The author of The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri, employs the astrological zodiacal wheel in his work and refers to the zodiac as "the twelve-toothed cogwheel" (Purgatorio, Canto IV, v. 64). Dante mentions that his realization of having strayed from the true way came in his thirty-fifth year as "the sun was climbing Aries" (Inferno, Canto I, vv. 37-39).

Dante employs the signs of the zodiac in a very specific manner which serves his occult theme of polarities. Only six of the twelve signs are found in the The Divine Comedy. Two signs are accented in each of its three sections, namely, The Inferno, The Purgatorio and The Paradisio." These six signs are Aries (Inferno, Canto I, v. 38), Aquarius (Inferno, Canto XXIX, v. 2), Sagittarius (Purgatorio, Canto II, vv. 55-56), Libra (Purgatorio, Canto XXVII, vv. 1-3), Leo (Paradisio, Canto XXI, v. 14) and Gemini (Paradisio, Canto XXII, vv. 110-111).

Dante's usage of the zodiacal wheel serves as a dramatic as well as structural and architectonic feature in organizing and weaving his literary edifice. Aries has a polarity with Libra; Aquarius with Leo and Sagittarius with Gemini.

The twelve signs of the astrological zodiacal wheel are normally listed in the following counter-clockwise sequence: Aries Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Dante, however, begins with Aries and moves through Pisces into Aquarius (clockwise)! Next he moves from Aquarius through Capricorn into Sagittarius; from Sagittarius through Scorpio into Libra and Libra through Virgo into Leo. Finally, he moves from Leo through Cancer into Gemini.

Dante's reverse movement from Aries into Pisces and on through the zodiac rather than from Aries into Taurus is fundamental to his quest/journey through the darkness back toward the 'true way' or light.

It is not only dramatic but iconic (regarding the esoterica of the astrological signs) that Dante ends his journey in Gemini. There he is reunited with his beloved Beatrice. Gemini is the sign of the Eternal Twins as well as Dante's Sun sign (Paradisio, Canto XXII, vv. 110-117). Gemini and Virgo are also ruled by the only androgynous planet, namely, Mercury.


Water Cambra received an MA in Philosophy from San Francisco State University in 1993. He is a member of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rose Cross (AMORC) headquartered in San Jose, California (Rosicrucians).

His intellectual and academic interests have been philosophy of religion, historiography and hermeneutics.

My article revolves around the position of Pluto in Mary Shelley's chart and its powerful impact on the events in her life and her works - Chrisine Ferraro

Born of philosopher and political writer William Godwin and famed feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (author of The Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792), Mary Shelley's early environment provided fertile ground for the growth of her intellectual and literary tendencies. The loss of her mother when she was only 11 days old was the first of many indicators that crisis, transformation, and revolution were going to be a major theme in her life.

By Carol Tebbs, MA

Over 4000 years ago, nomads sprung from the soil of northeastern Europe and entered the Indus Valley of ancient India. They called themselves Aryans, or noble ones, and the religion they brought with them comprised the first practice of Hinduism. The centerpiece of Aryan religion was a fire sacrifice to the gods performed by priests specially trained to chant sacred hymns. The hymns themselves were known as Vedas or sacred knowledge. The Vedas are the scriptural bedrock of the Hindu tradition.

As her senior project and final paper for her East/West major, BA graduate Inga Thornell wrote a research paper on the role of women and myth in society.

The study of mythology and literature can be a useful means of determining the paradigms of a culture. This paper will examine examples of Goddesses and women from Greco-Roman and Indian mythology and epic poetry to determine what these stories show us about women's roles in these cultures and how these characters compare to what is known of real women in each society. The historical period under examination is each culture's "Epic period." The Epic period encompasses different years for each civilization in the same way that the term "iron age" does.

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