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A Journey Through the Decans



Astrology is a beautiful, complex, and mystical art. You master one level of meaning only to delve into the next. Over the next year, I’ll be doing a deep dive into a layer of astrology I’ve so far kept at the periphery of my practice, and I’d like to invite you along to learn with me. 

 

Let’s take a journey through the decans. 

 

What are decans in astrology? You’ll know that there are 12 signs of the Zodiac, and that they appear to make a circle around the Earth, a path that the planets, Sun, and Moon traverse, also called the ecliptic. A circle contains 360 degrees and, in astrology, we divide the ecliptic up evenly among the 12 signs—that is, each zodiacal sign contains 30 degrees. 

 

But there is an additional system that breaks the ecliptic into 10-degree segments, or decans (from the Greek déka [δέκα] meaning ten). So, then, the ecliptic contains a total of 36 decans and each zodiacal sign contains three of those decans. The meanings of the decans trace back thousands of years to ancient Egypt and have been interpreted and incorporated into many astrological traditions over time, and their meanings continue to be revealed. In the early 20th century, the decans were incorporated into the symbolism of the minor arcana in tarot, which are—to me, anyway—one of the most accessible ways of decoding the decans.

 

Recently, I had an amazing and galvanizing reading by the brilliant astrologer Kira Ryberg (@kirastrologyy) in which it felt like the decans were yelling at me to pay attention. What do I mean by that? At one point in the reading, Kyra was explaining the importance of the first decan of Virgo, which corresponds to the 8 of Pentacles card in tarot. The same card that I'd been pulling almost every time I pulled cards for the past several months. The same card that I had created an altar for on my desk, so insistent was it that I pay attention to it. And that was just the beginning! Throughout the reading, several cards that kept showing up in personal tarot pulls turned out to be key decans in my chart. What wisdom is Spirit trying to communicate? What am I being called to pay attention to?


To dig deeper into the meaning of the decans, I’ll be studying each individual decan as the Sun traverses that part of the sky. The Sun spends a day per degree of the Zodiac, so about 10 days in each decan. I'll share my learning in posts her on my blog and also on my Instagram (@conjuringthemuse).

 

Some of the resources I’ll be diving into are Kira’s own recent book The 36 Decans. You can also to follow along with her on Instagram as she posts about the decans over the next year. I’ll also be reading T. Susan Chang’s 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana. I’ll be dabbling in ancient texts and the Medieval Picatrix, and no doubt sources as yet unknown to me. 

 

Let’s learn together and witness astrology through the lens of the decans to see what wisdom this aspect of astrology can offer! 


Below are links to posts about each of the 36 decans, which I'll update as I post them:

  • Aries I

  • Aries II

  • Aries III

  • Taurus I

  • Taurus II

  • Taurus III

  • Gemini I

  • Gemini II

  • Gemini III

  • Cancer I

  • Cancer II

  • Cancer III

  • Leo I

  • Leo II

  • Leo III

  • Virgo I

  • Virgo II

  • Virgo III

  • Libra I

  • Libra II

  • Libra III

  • Scorpio I

  • Scorpio II

  • Scorpio III

  • Sagittarius I

  • Sagittarius II

  • Sagittarius III

  • Capricorn I

  • Capricorn II

  • Capricorn III

  • Aquarius I

  • Aquarius II

  • Aquarius III

  • Pisces I

  • Pisces II

  • Pisces III

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