The season of Libra is drawing to a close with the full moon upon us, and the evening hours arriving earlier each day. Mercury is in Libra now along with the Sun. Add to this pair Jupiter, who at the start of September entered Libra and will remain there until October 2017. Needless to say, I’ve had Libra on my mind. And as the heavens are in a meaningful correspondence with our lives I know Libra matters are present for you too.

Since Libra is ruled by Venus, it is a symbol intimately related to the Goddess. So let’s head off on an archetypal excavation, exploring the symbolism of Libra and the mythology of Aphrodite. Great Lady, be kind to us.

Libra is symbolized by the balanced scales. In the seasonal cycle of the northern hemisphere Libra marks the autumn equinox, Mabon, which is when the day and night are poised in equilibrium. Fall is the time of consolidation, a coming in from the world of spring exploration and summer growth into the sphere of relationship and interiority. 

The three air signs - Gemini, Libra and Aquarius – are about relationships and connecting. Libra’s particular sphere has to do with the balance of I and Thou, how me and you work within the flux and flow of partnership. Hence the Libran keywords: balance, harmony, diplomacy.

Libra, expressing that more objective, air element aspect of relationship that is Venus/Aphrodite’s domain, desires harmony, order, and the beauty of what is right, fair and just. In Libra we see Aphrodite as a force where beauty is a form of justice. In this regard she is to be felt, Hillman says, “as an aesthetic intensity that takes hold like a moral force, an obligation to notice and respond”.[1] This happens to us when we are grabbed by something because its beauty is related to a value that is essential. Aesthetic intensity is the world taking hold of us and saying, ‘this is important’.

The relationship between beauty and justice is signaled at Aphrodite’s birth. When she rises out of the ocean, she is met by the Horai or Hours, three goddesses of the natural processions of time, the regular phases in which Nature reveals herself, the seasonal processes of birth and growth. The Horai are Eunomia or Order, Dike Justice, and blooming Eirene or Peace. Kerenyi says, “they bring and bestow ripeness, they come and go in accordance with the firm law of the periodicities of nature and of life.”⁠ They are goddesses of the right moment, the natural flow of life energy as the rhythms of Nature.

Motherlines reveal so much in mythology. The Horai are the daughters of Themis, the goddess of eternal law or Justice. The Law of Nature is the ultimate form of justice in the sense of what is right, correct, orderly, decent. We can see by the Horai’s names that they are differentiations in the world of their mothers power. A constellation of feminine power is coming into view---Order, Justice and Peace are born from and must carry into the world the Law of Nature. And Beauty is intertwined with them.  

Ludovisi Throne, Birth of Aphrodite. Marble, ca. 470-460 BCE.  Original photograph by Allan T. Kohl - Creative Commons.

Ludovisi Throne, Birth of Aphrodite. Marble, ca. 470-460 BCE. 
Original photograph by Allan T. Kohl - Creative Commons.

So when Aphrodite arrived on the shore the Horai, “dressed her in divine robes,/placed on her immortal head a finely crafted crown/of lovely gold, set blossoms of mountain-copper/and costly gold in her pierced ears,/and adorned her soft throat and silvery breast with gold necklaces…”[2]

Why is it the Horai who dress her? The adornments they lavish upon the Goddess are not simply to further affirm her physical beauty but, as the earrings are fashioned as little flowers, they are expressions of human craft mimicking nature’s perfection. The gifts of the Horai, the eternal laws and order of Nature, are ways in which Aphrodite, Beauty, is presented in the world. As Hillman succinctly says, “The myth says clearly that good government, peace, and right order are ways that Beauty shows itself in the world”.[3] This idea acts like a healing salve on my spirit these days…

So, here we have a complex constellation of goddesses who all form part of the symbolism of Libra. In their true sense and function, symbols are the best possible expression of an idea that can only partly realized or made conscious. They connect us to the mystery of the psyche that can be expressed only through metaphors. Through Libra as symbol we tumble into this mythic moment where Beauty and Justice are intertwined in Aphrodite’s arrival into the world. 

The great Jungian astrologer Liz Greene of Libra said, “There is no sign more oriented towards the ‘good, true, and beautiful’ as Plato puts it, although how that good is defined depends, in the end, upon the individual’s definition of it”.[4]  ‘Good, true, and beautiful’ we now find anchored in deep ground. Any planet in Libra, or house ruled by this sign, has a need for these qualities to be guiding principles. The quest for harmony, balance and choice is what life seems to ask of Libra people. Libra needs the laws and rhythms of nature to be struck in human life, which find expression in concerns with morality, ethics, and fairness.

Any planet in Libra will express itself with Libra qualities. So someone with Mars in Libra may be very concerned with fairness and the ethical use of personal power. A Libra Moon person feels good and nurtured when harmony is established and maintained in personal relationships. With Venus in Libra there can be an extraordinary sense of (and sensitivity to) beauty, whether intellectually or materially expressed. It’s the mythology though that gives us the ground to understand why Libra is the symbolic form it is with its particular set of values. Not arbitrary, but rather an expression of a field of archetypal ideas or areas of life that Aphrodite personifies, and is symbolically expressed in the rich symbol tradition. 

I hope this has helped you to understand and appreciate Libra more deeply. If you would like to explore any of the themes more deeply, including what and where Jupiter’s Libra themed expanding, increasing and integrating energy is unfolding in your chart, contact me to schedule a reading.

Aphrodite, Great Lady, be kind to us.

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[1] Aphrodite’s Justice. Edizoni La Conchiglia: Capri, Italy. 2008. p. 62.

[2] The Homeric Hymns, translated by Diane J. Rayor. University of California Press: Berkeley, CA, 2014. Second Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.

[3] Aphrodite’s Justice. Edizoni La Conchiglia: Capri, Italy. 2008. p. 48.

[4] The Astrology of Fate. Weiser: York Beach, ME. 1984. p. 222.