll setup Solar Fire to release from Aries and see what happens. (Clickable, as usual.)

Since the object of this game is to release as close as possible to the present without going over, I clicked 23 June 2003, and discovered that the nearest level 2 hit 21 October of last year and it's a loosing of the bond.

Oops! And what does Professor Brennan say about LBs?

"[They are] a major transition/change in trajectory." (from his ZR keyword list in unit 13 of his Hellenistic Astrology program)

I probably didn't need to go beyond level two once I saw that bond marker, but I wanted to see how close I could get to today's date, so I clicked on 20 November in level three and…do you see that blue mark in the picture?

You got it: a second loosing just arrived Sunday morning at 9:46a.

Which means that even though she scored badly in the transit department, Kim definitely has the indicators of major life changes right now. The door's open for her departure—whether she walks through it is up to her.

Heartbreaker

Someday, I'll manage to get enough material together to publish A Wren in the Willow.

But that day is not this.


I keep breaking my heart
over and over again
for a man that will never love me.

Not just this man,
but those who have come before him;
those that the Goddess has brought into my life
for no real reason other than to see me hurt.
To light my heart on fire with love,
with passion,
with dreams…
and then to laugh
as it all goes crumbling away in a moment.

The gods love taking down the ambitious.
Nothing makes them happier
than seeing a grown woman cry over loneliness.
“If I could just have…” she says.
“You can have solitude,” They say.
“You can have tears and sighs and
the wonder of why We did this to you.”

When I woke up
on that morning three years ago,
I was delighted to be in love.
But at the same time,
I knew I was headed for another world
of unbelievable pain.
Seven months free
and back to the hole from which I crawled.

If I could draw my sword and sever all ties,
I’d be much happier.
No more cycles of love and pain,
no more beloveds out of reach,
no more stupid ideas.
Just me,
loving myself.
And moving on.

Astrobits II

School

(Astrology school, of course, not grad.)

I haven’t done anything. (*sigh*)

Partially because I’m lazy and forgetful (wonderful side effect of depression, that last one) and partially because I think I’m hoping in the back of my mind that we get another stimulus check in the next few months. Why start up with the cheap program at the Centre of Excellence if I can hold on a little longer and get the money I need for Chris Brennan’s program?

Oh and apparently because I also said last time that I was going to wait. (*facepalm*)


Very Important Question: why is it “Hellenistic” instead of “Hellenic” astrology?


Work

Fiverr clients? Nope. But I got a…well, I don’t know if you want to call it a job offer…it was a “we’re looking for people like you!” message.

A site wanted someone to work for them as a full time astrologer doing general and love horoscopes, earning a decent fee per month.

That’s great, but you really need to read the listings before you message people, or you’ll completely miss, “I’m doing software-generated reports to earn money for astrology school” and that I can’t yet do what you want.

(Not to mention that amount of money might start making SSA ask Awkward Questions About My Disability, since Fiverr is actually doing tax reporting now.)

I mean, if you want me to fake it for a few weeks while you pay for me to go to school…? (*snicker*)

That’s okay. I did the right thing by telling the truth, so hopefully an opportunity that works better for me will come around when I’m actually ready for it.


“It is the Wheel of Fortune that can throw you up very high, or bring you down very low.
Its message is to be indifferent to victory and defeat, as they both come on the turn of the wheel.”
~Jacquetta St. Pol, The Lady of the Rivers (Pippa Gregory)


Fun

Megan Thee Stallion is apparently my bitcoin bae. (I don’t usually like that word, but it seemed appropriate here.)

Last night, she was handing out $1m in bitcoin through Twitter and CashApp to encourage people to invest

I chose this one because it has the original tweet + her talking about bitcoin being a good investment

and since my amount matched what I was seeing on trending topics

I figure I was one maybe 100,000? And who knows how many people asked!

Turns out there was an astrological precedent for that! (I didn’t just stick this in here to brag…though my Leo side is probably making me do it! Haha)

Let’s hear from Geminihilist about what the planets were doing last night:

My mom says, “What are you going to do with all that money?”

Yodel if you hodl!

(That’s not a spelling error, by the way–it’s a legit crypto term.)
(One of the commenters said that the gal in the video no longer likes yodeling, because America’s Got Talent pigeonholed her and that’s all people want to do these days.)

I don’t hold as long as I probably should, but for a little, anyway, as I’m following an astrologer specializing in crypto on Twitter and he(?) said prices are probably going to go up in the next few months. So Meg’s little munificence will be stowed in a crypto wallet as soon as CashApp releases it and I’ll add a little more (and some ethereum) in a few days.

We’ll see what happens.