PRELUDE  TO

THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR

April 2014

 

UNDER SIEGE

 

Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for April 2014, likely -- though of course never guaranteed -- to be the month that is the most turbulent of the year for those who aspire to live in love, and the most terrible for those who will not see or seize any alternative to living in fear. This month, on and around April 21, we'll experience, and some of us will see how we actually now co-create, Round 5 of the ongoing 90° "square" between Uranus the Revolutionary in the impetuous Fire sign of Aries, and Pluto, driver of the  universal karmic dump truck and towaway service, in the heavier Earth sign of Capricorn. When these two are in relationship at afflictive and potentially dynamic angles -- meaning that they invite change and can impel it -- they are linked in a 0° conjunction, a 90° square or a 180° opposition. They have been aligned in these ways at the French Revolution of 1789, the European socialist revolutions of the 1840's, the Russian Revolution and other imperialist death spasms of 1917 - 18, and episodes of revolution as agony and slapstick in 1968.

 

For more on this, you can see "In the Cauldron," the UFC Mythic Prelude for November 2013, which was Round 4 of the seven-part human and cosmic drama that has been playing at sublime intensity since June 2012, and will run into the spring of 2015. For those who want to explore the astral stage machinery of Uranus vs. Pluto at maximum depth and elegance, the definitive text is Richard Tarnas' magnificent Cosmos and Psyche. For those who prefer for the moment the simplistic slice and slip, the main point is that when Pluto and Uranus clash, changes occur in economic, political, social and cultural systems. New technologies, mythic symbols and inspiring slogans and anthems appear: Ben Franklin and his kite dare the lightning, Marianne sings Ça Ira and La Marsellaise, Marx and Engels uncork The Communist Manifesto, Lenin arrives at Finland Station and the Potemkin sailors mutiny, hippies in Central Park cavort in police uniforms and pig masks, the Rolling Stones play Street Fighting Man and a future stockbroker offers Revolution for the Hell of It.

 

Are such explosive images and sounds stirring now, like bouncing and blipping particles in a cloud chamber? You bet. Will we get to hear about them easily and for free on TV the way we did 46 years ago, when the controllers were only starting to learn how to cook the "news," and Walter Cronkite, having just reported on the Tet Offensive and thinking he was off the air, asked "What the hell is going on? I thought we were winning the war"? No way. The truth, whatever it is from moment to moment, will never be reported to us in mainstream media, and it is up to us now to find out for ourselves and spread what is true, hold one another in acceptance and courage, and co-create the New World as communities cohere and gather strength across the Intentional Field.

 

The simplest posture now is to see the actuality that remains hidden from fewer and fewer of us under all the smoke and mirrors, inertia and denial. As more people awaken each day, fewer trust the archons and their media, and we understand that we are in fact a coalescing majority now. We no longer dread "disaster," "shortage," "catastrophe," or the rest of the fakery and fear that is only being used to divide and control those who don't yet see. We don't need to fear "collapse" because . . .  it's already happened! The tower has fallen. The hierarchic house of cards has blown down, the banks are made of meringue, the temples turned to tourist sites, and all that's left of public discourse is twitches of drama, cats stuck in trees, sports and canned laughter, celebrity opinions and orgasms. Why can't all of us see this yet? Because so many of us still believe that we live in a world of things, "true" stories and "real" events, when in fact each one of us is now resisting, ignoring, starting to shape or playing full out the wholesale change of consciousness that is the unfolding main event.

 

In the central ring of the Aquarian circus, we begin to see the thrilling, humbling, terrifying responsibility than is now ours as we negotiate the surrender of our specialness and our pride, like a  general who must now yield a city Under Siege after a struggle that makes the fall of Constantinople look like a hand of bridge. The image of the  human heart being blasted and rammed into opening and serenity is nothing new here, as you already know if you've met "Batter My Heart," Donne's Holy Sonnet about the soul that is like a "usurp'd town," so captivated by its own weakness and lies that it knows not how to open its own gate from within, and begs God to "break, blow, burn and make me new." The difference this time, this month, is that what is now distressed and divided is not just the heart of one man, but the whole collective human heart. And this time the Divine besieger has enlisted the planets themselves  as military forces who ideally ought to be engaged in combined operations, each bringing his or her talents, tools and tricks to the tasks of breaching the wall and taking the place.

 

What makes it so hard for the planets to work together this time, apart from the usual interservice rivalries, decorated egos, what Napoleon politely called "friction," and all those famous fogs and fuckups of war? To find out, let's go to Hard Heart News and check in with the two planets who always do it best when it comes to telling the story and serving the main cold meat of the theme.

 

Hard Heart News

 

Scene: Hard Heart News. Lights flicker on the dark brown and sky blue set. We hear the buzz, drone and pop of electrical static. We can even smell the melting plastic of wires that just can't take it anymore. The  station logo -- a metal heart red hot at the top, dripping black blood below -- is on the wall behind the news desk.

 

Mercury flies in and lands in his chair. He is nude except for his gold cloak and winged hat, which he places  on the desk to his right. In front of him are script pages he does not look at, or touch. His teeth are arrestingly, unbelievably white, and the hair framing his electric blue eyes is acrylic blonde, and looks like it was sprayed on just seconds ago. His voice sounds like a French horn.

 

Mercury: Sorry for the technical problems, ladies and gentlemen, but we imagine you're already getting used to electrical weirdness in 2014. And as you can imagine, even here in the solar system, among the planets, the News Division is the first to get that budgetary ax every time. Thank you for joining us today as we look at this bizarre version of a siege. Neptune's been too busy working on Overthrow Tunes to deliver a map of Hard Heart Castle, so in a moment we'll ask Dan Furst to show us an astrology chart that resembles it. And while we're at it, shall we tell them the main news this month from Aquarian Airlines?

 

Deep Off-Camera Voice: Yes, surely.

 

Mercury: Dan's book Surfing Aquarius has just been published in Spanish as Navegando por Acuario by Ediciones Obelisco in Buenos Aires. And Dan and Leslie Zehr are getting ready for the next Return to Pachamama journey that they'll guide in July for those who'd like to experience some adventure and ceremony in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. But now, it's time to introduce the planet I could call my colleague if I had more weight and deliberate speed. Here to plumb the roots and the gravitas is Professor Saturn himself.

 

Saturn: Still looking for tenure on this distracted Earth. Thank you, Hermes.

 

The studio camera angle widens to show Saturn seated to Mercury's left. Saturn is an austere, majestic figure in a black cowled robe, taller than his colleague. His skin is pale, his hair and beard so white that his head seems to glow in the way we imagine Moses must have looked on his way down Mount Sinai, filled with the light of the Law. His voice could make the Russian basso Chaliapin envious.

 

Saturn: Yes, we may find it hard at first to understand why the planets are now deploying themselves all around the castle, getting ready to hit it from every side. You don't need to be Saladin by Ridley Scott to know that the easiest way to take a fortified place is to direct the attack to the weakest point in the wall, not hit all four sides of the thing at once. So to understand this better, while we're still waiting for that diagram from Neptune, we'll ask an astrologer to show you the shape of the moment through an astrology chart. Thanks for coming, Dan.

 

Dan: I'm honored, revered Sir. And good to see you've gone direct again, Mercury.

 

Mercury: That makes at least two of us.

 

By Far the Most Powerful Alignment of the Year

 

Dan: The chart we see here is cast for Kiev in Ukraine because this is the flash point in the struggle between Russia and the United States for control of the gas pipeline there, and over secret agendas about whether Russia will be allowed to free itself from the constraints of the international banking cartel, and thereby trigger breakouts by Iran, Syria and ultimately, everyone else. The chart is cast for the moment when Uranus and Pluto come into an exact 90° "square" with each other. The square will last for hours until Uranus moves ahead and out of the exact to-the-minute square. Why is this important? Because Mars the Warrior at left of the chart is so close to the Ascendant line -- that is, the point of personal intention expressing itself in the world -- at a moment when rumors and threats of war, and greater numbers of louder bozos blustering at the brink, are likely.

 

Uranus-Pluto Square of 2012 - 2015

Round 5: The Grand Cross of April, 2014

April 21, 2014, 5:20pm UZT

Kiev, Ukraine: 50N26, 30E31 -- Tropical, Placidus, True Node

 

 

What makes Round 5 of the seven Uranus-Pluto squares the most intensely powerful one yet, and perhaps the most critical of them all -- in the literal dramatic sense that at the crisis of the play the hero has no choice but to act -- is that this time Uranus and Pluto anchor the most famously afflictive of all planet alignments, a Grand Cross. This means that at a minimum, four planets or other major chart points are arranged in a four-armed cross, so that one pair of planets is opposite each other at 180°. These two are also at a 90° angle to another opposite pair, so that each of the four planets in the cross is in a "square" to a planet on either side, and they form altogether ten angles of friction and potential conflict. Not only this -- but here we see the four main adversaries right at the angles of the chart, i.e., the four points at the extremities of the heavy, bold cross you see within the wheel.

 

Read 'em and remember to breathe. At left, just above the Libra Ascendant and within only 11 minutes of it, is Mars, just barely hidden in the 12th house. Opposite to him in the 6th house, and within a degree of the Descendant at right, is Uranus in Aries. This opposition alone, associated as it is with accidental injury and deliberate violence, is sure to cause symptoms of arousal in fight fans. At a square to these two, Jupiter in the 9th house (which he rules) is 4° away from the Midheaven (MC) in Cancer at the top center of the chart, and opposite to him in the 3rd house is Pluto in Capricorn at the bottom center point we call the Nadir. The Capricorn Moon in the 4th house is pulled into the Cross by its proximity to the Nadir. So the Cross has not four major chart points, but nine -- five planets and all four angles -- and they form a total of so many stress points, wasps' nests and stingers that only a triple Virgo  would want to count them.

 

Saturn and Mercury (Simultaneous): Thirty.

 

Dan: Eucharisto. To introduce the fighters in what could be likened to a tag team match if anyone actually wanted to work with anyone else: all four corners of the system of domination, manipulation and control -- the establishments of government, finance, education and religion (Jupiter); science, technology and media (Uranus); military and enforcement powers (Mars); and espionage, encryptation and propaganda (Pluto) -- are not linked hand in hand and cheek by jowl as usual, working smoothly if not happily to keep their people fooled, fat and frightened, but are now so divided that each one is against all of the others, seeking to save only itself as they hear the girders groaning, they smell the first faint fumes, feel the brick dust falling on their backs, and fight to get out of the rotten structure before it falls on top of them. Naturally, they try to stir as much fear as they can in everyone else, in hopes that this emotional energy wave, however dark and heavy, will implode and shore up their ruin for just a little longer.

 

Under normal conditions, when they're in alliance, even the collective brass heart of every lawyer in LA would be a piece of tiramisu for these planets. And so would Fort Hard Heart. We can guess how it goes. Mars goes right at the wall, as always. Jupiter corrupts the governor and bribes the guards. Uranus jams the internal electric grid and runs nonstop the sounds and symbols that Pluto crafted just before he tunneled down to undermine the wall and cave it in from below. If the planets cooperate, then the castle has about as much chance of holding out as a lovesick teenager facing Ava Gardner in a black velvet dress.

 

Mercury: So why don't they cooperate?

 

Dan: I believe it's not just in the celestial mechanics and the geometry. It's in how fully-conscious planets and partly-conscious humans relate. A lot of the humans already know that the planets don't really exert any "forces" or "influences" on us.

 

Saturn: The stars incline; they do not compel.

 

Mercury: Who said that? Bill Hicks?

 

Saturn and Dan (Simultaneous): Paracelsus.

 

Saturn: And they don't cooperate because . . . ?

 

Dan: Because they mirror humanity. We don't reflect and respond to them. They play us. They act out the weave of our will and the clash of our pride. If the planets align like this in such incredibly complex obtuseness, it may mean we've finally hit the penalty of our passion at the limit of our ignorance, and we find out the hard way, the only way we seem to trust, what happens to Earth and us all when we refuse, much too hard and for much too long, to wake up, give up and get along.

 

Mercury: Sounds grim, Dan. Like something from one of those doom pimps you write about.

 

Dan: Until we get to the magic of this amazing design. Along with the Grand Cross, the chart also has a Grand Trine, and they even share a common point, so the Grand Cross and the Grand Trine are linked in a single spectacular figure. The Jupiter-MC conjunction at top center is at a 120° angle to Saturn in the 2nd house of our money, and Venus conjunct Chiron in the 5th house of our creativity. This means that our wide-ranging strategic vision and our optimism (Jupiter), located right at the true north point in our spiritual compass (MC), is in an alliance that would be irresistible, if we wanted to make it so, with our healing force and consciousness of our purpose (Chiron), our power of attraction (Venus) -- while she's exalted in Pisces -- and . . . the purposeful majesty of . . .

 

Mercury (Laughs.) Of whom? Even I would be tongue-tied right now.

 

Saturn is, Believe It or Not, the Patron Planet of Comedy

 

Dan: Images like stage fright and pressure don't begin to convey how it feels to describe Saturn  while linked with him in a live broadcast like this.

 

Saturn: Best get over it. You created the moment and the chance, did you not, as humans always do? Proceed.

 

Dan: With an eye to emulating your economy, Maestro: Saturn is earthy hard work: devoted, disciplined, determined effort in pursuit of the worthiest, weightiest goals in the higher harmonics of communal and cosmic service. He is the enforcer of the non-performance clause in our sacred contracts, and this is why the longer we evade our true soul objectives, provided that we are conscious at all, the harder life gets. Those who accept that there's a connection between effort and outcome can get along with Saturn, even get his help.

 

Mercury: I always thought he was limitation.

 

Dan: Yes, that too. But this opens up the whole huge topic of his connection with comedy.

 

Mercury: I always wondered about that too, Saturn. You don't seem to be the kind of guy to lead off a gig with, "A priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk walk into a bar."

 

Saturn: I'm not. But the bar is appropriate. Human beings go there to forget their limits and pump  their needs. And . . . what else? Dan?

 

Dan: I wouldn't presume any further, my Lord. Please tell us. Why are you the patron planet of comedy, apart from the black costume, like Pantalone and Scaramouche?

 

Saturn: Don't forget Il Dottore, the learned man. I'm not Dr. Comedy because I skate the banana or pitch the pie. I am the practical weight of the solid common sense that human beings find boring in their endless chase for cheap thrills, easy scores, free lunches, good games in bad places, ways to drop a quarter in a dream and break the bank at Monte Carlo, and every other chance to get something for nothing. What other species would play the numbers, bet on wishes that are worth their weight in laughing gas, wait for Godot and keep falling in love again and again with partners who are sure to be a spoonful of bliss followed by an ocean of pain?

 

Mercury: Lord, what fools these mortals be!

 

Saturn: The proof is relentless and convincing, if we look at them only with the intellect. But the core of the problem now is that human beings won't honor the heart, and use its power bravely. If they did, and before long they will have to, their plot and their position would look very different, and what they only dimly imagine, or dismiss as fantasy, would be right within reach.  Comedy is pointless without compassion.  We know Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton are never going to get out of the bus and the sewer, and be rich men with golf courses and polo ponies. We know Don Quixote is "really" just an avid romance reader named Quijada or Quesada, knighted only by his own longing for justice and truth. But humanity will always aspire. That can be their folly. It can also be the fire in their heart, and their glory. Better to want honor and beauty than resign and die untested. Better to hear amid this month's roar and rage the peerless love and nobility that will bring you through, doubts and all. The planets, all of us, are with you in ways you could see if you only accepted one another. Your courage amazes us.

 

THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR

April 2014

 

April 1-2 (Tuesday - Wednesday)

In the ancient Greek calendar, the Veneralia, the annual rites of Peace, celebrating the power of love by which Aphrodite (her name is the source of "April") overcomes the physical power of Ares, god of war. Festivals of the lady of love abound this month, beginning weeks before the Sun enters the Venus-ruled sign of Taurus on April 19. The famous expression "Amor Vincit Omnia" (Love Conquers All) is a relic of this festival. Venus is powerfully positioned for most of this month in Pisces, where she is said to be "exalted," until April 21.

 

April 1, Tuesday

In the ancient Khemitian calendar, this day begins a major four-day festival cycle honoring the neteru -- not "gods" -- as keepers of cosmic order. The main feasts and ceremonies:

 

4/1  - Festival Day of Het-Hor, aka Hathor, as sky divinity whose cow horns embrace the Sun. Het-Hor, whose name literally means "house of Hor" (Het-Hor is, along with Aset ("Isis"), one of two netert (the "t" after neter identifies the divine emanation as female) who were honored as mother of the solar deity and divine hero Hor. Het-Hor is also identified in this spring festival with Aphrodite/Venus, goddess of love. (Month of Pachons, day 17).

4/2 - Festival of the Ennead--the nine "old neters" and the boat of Ra, which maintains order in heaven and earth by sailing each day through the sky and the duat, or underworld. (Pachons, day 18).

4/2 - Festival of the union of Djehuti ("Thoth"), neter of letters and learning, with Ma'at, neter of Truth. It is said that Djehuti's understanding of numbers, and of mathematics as a principle of civil and universal order, is born of the inspiration he received from Ma'at. (Pachons, day 19).

4/3 - Feast of Ma'at as merciful intermediary in the judgment of souls. (Pachons, day 20).

 

April 4, Friday

In ancient Rome, 4/4 is the first day of the week-long Megalesia, in honor of Cybele, the Magna Mater (Great Mother) worshiped throughout the Roman Empire. Megalesia marked the arrival in Rome of Cybele's image, sent from her home temple in Phrygia (now in western Turkey) in 204 BC, in response to a prophecy from the Sibylline Books that Hannibal’s Carthaginian army would leave Italy only if Cybele's sacred black stone were brought to Rome. The Senate and people of Rome soon learned to their acute discomfort that worship of the Magna Mater included such alarming austerities as self-flagellation and the emasculation of her priests. Thus, for more than two centuries, Cybele's priesthood was limited to non-Romans.

 

April 5, Saturday

This day is the Roman festival of Fortuna, honoring the goddess of luck and chance, symbolized by wings, the Moon, a cornucopia and a ship's rudder.

 

Venus enters Pisces, where she is said to be "exalted." All Venus-ruled activities of love, art and beauty are favored; and women, and for that matter all people who know how to work their will through the subtle heat of attaction, will be at the irresistible peak of their beauty and power. Particularly important points in her passage through Pisces, until May 3, are her conjunctions with Neptune (April 9 - 15, exact April 12) and Chiron (April 17 - 24, exact April 21 -- right when needed, amid the high intensity of this month's Grand Cross.)

 

April 7, Monday

Mercury enters Aries. Over the next two weeks Mercury's energy will be quick, intrepid, direct and decisive, taking on the driving and fiery qualities of Mars.

 

April 8, Tuesday

Celebrated in some Buddhist communities, by the solar calendar, as the birthday (563 BC) of Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha. This date is most observed in cultures which attribute to the Buddha the physical and psychic qualities of Aries, the Ram, easily visible in the eyebrow and nose lines of images of the Buddha). The Chinese, Tibetan and other Asian lunar calendars, on the other hand, place the Buddha's birthday on the Full Moon of the 4th lunar month, known in the West as the "Full Moon in Taurus" -- that is, the Full Moon in Taurus month. See May 14 in next month's UFC.

 

Among those who observe the Buddha's birthday with rare beauty on this day are the Japanese, for whom this is the Hana Matsuri, or flower festival, when children dressed in their best kimono chant in gorgeous processions with floral floats that must be seen -- and smelled -- to be believed.

 

In the Hindu calendar, this is Ramanavami, the ninth and culminating day of the great New Year festival honoring the heroic deeds of Lord Rama. For more on this, see March 31 in the March UFC.

 

April 9, Wednesday

In some annual Christian saints' day calendars, this is the feast of St. Mary of Egypt,  the unofficial patron saint of runaways and children who are born to be wild. At 12 she ran away to Alexandria, where she lived as a party animal and prostitute until, at 29, she pulled the stunning outrage of traveling with a caravan of pilgrims to Jerusalem, entertaining along the way as many men as she could lure into her tent. In the holy city she experienced a life-cleansing vision of the Virgin Mary, who told her to "cross over Jordan" to find peace. Mary wandered in the desert for the next 47 years until she met the abbot Zosimus, who brought her holy communion on Holy Thursday and agreed to come and administer the sacrament again a year later. When Zosimus returned, he found Mary lifeless on the sand, with an inscription that read, "Here lies the body of Mary the sinner." Her story has been dramatized in a beautiful "icon in music and dance" by John Tavener.

 

April 9 is also the Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as Jalal (Glory).

 

In the Roman Catholic calendar, this is the feast of Pope Leo I, also called St. Leo the Great, who is celebrated for his courage in having gone unescorted to persuade Attila the Hun to spare Rome from the destruction that the Huns had already visited on northern Italy. It is reported that when Attila's generals asked him why he had chosen to march his host back to the Danube, instead of taking the empire's richest prize when it was within his grasp, Attila replied that he had seen two radiant beings, whom he took to be Sts. Peter and Paul, standing behind Leo, symbolizing the spiritual forces allied with him.

 

Roman festival of Cerealia, honoring Ceres (Greek Demeter) and her blessings of abundant harvest, peace and good government. Feminine relationships of sisterhood, parenthood and mentorship between wise women and girls, and for that matter all ceremonies of female spirituality, are emphasized now.

 

April 11, Friday

In Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Warriors, the fourth of the 20-day uinals in the cycle (9 Imix, Tzolkin 61). This uinal, symbolized by the Quail, represents the limiting principle of reaction after the three uinals of growth that begin the Tzolkin cycle.

 

April 13, Sunday

In the Hindu calendar, this day is Vaisakhi, the beginning of the new solar year, celebrated with rites of purification, most notably a ritual bath in the mother river, the Ganges. For the Sikh community, this is the most important festival day of the year, commemorating the founding of the Khalsa Brotherhood.

 

In the Jain calendar, this Full Moon is Mahavir Jayanti, celebrating the birthday of Mahavira, founder of the Jain faith.

 

In most Christian calendars, this is Palm Sunday, celebrating the day on which Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophecy that the Messiah would ride an ass into Jerusalem in the days just before Passover, and be welcomed in triumph by adoring crowds waving palm fronds, the symbol of nourishment and new life. This day begins Christian Holy Week, culminating in Easter on April 20.

 

April 13-14 (Sunday - Monday)

Thai Buddhists celebrate Songkran, their New Year festival, on these days. The ritual of bathing statues of the Buddha, now a solar festival aligned with Vaisakhi (4/13), doubles as a playful water fight that leaves the Awakened One, and everybody else, dripping clean. The statues are then coated with new gold leaf, and displayed in processions that are followed by boat races, concerts, plays and fireworks.

 

April 14, Monday

The Sikhs have made a similar adjustment in modern times. In their sacred year, this day is increasingly celebrated as the birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of the faith. While his birthday in the traditional lunar calendar, like the Buddha’s, has been celebrated at the Full Moon in Scorpio during Taurus month, as it was in 2008, more Sikh believers are observing it now on the solar new year of Baisakhi, the day after Hindu Vaisakhi (see 4/13).

 

In the Norse solar calendar, 4/14 is also the festival of Sommarsblot, marking the approach of summer.

 

Mercury enters Aries. Over the next two weeks, until May 1, his energy will be intrepid, direct and decisive, taking on the driving and fiery qualities of Mars.

 

April 14 (Mon), 9:43pm HT; April 15 (Tue), 7:43am UT:

The Full Moon in Libra, opposite Sun in Aries. This tends to be one of the less harmonious oppositions on the wheel, as it's the time when kings go forth to war at precisely the moment in early spring when queens are most in need of reassurance and affection, and the Aries desire for action outside the home clashes most abruptly with the Libra objective to settle down in marriage. This Full Moon is relatively placid, at least in the context of the ongoing 90° Uranus-Pluto square that moves inexorably toward Round 5 of exactitude on April 21. At this Full Moon, Saturn in Scorpio is at a 120° "trine" to the Moon, and 60° "sextile" to the Sun, so that teaching activities, and serious, disciplined efforts of all kinds, are much favored now.

 

At this Full Moon there is a total eclipse of the Moon.

 

In the Celtic/Druidic and Wiccan calendars, this Full Moon is called Seed Moon. Also Budding Moon, Planter’s Moon, Pink Moon and the Green Grass Moon, when Nature revives.

 

April 15 - 18, (four days)

For the Theravadin Buddhists of Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Laos and Cambodia, the days following the first Full Moon in April are the New Year festival. What may make various Buddhist New Years less bewildering to sort out is that Mahayana Buddhists celebrate the New Year at the first Full Moon in January; for most others it aligns with the Chinese New Year at the New Moon in Aquarius month (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18), while Tibetans prefer to time their New Year a month later than the Chinese calendar.

 

April 14 - 21, (eight days)

Pesach, the Jewish feast of Passover, begins at sunset this day and continues for the next eight days. These holy days commemorate the night on which the Jews of Egypt painted the door posts of their homes with lamb's blood, as a sign that the Angel of Death was to spare the family from the death of their firstborn. This was the last and most terrible of the seven plagues visited upon Pharaoh, and the one that convinced him to release the Hebrews from bondage.

 

April 15, Tuesday

Birthday of Leonardo da Vinci (1452).

 

In the ancient Khemitian calendar, the month of Payni, sacred to Hor, aka Horus, begins with feasts of Hor and Bastet, the cat-headed netert who is the benign form of the formidable lioness Sekhmet.

 

In the Hindu calendar, this Full Moon is Hanuman Jayanti, birthday of the beloved nature guide and trickster Hanuman, the monkey god whose craft helps many heroes who cannot escape danger and win their ends on muscle and heart alone.

 

April 15 - 18 (four days)

For the Theravadin Buddhists of Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Laos and Cambodia, the days following the first Full Moon in April are the New Year festival. What may make various Buddhist New Years less bewildering to sort out is that Mahayana Buddhists celebrate the New Year at the first Full Moon in January; for most others it aligns with the Chinese New Year at the New Moon in Aquarius month (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18), while Tibetans prefer to time their New Year a month later than the Chinese calendar.

 

April 17, Thursday

Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Passover meal of Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples.

 

April 19, Saturday, 5:57pm HT; April 20, Sunday,  3:57 am UT:

Sun enters Taurus, representing both Bull and Cow, the latter venerated as nurturer, in such forms as the Khemitian neters Aset ("Isis") and Het-Hor ("Hathor"), since the time of the ancient Goddess religions. The energy principle of the month is Stamina, involving spiritual and practical questions: whether new initiatives begun in the preceding month of Aries can be sustained, and whether, like the Earth that now bursts into fresh green leaves, the human collective soul can move steadily toward fruition. The time favors slow, methodical movement, and, as Taurus is ruled by Venus, is equally favorable to focused intentions of attraction, which bring the desired outcome toward us. The phrase from the I Ching, "Perseverance furthers", is relevant here.

 

April 20, Sunday

The founding of Rome in 753 BC is celebrated annually on this day. It is also the day of the Parilia, a festival honoring Pales, the god who safeguards sheep from illness and wolves. Fires are made of green branches, and sheep are herded through the smoke to purify and protect them.

 

In some Native American calendars, Month of the Beaver begins.

 

In most Christian calendars, this is Easter Sunday, the most joyous of all Christian feasts, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus, and the victory over death that is now available for all of humankind. Ever since Christianity became the state religion of the late Roman empire, the timing of Easter has been reckoned as the Sunday after the first Full Moon following the Spring Equinox. This means that Easter must always fall between March 22 and April 20, while the Sun is in the sign of Aries, here the sacrificial Ram, the Lamb of God whose suffering will bring, in the view of Christian believers, the redemption of all human beings.

 

April 21, Monday

In the ancient Khemitian calendar, this day is the feast of Wadjet, the cobra netert who appears in the uraeus serpent on Pharaoh's crown and other regalia as the protector of the king and his people. (Payni, day 7). The cobra and the vulture are said to be the most fiercely protective of all mothers, and this is why these symbols recur constantly in Egyptian ritual art.

 

In the modern Egyptian calendar, this day after Coptic Easter  is called Sham el Nessim, "Sniffing the Breeze," a spring agricultural holiday that has marked the coming of spring since very ancient times. It's customary on this day to share a meal of boiled eggs, scallions and kippers or other salted fish, all of them fertility symbols that have their counterparts in the spring rites of other traditions.

 

The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on this day. The Moon is waning now from Full on April 15, so viewing is will be impaired.

 

In the Baha'i calendar, this is the first day of Ridvan, the twelve- day festival commemorating the announcement by Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha'i faith, that he was the new Prophet.

 

Rastafarians celebrate this day as one of their most important holidays, marking Haile Selassie's visit to Jamaica in 1961.

 

Birthday (1182) of the celebrated religious reformer, environmentalist and animal communicator St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order of monks. In 2013, this will be joyously linked with the new Argentinian pope who is the first to take the name, and affirm the values, of St. Francis.

 

4/22 is also the date of the first Earth Day.

 

April 23, Wednesday

In England, the feast of St. George. This day has been sacred to warrior heroes since ancient times, when the Greeks honored Bellerophon, slayer of the Chimera; and Norse peoples honored Sigurd, or Siegfried, also a dragon-slayer. The symbolism of the spiritual warrior, whose lance striking the serpent represents the victory of wisdom over the appetites of the flesh, is universal.

 

Mercury enters Taurus. This placement is considered neither advantageous nor "difficult," though Mercury can get uncomfortable with the slow tempo and predictable, even stolid qualities of the Taurus character. As Mercury is not going to get things to pop as flexibly as he wants while he's here, his best strategy for the interim is patient, careful adherence to the well-laid plans until he gets back up to speed in Gemini, from May 7.

 

Ancient Rome celebrates the festival of Jupiter and Venus today.

 

This day is also the Yoruba and Santeria feast in honor of Ogun, the Orisha of strength, courage and stamina. Ogun is honored in ceremonies of drumming and trance dancing.

 

April 23 is also the birthday of William Shakespeare (1564).

 

April 24, Thursday

St. Mark's Eve. This and the following day are traditionally considered uncommonly clear windows for divining the future. As is the case with other linked two-day Christian feasts (e.g., the somber Hallowe'en remembrance of the dead, followed by the more joyous and auspicious All Saints' Day), the eve of the main day may bring visions of death, while the feast itself is more happily anticipatory, especially in matters of love. It was commonly believed that one's death was imminent if he or she found a footprint matching their own in the ashes of the St. Mark's Eve bonfire. It was also said that anyone who waits near the entrance of the church at midnight will see the shades of all those who will die in the parish over the next year enter the church in procession.

 

April 25, Friday

In the regular Christian cycles of saints' days, Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. This day is thought excellent for summoning visions of the future. It is customary for a maiden to pluck twelve leaves of sage at noon on this day, in order to see a vision of her future husband, or to attract his appearance in the flesh.

 

American Arbor Day is observed now, on the last Friday in April, with the planting of trees and celebrations of thanksgiving for the green abundance of Earth. The modern Arbor Day holiday is an echo of the vegetation festivals celebrated in ancient and medieval Europe on this day.

 

April 26 - May 3 (eight days)

In the Mayan solar festival calendar, April 26 is the first day of the eight day Rain Festival of prayers and welcoming ceremonies for the rain deity Chac and the new fruits of the Earth.

 

April 27, Sunday

In the Khemitian calendar, a major festival day and time marker: the Voyage of the Ennead, i.e., the nine "old ones" who were the earliest-born of the neters. On this day images of the Ennead were carried on river journeys aboard elaborately-decorated boats, affirming the eternal divine blessing of the river as source of the people's life. This day also marks the 90-day (or nine decans of ten day "weeks") countdown point to the beginning of the annual Nile flood (Month of Payni, day 13).

 

April 27 (Sun) eve - April 28 (Mon) eve:

 

In the Jewish calendar, this day is Yom Ha Shoah, commemorating those who perished in the Holocaust.

 

April 28, Monday

In cultures throughout the planet, this day begins a universal pre-festival leading up to the great Mid-spring Festival beginning on May 1. The Roman festival of Floralia began each year on 4/28, and continued in three days of revelry and sexual license unusual even by the standards of ancient Rome.

 

Flowers were naturally associated with youthful beauty and vitality, and also with the impermanence of life; phrases such as "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" and "Carpe diem" (pluck the day) are echoes of joyous Floralia litanies.

 

In the six-season calendar of the aboriginal people of Australia, the "Cooler but Still Humid Season" of Yegge begins about now. This is the first of the three dry seasons, lasting until about June 10.

 

Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as Jamal, Beauty.

 

April 29, Tuesday

First day of Golden Week, Japan's great spring holiday.

 

April 30 - May 4, (five days)

The last day of April begins the annual five-day Zoroastrian spring festival honoring Khshathra Vairya, creator and protector of the sky, one of the seven male emanations of Ahura Mazda, the transcendent, universal fire.

 

In the southern hemisphere, the great Autumn Festival of Samhain now begins. See the November,  2013 Universal Festival Calendar.

 

Most importantly for the purposes of earth-friendly celebrations everywhere, April 30 is May Eve, or Walpurgisnacht, honoring the Horned God of the Celtic and Teutonic peoples. He embodies the vitality of animal life, as the Green Man embotdies the vitality of all plant life. The day begins, in the northern hemisphere, the universal Mid-spring Festival known as Maytime, Beltaine and countless other names. See May 1.

 

As this day is exactly opposite on the Year Wheel to the position of Hallowe'en on Oct. 31, Walpurgisnacht is regarded as one of the two days each year when demons and other malevolent spirits are free to roam the Earth. Throughout ancient and medieval Europe, this night was feared as the time when witches gathered to invoke the Evil One, most notably at the annual gathering of witches on Mt. Brocken in the Harz mountain region of Germany. This event was thought so unlucky and spiritually perilous that not even the military and police forces of Germany ever dared attack it as an obvious chance to round up the witches. In this instance, at least, the authorities were no fools.

 

Want to know how any of these days affects you? An Astrocartography reading covers not only your unique, personal planet energy lines and crossings, but the conditions of timing that are in effect for you now, and in the months and years ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR

 

The Universal Festival Calendar first appeared in July, 1998 as an e-mail newsletter, and has also been published online since May, 2000. It incorporates data from astronomy and astrology, Moon cycles and the sacred days and festivals of many spiritual traditions, in order to identify monthly and annual power points, when human ascension efforts are well aligned with the celestial dynamics of our galactic stagemachinery, and the life cycles of Mother Earth. The UFC aims to assist the spiritual evolution of Earth and her people by providing information useful for planning global meditations, ceremonies and gatherings that support the aim of awakening enough human beings to bring about the lifting of human consciousness into higher frequencies of mercy, compassion, wisdom and love.

 

We welcome and are grateful for suggestions by readers whose ideas have improved the Calendar, and made it more accurate and comprehensive.