Astronomical designations: Gamma Cancri and Delta Cancri



Close together on the ecliptic, almost a trio in effect, are the ‘Two Asses’ stars, the Aselli, and Praesaepe, the so-called ‘Beehive Nebula’, because praesaepe is the word for ‘hive’ in Latin. Praesaepe can also mean ‘manger’, and as such was pictured as the shelter and food trough of the Asses. Although nebulae are traditionally bad news in astrology, I am not convinced, and consider they are not so bad after all. They do reveal distant star clusters, and as such are powerhouse sources of multitudinous stellar energies, vast worlds of creativity. There’s some damn fine energy buzzing around in the Beehive Nebula – or comfort and food, if you prefer the manger image. The Aselli are the gamma and delta stars of the constellation Cancer. They are listed individually as Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis, meaning ‘North’ and ‘South’ Asellus respectively. In Latin, asellus means ‘little ass’, and these two stars represent the asses ridden by Vulcan and Bacchus in the primeval conflict between the gods and the titans. Astrologically, the Aselli are known as a turbulent pair, stubborn, wilful and inclined to make a racket, in fine braying ass style. But they can also be street smart (especially North Asellus) and high achieving. Traditional astrological readings suggest that North Asellus is a little easier going than South Asellus. The latter is said to indicate more arrogance and warlike qualities, whereas the former is supposed to give more patience and responsibility. However, it is not all bad news with South Asellus either. Basically, both of the Ass stars are not ornery wild donkeys but a fountain of furious energy, a pressure pump of ever boiling water always seeking ways to cool, and for channels in which to flow and work benignly. This abundance of Aselli energy may or may not be used well by us blundering, stupid ass humans. But we are much more likely to mess up with them on a collective scale than an individual one. People focused on their own growth can take stock of these stars and commit to working with them skilfully rather than unskilfully.


Astronomical designation: Gamma Cancri


North Asellus is considered the more sober of the two Ass stars. It sits very close to Praesaepe on the ecliptic, and those with the Beehive Nebula almost always have a link to the Northern Ass as well.


It seems to me the quiet strength and nobility of Praesaepe has a beneficial influence in concert with North Asellus. The fiery force of the star is tempered, and this gives it a more focused power in many instances. The other thing I notice about North Asellus is how steadily the passions burn here. This is a truly erotic star, very desire driven, but this doesn’t mean it is always and only about sex – the force of eros can take many interesting twists and turns in the personality and emerge in desires for freedom or money or food or fame and fortune or just about anything. Traditionally there is a glory complex with the Aselli, one of the most externalized forms of worldly desire. Although the old star writers tended to focus more on war with the Aselli, and with the warrior drive for victory and its praises and spoils, with North Asellus at least I find a complementary theme of peace as an ideal sought and worked for. The eros of North Asellus can translate into strong creativity which expresses across a range of aptitudes. Given how intensely North Asellus people do their thing, it is not surprising they triumph eventually in one or more areas of their lives. Although it is possible to scatter North Asellus energies in blind and stupid ways, for the most part this star is much more help to you than hindrance. As long as you keep a cool head and avoid extreme responses, you can make not just good progress, but great long strides towards your goals.


Peace Pilgrim had her warrior planet Mars aligned with North Asellus, and devoted the latter years of her life to tireless walking across the United States, quietly and persistently flying the flag for concord and goodwill instead of conflict. Juno aligned with North Asellus on the day of the World War I Armistice, which is still commemorated in many countries. Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated for non-violent resistance, was born with the North Node of the Moon here. Huge creativity and originality can be seen in the varied genius of Petrarch (Astraea link), Johann Sebastian Bach (Flora) and Frida Kahlo (Mercury), or Joan Miro with Hygiea. Iris aligned with North Asellus at the birth of A.A. Milne, who poured a lot of energy into his superb verses, but had less energy to spare for his only son. The spiritual dimension is strong with North Asellus, too: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross had Vesta and Diana here (Vesta can be associated with death, when the Flame of Life she upholds is extinguished); Michael Talbot who wrote the inspiring text The Holographic Universe had wise Pallas and organizing Astraea aligned. Paramahansa Yogananda had a Harmonia link, and Baba Muktananda had Jupiter.


Astronomical designation: Delta Cancri


South Asellus is not so closely caught up in the synergy of Praesaepe and North Asellus, and according to the tradition it is more likely to take you for a walk on the wild side, or at least stir up hair trigger responses and make a lot of noise.


There does seem to be more impulsiveness with South Asellus, a stronger will and a greater tendency to assertion, even aggression. But the energies of this star, when focused, are keen, resolute, brave, dynamic and high achieving. You get things done with South Asellus – as long as you don’t trip over yourself first! You’ll do better when you are willing to cool it and think before you act, so you’ll probably have lessons from time to time in the value of detachment and reflection. There may also be a tendency to clumsiness you need to work on as well. Lack of coordination can stem from acting in a precipitate way instead of getting your act together first, and only then doing what needs to be done. South Asellus can throw challenges about rushing in where angels fear to tread. It helps to ask if you are seeing situations or people clearly. When you work skilfully with South Asellus you can prove the old star writers wrong on many points. There are excellent organizational skills with this star. You can be very thorough, persevering, and even very patient. A lot depends on whether or not you think something is worth your effort. If you do care, you will go the extra mile with great energy and purpose. You have a lot of fire, which when directed well helps you to do great things; but you can also get overheated and run amok, like a Viking berserker, if the warrior impulse erupts in an explosive way. As long as you keep your head on straight and fight fair, all will be well in the end.


Warrior leaders do show up with this star: Roman general and statesman Pompey the Great with warrior planet Mars, English general and civil war leader Oliver Cromwell with Ceres and Hekate, French general-consul-emperor Napoleon I with Mercury, and Prussia’s ‘iron chancellor’ Bismarck with Hygiea. The fight may be with bacteria – Louis Pasteur had Iris and the South Node of the Moon aligned – or it may be driven by social connections, as with Jane Austen and all those strategic interpersonal manoeuvres with problem-solving Astraea here. Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, had cool, sometimes calculating Saturn linked. When South Asellus influences artists, it creates a lot of ardour and passion which can take beautiful and often dramatic forms: Antoni Gaudi with Venus, Pablo Picasso with Hekate, or Mary Cassatt, with her lovely paintings of mothers and children, with a Moon alignment. She shows how sometimes South Asellus goes gently instead of fast and furious! By contrast Amy Winehouse had Bacchus here, which gave her tremendous imagination and sex appeal, but also went a little crazy in her escapism. The dazzling triple synergy of Venus-Neptune-South Asellus had several speeds for musician-composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, but all were on fire with passion and gave him an extraordinary ride both artistically and emotionally.

This work is Copyrighted: © Kidston, Roderick 2016. Text extracts are from The Magic of the Stars: How the Stars of Astrology Enrich Your Life. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Link to book on Amazon. Note the book does not contain the otherwise unpublished card deck artworks.