Season of Sagittarius: November 21 – December 22, 2020
Goddess Neit of Sais
Keepers of the Sacred Flame
In the season of Sagittarius, the
fire of prewinter is renewed and tended to illuminate the darkness of
the coming solstice. Associated in the Greek tradition with the centaur
Chiron, teacher of the physician Asclepius, it represents the striving
for knowledge and truth, and draws together the disciplines of healing,
the military arts, and weaving – an eclectic combination at first glance
but reflecting the powerful motif of the Sacred Fire. It is this
universal substance that sustains life, protects the community, and
In ancient Egypt, the Sacred
Fire was protected by the goddess Neit of the ancient city Sais, who
governed warfare and weaving. She wears a headdress of crossed arrows
and alternately, the red crown of the Lower Kingdom or the shuttle loom
of the weaver. In all of these roles, she preserves and protects life
and guards the borders of divine territories. Similarly, the lioness
Sekhmet, Lady of the Red Linen, embodies the scorching fires of combat
and purification. She purges the body of afflictions and banishes the
enemies of the Sun from sacred places. The priesthoods of both deities
were healers and exorcists, tending the temple fires that purified the
instruments of both warfare and surgery.
December 4th brings the festival of
Athena Parthenos, Greek goddess of wisdom and culture, and patroness of
the Parthenon (Roman: Minerva). As companion of warriors, she also
governs weaving, once more echoing the themes of fire, healing, and
protection that so many ancient divinities embodied in one role.
Hypatia of Alexandria
– Graeco-Roman fresco
| Sacred Calendar
Truth and its striving is celebrated November 25th
with the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, patroness of philosophers
and preachers. She is honored by both the Roman and Orthodox churches.
In the latter tradition, her body was said to be conveyed by two angels
from Alexandria, Egypt to Mount Sinai, where it was discovered in the
Fifth Century by an anchorite from a nearby community. It was later
transferred to the monastery erected by Emperor Justinian in CE 527 (now
known as the Monastery of St. Catherine), where countless miracles are
attributed to it.
The unorthodox believe the legend of St. Catherine to
be the transposed history of Hypatia (CE 370–415), known in the ancient
world as the “Virgin Philosopher,” daughter of the mathematician Theon
and a teacher in the Alexandrian Academy. As a Neoplatonist and pagan,
Hypatia was demonized by Bishop Cyril for her academic achievements and
influence, leading to her murder by a crowd of Christian fanatics.
This is a time to remember all who have sacrificed for philosophical
freedom and especially for those women who have cultivated their gifts
in the face of severe prejudice, for as it is said, “We stand on their
| Cosmic Events
The Sun enters Sagittarius
on November 21st at 3:40 pm with Uranus rising at the U.S. capitol,
promising a chaotic atmosphere that obscures the real change that is
occurring – the Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto conjunction at the Midheaven
that will bring cyclic revision in economics, politics, and social
organization. The head of state (signified by the 10th House of this
event) personifies this shift. The 7th House of allies is occupied by
the Sun and Mercury, bringing increased communication and renewed bonds
to the endeavors of this season.
The Full Moon takes
place on November 30th at 4:30 am (8º Gemini 38’) with Uranus setting in
the west and Venus rising in the east at the U.S. capitol. This
signifies the decline of chaotic forces that oppose harmony and the rise
of empathy in the public mood. This Full Moon is followed by a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
at 4:43 am, promising displays of emotional instability, though such
conditions will be short term. Events this week should be understood
without anxiety as the undercurrents are weak and illusory.
The New Moon takes place
on December 14th at 11:17 am (23º Sagittarius 08’), a day of volatility
but a turning point in the expected course of events. A Total Solar Eclipse
of 2 min. 20 sec. duration translates as a period of influence for two
years and four months of change and high ambition. Economic conditions
are expected to fluctuate during this period, at the same time a
reversal in the environmental order will take place. The Sign of the
man-horse emphasizes a balance between human and natural life, the
aspiration of this state begins to take precedence.
Neptune turns to direct motion on
November 28th at 7:36 pm (18º Pisces 10’). The illusions and false
narratives that Neptune disperses become transparent in the fiery season
of the Centaur. And as the potent, 20-year conjunction of Jupiter and
Saturn move toward their cyclic, time-altering meeting with
transformative Pluto in tandem, deceptions fade in the light of cosmic
Season of Scorpio: October 22 – November 21, 2020
Orpheus and Eurydice
– Federico Cervelli (1625–1700)
Lifting the Veil
In Scorpio, life enters the cavern
of hibernation, a place where the darkness insulates us in a cocoon of
transformation. This is not a place of fear and avoidance, but an
occasion for repose and renewal. In the season of Scorpio, we may lift
the veil that separates light from dark and mortality from eternity.
Witch, enchantress, and sorcerer are
the images we honor in Scorpio. We may also give homage to Makaria
(“blessed death”), daughter of Hades who leads souls to the legendary
Islands of the Blest at the end of life. Praise may also be given to
Cerridwen, shape shifter and lady of the cauldron of wisdom, the vessel
that grants inspiration, poetry, and divine madness. And patroness of
the season is Hecate, goddess of the dark Moon and guardian of
The theme of entering the realm of
the dead for a season is enacted in the Orphic Mysteries, a Hellenistic
tradition based on the descent and return of both Orpheus and Persephone
from the underworld. Persephone, daughter of mother-goddess Demeter, is
abducted by Hades, lord of the underworld. Though separated from
nature, she becomes queen of all souls as her mother mourns and the
Earth grows fallow. And in another legend, Orpheus enters the realm of
the dead to retrieve his wife Eurydice, and is thus empowered as lord of
oracles and “caster of spells.”
We recapitulate these themes when
the light of the growing season becomes dim and the night of winter
begins. At this time the maiden transforms into the crone, the giver of
life becomes the harbinger of death.
| Sacred Calendar
In ancient Mexico, the Aztecs
honored the goddess Mictlancihuatl and her consort Miclanteuctli,
deities of the dead who marked the end of the agricultural calendar.
Today, it is still observed as El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the
Dead), also on November 1st. The wonderful images of this season
encourage us to fabricate an ancestral altar to honor the dead and
remember the origin of things. Assemble photographs of your loved ones
and surround them with dried flowers, branches, and the bones of birds
(believed to represent the souls of the dead). Offer refreshment from
your own sacred vessel and gratitude for their legacies.
November 1st is also the traditional
Celtic observance for the beginning of their New Year, Samhain
(sa-win). Because these days signal the old year coming to a close, it’s
believed the veil between worlds – darkness and light, old and new –
can be drawn. Using this “period of invisibility,” it is the time for
scrying and foretelling, of seeing past and future. And in honor of
those who have departed into the shadow worlds, we wear the garb of
is also the time to light the sacred fire, whether it is a simple candle
that penetrates the darkness of the dark Moon or a great bonfire that
invites spirits into the fold. The season of Scorpio represents
migration, the coming and going of nature and her children through the
portals of life and death. At this time, the end is also the beginning.
The “Night of Hekate” is traditionally celebrated on November 16th, when
insights may be unleashed and many fortunes may be told. May your fires
be bright and your visions bold.
Triple Goddess Hekate
– National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden
The Sun enters Scorpio
on October 22nd at 6:59 pm, with Uranus ascending on the horizon at the
U.S. capitol, opposing the Sun and Mercury. This signals a rise in
unpredictability for the present season, exacerbated by the prominent
Capricorn stellium of the Moon with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto.
Confusion and misinformation appear, but judicial actions and the courts
will temper the atmosphere. Neptune in continual square to the Moon’s
Nodes conveys public insecurity arising from contagion until mid-January
The Full Moon
takes place on October 31st at 10:49 am (8º Taurus 38’) with the Moon
in exact conjunction to Uranus (who opposes the Sun). It highlights the
disruptions indicated by this Scorpio ingress, with tensions peaking in
the next two days. As the Moon wanes in light in the following days, a
gradual relief takes hold.
This is a potent day as the full orb
of the Moon on Samhain (Hallowe’en), allows us to penetrate the
darkness of the season and renew bonds with unseen forces that protect
| Mercury turns to direct motion
on November 3rd at 12:50 pm (25º Libra 55’) with the lord of
communication in the House of the Judiciary. Null decisions are handed
down that defer to lower courts.
Mars turns to direct motion on
November 13th at 7:36 pm (15º Aries 14’), eliminating some repressive
forces while revealing covert influences that have been at work since
The New Moon
takes place on November 15th at 12:07 am (23º Scorpio 18’) with a clear
path to progress taking shape. Mercury opposes Uranus, inciting threats
without substance, but Mars in his own domicile of Aries has moved
forward to provide order and lucidity.
Season of Libra: September 22 – October 22, 2020
Adonis and Aphrodite
Antonio Canova (1757-1822), Villa La Grange, Switzerland
September and October are deeply spiritual months, a
time of the year when ancient observances evoked preparation for the
barren season. Perhaps the most significant event is the Autumnal
Equinox, which brings us into anticipation of the Sun’s protracted
descent into the southern hemisphere of the sky and the decline of
The Autumnal Equinox is marked in the Western Zodiac
when the Sun enters Libra, sign of the Scales and the balance of day and
night. In antiquity, this was the start of the Mystery cycle, when
twilight begins to curtail the daylight hours and darkness overtakes the
soul of Nature. The declining Sun is a metaphor of the dying god, as
told in the legends of the gods Tammuz (Babylonia), Adonis (Syria),
Dionysius (Greece), and Osiris (Egypt). At the same time his
consort – the mourning goddess – heralds the season and presides
over the sacred rites that portray the winter vigil. Her Mysteries
promise to restore and revive the dormant god in the succeeding cycle.
The supreme goddess of the season is Isis, whose
search for her husband Osiris, her magical restoration of his form, and
her participation in the cosmic struggle for balance and justice embody
the Libran theme. For thousands of years, the Isian legends, rites, and
festivals repeated the timeless journey of the goddess, whose
wanderings, lamentations, and resolutions are a metaphor of our own
spiritual quest for completion and its realization. In this cycle we may
balance our material and spiritual lives, since the Equinox (“equal
night”) refers to the perfect balance of light and dark hours that occur
at this time and symbolize the opposing powers that comprise our
According to to the Roman historian Plutarch, the temple of Isis at Sais
was inscribed thus, “I am all that hath been, and is, and shall be; no
mortal has ever raised my veil.”
This is a mystery worthy of meditation, but we may
understand it well if we enter “under the veil” by journeying with the
goddess through the dark night of winter. Let us begin that pilgrimage
with the knowledge that our way will be illuminated with her lamp of
Mabon is the Wiccan observance of
the Autumnal Equinox, a festival of thanksgiving. It is a restatement of
the agricultural harvest while honoring local nature spirits. Do you
have a local nature deity, a fountain sprite or tree spirit? A simple
offering to these beings invites harmony and promotes collaboration –
such rituals reinforce our connection to nature and allows her to
communicate to us.
In Christian practice, agriculture
and husbandry are venerated with the Blessing of Animals, a timeless act
of acknowledging our partnership with Nature. The first two Sundays in
October honor St. Francis of Assisi, patron of animals and
environmentalists, whose feast day is October 4th. In the Celtic
tradition the woodlands goddess Flidais is protector of wild animals and
Bridgid is patroness of domestic animals.
October 13th is the
celebration of Fontus (or Fons), son of the Roman deities Juturna and
Janus. He is the god of wells and springs and his day also honors the
freshwater goddesses – the Camenae – who are the oracular water-nymphs.
Have you ever performed a water oracle (Lecanomancy: “divination from a
bowl”)? Fresh water from a moving source, said to embody optimum life
force, is contained in a clay vessel and censed. Under lunar light, one
then makes an offering to the water deities and scrys over the surface
for messages. If you choose to do so, meditate on the miracle of water,
its healing and nourishing powers.
Too many people in the world today do not have access
to even a clear glass of water in their lifetime, let alone the
abundance of fresh water that we have at any moment we desire. Let us
work toward a change in this circumstance and call upon the Camenae for
their wisdom and assistance.
Isis with Sistrum
Musei Capitolini, Rome
The Sun enters Libra
September 22nd at 9:30 am with an approaching Mercury-Mars
opposition on the horizon – open quarrels, arguments, and
conflicted decisions rule the season. With Uranus occupying the 7th
House of Allies and Enemies, unexpected conditions prevail – adversaries
become supporters while alliances withdraw. A Sagittarius Moon in the
2nd House of Finance provides public support just when it’s needed.
Saturn turns to direct motion
on September 29th at 1:11 am (25º Capricorn 20’) in the same 25th
degree as the Cancer Ascendant at the nation’s capitol. Secrets and past
agendas are brought to light as Mars at the Midheaven incites
leadership wrath. Neptune retrograde in the 9th House of Judiciary
indicates confusion and delay.
The Full Moon
takes place on October 1st at 5:05 pm (9º Aries 08’) with the 2nd
House of Assets packed with uncertainty. Mars and Uranus bring public
financial issues to a head,. Venus on the horizon promises agreement
from leaders. This will be a contentious Harvest Moon (first Full Moon
following the Fall Equinox) but there will be respite and relief.
Pluto turns to direct motion
on October 4th at 9:32 am (22º Capricorn 29’) with the Moon and Uranus
traveling together. Emotions run high as newsworthy events command
public attention. A major reversal is announced.
Mercury turns to retrograde motion
on October 13th at 9:05 pm (11º Scorpio 40’), reversing course to
oppose Uranus once more. This adds to the atmosphere of uncertainty in
this inconstant season, bringing worry and ambivalence to the public
mind. However, Mercury turns to direct motion on November 3rd, bringing
to mind the last time a Mercury station occurred on a U.S. national
election day: Nov. 7, 2000 (Bush v. Gore), though it was a retrograde
station that took place and the last Jupiter-Saturn conjunction was
operative, changing America’s destiny. Here, a long sought resolution to
past errors may come to pass.
The New Moon
takes place on October 16th at 3:30 pm (23º Libra 53’) with the
lunation opposing contentious Mars and in tense square to the Capricorn
stellium of major influences – Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto. This
configuration fills the atmosphere with volatile emotions and an
unpredictability throughout the next two-week phase. Mercury retrograde
in the 9th House of Judiciary opposes unpredictable Uranus, signaling
delay and retreat.
Roman Girl at a Fountain
– Léon Bonnat (1832-1922)
Season of Virgo: August 22 – September 22, 2020
Initiation of Eumolpos
by Demeter and Persephone
Goddess Celestial and Terrestrial
The season of the celestial virgin brings together
past, present, and future through the images of heavenly maiden,
protectoress 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 is the time 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, 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 is honored, much is given
to nurturing and cultivating knowledge in 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
Ancient Greece invoked 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 cycle 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
Relief from Herculaneum
| Virgo Divinities
The masculine image of Virgo is
embodied in the god Vulcan (Greek: Hephaestos), who forges fire in the
depths of the Earth to create perfect weapons for the Olympian deities.
Banished from the company of the gods, he infuses the beauty he is
denied into works of art and the functional tools of humanity. Here, the
Virgo temperament finds its striving for perfection and acceptance.
The Roman festival of Vulcanalia is
observed on August 23rd, a fire celebration observed with the lighting
of candles for those departed. The flames represent the souls of
ancestors who remain our inspirations and guides through difficult
times. It is a theme reminiscent 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 festival 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
The Sun enters Virgo
on August 22nd at 11:44 am with Mercury traveling ahead of the Sun, an
indicator for a season of verbosity moving ahead of veracity. This,
along with the Libra Moon in the 12th House of Seclusion opposing
volatile Mars in the 6th House of Health, presages obstacles for
reducing the continuing threats of the ongoing pandemic. This
configuration includes the Capricorn stellium of Jupiter, Saturn, and
Pluto in the 3rd House of neighboring nations – a powerful engine of
cyclic change and upheaval that is now peaking. The Moon,
representing the public at large, and Mars, signifying science and
medicine, are at a temporary standstill, but within a week of this
ingress, news of remedial approaches will come from international
The Full Moon
takes place on September 2nd at 1:22 am (10º Pisces 12’) with national
disruptions following false alarms and misleading information. At the
U.S. capitol, the Moon and Neptune culminate at the Midheaven signaling
the public becoming restless and impatient. With Uranus retrograde,
revolutionary sentiments arise from past injustices and attention is
focused on legislative action.
The New Moon
takes place on September 17th at 7:00 am (25º Virgo 01’) with the
Lunation in the 12th House of Seclusion, indicating that forces behind
the scenes will organize future paths for the restoration of public
health and security. Sun and Moon stay in harmonious aspect to the
Capricorn stellium that is presaging so much social change and
institutional restructuring. We can expect some proposals that will
provide direction to these conditions over the long term. Neptune
in the 6th House of Government Agencies points to deceptive policies
Mars turns to retrograde motion
on September 9th at 6:22 pm (28º Aries 09’) in the Second House of
Assets. Stock trade activity becomes frenzied as disruptive market
conditions prevail in the U.S. and abroad.
Jupiter turns to direct motion
on September 12th at 8:41 pm (17º Capricorn 24’), moving toward his
third conjunction with Pluto – formerly April 4th, June 30th, and ending
November 12th – coinciding with peaks in pandemic activity. Some
resolutions to this contagion will be evident by the upcoming
Jupiter-Saturn conjunction on December 21st (0º Aquarius 29’) but it
will not be eradicated until 2022, when the Pluto makes a full return to
the U.S. horoscope inaugurated July 4th, 1776.
Season of Leo: July 21 – August 21, 2020
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. This
may greet the time-honored goddess when she rises at the ancient city
of Heliopolis in Egypt (30 North latitude) on August 5th at 4:37 am
local time (GMT+2).
July 31st is Midsummer or Lammas Eve,
with August 1st marking 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 peace.
The Sun enters Leo
on July 22nd at 4:37 am following the second New Moon in Cancer on July
20th, traditionally known as a “Black Moon” (28º Cancer 27’). By
itself, the Lunation falls in the 9th House of international matters at
the U.S. capitol, and opposes the current Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto stellium
in Capricorn. Besides being catastrophic for U.S. standing on the global stage,
it presages extensive legal and legislative turmoil, requiring a break
from past approaches and potential for new advances by the time Jupiter
and Saturn leave traditional Capricorn and enter the reforming Aquarius
transit in December.
The Full Moon
takes place on August 3rd at 11:59 am (11º Aquarius 46’), with Sun and
Moon in square to disruptive Uranus. Friction from governors and
business leaders toward the executive branch will increase as domestic
upheaval reaches a peak. A strong Mercury-Saturn opposition will demand
dialogue with the powers that be, but resolutions will be delayed.
Matters of disease and medicine dominate as Mars moves through his
powerful domicile of Aries, posited in the 6th House of Health.
Uranus turns to retrograde motion
on August 15th at 10:26 am (10º Taurus 42’) in the 8th House of
Investment and Finance, signaling a period of devaluation lasting until
January, 2021. Mortality will stabilize under this cycle, but new risks
The New Moon
takes place on August 18th at 10:42 pm (26º Leo 35’) conjoined with
Mercury, in the 5th House of Children and Early Education. Agreements
concerning these matters will be met, but not without a guidance from
judicial parties. Respite is forthcoming, along with new initiatives to
stabilize the public food supply.
Season of Cancer: June 20 – July 21, 2020
Tomb Inscription at Meidum
Celestial Mother and Father
In the season of Cancer, the world
mother is elevated, just as the Sun is elevated in the northern sky at
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
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. In Neopagan lore it is the
feast of Litha, opposite the feast of Yule at the Winter Solstice in the sacred year.
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.
Lakota Medicine Wheel
| In ancient Egypt,
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, an ideal in
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
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 follow:
• 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.
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 Nuktah.
June 22nd 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.
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.
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 life
giver, guide of initiation mysteries, and the midwife 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.
The Sun enters Cancer on
June 20th at 5:43 pm with the potent stellium of Jupiter, Saturn, and
Pluto continuing to transit together and for the rest if the year. They
bring a tense atmosphere that will lead to gradual change. The
long-standing conditions supporting authoritarian figures and laws are
due for reversal through the last Jupiter-Pluto conjunction (November
12, 2020) and Jupiter-Saturn conjunction (December 21, 2020). Jupiter,
representing universal law––while Saturn stands for institutional
law––brings this about.
During this ingress, the Mars-Neptune conjunction fades, though
deceptive influences remain undercover and will eventually surface
through public effort. Uranus remains in the 6th House of Public Health,
continuing to present unpredictability.
The New Moon takes place
on June 21st at 2:41 am (0º Cancer 21’), leading with an Annular Solar
eclipse of 38-seconds duration (translates to a six-month period of
influence). Posited in the 2nd House of Assets at the U.S. capitol,
efforts to restore financial stability will be forwarded, though the
six-month period indicates economic stasis before results are felt. The
stellium of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto fall in the Tenth House of
Leadership, as conflicts are stirred among the forces of egalitarianism
(Jupiter), authoritarianism (Saturn), and metamorphosis (Pluto).
The Full Moon takes
place on July 5th at 12:44 am (13º Capricorn 38’). As Mars moves into
his natural throne of Aries, the Sun and Moon are in square to him with
challenge and resistance. The public rebels against arbitrary
limitations and forces action with new leadership and the courts. This
Full Moon brings a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, the third of four occurring
this year. Emotions run high and the public is united by mutual
beliefs. The Sun now conjoins the star Sirius, the birth star of
the United States of America (13º Cancer 19’), providing a renewal for
those who adhere to its vision.
Neptune turns to retrograde motion
on June 23rd at 12:31 am (20º Pisces 58’) and remains in reverse
movement until November 28th. Deceptions will be uncovered during this
period, revealing myriad and complex tentacles of influence in
government and business life.
Venus turns to direct motion on
June 25th at 2:48 am (5º Gemini 21’), encouraging new modes of
communication and accord among diverse social groups. Following this, Mercury turns to direct motion on July 12th at 4:26 am (5º Cancer 31’), signaling significant recalibration of the travel and hospitality industries.
Season of Gemini: May 20 – June 20, 2020
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 9:49 am with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto setting on the
western horizon at the U.S. capitol. These powers clash with the
public-minded Moon, who is conjoined with revolutionary Uranus. Here we
have escalating conflicts among the citizenry with established law,
elected powers, and nature’s powerful course. This will be a noisy,
combative season with the masses receiving little perceptible direction.
The theme of nurturing and feeding takes precedence, leading to changes
in the provision of sustenance to both people and the land.
The New Moon begins on
May 22nd at 1:39 pm (2º Gemini 05’) with much attention directed toward
foreign entities, both allied and adversarial. A new avenue of
assistance and resolution to public concerns comes forward as several
governments and enterprises join forces. With the Fifth House filled
with antagonistic powers, concerns are focused on schools, the youth of
the nation, and recreational locales that face hazardous conditions.
Mars in the Sixth House of Health poses conflict and uncertainty in
matters of public safety.
The Full Moon takes
place on June 5th at 3:12 pm (15º Sagittarius 34’), bringing an
atmosphere of tension and uncertainty as a penumbral Lunar eclipse. The
Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto stellium in the Fourth House of Land and
Environment forwards a dual brunt of flooding and drought. Borders are
blurred and weather extremes are indicated. The Full Moon is squared by
volatile Mars, prompting public unrest and conflict. This will be a
memorable two weeks of volatility and change.
Mercury turns to retrograde motion
on June 18th at 12:59 am (14º Cancer 46’) with Mars and Neptune rising
at the U.S. capitol. Dire conditions pertaining to health and contagion
settle in this environment, with Moon and Uranus in the Second House of
Finance posing doubt for economic stability. As Mercury travels back in
time, influential forces attempt to retrain the uncertainty of the last
month and some success in restitution is achieved by July 12.
Season of Taurus: April 19 – May 20, 2020
From Fire to Earth
In the ancient
Mysteries, the return of Spring was seen 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.
Innumerable ancient cultures viewed the cow as a
manifestation of the mother goddess, the nurturer of heaven and provider
on Earth. In Egypt, the goddess 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.
The union of man and goddess, the seeding of the soil and
the fertilization of the land, was celebrated with the Festival of the
Joyous Union, the annual mating of Hathor with her divine 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 April 22nd). Enclosed within the sanctuary for 14 days,
the powers of the deities fused, to later disperse in a great ceremony
at the Full Moon of Taurus (this year on May 8th-9th) marking 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 on April 19th).
The Goddess Hathor embraces Pharaoh Seti, who embodies her consort Horus
– Tomb of Seti I, Valley of the Kings
| Goddess Times
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 self-evident
that all existence is dependent upon one’s cooperative relationship with
nature, and what it provides us to grow and mature throughout its
rhythms and seasons as that bond deepens.
Ancient cultures understood this intrinsically and
consistently. The Romans honored the goddess Flora, patroness of Spring,
from April 28–May 2nd. The 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.
They 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)
| Cosmic Events
The Sun enters Taurus on
April 19th at 10:45 am with the Sun moving toward a conjunction to
Uranus in six days. This bodes poorly for those in executive roles
though it provides unexpected pivots and revelations that will alter the
course of this season’s events into new, albeit untried, directions.
The Seventh House of international associations is occupied by dangerous
opponents, trusted allies, and established but isolated partners, in
The New Moon takes place
on April 22nd at 10:26 pm (3º Taurus 24’) a few days after the
ingress, with the Lunation approaching the conjunction to Uranus.
This brings revelations to a head, an outcome of deceptions badly
executed. They may still continue, fostering an atmosphere of distrust
and fear, but a key to persevering through this period is the assurance
that fraud and pretense are on the downslide as Uranus breaks through
the fog of confusion. Sporadic insurgencies are to be expected, but they
are signs of revived awareness that lack orientation. The Second House
is occupied by the powerful stellium of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto,
signaling a formidable but mixed group of actions at work in the U.S.
economy that will result in both loss and redistribution.
The Full Moon takes
place on May 7th at 6:45 am (17º Scorpio 20’) with Mercury, Sun, and
Moon involved in tense conflict with Mars. Public anger is directed to
leadership while the involvement of women in forging partnerships will
bring surprising resolutions. The stellium of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto
now move to the Ninth House of the Judiciary, pointing to significant
decisions that affect diplomatic and legislative policies in the future.
Upcoming Planets in Retrograde
The months of April and May add to a tense atmosphere
and delays in significant efforts to normalize essential segments of
society. However, retrograde cycles provide periods of review,
investigation, or recalibration as the needs arise. It is dependent on
those who use these times to reflect on the past to recreate a new
trajectory for constructive ends. The following fields can be targeted
in this way:
Pluto turns to retrograde motion on April 24th at 2:54 pm (23º Capricorn 09’), remaining until October 4th. Medicine and research undergo intense scrutiny.
Uranus turns to retrograde motion
on April 28th at 8:50 am (6º Taurus 43’) until August 15th.
Technology takes center stage as a remedy to unanticipated events and
new approaches are developed.
Saturn turns to retrograde motion
on May 11th at 12:09 am (1º Aquarius 57’) until September 29th.
Established government entities fall back in authority, former leaders
reappear to bring respite. The world of finance opens up to new and
stronger economic values.
Venus turns to retrograde motion
on May 13th at 2:45 am (21º Gemini 49’) until June 25th. New alliances
are forged between diverse groups, social interaction accelerates
through new approaches.
Jupiter turns to retrograde motion
on May 14th at 10:32 am (27º Capricorn 14’) until September 12th.
Remedies to existing health care and education shortfalls are examined
and implemented on experimental bases. By the end of the year, a new
paradigm in medical treatment is inaugurated.
Gautama the Buddha
The Taurus Full Moon is honored in the East
Wesak, the traditional Buddhist festival
that marks the birth,
and passing of the Buddha.
This can be a peaceful time
that ushers in
some reassurance and stability.
Season of Aries: March 19 – April 19, 2020
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
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.
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.
| Sacred Calendar
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 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.
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
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
– Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
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.
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.
| Cosmic Events
The Sun enters Aries on
March 19th at 11:50 pm, with the current stellium of Capricorn planets
reaching its peak. This ingress first ushers in a powerful Mars-Jupiter
conjunction (22º 49’ Capricorn) that promotes energetic motion, though
it must be directed toward constructive ends or the trajectory will turn
catastrophic. Mars then continues his transit to conjoin Pluto (March
23rd at 12:20 am) then Saturn (March 31st at 1:31 pm), indicating a
period of intense conflict fed by fear and restriction. As these
aspects conclude in the Third House of neighbors, foreign relief will
provide a respite of the peril that dominated February’s arrival of the
formidable Capricorn stellium.
The New Moon takes place
on March 24th at 5:28 am (4º Aries 12’), with the Lunation positioned
in the Second House of finance and public resources. This may
inaugurate, if only temporarily, a new paradigm for social values and
monetary principles to take hold. Saturn leaves his restrictive
Capricorn throne and enters Aquarius until July, then suspended in
retrograde motion until December, when the constraints of authority will
be eliminated in favor of a promising liberty. In the meantime,
revisions and adaptations will develop over the coming months toward
A perigee Full Moon (closest
to Earth) takes place on April 7th at 10:35 pm (18º Libra 44’), with a
form of universal justice realized. Sun and Moon form sharp angles to
the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, forcing a resolution to
abuses of power and misdirection of knowledge. Uranus in the Sixth House
of Public Health points to innovations that lead to a restoration of
Der Frubling (Spring)
Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805–1873)
Season of Pisces: February 18 – March 20, 2020
Nut, Sky Goddess in Ancient Egypt
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.
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
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.
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 vision states.
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
| Cosmic Events
The Sun enters Pisces on
February 18th at 11:56 pm with a great stellium of planets in Capricorn
(Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto). This concentration of influence
points to matters of finance, economics, and the stability of trade and
commerce. Growth is initially foreseen, but it is short lived. Matters
of government budgeting and expenditure will dominate the season with
The New Moon takes place
on February 23rd at 10:32 am (4º Pisces 29’) with the U.S. judiciary
focused on past and present issues that bring some revelations. A
microscopic look at prominent leaders and their communications, travel,
and associates is in store for the next month. Disclosures in the U.S.
legislature bring consternation.
The Full Moon takes
place on March 9th at 1:48 pm (19º Virgo 37’). This will be a tense day,
one of sorting priorities and discerning truths from falsehoods, as the
Lunation is clouded by Neptune’s presence with the Sun and its
opposition to the Moon. Later on this day, Mercury turns to direct
motion at 11:48 pm (28º Aquarius 13’) but does not pass his previous
retrograde station (12º Pisces 53’) until March 29th. During this 20-day
period, new information from foreign sources leads to confusion. Mars
in the Sixth House of health imposes drastic measures on public
activities. With Venus in conjunction to Uranus, forward motion is
attained by women in leadership roles.
Lotis, daughter of Neptune and Naiad nymph of the Lotus flower
– Otto Theodore Gustav Lingner (1856-1917)
Season of Aquarius: January 20 – February 18, 2020
|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
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
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.
| Sacred Times
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
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, and linen.
The Sun enters Aquarius
on January 20th at 9:54 a week following the momentous Saturn-Pluto
conjunction (a 35-38 year cycle). This powerful aspect will shape
government and economic policies for the next decade, as institutions
adjust or become obsolete. The Moon and Mars conjoin in the 9th House of
Legal Matters, where conflict and animosity dominate the month. Gradual
transitions are ordained as benevolent powers ward off instability and
Hapi, Lord of the Nile
| The New Moon
takes place on January 24th at 4:42 pm (4º Aquarius 22’), with the two
lights setting in the West along with Jupiter Saturn, and Pluto. A
demise is indicated, the ending of one cycle and the beginning of one
new. Female leadership dominates the news cycle, while disruptive
actions emanating from the Executive branch of government garner public
This New Moon inaugurates the Lunar New Year
of the White Metal Rat, the first animal in the wheel of the Chinese
Zodiac. As such, the vibration of 2020 invites renewal, new beginnings,
and a trajectory toward new goals. It also initiates a Yang (active)
vibration for the year, dispelling the inertia of the previous cycle,
with an emphasis on expansion and momentum.
According to tradition, the I Ching hexagram for the year is Fu
“the turning point.” It represents a process of renewal, the
restoration of “the Way,” and the return to what is normal. Richard
Wilhelm translates the judgment thus, “After a time of decay comes the
turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There
is movement, but it is not brought about by force.”
| The Full Moon
takes place on February 9th at 2:33 am (20º Leo 00’) with Mars taking
the lead. Hostilities increase as legal issues command public attention.
Confused information is disseminated, but reasoned thinking uncovers
mistruths. Attention is drawn to foreign adversaries who strike at
vulnerable places. This is not a calm Full Moon, with the major powers
focused in the 2nd House of assets and economic growth., shaking up the
Mercury turns to retrograde motion on
February 16th at 7:54 pm (12º Pisces 53’), with Mercury conjoined to
Neptune and in Square to the Moon. The focus is on leadership and health
issues, particularly the latter. Much concern comes from the
transmission of illness, travel will be curtailed through March
9th. The Winter weather pattern is severe in the North.
Year of the White Metal Rat
Season of Capricorn: December 21, 2019 – January 19, 2020
Mithras Slaying the Bull of the Taurean Age
Romisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne
The Birth of Light
We approach the fourth transition in the year, when
light diminishes and darkness prevails over the season. We 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 reflection, when light hibernates in the womb of darkness as we
await validation of its return in the coming months.
“Solstice” comes from the Latin sol sistere,
meaning “Sun standing still.” 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.
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.
Shrine of Sophia
| 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
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. Consort 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.
The Sun enters Capricorn
on December 21st at 11:20 pm. Astrologically, when the Sun passes over
one of the four Cardinal Signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), the
“world axis” is vitalized and a new rhythm is established. Thus, we look
to the Cardinal ingresses for clues to the motif of the next three
months. This solstice brings a stellium of planets in Capricorn: Sun,
Jupiter, the Moon’s South Node, Saturn, and Pluto – bookended by
scholarly Mercury in Sagittarius and idealistic Venus in Aquarius. There
will be a focus on law, the reach of government, and an optimistic
search for truth. However, the Scorpio Moon opposing disruptive Uranus
does not portend a methodical, open process. There will be distractions
and retaliations, though Neptune setting on the horizon of the U.S.
capitol, indicates deceptions exposed and the diminishment of false
The New Moon
takes place on December 26th at 12:13 am (4º Capricorn 07’), with the
planetary lineup duplicating much of the solstice pattern. Here,
progress is indicated for legislative actions, though unsettled law
brings questions and confusion. However, the Capricorn stellium – Sun,
Moon, Jupiter, Moon’s South Node, Saturn, and Pluto – lend focus and
determination to any efforts that stabilize goals. Mars in the Second
House of Financial Resources endangers investments in some medical and
insurance markets. This lunation also features an Annular Solar Eclipse of 3’39” duration, adversely affecting revenues from trade with repercussions into the next three years.
The Full Moon
takes place on January 10, 2020 at 2:21 pm (20º Cancer 00’), a
penumbral Lunar eclipse that is the first of four in the year 2020. It
powerful and certain Capricorn stellium that will set the stage for a
new paradigm in leaderhip and collective goals. The Full Moon invites
“realizations,” an opportunity to flesh out a plan and gather the
resources to make it tangible. Physical assets are targeted, the
financial picture is at a tipping point. The next fortnight may indicate
crisis, but reorganization is the end result, critical though
Uranus turns direct on this day, adding tension to the environment and high expectations to those seeking change. Forward momentum is indicated.