According to Vivian Robson, Alhena in particular indicated, “A brand or mark burnt in [the foot]…it has been called “the wound in the tendon of Achilles.”
Interestingly enough, when my wife applied the yarrow to the wound she told me a story about yarrow and its long time association with Achilles. It’s Latin name is Achillea millefolium.
As we were on vacation I was reading about the fixed stars and wondering how I might start to notice their presence in the midst of things, to what degree, to what purpose or use in my practice, etc. I’m not sure about this yet, because it’s one of my first observations, but right after the bite I had the distinct sense that a fixed star was involved.
Still the question remains on a spiritual level..so what was that all about? I won’t get too personal, but the symbolism of the moment of the bite definitely felt connected to my own personal Achilles’ heel (or at least one of them!).
Another example….I was born with fixed star Algol on the ascendant..the eye of Medusa, which has variously been associated with losing one’s head, horrible death, murder, and the devil (among other ‘unfortunate’ sounding things). At first it seemed like fixed stars were simply to be rejected because of the blatant negativity or overly deterministic aura surrounding them, but over my vacation I pondered the fixed star Algol and can now see it’s presence very strongly in my life story thus far. From mental/emotional health issues in myself and my family, to a decade long immersion into altered states of consciousness, to working with schizophrenics in NYC, and an unusually vivid imagination for the “darker” side of things, I can safely say that the Medusa symbolism has very much been with me.
In fact, I will often feel an entrancing or hypnotizing draw into worst case scenario imaginings…I’ve struggled with nightmares and sleep problems my entire life, and am easily hypnotized or paralyzed by my own fear fantasies..as though being turned to stone by an inner gaze that locks onto me and won’t let go until I’m able to reflect on what’s happening (like Perseus’ mirror shield) and get out of the trance. Because of all this, I’ve also felt a deep level of compassion for people who are afraid or who feel that they are losing their minds or losing touch with reality.
In my office above my desk I have a picture of a Medusa statue turned upside down by the Romans in an old temple. An unfortunate symbol of the masculine fear of the wilder feminine powers, but also the well founded reminder to keep a mirror shield handy when the demons come knocking. To my mind, the very use of the fixed stars by astrologers today might be symbolized by the complexities of a star like Algol…once called, “the most evil star in the sky.”
With psychological understanding, with depth, and an exploration of the shadows these stars often symbolize, we can both embrace and simultaneously deepen our understanding of who we are…not only in terms of when and where we’re likely to injure our feet or lose our heads, but also in terms of what injuring a foot might mean to the soul, or what spiritual growth comes when we lose our heads or get bit by unseen creatures in the night.
Prayer: Star light, star bright…show me the mind of the supreme tonight. And may my thoughts be carried by an understanding that flows freely through all images of fortune and misfortune alike.