Women & Rome

Filed in Cancer/Kataka

Virginia Raggi

By Carla Ciccone

Men have ruled Rome for almost 3000 years. Women were a lot of things: worshipped, revered, subjugated and raped, but they were never in charge. The patriarchal paradigms of governance, law and thinking that came out of Ancient Roman civilization, and that much of the world abides by, have been continually perverted as history repeats itself in a cycle of rule, war and ruin, and at this point, even the littlest wins against this are worth celebrating.

On June 19th of this year, Virginia Raggi, a 38-year-old lawyer, became Rome’s first female mayor. This is not a little win. This is a complete change to the order of things.

Like many ancient myths and tales, Rome’s origin story is one in which woman play a supporting role. The most enduring version is that Amulius, the King, forces his niece Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin to keep her from bearing children who might overthrow him, like he overthrew his own brother Numitor. Rhea breaks her Vestal vows, either by choice or force, is impregnated by the god Mars himself, and nine months later, gives birth to two beautiful boys. Her uncle orders the boys thrown into the Tiber, but the servant charged with drowning the babies can’t bring himself to. Instead, he puts Romulus and Remus in a basket by the river’s edge.

Starving and wailing, the newborns attract the attention of a lactating She-Wolf who suckles and saves them, and eventually becomes the symbol of Rome. The she-wolf in this story was most likely a human woman, especially since Roman slang for prostitute is, “lupa,” aka female wolf.

The boys grow up and become shepherds who eventually kill their uncle, restore their grandfather to the throne, and set out to found their own cities. But things go south when Remus makes fun of the wall Romulus built. Enraged, Romulus kills his brother on the spot, and Rome is born. In summation: a young woman is raped, and her son eventually founds a city.

After founding his city, Romulus is hell-bent on populating it. When “wife” negotiations with the neighbouring Sabine’s fall through, he moves on to plan B: the abduction of an entire community of women. At the Sabine’s annual Neptune Festival, the Romans infiltrate the party, grab the women and fight off the men. It’s referred to in history books as the Rape of the Sabines but according to Livy, Romulus spoke to each of the abductees and convinced them to accept their fates, marry strangers and become Romans—and they agreed. YEAH, OKAY, SURE. Women are abducted, raped and forced into marriages, and Rome is populated.

The Rape of the Sabines stands out as one of many violent acts against women that propel Ancient Rome forward. Another is the Rape of Lucretia. Operas have been written about her and great art made about what she endured and the virtue she came to represent.

It was around 500 BC. Times were tough in Rome. Infighting abounded and the monarchy was on shaky ground. While other Roman wives were partying like it was 1999 and stepping out on their men, Lucretia remained hopelessly devoted to her husband, Collatinus, a Roman consul.

Etruscan King Lucius Tarquinius Superbus sends his son, Prince Sextus to stay at Collatinus’ home, and ever the hostess, Lucretia ensures he’s treated like the royalty he is. Sextus later gets into an argument with Collatinus about the virtue of wives, and to prove his point to his host, he sneaks into Lucretia’s room that night and tries to rape her. When she resists, Sextus gives her two options: sex Sextus and become the future Queen, or refuse and he will kill her and her servants and arrange their bodies to look like they were having an orgy. After the rape, a despondent Lucretia tells her husband and father what happened. Unable to rid herself of the pain and shame, she takes a dagger to her chest and stabs herself in the heart right in front of them.

An inconsolable Collatinus and his friend Brutus vow to overthrow the Roman monarchy and let the people rule their city. An election is held with Lucretia’s dead body on display, and Romans vote for a Roman Republic instead of a Roman Kingdom.

Like many ancient stories, the details of this one are debatable, but the legend is not. A woman was raped, the monarchy is overthrown, and Rome becomes a Republic.

A few women did get to enjoy the perks of full citizenry in Ancient Rome. These were the retired Vestal Virgins. The Vestals were regarded as living deities and their sole purpose was to keep the flame of Vesta, goddess of the hearth, burning day and night, forever. When Rome faltered or armies failed, Vestals were blamed for neglecting the fire, and sometimes flogged and or killed by live burial. After 30 years of virginal service that started in childhood, retired Vestals were given a pension and the right to vote. They could also marry and have sex. (Little wins?)

When Popes took over as leaders of Rome, little changed for women. In fact, things got worse, since all the pagan goddesses once so revered were now illegal to worship. Men ruled the “no girls at the top” Catholic Church with fervour, but in the 800s, one woman snuck through. Before becoming the first and only female pontiff, a German woman named Joan apparently disguised herself as a boy named John and made her way to Rome. John became a Cardinal and eventually got elected as Pope. Unfortunately, during a papal precession, she went into labour. After being discovered as female, Joan was either stoned or dragged behind a horse until she died. Despite over 500-chronicled accounts of her existence, the Catholic Church, still very, very sad that they got played by a girl, refuses to acknowledge her story as anything but a myth. A woman rises to power and is murdered.

Roman history is full pivotal moments born out of violence against women, which is why the election of Virginia Raggi as the city’s current mayor, is not only a huge change, but an opportunity to heal. Raggi is from Rome. She grew up alongside the beauty, history and patriarchy that seeps out of the streets and buildings there. She first came to politics to address a very pedestrian complaint—the sidewalks of Rome were in a disastrous state and mothers with strollers could not easily navigate them. Her To Do list has since grown to include cleaning up most of Rome’s literal and figurative garbage: the political equivalent of trying to clean the entire Colosseum with a doll’s toothbrush.

Everyone on the right side of history is rooting for Raggi. After thousands of years of violence, rape and “mulier est hominis confusio” (woman is man’s ruin), Rome has finally raised up one of its daughters.


Mystic’s Note: Raggi is Sun-Lilith-Jupiter in Cancer – ultra matriarchal and fierce, bringing to mind one of the older titles for Lilith – The Protector.  Her Moon is in either Sagittarius or Capricorn and her Mercury is in Leo on Saturn, fantastic for awesome gravitas and sombre clarity with style.



Image:  Peter Paul Rubens – Rhea and Mars

Access Horoscopes, Insta-Tarot, Oracle and More

All Access Membership – This is not a recurring payment – you are not locked in.

Email Mystic if you would like to trial for a few weeks first.

66 thoughts on “Women & Rome

  1. so much better to read history the clear-eyed perspective of the subjugated population. All forms of power must be examined with a two-way mirror, a scanning electron microscope, a very sharp scalpel, and a cold heart that burns anyway. thanks ms ciccone.

  2. I love this site. Always gets the grey cells pondering.

    My brain made instant links to Justin Trudeaus, ” because it’s 2015″ answer…

    And a story about girls burning their veils in a recently retaken Syrian city which had been under strict ISIL control

    The video of kidnapped schoolgirls now holding babies after being taken by boko haram

    I read the Astro and wonder sometimes whether I really want to watch the news that day. This year so far has brought out the best and worst of people.

    • It’s not the religion. The religion is just a means to an end. The end being in this case gender based power tripping. If religion didn’t exist, as it now does not in many parts of the world, they (would) find another way to project their mother-issues, ego wounds and selfish desires.

      • I just think it all worms and canker. Take this current pope, for example, he is just a ‘feel good’ stooge. They will never understand the human condition. They couldn’t handle having a woman pope. One time a dead pope was dragged thru the streets and found guilty. They were tacitly complicit with Hitler. They hide and defend paedofphiles. The list go on.

        I understand your point. If it was a car it would not make a roadworthy

    • but yes. you have a point anyway. little hovels full of little boys dressed as men, cementing each others place in the world and corrupting the genuinely holy.

  3. This is so great. Whenever I read Roman History in the past, usually by male writers, they leave you with the sense the women of Rome were, gosh darn, getting a pretty good deal! They could own property, hey, some of them were able to run a business!
    Yes.. if they weren’t property to some degree, which at least half or more were.

    The way rape was romanticised and rapists made heroes in Greek myth and Roman literature was so confusing to me as a girl. I couldn’t accept it was ok, yet there it was. The only way my tiny mind could understand it was to decide I would never be a woman.
    Denying my femininity for as long as I could was an unconscious goal I see now.
    Clearly it was very unsafe historically to be feminine, it meant subjugation, having to embrace being a victim or embracing death.
    (Obviously being a male slave you suffer the same objectification, but I didn’t know about that when I was a kid.)

    “Roman slang for prostitute is, “lupa,” aka female wolf”. Did not know this interpretation of the myth!

    Long live Roman Mayor Virginia Raggi.
    I must note, it is interesting that her name is derived from “Virgo” or virgin.
    How apt is it that someone with a name redolent of the Vestal Virgins, is the first female community leader of Rome? Sounds and time cycling.

    • p.s. Lilith in Aquarius – the evasive/freedom seeking sign – in the ‘don’t fuq with me’ 8th house.
      Opposite my Leo ‘let’s shine!’ Sun in the 2nd – Venus’s house.

      • Ah you have natal Lilith in the 8th: lucky you! I’m experiencing her in the 8th by way of her transit (Lilith currently between my Mars & Sun-Venus) & I’m loving the energy she brings there. Subvert all the things!

        • I have natal Lilith conjunct Mars in the 8th. I’ve been called subversive 😉 But I think I’ve worked through most of my anger issues. The really rough ones anyway.

          • My urge to subvert is still very much with me. Only difference between then & now is that I’ve learned to work smarter & be more focused with time. In my youth my subversive streak was more scattered, chaotic. Now, laser beam precision 😉

        • “Subvert all the things” 😀 lol!
          I read that the 8th House is very connected to the Astral. So whatever planetary energy you have there is highlighted.
          Potentially 8th House Lilith types are hyper sensitive to Lilith energy, especially when it is hidden but present?

          For Electro you might be sensitive to agression and an aggressive Lilith; rather even than embodying it – it’s awareness of it?

      • Natal Lilith in 8th too. Trans Lilith currently cruising 1st & about to face herself. Has just been on my AC-Neptune ….ripping veils off …. nothing but the truth. Liberation to move on from a new & clear perspective.

      • So, Virgin Ray regulating Rome! Awesome. There should be an action figure. A new Roman mythos is born.

      • Wow – that’s mad!
        My god her name makes it feel like she is the human embodiment of Vesta the Divine Protectress of Rome and Vesta invests her with her divine flame or beam of goddess power for guarding the city of Rome!!
        Viva Virginia Raggi!

      • The Lion the symbol of the Sun God /Goddess (just got that in my oracle as which image 2 meditate on) connects to Mercury in Leo.

      • Love this! As an abstainer of news media I was unaware of this exciting development. Thank you Mystic. Virgin Ray power all the way!

  4. Love your writing Carla x you let the facts speak for themselves. Always the most intelligent and persuasive approach. Thank you.

  5. Let’s not forget Artemisia Gentileschi. Born July 8 1593 in Rome, she was an accomplished Baroque painter whose works were often incorrectly attributed to male painters of the time. When she was 18, she was raped by one of her father’s apprentices, Agostina Tassi (her father had taught her to paint). It was considered that the best way to deal with the shame this brought to Artemisia and the family was for Artemisia and Tassi to marry. When he reneged on the deal Artemisia’s father had him charged with rape (Thankfully, she was a virgin at the time so the trial could go ahead). As part of the trial, Artemisia was tortured to ensure she was telling the truth. Even though Tassi was found guilty he never served any of his one year sentence. Interestingly, one of her father’s tenants was in the house at the time. This woman failed to respond to Artemisia’s cries for help during the rape and stated she knew nothing about what happened. It is considered by many that Artemisia’s focus on the importance of solidarity amongst women in many of her works stems from this.

  6. The last time I was in Rome all of the people praying and crying tears of rapture up the Santa Scala were women. The burden of their pain and suffering was relieved as they climbed the stairs on their knees in deep conversation with the God. I watched them and thought ‘good for them’. They believe.

    I had just been kicked out if the Lateran Palace where I had wandered in to look at the most beautiful and amazing frescos under all of the walkways. I said to the guard ‘I’m just quietly admiring these beautiful paintings! Surely that’s ok?!’

    ‘No’, he said. ‘It’s not OK! You must leave….They are OURS’.

    I went to say ‘But I am one of you! I was baptised a catholic’! And then I realised. It’s a stacked system.

    And now I do not chant the prayers if I ever go to mass because if I did I would be a hypocrite.

  7. I love Virginia’s photo. She looks exactly like I’d imagine a Vestal Virgin would look: flowy hair, billowing white top x

  8. I’ve never felt an affinity for Roman mythology/ancient history. I think it started in my childhood as I was quietly encouraged to subjugate myself & be a good Catholic girl; my 12th house Aqua Lilith resented the fuq out of that whole scene. Or maybe it started before this lifetime: ancient Rome was never my scene, of that I’m sure… or am i? My Gemini IC & South Node are unaspected, so that’s no help re past lives. Is there somewhere else in my chart I can look to get a sense of past life incarnations?

    • As you may know, I have spent a fair amount of time puddling about doing PLR. Strangely the places I remember most vividly have held the least interest in terms of visiting for me in reality. Been there done that?

      • I read somewhere once that being born under a Rx Saturn indicates a karmic retribution from the past getting played out in this lifetime. You ever hear that?

        • Soz to jump in but Sat is my only Rx and l have heard of that. I do feel it. Esp as it an exact trine to my Mars Pluto cj.

          • Hey you have it too? And that whole karmic past lives stuff resonates for you?

            Thanks for weighing in, pf. I’m going to look closer at my chart, & think harder on this matter…

            • Life has felt like a dour struggle at times. I work hard, a la my placements, but feel like l lose traction. And for someone who likes rear engined Porsches, that is hard to take.

              As always…do Saturn

        • We are the sum of all our ‘parts’ at all times, it isn’t necessarily linear, but I do think we choose to work through certain tangled we have created in one life and connect to another – not because it is linear but because the opportunity is better provided by one situation better than another.

          If Sat rx shows that such a connection is happening I feel it is important not to feel down hearted but to do your best and relax. We are alive in a million places at once, this life is a stroke of a paintbrush on a canvas of a million such brushstrokes. Perspective is to meditate on the canvas, not just the brushstroke. Or better still focus on the entire art gallery, 😉 . Karmic Retribution is a phrase that kind of doesn’t have much choice of self improvement or compassion in it to my mind!

          • Very Setherian, Sphinx. This and the Tao give me glimpses too.

            I don’t buy the Karmic Retribution biz. Smells like Original Sin. Describing Rx or Direct energies in terms of moral attributes or consequences sounds just like something out of the established & controlling religious doctrines – with their chains of guilt to keep one living in fear & self loathing – and therefore easily manipulated. No thanks.

            Rx energies are as much needed in the cycle of activity and passivity – action aimed to make oneself develop by acting/reacting & alternated with tuning in & reflecting.
            OR we could just relax, open our hearts & go with the flow, baby ;-).

            • Funnily, while I totally agree in sentiment not buying the Karmic Retribution biz, my personal experience is..I have seen Karmic Retribution pop up in the past life regression context in trance states for clients. It’s like I want to agree, but I can’t deny that, lol.

              This is not to say that Karmic Retro exists as an objective experience in any reality (as far as dreams aren’t reality?), but it seems to exist at the level of emotion.

              I see a person needing to become conscious of the great rend in their life fabric and give over their total being to surrender/apology/compassion for self/other quite regularly.
              Could it be done without consciously unentangling it? Dunno.

              Perhaps solidifying those emotional states into a person with a story is our way of transcending it, perhaps it is an objective reality at some level? It is not something I feel I can answer, but occur it does for some clients. And the process of asking for forgiveness/being forgiven in a dreaming state to such a person is immensely relieving/powerful upon leaving the dreaming state and whilst in it.

              Mainly I don’t think all of us can always just relax, open our hearts and go with the flow without understanding it a little deeper. I mean I can’t, my clients can’t, but maybe oodles of others can!

              • The last sentence was said in a very light spirit. Who the fuck CAN do that all the time, right?
                It’s not easy – but the actual practice of it changes one on a chemical/physical/emotional/spriritual level.
                Practice of this with breath work helps some people immensely.
                Just as going into past life regressions, under the guidance of an expert is one way – for some people. Going on a soul retrieval, taking DMA or mushrooms, going horse riding in a storm, self hypnosis, meditation, dream work, trance work, scrying, or getting the right bodywork and releasing cell memory another. There are many ways to untangle – consciously or otherwise. The search makes the path.

                My bug bear is with creating dogma i.e., stating something that can’t be known with certainty e.g., Saturn Rx is karmic retribution. I’ve had enough of dogma from organised religions, and pseudo spiritual manipulators who have terrorised vulnerable people throughout the ages. Energies are forces that we can try to understand & learn from OR learn to use (or not) – and people’s experiences are another thing entirely.

          • Let’s keep in mind that retros are not actually retrograde movement. They just look like that from earth.
            I mentioned here once something that I had read that resonated. It was that progress, growth, is like a chain of events. When you reach the top of one link you have to move down to get onto the base of the next link. Life would be very dry if experience was purely forward motion on a clear highway. Sometimes you have to take the side tracks, the untrodden paths that teach a different way to the summit.

            • So true, the multi track existence is somewhat irritating to the human conscious mind, like ugh, life has to be so confusing? But in the dream state we are always juggling threads and moving from experience to experience and light speed.

            • But if they are a thing (bcos using the Earth as the centre) surely they are thing. It really is an ebb n flow probably

              My progressed Saturn is STILL Rx (I think). When you think about you’d plump for any other planet, bar Saturn, to be Rx

          • Dunno the stuff you know Sfinx re Karmic stuff. But l do feel Saturn Rx thing. Maybe bcos its opp my Asc; esp being in Cap. I do agree about not being fatalistic about it tho. Also being trine my Mars Pluto cj surely must be a something. I know l have busted my arse, in my employment history, to not really be considered an anybody. Except the schoolkids. They know.

            I feel nothing about my 10th other than satisfaction of teaching kids. And that is good. But my Uranity prevents me from being taken seriously. Plus saying the right thing at the right time does not win friends.

            • Ha, Uranity needs to be an astrological term, it’s totally a thing. I love your satisfaction at teaching.
              We here know too, xx.

              • I also might add my Sat in Cap is in the 6th with the Mars/Pluto in the Virgoan 2nd. Maybe those 2 houses imbalance my perception of an empty 10th.

                I srsly dunno which outer planet l am from day to day or week to week. I have done the tests on “sky’ something and Nep is off the charts, Pluto v high and Uranus also. And outrigged by a strong Moon.

                I am just an intense obsessive emotional nutcase who dreams a lot. Ha fuqn ha.

        • Saturn is Retro for nearly half the year. And honestly, you could argue that everyone has karma from the past. If karma, as such, is real than i don’t think any humans can measure it and it can also be unhelpful.

    • i have read about 8th house placements being relevant for karmic, uh rebalancing. (mars in my case)
      dk foundation site touch on this a bit in their house links

      • That is interesting Pi, btw where is your Lilith? I remember us talking about the tie between Lilith and Moon her natural connection to the chart. Lilith as a shadow.

        Mars in the 8th is also pretty powerful in owning other’s shadow’s. I find Mars interesting as much as Mars is about courage, I think it is about fear/adrenaline, the shadow of courage.
        I really liked the Jon Snow battle scene in the last Games o’ Thrones episodes in that it’s just chaotic. Plunging into chaos.

  9. I…”get” the politics of the Vestal virgins. I get Vesta vibes a LOT via synchronicity so this is just well, I loves it.

    Shine on, Beloved – love the community and may they love you in return.

  10. I notice Italians are not the purist Catholics that, say, some Irish are.
    Despite their admiration for the power of the Church, they engage a pagan reality which is their charm to the rest of the world. When I lived in Italy, I felt I was being initiated into how to live with ease, and of course eat better than I ever had before. Yes, there lurks a shadowy fatalism that could spring from the darkness of some of the Church’s ways, and prob many Italians like being hosted in and out of the embodiment, but really believing in the Church message? No. Why can’t they now be evidence of the goddess? Who better with their true understanding of beauty It’s theirs to flow with.

    • it’s interesting isn’t it. maybe it is easier to be sensual in lovely temperate italy. and yet still, the celtic goddesses and gaelic culture (? this is wrong word, mean gaelic everything)

  11. Checked out the Vestal Virgin Flame’s wiki – her party is called the “5 Pointed Star”. Just reminds me of the transit of Venus Lucifer – for more Goddess Awakening symbolism, lol.

    Look at her hands – the long, straight, practical head line – super smart. Square hands & short get-it-done fingers, with thoughtful knots in the joints. And the powerful will in that long engineer’s thumb.

  12. FUQ YEAH IN CAPITALS. Can she please overthrow the Catholic church and make Goddess worship a thing again? And give Vestal Virgins the right to have sex and lives.

  13. I was just traveling in rural area of China, and my guide was asking me about American politics. She told me that in China, this year was considered to be the “year of the woman.” A female president was elected in Taiwan, and she had some other hopeful examples. Essentially, the message was, this is the year for female leaders. So this is exciting to see! Here’s to fucking Trump going down in fiery flames back to the gutter swamp he came from.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mystic Medusa