First Eighteen Decanates
ARIES—1st Decanate. To picture the possibilities of the first decanate of the zodiac the masters of old traced in the sky a starry triangle. This constellation—TRIANGULUM —symbolizes the divine fire that those born under the first decanate of Aries have the capacity to inhale. When living in their highest they are true leaders in thought; for the triangle, ever used as a symbol of flame, is also used as a symbol of mind. And again, by its three sides united into one figure, it represents the union of body, mind, and spirit—thus teaching the importance of cooperation.
The pioneer spirit of Aries is expressed in this decanate in all its fiery fullness. Zeal and enthusiasm mark the progress of its children. The Aries decanate of Aries, subruled by the aggressive lord of war, ever seeks new worlds to conquer. And when the thoughts are permitted to soar untrammeled upward, even as the triangle points to heaven, those born under this influence become the harbingers of better things. But when the lower marital power gains sway they become the avenging agents of death and destruction.
Dr. J. M. Peebles, the great pioneer of spiritualism, had this as his Spiritual polarity, having been born when the Sun was in this decanate. Emperor Paul of Russia had this portion of the zodiac for Mental polarity, the Moon being there when he was born. And Proclus, the great Greek Neoplatonic philosopher, who scaled the height of occult initiation and so impressed his thoughts upon the times in which he lived, was born with the Mars decanate of Aries Ascending, this being his Physical polarity. It is the decanate of ACTIVITY.
ARIES—2nd Decanate. The second decanate of Aries is pictured in the sky by ERIDANUS the River of Life flowing from the never-failing fountain of perpetual youth. Here we find the severity of Mars tempered by the magnanimity of the Sun, which has subrulership over this decanate. It is the Leo section of Aries. And as Leo is natural ruler of the house of love, so the water, symbol of the emotions, bespeaks the affectional influence. Only through the affections, only in the sacred precincts of love, does man quaff the coveted elixir that imparts eternal life. So those born under this section of the sky may well seek this most hallowed source of power. They become rulers of men through their inherent power to sway the minds of others. They are born to lead rather than to serve, for this subinfluence of Leo lends a persistent ambition for power. The heart is somewhat joined to the head, and the more this union is cultivated the better; for the greatest lever for attainment obtainable by the natives of this decanate is a noble affection.
Bismarck, who pioneered in statesmanship, had his Individuality in this portion of the zodiac, the Sun being there at his birth. Le Plongeon, who pioneered in archaeology, deciphering Mayan inscriptions and writing a work on Atlantis, had his Mentality here, the Moon being in this decanate at his nativity. And Annie Besant, leader of the Theosophical Society and economic pioneer, had her Personality in this decanate, it being on the Ascendant when she was born. It is the decanate of EXALTATION.
ARIES—3rd Decanate. PERSEUS, with the wings of thought on his feet, the helmet of courage on his head, armed with the sword of righteousness, protected by the shield of beneficence, and holding the blood-dripping head of Medusa in one hand, pictures the third decanate of Aries. The subrulership of Jupiter diverts the aggressive energies somewhat into religious and philosophical channels. Consequently, this Sagittarius division of Aries has vast spiritual possibilities when its natives espouse some progressive line of thought, or use their restless never-failing energy in protection of the weak.
Perseus gained renown through his daring exploits in relieving oppression. And even as he severed the head of the Gorgon Medusa, which turned to stone all who gazed upon it, so the people of this decanate have the power to destroy the crystallizing influence of licentiousness, and like the David's version of the same tradition, cut off the head of the Goliath of selfish greed. They may become the valiant heroes who wage a successful fight against the sordid conditions that oppress civilized life. In the philosophical field of endeavor they find a useful work in releasing Andromeda, the human soul, which all too often is found chained to the rock of materialism to be devoured by lust and envy.
Of those born with the Sun in this decanate I may mention the pioneer Theosophist, Wm. Q. Judge. As expressing the Mentality in this section of the heavens, George Sand, world’s greatest authoress, and spiritualizer of common sights, is a fitting example. And Dr. Rajendra Lal, whose antiquarian and research work are known far beyond his native country, India, has his Personality polarized in this decanate, which was on the Ascendant at his birth. It is the decanate of PROPAGANDA.
TAURUS—1st Decanate. The masters of olden times in tracing symbolic pictures in the sky, to convey to later generations their conception of the influence of the various sections of the heavens, sometimes pictured the highest attainment and sometimes pictured the greatest obstacle to progress. In LEPUS—the Hare—they symbolize the thought that timidity is the greatest bar to advancement of those born under the first decanate of Taurus. Being the first decanate of the sign naturally ruling the house of money, there is often a tendency to devote too much energy to the acquisition of wealth. And as this decanate is particularly mediumistic, those born under it easily acquire magical powers. Hence the various traditions regarding it as a place of black magic. Yet its children become adepts at white magic just as easily if they but overcome the lust for material things. It is only when they are blinded by physical aims that the place of the soul’s exaltation becomes an adverse symbol. Those born here have great natural healing power and ability to crystallize conditions to their desires by the power of the imagination to mold astral substance.
Ulysses S. Grant, whose fixity of purpose was his most remarkable trait, was born with his Individuality polarized in this decanate, the Sun being here. G.R.S.Mead, who edited The Theosophical Review and did an immense amount of laborious work to enlighten students, had his Mentality in this decanate, it being the place of the Moon in his chart. And Jerome Cardan, who became famous as a mathematician and astrologer, had this decanate Rising at his birth. It is the decanate of DETERMINATION.
TAURUS—2nd Decanate. In the second decanate of Taurus the fixity of purpose is given the analytical trend through the subinfluence being that of Virgo. Therefore, some condition in the environment is attacked and made the center upon which the physical and mental forces are focused. The result is a conflict. And this conflict may be to attain fame through literary or artistic production, to attain financial supremacy through business methods, or to rise in the field of science or politics. Thus it brings a combat for supremacy.
This thought is pictured by ORION, the most successful of all hunters, who attacked and slew the mighty bull. The bull represents material pleasures and physical limitations over which it is possible for those born under this decanate to rise supreme. They have at their command an unusual supply of electromagnetism, and can mentally attack with a force as great as the huge club wielded by the mighty arm of Orion. Thus they cause obstacles to crumble.
Thomas H. Huxley, whose work as a scientist was so painstaking and brought him so much opposition, was born with the Sun in this decanate. The Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, whose political life was spent in the struggle to gain greater freedom for the people, had his Mentality here. And another, who strove with armies, George Washington, founder of the U.S. of America, was born with his Personality in this section of Taurus. It is the decanate of STRUGGLE.
TAURUS—3rd Decanate. The third decanate of Taurus shows the reflective influence of Saturn, its subruler. And even as the key phrase of Capricorn is "I Use," so those born under this decanate have the ability to use physical means to attain spiritual ends. The decanate is pictured in the sky by AURIGA, the charioteer, who with one hand guides the chariot of his soul and with the other protects and ministers unto the weak and needy. Auriga pictures the one who has triumphed over his environment and physical limitations and attained adeptship. Those born under this decanate have an aptitude for true spiritual attainment. And while the progress usually is not swift; yet, once undertaken, it becomes a sure and steady climb with seldom setbacks. What they receive, however, largely depends upon the use they make of the power they already possess in ministering unto the ills of others.
Elizabeth D. Benjamine, who labored so successfully as a teacher of Brotherhood of Light classes for twenty-three years, and was one of the three founders of The Church of Light, was born with her Individuality in this decanate. Fred H. Skinner, who labored successfully as a teacher of Brotherhood of Light classes for twenty-one years, and was one of the three founders of The Church of Light, was born with his Mentality in this section of the heavens. And Immanuel Kant, whose works on transcendental philosophy have not been surpassed, was born with his Personality here. It is the decanate of MASTERSHIP.
GEMINI—1st Decanate. By means of a bear—URSA MINOR—whose restless activity and power suggest that of the mind, the ancients depicted the Mercury decanate of Gemini. And because the unconscious mind is not so obvious as the objective mind, this bear is small. So too, it travels about the sky backward. Thus must one direct his attention contrary to the trend of objective life to hear "the voice of the silence."
Perhaps unconsciously, yet none-the-less effectively, those born in the Gemini third of Gemini tend to rely upon intuition. Their natural field of endeavor is the mental plane. They see, not merely the details of a problem, but view it completely, perceiving the proper relation of each part to the whole. And if they are not carried away by the restless desire to undertake too many things, they may become intellectual giants. For they assimilate all they contact and their deductions rise spontaneously from the soul.
Alighieri Dante, who intuitively grasped so many cosmic truths and portrayed them in his "Inferno," was born when the Sun passed through this decanate. George Bernard Shaw, who comprehends in their entirety so many of the present-day world problems and presents them in his lucid literary style, was born when the Moon was here. And Richard Wagner, the composer, who saw and felt the great truths of nature and expressed them so adequately in music, was born when this decanate was on the Ascendant. It is the decanate of INTUITION.
GEMINI—2nd Decanate. The second decanate of Gemini is pictured in the sky by a large dog—CANIS MAJOR. This noble looking beast is the emblem of faithfulness, and through its adoration for its master also represents the worshipping and serving of Deity—for to the dog his master is God. Therefore, we find those born under the second decanate of Gemini often possess a singular and admirable faithfulness, either to their human companions or to some high ideal. They have much veneration and seek to obey the voice of their conscience implicitly.
This Venus decanate also relates to twin souls. So there is greater likelihood of those born here finding a congenial mate than is the case with most. And to make the best of life they must espouse some principle or progressive cause, and work to get it generally acknowledged and accepted.
Robert Schumann, the musical critic and composer, who was so faithful to his ideal of musical interpretation, was born with his Individuality polarized in this decanate. Miss Florence Cook, whose faithfulness to the cause of spiritualism led her to become the medium through whom "Katie King" manifested to Sir. Wm. Crookes, had her Mentality pictured by this section of the sky. And Wm. Jennings Bryan, whose faithfulness to his political and religious convictions is the best-known feature of his career, was born with his Personality in this part of Gemini. It is the decanate of FIDELITY.
GEMINI—3rd Decanate. A huge bear—URSA MAJOR—traveling about the pole star in a forward direction depicts among the constellations the Aquarius decanate of Gemini. The bear, whose restless activity and omnivorous nature is typical of mentality, in this case moves as does the objective mind, in the direction of events. And it is huge in size to indicate the immense power that may be exercised by thought.
This is the scientific decanate of the sign of thought. Those born under it are capable of accomplishing great things through the exercise of their minds. They tend chiefly to rely upon reason, therefore, should not only train their minds, which is readily accomplished, but should also cultivate idealism and religion. Otherwise their efforts crystallize and become self-centered.
Nero, the Roman Emperor, who had wonderful talent, but could burn Rome for his own amusement so self-centered had he become, had the Sun in this section of the heavens at his birth. On the other hand, as indicating the better qualities of this decanate, Nicholas Culpepper, author of the "Herbal" and by his friends said to be the best physician that ever lived, had his Moon here. And Jay Gould, whose manipulation of railroad securities wrecked so many others and made for himself such a huge fortune, had his Personality located in this last decanate of Gemini. It is the decanate of REASON.
CANCER— Decanate. The first decanate of Cancer is depicted in the sky by a little yapping cur—CANIS MINOR—a mongrel without courage or loyalty. By it the ancient masters sought to convey the thought that those born under this section of the sky are particularly susceptible to domestic intrigue. They have strong emotions and may easily be carried away by them. Consequently, they should put forth a persistent effort to cultivate the qualities of faithfulness and poise.
Through the activity of the emotional nature, and their sensitiveness to all that affects life, they are often capable of remarkable poetic and dramatic expression. Unknown to themselves they are the mediums through which entities on the inner planes manifest. And because they are such perfect mediums they sometimes betray the trust placed in them, for they tend to yield to the temporarily strongest influence. They should learn to be positive and firm.
Louis XII of France, who divorced his virtuous and ill-favored queen, Joan, to marry Anne of Brittany, by whom he was dominated, was born with the Sun in this decanate. Nell Gwyn, actress and favorite of Charles II, had her Moon in this place. And Lord Byron, the poet, whose love affairs were none too conventional, was born with this decanate on the Ascendant. It is the decanate of MOODS.
CANCER—2nd Decanate. HYDRA—the water serpent —commences as the middle decan of Cancer and extends through the sky all the distance from this home constellation to Scorpio, the constellation of death. Representing the Scorpio, or sex, decanate of the domestic sign, those born under it possess much resource and energy, as well as being strongly emotional. The serpent is the symbol of creative energy and the water in which it dwells is the symbol of the strong emotions displayed by these people. So the traditional struggle of Hercules with this monster is not without significance, for it represents the struggle with sensual desires, as well as a struggle to overcome the limitations imposed by death.
Thus we find that those born here have a natural aptitude for communion with those who have passed to the spirit side of life. And if they do not fall into the destructive forms of mediumship, but instead retain at all times full control of their bodies and minds, they are led, impressed, and guided from the spirit side of life in all their worthy undertakings.
W. T. Stead, who established the bureau for spirit communication and did so much for the spread of spiritualism, was born with his Individuality here. Dr. Luke D. Broughton, author of the well known Elements of Astrology, had his Mentality in this decanate. And Sarah M. Grimke, the fine seeress, and author of Esoteric Lessons, who contributed valuable work in behalf of spiritual enlightenment, had her Personality in this section of the sky. It is the decanate of REVELATION.
CANCER—3rd Decanate. ARGO, the constellated ship that gave foundation for the story both of Noah’s Ark and that of the adventurous Argonautic expedition, pictures the third decanate of Cancer. There will be stormy seas in the lives of those born here, but a tranquil mind will prove an adequate bark to carry them to the shores of safety. They are restless and somewhat discontented. While loving domestic life, yet they are also eager to learn what is just below the horizon. Their curiosity, however, becomes an asset and leads them into fields that are all too little known. They are great lovers of Mother Nature, take keen delight in spying out her secrets, and in this kind of work find their greatest natural aptitude.
The celebrated Finnish painter, Albert Edelfelt, had the Sun in this decanate at his birth. Lorenzo Niles Fowler, whose investigations in another department of Nature’s laboratory, that of phrenology, has made him noted, had his Moon here at birth. And Bulwer-Lytton, who delved deeply into the occult—for among his many novels we find two depicting respectively the lives of a white and a black magician, Zanoni and A Strange Story—was born with his Ascendant in this part of the heavens. It is the decanate of RESEARCH.
LEO—1st Decanate. The first decanate of Leo is pictured among the constellations by CRATER—a furnace, or cup of fire. In this manner did the ancient masters of starry lore portray the fiery love nature of those born under this section of the sky.
Their most notable trait is the desire and ability to rule others. And unless this tendency is restrained there is an inclination to dominate. Yet always there is a powerful love nature. And as love is at the foundation of all achievement, if this love energy can be directed into proper channels, it leads on to success. But due to its strength there is danger of turning to one extreme or the other—either permitting pleasure to dominate the life, or in rebellion at the tendency toward excess to become the avowed ascetic. As neither extreme permits of proper expression of the fine qualities of this decanate the watchword should be moderation.
Hiram Butler, author of Solar Biology, who founded and ruled a colony of esoteric students whose efforts largely revolve around sex repression, was born with the Sun here. Anna B. Kingsford, who wrote The Perfect Way, Clothed with the Sun, and other works of an occult character, and whose relationship with a prominent organization was severed because of her own dominant views and teachings, was born with the Moon in this decanate. And Adelina Patti, the prima donna, who dominated the multitude through the beauty and power of her voice, was born with this part of Leo as her Ascendant. It is the decanate of RULERSHIP.
LEO—2nd Decanate. In the second, or Jupiter, decanate of Leo the inherent quality of dominant control characteristic of Leo is modified by the subinfluence of the sign of the higher mind, Sagittarius. The philosophical and religious elements are more in evidence, and those born here readily recognize the prevalent weaknesses both in current politics and in current religion. And what is more important, they have the courage of their convictions and the power to gain followers for their own progressive ideas.
To picture the ruthless onslaughts with which these people attack both persons and policies that seek to ravage society, CENTAURUS, a being having the lower parts of a horse and the upper parts of a man, is represented among the constellations as impaling on the end of his spear the wolf that pictures the last decanate of Libra. This wolf symbolizes those who use the brilliancy of their intellects to suppress truth and to foist ignorance and superstition upon society that they may profit by its exploitation. As those born in this middle decanate of Leo have the power to convince and lead others, it behooves them to put forth every effort to gain the truth, and to take great care that they do not disseminate erroneous notions.
Madam H. P. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, was born with her Individuality here. Mr. J. Malcolmn Mitchel, secretary of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage, had his Moon in this decanate. And Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant Religion, was born with his Personality polarized to this section of the sky. It is the decanate of REFORMATION.
LEO—3rd Decanate. CORVUS, the Raven, is the constellation picturing the tendencies of people born under the third decanate of Leo. This raven is pictured with wings outspread as if in readiness to fly aloft, but with its feet firmly gripping the back of Hydra, the water serpent. This symbolizes the emotions that are associated with creative energy, for the raven appears to be making a meal from the flesh of the serpent.
In this last portion of Leo we have the love of power and rulership combined with the quality of leadership bestowed by Aries. As a consequence those born under this section of the sky are determined to rise in life regardless of obstacles. And when this tendency is carried to extremes they will sacrifice their associates, their family, and even integrity itself, in order to increase their power. But when their ideals are thoroughly for the welfare of humanity rather than for mere personal aggrandizement, they become of immense service to society through their natural gift of being able to handle others and use them to advantage.
Napoleon I, who attempted to conquer the world by arms, was born with the Sun in this decanate. Dr. Zamenhof, who invented a language, Esperanto, which was to supersede all other languages in the world, had his Moon in this section of the heavens. And Alan Leo, who attempted to give to astrology a world-wide recognition and power, was born with his Ascendant here. It is the decanate of AMBITION.
VIRGO—1st Decanate. In the Mercury decanate of Virgo we find the assimilative quality exercised to the most pronounced degree. The mind of those born here are usually restless and active, a tendency pictured among the constellations by BOOTES—the Bear Driver—who follows the Great Bear, symbol of the objective mind, about the heavens with an upraised sickle, urging him on. And to convey the idea that man’s thoughts, when carefully tended, yield a most precious fruitage, Bootes is traditionally associated with the vine of the grape; for he is also a husbandman.
So those who are native of this section of the zodiac press, with great dexterity, the wine from all life’s varied experiences. It then becomes a coveted elixir which stimulates them to still greater accomplishment. This is the harvest decanate, and these people readily sift the grain from the chaff, and use it practically for sustenance.
Maurice Maeterlinck, so successful in literature, was born with his Individuality in this decanate. Alexander the Great, whose military achievements have been unsurpassed, was born with the Moon in this part of the heavens. And Henry Cornelius Agrippa, who attained success and renown in the practice of ceremonial magic, was born with his Ascendant here. It is the decanate of ACHIEVEMENT.
VIRGO—2nd Decanate. The Saturn decanate of Virgo is pictured among the constellations by Hercules—the Hero—who, among other things, performed twelve superhuman labors. One foot crushes the head of the Cyclic Dragon, while his outstretched hand grasps the apples of Hesperides. This depicts the tendency of those born under this section of the sky to undertake and accomplish, by unremitting toil, the performance of gigantic tasks. They also have an exceptional variety of experiences, both with the so called good and the so-called evil. Thus are their lives filled with events.
Here we find the assimilative powers of the mind, conferred by Virgo, to be given a diplomatic trend, and often there is a great desire for worldly fame and honor. The temptations that come to these people are great. But if they guard against the allurements of the flesh that sooner or later come into their lives, they can rise to great heights through their unusual powers of discernment and comparison.
Mabel Collins, who wrote Light on the Path and other occult works, and whose life has been varied in experience, was born with the Sun in this decanate. Camille Flammarion, the great French astronomer, who likewise is an authority on Psychic Research and a wide variety of other matters, had the Moon here at birth. And Chopin, the great composer, whose affair of the heart ended so disastrously, had this part of the heavens on the Ascendant at his birth. It is the decanate of EXPERIENCE.
VIRGO—3rd Decanate. The last decanate of the northern signs is pictured by a crown of twelve iron spikes. This Venus decanate of the mental sign Virgo is the point from which the Sun passes into the winter section of the zodiac. And so the serpent, picturing the first decanate of Libra is represented with his fangs just before CORONA BOREALIS—the Northern Crown—as if to strike.
Virgo, as a whole, corresponds to the house of work. So this last decanate seems particularly given to working in behalf of others. People born here find their greatest possibilities in the realm of service. When they can lose sight of the reward, and labor enthusiastically for some noble cause, they live to their utmost. Even though the laborer is worthy of his hire, yet those born under this influence are often called upon to give up the things they would prefer to do for the sake of duty. Though the material reward is a crown of thorns, yet the gain in character and soul power always more than repays for all sacrifice.
Henrich Daath, who labored so steadfastly in the cause of modern astrology, was born with his Individuality here. Leo Tolstoy, who though born of nobility, lived so simply and made so many sacrifices in the cause of peace and purity, had his Mentality in this decanate. And Swami Triganiteti, the Vedanist teacher who was blown to pieces in his temple in San Francisco by a fanatic, while he was faithfully serving his religion, had his Personality polarized in this place. It is the decanate of RENUNCIATION.
Note—With a few exceptions, so that the student may have easy access to the charts cited and thus study the other factors contributing to character and accomplishment, I have used as examples persons whose charts may be found in A Thousand and One Notable Nativities by Alan Leo.