Libra Full Moon: Balance in the Bending

Notre Dame North Rose Window

North Rose Window, Notre Dame Cathedral

Full Moon in Libra

The Full Moon in Libra on April 19, 2019 brings illumination as we arrive at a crossroads. We have a choice of which direction to follow, a choice of whose guidance to follow, a choice to push forward with ambitious initiative or to pause in contemplation, incubating recent insights before taking new action. The Libra Full Moon culminates at the final degree of the Scales, resulting in its waxing light building across the entirety of Libra as it forms a volatile square aspect with the lunar nodes as well as the shadowy conjunction of Saturn and Pluto. The Libra Full Moon will dramatically amplify chaotic forces of change already set in motion during the past week in which the fiery Sun in Aries also formed a disruptive square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the lunar nodes. Libra is a cardinal air sign of dynamic change oscillating between extremes that calls us to find balance in the center of its vortex, arranging elements of space and time as needed to find a sense of harmony within forces of discord. Fortunately, Jupiter in Sagittarius is in a harmonious sextile aspect with the lunation, with the retrograde motion of Jupiter prodding us to go within to cohere understanding.

Once the Full Moon peaks at the final degree of Libra, its lunar light will illuminate the  beginning of Scorpio and then apply immediately to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. In addition, the day after the lunation on April 20 after the Sun enters Taurus it will immediately begin applying toward a conjunction with Uranus. The impact of the lunar opposition and solar union with Uranus can coincide with rapid acceleration of developments or propulsive inner forces making it feel like there is no choice but to take a certain action or approach to situations. As a result the more we can take time and space to center and find as much inner balance as possible, the better we can adjust to whatever becomes activated by Uranus in Taurus in the days following the peak of the lunation’s full light. Uranus in Taurus opposing the Moon and then conjoining the Sun can also correlate with innovative insights that suddenly lead to a solution to difficulties or to an ingenious idea to improve whatever we have been working on.

The Libra Moon forming a square to the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and South Node of the Moon in Capricorn means that it is at its northern bending, its maximum peak of northern latitude within its orbital cycle. This is a dynamic point of volatile change in the Moon’s orbit in which it reaches its greatest height to then descend back toward the ecliptic where its orbit intersects with Earth’s orbit. Demetra George in her tome Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice wrote that “the Moon at the bending suggests both a state of objective awareness between the lunar body and solar soul, but can also indicate the potential for disassociation and lack of connection” (p. 354). Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote that when the Moon forms a square with its own nodes its “lunar function operates with a minimum degree of focalization in earth-nature and in all bio-psychic organisms.” Rudhyar continued that since the Moon at its northern bending “is as far withdrawn from the Earth as she can be,” that the Moon is also “most active in her own sphere” (p. 23).

The astrological volatility stirred up by the Libra Full Moon is interesting considering that it is occurring in the fourteenth Lunar Mansion known as Al Simak (“The Unarmed”) which centers around the fixed star Spica. Donna Woodwell has ascribed the image of “The Harvest” to this mansion, writing that it is about “separating the wheat from the chaff,” overcoming fear in order to end, leave, or move on from relationships and circumstances that are not fulfilling or delivering what we need. Chris Warnock in Mansions of the Moon described the Al Simak mansion as being about breaking apart “restrictive or inappropriate bonds,” and that while we need to be “wary of the impulse to fight with those whose temperament is opposite to our own,” this mansion of Spica “might also indicate that we need to remove ourselves from an uncomfortable situation that goes against our nature.”

Thus rather than impulsively rushing ahead with plans during the time around the Libra Full Moon, it can be best used to create protected personal space for reflecting upon one’s place within changing material circumstances. Listen to messages from the environment and the inner guidance you receive in moments of grace in order to adjust and make modifications as needed. Since Libra is the outwardly directed, airy home of Venus, it can also be a powerful time for creative brainstorming and experimenting with ways to further develop projects especially since Uranus in Taurus is involved in catalyzing the lunation’s force. Be open to looking at things from a completely different perspective, liberated from previous conceptions.

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Earliest Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral, west facade

Venus in Pisces rules the Libra Full Moon only a degree past her exact exaltation degree. Thus Venus in Pisces is on her throne of exaltation and capable of facilitating soothing self care and imaginative, inventive creativity in any art. Venus in Pisces is forming a quincunx aspect with the Libra Full Moon, suggesting the importance of finding ways to connect our creative ideas with the actual needs of our community. Rather than self centeredly focusing on whatever we think is the most interesting way to do things, instead bring the exalted status of Venus in Pisces into devising ways to make ideas helpful to others in practical ways that can make a difference. As we are also at the beginning of a new Venus and Neptune cycle, there could otherwise be a tendency for Venus in Pisces under a Libra Moon to put imagination into abstract conceptions that never fully materialize in reality.

Venus leaves her exaltation of Pisces to enter Aries, the fiery home of Mars, the day after the Full Moon on April 20. Venus in Aries will be ruled by Mars in the swift air sign of Gemini, promoting creativity in arts and following wherever curiosity guides us.  Unlike Pisces where Venus exalts, Aries is not comfortable zodiacal terrain for Venus to traverse in terms of indulging in the pleasures of Venus. Instead, the fire of Aries pushes Venus to claim and assert independence, take bold action in pursuit of desires, and find ways to bring people together over inspirational ideas that speak truth to power. Under the influence of Mars in Gemini, Venus in Aries will excel at multi-tasking and can wield its fire to cut through the multiple perspectives stirred up by Mars in Gemini in order to coalesce a direct creative expression.

Notre Dame cathedral rose window dageurreotype

Notre Dame Cathedral Rose Window daguerreotype (1841) by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey

Casting an imposing shadow across the Libra Full Moon is the intensifying union between Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Both Pluto and Saturn will station retrograde by the end of April, with Pluto stationing retrograde on April 24 and Saturn stationing retrograde on April 29. The south node of the Moon has already passed over Pluto and will be forming a conjunction with Saturn as it stations retrograde at the end of April. When planets station, their significations saturate the astrological landscape: thus Pluto in particular is looming large over the Libra Full Moon. Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche linked the archetypal impact of Pluto in mundane events with the mythic archetype of Dionysus, as it carries an eruptive life force that cannot be resisted, shattering and loosening structures and beliefs that had been bringing a sense of security.

When Pluto erupts from the depths, transmutation is in process and as new forms arise and old forms break apart, we need to allow ourselves to also let go of the way things have been in order to reorient with the changing forces taking shape. The union of Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of Capricorn is particularly challenging due to the emphasis Capricorn has on the ancient, the traditional, the structures and beliefs that have endured across time and the figures who have gathered strength and skill through a wealth of experience. On the one hand we need to recover and cultivate the aspects of our myriad civilizations that bring stability and order in ways that meet the needs of people, yet on the other hand numerous aspects of the old order also must now break down or decay in order to begin clearing space for new forms and structures to take shape. The tragedy of the Notre Dame cathedral catching fire in Paris reveals how gut wrenching the structural regeneration underway will be for those emotionally and spiritually invested in forms now breaking apart.

Saturn and Pluto will not form their exact conjunction until January 12, 2020 but with both of them stationing at the end of April only three degrees apart, while simultaneously conjoining the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, the end of April and beginning of May will bring an amplified initiation into the meaning of their new cycle. Making it more intense is that the heliocentric south nodes of Saturn and Pluto are in the same area of Capricorn, meaning that the movement of Saturn and Pluto around their entire orbital arc is now descending to intersect with the orbit of our Earth around the Sun. Dane Rudhyar likened this type of archetypal process we are experiencing with Saturn and Pluto to both the death and decay of the Autumn season, as well as the importance of incubating and gestating the seed that will bring forth new life. There is a sacrifice necessary, a release of what must die in order to bring forth what needs to be born. We simultaneously will be experiencing the extremes of Saturn and Pluto, the putrefaction of their poisonous toxicity as well as the empowering discipline and reordering of their more ideal significations.

Notre Dame allegory of alchemy

Allegory of Alchemy from central portal of Notre Dame Cathedral

The Libra Full Moon also brings illumination to the recent ingress of Mercury into Aries. Mercury had been in Pisces since February 10 before finally entering Aries on April 17. At the time of the Full Moon, Mercury is applying to a close conjunction with Chiron in Aries and is applying toward a mutually receptive sextile aspect with Mars in Gemini. In the past month we have had a lot happening in the signs of Pisces and Capricorn, inwardly directed signs that tend to work receptively with material at a patient pace more so than with frenetic speed. Mercury in Aries combined with Mars in Gemini will speed up events and facilitate taking direct, impactful action to shape matters that have become volatilized and ready to change.

Mercury in Aries is firmly within its Morning Star phase in which it heralds the rising Sun at dawn with its light. Mercury’s Morning Star phase resonates with being curious and explorative, reaching out for new connections and weaving new meaning and ideas together. Dane Rudhyar called this phase Promethean due to its strong capacity for foresight, and I also think of it in relation to the Magician arcanum in tarot due to its capacity for helping us reshape matters in line with our developing vision. Whatever shifts occurred for you during the long Mercury retrograde in Pisces transit that lasted through March, it is now time to integrate the lessons into your daily communication and movement through your community.  Mercury will form its exact sextile with Mars in Gemini on April 30, and so their mutually receptive relationship bears gifts to infuse into research, communication, promotion, and mercantile activities for the rest of April.

As the Moon continues to wane in light for the rest of April, Mercury will get closer each day to forming a volatile square aspect with Saturn, Pluto, and the transiting lunar nodes at the same time that Saturn and Pluto are stationing retrograde. Simultaneously, Mars in Gemini will be getting closer each day to forming a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, becoming exact on April 27. This brings a much deeper, ineffable influence into the receptive relationship between Mercury and Mars. Mercury in Aries forming a square with Saturn, Pluto, and the lunar nodes will penetrate awareness into unconscious material  and patterns, as well as insight into the larger structural changes occurring in society. Though Mars and Mercury will want to incite action and swiftness, it will be important to make time and space to recenter in reflection, listening within to unconscious messages that can bring guidance. The influence of Mars forming a square with Neptune can bring inflation and fixation on dogmatic perspectives in some people, while for others this same influence could help unveil illusions that have been operating under the surface of perception.

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4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Libra culminates in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra in the descending rulership scheme, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked Nemesis to the third face of Libra. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces linked the presence of Nemesis in this decan to her role as “a force which restored balance to life’s chaotic wheel,” acting “to consciously correct the injustices whirl of blind forces” by “restoring right proportion.” One way Nemesis restores balance is through bringing retribution against those carried away by hubris who arrogantly act out of balance with natural forces of change. Her presence with the Libra Full Moon emphasizes the need to rebalance whatever has become out of proportion in our life. We may recognize aspects of our shadow we have been denying, or realize we have been suppressing desires that need to be accepted and cultivated. There are many crises coinciding in collective events calling for action, but in addition to playing a role in creating the change we wish to see in external events, we likewise need to bring attention to tend to the changes occurring internally.

References

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Libra New Moon: Balancing Uranus

Man_Ray,_1922,_Untitled_Rayograph

Untitled Rayograph (1922) by Man Ray

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on October 19 is opposite Uranus in Aries, creating a polarized atmosphere of torrential winds making the oscillating scales of Lady Justice challenging to bring into balance.  Notably the Libra New Moon reactivates the catalytic opposition between Jupiter and Uranus that has dominated the past year of astrology, since the New Moon is at the same place in zodiac that Jupiter was recently occupying in its opposition to Uranus.  Jupiter has now moved into Scorpio, yet is still less than eight degrees away from an opposition with Uranus.  The cycle between Jupiter and Uranus is one of the most dramatic in astrology in terms of dismantling dominant paradigms while opening new horizons of awareness, and this past year we have been experiencing an initiation into its peak phase. Considering we are in a time period in which many unexpected events are occurring on a daily basis, it makes sense that Jupiter and Uranus have been one of the biggest influences and that the current New Moon in Libra is reactivating their dynamic.

Libra as the sign of the scales is about the perpetual balancing experienced in all of our relationships in the world.  As a symbol the scales conjure the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of the Soul after death, at which time the heart would ideally be as light as a feather instead of heavy with the gravitas of unresolved issues.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  From this comes a sense of justice felt by a heart aligned with natural order, as well as the social conventions of how a society ascribes judgment to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior.  Jupiter is a planet of philosophical understanding that brings knowledge through the experience of natural law and order.  In our modern world, however, the societal conventions and laws created by humanity are often at odds with natural order.  In the constant balancing act of an individual moving through the injustices of this world, the transit of Jupiter opposing Uranus has exacerbated tensions around social justice.

The liberating energy of Jupiter and Uranus that can open mainstream perspectives to new horizons of greater openness could at the same time be said to provoke fear in those afraid of change and the breaking apart of old traditions that have been a source of comfort and security.  Perhaps it is this fear that leads some to become entrenched in political or religious identities that bring a sense of security, even when associated actions and policies promote systematic oppression of other identities.  Uranus can promote liberation from any dynamics infringing upon personal sovereignty, yet the dynamics of independence within the complex networks of power and oppression across our planet leads to aggressive conflicts rather than engaged collaboration.  In personal spheres remember it can be possible to work with Uranus in collaborative ways of shared energy that can bring a sense of empowered presence to all participants.

Saturn in Sagittarius is playing a mediating role between Uranus opposing the New Moon in Libra, similarly to how Saturn was also in a position of mediation between the opposition of Jupiter and Uranus.   Astrologer Charlie Obert wrote an article entitled Astrology, Geometry and Politics in which he reflected that when dealing with an opposition in astrology, it is always beneficial to find the zodiac degrees forming a harmonious trine or sextile to the opposition points, as they are in places capable of mediating the polarizing tension in order to find a third point that can transcend and harmonize the dualistic acrimony of opposing forces.  Today we are experiencing both Saturn and the transiting lunar nodes in places that are forming both trine and sextile aspects to the opposition between Uranus and the New Moon.  While this offers a sign of hope, in order to reap the full benefits Saturn in Sagittarius calls for us to speak and act in complete integrity with our values, being willing to question and reflect wherever we are holding on to viewpoints that feed into systematic oppression.

When Uranus repeatedly becomes triggered by transits as we have been experiencing in recent months, as individuals we become tapped more directly into the collective, underlying field of shared realities.  Libra is the airy home of Venus which supports acting in accordance with the needs of relationships, and its symbol of the scales signifies its constant fluctuating of things becoming unbalanced as part of its balancing act.  The New Moon in Libra will guide us to notice whatever is out of balance between our conscious and unconscious as well as between ourselves and our external relationships.  Uranus brings the capacity to liberate ourselves from old wounds and limitating patterns that separate us from a fully empowered presence.  In the darkness of the Libra New Moon, we can grieve our old wounds while ceremonially shedding our old, dead parts in order to access the essential power we hold in the moment to direct into our callings of the future.

man ray nusch eluard

Nusch Eluard by Man Ray

Venus in Libra

The most auspicious aspect of the Libra New Moon is that it is ruled by Venus in her own home.  Venus can deliver the needed resources to make communication and interactions between participants in the Libra New Moon nourished and inspirationally animated.  Libra is the Cardinal, outwardly directed home of Venus where the significations of Venus occur at a swift pace and add impetus to strike out on new endeavors and become more collaborative in community.  Venus at home in the same sign as the New Moon also supports us staying engrossed in difficult yet necessary conversations within all of our relationships, from the personal to the professional to the passing.  The polarized, argumentative collective climate requires engagement in dialogue that brings up uncomfortable feelings without running away from the interaction.  Through listening, disagreements can become clarified and create openings for compromise.

Venus is applying to a sextile with Ceres in Leo at the New Moon, bringing dynamic creative strength to help those who can benefit from our service as well as to protect those suffering or reeling from systematic oppression.  Demetra George wrote that in the natal chart Ceres in Leo “people identify nurturance with self-expression” and “can nurture others by helping them to express their creativity- thereby making a unique impression upon the outer world.”  Similarly the transit of Venus harmoniously interacting with Ceres amplifies our ability to further develop expressions of soulful artistry and creation that can bring aesthetic nourishment and to others in need of inspiration and hope.  Venus and Ceres together also can bring practical, pragmatic aid in the form of actual food for nourishment as well as in facilitating networks of community resources.

As the Moon waxes Venus will form a square with Pluto in Capricorn on October 27 as we approach the cross-quarter holy day of Samhain, known as the witches’ new year.  The square between Venus and Pluto can take us even deeper into old wounds, and Venus at home in Libra challenging Pluto in Capricorn is a clear symbol of empowered feminine forces speaking out against patriarchal abuse.  Uranus being triggered by the Libra New Moon combined with the coming square between Venus and Pluto brings the opportunity to shed the parts of us that are haunted from the past and need release.  This doesn’t mean the pain of the past will go away or we will no longer need to grieve, only that we can gain more direct access to our inner power and the capacity to act with greater integrity and stronger boundaries moving forward.  This can be a powerful time for focusing on nurturing and healing from within as well as being a source of support for others in need.

man ray rayograph film reels

by Man Ray

Jupiter & Mercury in Scorpio

The most dramatic recent shift in astrology has been the entrance of Jupiter into Scorpio.  At the time of the Libra New Moon, Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Jupiter as both of them are in the symbolic underworld of being invisible under the beams of the Sun.  Interestingly, Jupiter is moving deeper into darkness and it’s coming union with the Sun, while Mercury is heading toward emergence from the underworld and becoming visible again as an Evening Star.  Mercury’s union with Jupiter takes us more deeply into the meaning Jupiter will be bringing us in the year ahead while traveling through the dark depths of Scorpio.  It’s fitting that both Jupiter and Mercury are in the astrological underworld as they unite in Scorpio, as Jupiter in Scorpio brings the necessity of penetrating into our unconscious depths as well as the deepest levels of reality we can comprehend.  Jupiter does not feel as comfortable in Scorpio as it did in the more uplifting sign of Libra, however there is vital purpose and meaning to be found in Jupiter’s journey through the sign of the Scorpion.

The Libra New Moon brings a powerful opportunity to reflect upon the experiences of the past week with Jupiter freshly in Scorpio to gain awareness of shifts we are experiencing in correspondence with Jupiter shifting signs.  The events and storylines of Jupiter’s opposition to Uranus will continue to play out during Jupiter’s time in Scorpio, with Jupiter in Scorpio bringing the capacity to probe into the underlying meaning of our experiences and reach greater integration of the wisdom to be found, as well as shedding what needs to be let go.  Jupiter in Scorpio can signify becoming obsessed with pursuits of passions and fully engrossing ourselves in certain projects or relationships, and so you may already notice your intrinsic desires beginning to center and focus on endeavors to more deeply explore.

As the Moon waxes Mercury will enter into a trine with Neptune on October 24 that will be full of imaginative, creative potential to access.  The trine between Mercury and Neptune also foreshadows the coming trine between Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will be one of the biggest influences in the coming year and will open greater access to the full potential to be found with Neptune transiting through Pisces.  In addition, as the Moon waxes toward fullness the Sun will enter Scorpio and bring to end its current cycle with Jupiter on October 26.  Jupiter in the heart of the Sun in Scorpio marks the beginning of a new cycle for Jupiter as well as time to gain an even deeper impression for what Jupiter will have in store for us while in Scorpio.  There can be greater levels of determined faith to access that is rooted in the difficult challenges of our reality rather than being bound to illusions of denial.

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Libra 3 Decan

The New Moon falls in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra in the descending rulership scheme, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

Since Mercury and Jupiter are uniting in Scorpio at the New Moon, it is further interesting that Mercury is also considered a ruler of the third face of Libra in the triplicity rulership scheme.   There is no question we are all living in times of great suffering in which every day is filled with heart breaking current events.  Mercury uniting with Jupiter in Scorpio, within the rest of the Libra New Moon’s amalgam of transits, asks us to realize why we are here and what do we have to contribute toward co-creating a more equitable and just reality for all beings across our planet.  The shift in emphasis toward Scorpio in the coming lunar cycle does not shy away from difficult questions or avoid interactions for fear of having hurt feelings.  We are entering a time period in which to fearlessly enter the world with our gifts to share and our hearts and ears open to others.  In the darkness of the Libra New Moon, we can open ourselves to deeper empowerment that can be used to protect and nurture what we hold most dear.

References

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

George, Demetra.  (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS Publications, Inc.