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The Healer in the Sky: The Constellation Ophiuchus in Birth Charts
Written & published: January 2007
The constellation Ophiuchus represents the Greek god of healing, Asclepius. The word 'ophiuchus' means 'serpent-bearer', and the constellation has Serpens Caput (snake's head) and Serpens Cauda (snake's tail) on either side of it. This image of a snake or snakes entwined around a stick is still used in modern mainstream society as an image of medical knowledge.
Asclepius & healing knowledge
In the Greek stories, Asclepius not only had the knowledge of how to heal, he could also bring the dead back to life. There are two stories about how he gained this ability. The first is that he had blood from the right hand side of the Gorgon's body, which had the power of raising the dead. The second is that he killed a snake which wound itself around his staff, and a second snake then came carrying a herb in its mouth which it used to bring the other snake back to life. Thereafter Asclepius used this herb to restore life to humans.
This power to renew life caught the attention of Zeus/Jupiter, the king of the gods, who, after a complaint from Hades/Pluto that there were too few dead people arriving in his Underworld, became concerned that humans might eventually manage to avoid death completely. Zeus killed Asclepius with one of his trademark lightning bolts. The sun god Apollo then requested that Asclepius be placed in the stars, hence the constellation Ophiuchus.
The symbolism of snakes
Snakes in various mythologies represent the simultaneous and mysterious processes of dying and giving birth to new life, and the knowledge of these processes. Snakes have the capacity to cast off the old parts of themselves that contain them and limit their new growth and in so doing give themselves a new lease of life. Their poison is well known for its capacity to kill, symbolising the toxins in humans that, if not removed from the body and psyche, can damage or destroy life. These toxins can refer to things inherited from the ancestral line, which snakes represent in some cultures.
However, Ophiuchus clearly points to the snake's power to revitalise, through its imagery of the Gorgon's rejuvenating blood and the second snake with the herb that brings life back into flow. In this context, the constellation is an image of the knowledge of how to mend and repair things, how to restore or enhance life and increase the fullness of its flow, how to open things up so that they encompass new things that were previously unable to be grasped. known, or done.
The brightest star of Ophiuchus - Ras Alhague
Ras Alhague is the brightest star of this constellation, and thus is the alpha star. It therefore carries all of the above meanings about enlivening human experience. It is located in the head of the serpent-bearer, has a magnitude of 2.08, and a Flamsteed number of 55 Ophiuchi.
In the birth chart
Bringing this into birth charts we will focus our attention, for reasons of space and clarity, on Ras Alhague connecting with the planet Venus.
The form of connection is known as a paran, which is an aspect between a planet and a star. A paran is simply a relationship in the sky between any star and any planet, and it means that the planet and the star rise, set, culminate, or anti-culminate at the same time and thus are in resonance with each other. It is a way of aligning the two, as viewed from a specific place on the Earth's surface, and thus describes a way in which the sky comes down to Earth.
Venus in paran with Ras Alhague
Venus in paran with Ras Alhague indicates the bringing of knowledge into relationship in a way that assists, solves a problem, or opens things up. It symbolises a person who is able to broaden the options available to society through spreading information, and who desires to use knowledge in a way that helps other people and enhances their lives.
Examples of Venus in paran with Ras Alhague are:
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Dmitri Mendeleev was a professor of chemistry who was the primary developer of the first version of the the periodic table of elements. The table not only provided a useful classification system, it also predicted the properties of as-yet-undiscovered elements. He also used his knowledge in the fields of geology, petroleum research, agriculture, and industry.
Matthias Zdarsky - skiing pioneer
Matthias Zdarsky is considered one of the founders of modern Alpine skiing technique, and is thought to be Austria's first skiing instructor. He adapted skis for use on Alpine terrain, organised the first Alpine skiing race, taught skiing to mountain troops in World War I, and advanced avalanche training. He is also thought to be the inventor of the bivouac.
IAU Conference, Prague, 2006 - definition of 'planet'
At the conference of the International Astronomical Union last year the definition of 'planet' was debated and voted on. Whilst controversial, the definition of planet agreed on was one which opened up the classifications system for the solar system and beyond, giving astronomers more options for talking to the general public about different types of objects orbiting the Sun and other stars.
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