THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for August, 2014. First something about the 9-month travels that I've just begun, especially for those who may request astrocartography readings while I'm on the road, or want to link with me for a live reading.
This will be the longest journey of my life, in total time. I'll go to California and Oregon, Asia and Hawaii, the West central US and the MidEast, especially my heroic, beloved Egypt. In the months ahead my partners and I will introduce a new smartphone app that we'll say more about when it's ready. In October -November I visit Bangkok, the Thai islands and the Angkor Wat; then Kyoto, for the refreshing of an old heart cord with one who has just turned 84; then Hawaii to see beloved ones for the first time since the Year of Rumi in 2007, then Kansas City for the holidays with family and friends, then Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Austin/Sun City and Houston for talks and readings; then the culmination of the journey in Egypt and Lebanon.
In Egypt Leslie Zehr and I will guide Sacred Sounds Egypt 2015 from Feb. 19 to March 7, and I'll be in Sinai before and after the Sacred Sounds journey. From late March into April I'll do with beloved friends in Cairo the two-man version of An Evening with Rumi that I've dreamed of since I lived in Egypt. This bilingual show will have a young Egyptian actor playing Rumi at 37, doing some of the poems and stories in Arabic, and me playing him in later life doing other pieces in English. We'll have music by some of Cairo's best Sufi players, with turning by dervishes and graceful paintings, at the Sufi Tikke near Al Azhar in Cairo.
We may take An Evening with Rumi to Beirut too, and we're exploring other chances in Alexandria and Italy. The easiest way to link with my moves and plans, between UFC preludes that come only once a month, is to join the subscription list to my Aquarian Airlines blog. Subscribe in the box at top right of the page, and you get a free copy of Finding Your Best Places in the World, my first astrocartography ebook, due to get done in the months ahead. You can also like the Egypt Sacred Sounds 2015 page on Facebook, and join our new Facebook group, who'll get weekly news as our plans ripen and we fine-tune in the months ahead.
For here and now in the August UFC, it's time for the main myth of the month:
REMEMBER, YOU ARE STILL A MAN
We are now in one of the traditional firepits of the year, the moment of Lughnasad and Lammas, when the early grain harvest is celebrated in the baking and sharing of new bread – Lammas literally means Loaf Mass – and above all in bonfires, so called because one thing they consume along with the wood and herbs is the bones of the food animals who have kindly offered their meat and hides to the community since the autumn hunting season of the year before. The tribe regarded the animals, whose blessing and permission were ritually invoked by hunters, as conscious, sacred providers who gave their mana along with their meat, and joyously played their roles in the great holistic turning of birth and decay, death and regeneration, dissolution, reunion and return.
If only the hunt were still so sacred now, and respectful. Here at the height of the Leo season, as July yields to August, the pressure and the heat could hardly be more intense than they are all over the world. In east Europe thugs in black blow up an airliner and murder hundreds of passengers, thousands of Gazans are trapped between Hamas rocketeers and Israelis who, in a manner surprising for such skilled soldiers, somehow seem to keep bombing hospitals by mistake and Oops! We didn't intend to do it! Fire tank shells into yet another school. Syria and Iraq are burning. And in perhaps this fire month's most bizarre new outcome, a truly Aquarian event, a water main bursts at UCLA and floods the campus with millions of gallons of the vital resource so precious that the hidden history of Los Angeles could be called Water Wars. Who pours the water now, and where, as in Detroit too, in the Mideast and other places to come, directs an awakening flow of energy that moves ahead of the event and causes things to align with it and flow toward it.
Is the violent unwinding of these events really as bad as it looks? No. It is worse, as sources of "news" and "information" highlight only what serves their own aims and premises, and dismiss or ignore everything else, so no one can comprehend it all except the Divine Eye. It is all heating up, as the month's trend of agony in this theatre of militant ignorance is only beginning to intensify. The bloodthirsty Black Mars in the sign of Scorpio -- as distinct from Red Mars in Aries -- now approaches Saturn, and twists the planetary tension of the month to the hissing point. As Mars represents the assertive, aggressive energy of the hunter and warrior riding headlong to the attack, and Saturn is the chilling, restraining force that will not yield a millimeter, friction increases until the Virgo Black Moon of Aug. 25, when the transit of Mars over Saturn will be exact, and for some the emotional pressure may feel unbearable.
Even when Mars passes Saturn's position, and the terrific heat of their transit cools, any real respite is unlikely, if we look at other rhythms that pulse through the years ahead, and even echo over centuries, and mark this time as one of those when wheels within wheels turn at different tempi and dynamics, yet all sound their harmonics of the same Plutonian, Scorpionic theme of Death and Regeneration. One of these alignments may be tiresome to you by now, if you've followed in these pages the series of 90° "square" alignments between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that have made, and will keep making, the years from 2012 to 2015 a time of revolutionary change as searing and sweeping in its impact as anything that has flashed and burned in the world for the last 300 years.
There is more about the scorching, shaking planetary dynamic of Uranus against Pluto in "Look at the Giver," the UFC prelude for May, which was round 5 in the series of seven Uranus-Pluto squares. Round 6 comes on Dec. 15, so at the end of this month we will be at the midpoint between the two Rounds, with a trend of increasing friction and intensity about to begin. And, as the alignments are cumulative in their impact, each successive clash between Uranus, the bringer of shock and upset, and Pluto in all his black finality, is a contest that shows why agony literally means the all-but-unendurable pain that comes at the agon, the moment of maximum exertion.
Not only this -- but a now equally momentous business is about to arrive, as Saturn in all his lordly severity moves through the later degrees of Scorpio, the transformative sign that Pluto rules. It is now the best time, as we approach Barack Obama's 53rd birthday on Aug. 4, to look at a relationship prefigured and hinted at in earlier UFC preludes, and we begin exploring the uncanny synastry between Obama's birth chart and his country's Scorpionic America chart. If this term is new to you, this may be because Americans have long held a deeply-embedded belief that their country was "born on the 4th of July" when it was not. July 4, 1776 was the day when the New England colonies declared their independence from England, and requested recognition from other countries. But the United States was really born when a fractious group of 13 commonwealths and other territories would finally commit themselves to uniting into a federal union, and accepting if only in principle, for the sake of surviving the present emergency, the premise that some higher spiritual force or common purpose could override their many hard and heated differences.
The honor of being the birth date of the United States of America, in the view of the late polymath astrologer David Solté, would go to Nov. 15, 1777 when delegates in York, PA approved the Articles of Confederation, about how the new nation would be constituted and how its government would work. If David Solté was right, the USA is anything but the maternal, nurturing, sensitive and shy Cancer country it would have been if born on July 4. It is instead, and this becomes more and more evident as its recent history continues to unfold, a passionately self-righteous Scorpio nation driven to extremes of discovery and adventure, secrecy and paranoia, conquest and control, and the making and breaking of other countries in an ongoing wave of Plutonian death and rebirth.
Perhaps in time an astrologer will feel moved to study the Scorpionic America chart in relation to some of the more notable presidents and other people of power, especially the Scorpios (James Knox Polk, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert F. Kennedy, Hillary Clinton), Aquarians (Lincoln and Reagan) and Leos (Hoover, Bill Clinton and Obama), all of whom either could not see coming, or saw and intended, the crucial and even cataclysmic changes that had to come in their eras for their own people, and for others as well. As we will soon see, Barack Obama had to be president at this time. It was easy to predict his election victories, and the unfoldings of his years in office, because Obama's chart is an obvious complement and catalyst to the changes -- the ones we work for and want, the ones we suffer and want to stop -- in the Scorpionic America chart. It may help us to know when the ordeal for Obama and his country will be most intense, in the months from now to December of 2014 and January 2015. These months will tell us much about whether the Scorpionic America chart is true, and how it may hold the clues of what to expect in the years ahead.
What follows in the next few paragraphs may be of much more interest to students of astrology than to those who are not yet fluent in this language. If you'd like to skip the numbers, glyphs and special terms, please scroll down to Out of the Chariot.
Here are the birth charts of Scorpionic America and Barack Obama:
Talking a Good Game: Both charts are Aquarius Rising with the Gemini Moon in the 3rd house of communications and commerce (Scorpionic America) or the 4th house of the home and the mother (Obama), so in both charts the gregarious, talkative Moon that needs the interest and attention of many others is near the bottom center point of the Nadir, which is the anchor of life on the material plane. There will be money in versatile talk, altruism in speech, and the kind of easy praise that Macbeth called “mouth honor." There will also be dire conditions that call for inspiring speech.
Paralysis and Betrayal: The 12th house of spirituality and mystical consciousness, shadows and secrets, energies that are in potential and not yet fully formed for expression in the light of day, and Neptune’s negative side in fraud and fruitless fantasy, delusion and deception by oneself and others, is baleful between the two charts. Pluto in late Capricorn in the Scorpionic America chart is not only on the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Obama’s chart; but at the midpoint between these two planets, so the themes of frustration and helplessness in the relationship of these three planets are greatly exacerbated. By itself, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction can be productive, and means accomplishment and completion. But When Pluto afflicts Saturn, one’s personal power is blocked, progress proves impossible no matter what we try, tasks that were once easy require much more effort, alliances are superficial, trusted associates do not deliver and we feel let down by those whose help seemed certain.
Pushing Boundaries: In the Scorpionic America chart, uneasy relationships with everyone – allies, enemies, fans, markets and what Lenin called “useful fools” – show in the axis of the two horseshoe-shaped Moon’s Nodes in the 5th house of children, creativity, love affairs and play vs. the 11th house of friends, community, social activity and activism. Mars is conjunct the stressing and splitting force of the South Node in the 11th, so it is likely that the USA will make rash mistakes, and will intimidate, even if does not not always articulate as bluntly as John Foster Dulles did, that “America does not have friends, it has interests.” Many disrespected nations will be at best amazed by the behavior of a country they must make an earnest effort to like and understand.
In Obama’s chart, Chiron in Pisces in the first house of one’s personality and “outer” projection in the world opposes Pluto in Virgo in the 7th house of relationships; and while these two planets are actually harmonious in their linkage with the Mars-Node dynamic we’ve just noted, it is likely that for whatever tragic wound or flaw he carries, Obama is somehow not able to rear back and throw a high hard one right at the chin of enemies who insult and defy him. Thus expectations of brave, effective leadership are constantly disappointed, and foes everywhere perceive they’re dealing with a figure who has a shallow well of courage and a deep well of fear.
What complicates this combination is another midpoint alignment, this time in the 9th house of institutions of authority – governments, banks and other large financial powers, churches, hospitals, universities – and the “higher communications" of philosophy and law. Neptune in Scorpio in Obama’s chart is on the midpoint of the Mercury-Saturn conjunction in the Scorpionic America chart, so that an intellectual interest in serious study is at odds with a pursuit of idealistic, unrealizable aims, and not even Jove’s own tireless, sinewy eagle could bridge the chasm between what Obama and his country say they want, and what they drop from their lips and the sky.
Death and Regeneration: The main engine of resistance, urgency and change in both these charts is the 90° “square” between planets and other major chart points in the “fixed” signs of Leo (Obama’s natal sun sign) and Scorpio. In the Scorpionic USA chart, the Scorpio Sun in the 9th house is square to Jupiter in Leo in the 7th house of partnerships, so it is no wonder that the USA has dealt such appalling bloodshed and misery in the last half century, and is hated by so many as the implacable enemy of peace, freedom and planetary health. In the same positions in these two signs, Obama’s Uranus-North Node conjunction in the 7th house can be considered one point of a full Grand Cross with the South Node in Aquarius in the 1st house, the Midheaven (MC) at 28° Scorpio at the top center of the chart and the Nadir in Taurus at the bottom. By the time Saturn crosses the MC in Sagittarius in the Scorpionic America chart on Feb. 3, there will be ample time and motive to Expose the Nose, and find amid the tiger’s breath and the rush of the wind for who we are, what is true, whom we love and how we're ready now to read the signs in Heaven and Earth of what we must now see and do.
How do we know that Scorpionic America, and Obama in particular, are at the crunch point and climax of their ordeal in the months ahead? Because Saturn in Scorpio, after having advanced as far as 23° Scorpio 19 before going retrograde on March 2, went direct again on July 20. He is heading now through mid-Scorpio. In the weeks following the US midterm election on Nov. 4, Saturn will square the late Leo points, and cross the late Scorpio points, in both these charts, just before Round 6 of the Uranus-Pluto squares forms exactly on Dec. 15. This could signify that even by the usual standard of embarrassing reverses for the president’s party in midterm elections, this one will prove to be among the most catastrophic ever suffered by an incumbent president. It could also help us realize that we are evolving beyond the following of leaders into a communal will and telepathic coherence that makes group decisions from moment to moment, and does not have to designate or approve leaders. As the Age of Aquarius now begins, we devise the exciting rites for passing solo power from the opposite pole of Leo to shared power in the synacrchy of Aquarius.
OUT OF THE CHARIOT
We are, in short, in a time when the most grandiose features of the Leo personality, and its desire to exercise leadership and excite a crowd, have manifested in the charts of Scorpionic America and Barack Obama at a time when the vainglory of great historic figures seems useless and expensive. In time to come people may look at the banner image of this page and wonder what is represented here in The Triumph of Aemilius Paulus. In the Aquarian Age, people will often wonder how the people of earlier times could have directed such unhealthy amounts of praise and power to only one person. We usually drink it in quickly and in limited doses, the way actors do. Others play acclaim as spectacle, the way countries and their militaries have done for millennia, ever since the Romans staged the ultimate honor a Roman male could receive: a Triumph.
We've seen it many times in the movies. The parade in honor of a Triumphator could include the entire Senate, other high magistrates and priests, picked troops from the infantry and cavalry of the most decorated legions, bands of military horns, drums, flutes and strings by many of Rome's best musicians. There are carts and carts of spoils, some of it tossed to the roaring crowd as the line moves on. The captive enemy, at least one of whom may die today in a ritual execution, walk or ride in chains at the end of the parade, just behind the one everyone wants to see, the heroic Commander who has just won the glorious victory. He may hold the reins and guide his four spirited horses, or men on foot may hold the bridles. Behind him, at the back of the chariot, there may be a sculpture of winged Fame holding a crown of golden laurel leaves above the Hero's head. This role was sometimes enacted by a man standing behind the General, holding the gold crown over him, and leaning in close behind him every minute or two to say, "Remember, you are still a man."
Imagine how the Triumph might be staged now, at the opposite pole from Leo. Start with a grand event of celebrating glory, and watch how the Hero now could proceed to reverse it. He begins the solemn show as usual, riding through ecstatic voices, getting reminded of his mortality by the man who holds a gold grown above him. But in the middle of the parade route, the General turns around, leans toward the other man and speaks to him, then comes forward again -- and uncorks a gesture that was once inconceivable, but is now within our imagination, even within a frame of action. The Conqueror decides that that he will be the one who performs The Leveling into Aquarius.
He hands the reins to his crown bearer, who now braces himself against the chariot rail and, in a kind of warrior pose, keeps the car moving with his left hand as he holds the crown aloft with his right. The Hero begins to disrobe, and the crowd near him grows so quiet that all one can hear is pigeon calls. The Commander's sword is first to come off, as he lifts it by the silver-studded black leather strap that holds it over his right shoulder. He pitches it aside, and the bejewelled scabbard flashes as it clatters to the edge of the cobblestone way. The General does not turn to see if anyone moves to snatch up his sword. No one does.
Then he undoes the gold throat clasps of his scarlet Commander's cloak, bordered at the sides and hem in aqua blue and purple, and a gust of wind blows it aloft as he casts it aside. His armor is next to go as the chariot moves on, starting with the greaves and their gold inlays of Camillus and Scipio Africanus. Next the gleaming breast and back plates, and the belt that holds the battle skirt of leather straps faced with steel. The Commander takes a small dagger from inside the belt, holds it up and waves it slowly right and left, then places it over the heart of the crown bearer, who clasps it as the two men hold a gaze. Then the Triumphator takes off his signet ring, holds it up and tosses it into the crowd. No one tries to catch it. Some people duck and step aside as the ring bounces and hits the side of a cat who jumps a foot.
The chariot stops, and the former General, now dressed only in his sandals and his linen tunic with sweat bands across his shoulder blades and lower front ribs, takes the crown and dismounts from the car. He holds the crown first toward his crown bearer, the two men bow to each other, then the Hero turns slowly round, offering the crown to all. He throws it toward the crowd, and it spins like a quoit, then hits a column and falls out of sight, ignored. The Hero then lifts some children and their dog into the chariot, and nods to the man with the reins, who clicks the horses forward as the kids gape open-mouthed and bulb-eyed at the immense thousands all looking at them. The crowd begins to murmur and laugh, then whistle and cheer, then throw flowers. The kids milk their role, bowing and then with lifted chests waving to the people the way Commanders do when they gather their red cloaks and throw them over their shoulders, smile and kiss babies, and look Great. The Commander moves into the crowd as the kids in the chariot and the driver lift more little kids into he car, and it gets filled with so many that mothers run right behind the chariot to catch any children or dogs who fall out.
By now only the driver, who used to be the crown bearer until just now, looks back to where the parade began. He scans the crowd for the man who was the Triumphator less than an hour ago when the tubas started to play, and the horses tossed their manes. But he's vanished into the crowd. Aquarius is here.
Not all of us get to flip a Triumph, though small opportunities may still present themselves. The señorita at pre-checkin to Spirit Airlines in Lima asked me, "¿Llevas algo inflamable?" (Are you carrying anything flammable?)
“Sólo mi corazón." (Only my heart), I replied, and thought of the one I love in Pisac.
More in a few weeks from Oregon, where I'll join Singing Alive. Keep Holding That Frequency.
THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
Aug. 1 - 31: The Month of Augustus
August is one of the Western calendar's two months which are named for persons of mundane political power -- unlike other months such as January, March, May and June, all named for persons of divine power.
The month of August, originally called October ("eighth month"), has borne the name of Augustus ever since the year 14, when the Roman Senate voted to honor the late princeps after a reign of 41 years as the first and, as later generations saw him, arguably the greatest of the Roman emperors. The seventh month of July was named in honor of his mentor and adoptive father, Julius Caesar.
Universal Midsummer Festival, one of the northern hemisphere's four great Midseason Festivals in the solar year and the life cycle of Mother Earth. Early August is the time of countless festivals of love, abundance and magic, and communications with Nature, especially animals. This is the time of Lammas, the Norse Lughnassadh and the Celtic Teltane, the Festival of New Bread, which begins the early harvest season that runs for three months until Samhain (Oct. 31 - Nov. 3).
This is traditionally the phase of the year in which the power of the god wanes as the goddess waxes. This transition is symbolized in the zodiac by the fading solar energy of Leo yielding to the fertility of Virgo, bearer of grain, grapes and the harvest of the future. At this time the first fruits of the grain harvest are celebrated throughout the Northern hemisphere in the baking and offering of ritual bread and cakes.
In the southern hemisphere, this is the time of the great winter festival of Imbolc.
In Aztec time reckoning, this is the Festival of Xiuhtecuhtli, god of the calendar. Like the Maya and other Mesoamerican peoples, the Aztecs observed this rite with elaborate dances and pageants showing the Sun's path in relation to the stars, the planets, the Moon and the Earth.
8/1 is also the Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as Kamal, Perfection.
Birthday (1832) of Henry Steele Olcott, co-founder with Helena Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society.
8/2 eve - 8/3 eve:
The ancient Greeks celebrate the festival of Synokia, affirming the importance of peace and cooperation among city-states and their peoples.
On this day in 1693, the blind Benedictine and master herbalist Dom Perignon realized champagne. After a few quality assessment sips, he called to one of the other monks, "Look, brother, I have been drinking stars!"
Aug. 4 evening – 5 evening, Monday – Tuesday:
In the Jewish calendar, this sunset-to-sunset interval is Tishah B'Av, the Dark Time, one of the year's more somber days of ceremony and fasting, commemorating the suffering of the Jews from the time of the destruction of Solomon's temple in Jerusalem, and other calamities of ancient Jewish history.
8/5 eve to 8/6 eve:
On this day the Greeks and Romans honor Artemis/Diana as the fierce protector of women against rapists and other violent oppressors. This solemn day of admonition was specifically placed here, in the Dog Days of summer, at the moment when the passions of the least conscious men are apt to run hot and high. At this time the goddess is in her punitive mode, parallel to such divine figures as Sekhmet and Kali, in aiming her unerring arrows not only at men who transgress against women, but more generally against all unruly passions that roil the serene purity of the soul stream in women and men alike.
In the Khemitian Calendar, the Festival of Djehuti ("Thoth"), neter of literature and all mathematical arts, including astronomy, astrology and music. This festival, held on the 19th day of Thuthi, the month sacred to Djehuti, begins the crucial time following the annual Nile inundation, when writing, sacred geometry and other arts invented by Thoth are used to determine the new pattern of earthly order, as cords stretched over the land mark the re-establishment of divine design after the floodwaters recede. For more information on this neter (meaning a force or principle of divine energy acting in the Earth world of nature, which is why neter and nature are cognate), see More About Thoth.
Zen Buddhists observe this day as Mindfulness Day, and meditate now on the oneness and interdependence of all sentient beings.
In Roman Catholic and other Christian calendars, this is the feast of the Transfiguration, celebrating the occasion when Jesus revealed to his three closest disciples, on Mount Tabor, as much of the splendor of his light body as they could safely bear.
Among the Celtic peoples of Europe, this is the day of the Tan Hill Festival, in honor of the sacred fire, called Teinne or Tan, from which the community lights bonfires for ceremonies of purification and sacrifice.
Gaia Consciousness Day, created in recent years to honor Mother Earth in ceremonies of healing and renewal.
On this day Ceres enters Scorpio, not one of her most advantageous placements, as the planet of Earth's fertility and abundance is now in the sign of death and regeneration, so that the theme of the time is the ending of what must be cleared now so that new growth can begin. Mundane issues of food wholesomeness and security are highlighted now. Symbolically and energetically, then, within ourselves, we focus on the changes that it is time to initiate now. Ceres remains in Scorpio until Oct. 27, the early days of Scorpio month itself.
In the Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Darkness, the tenth of the 20-day Uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (12 Imix, Tzolkin 181). The symbolic bird for this uinal is the Horned Owl, the energy principle that of Destruction in preparation for the Uinal of Rebirth that comes next.
8/9 eve - 15 eve (7 days):
The ancient Athenian festival of the Panathenaea ("all the Athenas"), honors the Goddess as the source of her people's wisdom and the giver of intellectual inspiration, and also women who, as priestesses and teachers, embody the gifts of Athena.
8/10, Sunday, 8:10 am HT; 6:10 pm UT:
Full Moon in Aquarius, opposite Sun in Leo. Complementary fire and air relationships, especially favorable for creative teamwork with friends. This Full Moon is one of the most active, powerful and conducive to change that we shall experience all year. Mercury conjoins the Leo Sun and opposes the Aquarius Moon. Uranus in Aries is in a harmonious 60° sextile to the Moon and a 120° trine to the Sun. The Moon's Nodes on the Libra-Aries Axis are also positively placed now. Saturn in Scorpio is angled at 90° to both Moon and Sun, so that the three form a T-cross. What does it all mean? That an afflictive Saturn alignment compels change, as always, but within circumstances of alliance and timing that are easier than they will be later in the year, within the implacable fury hate and mendacity of an American midterm election, followed by Round 6 of the Uranus-Pluto squares that are the engines of change in 2012 - 2015. This month, really the lunar interval from the Black Moon of July 26 through Lughnasad/Lammas to this Full Moon, are a must-use opportunity for the building of communities and alliances, and the attunement of the heart and the field for the months ahead.
In the festival calendar of India, this Full Moon is celebrated as Raksha Bandhan, honoring the sacred link of love between brother and sister. As Raksha means "protection" and Bandhan means "bond," the ritual of the day is to tie a sacred yellow thread around one's wrist -- right for men, left for women -- and to remove it three months later, at the festival of the Goddess Lakshmi, and tie it to the tail of a cow. It is believed that when death comes, the cow will kindly allow the wearer to cling to her tail, and cross the river Bhaitarna with her. It is also customary for brothers and sisters to exchange cards and small gifts at Raksha Bandhan.
While Raksha Bandhan is sometimes celebrated at the Pisces Full Moon, especially when it falls in late August, it is observed early this year, on the Aquarius Full Moon in Leo month.
Among the Norse peoples, this day is sacred to Rowana, goddess of the Rowan tree and keeper of the sacred knowledge of the runes.
The Buddhists of Sri Lanka celebrate at this Full Moon the culmination of their most important festival of the year, and one of the most spectacular of all the world's grand Buddhist rituals: the Perahera, or Tooth Festival, in which the Buddha's tooth, the sole surviving relic of his body, is removed from Dalada Maligawa, the famous Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, and paraded in a magnificent pageant. The musicians, and dancers who whirl fire pots at the end of their very long hair, are followed by the sight that people come from everywhere to see: the elephants, adorned with gold and brocade, colored lights and flowers -- and especially the honored elephant who gets to bear the tooth inside a jewel and pearl shrine atop his back.
In the Jewish calendar, this Full Moon on the 15th day of the month of Av is Hag Haahava, the festival of love. In ancient times, young women wearing white dresses performed ritual dances in vineyards, where the young men waited for the moment when they were allowed to approach and propose to their beloveds. In Israel today, and in Jewish communities worldwide, this day and the coming weekend will be a time to declare love, propose marriage and offer gifts.
Feast of St. Laurence, one of the most admired early Christian martyrs. Commanded by the city prefect of Rome to hand over the fabulous wealth that the Roman Church of the mid-third century was said to possess, Laurence negotiated a three-day grace period to gather all the gold, then proceeded to deliver a host of the poor and infirm who, Laurence explained, were the true treasure of the kingdom of God. At his ensuing martyrdom (258), Laurence is said to have irritated the authorities by joking, as he was roasted on a griddle over a fire, at one point remarking, "I'm done, if you'd like to eat."
Birthday of Nicholas of Cusa (1400), the Christian mystic who taught the immanence of Divinity in all of Creation.
On this day the Sufis honor Haji Bektash (d. 1337), the master who initiated women into his order and advocated gender equality in Islam.
Aug. 11 is also the Christian feast of St. Clare of Assisi, disciple and, as founder of the Poor Clares,counterpart of St. Francis of Assisi. Clare shared Francis' environmental awareness and is a guiding energy of those working to assist Mother Earth.
In the Irish Celtic Calendar, this is the day of Puck Fair, one of the world's great annual trickster festivals.
Venus enters Leo. While this is not considered one of her most advantageous placements, she does tend to like her time in the five-star hotel of the Sun, before she has to be "in fall" in Virgo, From Aug. 5. For those who can and want to play the higher harmonic of Venus -- for under the love, sex, jewelry, money and art she is above all things the energy of attraction, the next few weeks offer superb opportunities for creative manifestation.
8/11 - 12 (Sat - Sun):
The great Perseid meteor shower peaks early in the morning of 8/12, UT. The Moon was Full only yesterday, so viewing will be impaired.
8/12 - 17 (6 days):
Major Khemitian festival cycle, enacting the climactic event in the legends of Aset ("Isis") and Ausar ("Osiris"): the final combat between Set, brother and murderer of Ausar; and Hor ("Horus"), son of Aset and Ausar, the young solar hero who would be embodied in every living pharaoh. The events of the cycle (Month of Thuthi ["Thoth"], days 25 - 30):
8/12 Feast of the Lights of Aset, one of the main mystical events of the Ausarian mysteries, celebrating the lamp of wisdom and service, and, perhaps, the growth of the light body. This day became the feast of the eponymous St. Claire ("clear, splendid") in Christian calendars.
8/13 Ritual battle between Hor and Set. While the actual combat was said to have lasted 80 years, with predictable strain on the environment of Egypt, this day enacts the main events: loss and restoration of Hor's eye and Set's testicle, and other harrowing episodes.
8/14 Day of reconciliation between Hor and Set, marking the decision of the neters in council that Hor and Set will have to live in peace, thus symbolically balancing order and chaos, life and death, light and darkness, earth and sky. This becomes one of the most influential duality paradigms of the ancient world.
8/17 Climactic rituals celebrating orderly balance among the male principles of the Sun (Ra), the Sky (Hor) and the Earth (Set).
In the Greco-Roman world, one of the great annual festivals of Hecate, this time in her benign aspect as protectress of life amid the ferocious heat of the dog days. Hecate is also honored on this day in her virginal aspect as Artemis-Diana. Hecate's feast superseded an Egyptian festival honoring the ferocious lion-headed netert Sekhmet, and celebrating in particular her successful self-defense against a sexual attack by Set, neter of chaos and destruction. Both festivals emphasized protection from rape and other crimes against women.
In the Aztec calendar, the Day of Destiny. Like other Native Americans, the Aztecs envisioned human beings as connected to the Sky by a thread, and believed that those who lived in harmony with nature preserved the delicate thread, while those who violated nature's laws broke the thread irreparably. The Aztecs also saw the human body as a pattern of meridians reflecting the meridians of the sky.
In the annual solar calendar this is a major weather marker because 8/15 is the end of the ferociously hot dog days of July and August, and it begins the time of cooling toward the harvest -- or, as we shall see below in the Southern hemisphere, this day begins the warming of the Earth at the start of the planting season. This day has thus been observed as a major festival in traditions all over the world. Among this day's feasts:
Japanese Obon Festival in the solar calendar. People all over the country dance, sing and drink. They also light huge bonfires in the shapes of kanji (Chinese characters) and Buddhist symbols to help orientate and redirect the lost souls who are blowing about in the heavens, and point them toward Amida, the Pure Land, the Western Paradise. Obon is Japan's festival of family reunion and remembrance. Everyone eats the departed ones' favorite foods, and puts out plates for them, sings their favorite songs, tells the stories and jokes about them, and refreshes the family's memory. One may envision Japan as a place where on this day tens of millions of families celebrate by looking up at their ancestors, many millions of whom are using the kanji for the ship or the law to aim themselves again in the direction of Amida Buddha's Land. Gambarimasu. (They keep going.) They will never give up.
Among the ancient Greeks, this is a day of purification. It is the annual feast of the virgin huntress Artemis, protector of women against rapists and other violent men. In the Greek solar calendar 8/15 is also the second and climactic day of a three-day festival honoring the Erinyes, the Furies who purify the Earth of all murderers and oppressors. The Feast of the Furies was one of several annual cleansing rites done in preparation for the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries (see September UFC). This day's special identity as a feast of purity may be one reason why early Christians chose it to mark the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (see below).
August 15 is also the birthday of Swami Srila Prabhupada, founder of the Krishna Consciousness movement, and of the beloved "Hugging Teacher," Amma-ji.
In the six-season calendar of the aboriginal people of Australia, the third season of the dry half of the year, Gurrung, begins about now. This "hot dry weather" is the shortest of seasons, lasting about a month and a half until early October.
In the Japanese Shinto calendar, this day is Kaze Matsuri, in honor of the Kami (divine principle) of Wind.
Roman Catholics observe 8/15 as the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who never suffered physical death and corruption, but was taken directly into heaven. The Orthodox Christian community celebrates the same feast as the Dormition ("going to sleep") of the Theotokos -- that is, the God-bearer.
In the Southern hemisphere, while Mary officially rules this day, Aug. 15 has been since ancient times sacred to Pachamama the Mother as the day when corn planting begins. So behind Mary in the festival parade is the angel Raphael the Healer, holding a parasol over the Divine Mother, and in his left hand a silver fish representing water and abundance.
Finally on this day, Mercury enters Virgo. He is delighted to exit Leo, where he tends to feel like a yoga instructor out of place in a cigar bar full of type A beef boomers, and to enter one of the two signs, along with Gemini, that astrologers have traditionally considered the signs he rules. In more recent times it has been argued that the true ruler of Virgo is Chiron the Healer or even Ceres the Nurturer, but the link between Mercury and this time of transition from summer to fall makes sense. It is no accident that the Mercury-in-Virgo weeks (8/15 - 9/2 this year) precede the back-to-school season in Western countries, the time when the mental effort of autumn is about to ensue upon the emotional effort of spring and the physical effort of summer.
In many central European countries, this day is the Feast of the Minstrels, celebrated with poetry, music and dance competitions since ancient times. This festival is the prototype of song contests like the one in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg.
In the Norse tradition, the beginning of the 9-day ordeal of Odin, who hangs on the world ash tree Yggdrasil until the moment when he falls screaming from the tree, having seen at last the secret of the runes. This discovery of universal knowledge is celebrated in a climactic festival on 8/25.
The image of the god hanging in suspension as he surrenders to the ordeal of wisdom is closely related to the figure of the Hanged Man in the Tarot, and to Native American Sun Dance rituals, in which young men hang from a giant wheel symbolizing the Sun. This excruciating rite, in which each warrior is suspended from the wheel by cords fastened to sharp wooden pegs pushed through his chest muscles, is also said to bring mystical knowledge to those who can endure it. This feast is also closely related to many ancient myths of the solar hero and savior who is killed in the prime of his vitality, and dies hanging from, or sealed within, a tree.
Most devotees of Lord Krishna will celebrate his birthday, Sri Krishna Jayanti, also called Krishna Janmashtami, on this day. As celebration days can vary among countries and local communities, it is best to check the timing that applies in each area. This feast of the most celebrated and beloved of all the avatars of Vishnu is observed with fasting until midnight and an all-day festival of chanting and music, culminating in a midnight punja followed by a joyous feast.
In the Khemitian calendar, first day of Paopi, the second month of winter, sacred to Ptah, the creator neter who brought the world into being by speaking its name. Ptah is the patron of all artists.
The ancient Greek and Roman festival of Vinalia, sacred to the lord of the vine, Dionysus-Bacchus, is held on this day. Rites are also held in honor of Aphrodite-Venus in her role as protector of orchards and vineyards. Offerings of new grapes are accompanied by prayers for the successful ripening of the grape harvest.
In the Roman Catholic Calendar, the feast day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, founder of the Cistercian order and one of the leading figures in the monastic movement. A fourth-dimensional thinker in the 12th century, Bernard had a profound understanding of cathedral architecture and sacred geometry. He wrote, "God is length, width, depth and volume." Bernard also put the Knights Templar on the map, extolling them in one crusade-igniting speech after another as models of Christian manhood, young men who combined the priestly vows of poverty, chastity and obedience with the warrior virtues of courage, discipline and self-sacrifice. So effective was Bernard's image-building that he turned the Templars almost overnight from an obscure order of warrior monks quartered in the stable of Solomon's Temple into one of the heroic myths and grand creative forces of the age. The Templars soon burnished their legend with heroic deeds and brilliant skills in banking, scholarship, diplomacy and commerce -- but Bernard was the first one to envision the story.
Birth of the White Buffalo (1994), heralding the return of the White Buffalo Woman, emanation of the star goddess Wohpe, who gave the Lakota people the arts of the sacred pipe and the sweat lodge, and the teaching of the vision quest.
The Baha'i honor the Deity on this day as Asma, Sacred Names.
In the Zoroastrian calendar of ancient Persia, the days before the Sun exits Leo and enters Virgo are considered the climactic moment of Solar radiance and power, and is celebrated as the first day of the New Year.
8/22, Friday, 6:47 pm HT; 8/23, Saturday, 4:47 am UT:
Sun enters Virgo. The Month of Isis. The creative and healing power of the female. This is the season of the early harvest, and of the ripening of the main harvest, symbolized by the ear of wheat and the bunch of grapes -- alternately, an ear of wheat and a sickle -- that the Virgin holds. On this day the ancient Romans celebrate Vertumnalia, a festival in honor of Vertumnus, the god who manages the change of seasons and also holds the secret by which flowers transform into fruit. The Olympian god Vulcan-Hephaestus is also honored on this day of the Sun's entry into Virgo -- significantly, as some astrologers have long posited the existence of an undiscovered planet Vulcan, said to be the true ruler of Virgo. He is in the same queue of alternate Virgo rulers as Chiron and Demeter-Ceres.
If Cancer favors sideways movement and Leo always likes an advance, the Virgo season, until 9/23, is for the moves of Vulcan and the Virgin, of Chiron and the farmers working under Ceres' eye: painstaking, disciplined work until one gets it done; and the wise, deliberate walk of the woman who knows that when she possesses the greatest treasure of all, the continuity of life itself, she will best be judicious in deciding to whom she will open it. This is why the Virgo season, with the Virgin nearing the Western horizon, is best for teaching the Map of Love, for the Education of the Virgin, in the night sky.
One excellent symbol of the Virgin's power is the Strength card in the Tarot. The young woman is not prying apart the jaws of the Lion (Leo). Rather, the Lion gently holds her hands within his jaws to represent perfect balance (Libra) between physical strength and the spiritual strength of purity.
It was inevitable that a Christian feast honoring the Virgin Mary be placed on the day of the Sun's entry into the sign of the Virgin, and that's why the feast of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels -- the tutelary saint of, among other things, the city of Los Angeles -- is celebrated on August 22.
The Order of the Rosy Cross was founded on this day in 1623.
In some Native American Calendars, this day is the beginning of the last month of summer, sacred to the Bear, finder of medicines.
8/23 - 25 (3 days):
One of the major festivals of the Greco-Roman calendar, marking the juncture and transition of family and time in ceremonies honoring the ancestors who achieved the past (see 8/15 above) and the virgins who will carry the future. The festivals were:
8/23 The Greek holiday of the Nemesea, honoring the goddess Nemesis, who was not yet in ancient times the vague figure of trouble and bad luck that she has become in the popular mind. Nemesis was specifically a protector who guarded the tombs and relics of departed ancestors from insult and harm. Thus the only persons who needed to fear Nemesis were those who desecrated a tomb. On the Nemesea the ancestral tombs were cleaned, and made ready for:
8/24 Roman festival of Mania, honoring the Manes, or deified spirits of the ancestors. This day, and its Christian replacement, St. Bartholomew's Day, were and are a critical weather marker on which fair and clear skies are said to herald an abundant harvest.
8/25 Before Ops became during the Roman Empire a god of wealth and extravagance, and the source of our word opulence, she was a goddess who regulated all aspects of sowing and reaping, and was naturally connected with the fertility of virgins. Her festival, the Opiconsivia, a mystery rite attended only by the Vestal Virgins, was held on this day.
8/25, Monday, 4:14 am HT; 2:14 pm UT:
The Black Moon conjunct the Sun in Virgo brings harmonious and fruitful blendings of Earth energies. The night of the ensuing New Moon is ideal for teaching the physical and spiritual Education of the Virgin through the Map of Love in the late summer sky. This year's Virgo Dark Moon at first looks uneventful, as the only major planet aspect to the Great lights is an opposition to Neptune in Pisces. Yet there are hidden resources here, as Mars and Saturn, conjunct in Scorpio, are at a "creative" 72° quintile to Moon and Sun, making this a moment that doesn't just favor new beginnings, but starts them with a bang.
In the ancient Celtic and Druidic calendars, and also in the modern Wiccan calendar, this New Moon in the month of Virgo is called the Singing Moon.
In the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic tree calendar used by devotees of the faerie path, this ninth New Moon following the Winter Solstice begins Coll, or hazel month. This month favors the activities of resourceful ones: shapeshifters and adepts who journey by means of astral projection. It has long been customary at this time to make new wands of hazel, especially for protection from storms.
Feast day of St. Louis, also king Louis IX of France, celebrated as the ideal of Christian knighthood. His record has become more controversial in modern times, as he condoned, though he did not lead directly, the last unspeakable horrors of the "Albigensian Crusade" against the Cathars of Southern France; and the two crusades he led to the Holy Land not only failed to win either soil or souls, but galvanized the Saracens to unite against the last of the Christian occupiers and expel them in 1291. Yet Louis was known for such fairness and honesty that the other rulers of Europe, both ecclesiastical and secular, asked him to mediate their disputes.
8/25 - 9/1 (seven days):
In the Black Rock desert of Nevada, some 50,000 artists, builders, celebrants and unidentified freaky objects gather for the famous Burning Man festival, a raucous spectacle of exuberant artistry, radical community and delight in evanescent beauty purely for its own sake. Always held about a month after the customary time of Lughnasad -- when the desert heat would be somewhere between unbearable and perilous -- the festival culminates in the burning of a 50-foot effigy who means what each celebrant imagines him to be. And then -- as though to affirm the lesson in responsibility that has been there all along -- the celebrants make sure to clean up and take away every nail and shred of the intentional city they've lived in for the last week, and to leave the desert exactly as it was before they came.
Birthday of Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910.
8/26 eve – 8/27 eve:
The Jewish month of Elul begins. As this month is devoted to peace, reflection and self-renewal, it is the prelude to the High Holy Days that follow after the end of Elul in September.
In the Chinese Taoist calendar, the great annual Festival of the Ancestors will soon be celebrated, on the New Moon of the eighth lunar month.
In the Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Rebirth, the eleventh of the 20-day uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (6 Imix, Tzolkin 201). The symbolic bird for this uinal is the Scarlet Macaw, the energy principle that of flowering.
In the Khemitian calendar, birthday of Het-Hor, aka Hathor (month of Paopi, 12).
8/29 - 9/9 (11 days):
Ganesha Chaturthi, India's most joyous homage to the lord of learning.
This great annual festival honors one of the most beloved figures in the Hindu pantheon: Ganesha, elephant- headed god of letters and wisdom, son of Shiva and Parvati, mentor of gods and humans, including the famous warrior Arjuna in The Mahabharata. Over the 11 days of the festival, the devoted ones invoke and acknowledge Ganesha's help as a bringer of insight, provider of inspiration, and dissolver of problems and obstacles. The music and poetry culminate in ritual bathing of the god's image, and a feast of lights which honors Ganesha as an assisting force for studies in illumination and creative work.
The ancient Roman festival of thanksgiving, the Charisteria, is held on this day.
8/30 - 9/6, eight days:
For devotees of the Jain faith, these are the days of Paryushana, one of the year's most important times of reflection and meditation on one's actions during the preceding year. This holy week is marked above all by striving for perfection in the ten cardinal virtues of forgiveness, charity, simplicity, contentment, truthfulness, self-restraint, fasting, detachment, humility and continence
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.