By SUSAN VEGA
We study cycles and history does repeat itself, let’s hope for our new technological Renaissance to emerge from this traumatic transformational chrysalis.
The duration of the recent Partial Eclipse November 19, 2021 was 3 hours 28 minutes and 24 seconds, making it the longest in 580 years. The last time a Partial Lunar eclipse this long happened was on 18 February 1440, It lasted 3 Hours 28 minutes and 46 seconds. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the astrological sign it occurred in.
A Partial lunar eclipse happens when the earth moves between the Sun and the Moon but the three celestial bodies are not perfectly aligned. As a result, the earth only shadows a part of the moon, and not the whole thing. A Partial eclipse is 9 degrees to 11 degrees away from the nodal axis,
According to mythology, a lunar eclipse takes place when the lunar nodes (Rahu or Ketu), the North Node or the South Node binds the Moon and blocks its light. In this case it was the North Node conjunct the Taurus Moon. The North Node is the future path in front of us. It’s where we focus our attention to work towards our goals and ambitions.
This Partial lunar eclipse was conjunct the fixed star Algol at 26° Taurus. Medusa is associated with Algol.
The Myth of Medusa:
If we study astrology then we also study Greek mythology. In this case, we need to look at the myth of Medusa who was a virgin of the temple. She was known for being amazingly beautiful and her hair was her crowning glory. Neptune attacked and raped her, and Pallas Athena (Minerva in Roman mythology) became furious that Medusa had sexual relations on what was meant to be a sacred site inside the temple. She was also overcome with jealousy, she transformed Medusa into a gorgon who had a head covered in snakes and who would petrify anyone who looked at her. Perseus then decapitated Medusa and took her head back to Athena who made it into her battle shield. As such, even though Medusa was dead, she continued to be used as a symbol of strength, so Medusa is also seen as a symbol of the power of transformation. From Medusa being a feared gorgon, she then became a key component of winning a battle. As such, Algol is also known as a transformative star which at times shines brightly and at times is dark in the heavens. I think Medusa could have used some help from the “Me Too” movement!
The meaning of Algol:
When you link the myth of Medusa with the fixed star Algol is often indicative of beheadings and also associated with heads of state that may experience a fall from grace. As a result, it can also be linked to the act of treason and ideological takeovers. As it is linked to the head, this star also relates to knowledge and higher learning. The dark side of Algol also can represent an overload of information which we can’t understand or threatens to take over our mind. Some other things that this star is known to be associated with includes perverse behavior, destruction, regeneration, impotence, exorcising demons, mind-blowing ideas and thoughts, brainwashing and the shadow side of our nature.
Algol conjunct the Sun
This is intensity in your life, you like to be a leader and that can make people look up to you, it’s like they’re admiring the leader of a cult. It can make them lose their minds. In turn, you may also start to crave attention and act in negative ways to get it. There’s no surprise that many famous leaders who brainwashed their subjects have this aspect in their Natal Chart.
Algol conjunct the Moon
When we have Algol in aspect to the Moon in our charts it can make us more emotional than usual and prompt us to have a number of experiences in our lives that may be difficult to deal with. If you have this, then you may feel depressed at times and sad without understanding why. There’s often a lot going on in your mind and this can mean that you have a very active imagination but this can even make you delusional or paranoid at times. You may also be a strong advocate for others and enjoy causes where there is a sense of social justice.
In evaluating the long Partial Lunar eclipse of 27° of Taurus November 19, 2021. The longest since the Middle Ages we can find may comparisons to our current eclipse ramifications.
During the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance (1350-1450) the bubonic plague, also called the “Black Death,” devastated one half of the population of Europe.
The last longest partial lunar eclipse occurred during that time around 580 years ago. That would put it at 1400. It’s been theorized that the age of Aquarius began near that date. Since we are currently experiencing a pandemic for the last couple of years it seems to be more than a coincidence that these catastrophic events are harbingers of a cultural shift being birthed.
Taurus rules food, and farming. This earth sign rules over our resources. The Moon rules over history, comfort, comfort food, Motherhood, and nurturing.
It rules the people in mundane astrology. Ancient peoples used to fear eclipses as harbingers of doom. Being cut off from the lights and left in the dark created panic.
Perhaps we should heed our ancestor’s warnings. Currently droughts in underdeveloped third world countries as well as the developed nations are directly linked to climate change. There’s either too little water causing famine or too much water drowning crops and carrying away our homes in flood waters.
Food shortages coupled with the supply chain distribution problems which are due to factories closing in pandemic lock down panic us all. Goods are hard to get, and prices rise. Supply and demand hitting home for us all. Workers who are finally able to return to work have had time to consider other options. Lack of childcare due to school closures kept people home too. Now they must face their fear of exposure and resume a daily work routine.
We’ve had it better than our medieval brethren, scientific research and advancement gave us a vaccine to reduce the high death count. Our governments assisted us financially to throw out a life raft.
The Black Death (1347-1350) was a pandemic that devastated Europe and Asia populations. The plague was an unprecedented human tragedy in Italy. It not only shook Italian society but transformed it. The Black Death marked an end of an era in Italy. Its impact was profound, resulting in wide-ranging social, economic, cultural, and religious changes. These changes, directly and indirectly, led to the emergence of the Renaissance, one of the greatest epochs for art, architecture, and literature in human history.
What were the Social Economic Consequences of the Plague in Italy?
The social consequences of the plague on society came to be profound. The high mortality rate resulted in a drastic decline in the labor force. Wages rose for both agricultural and urban workers. The survivors of the Black Death generally had a higher standard of living than before the plague. This phenomenon occurred in both urban and rural areas. The crisis caused by the Black Death led to many changes in the economy in response to the fall in the population. Because of the labor shortages, there was a move from labor-intensive farming such as cereal to livestock and an increase in industry and agriculture more labor-saving devices employed.
The Black Death slowly destroyed feudalism in Italy. Feudalism was a system whereby peasants and farm laborers were bound, as serfs, to serve a local lord. In the north of Italy, good farmland was plentiful, and wages increased, and the last vestiges of feudalism disappeared as serfs increasingly could purchase their freedom. Some important families were delt a huge financial blow and had to sell their property, Some were wiped out by the deadly plague.
In the south of Italy, the opposite occurred. Here, since the Norman kings, the aristocracy had been consolidating feudalism. After the Black Death, the elite responded to the labor shortages by strengthening the peasants’ restrictions and thereby strengthened feudalism in southern Italy. The plague’s consequences resulted in a growing divide between the North and South of Italy that persists to this day. In general, after a period of recovery, much of Italy became very wealthy as a more sophisticated economy emerged, especially in the North of Italy. This was crucial, as Italy’s increased wealth allowed the elite, such as the De Medicis in Florence, to become the patrons of great artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
The Black Death spread to Italy from modern-day Russia. Genoese merchants spread the plague while fleeing a Mongol attack on their trading post in Crimea. The plague was carried and spread by the fleas that lived on the Black Rat and brought to Italy on the Genoese ships. The population of Italy was ill-prepared for the spread of the disease. There had been a series of famine and food shortages in the region, and the population was weak and vulnerable to disease. Furthermore, the population did not have any natural resistance to the disease. Italy was the most urbanized society in Europe, Milan, Rome, Florence, and other Italian centers among the largest on the continent.
The death rate in rural Italy was not nearly as high, but there was a significant loss of life. In general, the total population of Italy may have dropped by as much as a third.
The Black Death was also an economic crisis as trade ceased because of fear of the plague spread. As trade stagnated, businesses failed, and unemployment rose. The plague caused a complete social breakdown in many areas. In the Decameron, Boccaccio describes people abandoning their occupations, ignoring the sick, and living lives of wild excess, as everyone expected to die.
The Church became corrupt and gradually over time lost the respect of many believers. In the short term, the Black Death strengthened the Catholic Church in Italy, but an increasingly corrupt institution meant that many people lost their faith in the long run. This led to the increasing secularization of Italian society as many increasingly turned away from the church in disgust with prelates and priests’ worldliness. Many felt contempt in Boccaccio’s stories of venal and depraved priests, monks, and nuns. Many monks died from the plague because they were living in close quarters. Their replacements were of substandard morality and knowledge. The church had traditionally monopolized education, but after the Black Death, there was more secular education, especially in the cities. This was decisive in the emergence of the Renaissance, emphasizing human values and experiences rather than religion.
Did the Plague convince people to question their Leaders?
The world was turned upside down by the Black Death. The mental outlook of people changed dramatically. Previously, people assumed that the world was fixed and God-ordained. The Black Death overturned old certainties. As we have seen, the plague and its devastation undermined religious orthodoxy and beliefs. People at the time were no longer willing to accept the status quo. This change manifested in the numerous political revolts of the time. Workers in Florence revolted. The population in Florence was cut in half.
The Black Death led to a great questioning of the old certainties. This led many, especially among the urban elite, to use reason to understand the world. They also increasingly turned to the classics to find answers to the problems of life. The new spirit of inquiry helped to ignite the Renaissance, especially in politics and philosophy. However, that is not to say that Italy rejected all traditions. It was still a very conservative society in many ways. However, those who questioned authority and the received wisdom like the Poet and Scholar Petrarch, inspired the Humanist movement, which valued reason and critical thinking. The Humanist movement was essential in the development and progress of the Renaissance.
This sense that life was fleeting and that every happiness should be seized led many Italians to seek solace in art and literature, and this was one of the factors in the development of the Renaissance. Many of the elite were eager to enjoy life’s pleasures, which led them to patronize artists. It also resulted in a shift in the themes of artists. Religious topics remained popular, however, there was also a fascination with secular themes, especially from the classical world. The new interest in secular subjects can be seen in a comparison between Giotto and Botticelli. Giotto painted almost exclusively religious paintings. While Botticelli painted secular and religious themes, he is best known for his secular works as in masterpieces such as Primavera.
The Plague increased Social Mobility
The plague disrupted society to an unprecedented state. It overturned the existing social structure. Before the plague, Italy was a rigid and stratified society. The Black Death changed everything. Increasingly, because of the plague’s demographic disaster, they were able to take advantage of the opportunities caused by the high death rate. In the period after the Black Death, an unprecedented amount of social mobility took place. Laborers became merchants, and merchants become members of the nobility. No longer was a person’s destiny to be fixed by their birth. Previously, people assumed that one’s station was fixed at one’s birth and that one had to remain a member of the class you were born into.
People believed that a peasant would always be a peasant, an aristocrat, and an aristocrat. Italians, like other peoples, in Europe, believed that one’s birth determined one’s future and that this was determined by God.
As social mobility became more widespread because of the Black Death, many people believed that a person’s merits or abilities were what mattered and not one’s birth. This led to a growing individualism in Italian society. This, in turn, encouraged people to strive and develop their talents and achieve excellence or virtue. The individual’s belief was central to the Renaissance and inspired many of the greatest artists, architects, sculptors and writers.
In our modern pandemic many people have left their previous jobs seeking more security. Workers are hard to find in some industries. Either due to fear of contracting the disease, or lack of child care when schools were closed people stayed home from work even after it was safer to return to work. They relied on government financial assistance in most cases. Some may have spent their quarantine time preparing for other jobs. Some people who kept their jobs were able to work remotely from home. Online shopping ate away traffic from brick and mortar mall type shopping. New billionaires emerged from being able to provide the needs of the population. Amazon online shopping and delivery service thrived as a result of society’s lock down.
The Black Death devastated Italian society. It led to great socio-economic, cultural, and religious changes. After the initial horrors of the plague, Italian society staged a spectacular recovery. Italy became richer than before. The plague’s impact reduced the influence of the Catholic Church, and the culture became more secular. The new social mobility meant that individualism came to be respected. The Black Death unleashed the forces in Italian society that made the Renaissance possible. Let us welcome the same outcome.
We study cycles and history does repeat itself, let’s hope for our new technological Renaissance to emerge from this traumatic transformational chrysalis.
1 ↑ Burckhardt, Jacob (1878), The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, trans. S.G.C Middlemore, p. 14.
2 ↑ Pullan, Brian S. History of early Renaissance Italy: From the mid-thirteenth to the mid-fifteenth century (London: Allen Lane, 1973), p. 76
3 ↑ Pullan, 1973, p. 89
4 ↑ Andrew B. Appleby’s “Epidemics and Famine in the Little Ice Age.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History.