2015 CALENDAR LINKS
2014 CALENDAR LINKS
2013 CALENDAR LINKS
PLEASE SUPPORT THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
We've been going strong for 15 years now, since July 1998, thanks in part to the help of sponsors and friends who've kindly contributed to the UFC, Sacred Sounds, Dan Furst's books and other Hermes3 projects. We live in abundance when we practice gratitude and generosity.
Click the Paypal icon below to make a donation.
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.
THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
Hello, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for August, 2013. We are in the month of High Summer. Ever wonder why this is the only season that is ever described that way, and we never hear anybody mention High Spring or High Autumn, though we do speak in the opposite terms about the Depth of Winter? What makes this month of mid-summer High?
It may be that the fire month of Leo (July 22 - Aug. 22) is ruled by the solar system's hottest planet, the Sun himself. Or that in everything from the temperatures of the Dog Days to the tempers of impatient people determined to Do the Right Thing, in Spike Lee's phrase, the tempo and tenor of the time is hot and impetuous. That's why, in the traditional lunar calendar, the Full Moon in Leo month was called Dispute Moon, for those young men who had proposed to the mother of the same young woman during Claiming Moon in July, and wanted to settle things the Warrior Way by knocking their rivals off. That is also why, as you can see in the Daily Listings below, this month is loaded with rites that aim to channel in more peaceful, serviceable directions the Mars energy that is ready to explode in the direction of what it wants.
HIGH TIME FOR FIRE
While all of the great "mid-season" sabbats that come between the the solstices and equinoxes include fire rituals, the Lughnasad/Lammas festival that comes on Aug. 1 is the closest to the literal meaning of a bonfire, like this one, courtesy of Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops. Unlike the fires that were lit to herald the coming spring at Imbolc in February, or to ignite and celebrate the passion of love at Beltaine in May or immolate the pain and weight of the old year at Samhain in November, the Lughnasad blaze was literally a bone-fire built to burn the bones of some of the animals the tribe's hunters had slain in the past year, and thereby to give thanks to the spirits of deer and rabbit, boar and bear, and ask their blessing and permission in the autumn hunt soon to come. Thus this fire raised in those who consecrated it the most profound questions of relationship with the natural world. What are we entitled to receive from the land and those who live upon her, and even to take by bloody force? What are we required to give back? And what spirit of gratitude and reverence do we observe in the alchemy of this exchange? What does the fire burn away from us? And what does it leave in the firepit and crucible of the heart?
ANOTHER TURNING POINT
These questions, and others about our healthiest and holiest relationship with Mother Earth, will naturally be on our minds in the months ahead, as we turn from mid-August into September and navigate the approach to the next of the seven Uranus and Pluto squares that form between June, 2012 and March, 2015. For more on the meaning and importance of this hugely transformative celestial dynamic, which has accompanied revolutionary events in such recent years as 1789, 1848, 1917 and 1968, see the May UFC. There are 162 days between Uranus-Pluto Round 3 on May 20 and the much more momentous Round 4 on Nov. 1, so the midpoint, where the planetary dance starts to get faster and more urgent, comes on Aug. 10. This day ends an extremely fractious and turbulent week that climaxes at the Black Moon of Aug. 6.
Only a brief one this time, like a school fire drill that takes us out to the playground and back in a matter of minutes, without any charts or dense details. Suffice it to say that over the week of Aug. 4 - 10 the Sun, Uranus and the Moon's Nodes are in highly afflictive dustups that will tend to manifest in many of our relationships, from personal to political to planetary, in willful impatience, self-righteous obstinacy and arrogance, aggressive trouble seeking and controversy for its own sake in a manner extreme even by the standards of the fake aversion circus that the demagogues and media of "developed" countries play to block communal cohesion and progress, and thereby practice what could still be called divide-and-conquer if anyone still had any chance of winning.
It will be enough to evoke in many a resonance with Alain de Benoist's view, from On Being a Pagan (2005), that "This is an era where everything is simulacrum and foreclosed experience, where everything is spectacle but there are no eyes left to see. We live in a society where new forms of totalitarianism and exclusion are being put into place. It is a society with a deafening clamor of rekindled hatreds matched only by the deafening clamor of the inauthentic and the inessential. It is a society where beauty is dying, a society at the end of history, a society of the last man where everything is collapsing into the sunset of the absolute transatlantic West and a once great history."
As if all the ego pounding and pyrotechnics of early August were not enough, there's also an astral kicker with a steel-tipped boot, as Jupiter in Cancer — who'll have moved by now beyond last month's superb grand trine with Saturn and Neptune — now opposes Pluto in Capricorn. Thus the planet of institutional wealth and power, and the "higher communications" of philosophy and religion (Jupiter), lines up against the planet of transformational events, mass movements, subliminal communications and propaganda (Pluto), and given the surrounding circumstances we've noted above, their surge and scuffle against one another is apt to play out at the extreme end of their drama: in deceit, demagoguery, wanking and waste on the part of those who have power, and rage and resistance in those who don't. Many of the latter, as always, will be easy fear fodder for religious fanatics as Ramadan ends (probably on Aug. 8) and those who claim to speak for God fulminate everywhere against those they see as their foes, and, shockingly, even against the ones they're too blinded by their own fervor to recognize as their friends.
HERE COMES THE SUN
From this month through year's end words and images like Armageddon, Apocalyse, chaos, Sodom and Gomorrah and Hell will be on the lips of many, and a good number of them will not necessarily be frauds, fools or doom pimps. Why? Because according to some sources whom it may not be safe to ignore, the solar flare activity that has been predicted by alarmists and sober experts alike for the period around 2012 - 2013 is now expected, according to some respected sources, to arrive next month in the form of a devastating "Kill Shot" that has set the internet abuzz, while official sources are suspiciously silent. As the famous remote viewer Ed Dames made clear long before Jon Ronson's 2004 book The Men Who Stare at Goats and the 2009 movie gave the mass audience its first look at military applications of paranormal perception, it's not that massive solar flares will incinerate the Earth. Rather, the danger, as noted also by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, is that this immense burst of solar energy will disrupt the Earth's electronic energy grid so severely that everything linked to it will go at once into blackout, shutdown and every other phrase that spells paralysis in everything from power plants that feed energy to cities, to communication with aircraft in flight, to dialysis machines in hospitals, to the internet that connects you and me now.
So . . . Yai! as they say in the old Japanese kyogen comedy. Is next month's UFC likely to be the last one? Am I going to get roasted, toasted or shorted out, as I'm up here in the Andes, a lot closer to El Sol than most people are? Or, could it work the other way, since the electronic infrastructure here in Pisac is more a sieve than a system, so that even a blown fuse as big as Pachamama would hardly be noticed here? Of one thing we can be sure. This is one of our best chances yet to see if this universe is only a physical process or blind machine that we can do nothing to alter or affect.
There are a zillion ways to say there are two kinds of people in the world, and as we've seen in earlier UFC preludes, the contrast gets sharper every year when it comes to the topic of our collective consciousness and power of communal intention. There are some, who become less and less numerous every year, and are almost always devout believers in theistic religions, who see the world as a place where we suffer and we always have because this is somehow the will of God, Who is unreachably separate from us , and there is nothing we can do to change the terrain, or the terms of engagement, or anything. There are others, who become more numerous every year, who are practitioners of spirituality or inhabit the zone where "science" is awakening to the energetics of the Field. They see the world as an evolving, dynamic energy system that is even a hologram of our collective consciousness, so that anything and everything in the cosmos, even a bursting Sun, is an artists' medium that we shape according to the heroic role we've come here to play together, and the Divine destiny that is ours to co-create.
One way or the other, we all sense that something very big is about to pop, or plop, or crash, and we will respond to it in predictable ways, depending on our mindset. The reactive, religious ones, who've coined the new term "prepper," take the Kill Shot literally. They're for not just family first, but family only. They buy guns and ammunition, want to stockpile enough food for 20 years -- like the people who are still using up the toilet paper and canned beans they hoarded before the Y2K Delusion -- and get ready to shoot on sight anyone who comes near Fort Family. As most of them think GMO must be the name of a new rock group or car, their lives tend to be stuck, stiff and silent, stressed by fake foods, toxic pharmaceuticals, lies, propaganda, electronic overstimulation and the endless pressure to validate themselves by working to buy enough consumer toys to keep their loved ones entertained.
The proactive, spiritual ones are much more likely to see the next round of solar flares, which must come and always do, in cycles, as metaphor and opportunity. Not surprisingly, as their lifestyles tend to be more consistently conscious and healthy, they often report now such emotional and physical changes as deeper meditation, longer intervals of serenity and acceptance, greater flexibility, energy and breath, even increased height. While they naturally want to see their brood families safely through times of turmoil, and this is why they move in growing numbers from toxic, unlivable cities and societies to intentional communities in abundant places, they tend to see all of humanity, even all sentient beings, even all beings on all possible worlds, as their true heart family. The thought of how to protect that family, by building a bunker big enough for billions, never crosses their minds at all. For them, a solar flare is not to be taken literally, much less feared. It is, rather, a symbolic consciousness event that offers us all a chance to awaken faster and open to more new mirrors in a spirit of love.
UP IN HOLY SMOKE
Given this choice between a wall and a mirror, between hunkering down and waking up, which do we choose to believe, and use? How should we get ready for September? Make sure to celebrate the Equinox, of course, in whatever ways we can chant and dance Mother Earth's abundance, and affirm that we're here to practice love, friendship and service, cook for each other, and create and appreciate beauty. And get ready to build and light the biggest bonfire of them all, for burning up not just the old year and the stale grudges, the bones and wishes and medicine bundles, but everything that has held so many of us, for so long, in fear and guilt and pain, and a false belief in our own immobility, incapacity and unworthiness. Nothing sums all of this up better than the infamous burning lake of eternal agony. That's why it's time now to Burn Hell itself.
We don't need to explore the history of the idea of Hell — it's in Chapter 7, "How 13 Got Unlucky," in my book Dance of the Moon — nor do we need to examine the alleged philosophical implications of what is only the most vicious scam that human minds have ever created for the purpose of controlling others through fear. Whether we envision Hell as a real, physical place where the damned get flamed and forked forever, or the agonizing illusion that one is separated for eternity from the embrace of God's love, one way or the other, it is time now to free and affirm ourselves by burning it, once and for all. I propose that starting now with Lughnasad 2013, and in other festivals and rites of release in years to come — as it will take a while to expel for good something rooted so deeply and borne so long— that we build great bonfires for burning away effigies of Hell itself, whatever that looks like for each artist team who builds the Hell image, and for each community who flame it away.
To get us started, here are a couple of images of what Hell has looked like centuries ago, and recently. The more clearly medieval of the two is identified only as "probably Italian" at Chick.com, while the other by Matt Hershberger features, intriguingly enough, a building that looks a lot like St. Peter's basilica in that famous source of a lot of Hell threats, Rome. But let's let our imaginations run and romp wherever they will, through fireworks, red and black balloons, the Bill Hicks award for the funniest Satan impersonator, and everything else. Burning Hell would be a natural choice for Burning Man, which is already a showcase for all kinds of new showbiz tricks. There's no telling how many creative teams in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Seattle and everywhere else can build the Demon Derrick that whisks an actor-dancer in a Devil suit out of the fire on a guy wire, up and away as soon as the flames begin to rise.
And of course there's the music, ideally that we all sing together, whether it's original music that we compose anew for the occasion, or resets like this golden oldie, courtesy of the Everly Brothers.
Name that tune:
There goes the the Devil,
Right up in smoke.
He was so scary,
Now he's a joke.
And what's the reason
We're all so free?
We've just awakened,
And we can see.
Bye bye Hell.
Bye bye hopelessness
We think we're gonna fly.
You're right again. It's Bye Bye Love, from 1957, when one thing on my mind was that in only one more year, I could get the hell out of Queen of the Holy Rosary school. There's that word again. It won't be an easy habit to break, when you consider that the most trite, overused line that appears in every script ever written by every hack screenwriter is "Let's get the hell out of here."
All we have to do, really, is delete one word. If we say instead Let's Get Hell Out of Here, that changes everything. Let's say it, sing it, do whatever we need to do with it to make it be. All together now. Bye bye Hell!
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.
Probably 8/4 (Sun) sunset - 5 (Mon) sunset, depending on actual sighting of the New Moon:
In the Islamic calendar, this day 27th day of Ramadan is Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of the Opening or Imparting. It commemorates the night before the end of Ramadan when Allah revealed the entire Qur'an to the angel Jibril (Gabriel), who then dictated the verses to Mohamed, Peace be Upon Him. On this night angels are said to descend to Earth and bestow blessings. Old copies of the holy book are restored, and beautiful new copies are made ready, in time for this day. Special readings of the sacred text, in addition to the readings regularly done at worship, are held at mosques, at other public places, everywhere. This feast begins a holy festival week culminating in the last day of Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan. This day is said to be more efficacious for prayer than a thousand ordinary months, and thus many devout Muslims spend the entire night and the next day in prayer.
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!"
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.
8/5 (Mon), 4:14am HT; 9:52pm UT:
The Dark Moon conjunct Sun in Leo is one of the true power points of the year, when the electrical, masculine energy of the Sun, ruler of Leo, is complemented by the Moon's magnetic, feminine energy. This Dark Moon is an active force for productive change, with Ceres in Leo conjunct Moon and Sun, as Uranus in Aries is in a 120° trine to all three. Personal and communal intentions can move rapidly toward solid, practical results.
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 Khemitian Calendar, the Festival of Mercury's counterpart 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.
8/6 eve – 8/7 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.
Gaia Consciousness Day, created in recent years to honor Mother Earth in ceremonies of healing and renewal.
8/8 - 10 (three days):
In the Islamic calendar, the sighting of the New Moon following the Dark Moon of Aug. 6 is the first day of the lunar month of Shawwal. It begins Eid al-Fitr, one of the year's holiest times, which comes now just after the end of the holy month of Ramadan, by which time both body and soul have been purified by fasting, and the devoted ones achieve high energy and clarity. That's why Shawwal means "Light and Vigorous."
Mercury enters Leo. Here he is "in fall," his energy so overwhelmed by the glare of the Sun that he may have to resort to tricky business to get what he wants. A planet in fall is not merely blocked or temporarily inept, as he or she would be when "in detriment," but is effectively reversed and corrupted. When Mercury is in fall, and resentful of the Sun's easy authority, he can be an appallingly good example of the adage that dishonesty is invariably the product of fear.
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.
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.
8/11 - 12 (Sat - Sun):
The great Perseid meteor shower peaks early in the morning of 8/12, UT. The Moon was new only a few days ago, so viewing will be good.
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 Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Love, the fifth of the 20-day Uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (3 Imix, Tzolkin 81). The principles that rule this Uinal are Anchoring and Sprouting. The symbolic bird is the Hawk.
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.
Venus enters Libra, the sign of her rulership as mother (as Taurus is the sign she rules as goddess of love and beauty). While she is in this sign, her emphasis is on the productive sexuality of motherhood -- though her famously mischievous son Eros/Cupid has her most playful qualities. The rulership of Libra has been more controversial in recent decades, with minor planets such as Juno and Ceres having been proposed as more appropriate for this role, but no consensus has formed as yet.
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.
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.
8/20 (Tue), 3:46pm HT; 8/21 (Wed), 1:46 am UT:
Full Moon in Aquarius, opposite Sun in Leo. Complementary fire and air relationships, especially favorable for creative teamwork with friends. This Full Moon, like the Black Moon of 8/6, is actively charged but complex. Mercury and Ceres in Leo conjoin the Sun while Neptune in early Pisces conjoins the Aquarius Moon. Saturn in Scorpio, still in his long-running 120° trine to Neptune, now trines the Moon too. The dynamics are tricky, favoring sincere and well-grounded efforts to align constructive energies for the benefit of Mother Earth (Ceres), and yet, whenever Neptune is involved and oppositional, as he is now, other questions apply: can we see the goals with clarity enough to agree on them, and will we be distracted by lies and distractions that are sure to proliferate now? This Full Moon is always one of the most actively celebrated in Earth's festival cycle. Some of the many feasts held now:
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.
The Buddhists of Sri Lanka celebrate at this Full Moon 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 Zoroastrian calendar of ancient Persia, the day before the Sun exits Leo and enters Virgo is considered the climactic moment of Solar radiance and power, and is celebrated as the first day of the New Year.
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.
Mercury enters Virgo. On this day 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 enters Virgo, the sign of his rulership. Virgo is 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 (8/23 - 9/9 this year) are the back-to-school season in Western countries, the time when the mental effort of autumn ensues upon the emotional effort of spring and the physical effort of summer.
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.
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.
Birthday of Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910.
8/26 - 9/2 (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.
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.
Mars enters Leo. He is quite at home in the fire sign of Leo, and can even function successfully for a time in the strategic realms of construction and diplomacy, provided he observes the rules of respect required by his host, Leo's ruler, the Sun.
On this same day Ceres enters Virgo, the sign she has been said by some to rule, as her role as nurturer and abundant mother matches the alimentary and digestive processes that are associated with Virgo, and Virgo month is the time when the crops ripen, and harvest season begins. Ceres will remain in Virgo through, interestingly enough, the Scorpio Black Moon of Nov. 3, right within the flash point of the next Uranus-Pluto square. For conscious and responsible beings, the time from now through mid-October will be crucial for the building of communal alliances that can help us hold in cohesion through the stresses of mid-autumn.
In the Khemitian calendar, birthday of Het-Hor, aka Hathor (month of Paopi, 12).
The ancient Roman festival of thanksgiving, the Charisteria, is held on this day.
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.