Malvin Artley looks at the meanings inherent in the great Fixed Star, Antares, the Heart of the Scorpion. Scorpio has been seen as the black sheep of the zodiac for some time now and its natives are met with their fair share of suspicion in many cases. In this, he says, it has received a bum rap, for what has been ascribed to Scorpio is the general state of the human condition. Antares is also the largest and most evolved (oldest) member of a group of stars that represent the body of a vast cosmic Being, who influences our lives through the poweer of Scorpio. Malvin also publishes a regular astrological newsletter, to which you can subscribe by clicking the link at the end of this article.
This seems to be another of those periods for me when I get deposited at the keyboard and I feel driven to write. What follows is one of those "rainy day" pieces in that it is not event-based, but is for whenever you just feel like a bit of light reading, which really means it is a more technical paper than usual.
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine dropped me a note asking me what I knew about the great star Antares. My friends should know better than to ask me things like that, because it always sets me off on long forays of thought and journeys into obscure books and articles. Then they begin to wonder where I got to. I just cannot seem to help myself in that when it comes to astronomy, astrology and other matters pertaining to the inner life. Since we are coming up to the sign of Scorpio it is obviously timely to put out this little piece on Antares and other Scorpionic matters since Antares is the main star of the constellation of Scorpio. And, as it turns out, that little piece of the heavens is of more than the usual interest to us, because Scorpio has a distinct association with humanity. Don't we all love to read about ourselves!
Black Sheep of the Zodiac?
Scorpio has been seen as the black sheep of the zodiac for some time now and its natives are met with their fair share of suspicion in many cases. In this it has received a bum rap. It has been associated with all sorts of baser sensuality, brooding ill-temperedness and the darker side of human expression--a penetrating sign of the most excruciating scrutiny. It is seen as a difficult sign in which to be born and her natives often seem to go through their fair share of testing times. Most people see Scorpio as the sign most associated with sexuality and that Scorpio natives somehow just cannot seem to help themselves in that regard. But, if we stand back from these statements and take a good look at ourselves, do we not come to realize that what has been ascribed to Scorpios is the general state of the human condition and that most, if not all of us, could at some time or another be described in these terms? Scorpio and its ruler, Pluto, do have a unique rulership over psychological projection, after all. On the contrary, some of my best friends are Scorpios and I find them an absolute delight. Aside from the weaknesses just described (which can apply to all of us), they are also a lot of fun, are some of the best story-tellers in the zodiac, are well-versed in worldly affairs and often display extraordinary wisdom when it comes to human interactions. We will return to this last statement later on.
The Rival of Mars
This article is largely about Antares, though. Antares is denoted as Alpha Scorpii in astronomical nomenclature. It is called by many names throughout the cultures of the world, but our current name for it is from the Greeks, who called it "The Rival of Mars", due to its red color. It is the 15th brightest visual star in the sky. Its astrological portents are somewhat Mars/Uranus-like, giving a keen mentality, courage, a self-destructive bent, accidents, unforeseen happenings and a tendency to be a bit too liberal (in the sense of morality). It is interesting in this regard that we have been under the influence of a Mars/Uranus conjunction for some time now and many people have noticed these same sorts of things happening in their respective environments since that has been in effect.
Antares is a red supergiant of immense dimensions, with a diameter of 600 million miles (960 million kilometers), which is 700 times the diameter of our Sun. Yet, for its size, its density is only one-millionth that of the Sun, due to its massive expanse, which marks it as a star moving towards its final days. In total, its mass is approximately 10-15 solar masses, which still makes it a very massive star. It is rivaled in size only by Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) and used to be one of the most massive known stars before science produced better instruments for deep-space observation. It has a luminosity 9000 times that of the Sun and lies at a distance of 520 light-years. Antares has an absolute magnitude of -5.1, a visual magnitude of .98 and a spectral class of M1 (orange-red).
It is a binary system with a small yellow-green companion star having an absolute magnitude of 0.5, which makes it under-luminous for its type. It is separated from Antares by a distance of about 3 times the diameter of our solar system. It is not known at this point whether this companion star orbits Antares but, if it does, the orbital period is estimated to be somewhere in the order of 850 years. We will have to wait several centuries to see if, indeed, this companion does orbit Antares. At the moment they share the same proper motion.
The Antares system is veiled in a vast reddish nebula approximately 5 light-years in diameter, which is somewhat symbolic of the secretive nature of Scorpio. This nebula in and of itself is interesting because it is not composed of the usual gas which makes up common nebulae. It is, instead, composed of very fine metallic dust. Such a composition points to the fact that it was formed from the remnants of a massive, exploded star. Only the more massive types of stars produce this sort of metallic remnant. Antares is an older star and is somewhat unstable, being in a phase of its life where it periodically casts off part of its mass, which is the common way of things among the more massive stars in that stage of their evolution. It will eventually contribute its own component of metallic dust to this nebula as it approaches the spectacular end to its life by becoming a supernova and eventually a black hole. The cloud reflects the luminosity of Antares. Antares has a variable luminosity which pulsates with a semi-regular period of 4.75 years. It was one of the first stars to be detected by radio telescope.
Antares is also the largest and most evolved (oldest) member of a group of stars called the Scorpio-Centaurus Association. This group is a large aggregation of mostly large, blue stars (considered to be early types of stars), all moving together--thus sharing a gravitational center--toward a point in the eastern part of the constellation of Columba. At the present time at least 100 of the large, B-class stars have been noted as members of this association, while it is unclear how many smaller, less luminous stars are in the group as well. This huge aggregate of stars thus marks this group as the embodiment of an immense and august cosmic Being with Antares as the Regent, Who influences us through the constellation of Scorpio. What this Being actually transmits to us is far beyond our comprehension, but it is known to be more or less beyond the immediate concerns of our local universe, being beyond the confines of our local system of stars and Being, though there is a definite effect via Scorpio.
Read part two of The Heart of the Scorpion
Aries, the Ram
Taurus, the Bull
Gemini, the Twins
Cancer, the Crab
Leo, the Lion
Virgo, the Virgin
Libra, the Scales
Scorpio, the Scorpion
Sagittarius, the Archer
Capricorn, the Sea Goat
Aquarius, the Water Bearer
Pisces, the Fishes