The Decans of Libra – A Balancing Act

We all know there are 12 zodiac signs and chances are you also know where your Sun is located. I’m a Libra you say? Well, what type of Libra are you? If you didn’t know that there are subdivisions within each of the zodiac signs, then welcome to the 36 decans.

Each of the 12 zodiac signs is divided into 3 distinct parts of 10 degrees each. So if your Sun is at 8 Libra it’s in the 1st decan of Libra but if it’s at 26 Libra it’s in the last. We can consider the decans as 3 distinct acts in a 3-act play, the overarching theme of which is the zodiac sign involved. 

For example, Libra is oft thought of as the consummate host or hostess, the perfect diplomat, the elegant, cultured person whose favourite phrase is ‘that’s not fair’. Keywords for Libra include nice, ethical, compliant, impartial and accommodating. The inherent theme of the Libra drama not so much about enjoying being well-balanced but instead about finding and maintaining his/her balance in relationship to a variety of people and things in a fast-paced, ever-changing world.

You were born together and together you shall be evermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (on Marriage)

But quite how that all unfolds in any given native of Libra depends on the decan involved.


1st decan – In this decan of Libra, ruled by both the Moon and Venus, the native is challenged to find balance, not so much in her personal relationships but across all levels of society.

Many turn a blind eye to social injustice. But those with important planets in this decan cannot afford that luxury. It is their job to ‘get strong’ for the ‘weak’; to fight for those who are unable to fight for themselves. With this decan, comes the proverbial wake-up call; life ‘should be’ fair but it isn’t. Now what?

The tarot card associated with this decan is the 2 of Swords, known as the Lord of Peace Restored. This card depicts the goddess of Justice (Justitia to the Romans and Dike to the Greek) blindfolded and sitting in a place where the land meets the sea. Symbolically, the land represents consciousness whilst the sea, the unconscious. Having found this point of balance, the goddess has most certainly has found peace of sorts, the peace that comes with remaining unaware.

Yet consider another kind of peace that is possible when everything (including relationships) is in right relationship – in balance – and everyone is truly OK with all that’s necessary to keep it thus. The implicit question here is what will you choose to see or not see, and once you’ve seen something wrong, what you’ll choose to do about it,


2nd decan – With Saturn as the sole ruler of the decan, the emphasis shifts from choice to obligation. Traditionally, the image associated with this decan is a man preparing himself for marriage, a solemn contractual obligation that he fully expects will bring happiness and prosperity.

Sadly, despite the good faith in which any contract is undertaken, the reality is that some contracts are broken. Hence the tarot card associated with this decan is the 3 of Swords, known as the Lord of Sorrow. However difficult the emotions involved with this card, the symbolism is easy: when a contract such as marriage is been broken, we feel betrayed by the very person in whom we’d chosen to place our trust.

So why did we choose to place our trust in that someone in the first place?

This is the fundamental question with this decan and don’t’ expect finding the answer to be easy. Admittedly, the temptation is to place 100% of the blame on the other party; to focus only on what he/she did wrong. But as any good Libra can tell you, there are always at least two sides to every story and, with planets in this decan, you’re being called upon to listen very carefully to them all.


3rd decan – With both Jupiter and Mercury as rulers, this decan is a mixed bag, one in which the native is guaranteed to struggle to find – much less to maintain – his/her balance.

In the first two decans of Libra, we’ve been challenged to find balance both in our relationship with society as well as in important one-to-one relationships. Here, in the 3rd decan, natives are asked to maintain this balance even whilst his/her attention is pulled in many conflicting directions.

Traditional images associated with this decan feature a group of people partying hard together. Clearly, they’ve found a point of equilibrium, balance, in which each member of that group can enjoy themselves and be happy. Yet as anyone who has gone overboard and partied too hard knows, there is a price to be paid for enjoying too much of any good thing.

The tarot card associated with this decan is the 4 of Swords, the Lord of Rest From Strife and it certainly doesn’t look like a party. Indeed, it looks like the aftermath of that party, during which the partygoers are forced to drop back and recoup before even considering moving forward again.

In essence, this decan asks natives to develop a personal approach or philosophy toward life that allows them to juggle many balls at once without dropping any. Certainly there will be times during which you’re forced to focus your energy on one particular aspect of your life at the expense of many competing others. The trick is that when this happens, you must take time out – find a place/space of repose to regain your balance. Happy and healthy multi-tasking!

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