Did the Ancient Egyptians view astrology in the same way that Western astrologers now read horoscopes? That depends on your definition of ancient. The beautiful zodiacs on the ceilings of Dendera (one round, one square) have been attributed to the time of Ptolemy, about 2,300 years ago, when the Greeks ruled the area. The round zodiac shows essentially the same horoscope signs as the Greeks that Western astrologers use today – the flat disc that shows the movement of the sun, moon and planets along the ecliptic (path of the sun).
The full disc at Dendera shows the constellations visible to the north and to the south of the zodiac signs – the whole visible sky – and some of these constellations are incorporated into the Egyptian decans. These are the three 10-degree sections of each 30 degrees of each zodiac sign, and the Tarot Minor Arcana cards relate to these same sections of the zodiac.
While this zodiac is beautiful, and very useful in personal readings and predictive work, looking at the whole sky leads us to a more profound knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians, ourselves and our life paths. So how are astrologers to begin to recover the richer depths of astrology that the Ancients held? How do we bring the whole sky of stars back to our readings?
The brilliant astrologer Bernadette Brady studied this subject for about 10-20 years and tested thousands of personal charts, developing a computer program called “Starlight” that gives us easy access to working with the whole sky. She has been training other astrologers on the effective methods she discovered that can bring these stars into personal readings. All of us have since been doing our own research, and we share the wonders revealed.
In addressing how effective this method is, let’s examine the amazing example of Princess Diana’s stars. While her traditional Western chart shows much of the activity and timed events in Diana’s life, the stars show the power and passion that led her to be a mythic figure.
Princess Diana’s path in life is guided by the red “eye of the bull,” Aldebaran, her Heliacal Rising star. This star offered greatness as long as Diana remained true to herself and her path, maintaining her integrity. Her Heliacal Setting star is Arcturus, an extremely bright star that guides her to break new ground and lead us on a new path.
Among her prominent stars, the mythology becomes literal, and aligns not only with her zodiacal chart, but with her name. The moon goddess Diana loved animals and freedom, reflecting Princess Diana’s Aquarius moon. At the same time, she has the nurturing Acubens from Cancer with her Moon, along with the “Heart of the Lion,” Regulus – powerfully protective, like the Egyptian lion goddess, Sekhmet.
Her Sun in Cancer is aligned with Alkes the Cup – the beautiful vessel, or womb – carrying the new “king” Horus. Alkes is often strong in maternal figures of prominent, powerful children (Mary McCartney, Paul’s Mum, for example). Diana’s beautiful Venus, at home in Taurus, is also aligned with Alkes. This also ties to her prominent star, Spica culminating when she was born. This is the gift in Virgo’s arms, the wheat sheaf, or in Christian astrology, the Christ child. Diana gave birth to the Solstice King – literally – as Prince William was born on the summer solstice on the day of a lunar eclipse. Astrologers from any age would consider this amazing,
Dubhe is in the great maternal figure near the northern pole, the Great Bear, also aligned with Diana’s goddess star Venus. Her Jupiter, the “Prince,” is tied to the star Schedar, the Queen – in Diana’s case, a literal description of her life. Alphecca, the crown, is also prominent in her chart.
When we get to legacy and end of her life, very dramatic stars appear. Isis/Sirius is with her Sun (vitality/life force) indicating huge success, along with immortality that can scorch and burn. One literal public image Diana provided (no doubt, unconsciously) relating her to Isis was when newborn Prince William was presented to the public. When he became fussy, Diana placed her finger in his mouth reflecting a literal story of Isis mythology in which she fed a child milk through her fingers.
The Sun at the end of life is also associated with Cetus the whale, or the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet in Egyptian mythology. Cetus puts a person in touch with the human collective unconscious, making Diana the “People’s Princess,” but also subjecting her to the human unconscious – thus, her relentless pursuit by the press that ultimately caused her death. Facies, the eye of the Centaur, emphasized this, as this star can make someone become a target, in this case the “eye” of the press that led to her fatal injuries.
While most of us don’t live our “personal myths” publicly, as did Princess Diana, we will live the dramatic stories associated with our stars in some form as they underlie our driving passion for our life and destiny. This recently recovered layer of star reading shows the “heaven on earth” part of our human psychology that drove the Ancient Egyptians to build their great pyramids and temples to align with, and reflect the powerful image of the sky above. This drive also motivates us to live our lives dancing with our planets in the zodiac seeking our dreams. This reconnection with the stars may be the best treasure discovered so far in this ancient land, and it’s available to us all.