Traveling The Via Combusta

Filed in Ask Mystic


Dear Mystic Medusa

I am so grateful that I found you – only recently; you rock astrology these rocky days!

I came across this in an encyclopaedia of astrology under “V”:

“Via Combusta (or “the Burning Way”) Ancient astrologers considered that if the Moon was set at birth against a cluster of fixed stars in the early degrees of Scorpio, it was as severely affected as if it was eclipsed. In modern astrology the via combusta is measured from 15 degrees Libra to 15 degrees Scorpio, and if the Moon is within these points the whole chart is considered void and uninterpretable. This is important in Horary Astrology, for it means that nothing can be done about the problem or situation.”

Well, how ghastly is that. I have a ton of stuff in those 30 degrees as well as, most specifically, a Balsamic Moon at 24 Libra. And relationships through life with a swag of men with Mars, Pluto, Uranus or Chiron in the early degrees of Scorpio. Now, with some decades of life experience behind me, I feel I am past these slings and arrows as personal insults. However, these days I am tending to ritualise the wearing of black and grey with a touch of red somewhere – scarf, or leggings, or underwear. The phoenix arising from the ashes?

What about all those historical martyrs burnt at the stake? Do they find simpatico here? And is this where a certain type of Love Zombie takes up residence?

Burning waiting for your answer.


Dear C.P.,

Thank you!  And this is such synchronicity as i have wanted to do a post on the Via Combusta for a while now but was going to wait till the Sun was there – Halloween, the Day of the Dead, Samhain time of year, of course.

I did touch upon it briefly in this post about the actor Viggo Mortensen, who has most of his birth chart in the Via Combusta.

So what is the Via Combusta? It is Latin for “burning way” or “fiery way” and in old school astrology (because this IS kind of a medieval concept) refers to the part of the Zodiac between 15 Libra and 15 Scorpio. In the olden days, they said that it was accursed, that the Sun or the Moon there spelled shitty times and so on.

But i disagree completely and not just because i have the Moon and Midheaven there.  I think that it was seen as “bad” in the same way that strong Mars vibes in women would have them packed off to nunneries or that Uranus – when it was first discovered in the 18th Century – was seen as causing “deviancy” or the 8th House was viewed as this repository of seething evil.

It was more to do with fear and superstition borne of a time when to even dabble in magic or be accused of such could lead to a vile persecution, trial and public execution.

The theory is that the Sun is exalted in Aries and (according to old fashioned lore) depleted in Libra – likewise the Moon exalted in Taurus but not so in Scorpio. And then the so called malefics – Saturn and Mars – were strong in Libra and Scorpio.

Even last century, astrology books were out there saying things like that women with strong Venus-Uranus aspects may “not be content with working in the home and could disrupt the family harmony by seeking to work outside of the home.”  Or referring to “homosexuality” as an aberration.  Astrology is always a product of the culture we live in. For instance, since the release of The Secret, in 2006, a lot of Law of Attraction sensibility has been woven into astrology.

The term and the concept behind the Via Combusta, this scary sector of the Zodiac, was coined at a term when there were many foreboding paths, real evils in the form of openly corrupt clerics, rulers, crusades and wars against pagans undertaken by local councils.

My theory is that the so-called Via Combusta is a super potent time of the year (the Alchemists worked WITH it) and personal planets or points there mean you were most probably have a powerful affinity with magical energy.  I don’t think that the Love Zombie syndrome is linked at all, although you could probably access the dark Phoenix power strengths of this time to vanquish naff  yearnings.  I love the sound of your Phoenix wardrobe.


Image: The Steilneset Memorial by Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois – this is so poignant, haunting and beautiful, the article here tells the story.

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43 thoughts on “Traveling The Via Combusta

  1. This is great! My entire 3rd house in Via Combusta – including my POF, Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter and Moon! Convinced I need to write/speak the unthinkable/unspeakable. I’m also Saggo Black Moon in the 4th, Sun cusp of Cap (Dec 20) conj Nept in Saggo/Merc in Cap in 5th house, so my entrepreneurship was the route to total not-giving-a-fuquery, helping others through embracing the inner witch/authenticity, burning through delusions and making money in the proce$$ in my private intuitive advising practice. Love this post!

  2. I have Sun and Uranus in Libra there but I have fixed stars Spica and Arcturus at their exact degrees too. I read somewhere once that these particular fixed stars are supposed to protect these planets from the Via Combusta, does anyone have any other info or opinion about fixed stars’ role in the VC?

    All I know is I had an impromptu chart reading at a party once, the guy obviously knew his onions, but I was a bit worse for wear on the gin and cannot remember his name and I have never seen him again. But I do remember he said I was protected.

  3. I have my moon in scorpio at 7 degrees; i’m so tired of hearing about the crappyness of a Scorpio Moon; this is fantastic in supporting my hunch about my powerful moon

  4. I have Jupiter, Mars, Neptune, Sun, Mercury and North Node in the via combusta, and all in the sixth house. Not an easy bundle of life there. I like this perspective. And I adore Viggo…

  5. Btw: I Love that Blog Post title ‘Travelling the Via Combusta’. I may have to put it to good use as a book title. It has a lovely echo of Gloria Steinem’s ‘My Life On The Road’ about it. Only more fitting for my Life in the Fiery Way?

  6. Yes, absolutely LOVED the Viggo post!!!

    My whole life has been a experiential workshop within the Via Combusta.

    My Sun, Lilith, Uranus, Mercury & Venus are in it!

    My MC & Pluto made a narrow escape, but as my Pluto is conjunct my Libra MC & in mutual reception to my Venus is Scorp, it’s not much of an escape from the burning intensity really ; )
    In fact the High Priest in Bali called my life “A Life Of Deadly Moments’ & that pretty well sums it up.

    Love, Love, Love hearing about life in the Via Combusta. Always explains such a lot!!!

    Oh & I’m also a mad bibliophile. I think that was also mentioned in the Viggo post of old. Non?

  7. Sounds magically mysterious and badass to me, my chart ruler(s) are there: Jupiter at 6 Scorpio and Venus at 14 Scorpio, as well as Vesta and POF at 16 Libra, and Hekate at 22 Libra. I love the idea of adding one red thing to your outfit every day! I’m gonna have to try that. 🙂

  8. Oooh, yay, I have a stellium in the ‘repository of seething evil.’

    And a Uranus rising at 7 Scorp. Bwahahaha! Rays of evil coming atcha!

  9. I would be curious to know what this means for my career. My Midheaven begins at 12 Libra, with Pluto retro at 28 Libra and Saturn retro at 1 Scorpio in the 10th house. I am currently between jobs, but am wishing to embrace a career and have yet to really pin point it.

  10. 24Libra is actually a blessing for your Moon – that’s conjunct Arcturus, a refuge of the Via Combusta along with fortunate Spica @ 23Libra. Anything within a few degrees of either effectively gets a flame-retardant suit against the blaze. Both stars are especially alchemical being Behenian Stars. Consideration of the Via Combusta is really only applied in electional & horary astrology these days – you’ll rarely find it interpreted in a natal context, so don’t expect to find a lot of reference material on this subject.

    I don’t know that I buy into the idea of this being a particularly crap area of the zodiac to be born under when there are other areas that have far more compelling reasons to be considered as such. Mid-Scorpio to mid-Sadge comes to mind, as there are a bunch of, shall we say, “less than benefic” stars located in this region.

    Plus, I am a Via Combusta chick and I think I turned out OK 😉 Objectively speaking, I couldn’t tell you the difference re: magic (or really anything else for that matter), as I have a good hit of Pluto as well so already somewhat of a natural alchemist. I do have a hard chart on top of that Plutonic punch, and the vast majority of my life has been spent in either the frying pan or the fire. 😉 So I am not a good research candidate for these reasons, as my data is contaminated by these complicating factors.

    • I will add that, from experience, it absolutely does bear out as a rough patch of the zodiac for electional purposes, though.

      • Hi, I was researching VC and was wondering about surgery when Moon is 20 Libra, Sun in Sag. Do you think it would be deterimental as you suggest?

        • Surgery date selection is complex and with any factors – it’s a consult for sure as you really can’t just look at Moon, Neptune is important – for aneasthetic, you want a nice Mars-Saturn link (the surgeon), to avoid Mercury Retrograde (communication and tech glitch minimization) and some healthy strong Jupiter action + strong personal transits.

    • Oh contrare, I see you as the perfect research candidate & I don’t see the data as being contaminated by complicating factors, such as a good hit of Pluto, but rather feel these as additional fractals, containing & accentuating the most fundamental resonances (holographic truth of you) of your chart, repetitively, over & over again, wherever you look.

      Wholeness is a continuum!

      • So sweet of you to comment, SI! <3 I understand your POV as this is typically my own interpretive approach – I am always looking for repeating themes in a chart as they speak loudest. But that said, I’m also very analytical in my research and like to remove possible mitigating factors from interpretation to try and extract the raw, unbiased Truth about a topic when I am studying it. Not enough people do this in astrology, IMHO.

        What we sometimes wind up with as a result are really just theories about this or that presented as fact that simply do not bear out when subjected to testing. There’s a lot of good information out there, but there’s a fair amount of iffy stuff to sift through too, and I’m all about the integrity of the data. I love and respect this Art so much, and will always do whatever I can to elevate my understanding of it – this is a lifelong journey for me. So I think to a greater or lesser extent, I will always approach things a bit academically, as I am an Eternal Student. 🙂

    • Thank you LV! My NN is 22 Libra and my Mercury is 25 Libra. Moon 29 Libra so hope it benefits too.

      Early in life Pluto crossed that whole stellium in the VC- Saturn seems friendly after that.

      My VC stars adore high end Libran arts- papers, clothes, sculpture. Museums cure me of the blues as do stationery stores, Parisian couture. I don’t need to possess, but appreciate the effort and attainment.

      Astro/magic/alchemy/herbal lore also sustain.

      Late in my Astro reading I learned of the VC. Oddly comforted me as I charted car accidents we witnessed, near misses, deaths, being near death. Last year we sat with two sets of drivers post accident until their families came. My Mercury often links others to healing/legal/crisis help. Once missed damage when car crashed into restaurant where we lunched. Miracle- zero injuries.

      Biggest lesson- (VC spans 11th-12th)- we cannot rescue everyone- BUT kindness can be a lifeline until the help comes. I spent 3/4 of my life doing for others. Cut loose drama qi vamps- others just died. Guilty re- relief but no wish for bad old days.

      Humbly grateful that early battles to live my truth with family and bucking trends- paying off. Teensy glimmer of gloat swiftly replaced with relief. And prayers for continued guidance.

  11. My natal sun is smack dab in the middle of the Via Combusta, at 2 degrees Libra. Maybe that explains my witchy ways.

    • Yes you just generate a chart & then check out between 15 Libra and 15 Scorpio.

      The Astro Hacks course – especially in the early hacks – has a lot of good info on how to set up and read charts, the symbols etc.

      Let know if you want to jump in – we are up to Hack #60 of 99 now so there is a lot of information already just there.

  12. All I have is Pluto in Libra 16” (5th) and Uranus in Scorpio (18″) in the 8th. All I know is my creativity either sets folks aflame or terrifies the beetlejuice out of them. It’s all cool. I know I’m in sync and on my true path when it comes to my creativity and vocation, ain’t nobody trippin’ ’round here just prepared for the moment when one must STRIKE. Or dive. Slither. Smooch. Whatever’s required ;P

    Off-topic, I am bored with cooking so I decided to try a new cuisine and I got all these signs to go the Irish route. Went to the thrift store where a whole bunch of Irish music appeared as well as a cookbook. Called the only place in Sydney that imports Irish goods to make an enquiry about Whiskey Mustard but no pick-up or callback. Anyway, a check arrived out of nowhere and I decided to try the ATM in the OTHER direction of what I usually walk near the house and the company car from the Irish place literally pulls up and parks in front of me as I’m walking. Friggin’ loves it – thanks for the hook-up, Universe! <3

  13. South node conjunct spica? juno & ceres early scorpio (currently having return of juno & ceres in scorpio with lillith about to hit there too).

    There is a strong “fire” theme to me; my sun is conjunct vesta 6th.
    I have been burnt by fire as a child, irreparably scarred – but actually it makes me who I am. Fortunately I think I learnt from this.

    I’m also having an amazing chiron return (conjunct my pisces mars) – its now, in exact trine to my natal scorpio neptune which transiting retrograde scorpio mars is conjunct to now…

    Postgrad studies looking at movement therapy, as healing, embodied trauma, via dance, somatic experiencing…I really find it wonderful. My interest, devotion to martial arts is very compatible with this too. My longterm partner and I had a really rough period, and its looking vaguely hopeful…if we can just sort out being truly present to the conscious distribution of “resources”, time, love, emotional and intellectual guidance, support..

    Though mutable square is pushing hard truths to be fully exposed…Feels difficult to know wheat from chaff, truth from fiction or fantasy…I have an intense transiting pluto moving over my venus now, and uranus is moving over my north node 8th, jupiter moving towards my virgo stellium 1st, saturn widely square that 3rd, and neptune is heading towards my vertex 7th, in sextile to pluto / venus 5th…

    I’m re-writing my ethos, questioning a past script for relationships, healing…creative identity…Its a kind of rediscovery and its quite lovely

  14. Love this question and answer. I have Jupiter-Pluto, Mercury, and Asc in the via combusta (and too funny because when I clicked over the nunnery blog, I have two of those aspects mentioned as well (lol) — strong Venus-Uranus and Mars in Leo). I have to say, I think it’s true about the magical karma! I actually hope to meet an amazing future lover with some key planets in that zone, too.

  15. How do you guys know this stuff? I’m a Virgo born Aug 26- I am married to a Scorpio born nov 13th– I have felt that I have a curse that follows me. I have put awesome ideas out there, but never a good response!! Lots of secrets on his part for 33 years– always!! This is the year for me to file but… Is that why none of my submissions have taken flight?

  16. C.P. – The first time I heard of the Via Combusta was when Mystic posted about Viggo. I’ve thought of it as a really cool aspect of myself ever since. I think every powerful thing in the Cosmos is a double edged sword. It’s all just energy in potentia – where you drive it is up to you.

    Mystic – I opened the Steilneset Memorial link and uncharacteristically teared up. What a powerful thing. Thanks for posting.

      • Yes. Precisely how I felt also. The horror of human actions and glory of human achievement collapsed into the same set of symbols.

  17. My Libra/Scorp stellium is in the Via Combusta zone- as is my god daughters Libra Moon/Uranus–
    And Scorp Sun.

    We have a deep soul affinity- neither of us has patience in this life for zee faux. I wear thin in small talk as my Scorp vibe shines through.

    Have had oodles of sitting at bedside, death beds, magic, alchemy, etc. stick now to Astro, yoga and MMA.

    Odd side effect of eventful life- I have little affinity for suspense and drama. Read the ending first. Thanks Uncle Pluto and Aunt Saturn!

    Cleaning up after elephants, disaster, parties-for 2nd Saturn. Three hole punching and pitching papers. Mystic you all keep me even keeled!


    • I have a stellium in Libra/Scorp too and what you said about the move from magic/death beds to yoga/MMA makes total sense to me, but as I was reading it I could imagine this would be a bit quizzical to others. I have SN in Aries and NN in Libra and I think my diminishing taste for drama is a part of that. A disinterest for pushing forward and creating an ambition-fuelled life and just a desire to be happy. This is a very long arc though, as in several lifetimes long. Still have a fair amount of ambition.

  18. Wasn’t there a Latin funk hit Livin the combusta loca, if there isn’t there should be.
    As Mystic said if you live in a world where all you see is darkness corruption and evil then who are you going to blame ?
    Librans and scorpios of course.
    Now, we are a little more advanced, more open to the idea that we can’t blame everything on them. Most things but not everything, so don’t worry be happy and feel relieved that you don’t belong to that evil bunch with Uranus in the 8th. Oh ok not evil.. Just not nice like the rest of us.

    • Everything is a positive. ‘Fatalist’ astro is 19thC.

      Kids at HS say to me, “Sir, you have a big nose!”
      Retort? “Air’s free, get it while you can”

  19. Really interesting. I would love to hear more on this as I have my moon in the via combusta zone. People with Scorpio moons are often given grief, and I’ve been no exception. It would be great to get a better perspective on the phenomena.

    • same here….scorpio moon/neptune (7 deg/8deg) conj in 4th squaring my leo moon in 12th. Scorpio moons are intense, passionate, all or nothing ..not so much drama now and I feel my moon as overly compassionate/sensitive to all the terrible things & ppl in the world…I get overwhelmed with the daily news (i think I am more empathic now than when I was younger…I just sense/feel so much more)

      • Yes! I have ascendant at 29 libra and moon a 9 degrees Scorpio, conjunct Pluto just a couple degrees away …. So I always attributed my emotional intensity and sensitivity to that but I’ll take any other justification because man so I need reminders to love my power and stay away from people until I learn how to protect myself. I’m only 25 and have had a couple years of intense psychic skills and premonitions and mystic is the greatest blessing to help me realize this is allllll good though I feel so alone at times. Blessings to these other souls out there.

    • All I know is that I LOVE Moon Scopio folks. 12th house Taurus stellium with a Pisces moon – the deeper (and more passionate) we can go the happier I am 🙂 <3 <3 <3

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