11-12 Gemini/Virgo/Sagittarius/Pisces cross

  • Gemini: A Topsy Sassily Asserting Herself.
  • Virgo: A Bride With Her Veil Snatched Away.
  • Sagittarius: A Flag That Turns Into An Eagle That Crows.

  • Pisces: An Examination Of Initiates.



Topsy is a character in the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  I briefly paraphrase the notes from Schmoop and University of Virginia as follows: Topsy is cheerful and ignorant and has learned that she is wicked though her abusive childhood with her previous white owners.  When she is bought out of pity to be trained into a good Christian, she is defiant and no punishment deters her due to her own resilience to abuse.  Her role in the novel was Stowe’s way of showing how people are depraved if they are treated so, and that whites must learn to love blacks if they are to get the best from them (and themselves!)  The character of Topsy illustrates Stowe's view that whites projected their wickedness onto blacks, that whites were in fact responsible for another person’s wickedness – what once was a romantic perspective of the self is now more realistic, truthful and confronting (Virgo).  In the novel, Ophelia realises she can’t bear to touch a black person even as she criticises white treatment of blacks – she is forced to see her own prejudices.  The Sagittarian symbol describes how something is perceived one way (a flag) but is actually now an eagle, and further, it crows – ie the more we watch, the more we see and the more is revealed so the final understanding ("crows") is quite far from the initial impression ("flag").  The flag is what people unite under, and the eagle may embody the values and spirit of what the the flag represents, the crowing is letting you know about it, like a a wake-up call!  The flag could also mean something to note, like a "red" flag, an issue "flagged" or highlighted - that is, Topsy's behaviour has been noted, then realised as the symptom of a larger societal ill.

The Piscean examination of initiates, probing, looking deeper, connects with the Gemini Topsy who says “yes, this is me!  I am expressing myself exactly” even as we know that the “me” that she thinks she is, comes from what others have told her she is, and has very few dimensions to it.  She is capable of more “self”, and through a relationship with Eva who shows her kindness and love, learns hope and compassion by the end of the novel. 

The cross has halves of seeing (Virgo veil snatched and Pisces examination) and communicating (Gemini asserting, Sagittarian flag crowing) within the theme of finding the true self.


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