I like to think that the scales were handed over to Libra by Virgo. My grandmother used them to measure right amounts of flour, butter or other ingredients for cooking. Airy Libra uses them as a symbol.
Libra’s life lesson goes like this:
Not enough, let’s add a little bit… Still not enough, let’s add a little bit more… Not enough… It’s too much now!!! …A little bit less… Too much less! A little bit more again, but not as much as before…. Yes that’s it!
The two pans seem to be gently floating in the air as the handle in the middle slowly settles to a perfectly vertical position, as vertical as the sword in the hand of a beautiful woman; she is as beautiful as the Virgo virgin, she looks more serious though, standing straight above the portal of a court…
Who sees the scales sees the sword. Libra is opposing Aries. They are the two sides of the same coin. The sword is action, the scales are decision making. Weighing pros and cons, accusation and defence, desires and fears, merchandise and value, rights and duties, debit and credit, karma and gifts…
The scales are in Osiris’ hand. On one side, a human heart. One the other side, a feather. Lightness is our ideal.
Libra is a Latin word meaning “balance” and also “pound”, a unit of weight. In French, the word “balance” (same spelling, charmingly different pronunciation) means “the scales”.
The English word “balance” translates in French as “équilibre” a word made of “equi-” meaning “equal” and “libre” which of course comes from “libra”: balance is same weight.
The English sterling pound is called “livre sterling” in French. .
In the British system “sterling” is the official standard of fineness of silver or gold found in coins. The world also means “high quality”.
With the sterling Libra, you measure quantities with quality. Venus rules. It’s official.
Look at the good old scales. See the handle in the middle turning into a spine and the pans into hips. When walking all the weight goes on one leg whilst the other moves forward, and then the law of justice says that it’s the other leg’s turn to bear the weight whilst the one moves forward. Libra rules the lower back and the kidneys. The centre of gravity is surrounded by Aphrodite’s magic belt. Walking becomes dancing. Lightness is our ideal. It’s very very sexy.
First of the second half…
In astrology, we’re working with the principle that what comes first defines the totality of what is coming. That’s why we keep looking at birth charts. Libra is the first sign of the second half of the zodiac.
The whole zodiac is an Aries story, an adventure called individuation. In Virgo, the sign of the maiden that belongs to no man, independent existence reaches a peak.
After Virgo, we will experience the throes and delights of union, from one to one relation-ships to sinking in the ocean of Piscean ecstasy… From now on, every sign we’ll meet will be the polar opposite of a sign we already know. Every “I” will turn into a “We”.
Libra is also the second Air sign on the wheel. Gemini came first to create links with no strings attached, only little wings at Mercury’s feet. Libra bounds. Venus dances with you. On one pan of the scales you get more company, on the other less freedom…
Libra is also the second Venus ruled sign in the zodiac. Venus Taurus is glue. When lovers almost literally eat each other, when two become only one sensual flesh soaked in oxytocin, when they whisper or shout “I am yours!” or “you are mine!”, we are on the Taurus-Scorpio axis. Venus Taurus is a mouth or a vagina. She is Earth, she is Yin, she takes in.
Venus Libra is a magnetic field. She operates in the Air. Her law is attraction. She binds from a distance, she cast spells, she enchants, she charms. When a beautiful princess appears, admirers become satellites. As much as she dreams of the ideal relationship, she may love the status quo, keep as many of them in her orbit and never commit. She is not in a hurry to become old.
Once upon a time, a princess declared that she would marry only the man who would bring her hundred dragon heads still steaming… In many tales various impossible tasks have to be carried out for a guy to deserve her hand, and they all fail. One day however, a hero hears of the princess… The impossible guy will put an end to her indecision.
One upon another time, there was a satellite that was so attractive that the princess lost her balance and became a satellite of her satellite. No one was at the centre but relationship, that thing that happens in between. Mars is in exile and the Sun in fall in Libra. Hiya Barbie! Hi Ken!
Marriage is the archetype of all associations, be they formed with or without official proceedings and ceremonies. There are always contracts however: even when nothing is talked about, things go as if you had signed for a whole set of rules.
When we don’t discuss the terms and conditions of our relationships consciously, we do set the rules unconsciously. A good deal simply consists of conforming to social customs. Gender roles, society’s expectations, the way things are done… It’s the simplest way. Libra is one of the most conformist signs, along with Capricorn. I feel tempted to say that all couples are the same. I may be biased, but do you know many eccentric couples? I mean eccentric in the way they relate to each other. You can dress up in very special ways but still the woman cooks and the man put up shelves…
Let’s be nuanced. There is still room for specific rules to each couple. Who decides of what? Who is the boss, who opposes resistance, who just does what the other wants to keep the peace? Who suggests new ideas, who bothers about logistics, who listens more? How long is it OK to do something on your own without giving a call? Why is it fine to invite a friend to eat without warning when it’s your friend, but not when it’s mine? Who initiates sex, what is the rhythm of things? What’s the balance of power? What is fair?
When they get into Scorpio, the partners may realise they just assumed that they were on the same wavelength… If they were not, they may divorce, those who once loved each other become enemies; they go to court to sort out who keeps the house, what’s going on with the children and who pays how much to the other.
Above the portal, Lady Justice, scales in one hand and sword in the other whistles in Libra Rising style… Oops I did it again!
Marriage is the archetype or all one to one associations. Business can get married, best friends are couples, countries sign alliances and trade deals, atoms lose their freedom and form molecules…
There is always one side and another side, always a bound between the two and the eternal question of finding balance…
A bit of mathematics
I like to say that symbols are magical doors. Each time you pass through one you may enter a new landscape. The scales can show us hips engaged in the activity of walking, limping or dancing, or a man and a woman falling in love, a court of justice, two business men signing a contract… we really need to know the context, or be very intuitive!
Let’s open the Libra door again. On one pan, something. We don’t know what it is. On the other pan, something else. We don’t know what on earth it might be either. However, what we know for sure is that there is a particular relationship between these two unknown things: their weights – symbols of all measures – are whether equal, or one is superior to the other. To keep it short, I’ll call the weight of the unknown thing on one side “x”, the weight of the other unknown thing “y”, if they are equal I’ll just write x = y, if they are not it may be that x < y or x > y. All the universe of mathematics is opening in front of us: we are now talking relationships in the abstract. It’s so beautiful it makes me cry!
Dane Rudyar says that astrology is the algebra of life…
By the way, two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities, expressed by the formula: a + b /a = a /b.
Venus rules. Beauty is a question of proportions.
Art and justice
In the Air we imagine ideals, perfect forms, harmonies of colours and shapes, nuances of tones, elegance and movements. The beauty and harmony we enjoy with our good taste or create as artists is the result of an inner sense of measure, the ability to sense the right amount of everything. We feel a little bit disgusted at how gross everyday reality is by comparison with art and how could we not compare when under the influence of the scales? Libras folks are appalled when Fire signs fart and laugh at their face…
On the material plane weights are objective measures but enter the psychological realm and they become subjective values. It’s complicated. What is the weight of an argument, how light or heavy is a feeling?
If a man works hard and earns good money to pay the bills, does that weight the same as cooking, cleaning, watching the kids and making sure there is always cold beer in the fridge? What is fair and what is not, when everyone measures according to standards that vary according to personal tastes and subjective feelings, even though influenced by social norms? Everyone carry their own scales within, and you can be only God knows what’s the absolute weight of our soul things…
A nice little conclusion
I hope I managed to get the message across: with symbols, it’s not possible to have a simple and clear definition. When it comes to character traits, Libra people have a reputation of struggling with decision making and be prone to hesitate indefinitely… It is often true. This goes with understanding other people’s point of view so well they forget to have a personal one. There are other ways to dysfunction though. Another one is to systematically play Devil’s advocate: Libra feels the need to balance one sided views with opposite opinions.
Sometimes Libra have strong views and fight for justice with determination. Sometimes they are desperately seeking to solve inner conflicts and sometimes they have a knack for balance, great taste and wonderful social skills.
A chart is an architecture of metaphors. Ask the context for clues and be nice.
Jean-Marc, Libra Moon, Venus and Mercury.