Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of October 10th - October 16th,  2003

Chapter VII

Classic Libra

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The Scales

The Scales

  Over the last two weeks, we've been looking at Libra. After the Autumnal Equinox nights start to grow longer than the days, but as the Sun passes over the Earth's equator, there is balance in the land. Day equals night and the scales are even. There is harmony. There is peace.

  Once this celestial image is perceived, other manners in which this energy manifests can be more easily followed. The balance of this season extends to those who use their 'air' sign qualities to reach mental equilibrium, such as counselors and law givers. Let's figure out ways (air) to institute harmony. The Diplomatic Corps, which falls under a strict code of etiquette in dealing with other nations, must study their opponents, facilitate and smooth the way in an effort to open up channels of communication. Treaties, truces and negotiations all fall under the poise of the pans.



  If our basic assumption that Homer followed the passage of the Sun through the seasonal order of the signs, then the 7th sign of the zodiac, Libra, should correspond to the Chapter VII of Homer. As the chapter opens, Hector and Alexander emerge from the city. After a couple of brief melees, Hector holds up his spear and brings the troops to a halt. Both sides sit down under a truce, and he challenges any of the Greek champions to individual combat. After some hesitation, the Greeks choose Ajax, their most formidable man after Achilles. Hector and Ajax fight, but are evenly matched. After a brief encounter, they break off because night has fallen, but as they do they give each other gifts. The troops disengage and prepare for their evening's nourishment, with the wisest counselors from both sides agreeing to negotiate yet another truce the next day to bury their dead. Priam, the King of the beseiged town, is depicted as 'sage as a god in counsel.' The Trojans are worried because they see themselves as truce breakers, and try to get Alexander to release Helen and give her back to the Greeks (again, see Chapter III), but he refuses. The Greeks, in their turn, listen to the counsel of Nestor, 'first in discourse... he who's counsel had been best before.' He decides that the invading forces had better put a wall up around their ships for a better defense, in case the Trojan onslaught should come too close. The wisdom of this course of action later becomes apparent.

Athena behind Ajax

Athena (left) behind Ajax

  The poise, balance, and truces are one of the repeating themes of this Chapter. The troops sit together peaceably under a truce to watch an evenly matched Hector and Ajax, who eventually disengage and give each of gifts. Some of the wisest men from each camp give their counsel, and where both sides agree, their advice is followed. A day of truce is agreed to, and they go out and bury their dead. Hector even weaves in some Libran artistic merit as he choreographs his steps and declares,

  "I know
and know well how to fight and how to kill,
how to take blows upon right or left
shifting my guard of tough oxhide in battle,
how to charge in a din of chariots,
or hand to hand with sword or pike to use
timing and footwork in the dance of war."

  Classic Libra during the Age of Aries; dangerous rhythms performed on the stage of War. This epic poem captures a glimpse of the dance between Heaven and Earth performed in days gone by.