Athena's Web Weekly Column

  Week of March 15th - March 21st,  2002

No Scurfy Mildew

Columns Archive


   This week in our examination of Ovid's Fasti, we take a look at January 24th.
Moon in Scorpio

Moon in Scorpio

According to the template of time which we are using, on this day the Moon would have been shifting from Scorpio to Sagittarius, but the festival which Ovid grafts onto this date seems to have Scorpio written all over it.

   This issue is approached by the author himself, who complains he cannot locate the specific day.

   "Three or four times I searched the record of the calendar, but nowhere did I find the Day of Sowing. Seeing me puzzled, the Muse observed, "That day is appointed by the priests. Why look for movable feasts in the calendar?"

   For those who work with the agricultural cycles of the zodiac, it's obvious that the Moon is in its best placement while in water signs. Cancer is held to be the most fertile of these signs, while the Moon in Pisces comes in second. Even though Scorpio claims the third slot (out of twelve), it is a tenuous position.
Moon in Cancer

Moon in Cancer

The Moon is also said to be in its fall in Scorpio, one of the dignities of astrology. It is said to be a good time to sow, transplant, or graft plants at this time. However, because Scorpio is a 'fixed' water sign, this can be stagnant water, meaning you could get some things growing there you did not want, such as mold or mildew. With the motion, activity and movement of the cardinal water sign Cancer, the energy is invigorating; but with Scorpio, this same vitality is lacking.

   In antiquity, Scorpio was ruled by Mars, the God of War. On January 24th, growth vs. destruction seems to be the theme. This is an appropriate juxtaposition, not only astrologically, but because Rome had just come through decades of social unrest, with the Civil Wars of Sulla, Caesar crossing the Rubicon, and Augustus finally establishing a lasting peace. These are some examples of the Sun in Aquarius and the Moon in Scorpio:

   "...satisfy the eager husbandmen with boundless crops, that they may reap the due reward of their tillage. O grant unto the tender seeds unbroken increase; let not the sprouting shoot be nipped by chilly snows. When we sow, let the sky be cloudless and winds blow fair; but when the seed is buried, then sprinkle it with water from the sky. Forbid the birds- pests of the tilled land- to devastate the fields of corn with their destructive flocks. You too, ye ants, O spare the sown grain; so shall ye have a more abundant booty after the harvest. Meantime may no scurfy mildew blight the growing crop nor foul weather blanch it to a sickly hue; may it neither shrivel up nor swell unduly and be choked by its own rank luxuriance. May the fields be free from darnel, that spoils the eyes, and may no barren wild oats spring from the tilled ground... These petitions I offer for you, ye husbandmen, and do ye offer them yourselves, and may the two goddesses grant our prayers. Long time did wars engage mankind; the sword was handier than the share; the plough ox was ousted by the charger; hoes were idle, mattocks were turned into javelins, and a helmet was made out of a heavy rake. Thanks be to the gods and to they house! Under your foot long time War has been laid in chains. Yoke the ox, commit the seed to the ploughed earth. Peace is the nurse of Ceres, and Ceres is the foster-child of Peace."


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