Birch is without fruit
but just the same it bears
limbs without fertile seed;
it has beautiful branches,
high on its crown
it is finely covered,
loaded with leaves,
touching the sky.
- The Old English Rune Poem
Berkano, the Birch Rune, is the rune of fertility and birth, of a new phase or relationship. It means renewal and new beginnings. It is a conserving, protective force. Edred Thorsson writes: ‚ÄúThe B-rune rules the cyclical process of arising (birth), becoming (life), passing away (death) to a new arising (rebirth).‚Ä?
In Finland there are no leaves on the birch trees yet. Nonetheless, Berkano is a descriptive symbol for this Taurus New Moon.
The Sun and the Moon are conjoined in the earthy, fertile Taurus; Venus and Mars are together at the Aries Point, the first degree of the zodiac. These two pairs of planets are representing the feminine and masculine principles in the astrological chart. Mars and Venus are the rulers of Aries and Taurus, respectively.
A conjunction of any two planets begins a new cycle. The current unity of the polar opposites indicates a start of the phase of inner balance, the balance between the animus and anima, or balance in sexual relationships. Also Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune are forming a triple conjunction in the humanitarian sign Aquarius, adding optimism, idealism and light to this moment.
Pluto in Capricorn receives a trine from the Sun and Moon, and a square from Venus and Mars. These aspects are providing passion, intensity, sex, healing and transformation through love or through artistic work. According to tradition, the Moon is in its exaltation in Taurus; it is supposed to work especially well. Taurus is a sensual sign which enjoys the physical delight.
According to Robert Hand, Taurus’ function is to provide a vessel for the energies of Aries so that they can be made manifest. He writes: ‚ÄúAries and Taurus form the first positive-negative pair of the signs in the zodiac, and even though they contrast, when put together they represent a whole.‚Ä?
The minor planet Ceto in Scorpio, in the sign of transformation, represents cyclical rebirth and continuity. Ceto was prominent already in the Solar eclipse chart of January, as the eclipse in Aquarius was tightly squaring Ceto. On the February New Moon this trans-Neptunian binary planet was trining the Luminaries in Pisces.
Now Ceto is whirling right opposite the Sun and Moon. Oppositions symbolize polarity and confrontation, but also awareness and change through conflict. This can be felt mostly in personal relationships.
Ceto and her binary companion, Phorcys, have approximately similar sizes; they form a close binary system, and their mutual orbit is nearly circular. In mythology Ceto was a marine goddess of whales and sea-monsters, depicted as a serpentine fish. Eventually, the word ceto became shorthand for any sea monster. J√∂rmungandr, a sea serpent biting its own tail and forming a circle, is the sea monster of Norse mythology. In the form of the Ouroboros, Ceto represents cyclicality, re-creation and wholeness.
Edred Thorsson, Runelore, Weiser Books, 1987
Robert Hand, Horoscope Symbols, Whitford Press, 1981
Hellenica, Michael Lahanas