Here is the first part of the latest visual astrology newletter. Back copies can be found here.
Alfred Nobel and a star named Spica
The "Spica Honours"
Bernadette Brady M.A.
With the news of President Barack Obama winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize it is a good time to step back and look at the Nobel Prizes and their place in our culture and our sky stories.
The idea of a world prize came into being in Paris on the 27 November 1895 when, a year before his death, Alfred Nobel (1833- 1896), a Swedish chemist and inventor, wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prizes. These prizes were to honour the outstanding achievements by individuals in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace. Since that time the field of economics has also been added to this list.
On that day the sky map showed that Venus was a bright morning star (rising before the sun) and was radiating the beautiful blue star in the constellation Virgo named Spica
Venus radiating Spica when Alfred Nobel signed his will, creating the ideal of the Nobel Prizes. Composite image from Starlight
Now whatever Venus shines upon is, within the Mesopotamian view of reading a sky narrative, greatly enhanced or empowered. Thus a radiated Spica on that day spoke of a moment when brilliance was allowed to shine through, an honouring of that which is exceptional. The brilliance voiced by Spica is that which is a gift or an aid to the whole of humanity, for Spica's original gift was the goddess' bequest of the knowledge of argriculture, the expertise of how to grow food. Indeed the fact that Alfred Nobelâ€™s idea grew probably well beyond his dreams is partly, I believe, because he instinctively signed his will when the milieu of the moment was perfect for the acknowledge of works of brilliance.
However, the life of Alfred Nobel (pictured left) was in contrast to his great ideal, for he made his vast fortune through the invention of dynamite and the subsequent ownership of arms factories. Both of these activities are evidence of his own brilliance, yet a brilliance directed towards the destruction of life rather than its honouring.
Nevertheless when we look at his own natal stars, (he was born on 21 October, 1833, in Stockholm, Sweden), we see that on that day Spica was his heliacal rising star, thus taking a focused role in his life.
The heliacal rising star is the star which rises before dawn and which is the most recent star to return to visibility after its period of invisibility due to its closeness to the sun.
This star, whatever star it is, represents a deep vocation for the individual and symbolises a driving force within them.
From Starlight's report for Alfred Nobel, I have pulled the following text:
Spica as the Natal Heliacal Rising Star
Wanting to use one's talents for the greatest possible good.
This is the star that has been walking the path of the underworld and has now emerged to be visible in the world of humans. This star, the Heliacal Rising Star, is the star under which you were born and it will bear gifts to you from the land of your past, your family and your genetics. It is your past, in a mythic sense, the jewel or the treasure, which your ancestors handed to you at your birth. This star is a theme in your life; helps to build your philosophies, and can at times take on a vocational pulse.
Spica is the star in the wheat sheaf in the hand of the goddess, and was considered a symbol of her gifts to humankind. These gifts were originally of harvest and bountifulness. The wheat sheaf, therefore, symbolised human knowledge of cultivation. In present times, the wheat sheaf is the symbol of knowledge and insights which are respected. The star is not connected with any particular field or profession but rather shows the potential for brilliance. Spica is a gift of brilliance, an innate talent, skill or ability which is out of the ordinary. With Spica in such an important position on the day of your birth, you have the mark of a gifted person who truly does have something to contribute to the world.
Given his genius of invention, we can see Spica at work in Nobel's own life. However, what I found more moving was the way that this great gift of the goddess that had been used in Nobel's working life as the brilliance of destruction had been turned to the better purpose of the goddess of seeking those who give their great gift to humanity.
A time and place
October is the time of the Nobel Prize announcements in Stockholm and it is also the month of birth of Alfred Nobel. Thus echoing down though history, it is also the time when Spica is the heliacal rising star for Stockholm.
So for me the Nobel Prizes are actually the "Spica Honours".
Whether we agree or disagree with all the different people who are honoured with these awards, we can, as astrologers, step back and recognise that at least once a year, the establishment world of power and politics actually listens to the golden voice of the goddess, the silent powerful rain of wheat that fertilizes and feeds.