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Libra ( 7th installment of the zodiac series)

Months before I painted this piece, a complete vision flashed in my mind of what it would look like. This hasn't happened with any other of my zodiac paintings. In fact, for me, it rarely happens at all. I saw Libra with dark hair, and large wide-set eyes. She was holding a crescent moon made of fire. I loved the mental image, but, as I worked on the piece, I struggled with the concept of this fire moon. I didn't understand what the symbol meant, and I wasn't certain that I could paint it convincingly without that understanding. I mused myself with another narrative for the piece. I thought, I'll paint her to look like the Hindu deity Lakshmi, who is similar to the goddess Venus (ruler of Libra) in her dominion over prosperity and love. In her hands, I painted a lotus. Frequently, Lakshmi Pujas (devotions) are celebrated on or near my birthday in late Libra as part of the Hindu festival of lights, called Diwali. As the piece developed, I resonated with Lakshmi, but the lotus was just a placeholder while I leaned into the idea of this fiery moon.

Libra is the only sign represented by an inanimate object, the scales. As a Libra, I'm a little conflicted... I love the *specialness* of being unique from the others signs, but... I'd prefer to be represented by a living thing.

In Egyptian mythology, the scales were used by the goddess Maat to measure the heart of a person at the time of physical death. If the heart outweighed a feather, the person would reincarnate. It's no coincidence the constellation of Libra precedes that of Scorpio, the sign of death.

Libra is also shown as the setting sun, a more romantic symbol. This sign begins during the autumn Equinox when the day and night are of equal measure. Much like the Equinox, polarity is reflected in the fire moon, as a solar/lunar and masculine/feminine balance. Libra, like all air signs is masculine, with a positive magnetic charge, yet her ruler, Venus, is the epitome of femininity. Libra is paradox.

In the painting, the golden bee cuffs represent the element of air, as well as Libra’s inherent qualities of abundance and cooperation. Libra is seldom interested in being the star of the show, but more so in enriching the ensemble.The black & white wolves, as they ascend and descend the horizon depict the balance of darkness and light in the year, in the day, and in the soul of all people as consciousness and shadow.

Now admittedly, this entry is a little more appealing if you love one, hate one (nobody does), or are a Libra yourself. Even though not all fit into these categories, we all have an astrological 7th house, representing the Libran aspects of being, the lover. The first six signs Aries through Virgo represent aspects of the self. For those born under the sign Libra, the Sun(self, ego, identity) is weakened in its influence on the overall personality. Libra moves beyond self, and interacts with her creations, allowing them to recreate her. Libra is both partner and opponent, always seeking balance between self and other. Libra feels imbalance viscerally. In relationships, they become the opposite of the imbalance, which is good medicine, but not always pretty. Too bad for the Libra who likes to keep it pretty.

As we approach the Autumn Equinox, both Jupiter and Venus (also called greater & lesser benefactors) have just entered the sign of Libra, and the Sun is soon to follow. Whether they know it or not, Libras have been waiting 12 years for the return of Jupiter, and the blessings he brings. Venus, goddess of love and artistry, rules Libra, and may play a role in this sign's vanity, but also in her charm. Libras tend to be ethereal, poetic, cerebral beings. The sub-influence of Saturn endows them with refinement, a sense of quality, and a sometimes cloaked insecurity that motivates them to seek psychological safety through intellectual pursuits. Libra and its corresponding 7th house deal with partnership, law, and politics among other things.

Finally, the aura, or halo around Libra’s head represents the number 7. In Gnostic teachings, the quintessence, referred to as Kundalini in other traditions, travels up the spine through the 7 chakras as the soul develops spiritually. Once the quintessence reaches the crown, or 7th chakra, the soul develops a halo. This is depicted throughout the religious iconography of Christ, his apostles, and various saints. In her book, The Interior Castle, Catholic Saint Teresa of Avila describes the seven interior mansions. Once the soul reaches the 7th mansion, spiritual marriage with God takes place. Multiple faiths and traditions identify 7 as the number of God. All souls equal in their potential for spiritual development, I chose the 7th sign to explore this symbolic story. The smaller symbols woven into the aura are just as much a mystery to me as they are to the viewer.

I tend not to take daily horoscopes too seriously. They don't use enough inputs, and people are far too complex for their generality. That said, I've still read many Libra Horoscopes in my life, I'll leave you with my favorite from the masterful astrologers of The Onion, dating back about 15 years ago. It read simply, "Smile, no one is looking."

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