|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.
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.
– Detail from Botticelli’s Primavera
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 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 orbit from September 09, 1930 in
Composite image of Pluto from Hubble Telescope
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