Getting to know the Zodiac

By Cody Hooks
Posted 7/26/18

Curious about astrology and the zodiac? Check out this series about the 12 signs, with a Taos flare.

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Getting to know the Zodiac


For the past year, The Taos News has run a series on astrology in the monthly "Great Outdoors" section. Get to know each of the 12 signs zodiac, with a little Taos flair.

Aries (March 20 - April 19)

In her 2005 book about desert bighorn sheep, the late writer Ellen Meloy says, "I am accustomed to seeing them whenever I look, but is this experience trustworthy? These sheep…are half flesh, half phantom. I witness them with astonishing calm and abject panic." It's the astrological season of the fiery ram.

Taurus (April 21 - May 20) 

Like many of the 88 constellations recognized today, the origins of Taurus rest in the Babylonian world that was centered in modern-day Iraq. In the epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Ishtar wants to marry Gilgamesh, divine king of Uruk. But the king blows off Ishtar's romantic advances with a series of insults, instead choosing as friend and lover, Enkidu, the wild man-beast raised by the animals of the steppe. The spurned goddess turns to her father in the sky and asks that he send the mythical "bull of heaven" to kill Gilgamesh. In an intense battle, Enkidu and Gilgamesh fight and defeat the earth-shaking creature.

Gemini  (May 21 - June 20)

In mythology, the brothers of Gemini are birthed by the same mother, Leda, but do not share a father. Pollux is the son of the mightiest of Greek gods, Zeus. As for Gemini’s astrology, it’s the epitome of an air sign — intellectual, talkative, communicative. “Two-faced” might be a tad too harsh of a descriptor for Gemini, but “duality” sums it up nicely. 

Cancer (June 20 - July 22) 

Cancer is considered one of the darkest constellations in night sky. For one, the constellation has few stars. Astrologically, Cancer carries the traits of the crab - tenacious and ready to defend its home, yet utterly sensitive to the internal tides of emotions. As a water sign, maintaining healthy boundaries is a constant and worthwhile challenge for the Cancer.

Leo (July 23 - Aug. 23)

Leos are undeterred, calculating and above all courageous. Simba from “The Lion King” eventually got there, and even the Cowardly Lion from “The Wizard of Oz” was able to tap into his corazón when push came to shove. These are the stories of heroes and their journeys. What step are you taking in yours? Perhaps this is a budding phase of political awareness brought on by seeing the images of our fellow humans locked in tents and cages of inhuman detention along the blistering southern border of the ceaselessly colonial United States. Let us seize the lessons of Leo and go courageously into tomorrow,

Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 23)

Aside from the smell of roasting green chiles carried on the wind, nothing serves as a harbinger of the coming New Mexico autumn quite like the arrival in astrology of Virgo, the wheat-laden maiden. In astrology, Virgo is ruled by Mercury and has all the earthiness of the earth sign it is: hardworking, creative, generous and yet practical. Those born under the sign of Virgo are sometimes thought to be perfectionists, but it's more useful to think of them in terms of the harvest -  matured, but with threshing still to be done and seeds still to be saved.

Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22)

Light and dark, warm and cold, this and that. In the study of astrology, justice and fairness are the stars of this show. Libra is poised to accomplish its job as the great bringer of balance when we are willing to consider what in our lives might be out of balance - job, family, friends, finances or other resources. Libra will not itself bring everything into perfect harmony, but it certainly prompts us to consider how we can go about doing so.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 22)

Though there are many versions, the mythology of Scorpio (Scorpius) could not be more relevant in today's world. One story goes that Orion, the masculine and mortal hunter, had a lot of hubris - like lots of men. He boasted he could kill any animal in the world. Gaia, the personification of the earth, heard of his unsportsmanlike idea of "hunting," which hinged on wanton destruction of the natural world for his sense of power. She was not too amused, so she sent a scorpion to meet the hunter. The scorpion killed him in short order, and both were placed in the heavens, Orion forever running from his arachnid slayer. Today, the unrestrained pillaging of the natural world and human communities is our boastful, ignorant Orion. Impacts of human-caused climate change so forcefully rip at the seams of society, from phenomenally destructive wildfires and hurricanes to the loss of land and communities to the rising ocean. And with the rising awareness of and drive to end gendered violence, the story of Scorpio is aspirational.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23- Dec. 21)

Sagittarius is also the zodiacal archer, or bow hunter in today’s parlance. The power of the centaur is understanding humanity’s atavistic tendencies — that is, the understanding that we all have our dark qualities and warring predilections. When honored, we can do honor to the wisdom of old forms of knowledge. When left unchecked, we carry on, ignorant of the injustice, hurt and devastation we leave behind. Jupiter, the bountiful planetary ruler of Sagittarius, is spending the next year in the emotionally deep but expansive sign of Scorpio. This means now is a prime time to revisit our best, most sincere visions and tap into the strength, skills and insight needed to make them a reality.

Capricorn (Dec. 21 - Jan. 19)

As an earth sign, Capricorn has that signature grounded nature with the ability to steadily strive toward goals. Like the bighorn sheep of the Gorge and Sangre peaks, it can climb even the tallest ledge with enough effort. Saturn, the planetary ruler of Capricorn, has only begun its transit through its home sign. The transit is a long one - about two and a half years. For those people born with Saturn in Capricorn, this is the start of their infamous "Saturn return," a period of learning our deepest and hardest lessons. What's the best advice for a transit like that? Jump on, hold on and pay attention.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 19)

Aquarius caught the attention of astronomers and everyday space lovers recently. In 1995, humans first saw an exoplanet (one that lies beyond the solar system). And 22 years after that discovery, scientists working with the Belgium-led Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) telescopes in Chile and Morocco discovered the most Earth-like exoplanets orbiting a single star. Seven planets round a star barely bigger than Jupiter. Their home, while some 39 light-years away, lies within Aquarius from an Earthling's perspective. There are forces in our collective culture that perpetuate the imaginative drive to leave this planet for an unpolluted "blank slate" planet elsewhere. But what colonialist thinking underpins the go-forth mentality?

Pisces (Feb. 20 - March 19)

According to United Kingdom-based traditional astrologer Deborah Houlding, the constellation of Pisces was seen by the ancient Babylonian culture, situated in modern-day Iraq, which this country invaded 15 years ago, saw the dual fish as a pair of goddesses. Meanwhile, the Syrians understood the constellation as the goddess Ashtarte. The Greeks morphed the sign into two of its deities, Venus and her son Cupid, Houlding writes. Picture this: two fish slowly finding their way to the bottom of the ocean, but it goes so slow and the ocean is so big that the descent seems infinite. So it is with the mutable, or changeable, water sign of Pisces. Psychic abilities, environmental awareness, humility and a tendency toward indecision all run deep in Pisces.


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