|Season of Leo: July 23 – August 22, 2017|
Bringer of Cosmic Renewal
The hottest time of the year in the northern
hemisphere coincides with a forty-day period when Sirius – the alpha
star in the constellation Canis Major (the “greater dog”) – rises with
the Sun. Hence, this time is known as the “Dog Days” (July 4 – August
11). But throughout the ages, Sirius (Greek for “scorcher”) also
represented the appearance of a foremost goddess – Sothis of the Greeks,
Sopdet of the Egyptians, Rudra (Shiva) of the Vedas.
Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky that
rises after the constellation Orion. The forty days of her rising with
the Sun were regarded as most sacred in the ancient cultures of the
Levant – from Egypt to Babylonia, including Greece, India, and as far
East as China. Near the end of the forty day Solar conjunction, the star
appears on the horizon at dawn before the solar aura becomes visible
(the heliacal rising). This was viewed by the ancients as “the herald of
the Sun’s divine companion.” This marks the beginning of the sacred
year and the rejuvenation of the temple.
Standing alone in the heavens before daylight
illumines the sky, Sirius is indeed a marvelous sight. You may greet the
time-honored goddess when she rises at the ancient city of Heliopolis
in Egypt (30 North latitude) on August 5th at 4:38 am local time
July 31st is Midsummer or Lammas Eve, with August 1st
the midpoint between Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox. It opens the
period of First Harvest and the festivals of thanksgiving to follow. We
celebrate by offering the first fruits of our summer’s labors – if they
are not grain or the yield of the soil, we should offer our
inspirations and prayers for the sustenance of all in our circle. In the
Celtic/Old Irish tradition, this day is known as Lughnasadh, a feast of
the goddess Tailtiu and her consort Lugh (deities of Life and Light).
It is also the initiation of harvest time, and a period of truces and
The Sun enters Leo on July 22nd at 11:16 am, with a dark-of-the-Moon
phase and the Sun in a conjunction with Mars. This foretells a
turbulent season, with ulterior motives slowly coming to light. Justice
is invoked with Libra rising at the nation’s capitol and Venus as
significator is domiciled in the Ninth House of Judicial matters. She is
opposed by obstructive Saturn, but is soon joined by the legislative
powers to go forward. Crime and punishment dominates the news.
Two New Moons take place in Leo this month, each an astrological
“Blue Moon” (a Lunation followed by another in the same Sign). The first
takes place on July 23 at 5:46 am (0º Leo 44’), at the cusp of royalty
and sovereignty. While we may look back at notable figures that have
risen to divine grace in the past, we must firmly look at those who
aspire in the present but fail to govern in benevolent ways. This New
Moon, swiftly following the ingress of the Sun into Leo, is marked by a
martial conjunction that rises in the east of America, closing an old
cycle of leadership and looking to a new one that emerges. It comes with
turmoil and conflict, but it empowers with new information and accords.
The Full Moon takes place on August 7th at 2:11 pm (15º Leo 25’),
bringing a partial Lunar eclipse, with a duration of 1 hour and 57
minutes (equivalent to almost two months of influence). Lunar eclipses
bring uncertainty, emotional turmoil, and suspension of belief. The
eclipse horoscope shows Sun and Moon moving away from Mars, which brings
relief from suspense and disagreements. But leadership is imperiled by
its own fictions, as Mercury, representing the executive, is opposed by
The next New Moon takes place on August 21st at 2:30 pm (28º Leo
53’) that brings a Total Solar Eclipse. This event will be the first in
more than half a century that is visible in the continental United
States, cutting a swath of darkness across the middle of the country,
from West to East coast. The astrological convention is that the
duration of a Solar eclipse, especially one of totality, translates into
years of influence. Here, the duration of 2 minutes and 40 seconds
equals two years and eight months of unsettled conditions. The horoscope
of this event shows a stellium of planets in the Ninth House of
judicial matters, which will dominate the period of the eclipse
influence. Courts will decide the fate of leadership, while Jupiter in
the House of Legislature promotes inclusiveness and liberalism. Women
work behind the scenes to resolve the uncertainties.
Uranus turns to retrograde motion on August 3rd at 1:31 am (28º
Aries 31’), signalling a return to examining unresolved questions and
unfulfilled promises. Foreign threats may be subsumed for a period of
time, but readiness is called for when dealing with known enemies.
Mercury turns to retrograde motion on August 12th at 9:01 pm (11º
Virgo 38’) with deceptive Neptune rising at the U.S. capitol and Saturn
posited at the Washington, D.C. midheaven. These signatures do not bode
well for an untroubled governing of the nation, as harsh truths are
revealed and others are buried for later disclosure. Finance, debt, and
taxes dominate the atmosphere.
Season of Cancer: June 21 – July 22, 2017
|Celestial Mother and Father
In the season of Cancer, the world mother is elevated, just as the Sun
is elevated in the northern sky during this time. The qualities of
compassion, generosity, fidelity, and protection are associated with
this archetype, but they are by no means reserved for the female
lifestream. We also honor our fathers in June, and may tend to associate
an unyielding, authoritarian nature with the paternal role of modern
societies, overlooking that at other places and times the prototype of
father takes on the qualities we value in the world mother.
The Native American Lakota spirit of all creation,
Wakan Tonka ("great spirit”), is the giver of life, healer of all beings,
and peacemaker in all accords. It is said that at the moment of
creation, Wakan Tonka gave an instruction that every tribe was to
| • Take care of Mother Earth and the other colors of man.
• Respect this Mother Earth and Creation.
• Honor all life, and support that honor.
• Be grateful from the heart for all life.
• Thank the Creator at all times for all life.
• Love, and express that love.
• Be humble.
• Be kind with one's self and with others.
• Share thoughts and obligations.
• Be honest with one's self and with others.
• Be responsible for these sacred instructions and share them with other nations.
Lakota Medicine Wheel
| In ancient Egypt, the roles are reversed – Nut the
sky is mother, Geb the Earth is father. They are separated by the god
of air, Shu, and the solar boat of the Sun-god sails over their
horizons in an eternal journey through light and darkness.
Geb is often depicted as a gander and called “the
great cackler.” Since geese are known to have but one mate in life and
fiercely protective of their their young, Geb represented to the
ancient people the divine father as watcher and provider, the ideal of
family life. The landscape of terrestrial existence is his domain,
where – in concert with the cosmic rhythms of his consort Nut – he engenders the
cycles of vegetation to feed the living, the dead, and divine beings.
Egyptian Geese – Tomb Inscription at Meidum
The month of June brings a solstice, a “standing still” of the Sun as
it appears at the zenith in the sky, it’s most northerly position on
the horizon for the year. In Neopagan lore it is the feast of Litha,
opposite the feast of Yule at the Winter Solstice in the sacred year.
To honor the peak of the Sun’s passage through the sky, bonfires are
lit throughout Europe, with each country interpreting the Sun’s ascent
to the north in a distinctive way. But a commonality is shared as
well – all recognize the creative fire of the Solar gods, past and
present, east and west.
Native American Plains Indians hold the renewing Sun Dance at the
Summer Solstice and Hindu tradition holds a number of celebrations
throughout the month to the goddess Parvati, consort of Shiva and
mother of Ganesha.
The day before the Solstice is Midsummer's Night's Eve, traditionally a
time of magic and cosmic power. Dreams and the visitation of fairies
are attributed to this night, as Shakespeare so cleverly demonstrated
in his timeless play of this event.
Tradition also has it that medicinal plants and magical herbs gathered
at midnight are said to be at their full potency of the year and may be
dried or distilled for the coming months. Cancer-ruled plants harvested
on this day include St. John’s wort (Hypericum), associated with John
the Baptist, whose feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic church
on June 24. The plant is said to banish depression and treat
alcoholism. Others include Catmint, Lemon Balm, Poppy, Cardamom,
Chamomile, and Licorice.
The Sun enters Cancer
on June 21st at 0:24 am (midnight), with deceptive Neptune rising in
the nation’s capitol. Issues pertaining to the chief executive will be
foremost, with Saturn in the Tenth House of Presidency. He is opposed by
the workings of Mercury, lord of communications and the press. Matters
of national security will continue this month, followed by setbacks
brought by climate change. Major weather events, flooding, and
firestorms will impact both coasts.
The New Moon
takes place on June 23rd at 10:31 pm (2º Cancer 47’) with loquacious
Mercury taking the lead. Now is the best time to negotiate with the
principals and skip those inside the chain of command. The days ahead
could be volatile, laying the groundwork for productive plans should go
forward while the mood is welcoming. Mars in the Sixth House of Health
Care in the nation’s horoscope foretells disharmony and continuing
trouble in reaching accord.
The Full Moon
takes place on July 9th at 00:07 am / midnight (17º Capricorn 09’) with
the Moon in detriment and closing in on precarious Pluto while opposing
combative Mars. This will create a dangerous atmosphere of hostility
and rancor. Stay low, non-confrontational, and calm in your dealings
with strangers. This two-week period initiates a troublesome
undercurrent in the national spirit that will peak in mid to late
Oberon and the Mermaid
Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Eve
Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1821–1901)
June 18 commences the season of Ethiopian rains that bring the Nile
floods. It was honored by the ancient Egyptians as Gerh-en-Matuiy (“Night
of the Teardrop”), when the goddess Isis wept on learning the death of
Osiris and commenced her journey down the Nile in search of his body.
The Islamic and Coptic communities similarly celebrate it as Lailat al
June 23rd is Midsummer's Night's Eve, a night
of magic and wonder. This is the Eve of St. John (the Baptist), which
replaced the ancient celebrations of Summer Solstice. In medieval times,
this marked the end of the planting season and a period of respite
before the Fall harvests – certainly a time for vacation from work.
June 27 honors Aestas
(“summer") the Roman patroness of the season, a corn goddess and consort
of the Sun god Phoebus. She brings warmth and protection to all that
grows in her season.
July 3rd begins the “dog days,” so named for
the star Sirius (alpha Canis Majoris, in the constellation of the Great
Dog), which rises near dawn for the next month. This event brings the
hottest days of the year, but also the most honored, as Sirius is the
herald of Isis in her aspect as lifegiver, guide of initiation
mysteries, and the herald of rebirth. The brightest star in the night
sky, its rising at dawn marked Summer Solstice in the Pyramid Age and
the seasonal rising of the Nile throughout ancient Egyptian history.
Season of Gemini: May 20 – June 20, 2017
by Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617)
From Earth to Air
As the gentle climate of May hastens our gardens to
bloom, the sanctified Earth welcomes the winds of change and motion
brought by elemental Air. Gemini is one of four “double-bodied” Signs,
representing influences that alternate between the practical and ideal,
the earthly and the heavenly. Just as Mercury transmits information from
the Olympian heights to the mundane world, we must divide our time and
render to the powers that be our attention, yet not forgetting our
obligations to ourselves. In Gemini, it is awakening to the inner wisdom
and paying heed to the intuitive guidance that the lord Mercurius
communicates to us.
How often do we bypass our own insights, allowing
instead our desire for acceptance or fear of criticism to subdue our
better instincts? An understanding of what the Bringer of Knowledge
truly provides – the inner sense of what is true around us – is what
this season awakens. As the plants in our gardens sprout, let our
natural gifts of knowing the ways of the spiritual wind unfold.
As the season transitions to Gemini, the mistress
Hathor gives way to the matron Juno, Roman goddess who presides over
marriage and the essential union of family and state. But while she
oversees these affairs in one’s culture, she also opens the door to
individual wisdom as the “bringer of light,” a power in the sky who
gives vision to newborns and insight to her followers.
In Greece, Hestia embodied the powers of the hearth
to bless those who were nourished by its fires. In this role the goddess
lives among mortals, to protect orphans and children and ensure they
always returned to the altar of sustenance. She is honored by the
charity we extend to others by sharing the food we prepare from our
2nd Century CE Roman
In the ancient world, some were dedicated for life to
know and honor the ways of the inner life, fulfilling this duty to both
gods and men. In Rome it was the Vestals, a celibate priestesshood of
custodians who safeguarded legal and historical documents and the
genealogies of the aristocracy. But in addition to these civic duties,
their task was the keeping of the sacred fire from which all hearths in
Rome were alighted. This, in reflecting the character of their patroness
Vesta, “the living flame.”
Between June 9–14 the Romans celebrated the Vestalia,
both in public and private. The hearth flame was renewed from the
sanctuary of the Vestals, and special cakes of salt and freshly ground
grain were prepared and offered at the family altars. This is an ideal
time to share the duties of cooking with a gathering of friends and
family. On the 15th of June, homes are cleaned by ceremonial sweeping,
the burning of incense, and baking of newly leavened bread. Vesta
governs the transformation of plant life to food, the alchemy of cooking
and the culinary art. Her glyph represents the flame rising from the
hearth and the creative power of fire, the action that makes ordinary
tasks sacred. We should recognize this miracle in every meal we
prepare and offer to others and ourselves.
We also call on Vesta, as keeper of records, to help
us locate our lost keys and wallets. She protects door bolts,
storerooms, and warns of dangers to the safety of the domicile. Now is
the time to scrutinize the integrity of your living space with an
offering to Vesta and a thorough check on your house locks and keys.
by Frederick Lord Leighton (1830-1896)
| Cosmic Events
The Sun enters Gemini on
May 20th at 4:31 pm, with the Sun posited in the Eighth House of Crisis
and Investigations. Here, collective assets are housed – the taxes,
properties, and benefits of the citizenry. While this area is
highlighted for the coming month, the split interests brought by the
Gemini season will not be reconciled in the short term. In turn, the
Sixth House Pisces Moon underscores the health of the nation that
has already been imperiled by battles in the legislature (Mars in the
Ninth House of Congress in hostile aspect). At the same time, Venus
moves out of the Sixth House into the Seventh of Public recognition,
aided by a friendly Jupiter aspect that resolves, at long last, future
issues of wellness and healing.
The New Moon begins on
May 25th at 3:44 pm (4º Gemini 47’), occupying the same Eighth House of
the Ingress. This signifies some recognition of clandestine issues with
resolve to bring them to light, though the political divide (Gemini Sun
and Moon) prevents clarity. Some six months of intense scrutiny will be
required to unravel the mysteries presented to the public. Continuous
surprise revelations are brought by the Venus-Uranus conjunction in the
Seventh House of Public Affairs.
On May 26th, Ramadan begins at sunset.
The Full Moon takes
place on June 9th at 9:10 am (18º Sagittarius 53’), with Uranus ruling
the landscape in Washington, D.C. The executive branch is chaotic, while
once-favored liaisons depart from the turmoil of the day. Depression
and disappointment rule the atmosphere in the coming weeks, but a strong
woman leads the way to decisive action.
|Season of Taurus: April 19 – May 20, 2017
the ancient Mysteries, the return of Spring was understood as the
descent of fiery spirit (Aries) into the world of life once more. It is
followed by the cycle of implantation (Taurus), which brings about the
sowing of spiritual vitality into the soil of terra firma. This is a time that prompts us to think practically and engage in acts that affirm our connection to nature and her abundance.
The ancients interacted with their surroundings through communion with the gods. In the Tellus Mater, a
Roman festival celebrating the mother of Earth, the fruits of the last
year’s harvest were offered to coax the goddess into replenishing the
grain stores in the coming season. She was honored on April 15th with
the feasts of Fordicidia and Hordicidia, an offering of
cows and calves. Sacrifices were never wasted in those times; after
partaking of the earthly oblation, the deity’s powers were endowed to
the living through a shared exchange of food and drink.
May is named for Maius on the ancient Roman calendar, honoring Maia Majesta,
goddess of Spring. On the 1st of May, priests of Vulcan (god of
fabrication) presided over her festival. At the same time, the goddess
Pomona – a tree spirit who embodies the first bloom of orchards in the
Spring – was honored along with Vertumnus, god of seasons. Together,
they tend the gardens of the gods.
The traditional Celtic-Welsh feast of Beltane
(“feast of fire”) is celebrated on the 1st of May, commemorated by the
pagan community as the pastoral commencement of summer and the union of
the Lord and Lady of the season. The night before (April 30th) is the
Teutonic Walpurgisnacht, reserved for rites to banish the last spirits of Winter and erect the May pole for the next day’s feasting.
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833–1898)
ancient cultures viewed the cow as a manifestation of the mother
goddess, the nurturer of heaven and provider on Earth. In Egypt, Hathor
presided over the harvesting festivities celebrated in May, beginning
with the pharaonic ritual of “driving the calves” across the threshing
floor to banish the serpents of darkness – literally and figuratively.
Following this, the great Festival of the Valley ensured, with the
barque of the goddess traveling south from her seat at Dendera to the
throne of her consort Horus in Edfu.|
The Sun enters Taurus
on April 19th at 5:27 pm with Mercury retrograde within minutes of the
Solar aura. Words matter now, though they will be inconsistent or
irrelevant to critical matters at hand. Mars conjoins the Pleiades,
promoting conflict but restrained by the Fates. The Aquarius Moon raises
an important woman to seek peaceful resolutions but the effort eludes
The New Moon
takes place on April 26th at 8:16 am (6º Taurus 27’) heralds diplomatic
initiatives that may not produce immediate results but will promote
long-awaited changes. Mercury passes through the turmoil brought
by Uranus, signalling a relief from tense conditions but a warning to be
on guard. In the U.S. horoscope, secrets and duplicity await disclosure
that come to light in May-June.
Mercury turns to direct motion
on May 3rd at 12:33 pm (24º Aries 16’), still in the uncertain zone of
Uranus, with new threats of instability in the air. Until Mercury
passes his initial retrograde station on May 20th, promises are
unreliable and indecision affects deliberating bodies.
Ramesses II driving four calves into the presence of Amun-Re Kamutef at Karnak
The Full Moon
takes place on May 10th at 5:42 pm (20º Scorpio 24’) with financial and
tax matters dominating the society’s interests. Mars and Neptune join in
an unfriendly square that disrupts the health of the collective with
few avenues for immediate relief. Mercury and Uranus still cause
uncertainty, though relief from stress is near.
The Taurus Full Moon
is honored in the East as Wesak, the traditional Buddhist festival that
marks the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha.
Gautama, the Buddha
Photo by Michael Hoefner
Season of Aries: March 20 – April 19, 2017
Awakening by Maxfield Parrish (1870–1966)
The Vernal (vernalis, “spring”) Equinox has been honored since ancient times as the
transition from the hibernation of one season to the awakening of
another. In the northern hemisphere, this event heralds the planting
cycle; for skywatchers it is the astronomical beginning of a new year.
Visually, the Spring Equinox (equi, “equal” and nox, “night," referring to the balance of day and night)
marks the time when the Sun crosses the celestial equator and moves
north; it will visually appear high on the horizons until its southerly
descent begins in the Fall.
In ancient Egypt,
Spring brought the return of the constellation Sah (Orion) to the night
sky, a harbinger of the reborn Osiris who takes the form of the divine
son, Horus. One of the god’s names is Wennefer (“who springs forth”),
which expresses the power of this divinity to regenerate. The hieroglyph
of his name is the desert hare, over the ages it morphed into the
Easter bunny. But Osiris, the archetypal slain god who cyclically
returns, is half of a spiritual saga that formed the foundation of the
ancient Mysteries. The rest of the story is the cycle of wanderings and
magical acts of his consort Isis, who diligently sought justice for her
son’s usurped throne and who mystically restored the broken body of her
slain husband. She follows Orion in her celestial form of Sopdet
(Sothis), the star that rises after Orion.
The Neopagan festival of Ostara
combines a number of ancient traditions for Spring observances. Among
them, the Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess Eostre (whose name is the origin
of estrogen) is honored for the return of the growing season.
The ancients interacted with their surroundings through communion with the gods. In the Tellus Mater,
a Roman festival celebrating the mother of Earth, the fruits of the
last year’s harvest were offered to coax the goddess into replenishing
the grain stores in the coming season. She was honored on April 15th
with the feasts of Fordicidia and Hordicidia, an offering
of cows and calves. Sacrifices were never wasted in those times; after
partaking of the earthly oblation, the deity’s powers were endowed to
the living through a shared exchange of food and drink.
The embodiment of Spring is the Greek
Chloris, goddess of greenery and growth. Consort of Zephyrus, god of
the West wind, she governs fields and gardens, which come to life in
her season. She brought the Rose into being from a lifeless nymph, a
metaphor of nature’s power to awaken our inner beauty. With her
consort, she also gives life to the supreme goddess of devotion,
Cybele, the Phrygian mother of the gods and
personification of Earth, chose Attis, an innocent shepherd youth, as
her consort. Believed to have been born from a virgin birth, he was
tricked into suicide by jealous gods and died on a Friday. Cybele
resurrected him mystically after three days of mourning, and each year
his return to life was reprised during the Spring Equinox. The
festival, known as the Hilaria, is celebrated on March 25th with the
raising of a Pine tree. This is the time to organize the coming
plantings, start your seedlings, and visibly engage the mystic force of
life in your environment.
April 1st is the feast of Veneralia, dedicated to the Roman Venus
Verticordia (“changer of hearts”), the goddess who restores purity and
intent. As we are in the season of renewal, this deity gives attention
to the ideals that have hibernated through a winter of isolation from
our kindred spirits, those who share life with us on Earth. Let us
“change our hearts” from personal concerns to share with others what
the goddess has already provided in our lives.
April also heralds the season of Fortuna Virilis, the goddess “who
makes men virile.” She was invoked by Roman women to ensure happy
marriages and strong sons. Regarded as Bona Dea, “the good goddess,”
she brings abundance and assures a time of plenty. We would do well to
invoke her for the sake of all who seek respite from the fears of the
Der Frubling (Spring)
Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805–1873)
| Cosmic Events
The Sun enters Aries
on March 20th at 6:29 am with the Moon and Saturn conjoined in the 10th
House of Leadership in the U.S. horoscope. This bodes negatively for
the executive branch of the nation and sheds a pall of dismay and worry
on the citizenry. Though Spring begins now in the western hemisphere,
the planet of the season Mars (ruler of Aries) is buried deep in the
quiet soil of Taurus. This may bring a delayed prosperity in six months,
in the meantime economic activity remains static.
The New Moon
takes place on March 27th at 10:57 pm (7º Aries 37’) with little in the
way of new enterprises gaining traction. Despite the vitality of
springtime, hesitation rules the coming month, though plenty in the way
of revelations are brought by Mercury’s conjunction with Uranus in the
Sixth House of Health and Employment.
Saturn turns to retrograde motion
on April 6th at 1:06 am (27º Sagittarius 48’), delaying progress for
international accords. Financial markets will remain slow, especially
when Mercury adds to delays and turns to retrograde motion
on April 9th at 7:15 pm (4º Taurus 51’). Banking news is not favorable
and international travel is further curtailed by security concerns.
The Full Moon
takes place on April 11th at 2:08 am (21º Libra 33’) with dramatic news
on the horizon. Pluto rising at the U.S. capitol portends the uncovering
of secrets and a powerful effort to alter the status quo. The Moon
departing from a conjunction to Jupiter in the Ninth House of judicial
affairs brings satisfaction to the public. Mars in Taurus posited in the
Fourth House of the nation’s landscape indicates increased earth
disruptions, especially in the northwest.
Venus turns to direct motion
on April 15th at 6:17 am (26º Pisces 55’), offering some respite from
the delays and worries brought by the Mercury and Saturn retrogrades.
The social atmosphere brightens and idealism is forwarded by charismatic
Season of Pisces: February 18 – March 20, 2017
The Well of Memory
When the Sun enters Pisces, we enter the cosmic sea of timelessness and
rejuvenation, where we may encounter the spirits of water – divinities
who have been both honored and feared from the beginning of time.
In Babylon there is Tiamat,
the primordial being who lives in the waters of the abyss before time
became manifest. Through her we are connected to the ancient sea on
which our hopes and aspirations sail – the collective unconscious. And
so we may use this time to tap into our spiritual reservoir and draw on
the strengths we often forget.
In ancient Egypt, the water goddess initially takes form as the frog-headed Heqet,
dweller in the primordial swamp. She is the source of cosmic
proliferation, the bringer of births in all dimensions of celestial
life. Heqet brings life to the barren, and in this cycle we can depend
on her for inspiration and the visions of what is possible.
In the physical world, the Egyptian Nut is the mother
of the starry heavens, the keeper of exalted spirits in the guise of
celestial asterisms, mistress of enchantments in the incubation sleep of
the temple. Through Nut we may remain connected to our ancestral
heritage, both human and divine. She also takes us to the well of
memory, past and future.
Nut, Sky Goddess of Ancient Egypt
Naiad nymph of springs of the river Sperkheios
– Otto Theodore Gustav Lingner (1856-1917)
The nature spirits of ancient Greece assume great
number as water nymphs – the Nereides (goddesses of the Sea), Naiads
(beings of fresh water, brooks and foundation stones), and Oceanids
(powerful children of Oceanus and Tethys). Each is a mirror of wisdom,
enchantment, or inspiration, and each is a gift we may access in the
cycle of Piscean contemplation.
Pisces, last sign in the annual cycle of the Zodiac,
marks a period of completion and preparation for a new journey. The Ichthys
(twin fish), who represent Aphrodite and Eros in disguise, swim in the
waters of baptism, where we are not cleansed of any mortal stain
invented by false prophets, but returned to the amniotic waters of
renewal and made whole again.
March 1st is a day sacred to Juno Lucina
(Greek: Hera), guardian of women in childbirth. It was celebrated in
ancient times in the festival of Matronalia, when women would unbind
their hair and remove all knotted clothing, to dispel any hinderings of a
safe childbirth. For husbands, it was customary to bring offerings to
the temples for the well being of their wives and children. The day was
also honored by the Vestals, keepers of the royal genealogies and
divinatory records of the temples.
The realm of Hera is
the open sky. Appropriate rituals at this time include offering bowls of
water at the family shrine to quench our thirst for security and
solidarity among the shared blood, daily ablutions performed to remind
us of the coming Spring, and sacred baths for evoking dream and
March 8th is
International Women’s Day. This is a time to honor all who bring life
into the world and ensure that in some way we support safe and
accessible childbearing resources. If you know a physician, midwife, or
family counselor, show your acknowledgment and appreciation. Likewise
for all organizations – local and global – dedicated to providing health
care for the safe delivery of children in countries less fortunate than
The Sun enters Pisces
on February 18th at 6:32 am with the Sun conjoined to the Moon’s
South Node – an indication of poor vitality and in this instance, the
Sun’s powers subsumed by the rush of strong ocean currents. This brings a
preponderance of water – rain, flood, rising seas. The Piscean realm is
now possessed by the immovable force of Neptune, whose influence
remains stationary in his own Sign. The last time Neptune transited the
Sign of Pisces (1847-1861), collective struggles for independence from
tradition and servitude took place, while seemingly unified nations
broke away from authoritarian rule. This is symbolized by the image of
the southern and northern fishes in Pisces, joined by a cosmic cord yet
moving apart, one southerly (moving toward Aquarius) and the other
northerly (moving between Aries and Pegasus).
The New Moon
takes place on February 26th 9:58 am (8º Pisces 12’), with an annular
Solar Eclipse of 44” duration (equivalent to 8 months, 3 weeks in
influence). A stellium (“star”) pattern is formed with the Sun, Moon,
Mercury, and Neptune in a grand conjunction that obfuscates and
deflects, delaying vital issues resembling a Mercury retrograde period. A
month where confusion may reign, but contemplation and careful scrutiny
will prevail over inaction.
On March 2nd at 8:19 pm, the second opposition from Jupiter to Uranus
takes place (22º Libra 11’), inviting disruptions in the legal and
legislative spheres. All may not go forward during this pass, though
final resolutions are indicated in late September. The natures of these
planets embody ideology (Jupiter) and liberalism (Uranus), though
antithetical at first glance, they do find agreement when considering
the whole rather than the parts, society rather than the individual.
Venus turns to retrograde motion
on March 4th at 4:08 am (13º Aries 09’) and for the next month we can
expect more disharmony and misunderstanding than usual. While the kind
and gentle Venus retreats to the background, civility is missed and
steps to remedy the lack may be instituted. Relationships are
scrutinized and vows may be repeated with deeper commitment and meaning.
The Full Moon
takes place on March 12th at 10:54 am (22º Virgo 13’), diminishing some
misunderstandings of the last two weeks. But missteps can take place, as
peaceful Venus moves through confrontational Aries and aggressive Mars
takes a back seat in gentle Taurus. Roles are reversed, identities are
confused, falsehoods may prove truthful. It is best to wait for the
light of the Moon to fade, when illusions are banished to the shadows.
Season of Aquarius: January 19 – February 18, 2017
And godlike Ganymede,
Most beautiful of men;
The gods beheld and caught him up
To heaven, so beautiful was he, to pour
The wine to Jove, and ever dwell with them.
Ganymede, a Trojan prince, was viewed by the
Olympian gods as the most attractive among mortals. But with this
admiration came notice from Zeus himself, who sought the young man to
serve as cupbearer to the celestial powers. Taking the form of an eagle,
Zeus swooped down from the heavens and abducted Ganymede, who became an
immortal but also a servant to the gods. His image is embodied in the
constellation Aquarius, and is accompanied by the eagle constellation
This ancient story tells of the obligation human
beings have when they seek to become “godlike.” The individual ego is
subsumed by divine will, and those powers hold greater sway over mortal
destiny than the petty aspirations of the individual. A lesson to be
well understood by those who strive for the ethereal heights!
But the Aquarian motif also alludes to a cosmic
secret – the gods seek our service as much we we seek their counsel. The
exchange of powers – human and divine – becomes possible when each
recognizes the needs of the other. It is the ancient art of theurgia
that uncovers this secret, a sacred tradition that is unlocked with the
words and gestures of magic. In this way, the server is given a true
place in the heavens and is served by the powers s/he has honored.
Ganymede Waters Zeus as an Eagle
by Bertel Thorvaldsen
The Brighid Cross is a talisman signifying the four Cross-Quarter festivals in the Celtic year.
The Celtic Midwinter festival of Imbolc is celebrated
on February 2nd, the first of four cross-quarter festivals (falling
between a solstice and an equinox) in the pagan year. Imbolc is derived
from the term for “sheep's milk,” hence it is a festival welcoming the
birth and first cleansing of newborn lambs.
Though traditionally a time given to predicting if
winter will linger (a precursor to Groundhog Day), it is a spiritual
doorway that promotes divination. Originally associated with deities of
fire, the purification of hearth and lighting of candles are rituals
enacted to bring forth the powers of light.
Associated with this
season are virgin deity/saints (St. Brigid and St. Kinnia of Ireland),
child goddesses (Kumari of Nepal), and gods as young men (Ganymede,
abducted by Zeus and placed in the heavens as Aquarius).
Appropriate goddess rituals for this season include the passing of fire from hearth to lamp (Roman:
Vesta), invocations to the divinities of learning and record keeping
(Egyptian: Ma’at and Seshat), healing rites that convey sustenance
(Greek: Hygeia and Hindu: Parvati), and clothing sacred images (Greek:
Athena and Egyptian: Taiyet). Offerings include candles, butter, cheese,
The Sun enters Aquarius
on January 19th at 4:24 pm with the Moon
void-of-course (leaving the sign of Libra without planetary contact).
This presents a null state of affairs that will require extended time
and revision before resolutions can be reached. In the U.S. horoscope,
this falls in the Fourth (domestic) and Tenth (leadership) Houses.
The New Moon
takes place on January 27th at 7:07 pm (8º Aquarius 15’) and falls in
the Sixth House of Administrative Affairs in the U.S. horoscope. Mercury
conjoins Pluto to bring in dramatic confrontations and reversals, while
the lunation in the Sixth House of Public Health emphasizes a new
beginning that may never bear fruit. The year of the Red Fire Rooster
now begins, heralding in a Yin vibration for the year (ends in a 7).
The Full Moon
takes place on February 10th at 7:33 pm (22º Leo 28’) a penumbral Lunar
eclipse that sets the stage for dramatic events that will take place
six months from now.
This Full Moon once again
emphasizes the U.S. horoscope’s Sixth House of Public Health and
Administrative Affairs. New approaches are introduced, but Neptune
discloses deceptive motives. The presence of the Moon in the
12th House invites secret enemies and endangers the public’s security, but help comes from the
loyalties and assets of foreign powers.
The major aspects for the year include a Jupiter-Uranus opposition
that began on December 26, 2016 at 1:33 pm (22º Libra 24’). A
configuration of suspense and surprise, it falls in the Fourth
(homeland) and Tenth (commander-in-chief) Houses of the U.S. horoscope.
Promoting uncertainty and risk, the opposition continues through March
2nd (22º Libra 11’) and September 27th (27º Libra 22'), when Neptune
adds to the picture by obscuring causes and effects.
Season of Capricorn: December 21, 2016 – January 19, 2017
Mithras Slaying the Bull
Romisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne
The Birth of Light
We approach the fourth transition in the year, when light is
diminished and darkness prevails over the season. We have welcomed the
ascent of light in the Spring, celebrated its culmination in the Summer,
and honored its senescence in the Fall. We now move toward the time of
inward enlightenment, when light hibernates in the womb of darkness as
we await validation of its return in the coming months.
The Winter Solstice the shortest day of the year, when the Sun is
seen at its most southerly point in the sky (in the northern
hemisphere). Cultures past and present have universally regarded this
moment as a time of rest, peace with the powers of nature, and
fellowship with society. It is the first day that marks the beginning of
many winter festivals.
In late antiquity, the solstice marked the birth of Mithras, god of
light. His mysteries, borrowed from ancient Persia, were initially honored by Roman soldiers and
extended into society with a graduated series of secret initiations
performed in underground temples. The day of his virgin birth was known
as Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, “birthday of the unconquered Sun.” He is depicted slaying the bull of the Taurean Age to signify the inception of the Arian Age.
The Solstice is honored by the Hopi Indians with the Soyalangwul,
a dance performed to ceremonially bring the Sun back from its winter
slumber. Kachina spirits return to the world at this time, and the
Awehai Kachina (“fertile goddess”) is said to accompany the dancers
through the night to Sunrise.
For the Germanic peoples, the solstice was celebrated
from the 4th Century, when it took place in the month of Fuma Jiuleis. Later in Anglo-Saxon England it was known as Giuli, corresponding to our December-January calendar and the season of Capricorn. For the Druids, it was Alban Arthuan
(“Light of Arthur”) a festival when gifts were bestowed on the less
fortunate. King Arthur was believed to have been born on the Winter
Solstice in Castle Tintagel in Cornwall.
| Sacred Times
December 15th marks the beginning of the Halcyon (“happy, carefree”)
Days, traditionally counted from seven days before and seven days after
the Winter Solstice, beginning on December 14th and lasting until the
end of the month. This period is named for Alcyone, one of the stars in
the Pleiades and legendary wife of king Ceyx of Thessaly, who threw
herself into the sea to join her drowned husband. The gods turned them
into kingfisher birds who brood their eggs on a floating nest in the
calm winter sea waters. Her festival honors the tranquility of the
season that we must recognize and foster in our own lives.
The Festival of Sophia (Greek: “wisdom,” Latin: Sapientia) is
celebrated on December 16th, honoring the goddess of knowledge and
learning, known to the Gnostics as “the soul of the world.” She is
associated with the wise King Solomon of the Old Testament, and
venerated by the Eastern Orthodox Christians. Her image has prevailed as
a source of divine intelligence throughout the ages, and inspires us to
support the scholarship and achievement of women everywhere.
The Saturnalia, a Roman
carnival of extravagance, was held on December 17th. Celebrants visited
friends and gave gifts on Feriae Publicae
(public holidays) to honor Saturn, god of sowing. But it also
instituted the holiday custom of reversing roles, from master to servant
and vice versa. Members of a familia (including slaves) would gamble
for the appointment of Saturnalicius princeps, the “Lord of Misrule” for the day.
The Opalia, Roman festival of Opis, was held on December
19th. Mother of Saturn and goddess of the plentiful Earth, she is
patroness of sowers, bringing help to the harvester and abundance to the
planter. May the powers of this deity soon bring us opulence!
December 20th is the Norse Night of Helya (“the mother”), a time
said to evoke prophetic dreams. At this feast children are placed under
the protection of the goddess, who takes the form of ancestors or elder
female relatives. This is also the celebration of Midwinter Eve, which
brings the tradition of censing the home with Sage and Cedar, and the
hanging of Holly boughs, Pine wreaths, and Mistletoe. A ritual herbal
bath should be undertaken at this time, to clothe the body with scents
of the season.
December 21st is the Roman festival of Angeronalia, honoring
Angerona, goddess of the Winter Solstice, “she who helps the Sun travel
through the darkness of the season.” Her statue was found in the Sacellum Volupiae (shrine of Voluptas, goddess of pleasure), near one of the most ancient gates of Rome on Palatine Hill.
Shrine of Sophia
The Sun enters Capricorn
on December 21, 2016 at 5:45 am, highlighting dramatic shifts in
financial markets despite deep pessimism on the immediate goals of a new
administration. The Moon’s Nodes (international bonds) are bounded by
conflict and deception as Mars and Neptune move toward the New Year’s
conjunction in the murky depths of Pisces. This sets the stage for a
year-long pursuit of truth and clarity, never fully realized.
The New Moon
takes place on December 29th at 1:53 am (7º Capricorn 59') with Jupiter rising and Uranus setting on the
horizon of the U.S. capitol. Hope and optimism are within reach, but
declining in strength. Institutional power is consolidated, but promises
made will lack the resources to fulfill.
The Full Moon
takes place on January 12th at 6:34 am (22º Cancer 27') with the Sun departing from a climactic
conjunction with Pluto. Authoritarian power is on the rise as the Moon
(public) opposes its appearance. Compromise will come from unexpected
parties as Jupiter in egalitarian Libra culminates.
Mercury turns to direct motion on January 8th at
4:43 am (28º Sagittarius 51') bringing information back into the light.
However, clarification to resolve deceptions and confusions will not be
forthcoming until January 27th, when Mercury passes poststation (the
retrograde position of December 19, 2016).
Opis As Abundance
Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1