|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.