Have you ever been curious why various cultures connect the last days of October and November’s beginning with celebrating the dead? In America, we have Halloween, in Latin countries the Dias des Muertos, in Celtic and neo-pagan culture the Samhain and many similar celebrations. Can these feasts be explained from an astrological point of view? The answer is probably yes, and the magic words are Via Combusta.
Astrology is a not just the observation of the planetary movements; it is a system developed through the collective unconscious of the human race. In fact, both astrology and the collective unconscious developed together, significantly interconnected. The need of naming the unknown in order to de-demonize it made the people choose primitive archetypes that exist in the depths of their cultures. When you fear something, you give it a name and draw borders around its blurry existence in order to de-strengthen it. That is exactly the case of the “Via Combusta”, or else the “fiery road”. Why fiery? Because it is a dangerous road for these celestial bodies and they manifest their darkest traits.
Via Combusta is probably the most obscure part of the astrological wheel. It is defined as the area between the 15th degree of Libra, and the 15th degree of Scorpio, and people from the ancient years observed that no good comes from there. Through centuries, the collective observations showed that both Lights of our sky, the Sun, and the Moon, did not function well when transiting this celestial realm.
The Via Combusta was having a rather malefic influence to whoever had his Sun or Moon placed there during his birth time. The Sun is in fall in Libra, with the 19th to 21st degrees considered as the most debilitating. Generally, the last decan of Libra together with the first decan of Scorpio, are considered of the worst placements of the Sun, as they are very ruled by Saturn and Mars respectively. Saturn’s exaltation in the last part of Libra is freezing the Sun’s warm rays while Mars rulership over the first part of Scorpio is giving cruel and violent traits to the Moon, making it project its dark side.
Of course, since the discovery of Pluto, the planet of death has become the ruler of Scorpio, leaving Mars a nearly forgotten co-ruler. From that moment, death was even stronger associated to the sign and actually started being de-demonized. The human race started shaping the borders of what it feared the most, slowly developing a less tragic approach towards the grand mystery of death. As the human race evolves, death becomes an inspiration of the arts and even the lifestyle, creating currents of fashion and trends and making various cultural groups break the taboos that once haunted the human soul.
Another reason for this negative influence of Via Combusta is the presence of many malefic fixed stars, which when conjunct the Sun and the Moon are capable of bringing a lot of catastrophes and despair. During the centuries, the malefic stars mostly residing in the constellations of the Crux, Libra (earlier in time known as the claws of Scorpio), Centaur and Corona Borealis have furthermore moved into astrological Scorpio. This is the reason why the epicenter of the obscure celebrations is on the last day of October when the Sun is already deep inside Scorpio. Keep in mind that the star of Spica is a strong exception; this star is one of the most beneficial that exist in the heavens, is located roughly at 24 degrees of Libra and will bring great aid to any planet it conjuncts.
The collective human soul is intuitively feeling the debilitation of the lights, while also aware of the open gates towards the other realms. Centuries of experience show that those days bring more deaths than usually, while a lot of people feel the veils of the underworld grow thinner. People with psychic abilities were always able to communicate better with the deceased while even normal people had more such manifestations than usually. Different cultures and religions developed various rituals of calming down the respective gods of the underworld, or their own dead ancestors. One of the most prominent techniques was always masquerading.
By wearing the mask of what you fear, you symbolically take its place. You become one with it, and it no longer can hurt you. You are his, for that period, and it will not touch you. It shows the need of the humankind to project a necessary respect in a subconscious effort to diminish the malefic effects of the days. By organizing feasts that involve ecstatic dancing and a pleasant atmosphere, the masses supposedly raised magical energy to channel it towards a defensive shield.
These are the reasons hiding behind the establishment of celebrations as the Halloween (All Hallows Eve, All Soul’s Day), Samhain in the Celtic traditions and Dia De Muertos in Mexico. Various other countries and cultures also celebrate same types of festivities during the days of Via Combusta. They include remembering the dead, paying honors to the ancestors and the saints, while also signify the ending of the harvest. Even the Eastern Orthodox church has a celebration of the dead, on the Saturday before the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel on 8th November.
A lot of cultures have a habit of the days the pilgrimage to the graveyards, in order to visit the deceased relatives. India also has a feast roughly at the same period, called “Diwali” or festival of lights. It signifies the victory of light over darkness. In Germany, we also have the old custom of Martinisingen, which included the ritual of visiting houses and receiving various small gifts. The large list of celebrations, each one of whom would need a separate article to be analyzed, are showing that they are leafs of a common tree, having the same roots buried into the human soul.
Even if these theories have no basis, the sheer facts would become a placebo for the community. Do not forget that autumn is the season when nature dies and the cycle of life takes a symbolic turn towards the ending of things. The mass phenomenon of celebrating the fall can be an archetypical antidote, an elixir of happiness before the cold days of winter. Do not forget that until some decades ago the humankind had to battle with nature’s powers a lot stronger than we have now. Winter was a suffering, even a possible threat to one’s life. The more we live in our artificially constructed cities, inside our warm concrete nests, the more we forget the real dangers that humankind experienced through nature. But our collective soul, still remembers…
When the Sun or the Moon is transiting Via Combusta, people are advised to not practice any forms of magic. The turnout of any working may be destructive for the spell-caster himself while even a good spell may cast harm. This period is very prominent for casting black magic and necromancy, and sorcerers prefer it for their deeds. You can compare the Via Combusta as trying to cast a spell during a Void of Course Moon. The attempt will fail in the best situation while will bring losses in the worst.
The reason can be as simple as this: Our personal life-force, the Sun, is shining with its darkest shade, so the whole humanity is oozing of obscurity. It is our own self that will inject subconscious malice even in our good deeds, and without us understanding it. This may magnify and change the series of events, our causes hide a black side and alter the effects. In case you practice the occult arts, just give yourself a break, wait for some days and concentrate on other things. Why not indulge in the wonderful atmosphere of masquerade that this period brings? Inject yourself with some light through happiness instead.