St Paul’s Cathedral mythological symbolism.


City of the twins


Dr Samuel Johnson was a great lover of England’s metropolis and wrote. When a man is tired of London he is tired of life.
Yet the majority of London’s teeming millions do not realise that it is a magical city, with much astrological and other lore centred around it. Take St Paul’s Cathedral, For instance. Its first stone was laid when sun was in Gemini, the sign of the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux. They are shown in the background of our illustration, and are based on one in a antique collection in the Prado Museum, Madrid.
London’s horoscope according to ancient astrologers is given as having 18 degrees of Gemini on the ascendant, and 13 degrees of Aquarius on the mid heaven. Leo rules the forth house and Sagittarius the seventh in an ‘intercepted’ map, according to these same astrologers, and I am not going to argue with this, though you can if you like!


City of the Sun

The site of St Paul s was once used for the temple of the Sun god, in an age that long preceded Christianity. The origin of London’s name was ‘El-on-don’, meaning City of the Sun. The temple is thought to have been built under Gemini, the sign of the twins.
It is interesting to note that astrological lore is commemorated in the stones of St Paul s Cathedral. The western pediment bears the emblematic figures of the four seasonal divisions of the zodiac: spring, summer, autumn and winter, On the top of the pediment is a hieroglyphic representation of the Sun in the highest point of the heavens, in the constellation of Gemini, with the Sun’s rays striking at a centaur. This , of course, represents Sagittarius, the opposite sign to Gemini.
A further link with astrological lore is revealed in the old records which say that the foundation stone of st pauls was laid ‘on the day of Castor and Pollux’ in June 1675. The Sun was in the sign of the twins, and the following doggerel commemorates their place in the zodiac, Although this is not historical, it is worth quoting because it teaches the beginner in astrology the sequence of the signs.

‘The Ram, the Bull, and Heavenly Twins:
Then, next the Crab, the Lion shines
The Virgin and the Scales, followed by
The Scorpion, Archer, and He-Goat,
The Man who holds the Watering Pot, and
The Fish with glittering scales.’


If you proceed through the Cathedral from the north to the south entrance, you can see another high pediment on which is depicted the figure of Hercules, with the Saltier Cross on his back. In ancient mythology, Hercules represented the masculine nature of the Sun. The Saltier Cross in the shape of an X, is a goniometer, or double pair of compasses, which shows the exact angle made by the Sun in its two crossings of the Equator at the time when the original temple was built on the site. (Note the angle indicated by the cross gradually decreases at the rate of about one minute every hundred years.) Providing that Ptolemy’s original (solar) calculations were correct, this cross, which represents the Sun’s angle, should be completely closed in about 140,000 years from now. The Ecliptic will then coincide with the Equator, which should result in an equal length of day and night all the year round, lasting for a thousand years!
This Saltier Cross, or measure of the Sun’s angle behind Hercules, was once believed to be the sing of the crucifixion of man. Though ostensibly a temple of Christian worship, St Paul’s as it stands now, is an astrological lecture in stone, having been begun in Gemini, on the particular day of a pagan temple to the Sun.
Gemini, as has been said, is the constellation of the Heavenly Twins whose ruler is the planet Mercury. Mercury is never far distant from the Sun, and is the planet of communication and commerce, while the Sun is that of rulership and success. Commerce has always been important to the well-being of London. Great newspapers (ruled by Mercury) have their headquarters in London, these express the communicative powers of Mercury. Both the Sun and Mercury are therefore closely identified with the twins, Castor and Pollux.
So London is ruled by Mercury. And it is held that whenever its ascendant or midheaven is affected by the transit of planets, important changes come about in London. In 1962, the great constellation and eclipse occurred in Aquarius, the midheaven of London. This preceded changes of a drastic nature and the obliteration of the familiar scene, as Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the planet of the new,

The rebuilding

It was after that great eclipse that London began to be rebuilt with many of her old and beautiful buildings being razed to the ground in order that concrete ‘matchboxes’ should be erected. This was upsetting to many Londoners, who love their ancient city. As a result, most of London’s former, fascinating skyline has gone, and the night-illuminated concrete matchboxes standing on end do not make up for it. As the familiar landmarks and buildings disappeared so, too, did many of our old customs.
Gradually, the metropolis ceased to seem English and became ‘international’. Now many differ-many races living with sight and races living, within sight and sound of St Paul’s.

More changes duest-pauls.jpg

Since 1962 London has changed a great deal and, as there have been eclipses in Aquarius and Leo in this year of 1979, further changes are due in our history and development. The signs of Aquarius and Leo are sensitive to this city’s destiny as the old astrologer, William Lilly, knew when he forecast the Great Fire and the Plague of London, both commemorated in the Monument, which was erected in the city. If you have Mercury well placed in your natal chart, it is said that London will be fortunate for you, while if you have Gemini on your midheaven, with well-placed and well-aspected Mercury in it, the city can bring you fame and good luck. ‘Turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London,’ goes the old rhyme, and although the story may be apocryphal, the symbolism is very rich indeed. Dick Whittington had ‘Mercury strong in his chart. Legend tells us he was accompanied by a cat, which is a solar anmal, while the bells which rang out to give him his mystic message of encouragement are Gemini ruled (bells come under the rulership of Mercury) as they ‘communicate’, being rung in the past to warn citizens of danger, and also to signify joyful events. People who could not read or write, or who lived far from sources of news, could tell by the pealing of the bells if something special was going on in London, and flock to witness it. ‘Oranges and lemons Say the bells of St Clement’s’ This, again, is a survival of the Sun – Mercury association with London. Oranges are ruled by the Sun, and lemons by Mercury. Oranges and lemons were also used in ancient times as tributes to the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux. It is interesting to note how ancient lore and customs are perpetuated in song and story, long after the original meanings have been forgotten. For those readers who have taste for astrological symbolism, the work of Charubel and La Volasfera (as translated by Sepharial) might be interesting. As ‘there are no buckets at the Well of Truth: he who desires to drink thereat must descend himself,’ I give the translations of London’s ascending degree and midheaven degree according to both, with all there wealth of symbolism. Charubel says of London’s ascendant (18 degrees of Gemini), @The number 6 rules this degree. It denotes a mercurial person, an expert in all mercurial employments.’
On the other hand, La Volasfera says of this degree, ‘A flying arrow. It indicates lofty aspirations, keen mental power, penetration and executive ability. One who will cut his own line in life and excite attention, but who may, by his destiny, fail in achieving the results aimed at. It is a degree of execution.’

Price of failure

Since we must apply these translations to London, a city not a person, Charubel depicts it as versatile and mercurial (signifying trade and communications) and La Volasfera seems to indicate the many people who, in London’s history, tried and failed. Some of these were executed on Tower Hill. Of the 13 degrees of Aguarius on Londons’ midheaven, Charubel says, ‘A tastefully furnished room with a large wax candle on a round table in centre.’ ‘A lover of his home, a person of conventional proclivities who may be called a “house proud” individual’ Well, Londoners are notoriously proud and fond of there city, so let that suffice. As for the Round Table, if it conjres up visions of King Arthur and his knights there is a vague link there, too.
Degree of assertion

La Volasfera says of this degree, ‘A cavalier fully armed. This is an indication of a militant and aggressive nature, the sign and suave in manner, is ever alive to his own interests and on the defensive. At times he will be led into dangers by the aggressive attitude he will display in regard to his fellows, and though well equipped by nature for all emergencies, he will never be so safe and free from harm as when will show a vigilant and alert nature, much power of self defence, and will be remarkable for his capacity either in the military world or that of polemics. It is a degree of assertion.’ If we translate the word ‘he’ into ‘the city’, that is not a bad summing up of London and Londoners, who are always at their best in times of crisis. As the last war showed, a ‘regard for others’ was very well marked. These translations of the degrees must not be accepted as verbatim. They are the impressions the degrees made on the seers and mystics in question. London is an ancient city, full of ancient lore, myths and magic, which few have bothered to search for. It has a mystique of its own, and a history that goes back as far as civilisation itself. It may now be a city of concrete matchboxes, council towers, overcrowed and, let’s face it dirty to boot, but the magic of London is implicit and the sombrely brooding St Paul’s has its share of it, with its wealth of astrological and mythological symbolism.


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