2018 – Year that Inaugurates Transformations
Pluto was discovered at Lowell Observatory on
January 23, 1930 at 12:30 am. Months after its discovery, Pluto then
crossed the Ecliptic, the circular path inscribed by the Sun’s annual
passage in the sky. It transitioned from South to North on September 9,
1930 – a critical and historical interval that set the stage for WWII.
Once again, Pluto will become brighter and more visible in our view
because he will again cross the Ecliptic, this time from North to South,
between October 14 – November 4, 2018 (completing a half cycle).
Astronomers call this phenomenon “light scattering.”
Pluto's new trajectory may promote the gradual
dissipation of the political, social, and racial divisions that have
risen since the 1930s, because he is lord of transitions and evolution.
Also this year, Pluto turns retrograde on April 22nd
at 11:23 am (21º Capricorn 17’) and turns direct on September 30th,
shortly before he returns to the Ecliptic since the 1930 passage. The
regeneration of institutions is a process that is expected, as they have
much influence over the financial system, religious authority, and
human mortality. This is not to be a sudden or revolutionary transition;
instead, a gradual unfolding takes place with episodic struggles
The next time Pluto crosses the Ecliptic (from South to North), will be
December 11, 2178, completing one orbital cycle that began September 09, 1930 for
Composite image of Pluto from Hubble Telescope
Season of Libra: September 22 – October 21, 2018
Balance and Identity
As we enter the season of Libra, we cross the threshold
from individual ego to collective participation. The first six Signs of
the Zodiac signify the development of Will (Aries), Values (Taurus),
Self Expression (Gemini), Relationships (Cancer), Ego (Leo), and
Socialization (Virgo). In Libra, one enters the world of communal
interests and engagement. Throughout this season, we are prompted to
relinquish the things that serve only ourselves to find a genuine,
constructive place in the collectivity.
In ancient cultures, the Sign of Libra was sometimes
represented by the mirror, signifying the processes of reflection and
identity. Through relationships, personal and collective, we gain an
understanding of the wholeness that arrives from being a part of a
greater scheme. In Libra we learn the lessons of negotiation,
compromise, understanding, and harmony. From these experiences, our
values are shaped and continuously adapted to the changing world around
us. And so as we transition into the Sign of the Scales, it is important
to weigh our values against the transitory conditions of the hour and
be reminded that the balance in our lives can prevail against the
disharmonies of the outside world.
Mirror of the Goddess Hathor
Egyptian Museum, Cairo
| Sacred Marriage
In Libra, the ideal of the hieros gamos
(sacred marriage) inspires our relationships to seek divine consonance.
This goal was enacted in ancient ritual with purification of the couple,
community acknowledgment of the union, and symbolic consummation,
intended to enrich society as well as the individual participants. But
the hieros gamos alludes to other significant unions of opposites – the
conscious Ego and the unconscious Self, the Ida and Pingala forces that
penetrate the body’s Chakra system, the Sun and Moon in celestial life.
In this time of equal day and equi nox (“equal night”), we come to know that even in seasonal terms the visible world achieves balance and equilibrium.
The many faces of Venus, who instills the
striving for beauty and harmony, are reflected in the Libran universe.
Gardens at their fruition are governed by Libra, with flowering plants
that include the Primrose, White Rose, and Heartsease. The Libran bounty
includes the grape and olive, earliest cultivated foods and mainstays
of refined cooking.
Libran metals include Copper and Electrum, the
precious materials used for casting images of the divine consort in the
ancient temples. These were placed on altars of Rose Granite with floors
of Pink Alabaster from the quarries of the goddess. Before these
images, incenses of Cyprinum (Henna) and Myhrr were offered, along with
wreaths of Jasmine and Tuberose. A goddess shrine in your own space
could sustain this timeless tradition and invite her blessings on your
unions – past, present, and future.
Pharaoh MenKauRa & Queen KaMeri Nebty
Egypt, 4h Dynasty
| Cosmic Events
The Sun enters Libra
on September 22nd at 9:55 pm. At the U.S. capitol, the Equinox Sun and
Mercury approach a square to cold, bitter Saturn, delaying any progress
for the season. A simultaneous trine to Mars in the Ninth House of the
Judiciary points to the eventual completion of tasks after considerable
negotiation has taken place. The Piscean Moon in the 10th House of the
Executive branch moves in a conjunction with hazy Neptune, adding more
confusion and disinformation to the public mind.
In ancient times the Fall Equinox marked the
observance of sacred dramas that enacted the diminishment of daylight in
the following months. The Full Moon of Libra that followed (this year
on September 27th) commenced the Greek Eleusinian Mysteries, which
honored the archetypal journeys of the mother goddess Demeter and her
daughter (Kore), Persephone. The descent of the daughter into the realm
of her abductor Hades was reprised by initiates; four days later they
emerged from caves beneath the mother temple endowed with oracular
The Full Moon takes place on September 24th at
10:52 pm (2º Aries 00’) with a Cardinal T-Cross involving Moon opposite
Sun-Mercury, in square to Saturn. This compelling figure forces issues
and demands resolution, as the Libra mandate places all in balance,
whether it is sought or not. The Harvest Moon (closest to the Equinox)
evokes warmth and devotion, but it is diminished in the coming days by
polarization and scorn.
Plouton – lord of underworld and darkness –
slowed to retrograde motion in April and held sway in the collective
unconscious with unreasoned fear and inertia. As he turns to direct
motion on September 30th at 10:01 pm (18º Capricorn 45’). we awaken like
Persephone in the darkness before winter descends and discover the
unrealized wealth of our own personal power. It is this that may
transform the world around us, the reason why Pluto’s ancient name was
Dives Pater, “father of riches.”
The New Moon takes place
on October 8th at 11:47 pm (15º Libra 48’) with the Lunation (Sun-Moon)
in a conjunction with the U.S. natal Saturn. Authoritarianism will rear
its head, but only for the duration of this lunar month. At the same
time, it is impeded by collective resistance (Mars in Aquarius) and a
powerful event that presages transformative change. Pluto falls on the
horizon of this New Moon, and with its current transit to the plane of
our Sun’s path inaugurates the transference of power from the personal
to the collective for the rest of this century. The last time Pluto was on this path was September 9th, 1930 – a time of immense societal metamorphosis.
Venus turns to retrograde motion on
October 5th at 3:05 pm (10º Scorpio 50’) for a six-week hiatus that
backtracks the steward of mediation into the Libran sphere of diplomacy.
Whatever may be left undone in the judicial and legislative branches of
government is certain to reappear for attention. And while these things
appear to be gridlocked, some forward movement will be attained, with
fairness ruling the outcome. Venus concludes her retrogression on
November 16th at 5:50 am (25º Libra 14’).
Season of Virgo: August 23 – September 22, 2018
Demeter and Persephone consecrate Eumolpos into the Eleusinian Mysteries
Nurturing and Cultivation
The season of the celestial virgin brings together
past, present, and future through the images of heavenly maiden,
guardian of hearth and home, and mother of the harvest. In Virgo, a
pantheon of goddesses from every world culture embodies these images at
this time of year. It brings a period of rest from the labors of
agriculture, of harvesting Earth’s yield, and preparing for the
hibernation of Winter. In Virgo we may experience the providence of past
efforts with the ripeness of nature in the present, and the hope of
what is to come through the roles of this season’s divinities.
In places where the goddess spirit is honored, much
is said of nurturing and cultivating knowledge for the next
generation. Though we may acknowledge these acts as essential to
communal progress, we often overlook their importance in everyday life
or leave such tasks to others.
In ancient Greece it was Demeter, mother of grain and
the seasons, who with her daughter Persephone initiated the youth
Eumolpos into the sacred science of agriculture. He then became the
legendary founder of the Eleusinian mysteries, whose descendants served
as high priests of a tradition that oversaw the annual sacred
drama of the fruition, reaping, hibernation, and renewal of life in the
harvest month of the year.
Such dramas are metaphors of both the human life
cycle and the soul’s entry into divine worlds. They remind us that
coming generations must carry the seed of our knowledge and experience, a
gift to the future that may yield a harvest of harmony and prosperity
if we scatter the kernels of our maturity wisely and cultivate it in
Whether you are a parent of experience or a
child of learning, this is a time to consider the breadth of what you
have acquired and how it may best serve the future. We tend to forget or
trivialize the hard-won lessons we have known and the wisdom that
arises from them. In the Virgo season, we may assess this reservoir of
knowledge and begin to scatter that seed for the future.
The Volcanalia is observed on August 23rd, a fire
festival best celebrated with the lighting of candles for those
departed. The flames represent the souls of ancestors who remain our
inspirations and guides through difficult times. This is the theme of
the Japanese Obon, a three-day celebration in mid-August that
honors ancestors with the lighting of lanterns that are placed in rivers
and streams to return their souls to heaven. It is followed by the Bon Odori, the dance of joy.
August 24th is the Cerealia (“cereal
festival”), the Roman event honoring Ceres, goddess of the grain
harvest. In this event we honor the accomplishments of those in our
local communities, no matter how small, by sharing summer’s bounty. And
in keeping with the ancient tradition of remembering those gone before
us, we also nourish those who will carry our harvest into the future.
Plants governed by Virgo come from the families of
digestive aids, antiseptics and diuretics. These include Parsley,
Fennel, Rosemary, Melissa (Lemon Balm), Spearmint, and Peppermint.
Scents are sweet, flowering greenery, including Gardenia, Magnolia, and
bulb flowers such as Hyacinth and Tulip. Perfumes are Storax
(Liquidamber) Lily of the Valley, and Honeysuckle.
Most grains of the ancient world were governed by the
harvest goddess, thus the Virgo New Moon is traditionally known as the
Barley Moon. It is the most auspicious time to prepare the Octoberfest
beer from the first threshing of barley. To native Americans, the Virgo
New Moon is known as the Corn Moon, to stargazers it is the Red
Moon because the lunar body is low on the horizon at this time of year
and is colored reddish-yellow by refraction from the Earth.
Roman goddess Ceres
Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610–1662)
The Sun enters Virgo
on August 23rd at 12:09 am, with the Moon closing in on a retrograde
Mars. While this may generate a strained atmosphere, past covert
intentions and actions will ultimately come to the surface. Mercury
opposes the Midheaven in the nation’s capitol, imposing silence on those
who should speak, while communication overall is stifled and confused.
The Full Moon takes place on August 26th at 7:56 am (3º Pisces 12’) the same day that Mars returns to direct motion
at 10:05 am (28º Capricorn 37’). This will bring some tense and
eventful moments, many which will have long term repercussions if rash
actions are taken. An operative Grand Trine in the Earth Signs for the
next two days will bring to a head matters of economic concern,
compelling new courses of action.
The New Moon
takes place on September 9th at 2:01 pm (17º Virgo 00’). The Lunation
(Sun-Moon conjunction) moves away from a Neptune opposition, providing a
fortnight of clarity and serious attention. Disruptions in leadership
will prevail though prominent women will move to the forefront within
institutions, government, and culture. In the nation’s capitol, economic
uncertainty grows as Mars leaves the Second House of Security and his
powerful place in Capricorn for the next two years.
Season of Leo: July 22 – August 22, 2018
The hottest time of the year in the northern hemisphere coincides with a forty-day period when Sirius (alpha Canis Majoris
in the constellation of the Great Dog) rises with the Sun. Hence, this
time is known as the “Dog Days” (July 3 – August 11). This event brings
the hottest days of the year, but it is also the most honored as it
highlights 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. The Egyptians revered the star as Sopdet, the cosmic form of Isis
as bringer of rejuvenation and birth mother of ascended souls. Sirius
(Latin for “scorcher”) has been represented in countless
historical periods and cultures, as Sothis of the Greeks, the Arabian
Ashshira, and Rudra (Shiva) of the Vedas.
As the season of Sothis now begins,
we prepare for the star’s emergence just before dawn in early August. At
the end of the forty days’ Solar conjunction, she 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 will mark the beginning of the sacred year and
the rejuvenation of the temple.
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.
The lore associated with this event
has been passed down through the ages. The shade of the naturally
blue-white star is significant – if it appears bright and clear, the
ancients foretold an abundant harvest and a year without conflict. If it
was dim or reddish, a poor harvest would be expected with hostilities
from foreign lands.
The Sun enters Leo on
July 22nd at 5:10 pm, with an applying opposition to Mars and a square
to Uranus. This T-Cross configuration brings contention and obstruction,
a period of power plays and antagonisms that will heighten throughout
the month. Calm is required and a strategic plan for future resolutions
rather than knee-jerk reactions. The inclusion of the Moon’s Nodes in
this pattern draws the public’s interests into disputes over money and
security. Pessimism may pervade for a time, but courageous forces gather
behind the scene.
Mercury turns to retrograde motion
on July 26th at 1:03 am (23º Leo 27’) and returns to direct motion on
August 19th at 12:25 am (11º Leo 32’). During this brief period, discord
draws people apart and some confrontations will come to a head. The
Moon’s conjunction to Pluto in law-and-order Capricorn point to final
resolutions in favor of long-aggrieved parties.
The Full Moon takes
place on July 27th at 4:20 pm (4º Aquarius 45’), with the planetary
focus packed in the nation’s Second House of Economic and Material
Assets. Repercussions from trade conflicts are exacerbated, as this
event brings a historically long Total Lunar Eclipse of one hour and 43 minutes
duration, translating to an influence of 18 months’ economic stagnation.
This two-week period cautions against careless spending and encourages
planning for future projects.
The New Moon takes place
on August 11th at 5:58 am (18º Leo 42’) with a semblance of calm and a
clear trajectory to resolving long-standing problems in the public
health and welfare sectors of government. However, this event also
brings a Partial Solar Eclipse, delaying for months the beneficial
effects of legislative efforts. For individuals, a time for relief and
celebration is possible, with an awareness that the harvest of good
works is yet to be realized.
Sirius from the Hubble telescope
Season of Cancer: June 21 – July 22, 2018
– Lauren Raine
Cherry Hill Seminary SC
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 24th. The plant is said
to banish depression and treat alcoholism. Others include Catmint, Lemon
Balm, Poppy, Cardamom, Chamomile, and Licorice.
June 18th 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 Nuktah.
June 27th 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
The Sun enters Cancer
shortly after sunrise on June 21st at 6:07 am. Though the Summer
Solstice usually heralds the ascendancy of light and nature’s
proliferation, today’s Sun opposition to cold Saturn subdues the joy and
optimism of the season. Confronting the status quo is called for
despite the apparent resistance of authority. With a Libra Moon,
litigation and the rule of law dominates, but by exercising patience and
understanding, this new season may uncover concealed benefits.
The Full Moon takes
place on June 28th at 12:53 am (6º Capricorn 28’) bringing unhappy events
to a head with bitter Saturn obstructing the Luminaries (Moon conjoined
to Saturn with Sun in opposition). Tragedies confront those in
authority, presenting a test of fortitude and honor to observers. This
month could be a turning point in social awareness and responsibility.
The New Moon occurs on July 12th at 10:48 pm (20º Cancer 41’) under dramatic conditions. This Lunation is a Partial Solar eclipse,
creating a volatile atmosphere with the Luminaries in conflict with the
Lord of Transitions - at 6:01 am the Sun opposes Pluto, followed by the
Moon’s opposition to Pluto at 9:43 pm. Deceptions will be uncovered and
a serious reckoning is undertaken. However, the Grand Trine of Saturn, Uranus,
and Venus in Earth Signs points to eventual agreement and resolution.
to retrograde motion on June 26th at 5:05 pm (9º Aquarius 13’) for most
of the summer, lessening contention and instability. The Sun opposes
Saturn, curtailing the authority of the chief executive. Efforts to
revise or reform military programs can be expected, this may bring some
relief from long-standing tensions. Over the years, Mars retrograde
periods consistently show an increase in U.F.O. observations.
Jupiter turns to
direct motion on July 10th at 1:04 am (13º Scorpio 21’), revealing the
true status of the nation’s economic health. Prices rise in agriculture,
metals, and health care. Increased military spending proceeds under a
new budget but little benefit is felt.
Oberon and Titania
Scene from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
– Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1821–1901)
Season of Gemini: May 20 – June 20, 2018
National Roman Museum
1st Century C.E.
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. The season of Taurus now transitions to Gemini, while 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.
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 Goddess 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 direction of the spiritual wind unfold.
In the ancient world, some were dedicated
for life to know the ways of the inner powers, 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.”
In Greece, Hestia also 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 kitchens.
Frederick Lord Leighton
| Sacred Calendar
Between June 9–14 the Romans celebrated the
Vestalia, when the storehouses of Vesta’s temple were opened annually.
Only women were allowed in the temple, which was cleaned during this
time and the refuse thrown in the Tiber. 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. The
festival also marked the beginning of a six-week period considered
propitious for marrying, the origin of June bridal traditions.
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.
Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617)
| Cosmic Events
The Sun enters Gemini on
May 20th at 10:15 pm, just as other planets depart Signs and enter new
areas of influence. Venus has just entered sentimental Cancer, bringing
good will and feelings of connectedness to all. Temperamental Mars moves
into rational Aquarius, restraining conflict but inviting argument.
Together they encourage some harmony, but a suspicious atmosphere
remains. Disruptive Uranus also enters the picture, moving into Taurus
though not for the long term until March, 2019. In the meantime,
uncertainty reigns and the monetary realm experiences substantial
The Full Moon takes
place on May 29th at 10:19 am (8º Sagittarius 10’) with Uranus
culminating at the Midheaven of the U.S. capitol. With the instability
of fire and air in the atmosphere, Uranus agitates in the House of the
Executive Branch. Obstruction, delay, and interruption of business as
usual is the order of the day, or at least for the week.
The New Moon takes place
on June 13th at 3:43 pm (22º Gemini 44’) with hidden objectives coming
to light. Uranus once again is angular (setting) in the U.S. capitol,
bringing new and unexpected peril from known adversaries. Judicial
issues take the lead and enter into a new phase. New geographic dangers
appear in the U.S. as Mars ignites volatility.
Neptune turns to retrograde motion
on June 18th (16º Pisces 30’) until November 24th (13º Pisces 42’).
Undisclosed information slowly trickles out during this period, though
it remains “the tip of the iceberg.”
Season of Taurus: April 19 - May 20, 2018
Garden of the Hesperides
by Frederick, Lord Leighton (1830-1896)
| A Divine Garden
At the edge of the world, where Earth
and sky meet, the Olympian gods created a garden with orchards of
miraculous fruit trees. Guarded by maidens known as the Hesperides
(“Daughters of Evening”), the garden is a passage to a celestial realm
where beauty and song gladden heroic sojourners. Likewise, the season of
Taurus celebrates the victory of life emerging from winter’s quiescence
following the Spring Equinox, and sets the stage for nature’s
proliferation in the coming months.
In the garden of the Hesperides, the
golden apples of immortality were given to those who ventured as far
west as the setting Sun, an allusion to the rewards awaiting the
virtuous at the gates of the afterlife. It is the endowment of the soul
that ventures past the comforts of mundane existence and seeks the fruit
of a mythical tree in that garden – the one that offers knowledge of
good and evil. And here another obstacle exists – the tree of golden
apples is also the abode of the dragon Ladon, who must be slain or
transformed by the hero/ine before immortality can be obtained.
The tree, its fruit, and the dragon
represent the both the lure and the dangers of mortal life. In the
season of Taurus, we may become complacent with the return of Spring and
the warmth of nature that revitalizes the living, but heroic acts await
us each and every day. Problems must be resolved, disharmony must be
transformed into accord. These are acts that transcend time and create
the miraculous fruit of peac and celestial song – the reward of virtue.
| Sacred Calendar
Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd, a time to reflect on our
bond with the planet we inhabit and the great spirit that enlivens it.
Even if some do not relate to Deity as mother, it is evident that all
existence is dependent upon one’s cooperative relationship with nature,
and what she provides us to grow and mature throughout her rhythms and
seasons as that bond deepens.
The ancients seemed to understand this intrinsically and
consistently. The Romans honored the goddess Flora, patroness of Spring,
from April 28–May 2nd. Her Floralia was both a festival and an
evocation of the dormant powers of life in the soil to awaken. Though
reported to be an event of indulgence and licentiousness, it is one of
many ancient festivals acknowledging the bond between mortals and
nature, the mating of humankind with the Earth. It marks the onset of
the agricultural calendar, the first sowing of the seed.
The Goddess Flora
by Luca Giordano (1634–1705)
eve of April 30th is Walpurgisnacht, marking the commencement of the
annual mid-Spring European festival of Walpurgis through May 5th.
Bonfires fueled by outworn winter goods are lit at night, followed by
the May 1st ritual of dancing around the Maypole, symbol of the
fertilization of the Earth and the flowering of vegetation to come. The
roots of “spring cleaning” arise from this celebration, this year you may
make it a labor of rejuvenation by recycling and regifting generously.
This time is honored in the
Celtic/Welsh feast of Beltaine, honoring Blodeuwedd, Goddess of Flowers,
and Llew, the Oak king and lord of the waxing Sun in the northern sky.
Mystical union is the theme of this season, as the seeds of life take
root in the womb of nature. Bring these powers into your own environment
with seedlings at your windows and ribbons bound on budding branches at
by Christopher Williams (1873–1934)
The Goddess Hathor embraces Pharaoh Seti, embodiment of her consort Horus
– Tomb of Seti I, Valley of the Kings
Marriage of Earth and Sky
The union of man and
goddess, the seeding of the soil and the fertilization of the land, was
celebrated in ancient Egypt with the Festival of the Joyous Union, the
annual mating of the goddess Hathor with her consort, Horus. In an
elaborate holiday involving temples, citizens, and fleets of Nile boats,
the image of the goddess sailed from her great house at Dendera
upstream to the god’s domain at Edfu at the New Moon in Taurus (this
year on May 15th).
Sheltered within the sanctuary for 14
days, the powers of the deities fused, to later disperse in a great
ceremony at the following Full Moon. It would mark the conception of
their child, Ihy lord of harmony. In modern Egypt, the ancient festival
is still commemorated in the public holiday of Sham el-Nessim
(“breathing the air”), held on the Monday following Coptic Easter (this
year celebrated on April 8th).
The Sun enters Taurus
on April 19th at 11:13 pm with the Sun just passed over volatile
Uranus. Issues concerning education and the youth of the nation are
prominent, with attention and concessions given to the aggrieved – both
students and teachers. In another area, the Moon in double-dealing
Gemini and influentially posited in the Seventh House of open enemy
nations demands attention and requires some backtracking on past
promises. This also brings some necessary renegotiations with those
countries bound to the U.S. by trade and defense agreements. Outcomes
may appear agreeable but will have little substance. Three of the
so-called malefics (Mars, Saturn, and Pluto) in the Second House of
Assets at the U.S. capitol do not bode well for economic growth and job
The Full Moon takes
place on April 29th at 8:58 pm (9º Scorpio 39’) with Jupiter on the
horizon, an indication of public optimism. Saturn still resides in the
Second House of Finance, depressing the economy for the next month.
Dangerous transportation incidents will be in the news and conflicts
within foreign governments are on the rise. Issues pertaining to water
availability and safety will be prominent in the southern U.S. states.
The next New Moon occurs
May 15th at 7:48 am (24º Taurus 36’) with Venus rising at the U.S.
capitol. Womens’ issues and involvement in commerce and government reach
prominence. Saturn in the Seventh House brings a previous agreement
with a troublesome foreign nation to a close. And Neptune in the Tenth
House of the U.S. executive discloses new deceptions (involving money)
that are made public. Ramadan Begins at Sunset.
Season of Aries: March 20 – April 19, 2018
Return of Persephone
– Lord Frederick Leighton (1830–1896)
Let There be Light
The seasonal change that takes place between Winter
to Spring has been universally regarded as a time of renewal and
regeneration. In celestial terms, it is the Sun’s passage from the
watery torrents of Pisces to the fiery warmth of Aries, a restatement of
creation when the spark of life arose from the depths of the cosmic
ocean in timeless time.
The Vernal (from Latin vernalis, “of the spring”)
Equinox (equi nox, “equal night”) is the first of two events in the
Earth’s annual circuit around the Sun when the terrestrial axis is
upright, when night and day hours are of equal length. Likewise, we may
be raised up from the incline of winter and the preoccupations of
physical existence, to reach for the sky’s intangibles once more.
In ancient Greece, the renewing forces of Spring were
embedded in the great mythos of Persephone, daughter of the Earth
goddess Demeter. Abducted by Hades and forced underground for part of
the year, her return to the ream of the living was commemorated in the
Eleusinian Mysteries, which celebrated the reunion of mother and
daughter at the Vernal Equinox. Persephone’s return from the underworld
signifies the return of nature’s fecundity and our return to nurturing
Another ancient motif of renewal is portrayed in the
legends of Cybele, the Phrygian mother of the gods and personification
of Earth. She 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.
For us, it is a time to exercise our own renewal and organize the coming
plantings. Start your seedlings and visibly engage the mystic force of
life in your environment.
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, Aphrodite.
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 present.
– Detail from Botticelli’s Primavera
The Sun enters Aries
on March 20th at 12:16 pm with Mercury and Venus in close conjunction
(“Hermaphroditos”). Productive dialogue is supported and arbitration
satisfies standing disagreements. Innovations in art and design appear,
new fashion trends are launched. Unfortunately, Saturn and Mars set in
the U.S. capitol, denoting alienation from allies and hostile
repercussions from actions taken against known enemies. Some man-made
environmental threats appear with blame difficult to assign.
The Full Moon
occurs on March 31st at 8:37 am (10º Libra 45’) with aggressive
Mars and authoritarian Saturn moving to the judicial sphere of events.
This area – the Ninth House – is also occupied by Pluto, where a
leadership denouement is forthcoming. The Sun shines on Twelfth House
matters – secrets brought to light by minor players.
The New Moon takes
place on April 15th at 9:57 pm (26º Aries 02’) where the youth of
the nation take center stage. Here, Jupiter on the rise at the nation’s
capitol provides optimism while Venus sets in agreement and support.
This marks a constructive beginning and the inception of new initiatives
with long-term ramifications.
Mercury turns retrograde
on March 22nd at 8:19 pm (16º Aries 54’), bringing out surpressed
animosities that are better placed on the table than ignored.
Misunderstandings approach clarity when Mercury turns direct on
April 15th at 5:21 am (4 Aries 47’), but the air is not completely
cleared until he passes his retrograde station (16º Aries 54’) on May
3rd at 4:51 pm.
Saturn turns retrograde on
April 17th at 9:47 pm (9º Capricorn 09’), placing the forward motion of
law and order on the shelf for a time. But this is also a time for
deeper thought, analysis and strategic thinking. Placing ideas into
tangible form is productive and agreements made during this period
(until September 6th) could benefit from scrutiny and confirmation.
Season of Pisces: February 18 – March 19, 2018
last sign in the annual cycle of the Sun through the houses of the
Zodiac, brings a period of completion and preparation for a new cosmic
In Greek legend we are told of the monster serpent Typhon, who sought
to overthrow Zeus and the Olympian gods. As he battled the divine
patriarch, the gods sought refuge in Syria and Egypt. Among them,
Aphrodite and her son Eros plunged into the river Nile to escape the
predations of Typhon, and took the form of fishes. Their images were
placed in the heavens as the Ichthyes (“fish”), forming the
constellation Pisces. They 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 rejuvenation and made whole again.
Eros and Aphrodite as the celestial Ichthyes
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 fertilizing the imagination of what is possible.
And in the realm of nature, Nut is seen as the celestial mother,
incubating within her body the spirits of past and future. As keeper of
these exalted spirits in the guise of celestial asterisms, she becomes
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.
The goddess Nut as the arc of the sky – Papyrus Greenfield, British Museum
Similarly, Tiamat, the Babylonian sea goddess and primordial being
lived in the waters of the abyss before time became manifest. Through
her we are connected to the ancient sea on which our strivings and
visions sail – the collective unconscious. We may use this time to tap
into our spiritual reservoir and draw on the strengths we often forget.
The great number of nature spirits in ancient Greece assumed form 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.
Nereid on a sea-bull at the wedding of Poseidon and Amphitrite
– Glyptothek Museum, Munich
March 1st is a day sacred to the the Roman Juno Lucina (Greek: Hera),
guardian of women in childbirth. It was celebrated in ancient times as
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.
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 ours.
The Sun enters Pisces on February 18th at 12:18 pm with a conjunction to Mercury, culminating at the Midheaven
in the U.S. capitol. Great significance is thus given to the head of
state, with an emphasis on the proliferation of news, facts, and
details. With Gemini rising in the same degree as the U.S. president’s
Sun Sign, the information is certain to disclose matters pertaining to
his circumstances. The Moon in combative Aries makes an unfavorable
aspect to Saturn, indicating that resistance from former allies and
hostilities from known adversaries will dominate this Piscean cycle.
The Full Moon takes place on March 1st at
7:51 pm (11º Virgo 23’) with Sun and Moon on the axis of Neptune, a
configuration that falls in the horoscope Houses of health and healing
institutions. The nation’s wellness is diminished in the week of this
Full Moon, and resolutions to address it will not soon be implemented.
Sun, Moon, and Neptune also point to deceptions that come to light
during this period. Mercury and Venus in conjunction travel through
idealistic Pisces, but find few companions in harmony.
The New Moon takes place on March 17th at 9:12 am EDT (26º Pisces 53’) with Pluto culminating at the Midheaven
in the U.S. capitol, an indication of sweeping change launched by the
judicial branch of government. This Lunation marks the beginning of an
institutional renewal, a promise brought by Pluto’s slow progress
through conservative Capricorn. Venus and Mercury continue to travel
together, though now in quarrelsome Aries, portending hostilities
that reach the surface in formerly cooperative groups.
Season of Aquarius: January 20 – February 19, 2018
Aquarian Acts of Service
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.
Abduction of Ganymede
by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
The Celtic Midwinter festival of Imbolc is
celebrated on February 2nd, the first of four cross-quarter (falling
between a solstice and an equinox) festivals of 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.
It is also celebrated as Candlemas, Bride's
Day, and Brighid's Day and is associated with the Full Moon of Aquarius,
which takes place this year on January 31st. Though traditionally a
time given to predicting if winter will linger (a precursor to Groundhog
Day), it is a spiritual doorway that promotes divination. In keeping
with the original festival of the fire goddess Brighid, the purification
of hearth and lighting of candles are rituals enacted to bring forth
the patroness of light.
The Brighid Cross is a talisman signifying the four Cross-Quarter festivals in the Celtic year.
The Muse Ourania
Also associated with this season are virgin deities
and child goddesses. In Ireland: St. Kinnia, in Nepal: Kumari, and in
Greece: Ourania, the muse of astronomy. Appropriate 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, and linen.
On February 8th the Hari No Kuyo is celebrated in
Japan, a women’s day of rest and recreation. This Shinto festival,
also known as the Festival of Broken Needles, puts to rest the worn and
broken tools of the homemaker and honors the oft-overlooked daily work
of the seamstress and tailor. For despite the sorrows and sacrifices of
these laborers, weaving and sewing convey the tremendous power of
healing to its practitioners and recipients.
The Nile god Hapy
Lord of Aquarius
– Dendera Zodiac, Egypt
The Sun enters Aquarius on January 19th at 10:10 pm,
as he makes fortunate contact with Venus. This will dispel much of the
discomfort brought by the recent Mars-Jupiter conjunction that has
fanned the flames of suspicion and intrigue. Nevertheless, much remains
unseen and unknown as the Moon traverses the silent waters of Pisces.
Neptune in the Sixth House of Health Issues at the nation’s capitol
points to an extended course of influenza in the north and west, coming
to a close in late March.
The Full Moon takes place on January 31st at 8:27 am (11º Leo 37’).
This Moon features a Total Lunar Eclipse of 1:16 hour duration,
sparking rumors, overreactions, and misinformation that will require
extensive clarification. Adding to this is Neptune on the horizon in
Washington D.C., indicating confusion and a deceptive atmosphere. Many
ask how long this “bad energy” will continue to suffuse throughout the
country, and according to the rules of eclipse durations, it will last
for more than six years (76 minutes/12 months) before the air is cleared
and a sense of peace and normalcy is restored. Uranus in the Second
House creates some disruptions and lowered expectations in the Stock
Exchange for next few weeks.
The New Moon takes place on February 15th at 4:05 pm (27º Aquarius 08’).
This event signals a partial Solar eclipse, bringing a temporary spate
of excitement with little permanent influence overall. The nature of
this New Moon is the start of new international relationships with some
solid agreements forming that appeared unachievable in the past. Some
surprises come from the courts while women’s involvement in the public
sphere achieves considerable momentum.
The Year of the Earth Dog begins (Yang). There will be far more attention and effort given to the well being of
groups, in keeping with the canine pack mentality. Policies will shift
to the benefits of many rather than the desires of the few. One concern
will be excessive adherence to group think, but the Earth element that
dominates the year assures practicality over ideology. The Trigram is Gen, the mountain.
2018 – Year of the Earth Dog
Season of Capricorn: December 21, 2017 – January 19, 2018
The Darkness that Precedes the Light
Once again, we approach the fourth turn of
transitions in the Solar year, when light is diminished and darkness
prevails over the season. We have celebrated the ascent of light in the
Spring, its culmination in the Summer, and its senescence in the Fall.
We now move into the time of inward enlightenment, when light hibernates
in the womb of darkness and we await validation of its return in the
coming months. In ancient Greece, Helios lord of the Sun, drove a golden
chariot through the sky, driven by four steeds that represented the
four transitions of the year – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.
The Winter Solstice is 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. The twelve nights following the
solstice symbolize the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, a cycle of completion
for the end of the year. The twelfth night, on New Years Day, is the
culmination of the winter festivals in the northern sphere, a time of
satiety and rest.
Alexander the Great as Helios
– Musei Capitolini, Rome
Soyalangwul, the Winter Solstice ceremony of
the Hopi Indians, is honored with 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.
Amaterasu, the Sun goddess of Japan, comes
out of her cave at the Winter Solstice after a prolonged period of
darkness in the world. Shut away in the heavenly realm due to her
brother’s sacrilege of destroying her rice fields, she now emerges to
remind the human race of the divine light that is diminished by
irreverence and impiety.
The Sun enters Capricorn
on December 21st at 11:29 am, with duplicitous Neptune rising at the
U.S. capitol. Truth is elusive and confusion abounds, rumor will rule
the day. Next to this, the ingress Sun is moments away from a
conjunction with Saturn – newly-domiciled in his natural Sign – which
adds somber and profound meaning to the current season. Decisions made
at this time will have far-reaching repercussions, one must tread
lightly but resolutely on choices made.
The Full Moon takes
place on January 1st at 9:24 pm (11º Cancer 38’). The New Year begins
with Sun-Moon in the middle of a Venus-Pluto engagement, a combination
that will bring agreement with hostility and consensus with contention.
The standoff of special interests continues through the month,
intercepted only by some saber-rattling with aggressive Mars in Scorpio
moving toward conjunction with an indulgent Jupiter. Talk, though cheap,
will flow copiously and will have consequences.
The New Moon takes place
on January 16th at 9:17 pm (26º Capricorn 54’) with benevolent Venus
urging compromise. Issues of jurisprudence and social mores dominate the
political scene. Mercury departing from his Saturn conjunction points
to severe weather and geological changes in the northern regions.
Neptune continues to inhabit the horizon as it did at the Full Moon and
Ingress, prolonging the confusion and deceits of authorities.
The Christmas Tree Cluster
in the Monoceros constellation
Earth reaches perihelion (closest to the Sun) on January 3rd at 12:34 am. A day for celebrating life, vitality, and the true New Year. At this time we are closest to the heart of the Solar System and the pulse of creation itself.
Hail thou disc, you who are Lord of Rays:
Shine your beams of light upon my face!
– Hymn to the Sun, Book of Going Forth by Day