The astrology of Florentia, May 1, 59 BCE

The astrology of Florentia, May 1, 59 BCE

An astrological look at Florence's past and present.

Tue 30 Apr 2024 4:30 PM

In the calendar year recognized as 59 BCE, Julius Caesar introduced the Acta Diurna (“Daily Doings”) to the Roman public. Chiseled on stone tablets positioned in high-traffic piazzas and markets, the Acta Diurna became the world’s first daily “newspaper”. They posted details about official decrees, appointments, births, deaths and marriages, and sport results, like winners of gladiatorial contests and chariot races. Through the Acta Diurna, patricians, plebes and slaves, regardless of literacy level or gender, considered themselves insiders to what the Empire’s PR wanted to share with them. 

Some of the new journal’s top headlines that year included “Caesar’s Joint Consul, Marcus C. Bibulus Drops Out of Sight To Consult Heavens”. After that backfired: “The Brilliant Consulship of Julius and Caesar”. Subsequently: “Updates on First Triumvirate: Go Caesar, Pompey and Crassus!” The marriage section gossiped: “Caesar and Calpurnia’s Wedding Upsets Too Many Mistresses!” And buried in the decree section of the Friday, May 1 edition: “Backwater Garrison Becomes Official Colonia of Rome”. The veteran militia outpost at the intersection of the via Cassia and the River Arno had its inaugural ceremonies during the raucous Festival of Florenalia, honoring the goddess Flora, for whom the little colony was named, Florentia. While “Daily Doings” sent augury priests eviscerated birds for clues about the future, astronomer priests plotted “naked eye” planets to interpret their tidings using Hellenistic astrology. Here’s what they saw on May 1, 59 BCE in the sky over Florentia, with my take on its symbology. 

The Sun’s placement tones all birth charts by describing one’s outward, illuminative masculine energy and actions. Visually framed by the constellation Taurus, Florentia’s Sun conjures up images of “The Bull” peacefully munching grass surrounded by heifers in a pastoral setting. The colony’s Taurean Sun is in the 5th House of activities like play, joy, largesse, love affairs and creative expression—the party house! This astrological configuration gives Florentia a peaceful energy best expressed through creativity, expansiveness and pleasure. But like the china shop bull, if provoked into defending that peace, you’d best stand aside. 

Planet Venus, named for the goddess of love, art, aesthetics and fairness, enters the picture through her natural rulership over Taurus. Florentia’s Venus is framed by the constellation of Pisces and those Venusian traits are best expressed through the vast self-awareness of “The Fish”, where the borders between deep-water consciousness and reality are often blurred. Florentia’s Piscean Venus is in the 3rd House, which hosts one’s style of communication, capacity for learning, teaching, curiosity and reliance on the five senses. As such, this configuration foretells of Florentia’s role as a future epicenter for governance, aesthetics, the mystical processes of true innovation and of creating art, as well as communicating all to the world. 

The Moon describes one’s inward, reflective feminine energy, maternal instincts and soul-deep sentiments. Florentia’s Moon is framed by the constellation of Aries, sign of the warrior, competitor and protector of the innocent. Luna is the natural ruler of the 4th House, in which it presides over activities surrounding home, family, feelings and things hidden behind closed doors. Together with its housemate Mars, the natural ruler of Aries, this house is heavy with a rather stealthy manifestation of the Mars/Aries energy of the warrior/protector, backed up by a ferociously emotional 4th House Moon unafraid to sink her teeth into guarding a vulnerable interior-scape. This astrological placement foretells of Florentia’s heart, soul and physicality throbbing with an insatiable urge for power, and that it will serve as a venue for powerful families and the challenging conspiratory measures they will take to flaunt and defend that power. 

This chart was cast for midnight in Florentia, just as the constellation Capricorn was cresting the eastern horizon, making Capricorn the colony’s Rising Sign, or Ascendent. The Ascendent is a filter through which one’s Solar and Lunar energies are expressed, and becomes the personality you present to the world around you. Both Capricorn and its natural ruler, Saturn, represent the capacity for discipline, maturity and relationship with solitude. Achieving “great works” is another driving motivation and points to your success rate at making and managing resources, and yet there is a compulsion to play as hard as you work to balance the gravitas. 

Through its natural rulership over the Ascendent sign, Capricorn, planet Saturn takes on dominance as “Ruler of the Chart”. Saturn is framed by the constellation of Gemini and directs its considerable drive toward “The Twins” as they gather information to satisfy their curiosity about everything. Having such wide-ranging interests and expertise can create a somewhat frenetic genius, driven by the pursuit of knowledge itself. The 6th House provides the setting for the ultimate goal of leaving a lineage through ancestry, institution and time-honored ideals, and hosts Saturn’s legacy-leaving skills in its naturally detailed, organized atmosphere. This placement foretells of Florentia’s maturation into greatness through the invention of banking and cultivating a society that prioritizes resources for artists, politicians, clergy, industrialists, military and philosophers, who will inspire the world for millennia to come. 

Rounding out the interpretation, Jupiter is framed by the constellation of Libra and, like Taurus, it is naturally ruled by the Venusian archetypes of love, fairness and art. It is placed in the 10th House of one’s highly visible public persona, career and mission, and anything massive Jupiter touches, it expands. The colony’s prominence is fueled by Jovian faith in its place in the world and the self-confidence to rise up to its lofty missions. Quick and tiny planet Mercury, messenger of the gods, communicates what the Sun metes out by being in the same Taurean 5th House. Finally, the North and South Lunar nodes speak of bucking dark, prevailing forces (occasionally absconding with their resources) to rebelliously individuate and evolve into an enduring force spanning 2,083 years: from Florentia to Florence

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