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Ophiuchus
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:47 pm    Post subject: Ophiuchus Reply with quote

I think everyone here is aware of the "problematic" article published by Fox News and other media outlets on how people are the "wrong sign" and Ophiuchus is the "13th sign", and so on. If not, there is a thread on the first board about it, and knowledgeable astrologers (like Deb) are now attempting to set the record straight. Apart from the astrology it would appear that few members of the public learned the basic science about precession of the equinoxes, and or sun-signs vs. constellations.

This made me wonder what astrologers of the past had to say about Ophiuchus (aka Serpentarius, Aesclepias.) I am aware of two textual references and one archaeological depiction. If the traditional astrologers here can direct me to further references on the use of Ophiuchus I would be most appreciative.

It seems to me that the sources I found used both constellations and signs, but distinguished between them.

Ptolemy in his Tetrabiblos (I.9) discusses the effects of fixed stars in the horoscope and says, "The stars [in Ophiuchus have the effcts] of Saturn and, to some degree of Venus; those in his serpent, of Saturn and Mars."

Manilius in his Astronomica (5.389-93) includes Ophiuchus among zodiacal and non-zodiacal constellations that, when rising at birth, affect the individual's personality. Manilius seems to use a kind of sympathetic magic, whereby the imaginative qualities of the constellation confer these qualities onto the native. Since the constellation Ophiuchus was depicted as a man holding a large snake, people with Ophiuchus rising supposedly would be snake-handlers and -charmers, and protected against snake bite.

Ophiuchus is also shown in the Dendara zodiac of Egypt, probably dating from around 50 BC. This zodiac depicts all of the Egyptian decans, or division of the circle into 36 constellations or signs.
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margherita



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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Ophichus Reply with quote

waybread wrote:


This made me wonder what astrologers of the past had to say about Ophiuchus (aka Serpentarius, Aesclepias.) I am aware of two textual references and one archaeological depiction. If the traditional astrologers here can direct me to further references on the use of Ophiuchus I would be most appreciative
.

Jean Stade- Fixis stellis Commentarius :
The head of Ophiucus with the Moon makes the unfaithful, evasive, cunning ones; with Mercury the brilliant and far sighted.
http://heavenastrolabe.net/stade-on-fixed-stars/

Girolamo Cardano- De iudiciis geniturarum
The head of Serpentarius with the Moon or the ruler of the Ascendant, gives a violent death and a wicked and deceitful soul.
http://heavenastrolabe.net/cardano-on-fixed-stars-in-de-iudiciis-geniturarum-1547/

William Lilly- Christian Astrology

The moon directed to
To the Neck of the Serpent, in 14.38. Scorpio.
It shewes the Native given to deale in Poysone and Witchcraft and declares that he will be
subject to poysonous Potions and the stinging of Adders, Serpents, &c. shall hardly escape a Chronick
disease, and that someof his Sweet-hearts shall dye.
To the formost Starre in the palme of the left hand of Ophiuchus, in 27. Scorpio.
It incites the Native to Sorcery, Charmes, &c. and signifies him obnoxious by reason of
Poysons, and to receive Justice at the hands of the Magistrate for his offences committed with
Strumpets, &c. it notes him infamous, and extreame scandalous, &c.



Obviously they accepted Ophiucus as a constellation, not like a 13th sign.
In fact zodiacal signs are just 1/12 of ecliptic, nothing else and nothing to mix with constellations.

margherita
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Manilius seems to use a kind of sympathetic magic, whereby the imaginative qualities of the constellation confer these qualities onto the native.


In other words he was an astrologer. Wink

Mark
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Margharita! Really helpful! Very Happy

BTW, there is an entry on Ophiuchus in the Stars and Constellations pages of this website.

The reference to Ophiuchus and poisoning sounds like a line in Richard Hinckley Allen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning: "Pliny said that these stars were dangerous to mankind, occasioning much mortality by poisoning..." I've been searching Pliny the Elder's Natural History but so far haven't found this reference there.

Mark, I think you are right in general but maybe we wouldn't want to rely on Manilius in the particulars. He wrote:

"When Ophiuchus, encircled by the serpent's great coils, rises beside the figure of Capricorn, he renders the forms of snakes innocuous to those born under him. They will receive snakes into the folds of their flowing robes, and will exchange kisses with these poisonous monsters and suffer no harm."

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margherita



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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:


Mark, I think you are right in general but maybe we wouldn't want to rely on Manilius in the particulars. He wrote:

"When Ophiuchus, encircled by the serpent's great coils, rises beside the figure of Capricorn, he renders the forms of snakes innocuous to those born under him. They will receive snakes into the folds of their flowing robes, and will exchange kisses with these poisonous monsters and suffer no harm."



This is typical of how ancients dealt with paranatellonta. Guess which is destiny of those born under Cetus the Whale or Procyon the foredog, or Ara? Smile

margherita
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ophiucus was an anaesthetist. Idea

sedation.
Hypnosis.
painlessness.
anaesthesia.
paralysis.

then reversing everything to bring you back to life.

controlling the snake was also associated with female goddess but somewhere along the line it changed over to male identities such as Heracles, Krishna.

somewhere I read that Milton mentions it by not naming it in 'Paradise Lost ' .

PD
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The constellation Ophiuchus 'the Serpent Bearer' was frequently referred to by the Greeks by the alternative name Asclepius. In myth Asclepius was a great healer taught by the Centaur Chiron who was able to incarnate as a snake. Because of this, snakes were often used as a symbol of healing and regeneration. We see symbolism linked to Asclepius in many medical institutions to this day. For example, the logo of both the British and American Medical Associations.





http://www.bma.org.uk/about_bma/BMALogo.jsp

While there is a link to poisons it can be more positive than the neighbouring constellation of Serpentis which is the snake Asclepius is holding.

One of the earliest horary charts we have record of mentions the use of this constellation in delineation:

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/shippalchus.html

Some have suggested the text may be have been compliled or created by a later Byzantine writer. In any case it illustrates the point I was mentioning about Ophiuchus.

This chart demonstrates the use of two constellations (Ophiuchus and Argo Navis) as paranatellonta or constellations rising. This reaffirms the point made by George Noonan in his book Fixed Stars and Judicial Astrology. Noonan points out that tropical western astrology has always been sidereal too in the sense of utilising the fixed stars and constellations in its delineation. This part of the tradition has been largely neglected in modern astrology with the noteable exception of Uranian astrology.

Mark
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark

Surely Mercury's caduceus is relevant there as well though?
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Surely Mercury's caduceus is relevant there as well though?


Hi Paul,

Not sure it really is. In regards the mythology Asclepius seems more fundamental to the constellation's meaning than Hermes. Did you read the link to the BMA website I gave above?

Quote:
The double snakes and the winged wand of Hermes
The caduceus was the wand carried by the Greek god Hermes (known as Mercury to the Romans) as the messenger of the gods. The wand or caduceus of Hermes is usually represented as a staff with wings and two snakes coiled around it with which the god could induce sleep.

Snake(s) and the staff of Asclepius (unwinged)
The staff without wings and with a double snake has now been adopted as a symbol of medicine by many organisations including the RAF Medical Service and the Wellcome Trust while other organisations such as the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association use the Staff of Asclepius with a single snake as their logo.


Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In regards the mythology Asclepius seems more fundamental to the constellation's meaning than Hermes.


Sorry I didn't mean to the meaning of the constellation, I was referring to the medical logo. As in, you said "We see symbolism linked to Asclepius in many medical institutions to this day.", what I was wondering if this wasn't also relevant to Mercury's caduceus (as opposed to Asclepius alone).
I hadn't read through the link in full though.
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Sorry I didn't mean to the meaning of the constellation, I was referring to the medical logo. As in, you said "We see symbolism linked to Asclepius in many medical institutions to this day.", what I was wondering if this wasn't also relevant to Mercury's caduceus (as opposed to Asclepius alone). I hadn't read through the link in full though.


Hello Paul,

I see. I am personally less interested in that question myself as it doesn't relate to the topic of this thread. However, historically the caduceus of Hermes doesn't have any obvious links to healing and medicine as far as I know.

Getting back to the focus of the thread here is an informative couple of articles by Deborah Houlding on the astrological associations of the constellations of Ophiuchus and Serpens:

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/ophiuchus.html

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/serpens.html

To quote Deborah Houlding:

Quote:
Whilst either can offer the capacity to kill or cure, astrologically the reputation for healing tends to fall upon Ophiuchus, with the stars of the Serpent regarded as injurious, particularly through its association with poisons and infectious bites.


Mark
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok its only wikipedia but according to this piece the attribution of the caduceus to medicine is an error. This misunderstanding seems to be quite widespread in North America:

Quote:
It is relatively common, especially in the United States, to find the caduceus, with its two snakes and wings, used as a symbol of medicine. This is based on the rod of Asclepius, a staff with a single snake, symbolising medicine. Use of the caduceus in this sense was popularised largely as a result of the adoption of the caduceus as its insignia by the US Army medical corps in 1902. Purists have lamented this substitution of the single-snake rod of Asclepius with the caduceus as "erroneous"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caduceus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_of_Asclepius

Mark
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

US Army Medical core adopted it despite opposition and a different explanation of symbols.

Interestingly, John Donne. uses the title for crucifixion of Christ. There must have been some other ritualistic meaning to caudaceus.

PD
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Ok its only wikipedia but according to this piece the attribution of the caduceus to medicine is an error. This misunderstanding seems to be quite widespread in North America


Thanks Mark, that must be where I'm getting it from.
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting posts, everyone!

Margherita, my guess was that someone born with Cetus rising would be swallowed up by whales, Jonah-style; but Manilius says he will be a whaler. Close! Incidentally, you have a wonderful website.

I don't know if many astrologers are interested in the Bible as having a lot of encrypted astrology in it, but I think it's there, and that it would qualify as traditional. So please bear with me. Feedback welcome. Or else just skip the rest of this post!
--------------
The staff of Aesclepius is interesting, because it shows up today not only in the emblems of medical and pharmacy associations, but it closely resembles the biblical rod of Aaron that turns into a snake (Exodus 7:8-12). In this story the Egyptian magicians also had staffs that would turn into snakes (!) but Aaron's was more powerful. The staffs of Aaron and Moses were instrumental in starting the 10 plagues of Egypt. (Possibly the precursors of the magic wands of fairy tales.)

The bronze serpent staff of Moses in Numbers 21:6-9 has even closer affinities to the stories of the physician Aesclepias and the constellation of Manilius. Apparently the Israelites in the desert were being bitten by snakes, so God told Moses to make a poisonous snake and to set it on a pole. Then when people were bitten, they could look at the snake and live--a healing function. This staff was kept until the days of the king Hezekiah, who destroyed it because the Israelites "had made offerings to it and called it Nehushtan." (2 Kings: 18:4) Apparently the name is a play on words of the Hebrew names for snake and bronze.

Then in the NT, Mark (16: 18 ) says that the true believers "will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." This looks much like the imagery of the constellation Ophichus, as well as Aesclepias's healing abilities. John 3:14 gives: "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." Aesclepias was credited with raising the dead.

I think the constellation Ophiuchus originally was interpreted as the ancient Tree of Life, which shows up in archaeological finds in the Near East, as well as in Genesis 2 and Revelation. Stick figures of the constellation (including the snake) could easily be imagined as a snake in a tree. Biblical images often have both a positive and negative connotation--distinguishing between the good snakes ("be you as wise as serpents") and negative ones.

If we can connect the dots a bit, there is also a myth that Jupiter killed the physician Aesclepias and turned him into a constellation, at the insistence of Pluto, who was concerned about Aesclepias's ability to raise the dead, thus depriving Pluto of his souls. This all begins to sound a bit like Jesus.

My belief (based on prior interpreters--no original claim here) is that the NT writers were very much concerned with the slipping of the equinoxes from Aries/Libra into Pisces/Sagittarius. The OT has a lot of imagery of shepherds and sheep (Aries) and a just God (Libra, around the time of Yom Kippur.) So we find in Jesus a healer (Ophiuchus--replacing Sagittarius in the same portion of the sky), who befriends fishermen and walks on water (Pisces), who is born of a Virgin (Virgo) and whose disciples include brothers and who may even have had a twin brother Thomas (Gemini.) Other texts in the Bible can be read to support keeping the key dates and angles in the cardinal signs: the Lamb of God trope and a deity who is born in a manger (Praesepe, the central asterism of Cancer,) for example.

Obviously this is thinking is blasphemous from an orthodox religious perspective, but the book of Enoch and Josephus give further evidence of an esoteric astrological tradition in the Bible.
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