Omicron, the new variant of covid-19 has jumped the queue; following the Greek letters of the alphabet, the new variant should have been called Nu however to -ahem- avoid global confusion the WHO (World Health Organisation) have decided to skip both “Nu” and” Xi” and go straight to Omicron, the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet.
Between Delta and Omicron there were other variants such as Zeta, Eta, and Theta… though apparently not considered remarkable enough to elicit much interest. Omicron on the other hand, according to a top UK health official, is serious, and vaccines will “almost certainly” be less effective.
Here we are at the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet with nine more to go. Omicron has a numerical value of 70 and I couldn’t help wondering if this reflects the current plan to vaccinate 70% of the population… and my next thought was a chilling one as I considered Project Omega- the last letter of the Greek alphabet.
In Astronomy, Omicron is the designated fifteenth star in a constellation; stars groups include Omicron Andromedae, Omicron Ceti, and Omicron Persei.
In the spirit of myth weaving, and stories of the stars…and having recently been diving deeply into the Medusa myth- my interests is Omicron Persei.
In Greek mythology, Perseus is the young hero who slays the head of Medusa aided in his quest by magical tools given to him by the gods. Among these sacred objects is a pair of winged sandals (talaria) crafted by Hephaestus of imperishable gold and said to fly their rightful owner- Hermes- as swift as any bird. Adorned with the blessings of the gods and wresting the secret of the whereabouts of Medusa from the one eyed Graeae (the Gray sisters), Perseus set out to do what until then no man had been able to do, kill the petrifying serpent headed Gorgon by decapitation. His mission was successful.
The constellation Perseus is surrounded by several other constellations including Andromeda to the west, Cassiopeia to the north, and Aries and Taurus to the south. The brightest star in the constellation is Algol (β Persei), known as the demon star and is said to depict the severed head of Medusa.
Omicron Perseus is also known as Atik which means “shoulder,” and refers to shoulder of the Pleiades; it is located in the winged sandalled left foot of our hero slayer. Hermes (Mercury), Messenger of the Gods, who knows all routes to any destination and who is able to cross all boundaries is at work here.
Interestingly, today on the release of PM Boris Johnson’s briefing outlining further restrictions on account of Omicron, the Sun is conjunct Mercury at 6 degrees of Sagittarius.
A clever trickster sent to do the bidding of the gods Hermes also symbolizes the mercurial adaptability of the mind and its channels of communication. Mercury is symbolic of our mental energy transmitted through speaking, writing, and thought… it influences how we perceive the world.
Mercury is also associated with serpent energy which is symbolised by his staff, the caduceus, with two snakes crowned by wings or a winged helmet. The motif of the two snakes is also present in the myth of Medusa… the blood from her severed head is gifted to Asclepius, god of medicine by Athena; the right vial has the ability to heal and to bring back the dead while the left vial has the power to kill… just like the venom of a snake.
In alchemy the two serpents represent masculine and feminine energies, or solar and lunar energies which must be balanced for transmutation to occur- the alchemical marriage.
In the solar hero, snake or dragon slaying myths-myths that have created energetic blueprints in the human psyche-the question we must ask is, to what extent are the soli- lunar energies balanced.
Today I could not help noticing as Boris Johnson delivered his briefing from Westminster, that the podium he stood upon had an image of the Lion and the Unicorn on the front. The Lion represents the solar condition while the Unicorn represents the lunar; in that particular image the Unicorn, as is often the case, is chained.
Is it time for a new myth, has the solar hero story gone too far, blown itself up?
The symbolism of the pandemic is a rich multi layered tapestry that sets fire to the imagination… maybe one reason that Omicron was able to jump the queue is down to help from Mercury and his winged sandals. Just a thought.