Week 41  -  10.07.12 - 10.13.12  -  Libra

Materials:   Copper, Fine Silver, Sterling Silver

Ring Dimensions:   1.20” H x 1.04” W x .330” D

The constellation Libra, which is Latin for ‘weighing scales’, is fairly faint and lies between Virgo to the west and Scorpius to the east. The brightest stars in Libra form a quadrangle that distinguishes it for the unaided observer. Alpha Librae, called Zubenelgenubi, is a binary star and the name means ‘the southern claw’. Zubeneschamali (Beta Librae) is the corresponding ‘northern claw’. Gamma Librae, called Zubenelakrab, which means ‘the scorpion's claw’ completes the suite of names referring to Libra's archaic status. Libra is home to the star Gliese 581, which has a planetary system consisting of at least 6 planets. Both Gliese 581 d, and Gliese 581 g are debatably the most promising candidates for life, although the existence of Gliese 581 g has been disputed and has not been entirely confirmed or agreed on in the scientific community. Gliese 581 c is considered to be the first Earth-like extrasolar planet to be found within its parent star's habitable zone. Gliese 581 e is possibly the smallest mass exoplanet orbiting a normal star found to date. All of these exoplanets are of significance for establishing the likelihood of life outside of our Solar System.

Those personalities born between September 23rd and October 22nd are in the seventh sign of the zodiac. As the Cardinal (or first) air sign, Libra is a natural thought leader. This quality, when combined with the instinctive sense of fair play, results in an ability to gain a following for ideas. Libra must beware the notion that the end justifies the means when their own personal plans are at stake. With a healthy sense of entitlement, they expect due reward for their efforts and often feel their presence alone contributes something valuable and expect recognition. As skillful socializers, Libra are usually the first names on the invitation list for functions. A sophisticated air and graceful gait combine with a natural flair for matchmaking and intelligent introductions. Traditionally, Libra are usually very image and appearance conscious. In line with this, they pay attention to those little details that can enhance the quality of places and experiences. With diplomacy as one of the main Libra features, they are able to head off conflicts before they even begin and can soothe and smooth over difficulties without pausing for thought. When it comes to group decisions, procrastination can be a problem. This may stem from the reluctance to be responsible for impacting someone negatively. While this trait can be seen as admirable, it can be interpreted as simply shunning responsibility. Libra can also be seen as a little clingy since the Libra personality likes to discover life through creative interaction with equal partners. In fact, the continual quest for an ideal life partner may hold center stage in thoughts and dreams.

In ancient Greek times, the area of sky we know as Libra was occupied by the claws of the scorpion, Scorpius. They called this area Chelae, literally meaning ‘claws’, an identification that lives on in the names of the individual stars of Libra. As things have worked out, Libra is now a slightly larger constellation than Scorpius, but is much less conspicuous. The identification of this area with a balance became established in the first century BC among the Romans, although exactly when it was introduced and by whom has been lost in the mists of history. To the Romans, Libra was a favored constellation. The Moon was said to have been in Libra when Rome was founded. The Roman writer Manilius described Libra as ‘the sign in which the seasons are balanced, and the hours of night and day match each other’. This is a hint that the Romans visualized the constellation as a balance because the Sun lay there at the autumn equinox, when day and night are equal. The idea of a balance in this area did not originate with the Romans. The Babylonians knew this area as ZIB.BA.AN.NA, the balance of heaven, around 1000 years BC. Hence it seems that the Romans revived a constellation that existed before Greek times. Libra is the only constellation of the zodiac to represent an inanimate object. The other 11 zodiac constellations represent animals or mythological characters. Once the identification of Libra with a pair of scales became established, it was natural to divorce it entirely from Scorpius and to associate it instead with the other flanking zodiacal figure, Virgo, who was identified with Dike or Astraeia - Goddess of Justice. Libra thus became the scales of justice held aloft by the goddess.