Musings on Comet Neowise

comet Neowise C 2020 F3 at sunset in the skies of Tourtour Provence Photo credit © Marco Migliardi

I employ the title of this piece advisedly. It consists of musings, a simple series of notes and observations on an extraordinary event. This is the brightest and most significant comet in 25 years. At that time, Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp discovered Comet Hale–Bopp separately on July 23, 1995, before it became visible to the naked eye.

Comet Hale-Bopp © 1997 Richard Wainscoat, All Rights Reserved.

The golden-white comet streaking we see across the sky in the Summer of 2020 was first discovered by a space telescope named Neowwise, hence the nomenclature. At the point of this discovery, Neowise the comet was in the zodiacal position of 29° Gemini, the last degree of the mutable air sign. We can say that this was the moment that it came into our collective consciousness, but long before it was visible to the naked eye.

When we look more closely at the light spectrum, we can see that it is gold, orange and yellow. In comet lore, these colours are associated with the Sun, Jupiter, and Venus.  As awe-inspiring or intimidating as the sight of the comet may be, this luminary and planets are not regarded as malefic in and of themselves.

By some accounts, the time of the first visibility, albeit by space telescope, is the only available moment we can read regarding an astrological interpretation.

My colleague and protégé.Pablo Ianiszewski. has posted a brilliant piece invoking the above event on his Facebook page. in Spanish, emphasizing the nodal element among other crucial elements. He notes that Neowise was:

” in conjunction with the head of the dragon, having as a dispositor Mercury, who at that time was afflicted by being a pilgrim, oriental, retrograde and burning in Cancer, in addition to being under the square of Mars. About his golden tint, the wise al-Biruni (973–1048 AD) tells us that such a colour announces “conflict between kings.”

Cynthia Thinnes, a former student of mine also published a brilliant article on her Filianist astrology blog, The Wisdom of Our Grandmothers.  The two readings use different dates as points of reference and in my view are both highly valuable contributions. I, therefore, recommend reading both articles.  I see no reason why we cannot read the passage of a comet as a story, rather than insisting on a single phase of its unfolding as its only defining moment.

To summarize, there is no doubt that 29° Gemini position and interpretation has unquestionable validity. However, the culmination and greatest visibility of the comet is found in the auspicious constellation of Ursa Major at  20°34′ Leo and is too rich in symbolism to ignore. The Great Bear is held to be of virtually singular importance among the circumpolar constellations in ancient cultures as otherwise diverse as ancient Indian, indigenous American and Indo-Europeans, since the earliest records.

Ursa Major is, in fact, the origin of the ancient swastika symbol. It is one of the most ancient symbols known to us and has been found carved on a 15,000-year-old of a bird made from a mammoth tusk. From its origin, the symbol has been meant to be positive and life-affirming. The modern name for the icon, derived from the Sanskrit svastika, means “conducive to well-being.” In fact. the swastica illustrates the constellation Ursa Major as it appears during the four seasons. Vedic writers refer to the stars as the Seven Sages

Ursa Major through the Four Seasons

The term Maharshi is a collective term that points to the seven sages or rishis referred to in the Rig Veda and the Puranas,. The nomenclature used is Saptarishi. They are clearly and adamantly associated with the seven stars of the constellation Ursa Major. There is a deeper association with creation itself and the reception of primordial wisdom from the stars.

This position is also momentous in relation to the culminating Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that will prefect at the Winter Solstice 2020. In terms of the comet augering for the fall of a great king, I believe this is much more about the demise or transformation of something on a grander scale than a single potentate. Currently, we can say that the Leo position is inconjunct Jupiter and Saturn in the latter degrees of Capricorn and that this ‘blindness’ is an eloquent metaphor of what is to come when the zodiacal point occupies the opposing axis of the monumental Grand Conjunction in Aquarius, We can read the unfolding of this story in relation to other recent events, such as the Lunar and Solar eclipses we have been following.

That something can be destructive as well as benevolent, is not at all contradictory. The seasons are a perfect case in point. The cycle of life is a story of inception to destruction, followed by resurrection. It is the dance of Shiva when expanded to the infinite cosmic point of being.


The comet, riding as it were the Great Bear, is augering doom for what has to be destroyed before a new order may come into being. It is not hard to see this regal comet as a presage of a falling order. One may recall the words “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). These words sound harsh and patriarchal to many modern ears, but the essential meaning is clear. Humanity cannot forever defy the natural order with impunity.

The idea of a divine plan is anathema to the materialist cultures of our time.others. A new and authentic way of being can only occur universally when we recognize our extraordinary place in the universe, as both macrocosm and microcosm – creators and created.

We are in times of extraordinary consequence. What we do now will determine whether we rise or fall as a species.

The mystical T.S. Eliot put it thus: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” (Little Gidding from Four Quartets)

New Moon in Cancer

Detail of The Moon in Cancer from the Book of Felicity (1582), an illuminated manuscript commissioned by Sultan Murad III, who ruled the empire from 1574 to 1595, its text was translated from Arabic and all its miniatures were apparently directed by the famous master Nakkaş Osman

This a simple heads up to a rather significant lunation as the Sun is about to leave Cancer. For many people, a New Moon refers to when it becomes visible again. However, with the Sun conjoining with the Moon, this is also the Dark of the Moon because it cannot be seen.

This conjunction is also referred to as a syzygy and is one of the causes of crucial consideration of the Pre-Natal syzygy, usually referred to as a Prenatal lunation or the most recent first New Moon or Full Moon prior to the nativity. The Solar and Lunar forces are mingling and setting the stage for the next lunation. So, the two states are a conjunction of the Moon with the Sun and an opposition of the same.

The Moon in Cancer is very much at home, highly reflective, intuitive and nurturing. It is also highly protective of itself, as the image of the Crab suggests. It is a good moment to explore emotional reactions.

The Moon is the Great Mother. However, she doesn’t do well when badly aspected by Mars or Saturn or indeed in their signs. The Moon is in her only domicile in Cancer and Capricorn is the sign of her detriment.  She Falls in martian Scorpio. Importantly, the opposition is precise and in Capricorn.

In a previous article, I discussed the opposition to the Capricon planets. At that time the Moon was with Jupiter and Saturn on the other end of the opposition. Here we have a new beginning.

The house placement will, of course, change depending on the location and time zone.  This chart is drawn for Greenwich. The following applies specifically to London, England. In this chart, the opposition is on the Gates of Hade’s axis. There is more than one reason that this axis is considered as unfortunate.

The primary reason is that neither house aspects the Ascendant  – the place of the life force and the means by which we navigate our lives. The second reason is likely to be because of the emphasis on the material and specifically, money, which has been associated with the “root of all evil” for millennia.  The real danger is that we may lose our way, not connected to the compass of the Ascendant, as it were. The emphasis on the material provides a further sign of how else we may lose our way.

The 8th house is also indicative of death. With both luminaries in this house and on this axis will logically cause alarm.  But Venus is in the 7th house and in the Exaltation of the accompanying Node. This is a welcome relief in an otherwise troubled chart

New Moon in Cancer. 20 Jul 2020 AD GC. 6:32:49 PM. Greenwich, England. 0w00’00. 51n29 00. BST

The syzygy is in found in the 19th Lunar Mansion. The Arabic name is Al Jabhah. The English translation is Lion’s Forehead watched over by the Angel Ardefiel. It is noteworthy that the constellation originally associated with this mansion is Leo, with the principal stars associated with this mansion being Regulus (alpha Leo), Algieba (gamma Leo), Adhafera (zeta Leo), and Al Jabhah (eta Leo).

For this reason, the use of Lunar Mansions must never lose the connection to the Sidereal zodiac, while reading the mansion in the context of the Tropical.

According to Ptolemy, the nature of Regulus is Mars and Jupiter, and the nature of Adhafera and Al Jabhah is Mercury and Saturn. Dorotheos tells us that this a good Mansion for buildings, which will last, and for partnerships, benefiting all parties.

According to Ibn ‘Arabi (1200 AD), the attribution is “The Sky of the Fixed Stars, the Sphere of the Stations, the Sun of Paradise, the Roof of Hell.” and suggests the Divine Attribute is “The Powerful.”

This lunation is a time to reflect on a dire moment without delusions and to act in accordance with noble intent. This is a place of great strength in a time of adversity.



.Portable Universal Sundial Medium: Bronze Dimensions: H. 6.4 cm; W. 6.1 cm; D. 2.5 cm 1st–4th century CE © Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford

Some form of time-keeping has been essential to humanity from the earliest times. Most fundamental to this is the recognition of seasons and the phases of the Moon. The ability to predict the occurrence associated with much larger cycles required reference to the movement of the planets and their various phases and stations. The conjunction of the superior planets. Jupiter and Saturn took on special meaning for periods of time beyond the seasons – they represent vast cycles within cycles.

The awareness of stellar cycles from a geocentric view provided knowledge of, say, the apparent rising of Sirius and the inundation of the Nile, bringing with it fertile plains for a multitude of crops. Canopus later took on a special signification in Islam.

The discovery and articulation of Saros cycles meant the ability to predict lunar and solar eclipses. It was understood that these cycles were like families or clans that revealed a cycle with both a beginning and an end. Ancient astronomer and astrologers have availed of considerations regarding an entire saros cycle when interpreting a given eclipse.

The ability to put all of these elements together meant that a skilled astronomer or astrologer could read a system of celestial indicators, offering extraordinary complexity and detail with which to judge a given time or epoch.

It isn’t likely that anyone would need to consider all celestial events at a given time. That would rather miss the point. Parapegma is useful when there is a particular focus on a pattern of events, of interest for a particular reason. Some cultures around 3,000 years ago used the Parapegma extensively and the phases of the stars were often considered more important than other considerations, except for the seasons themselves.

One of the better known Sumerian foci was on Innana, later known as Ishtar and clearly identified with the planet Venus. Knowledge of the phases of Venus introduces a plethora of important considerations, ignored by contemporary astrologers outside of the sphere of traditional practices. Later on, the tracking of the phases of the Sun, Moon and Venus was extended to include all the traditional planets.

This page will show Stellar, Lunar and Planetary Phases from the Vernal Equinox of 2020 to Vernal Equinox of 2021. displayed in showing one-month periods. This enables the understanding of the planetary, stellar and luminary cycles throughout the seasons.

All calculations are set for Greenwich Mean Time 51°N30′ 00°W10′.  Star Events include Phase Changes, True Rise/Set with Sun. Planet Events: include Sign Ingress, Stationary Points, Lunar Phases
Planets: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, plus North-Node & South-Node.

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

June 2020

July 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

November 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

April 2021

May 2021

June 2021

July 2021

August 2021

September 2021

October 2021

November 2021

December 2021

A useful diagram showing the Venus cycle at a glance