• Basha

The Riddle of the SPHINX & Astrology

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Happy Taurus Season, and happy 420!!

All you green Astrolo-readers out there, get your munchies ready& blaze up, because I'm about to blow your fucking minds...

...So, I was getting hella stoned the other weekend, having absolutely nothing to do during the 5th week of Spain's quarantine lock-down. I was in the middle of writing ARIES New Year / Why EAST is WEST on your Birthchart, when I had a mini "epiphany" / theory.

I was having this muse-like urge to make some Sphinx artwork, so I started looking up images. Before I knew it, I found myself going down a google rabbit-hole (like any Aquarian naturally would anywhere near the internet).

Have you ever heard of The Riddle of the Sphinx? You may be surprised to find out, as I was, that it has connections to the god Mars & Aries Symbolism.

According to the Greek mythology legends, the Sphinx of Thebes was sent by the God Mars (Ares) himself to guard the entrance to the Greek city.

The Sphinx would ask all travelers who wished to enter the city, to solve a riddle. If the travelers were successful, she allowed them entry. If they failed, she devoured them...

A translation of the riddle goes as such:

What creature walks on 4 legs at sunrise,

2 legs at midday, and 3 legs at sunset?

The answer: humanity. We crawl on all fours at the beginning of our lives, we walk on 2 feet during the middle, then we walk with a cane at the end of our lives.

To arrive to this answer, one must think symbolically, not literally. That's the idea of a riddle: the deciphering of a metaphor that contains multiple symbolisms.

So, while contemplating the Sphinx's riddle, and researching the overlapping cycles of the day & the year, (and blazing), I had this sudden musing that I can probably align the Sphinx's puzzle with the symbolisms of Astrology..

So, without further ado, I present my Astrological analysis of:


As we explored in ARIES New Year / Why EAST is WEST on your Birthchart, the daily cycle of sunrise aligns with the yearly cycle of spring. This overlapping of cycles is the first Astrological hint in approaching the riddle symbolically. Sunrise can also mean spring, a day can also mean a year. The concept of the day and the year both symbolize the entirety of a cycle - a lifespan, in other words. Sunrise, noon & sunset simply represent the beginning, middle & end of the cycle.

Within the practice of Astrology, both sunrise and spring symbolize the initiating a new cycle, a time of birth. The symbolic beginning.

While both celestial events correlate to the sign of Aries, I don't believe that the 12 signs are at the forefront of the riddle's symbolism. The number of Astrological signs presents us with a problem: a 12 part answer. We can't be looking for sign symbolism, because we are looking for a 3-part answer corresponding to sunrise, noon, and sunset. We are searching for an Astrological division of 3...

In my humble beginner-opinion, the Riddle of the Sphinx aligns with the 3 Astrological MODALITIES.

The core features of any life cycle are identical. Something is born. Something exists for measurable time in some relatively distinct form. And something dies. These 3 archetypal phases of any life cycle constitute another essential ingredient in astrology’s symbolism: the modes. - Steven Forrest, The Inner Sky


As human babies, we are born into this world in an extremely cardinal manner. We spring forth into this world at a sudden, and rapid pace; developing from a sperm in an embryo, to a baby within only 9 months. Within only 15-20 months of our micro-level conception, we are already crawling around, ready to charge into the world on our hands and knees, and make many impulsive decisions. In this phase of our lives, we are initially only able to move around by crawling: on 4 "legs."

The first mode [of Astrology] is called Cardinal. It refers to birth, the beginning of a cycle. - Steven Forrest, The Inner Sky

Midday: FIXED

Midday & Summer represent an apex-point of amount of sunlight in their respective cycles; their primes. The prime of humanity is traditionally defined by when we are in our strongest, most capable physical states. We charge through life as children, teenagers, and adults with more focused purpose & consistency - rather than purely impulsive decision making. And we do it on 2 legs. Literally, no quotations needed.

I believe it can be argued that when we are on 2 legs, we are in a FIXED state - representing the second modality within Astrology, and the second-part answer to the Sphinx's riddle.

Once existence is achieved, life cycles move into their second phase. Astrologers call this the Fixed mode. Fixity has a spirit of solidarity and continuity. While in this mode, an entity is [...] in its maturity. The fixed mode is the [...] quintessence of strength. - Steven Forrest, The Inner Sky


Finally, the 3rd and final part of the riddle. Both Sunset & Fall embody the light of the day and the year coming to a close; the end of a cycle. When the light of the day & the year have reached the limits of their growth, they begin to decay, to go backwards. Instead of growing up, they "fall" back down to where they emerged from in the first place. Humanity's sunset - the the end of our lifespan - is the period of ageing, or more bleakly, dying. No longer in our physical prime, we become weakened enough to need a third support to continue walking...like a cane. Then, it is as if we are walking on 3 legs.

This final state, to me, represents a MUTABLE state, one of changing and altering. It is also the 3rd, and final modality within Astrology....

Stability may endure for an instant or for an aeon, but never for eternity. Life is corrosive. Bodies die. [...]The final mode, which astrologers call Mutable, reigns over the ending of life cycles. It's spirit is one of change and adjustment, many times of utter dissolution. Mutability has one paramount virtue: it is adaptable. It can respond to a changing environment by changing it's own form. The price it pays for this capacity is that it can lose all definition, become shapeless. It can die. - Steven Forrest, The Inner Sky

Thank you for spending

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