Bright Sky : Thunderbolts & Tin

Jupiter and Semele - by Moreau

Jupiter and Semele – by Moreau

This is to discuss some of the etymological and ubiquitous symbolic qualities of the Sky God known by several names, but most famously as Zeus or Jupiter. He is perhaps best known as the Master of the Heavens.

He was identified by the Romans as Jupiter or Jove. Jupiter is known as the earth-shaker. At will, he could  summon rain, snow, hail, and all other meteorological phenomena.  He married his sister Hera.  Zeus was known for his countless love affairs. Neither chastity nor restraint are jovial attributes.

The son of Jupiter was Bacchus , synonymous with the Greek Dionysus. He shares some of his father’s traits, but in exaggerated form. He is typically depicted as the god of harvest, grapes, fertility and theater: other traits such as drunkenness, altered states including ecstasy makes him the opposite of Apollo.The “Apollonian and the Dionysian”  have been identified as archetypes in their own right.

Apollo, Dionysus & Hermes-Feasting. C. 450 BC

Apollo, Dionysus & Hermes-Feasting. C. 450 BC

Dionysus was very much his father’s son and was the subject of Mystery Cults, particularly in Greece.

Jupiter’s most feared and revered weapon was the lightning bolt, forged for him by the Cyclopes. Most cultures have a deity sharing enough similarities to associate it with Zeus.


Zeus’ name translates to “Bright Sky.” The letter zeta, is the Greek letter z for Zeus. Zeus is Jupiter’s namesake in Greek mythology. The same symbol represents tin, since it is one of the planetary metals in alchemy.   His Roman names are Jupiter and Jove. He is usually shown with his characteristic scepter and attendant eagles

I view the planets and luminaries as powerful archetypes, recognized cross culturally and for millenia. I prefer to think of these archetypes as Plato’s Forms.

This isn’t a modern idea as some misguided Traditional astrologers would say. It’s primordial.  

Indra, the Hindu king of the gods, is always shown with a vajra (thunderbolt) held aloft in his right hand. He too is an Earth shaker and bringer of all kinds of meteorological phenomena.

Images of Jupiter and Zeus were employed to portray Christ, particularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church, but there are plenty of examples to be found throughout Christendom. Justin Martyr is said to have converted a man to Christianity by assuring him that the Christian God was just like Zeus ! Read Plato’s On the Soul’s Recollecting True Being and Beauty from The Phaedrus for a the Platonic and Neo-Platonic conception of Zeus.

Also read William Lilly’s Of the Planet Jupiter & his Signification. for the the Medieval Astrological Jupiter.

Indra Holding Thunderbolt Vajra

Indra Holding Thunderbolt Vajra – Keshava Temple, Somnathpur

In astrology, Jupiter is a rich matrix of symbolism greater than the sum of its parts. He is power, excess, benevolence, jurisprudence. philosophy, joviality, exaggeration, generosity, and largesse. The thought of “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” comes to mind ( William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven & Hell)

It is  becoming increasingly apparent that Europeans , Central and South Asians migrated from a common region in and around what used to be called Aryana.  The term Indo European can be taken more literally than it has been.

The Celts  had deities which are almost perfect parallels to Greek and Indian gods.  There are perhaps thousands of words in English almost identical to Sanskrit: for example, such as naam and name. The Celts  had deities which are almost perfect parallels to Greek and Indian gods. See this article for a list of thunder gods

I stress this because our recovery and understanding of ancient astrology depends on having some deeper knowledge of anthropology as well as philology, history. philosophy and geography.

Fall of Darius III

Alexander defeats the Persians 01 Oct 0331 BC 12 00

Alexander defeats the Persians 01 Oct 0331 BC 12 00

Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was the king of Macedonia in northern ancient Greece. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. He seemed like the embodiment of Mars. It’s hard to imagine what Aristotle taught him. There has been speculation that he either killed or arrraged the death of his father

Sun Symbol of King-Philip II of Macedonia

Sun Symbol of King-Philip II of Macedonia


Persian Ram C. 350 B.C.

The Achaemenid Persian Empire, also known as the First Persian Empire or First Iranian Empire, was a Persian empire founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation.Darius III, whose original given name was Artashata and was also known as Codomannus by the Greeks. He was the last King of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia from 336 BC to 330 BC.During his brief reign, he sent messages to Alexander offering, money, power and the hand of his daughter in marriage.

The offers became increasingly generous.Alexander had no interest whatsoever. It was a case of winner take all. There have been precious few in the history of humanity with greater bloodlust that Alexander.

Darius wanted Alexander as a friend and made no attempt to stop him from crossing the Euphrates. However he finally realized he had to stop the Macedonians from sacking the Persian Empire.

Attempting to stop Alexander, Darius prepared a battleground on the Plain of Gaugamela, near Arbela (present-day Irbil in northern Iraq), and posted his troops to await Alexander’s advance.His total forces greatly outnumbered those of Alexander, whose forces amounted to about 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry.

Macedonian Empire

Macedonian Empire

The Battle of Gaugamela, also called Battle of Arabela, saw the clash between the forces of Alexander the Great of Macedonia and Darius III of Persia. It decided the fate of the Persian empire and beginning of what I’ll call Pan Hellenism. The huge part of Asia previously known as Aryana, Babylon, Egypt and part of India became part of the Macedonian Empire. Increasingly the language became Greek. The victory all but ensured that he would be he master of southwest Asia.

Background and context have always been crucial to the practice of Mundane astrology. We need to know something about who, where and when. Claudius Ptolemy and other astrologer – astronomers have put certain countries, or even large parts of continents under the governance of planets and luminaries. That can only be done with knowledge of the parts of the Earth in question.


Mars Sun & Spica

This is one of the most momentous events in the history of civilzation. Barbaric as it was, it founded a new kind of world where people from all over the world can speak the same language and share thier knowledge on almost anuything. If we move forward a few centuries, this culminates in the School of Alexaandria.

The spherical chart at the top of the page is set for the time of the defeat of Darius or victory of Alexander, depending on your point of view. This is much closer portrayal of the astrology of Mesopotamian, Babylon, Persia and Chadea at that time in history. Theirs was a visual astrology and they didn’t use the horoscopic charts we are familiar with today. The first thing you might notice is the substantial shift due to precession of the equinox.

Darius Defeat

Darius Defeat


Total Lunar Eclipse : Sept. 20 0331 BC

The horoscopic chart set for the same time of the defeat might seem to be unremarkable. There doesn’t seem to be anything in it that’s good enough to ensure a victory or bad enough to spell the end of a great Empire and the death of its King. But the applying Mars opposition to Saturn, the South Node and the Moon is particularly viscous because of the participation of the Nodes.

When we compare this to where the Eclipse fell, we can see how this could set the stage. However, when we bring the stars into the picture, this opposition is overwhelming. The Sun and Mars are with Spica. Spica is usually associated with brilliance. This can be seen clearly in the second spherical chart. The battle was won because Alexander was one of the greatest military strategists in history. This nullified the huge discrepancy in number or troops. If you are unsure of the exact date of an event, using parans as well as conjunctions to fixed stars can be very helpful

There was a Total Lunar Eclipse 20 September 0331 B.C. at 9:16 pm, not long after sunset at 22 Piscses 45.

John Timperman has brought this to my attention: “Saturn was rising in the path of ANU and Jupiter is setting, it was considered a very bad omen for the reigning king. ”

Darius’ astrologers would have been keenly aware of this and that might explain why Darius III tried to bargain with Alexander and not stop him crossing the Euphrates .