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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.

 

PRELUDE  TO

THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR

February  2014

 

EL SENOR DE LAS ROSAS

Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival for February 2014, the month of fiction, friction, inception and fruition on our way to the spectacularly astringent and revolutionary events that transpire this year and next as the Age of Aquarius either begins, or heats with the urgency of earlybird spectators and opinionaries who strain against the red velvet ropes at the door and can't wait to get into the hall and get a good seat, even though the orchestra is not even in the pit yet, and the first chair oboe who'll help everybody else to tune is just now walking through the dressing room door, and wondering if the toddy -- rum, ginger, lemon, turmeric, stevia and filtered water, or course -- will still be hot enough to clear his nose as well as coat his throat.

 

Keeping 'Em Split and Scared

If you've read the UFC recently, then you know from last month's Prelude that 2014 is the climactic year in the blazing, booming, bursting  historic comedy of awakening, evolution and liberation that we've come to play now. You know that we've now begun the runup to Act 5 of the ongoing 90° "square" between Uranus and Pluto, and that afflictive combinations of these planets have been signaling momentous and unstoppable changes, the lurch and fall of empires, turns of technology and sociopolitical movements, the surge and swerve of cultures and religions ever since the new planet misnamed Uranus (as the True Ruler of Aquarius is Prometheus) was first discovered in 1781.

 

The difference this time, as we've also seen, is that control by corporatist and reptilian archons has become so complete, so masterfully hidden by artists of deceit and relentlessly (though cluelessly) played by mainstream media into a perpetual, pervasive toy store of games, pleasures,  propaganda and twitches of distraction and desire that keep the mass of people passive, weary, dumbed down and narrow-beamed until one of them channels Mars by shooting up a shopping mall or a school.

 

The unawareness of our planet's seething course and condition among so many may now go far beyond the conventional replies and situation comedies of most human lives, and also beyond the special planetary sideshow that applies in this time of "Neptune" (really Isis) in Pisces for the first time since revolutionary events in Europe and Iran in the 1840's. This Neptunian tonality -- double and slippery as always -- helps explain why it is that as more of us awaken every hour now, and perceive how we are all related in the universal human heart and the mystic rose of all consciousness, we live amid a myriad of tricks and temptings, smokes and mirrors endlessly devised and displayed by wizards of illusion who know how dangerous and unpredictable we can get when we're ignited into a molten stream of passion and sluiced toward a target, so the controllers now prefer to bait us with any terror and tragedy that will keep us scared, divided and in our seats.

 

They're delighted that the Super Bowl comes tomorrow, and they don't have to invent a horror or a scandal that will keep us stuck and buzzy into next week. Thank "God" for the great Peyton Manning, who can keep almost all Americans oblivious to the astounding waves of change that now sweep through barriers and beliefs everywhere. It is literally true that as of late January 2014, the value of the Argentinian peso is disintegrating, the Venezuelan government has devalued the Bolivar by 40%, and the Brazilian stock market has nosedived. Ukraine has been rocked by street violence in Kiev and other major cities.

 

China is in an economic contraction so severe that manufacturing output has dropped to only 50% of capacity, and depositor assets have been frozen at many of the "mutual fund societies" that have traditionally played the conservative and securing role of banks, but have switched now to bank cartel tricks of wasting, gambling and stealing, then claiming they have no money and deploying the usual uniformed automata between the screaming crowd and the closed door. Unemployment rates in Europe are at all-time highs of 26.7% in Spain and 12.7% in Italy. US retail stores have reported that the 2013 holiday season was the worst since 2008, so depressed that Sears will close its flagship Chicago store in April, and J. C. Penney and Macy's have announced other closures soon to come.

 

There is much, much more, with piercing cold at record levels in the Eastern USA, pinstriped prostitutes in Congress playing duck and blame again about raising the debt ceiling again this month, and printing still more worthless money. Even more so than they usually do, our tense, terrified authorities may despise whichever pampered, twinkly little celebrities are preening through primetime tonight, but make no mistake about it, David Rockefeller and Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein are grateful that all those little flakes and freckles who can't carry a tune in a basket are still so hooked and horny that thank God, whoever's playing him this evening, they can keep new scandals buzzing and gleaming like enough flies to cover a cowflop as big as Asia.

 

And we're only in the seam between Act 4 of the Uranus-Pluto show on Nov. 1, and Act 5 coming to its peak on April 20. No wonder I'm not by any means the only astrologer who finds that the flow of new work we attract now is heavier than ever, and that the usual December-January queries from people who want top-of-the-year readings continues to flood into February -- so much so that I may have to refine my intentional protocol that I'll read for people who are conscious, creative and courageous.

 

If the world and the brushfires of the human heart are as turbulent as this now, then what can we expect at the major seismic events of April, June and December, and in early 2015? And what will be our best strategies for getting ourselves, our families and our communities through the black winds and the white water we'll have to negotiate this year?

 

What the Moonlight Shows

If you read the UFC and other things like it, you already know. By now we could probably form the main ideas into a litany of other set of mantras. Be the change you want to see in the world. Feed the bird of love rather than the wolf of fear, and make sure your well of courage holds more than your well of doubt. Make generosity an art form. Build community, and make it joyous. Create a resumé as compelling as the Dalai Lama's: "I am a Buddhist monk." Do what is needed -- more on this soon -- to get better health in all ways. And memorize what Arun Gandhi said in March, 2002 at Unity Church, Diamond Head for the first Season of Peace in Hawaii.

 

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.

Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.

Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.

Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.

Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

 

What else? Follow the Moon -- there is much more on how to do this in my book Dance of the Moon -- and her cyclical, feminine values of acceptance, attentiveness, service, celebration and renewal. And understand the simple, monthly process of intention at the Black Moon, the launching  of  new initiatives at the New Moon, and completion at the Full Moon. This month offers us a textbook example, as the Black Moon came on Jan. 31, right at the eve of the great sabbat of Imbolc -- see the first of the Daily Listings below -- and the moment in the Great Cold that ancient societies throughout Eurasia regarded as the New Year because it was the time of silence and stillness all covered in snow when all possibilities are open and available, all visions have potential, and Quickening Moon comes now because the new life to be born in spring is kicking the wall of the womb and the weave of the mind.

 

The New Moon will appear tomorrow, on Feb. 2, right at the time when peoples everywhere have offered the Goddess the honors that will bring protection, purification and wholesomeness, especially in speech. And the Full Moon of Feb. 14 - 15 is a moment of such intensity, such challenge and opportunity, that it may be the most important thing we'll experience until mid-April. It is worth a brief look here. The chart is cast for Shanghai, China because the posture and leverage of this great and ancient civilization, so subtle and brilliant in all games of money and power, will be tested now as never before to be more flexible and innovative than it has ever been, and to mark  and follow a course of correct, magnanimous policy and subtle wisdom. Ideally, a number of brilliant mandarins incarnated in the Wood Horse year before this one, in 1954, are now in their second Saturn return and will hit 60 this year. Let us pray they speak their truth a be heard.

 

Aquarius Black Moon and Chinese New Year

Feb. 15, 2014, 7:53 am 8E

Shanghai, China -- 31N14, 121E28. Tropical, Placidus, True Node

 

A great deal of tension is indicated here in the presence of two T-crosses, each of which sets two planets in opposition in disharmonious tension with a third planet or chart point in a 90° square to both. One T-cross is more predictable, as Moon and Sun are always in exact opposition at a Full Moon -- with Mercury in retrograde conjunct the Sun, and all three planets afflicted by squares to Saturn in Scorpio, in the 8th house of changes. What does this mean so far? That everybody's inscrutable now, and all are terrified of being seen to have made the mistakes that will proliferate in megatriplicity now that Mercury is backward and fizzy in Aquarius, conjunct a Sun in detriment. Sun and Mercury are in the 12th house of secrets and shadows, so "closed doors" does not begin to describe the neurotic secrecy and pandemic paranoia that will mark this month, and could have the effect of schooling us all -- see Surfing Aquarius for more -- in the Aquarian transparency that we must master eventually, and may as well hoist aboard now.

 

The other T-cross may be familiar to us by now. Uranus in Aries is intercepted in the first house  (meaning that this sign is entirely enclosed within the cusps of the first and second houses), so he is even more likely now to play for effect, and with some impatience. Uranus has been moving direct again since mid-December, and slowly approaches the exact square he'll form with Pluto in Capricorn in April. As if the famously revolutionary and transformative combination of these two were not enough, Jupiter in Cancer in the 4th house of the Home is opposite Pluto, square Uranus -- so we can expect dopey and costly gambles, even by the standards of the last seven years, that keep affirming what F. Scott Fitzgerald told us, in The Great Gatsby, about the wastefulness of the rich. And we will see more last-ditch, obstinate adherence to policies that have been proven not to work, but maintain a life of their own in the minds of stolid ideologues and others who would rather be right than happy, or even alive.

 

Is there any good news in any of this? Sure. Always. Venus has now moved out of the T-cross and is no longer closely linked to Pluto, so we get a respite from the pouting, wounded vanity, deceit and compulsiveness in love matters that made life so exasperating for so many a month ago. Even better, Chiron the Healer in Pisces is in a 120° trine to Jupiter, so we shall be confidently empowered, as individuals and as members of institutions and communities too, to find untapped gifts and unsuspected advantages, to think big, and even better, to think generously and inclusively, so we can now outgrow  the default settings of affection and aversion that are native to us when we enter the picture as unevolved beings, and are relentlessly stimulated by forces that wish to have us endlessly running around after the silliest desires, and implacably aligned against those who are our natural allies, if we could only see ourselves mirrored in them.

 

Calling Off the Dogs

Lewis Hyde writes about this brilliantly in Trickster Makes This World, an appropriate read for this time because among all the planets -- though Hyde does not comment on this -- Uranus is the one most typically identified with the trickster elements of chance, unpredictability and the surprising, upsetting events that lead us to see what we must change now. "Likes and dislikes are the lap dogs and guard dogs of the ego," Hyde says, "busy all the time, panting and barking at the gates of attachment and aversion and thereby narrowing perception and experience." Aha. It is easy enough to see, if not to practice consistently, the overcoming of aversion, but naturally harder to dissolve habits of pleasure and preference that also, if much more subtly, limit our ability to live in complete spontaneous acceptance, and to gain new outcomes by playing with forces of chance, rather than moving in the habitual grooves of plans based on likes and dislikes.

 

Much of Hyde's emphasis is on the importance of "chance" events, and on trickster's ways of teasing, kicking and knocking us into seeing the limits of plan-bound habits, and the need to clear room for play and the empty spaces that allow new outcomes to arrive and choose us. I like living this way. Some new actions and possible habits are deliberate, such as the new vegetarian diet I've followed for two months now, after almost 70 years of living as a Kansas-reared carnivore who now finds the detox ride as wooly as it gets, as I soar and swoop from day to day, even hour to hour, between feeling that I'm way up above the Earth, or under it, or both at once. I'm blessed to get to by my greens from Michael Morris' Casa Girasol in Calca near Pisac, and in the famous Pisac Sunday market, where it may as well be said, as it often is of Cairo, that you can find absolutely anything there. I go the market early every other Sunday, to begin a ritual that has made me one of the town's most recognizable gringo eccentrics.

 

I get to the market by 8:00am, when I can get the best pick of the roses from Juana, my favorite flower seller. I buy 20 roses, and put 13 of them in a vase that looks like the head of Father Pachacamac. Then I head back into town with the other seven, and offer the choice of a rose to the women I meet who look and feel as though they might welcome one, like Mercedes, in this shot by Yossi Zur. Sometimes I make a point of stopping by special beloveds, like the beauty who runs a botica on the main street, or the amazing group of Italian vegetarian chefs at the Inti Huatana lounge. When one of the older Peruvian women in the market says how beautiful the roses are, or asks me if they're for my novia, I tell her they're for the women I love in Pisac, and I offer her one. So they all love me, and as I go by their eyes brighten, and some say "Ah. Es viejo, pero lo que el corazón de un amante -- he's old, but what a lover's heart.

 

So whatever Uranus, and Pluto, and any other planets may do, the shock waves will not get through  the screen of roses, and the magic field they make. It helps too that I get yoga and Indian food from Daya Nimai Das at Prasada, massage from Sean West, and work from other medicine masters who abound here under my Chiron line that points west to connection and community. So as the Sufi poet Yunus Emre put it, "The hand of trouble cannot reach me. Pain will never see me.

 

No fear, little sorrow, much singing. Keep Holding That Frequency.

 

THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR

Daily Listings

February 2014

 

1 - 2/3 (3 days):

In calendars throughout the Northern hemisphere, this is the time of one of the eight great festivals in the solar year, midway between the December Solstice and the March Equinox. This feast of mid-winter is best known in the west as Imbolc or Brigantia. The rites of fire and purification that are performed now clear the way for the returning light and resurgent vitality of spring.

 

In the southern hemisphere, this is the summer festival, counterpart to the Lughnasad and Lammas rites celebrated north of the equator.

 

These feasts are mid-seasonal within the timing of the solar year timed according to the key hinge points of the solstices and equinoxes. In the more ancient European Earth year, the great feasts of Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasad  and Samhain were considered to be the beginning of each season, so that Imbolc was reckoned as the start of winter in the Great Cold of late January and early February, the time of Quickening when babies conceived at harvest time would begin to stir and kick in their mothers' wombs. This time is thus joyous, full of all new possibilities.

 

2/1 - 14 (two weeks):

Greek festival honoring Dionysos, god of wine and of all passionate, ecstatic experience, in anticipation of the moment when he re-emerges from his winter phase as Hades/Plouton, king of the underworld, and is reborn in the Spring as the young god of male sexuality and ecstatic love. During this festival the vines are pruned and sprinkled with old wine, thus symbolically using the old blood to refresh the ever-renewing young blood of new life.

 

2/1 (Sat):

Feast of St. Bridget, Christian counterpart to the ancient Gaelic goddess Brigit, or Bridhe (See Jan. 23), whose feast is still commemorated each year with the weaving of green reeds into a design combining the features of the cross, the spiral and the swastika, symbolizing the eternal recurrence of new life.

2/1 - 2 (2 days):

In the Khemitian (aka "Egyptian") calendar, feast and birthday of Nut, the primordial sky netert who was said to hold all souls within her womb, and was the mother of Ausar (Osiris), Aset (Isis), Hor or "old Horus"--that is, Hor as light being, before his birth as son of Ausar and Aset--Set and Nebt-het (Nephthys). (Month of Pamenot, days 18 and 19)

 

 2/2 (Sun):

Candlemas, feast of the purification of the Virgin on the day when Mary took the boy Jesus to the Temple for the first time. As the first presentation of the child in the temple and the ritual purification of the mother were always done 40 days after the birth of a boy (80 days for a girl), Candlemas always comes 40 days after Christmas. Since the Christian middle ages, candles blessed at the church on this day have been used the next day for the feast of St. Blaise, and are kept throughout the year for protection against dark forces.

 

This day is sacred to Yemanja, Queen of the Sea, the powerful orisha from the Yoruba tradition who is also revered in many South American indigenous communities. "[Yemanja] brings," writes Georgy Janiewicz, "the profound depths of the sea, cleansing and healing soft waves of love, and delicate rays of light that reflect from her cristallyine waters." This is an excellent day, then, for being in or near the water and making an offering to her.

 

Feb. 2 is also the Festival of Februalia, honoring the old Roman goddess Februa, mother of Mars, later merged with Juno to become Juno Februa, so called because expiatory offerings called februa are made to her now, in the time of purification. This festival thus embodies the transition from the latent vitality of late winter to the awakening of spring, symbolized in many cultures by weather rituals -- such as Groundhog Day -- in which sun or rain, light or shadow, indicate whether winter will continue to rule, or yield soon to spring.

 

The Yoruba and Santeria peoples of Africa and the Americas also honor Oya, the Orisha of death and rebirth, one of many manifestations of the one God Olodumare, bringer of life and death.

 

2/3 (Mon):

In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Blaise, whose efficacy in the prevention of throat diseases inspired rituals like those of the preceding day, Candlemas. Crossed, unlighted candles, symbolizing purification of speech, are held at the throat of those receiving the blessing.

 

In Japan, 2/3 is the joyous festival of Setsubun, in which the people cast out evil spirits from their homes and other places by throwing dried beans out of doors while chanting the words "Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi" -- "Out with the devil, in with the good". In the comic ritual plays of the season, children in the crowds of shrinegoers throw the dried beans at devil dancers carrying grotesque weapons. In the annual Setsubun dances at Heian Shrine in Kyoto -- where this shot of the author wielding a big tsubo, or iron club, was taken -- the chief oni sings the ancient Tsuina, one of Japan's oldest surviving ritual melodies. It, and the Setsubun rite itself, comes from an older Chinese practice called Ta Nuo, the cleansing of the field to prepare it for the spring thaw and planting time.

 

On this day Ceres enters Scorpio for a brief visit until March 23, when she’ll move retrograde back into Libra. She will be in Scorpio again from early August to late October. These weeks of Ceres in Scorpio place the Lady of the Grain in challenging, transformative conditions that compel us to refine new ways of caring for Mother Earth.

 

2/4 (Tue):

Hindus celebrate Vasant Panchami, sacred to Saraswati, goddess of learning. On this 5th day of the lunar month of Magh, she is honored in rites and customs ranging from ceremonies of pitri-tarpan, in honor of ancestors who have imparted love of learning to their grandchildren, to blessing rituals in which young children are formally taught their first words. The white swan, symbol of non-attachment and purity, is especially associated with Saraswati today. Her image, and her devotees, are clothed in yellow, symbolizing the spiritual gold, saffron and honey that come with patient, selfless effort.

 

2/5 (Wed):

In the ancient western world, this is one of the most important days of the year for all forms of prophecy and divination, sacred to the goddess Tyche and her counterparts: Fortuna in Rome and Wyrd among the Celtic peoples. All were superseded in medieval Christian Europe by St. Agatha, whose feast is celebrated on this day.

 

2/6 (Thu):

In the Greco-Roman calendar, this is the feast of Aphrodite and Venus, goddess of love. This is the day for poetry, drama, comedy, music and pictures in honor of the paragon of Beauty.

 

Mercury goes retrograde on this day, until Feb. 28. Infamous among blamers as a time when any and every miscalculation, baseless assumption and thrillingly bizarre screwup can be attributed to the unfastening and ditsifying confusion of the Messenger moving backwards, the reality is that Mercury retrograde is an interval for resolving old accounts in both senses of the term, financial reckonings and stories of what did or did not happen. Mercury is in Pisces when this retrograde period begins, then moves back into Aquarius on Feb. 13. The prognosis is fog for the week ahead, then electronic buzz and glare, so that in both cases the true story is not easy to ascertain.

 

2/7 (Fri):

This day is the Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as Mulk, Sacred Dominion.

 

2/7 - 15 (nine days):

One of the year's great Navajo Sing Festivals is held now to purify the fields and the people before the next planting season. In prayers, song and dance, and healing ceremonies, the Navajo honor Naste Estsan, the Spider Woman who spun the world and supported the warrior twins Tobadzistsini and Naymezyani in their struggle against the forces of evil. In her dual roles as Spider Woman and shapeshifter Estsanatlehi, the "Changing Woman" Creator Goddess, Naste Estsan carries and endlessly becomes the unlimited transforming power of nature.

 

2/9 (Sun):

In the ancient Greek calendar, this day is the annual Feast day of Apollo in his aspect as Helios, god of the Sun, honored now a week after the mid-winter festival.

 

2/10 (Mon):

In Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the next round of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (1 Imix, Tzolkin 1). The Uinal of Fire, the first of the 20-day uinals in the cycle, vivifies the world with divine fire and purifies all of life so that growing may begin again with the coming Uinal of Earth. The symbolic bird for this uinal is the Blue Hummingbird, the energetic principles those of Initiation and Sowing.

 

2/11 - 13 (3 days):

One of the great festival cycles of Ausar (Osiris) in the ancient Khemitian calendar, celebrated especially at the main center of Ausar worship in Abydos (2/11) and at Busiris, the ancient holy city of the Nile delta. The principal ceremony performed on the last of these three days was a dawn ritual of opening the doors of the horizon, and thereby reaffirming the precision of the divine order operating between Sun and Earth. (Month of Pamenot, days 28 - 30).

The Pharaonic melody for this feast, as preserved in music of the Coptic church, has been found by Dr. Maged Samuel Ibrahim in Cairo.

 

2/11 (Sat):

First appearance of Our Lady of Lourdes (1858), the most celebrated healing emanation of the Virgin Mary.

 

2/12 (Sun):

In the Greco-Roman calendar, this the feast of the virgin huntress Artemis, or Diana, whose purity symbolizes the ascendancy of spirit over matter. Artemis is the protector of women and children against sexual intimidation and all violence.

 

The Ides of February, beginning of the eight-day Roman festival of the Parentalia, the year's chief festival in honor of the dead.

 

2/13 (Thu):

For some Buddhists, this day just before the first Full Moon of the Asian year is an important holy day, symbolizing the Buddha's teaching and healing mission brought to fruition, and expanding to embrace a worldwide community of believers. For Mahayana Buddhists it is Paranirvana Day, commemorating the passing away of the Awakened One's physical body, and his entry into Nirvana. Pure Land Buddhists assign this day the same meaning, observing it as Nirvana Day. Zen Buddhists in Japan celebrate this day as Nehan -- literally the sleeping holy day -- honoring the Buddha's attainment of parinirvana.

 

2/13 - 15 (three days):

In the Roman calendar, this is one of the year's great feasts, the Lupercalia, an agricultural festival sacred to Faunus, the beneficent aspect of the god Pan in his role as giver of abundance, protector of flocks and fields. This is a day on which animal communication is especially favored, and animals are said to assist humans in other ways as well. The she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus is honored on this day. Above all, this festival is a celebration of love, both spiritual and erotic, in all its streams.

 

Fire circle communities sing this chant to Pan: "I am the dance of the forest glade in spring. / I am the joy of life, the soul of every thing. / I am the flame that leaps upon the hill. / I am the word. I am the will."

 

Best modern Pan story: Tom Robbins' novel Jitterbug Perfume.

 

2/14 (Fri):

In Christian calendars, and by now in the calendars of many other cultures, Valentine's Day, the famous feast of the lovers. According to one legend from Greece -- which has been celebrating Eros, erotic love, on this day since very ancient times -- this is the day on which young doves mate during the transition from winter to spring. As doves mate for life and live in a happy fidelity that other beings rarely approach, 2/14 has embodied ever since the loyalty of true love. The symbol that has stuck for this day is the heart pierced by an arrow, fired by -- who else? -- Eros (Cupid), who has always ruled this day.

 

Before Feb. 14 became fixed in the solar calendar as the feast of lovers, the Athenians celebrated at this time the festival of Zeus and Hera, whose marriage bond -- despite the supreme god's constant infidelities -- somehow symbolized the ideal marriage to which earthly couples could aspire. In the Greek lunar calendar, mid-January to mid-February was the month of Gamelion, so called because it was a major mating season, engendering new babies to be born in November, when winter's approach would keep armies and other disruptions at home, thus increasing the mothers' chances of bringing new children safely to birth. Feb. 14 was Gamelion's climactic fertility rite, performed as the beginning of the mid-winter thaw heralds the coming of spring.

 

Similar practices survive in many European cultures. Slovenian people begin the year's work in their fields and vineyards, on the day when plants and flowers are said to start growing again, and birds are said to marry. Finns celebrate Ystavanpaiva, the feast of friendship. And in old Norfolk, long before England became the UK, a character named Jack Valentine was believed to come knocking on the back door of houses, delivering sweets and gifts to children.

 

Fascinatingly, the Christian association of this day involves no fewer than four Valentines: three priests named Valentinus (of Rome, Terni and Africa), all of whom were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14 in or around the year 270; and Valentinius of Alexandria, the much-admired bishop and Gnostic teacher who was reportedly among the leading candidates to be elected pope in 143. What may have ruined his chance to be the bishop of Rome was that unlike mainstream prelates whose views of women and sex ranged from ascetic to hostile, Valentinius taught that the marriage bed was the earthly sanctuary of couples who celebrated the hierogamos (see Zeus and Hera above), the sacred marriage rite between the human soul and the Divine Beloved.

 

In the ancient Khemitian calendar, the month of Parmuti begins on this day. The netert associated with this month is Renenutet, the serpent-headed protector of children and lady of fertility and good fortune.

 

The Buddhists of many countries call the great festival they hold now Magha Puja because it comes at the Full Moon in the lunar month of Magha. Also called Fourfold Assembly or Sangha Day, it marks a gathering that occurred early in the Buddha's teaching life. Legend has it that almost immediately after the Awakened One left the Deer Park at Sarnath for a journey to Ragajaha, 1250 arhats spontaneously convened around him, without any notice, thus achieving the largest assembly yet held of the Buddha's most devoted disciples. The event is called the Fourfold Assembly because all of the devotees were arhats, all had been initiated by the Buddha himself, their unplanned convening was miraculous, and they all arrived at the Full Moon. In Thailand, Magha Puja is equal in dignity to Wesak, the Buddha's birthday.

 

2/14 (Fri), 11:54pm HT; 2/15 (Sat), 9:54am UT:

Full Moon in Leo opposite Sun in Aquarius. The partners in this combination are not equally balanced now. The Sun continues to be "in detriment" in Aquarius, his solar energies of control weakened, with the result that inner conflicts -- between people, within the same person -- are likely to manifest now. This Full Moon is powerfully charged, with Mercury, Mars and Saturn all forming relationship to the two Great Lights.

 

The Chinese celebrate this Full Moon beautifully at the Lantern Festival, decorating rivers and parks with exquisite colored lights. This 15th day of the first month is also the Feast of the Lovers. Since ancient times, girls have written their name and address on a mandarin orange -- modern people of both sexes add their mobile phone number and e-mail address -- and throw the fruit into a river with a prayer for a good love match. In the old festivals, the boys would dive into the river as soon as the girls threw their oranges in, hoping to find their beloved's orange before the water could wash her name away -- though the lovers really understood that this fine practical point was irrelevant, and the intention was everything.

 

In the Celtic, Wiccan and other traditional Earth calendars, this Full Moon is traditionally called Storm Moon, Snow Moon and Ice Moon.

 

2/15 (Sat):

In the Norse calendar, this day is sacred to a noted animal communicator: Siegfried, greatest of all warrior heroes, who understood the songs of forest birds after slaying the dragon Fafner and inadvertently tasting its blood.

 

This day is also the birthday of another famous fighter, the hero scientist and warrior astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564), whose severe personal ordeal of sacrifice for the truth -- he was held under house arrest, and forbidden to publish or to speak in public, for some 16 years -- was the price of the knowledge we have had since about the physical properties of the solar system. The story of how Galileo smuggled his secret writings out to his students, who sped them by courier to bolt holes from Leyden to Paris to Prague, is one of the world's great true stories of the theft of fire.

 

For the people of Tanna Island in Vanuatu, this is John Frum Day, named for the semi-mythic figure whom the islanders invoked as far back as the 1930's in prayers for liberation from their colonial oppressors. During World War II, when the U. S. air force used Tanna as a supply base for the Pacific campaign, John Frum became a composite hero resembling the American fliers whose largesse to the local people in the 1940's made them the deities of the famous cargo cults that erected wooden control towers and airplanes in an effort to bring back the airmen and their bounty. John Frum Day features a ceremony of flowers and flag raising, face painting, singing and dancing, a military parade of men dressed in camouflage and carrying bamboo rifles, and a feast at which, presumably, people pray for Spam.

 

2/17 (Mon):

In the Roman calendar, festival of Fornicalia, goddess of ovens and patroness of bread. On this day prayers are offered on behalf of the grain that is about to be planted in the spring, and in thanksgiving for the abundance of Mother Earth.

 

In the Japanese Shinto calendar this day is Toshigoi, when rites are held in honor of Kuni -Tokotachi - no- Kami, the primordial creator Deity of whom all other Kami are manifestations. Prayers are offered on this day for an abundant rice harvest.

 

2/18 (Tue):

Sun enters Pisces. Traditionally the time each year when plans are developed in secret, alliances reviewed, assumptions questioned and energies organized toward release a month later, at the beginning of spring. While the Sun is not "in detriment" in Pisces, as he has just been in Aquarius, the watery, deep, mysterious qualities of Pisces are not the most compatible venue for the heat, incandescence and clarity associated with the Sun. The symbolic image for Pisces time is that the Sun is most brilliant when far above the water, much less radiant and impressive when near the water, even in it. It would be simplest just to enjoy the water, but the Sun does not enjoy perceiving this. Do not walk across carpets and touch perfectionists until Aries time in March.

 

2/19 (Wed):

In some native American calendars, the Month of the Cougar begins on this day.

 

2/21 (Fri):

In the ancient Khemitian calendar, Festival of Min, neter of Love. (Parmuti day 7). Min is the active, propagating emanation of Amun, the primordial creator whose festivals are celebrated in the preceding month. See Jan. 15 and Jan. 24.

 

In the Celtic Tree Calendar, Ash Month begins. In some accounts this month is considered the most sacred of all because it honors Yggdrasil, the World Ash Tree, the universal principle of Balance. Ash month is favorable for breaking of curses and building of new protection. Ash wands are cut and prepared as conduits of energy. The ash is remarkable for being easily workable, yet strong enough to serve in everything from walking sticks to baseball bats.

 

2/21 - 3/20 (one month):

The annual Baha'i month of fasting begins. The fast continues until the day before the Spring Equinox festival of Naw Ruz.

 

2/22 (Wed):

In the ancient Roman calendar, this day is Caristia, celebrating the feast of the goddess Concordia. On this day good will and forgiveness are celebrated, especially in ritual meals at which all disputes are resolved and all ill will purged, on the premise that the bounty of the coming spring depends in great measure on the energies living within the hearts of the country's people: good will is said to promote good growth and a bountiful harvest.

 

2/24 (Mon):

Dragobete, the Romanian version of Valentine's day, named in honor of an Eros/Adonis figure from ancient folklore whose name is related to drag (dear) and dragoste (love).

 

2/25 (Tue):

This day is sacred to the memory of the Sufi saint Muhyi ad-Din Ibn El Arabi (d. 1240), who taught that Allah manifests the Divine energy in all the myriad forms of nature, female as well as male.

 

In the Chinese Taoist calendar, this is the birthday of Wen Chang Di Jun, god of literature and the arts.

 

2/25 - 3/1 (five days):

These are the days of Ayyam-I-Ha, the intercalary days in the Baha'i calendar, when believers strengthen their communal bonds through gifts and acts of hospitality and service.

 

2/27 (Thu):

Birthday, in 1861, of Rudolf Steiner, the immensely influential spiritual researcher and teacher who created the Anthroposophical Society and the Church of Spiritual Science, and whose teachings on education, empowerment and creativity are the foundation of the Waldorf Schools system.

 

2/28 (Fri):

This day is Mahashivaratri, the great annual Hindu festival in honor of Lord Shiva in his most beneficent aspect as the universal creator whose drum and dance bring the visible world into being. Shiva and his consort Shakti are honored with music, dance and other works of beauty, and with prayers for abundant vitality.

 

Om Nama Shivaya.

 

In the Zoroastrian calendar of ancient Persia, this day is Spentra Armaitri, one of the year's great festivals honoring the quiet strength and nurturing power of women. The Roman counterpart in honor of Tacita, the silent goddess, protectress against the ill effects of unkind speech, is observed on the same day.

 

2/28 – 3/6 (one week):

 

Among the ancient Athenians, and pilgrims from throughout the Greek world, these days are the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, celebrating the transformation of the Winter goddess Persephone back into her Spring aspect as Kore, and her annual marriage to Dionysus. This rite heralds the coming of Spring at the Equinox. Note that while the Greater Mysteries of summer culminate at the Full Moon in Virgo, the Lesser Mysteries begin at the New Moon in Pisces.

 

2/28 (Fri), 10:01pm HT, 3/1 (Sat), 8:01am UT:

Dark Moon conjunct Sun in Pisces. The trickiest Dark Moon and New Moon sequence of all in the sense that while the New Moon normally favors beginnings, it's located this time in the mystical cloud of Pisces, which favors the holding of deep secrets over clarity of expression, and receptivity over assertive action. This is not the time to launch a new enterprise, but more a time for meditation and visualization to attract inspiration about what the new enterprise will be. This Dark Moon is loaded, as Chiron and Neptune, now finally moving away from their long-running conjunction of 2009 - 2012, are both conjunct the Moon-Sun pair.

 

In the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic tree calendar used by devotees of the faerie path, this third New Moon following the Winter Solstice begins Nion, or ash month.

 

In the Celtic/Druidic and Wiccan calendars, this late winter New Moon is called Crow Moon, as food is still so scarce that crows, as well as wolves, are loud and insistent.

 

2/28 – 3/4 (five days):

For Christians, Carnival! begins today. This one-week festival offers a last chance to feast and party -- Carne Vale means "so long, meat!" -- before the penitential season of Lent begins. Carnival culminates on Shrove Tuesday, the famous Mardi Gras (March 4), when since the old days it is still customary to eat pancakes filled with sacred and medicinal herbs. The cakes are said to protect the believer against shortages of food and money during the coming year, provided they are eaten before 8:00pm. It is said that, festivals being what they are, the cakes are often washed down with beer, or wine, even -- goodness gracious! -- both.

 

 

 

 

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.