November 2019 Stargazer: Ring of Brodgar – megalithic lunar observatory
I’ve recently returned from the Orkney Islands off the coast of Northern Scotland – my mission being to check out the stone circles, burial mounds, astronomical and stellar alignments. And, of course, the local legends and folklore.
A highlight of the trip was our visit to the Ring of Brodgar in the Heart of Orkney World Heritage Area. It is part of an enormous ritual complex, dating back 4500 years to the late Stone Age period. Considered to be one of the most awe-inspiring prehistoric sites in Scotland, the Ring of Brodgar lies on a narrow promontory between two beautiful lochs or lakes.
Professor Alexander Thom, Scottish engineer, Oxford University academic and expert in the field of archeo-astronomy, concluded after years of research, that the Ring of Brodgar and many of the other megalithic sites in Orkney were astronomical observatories, similar to Stonehenge. He said they showed remarkable geometric precision despite having been built long before the age of Pythagoras.
According to Thom: “The Brodgar site is the most perfect example of a megalithic lunar observatory we have left in Britain. The ring and ditch were probably placed on this hill at first because from here there are four far-sights marking the approximate position for the rising and/or setting of the moon at the major and minor standstills.” (i.e. when the moon is at its maximum northerly or southerly position or latitude).
The Ring of Brodgar stone circle is complete. And at 104 metres in diameter, it is one of the largest in the country. The stones are set in a circular ditch up to 3m deep and 9m wide, hewn out of the solid bedrock by its ancient architects. And at 59 degrees north of the equator (Sydney is 33 degrees south, Melbourne 37 and Hobart 42) you can even see the northern lights (Aurora Borealis). What an amazing experience!
Mercury retrograde in Scorpio – finish what you’ve started
Mercury will be travelling backwards through water sign Scorpio for the first three weeks of November. Now is the time to get your house in order. It’s an ideal opportunity to re-view, re-think and re-consider projects and plans rather than begin new ventures. Projects launched when Mercury is retrograde usually have to be revised as new information comes to light. Similarly, as Scorpio is the zodiac sign connected with the darker, more secretive side of life, don’t be surprised if you learn an unexpected thing or two.
The Mercury retrograde period is also well known for missing parcels, miscommunication, misunderstandings and things not going according to plan. Check your travel plans carefully and allow extra time to complete important journeys. If you’re trying to push forward and keep hitting a brick wall, relax, take a deep breath and know that Mercury is up to his tricks again!
Full moon in Taurus – enlightenment
The November full moon falls on the 13th, with the sun in Scorpio opposing the full moon in earth sign Taurus. Seeds sown at the Scorpio new moon on the 28th October will come to fruition at this full moon. And secrets will be revealed!
The full moon is always a time of clarity as the lunar goddess reaches the peak point in her cycle. And this month’s lunation is particularly potent with Mercury retrograde and Neptune in the mix. The emotional desire is for stability, security, peace and abundance. But this can only be achieved by being completely honest with yourself and others. If you try to sweep things under the carpet or have hidden or ulterior motives, you will be found out. On the other hand, if you’re feeling unsettled or trying to come to terms with recent events, the Taurus full moon will bring enlightenment and closure.
Finally, Taurus is the zodiac sign most closely connected with planet Earth. Connect with the beauty of nature and the material abundance all around us. Take time out at this full moon to honour the gift of life.
Mars in Scorpio – s/he who dares wins!
Action planet Mars will be in ruling sign Scorpio from 19th November until 3rd January. Mars in Scorpio is a great time for those born under the sign of Scorpio to move forward in life with drive and dedication. And for the rest of us to learn a thing or two about the efficiency of strategic, cool-headed action.
And as Mars = sex, libido and energy (for everyone) and Scorpio = passion and sensuality, it’s time to dust off that inner sex goddess or god and embrace the festive season! The weekend leading up to the 25th November is a particularly fine time for love, pleasure and adventure with a Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius and an opposition between the Moon and Mars in Scorpio and Uranus in Taurus. You probably won’t feel like working – and neither will anyone else! Celebrate life and have some fun.
Happy birthday Sagittarius!
This year, from 22nd November to 22nd December, the Sun travels through Sagittarius. An intuitive fire sign noted for its vision, adventurous nature, and love of philosophy. Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the zodiac. Its keywords are “I seek” and “I expand”. Those born under the sign of the Archer often struggle to integrate their animal nature with their more lofty human side.
Sagittarians seek expansion on all levels: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. They can usually be found travelling, studying and exploring life’s big issues. They love to share their wisdom and are often talented writers or teachers. At best they are intelligent, honest, generous and inspirational. Negatively, they can be tactless, self- indulgent, coarse and hypocritical.
In medical astrology, Sagittarius rules the liver, hips and thighs and sacral regions of the spine. When Sagittarians are out of balance they can suffer from sciatica, hip disease, rheumatism and weight gain. The Sagittarian colours are purple and deep blue. Sagittarius’s greatest lessons are moderation, tact and learning to deliver what they promise.
Sagittarius new moon – stepping out of the comfort zone
The November new moon falls on the 27th in fire sign Sagittarius. New moons favour new beginnings, Sagittarius. Being an adventurous, fearless and visionary energy, prepare to step out of your comfort zone and do something exciting, enjoyable and out of the ordinary. With lucky Jupiter in the final degrees of Sagittarius and a Mars-Uranus opposition, energy and adrenaline are running high. You may be tempted to over-indulge. You might end up doing something you regret later on… But remember: most people regret the things they didn’t do, far more than the ones they did. Staying safe is not always the best option!
Pluto-Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn – revolution, death & rebirth
Pluto, the destroyer and transformer, has been shaking up the traditional Capricorn structures of banking, finance, housing, government and the economy for the past decade, since his arrival in Capricorn in 2008 at the start of the global financial crisis. And with Saturn (lord of karma) and Jupiter (growth and expansion) now moving alongside Pluto for the next twelve months, we can expect even more of the same. That is, the death of outmoded hierarchical and authoritarian structures in all areas of the globe. And the creation of better ones. Our world is currently out of balance and we all know it. Any king, queen, Prime Minister, President, CEO or government who fails to adapt to the rapidly changing global situation and its current priorities will be sidelined and eventually replaced.
These priorities include: housing affordability & unemployment; global warming; environmental crisis, energy production & carbon footprint; modern slavery & exploitation of children; domestic violence, sexual & child abuse; refugees & border protection; the rich-poor divide; rainforest destruction; anxiety & depression; addiction & eating disorders; gender politics & gender identity; diet, nutrition & health; aged care & dementia; mental illness & sleeping disorders.
The exact conjunction between Saturn and Pluto is on 13th January 2020, hard on the heels of a full moon eclipse. As Jupiter joins Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn as the year unfolds, the theme of revolution, death and rebirth will last right through to December 2020. This triple conjunction will shake up the status quo and create a world that looks very different to the one we live in today. Hopefully a better, fairer, humbler and kinder world.
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