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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 stage machinery, 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
Into the World Again
Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for the month that promises to amplify and accelerate, ignite and intensify, drive and direct, usually in ways we can't yet see as we bounce and swirl through white water, the choices that we may as well face now as actors in the cosmic drama we all came to play in January 2016 and the months and years to follow. We had best resonate as compassionately as we can, in whatever keys they will make available, with those who've commented in recent days about the Moaning Month of last December, and the whole Annus Horribilis of 2015.
Our collective feeling of loss and misery has rarely been as keenly felt as it is now, in our personal dips and dumps and bereavements, our sense of having no beacons of trust and truth to guide us, and we've lifted the curtain of the Control Room just enough to see that the way the world truly works is very different from, and much less beneficent than, what we'd hoped might be moving the levers of power and money to help us all be healthy and safe, happy and free in our own personal Disneylands forever after. The scenarios predicted in Surfing Aquarius (2011) and in recent UFC issues about Project Blue Beam and False Flags and True Colors are coming about sooner and scarier than anyone except Wernher von Braun ever anticipated. Ever a proactive Aries, naturally drawn to fire technologies and and eager to get the show in the air, he predicted that Blue Beam technologies for mass hysteria and crowd control could be in use as early as the 1970's. Richard Nixon would have been interested, if the spooks and shadow archons ever told presidents about these things.
The Situation Comedy paradigm has served the controllers exceedingly well for the lifetime since the original Disneyland first opened in 1955, and crafted a new notion that the bruised and cynical Old World could not imagine until now: that a country whose people live in Fantasy Land can become, comment incroyable, kak neveroyatno and shinjiraremasen, the wealthiest, most powerful and most culturally dominant nation the word has ever seen. Imagine! When you wish upon a star, as Jiminy Cricket sang, your dreams will come true. Imagine! Our life is a weekly prime time show that has its ups and downs, and flameups and threats and rages, but somehow it all gets worked out in 24 minutes of net show time before the last commercials, and we can't wait to see what Ralph and Ed and Alice, Lucy and Mary and Archie and Kramer and Rachel will pull next.
Imagine! We can get a loan for a million-dollar home, even if we have no collateral or any prospect of getting any, from a bank that would never cook the contract, void the deal, pull the rug out and leave us under water. Imagine! We can put our health and our fortunes in the hands of the same polluters and predators who steal our money, kill our people, poison our planet, and harvest a feast of fear from those who refuse to love, yet we somehow find a way to believe that corporations and the governments they own would never think of squeezing or harming us. And Imagine! Through no fault of our own, we're suddenly living in Terror Land, we never know where the next alleged Arab nutcases will start shooting from, yet somehow those beautiful, bland, toothy people who report the "News" (Sound effects: laughter, whistles, clown bells, Jeopardy game show music) always seem to know at once who did it, and how, and the Insider Scoop team starts delivering the same story in the same words and pictures on every channel even before the blood on the pavement is dry, and that acrid gunpowder smell has drifted out of the air.
Welcome to the end of 2015 and the top of 2016, and particularly to the month when we start leaving the revolutionary Uranus-Pluto square that has dominated the years from June 2012 until now, and we enter the Aftermath and possible understanding of the explosive, revolutionary, transformative events that have brought shocks and shivers, smoke and mirrors, bloody murder and barefaced lies to to every area area of our lives. There is much more of it on the way, but the rhythm and the rules, and the astounding chasm between our hopes and fears, our lower and higher natures, the weight of mud on Earth and the blaze of beauty in Heaven, will open wider than we have ever seen or dreamed it to be.
It is worth our while to look briefly here at the main differences between the nearly four years from the spring of 2012 until now, and the two years of 2016 and 2017. The new phase of celestial dynamics we're about to enter is only half as long as the one we're about to leave -- but this does not mean that the coming events are less powerful and important. They will be as turbulent as they years now ending, only in a different way that will be more complex and deeply impactful, as a total of six planets and major chart points, not just the two implacable heavyweights Uranus and Pluto, will be in a game of shifting fights and alliances that will look like something between a fireworks show going up, down and every which way, and an underwater tag team match. It will get wild.
Over the Fire, Under the Water: from Action to Story
Uranus, the Bringer of Change has been and will be in the fire sign of Aries, ruled by impetuous, violent Mars, from early 2011 to early 2018. Pluto, the lord of death and regeneration, has been and will be in the earth sign of Capricorn, ruled by the severity of Saturn, lord of time, from late November 2008 -- so that this planet transit was closely connected with the US national election and the bank bailout scam -- until 2023. Both Aries and Capricorn, along with Cancer and Libra, are cardinal signs, so called because the Sun enters them at the solstices and equinoxes, and each of them is thus a hinge (latin cardo) that opens the doors of the year into each new season. This is why the theme of each of these zodiac months is beginning and proactivity, and people born in them tend to be initiators, hunters, literal and virtual warriors who are much better at starting things than they are at finishing them.
From early 2012 until this month, when Uranus and Pluto will form one last near-square before the faster Uranus moves ahead and the 90° square dissolves for good this time, the two planets have formed an alignment associated with discovery, innovation, revolution, and assertive movement across frontiers of physical and psychic space, as in the classic examples of the French Revolution, the European revolutions of the 1840's, the end of World War I and the Russian Revolution, and the arrival in the 1960's of the counterculture, women's liberation, and protests against the war in Vietnam so widespread and determined that they finished the career of Lyndon Johnson, who before the storm broke had been the most dynamic and masterful US president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Now the scenario shifts to a new set of planets and zodiac signs, and in fact the shift has already begun, at a time and event that could not be more fitting. In the next two years Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius, Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, and the Moon's Nodes along the Virgo-Pisces axis, will form a series of relatively short but intense 90° squares and 180° oppositions in signs that are called, along with Gemini, the mutable signs. In contrast to the cardinal signs, mutable signs tend to be more passive and reactive than assertive, to wait and calculate rather than make the fast move. Mutable types are much better at finishing things than we are at beginning them, and this is why the ideal business or project team will be a mix of cardinal personalities who launch new projects and win new contacts; fixed sign people who maintain, and keep systems moving smoothly, and plans on target toward their goals; and the mutable ones who wrap the job up, and, essential to our role, document the results by organizing the data and writing the reports.
This last element is crucial to the phase we have entered and will be in until late 2017, because the difference between cardinal and mutable is the same as the distinction between active and contemplative, and the person of action vs. the person of thought. All of the mutable signs have their specific ways of assembling and delivering the story: Gemini through speech and writing, Virgo through analysis, Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius through the "higher communications" of religion, philosophy, history and law, and Neptune-ruled Pisces through sacred literature and the fantasy media of theatre, dramatic music and dance.
As all of these mutable signs will be central to the planetary conditions of the next two years, the prime questions will have to do not only with what has happened, but perhaps far more important to us: How do we frame and perceive the events? Who tells the story, and for what aim? How do we recognize what is true, and what is not? And, for purposes of our freedom, our health and our survival as people and a planet, how do we stand true, clear and steady amid a rising tide of distractions and lies that can only increase as the struggle must intensify between lies and truth, poison and medicine, control and freedom and ultimately fear and love? Much as it would be lovely to anticipate that we will somehow break into lightness and liberty without any concerted effort to achieve them, this will not happen by itself. We have to co-create it. It is necessary to understand now the conditions that have already begun to unfold, and the risks and responsibilities they present.
Earth and Water Not Quite in Concord
Take the Paris massacres of Nov. 13, which we explored in last month's UFC. In effect at the precise moment of all the slaughter in Paris was the first, and among the heaviest and most powerful, of the planetary stresses that now apply. On Nov. 13, Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces were within a degree and a half of the 90° "square" angle that places them in a disharmonious tension that can be seen negatively as stress and affliction, or seen more opportunistically as an angle of leverage that helps to shift a weight of of habit and resistance that must now be moved. Saturn and Neptune moved, most significantly, into an exact square on Nov. 26, so that the two weeks following the murders were the time when the cynical false flag story was crafted and beamed out with all the slick color and sound, fakery and dread that the archons, overt and hidden, could create for the purpose of controlling the drowsy and gullible through fear. It will be useful to understand a little more about Saturn and Neptune, and the adversarial relationship that links them from May to October in the panic parade and acidic slimebath leading to the next US national election.
Saturn, shown here, was called Kronos, the Lord of Time, by the Greeks. He is the earthy, solid, heavy weight of practical limitation and restriction where our dreams and desires meet the "real," practical conditions of what is possible and what is for our own highest good, and the happiness and advantage of the other lives we touch. There is more about him in a TV news broadcast by Saturn, Mercury and me from Hard Heart News, in "Under Siege," the UFC prelude for April, 2014. Saturn is the enforcer of the non-performance clause in our Sacred Contracts, about which more in a moment. You may hear even experienced astrologers say "Saturn is kicking my ass." Not the case, though he's tall and powerful, and his long left leg could deliver a terrific blow with a foot clad in the sock of Comedy, of which Saturn is the patron planet. Saturn does not kick anyone anywhere because that would be beneath his dignity. What he does is pull our leg back and out with such resistance and pressure that when he releases it, we kick ourselves in ways that may be impactful and instructive. Learning our responsibility for the outcomes we create is in fact an essential step in turning Saturn from an obstacle to an ally.
Neptune, Lord of the Sea and all that connotes, could hardly be more of a contrast with his father Saturn. Neptune is the avoider and ignorer of problems and specific details, the dissolver of boundaries, and the one who at his best brings us into the compassionate universal heart that embraces us all, and at worst gets lost in such mists and fogs of lethargy and depression, addiction and dependency, deceptions by ourselves and others, illusions and energy vampire games, that working with him can be like driving through a rainstorm at night in a convertible with squeaky brakes and a bong full of herb and hallucination. Are we concentrating harder on keeping the pot in the bowl from getting wet than we are on watching the road? Hello, Neptune. Good to see you again. There is nobility, beauty and depth in him, provided we have the discipline, focus and self-esteem to tap his treasures of mystical consciousness, spirituality, intuition, imagination, dreams and inspiring fantasy, so that we can align with him as a complement to Saturn, not as an escape.
We can guess, then, what to expect when Saturn and Neptune are not on the same page, even in the same book. Afflictive relationships between these two will bring extreme contrasts between practical reason and slippery dreams, our higher and lower selves, our most altruistic goals and our smaller, harder-headed choice to stand pat and not give an inch, our holding of equanimity and our helpless captivity to every mood that dances between the bottom of the brain and the back door of the heart. The esoteric themes of Saturn vs. Neptune are spiritual suffering, the dark night of the soul, simple living when we're on our game and martyrdom when we want to play it for effect. For our practical purposes now, a Saturn-Neptune square means that instead of seeing clearly and simply what is going on, we will cook and swirl whatever dopey, bozotic illusions we want to see, and we'll be more easily suckered by those who want to fool us.
We will, in short, be able to see everything except what is most important to see now: that the horrific events of November 2015 and the weeks that have followed are in fact a very intricate and invaluable nexus of Sacred Contracts among the hapless victims, the icy mercenaries who executed them, the archons who designed the event, the deceivers who obediently parroted the usual playlists of lies about it, and all the rest of us, who wonder what we can and will do now that more us us can see how ugly, false and venomous the whole scenario of control is, and how it aims at nothing less than our slavery and extinction.
This is the title of the famous book by Carolyn Myss. There is a subchapter about it, and its relation to spiritual astrology, in my new book Finding Your Best Places, about which more at the end of this page. To summarize briefly here: one of Ms. Myss' main premises, besides her brilliant paradigm of aligning the archetypal roles each of us plays with the houses of the horoscope wheel, is that before each new incarnation, we negotiate the next life role and conditions with our soul, the Lords or Ladies of Karma, or whoever else helps us refine the life role that will best help our evolution toward ultimate clarity and freedom. Like an actor or a musician negotiating with a talent agent, we work out the details of the job: the mission, the conditions, the consequences of breaking the contract, all of it. If this premise is true, then another premise must also apply: that every life and death carries out a sacred contract, though most of us live unaware of it, and thus all of the people who died in false flag gunfire in Paris on Nov. 13, and their killers, and those who hired the killers, were all fulfilling a sacred contract. How can this be, as it will seem impossible to most of us that anyone will choose to suffer or inflict the agony of a painful death?
We take you now to the New Missions wing of the spirit world, where a soul getting ready to ride the wheel of birth again is seated at the desk of Mr. Clarus, a senior Life Choice Guide who gets the recalcitrant cases. He is robed in white and looks like an amalgam of photographer Sheldan Collins and Peter O'Toole in The Ruling Class. The soul seated in front of him is invisible at first, but takes on color and other detail as the scene proceeds. All we know of him at first, from the sound of his voice, is that he's youthful male.
Soul: So let me get this straight. I’m going to be shot to death in Paris, France by an American professional murderer posing as a Syrian jihadist who claims he has the right to kill infidels in the name of Allah. After he executes dozens of people as calmly and efficiently as a pool hustler runs the table once he's hooked his fish, I see him drop on the sidewalk what turns out to be a fake Syrian passport, to help support the false flag scam. Then he kills me. Is that about right?
Clarus: Yes. Excellent. Your concentration is improving.
Soul: Will there ever be an end to this?
Clarus: Yes, of course. But how tiresome you become again. Yes, the extreme agonies of your deaths at Auschwitz and in Kuwait, where the Americans buried you and thousands of other Iraqi troops alive in your trenches, do count for something more, but otherwise you know the rules. A life for a life, or something very close to it.
Soul: It’s endless.
Clarus: Only when viewed in Earth years. You might try taking a longer view. Did anyone hold a dagger to your throat, and force you to slaughter all those women and children when you were on crusade? Or to sentence all those witches and heretics to the stake when you were much too smug and happy as a Dominican inquisitor? Did anyone hold a Beretta to your head when you were Don Anselmo in Palermo, and had all those people rubbed out for whatever vendetta del giorno made you feel important?
Soul: No. I’m responsible.
Clarus: Good. I say look on the bright side. You could have been an SS Obergruppenfuhrer at Kiev or Smolensk. Or a Rockefeller, or a Rothschild. Or Basil Zaharoff. Or a major stockholder in the Corporation that Must Not Be Named. Or Henry Kissinger or Richelieu. Or George H. W. B--h.
Soul: Scant comfort.
Clarus: You might try thinking of someone besides yourself for a change. You might try thinking of me. Every time I see you, we go through the Same Old Shift. I’d love to trade you with another caseworker for the right to work with, oh, Gerard Depardieu or Paris Hilton.
Soul: Really? Why?
Clarus: Ever heard of entertainment value? Is there anything Paris would not try to seduce her way into a lighter ride than she has coming? Imagine what it must be like to be fabulously rich, yet have such an astounding need for attention and approval. She needs professional help.
Soul: Will it help you if I provide an endorsement? (Clarus laughs.) I believe it’s time to decide from the menu.
Soul: As I see it, M. Arnaud the boulevardier has the most to lose. He’s rich, and has had a whole adult life of wealth, sublime art, great food and beautiful sex. And he has the easiest death, there at the sidewalk cafe. The eyes and the moue of his mistress give him an erection that could drill through granite, and the moment he finishes his pernod and signals for the check, the bullet passes through his jacket sleeve and into his forehead, and he dies at once.
Clarus: So it’s between the clueless teenager and the young lover.
Soul: Yes. This is where it gets harder. The poor adolescent in his black T-shirt and black pants, and the spikes in his nose and lips that mainly tell the world Don’t Kiss Me, has never loved a woman. He’s with other unconscious, alienated fools at a concert by Angels of Death Metal.
Clarus: And they wonder why these things happen.
Soul: He’s so asleep that he doesn’t see any difference between being unwillingly alive and suddenly dead. And he too dies at once. No agony, no benefit.
Clarus: True. And that leaves . . . ?
Soul: Jean-Claude Caneton, the student who gets hit at Les Halles as he’s shopping for the perfect salad for the one he loves. That I love. I choose him. (The Soul's features begin to fill in. He is slender, medium height, with blue eyes and black hair. He wears sharply-creased dark blue slacks and a thick cable-knit gray sweater.) I so much want to impress Marie-Claire. I choose an aubergine that is literally to die for, and as I decide to buy it, the bullet passes through it and into my cheekbone. Other bullets hit my lung and liver. I take about ten minutes to die.
Clarus: Your death as Jean-Claude is the most painful.
Jean-Claude: Yes. But it isn’t just the physical agony. I die slowly, thinking only of how much I love Marie-Claire and how much she loves me, how we’ll never know the joy of union, how she’ll grieve for many years for the pure heart who cared so much for her soul, though her body and her hair and her smile stirred him too.
Clarus: Well done. You’re getting the hang of this. So – (offering him a white quill pen) ready to sign your Sacred Contract for 1994 - 2015?
Jean-Claude: Yes. (Signs, blows the ink dry) Would you mind one more word of advice? Sorry if this sounds too inconsequential to a master of your radiance. If you had to choose three kinds of lettuce in a salad for the one you love, what would they be?
Clarus: Romaine, endive and believe it or not, iceberg.
Clarus: Trust me. I know, I know. A million mavens will choose arugula, even though it’s a bitter, unpleasant-tasting vegetable that has nothing going for it but water and an exotic appearance. Marie-Claire will respect you for having the nerve not to choose it. Trust me.
Jean-Claude: Done. I never would have taken you for a gourmet.
Clarus: Here we are beyond the squab and the champagne. But we have memories. Eight Jewel Duck at K'ang Xi's table. Sea bream in rosemary and oranges with Frederick II in Sicily. At least you get almost 21 years of French food. Well, enjoy the ride and the agony until we meet again.
Jean-Claude: Merci, M. Clarus. Au revoir.
And through the floor and down the chute he goes to his birth in Mirepoix.
And that, or something like it, is how it has gone for each of us, to bring us into our homeland, our relationships, and the rest of what are called the given circumstances of the play. We descend from the light and freedom of the spirit world into the darkness and weight of this third density, in what the Sufis envision as a fall through 70,000 veils, each of which hides a little more light. We are born on Earth, and we have forgotten everything: our Sacred Contract, the Life Choice Guide we spoke with only minutes ago, the earlier lives that constrained and shaped our choices, the relationships we chose, and the roles we offered to other souls, especially our parents, siblings and mates. We remember nothing. All that some of us feel we know, as we begin to awaken into some wider communal consciousness, especially as we cross the chasm of thought from religion into spirituality, is that we've come here from somewhere else, and there's something we've come to do.
As we come to our discoveries of our path and our purpose, we come to accept, however we may fight it, one of the key premises of the Sacred Contract: that our life is the unfolding of a script that we've already written, that we can decide moment by moment to play full out, or resist, or ignore, until we come to accept we have chosen it, all of it, as impossible as that once seemed. We cross yet another barrier, the one that separates those who are still caught in the blame game from those who understand responsibility, and can answer for what we've done. Not to "God" or Saturn or any other external image or being, but to the mirror and sound box of our own conscience and our knowledge that we are linked with every other life, past, present and to come in a journey that we take together.
Will 2016 bring us any closer to insight into all of this? Yes, as many of us have this understanding now, and more will gain it. Next month we'll explore news that breaks out everywhere now about the cracks in the structures, the light through the door, and surges of incandescent inventiveness and unstoppable love as we enter the Chinese Year of the Monkey. For now, a note to let you know that the Kindle edition of my book Finding Your Best Places will be available this month, as we solve the formatting issues that are unavoidable in a Kindle book with so many detailed map images.
Who took especial note of this in the print edition? The Peruvian government, who impounded my book at the Ministry of External Relations because it contains -- wait for it -- maps! Yes. Apparently even a playing-card sized map of southern Peru, where I live, is a security threat. Honestly. This is not a made-up story, like the one in the Spirit World that we just descended from. The closer we step to liberty, the more insane the rules of control must become until we decide we've had enough, and our concerted intentions bring us to liberation. It is inevitable. Let us tune our hearts to it.
Keep Holding That Frequency.
THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
Dec. 31 – Jan. 3 (three days):
These three days at the transition from the old year into the new represent the Triple Goddess in the severest of her Wise Woman aspects. Among the many "crone" goddesses honored at this time are the Greek Hecate, the Roman Fata (i.e., Fate), the Celtic Etain and the Norse Wyrd.
Dec. 31 - Jan. 4 (five days):
Zoroastrians celebrate the creator Vohu Manah, maker and protector of all animal life, and one of the seven male -- parallel to seven female -- emanations of the deity Ahura Mazda.
Jan. 1, Friday:
In the Greco-Roman calendar, 1/1 is the birthday of the lord of time: Chronos/Uranus, father of Zeus/Jupiter. This is why the Saturnian figure of Father Time, with his hourglass and scythe, is associated with this day. The New Year Baby who supplants Father Time is a version of the Solar Child who is born everywhere in the northern hemisphere in the Winter Solstice week of Dec. 21 - 25. As the Ruler of Capricorn, Saturn has traditionally embodied the limiting forces of age, illness, death, separation and estrangement -- but he is also the bearer of wisdom, as represented in the Hermit card of the Tarot as a black-robed, hooded figure whose lantern bears hidden wisdom for those who can see. Saturn is also the teacher of karmic lessons that are painful if the student resists, and noticeably astringent even for those who have learned to love Saturn. One way or the other, the effect of his instruction is always bracing, the stroke of his sickle in cutting away old illusions is always swift and exact. The placement of his birthday on Jan. 1 is yet another reminder that this is the day to discard what is unneeded, and seek new wisdom, at the turning of the New Year.
January 1 is also the birthday (1854) of J. G. Frazer, author of the seminal work of mythology and anthropology, The Golden Bough.
In the Shinto calendar, this is Gantan-sai, New Year's Day.
Jan. 1 - 6 (six days):
The Japanese celebrate the Shinto New Year festival -- now keyed to the Western rather than the Asian lunar calendar -- beginning with Shogatsu, the first day of the first month. The respective kami or divine principles of the four directions are especially honored now, and their harmonious cooperation in bringing good health, prosperity and happiness to those who live in divine order. In the Shinto shrines actors of the classical kyogen comedy present Okina, in which the Sanbaso, the Saturnian Third Old Man who wears a black mask with white beard, dances the purification and blessing of the field, marking his rhythm and the Earth's geometry by shaking bells.
Jan. 2, Saturday::
In the Sumerian calendar, birthday of Inanna, the formidable double-aspected Goddess of love and war.
On this day Mercury enters the air sign of Aquarius, which is considered either exalted for him, or neutral. He is comfortable and lively here in his element of air, and much prefers it to being in detriment, as he will be in Pisces from mid-March. His journey through Aquarius this month will be very brief, as he'll go retrograde on Jan. 5, and back into Capricorn on Jan. 8. His next visit to Aquarius will be from Feb. 13.
The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks tonight, and is expected to be most intense at 6:00pm UT on 1/3. This very active shower (100 or more meteors per minute) is best viewed in a clear, unlighted place where the relatively faint Quadrantid meteors (average magnitude 2.8) can be seen to best advantage. The Moon is waning to the Black Moon of Jan. 9 - 10, so viewing is impaired.
Jan. 3, Sunday:
Mars enters Scorpio. He was traditionally considered the ruling planet of both Aries and Scorpio until the rulership of Scorpio was reasssigned to Pluto, whose dark, secretive character is far more appropriate to Scorpio than the fiery, impetuous nature of Mars. This placement has long been believed to have its baleful qualities, as the cruelest, most pitiful elements of the Black Mars personality -- as opposed to the more protective and merciful warriorship to the Red Mars, ruler of Aries -- can be violently accentuated by the headlong passion of Scorpio.
In the Roman Catholic calendar, Jan. 3 is the feast of St. Genevieve, the first female saint to appear in the annual cycle of saints' days. She was born in 423 in Nanterre, and is said to have made a vow of perpetual chastity at the age of seven. (Where but in France, one wonders, with the possible exception of Thailand, could a child of 7 understand the implications of chastity?) Her charisma and dignity were so persuasive that she reportedly saved Paris twice, once from starvation during a siege by King Childeric of the Franks, and then from sack by Attila and the Huns. Early in the 12th century, the people of Paris prayed for relief from plague by bearing the saint's shrine in procession through the city, and the pestilence lifted at once. St. Genevieve has been regarded ever since as the special protector of the city of Paris.
Jan. 5, Tuesday:
An alternate Christian version of the 12-day Yuletide cycle, running from Christmas to Jan. 5 -- rather than the traditional Dec. 20 - 31 -- ends today with the feast of the old Roman goddess Befana. The "Great Grandmother" rides her broomstick through the world on this night, or comes on a donkey, as shown here in the town of Barga, delivering gifts to good children. During the Christian middle ages, Befana's toyride was reassigned to a large male elfin figure who made his gift trip just before the start of Yuletide, on the night before Christmas. Befana mutated over the centuries, in other countries, into one of the old, hooknosed, scary cartoon witches who have survived in the popular imagination ever since -- except in Italy, that is, where she remains beloved.
This day is the famous Twelfth Night, the last of the 12 days of Christmas, numbering from Christmas day through Jan. 5. Twelfth Night was -- still is -- believed to be the end of the Christianized yuletide season, the night of one more celebration before Christmas decorations come down, and the Christmas tree and other holiday greenery are removed from the home, on the next day. Local customs differ on whether the greenery must or must not be burned, though it is usually agreed that each household must keep a sprig of holly, ivy or mistletoe for good luck until the next Christmas season. Other Twelfth Night practices abound in the British isles, including the ceremonial sacrifice of the wren and the distribution of its feathers for the protection of Welsh sailors.
This day is the birthday of the beloved saint Paramahansa Yogananda (1893), author of Autobiography of a Yogi. The superb documentary film biography Awake , with impressive still photos and rare footage of Yogananda and his guru, Sri Yukteswar, was released in 2014.
Jan. 5 is also the birthday (1666) of Gobindh Singh, the tenth Sikh guru.
In the Roman Catholic calendar, this day is the feast of St. Simeon Stylites, so called because, after having prepared himself in youth with the practice of severe austerities, he made his way from his native Cilicia to Egypt and spent the last 37 years of his life standing atop a stylus-shaped pillar, sheltered only by his faith from the blazing heat and desolate cold of the desert. So determined was Simeon never to give himself the relief of sitting or lying down that in the end his death was apparent when he was seen not to have moved from a kneeling position for three days. The remnant of St. Simeon's pillar is preserved in a basilica erected by the Byzantine emperor Zeno in the 5th century. The Luis Bunuel film Simon of the Desert offers a profound and controversial version of the story.
And, as if Jan. 5 were not packed enough, Mercury goes retrograde on this day, beginning his three-times-a-year interval of blockage and confusion, delay and misunderstandings, electronic frazzle and general human bozosis in the Mercury-ruled areas of transportation, communication and commerce, and also larceny, as Mercury is the patron deity of thieves. Stupid crook stories may astonish until Jan. 8, when Mercury retreats from the ditsier helium of Aquarius to the cold Earth of Capricorn. This may feel rather like a boat hitting a reef or something else lurching all of a sudden to a slower tempo, and complete stasis. This less than fully entertaining interval lasts until Jan. 25.
Jan. 5 – 8 (four days):
Mahayana Buddhists celebrate the New Year.
Jan. 6, Wednesday:
In the Khemitian calendar, feast of Ptah, the Neter who created the world by first speaking the word of creation, thus launching one of the many mythic cycles that began with the divine creative act of speech. This day was also sacred to Hor, aka "Horus," the neter of light and falcon-headed solar hero who preserves the world from the attack of Set, neter of destruction. (month of Mechir, day 22). The skullcap in which Ptah is always depicted identifies him as an air being and peerlessly powerful creator who manifested new life "out of the blue" -- one of many expressions that came from ancient Khemt.
For the Armenian Orthodox community, this is Christmas day.
In the Faroe islands, this day features prominently in legends about silkies, seals that take human form, especially as women, in order to love human males or gain revenge for human crimes against seal families. Jan. 6 is said to be one day on which it is especially common for silkies to appear as humans.
In Christian calendars, this day is the feast of the Epiphany, which follows the Christianized 12-day Yuletide cycle (12/25 to 1/5) and commemorates the day when the Three Magi from the East came to offer their gifts to the infant Jesus, and thereby symbolically spread the Good News of Christ's coming beyond the Jews to the wider world of all humanity.
Jan. 7, Thursday:
In the Greek and Russian Orthodox, and Coptic years, all of which are timed by the Julian calendar, Christmas is celebrated on this day.
Also for the Rastafarian community, who regard the African people of Ethiopia as the Jews of the Bible, this is Christmas day. The feast is celebrated with vegetarian or vegan food, readings from scripture and prophecies for the year to come. Orthodox Christians also observe Christmas on this day, while for many European and American Christians, this day marks the baptism of Jesus.
In the traditional Shinto calendar of Japan, this day is Koshogatsu (literally "Little New Year's Day"), sacred to the Goddess Izanami- no-Mikoto. She and her brother-consort, Izanagi-no-Mikoto, were the primordial creators who fashioned the natural world and its kami, or nature spirits. This day is exactly opposite on the year wheel to Tanabata (7/7), the Japanese Feast of the Lovers.
Jan. 7 - 8 (2 days):
In the ancient Khemitian (aka ancient Egyptian) calendar, one of the year's great festivals in honor of Aset ("Isis") as the Mother Netert, protector of female fertility and the health of child (Mechir, days 23 and 24).
As shown here in this famous image from the mammisi, or birth chapel of her temple at Pilak, aka Philae, she is flanked by Djehuti (Thoth) at left and Amun ("The Hidden One"), hiding her son Hor (Horus) from the murderous intent of his uncle Set, neter of chaos and destruction. Other celebrated spiritual stories, notably that of Moses, would borrow the motif of concealing the sacred child in the river reeds.
Jan. 8, Friday:
For the Japanese, this day is both a religious and national holiday, Seijin-no-hi, Coming of Age Day. Young men and women who are now 20 years old dress in traditional kimono and visit Shinto shrines with their parents, who announce to the kami that their children have now attained adulthood and pray for the spirits' blessings of health and long life.
Jan. 9, Saturday, 3:32pm HT; Jan. 10, Sunday, 1:32am UT:
Dark Moon conjunct Sun in Capricorn, the first of two Dark Moons to come in this calendar month. This is normally the most reflective and contemplative Dark Moon of the year, as both Sun and Moon are under restraint by the ruler of Capricorn: Saturn, teacher of the spiritual and karmic lessons that are deepest, and can be most painful when resisted. As the New Moon always favors beginnings, the ensuing New Moon in Capricorn is naturally a time for trying new approaches to old problems and weaknesses. Long before the Julian calendar made early January the beginning of the Year, the Dark Moon in Capricorn was the moment for "New Year's Resolutions."
In the ancient Greek calendar, this longest and most profound Dark Moon of the year is sacred to Hekate, formidable protectress and guide through all turmoil and chaos.
In the ancient Roman calendar, Jan. 9 is the festival day of Janus, the god whose two faces gaze backward into the past and forward into the future. It was customary to keep the doors of Janus' temple closed in peacetime, to open them as soon as war began and to close them again when war was concluded -- thus invoking the blessing and protection of Janus, and his gifts of historic memory and foresight, when the continuity of the nation was in danger.
Jan. 10, Sunday:
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.
Jan. 13, Wednesday:
In the Sikh calendar, this day is Maghi, commemorating the day in 1705 when the Chali Mukte, the Forty Liberated Ones, sacrificed their lives to protect Guru Gobind Singh from a pursuing imperial army. As the fight happened in and near a pool of water, the day’s rites include a purificatory morning bath, recitation of the entire Guru Granth Sahib and diwans of prayer and teaching.
Jan. 14, Thursday:
Makara Sankranti, one of South India's great harvest festivals. As this day marks the annual date on which wind direction shifts from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn -- "makara" means Capricorn -- various gods of the wind are honored now, and there are many sailing competitions and festivals. Ritual offerings of water and food are offered to the resurging Sun, with prayers for an abundant harvest.
Jan. 15, Friday :
In the ancient Khemitian calendar, this is the first day of the month of Pamenot, sacred to Amun, the primordial water Neter who embodies the potential of all living things. As this month is opposite on the zodiac wheel to what we call July -- when the annual inundation of the Nile always used to begin on July 26 -- Pamenot has always represented the seminal ingathering of energy and its concentration toward release in the surge of summer. For more on Amun, see Jan. 24.
The Japanese celebrate this day as Seijin Shiki, or coming-of-age day. Those who have attained the age of 20 in the preceding year dress in exquisite new kimono and visit Shinto shrines to give thanks to the kami, and pray for their favor in the years to come.
Jan. 16, Saturday:
Birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King (1929).
Roman Catholics celebrate this day as the feast of St. Anthony of Egypt, also called St. Anthony the Abbot and St. Anthony the Great. Hispanic Catholics give the day the usual extra flair by bringing livestock and pets to the church for a Blessing of the Animals, commemorating Anthony’s famous power to attract and soothe even the fiercest desert beasts.
Among the Yoruba people of Africa and the Santeria communities of the Americas, this day is sacred to Ogun, the masculine orisha of strength, stamina and determination.
Jan. 18, Monday:
Since 1950, when the Baha'i community designated Jan. 18 as World Religion Day, honoring the common sacred values of all faiths, this day has gradually been adopted by some other religions as well as a day to pray for interreligious dialogue and understanding. This day may have been a natural choice because from 1908, some Christian communities have observed the week from Jan. 18 (St. Peter's day) to 24 (St. Paul's day) as a week of prayer for Christian unity.
Baha'i festival honoring the Deity as Sultan, supreme lord and sovereign of the universe.
The Sun enters Aquarius. This is a major annual transition point at which the year enters the Great Cold, and, before the Sun leaves Aquarius in February, begins the lengthening of the light and the transition to Spring. The importance of this annual passage point has been evident since ancient times in many cultures, for example the Chinese, who celebrate the lunar New Year at the first New Moon while the Sun is in what the West calls Aquarius. The Sun's entry into Aquarius gains increasing power now as Earth's people enter the Aquarian Age, which favors wide networks and lateral teams of friendship over Piscean hierarchies, emphasizing the identity of Aquarius as the ruler of the 11th House of friendship, activism for social progress, and community. For more on this, see Surfing Aquarius.
In old Christian calendars, Jan. 20 is St. Agnes' Eve, which replaces an earlier British Celtic feast as the day on which prophecy and divination are favored. It is said that a young woman who correctly bakes a "dumb cake" - so called because it is prepared in strict silence - will be able to see the dream image of her future husband. This custom is the subject of a famous poem by Keats, "The Eve of St. Agnes". As this midwinter season is a time for introspection, it naturally abounds in rites of prophecy, including feasts of Thoth (Jan. 24 - 27) and the Iroquois Mid-Winter ceremonies (Feb. 3 - 11).
In the Roman Catholic calendar, this is also the feast of St. Sebastian, one of the many notable martyrs from the last major wave of anti- Christian persecutions under Diocletian, at the end of the 3rd century and the beginning of the 4th, a few years before the reign of Constantine the Great, who was to designate Christianity the state religion of the Roman empire.
St. Sebastian is famous as a "double martyr", so called because when the emperor's attempt to have his fellow soldiers execute him with arrows failed to finish him off -- a scene depicted in countless works of art, including this one by Mantegna -- Sebastian had the temerity to affirm his faith before Caesar a second time, and was then clubbed to death. The symbolism of the arrows is ancient and archetypal, linking with countless stories in which the wound of divine love brings both excruciating pain and ineffable joy. Sebastian remains to this day the patron saint of soldiers, archers and athletes.
In Cusco, Peru, the procession of saints' images in the fiesta de San Sebastian may have replaced a much older rite celebrated by the native people of the Inca before Pizarro came. All we "know" from a few Spanish sources like Felipe Guaman Pomo de Ayala (1615) is that at some time in Samay Quilla, the month of rest and renewal, the festival of Capac Raimi was held. At this coming of age feast, the young women shown here would sew the ritual garments to be used a month later by the young men whose manhood and warriorship -- the link with the warrior-martyr Sebastian -- is honored now, and will be formally proclaimed a few weeks later.
Jan. 21, Thursday:
In the Roman Catholic calendar, this is the feast of St. Agnes, one of the most admired of all virgin martyrs, who gave her life during the last great campaign of Christian persecutions by Diocletian in the early 4th century. She is always depicted with a lamb and a branch of hyssop, symbolizing respectively her innocence and her purity.
Jan. 22, Friday :
In the ancient Greek and Roman calendars, this day is the feast of Apollo, god of the Sun, and also of light, intellect, classical beauty, prophecy and the lyre. Thousands of years ago, before the day of the Sun's entry into Aquarius moved to where it is now, on Jan. 19, this day marked the Sun's transition from the darkness and heaviness of Capricorn to the light and activity of Aquarius, the month in which the annual mid-winter festival of early February celebrated the passing of the Great Cold and the approach of the new Spring.
Apollo's day was later Christianized as the feast of St. Vincent, a shadowy figure who may not have lived, but who was likely invented. His name means "Conquering," and is related to Victor, but is close enough to the word for Wine in the Romance languages that St. Vincent is the patron of vintners and of those who just like to drink wine. The placement of his day is perfect, as it falls right at the top of the month when the Sun is in Aquarius, the sign which rules the 11th house of Friendship, and thus favors all happy activities that bring friends together. St. Vincent's Day is also a major weather marker in Europe, for it was -- and still is -- said that fair weather on this day heralds an abundant grape harvest and a good vintage: "Take care on St. Vincent's Day, / For if on this day you see / That the sun is bright and clear, / We'll have more wine than water."
Jan. 23, Saturday:
First day of the Goddess month of Bridhe, sacred to the Celtic and Britannic Goddess variously called Brigit, Bridhe, Brigantia and later, St. Bridget. As shown here, she is also called the Triple Brighids, and is one of the most widely-revered manifestations of the Triple Goddess. She is the protector of the eternal creative flame that maintains the vitality of the natural world, and is the patron of warriors and of all practitioners of feminine arts and crafts, most notably the occult disciplines of divination, witchcraft, herb and star lore, and prophecy. She is also represented by the spirals that appear constantly in Celtic art. Her totemic animals are the ram and the ox, her sacred plant the blackberry.
On this day Venus enters Capricorn, where she'll stay until Feb. 17. She conjoins Pluto today, making for as much erotic wildness as she will get in the studious sign of the karmic teacher. The heavy, serious demeanor of this sign can be leavened when Venus is ingenious, as Capricorn's ruling planet, Saturn, is curiously enough the patron of comedy.
Jan. 23, Saturday, 3:47pm UT; Jan. 24, Sunday, 1:17am 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.
This Full Moon and the one to follow in February are relatively uneventful, with the Moon-Sun pair in the early degrees of their respective signs forming no majr angles of relationship with any other planets. The plot thickens at the Black Moon of Feb. 8, and at both lunations, accompanied by eclipses, in March.
In the Celtic/Druidic and Wiccan calendars, this Full Moon is called Storm Moon. Also Quickening Moon and Wild Moon, in the “Great Winter” season close to Imbolc, Jan. 31 - Feb. 2. It is customary during this moon to wash clothes in clove and angelica, to purify them for Spring.
Jan. 24, Sunday:
In the Khemitian calendar, this day is sacred to the primordial creator Amun, called "the Hidden One" because his power is in operation even before it manifests in the Sun and the visible world. Facing him at the right of the image shown here is the figure representing Aquarius in the Egyptian zodiac, pouring a double stream of sacred water to bless the realm. Amun's power to bring latent forces into manifestation survives in Christian traditions as the word Amen ("Let it be") that ends the prayer, and activates it.
Jan. 24 - Feb. 1 (nine days):
The Romans celebrate on these days the festival of Sementivae, so called because it honors the feminine nurturing power that receives the seed and protects it until its latent life force is ready to sprout. This is one of the mid-winter festivals that begin early now, culminating in the Imbolc, Candlemas, Setsubun, St. Brigid's day and other festivals of early February.
Jan. 24 - 27 (four days):
In the ancient Khemitian solar calendar, this is a major four-day festival honoring Djehuti ("Thoth"), the lunar Neter of wisdom and learning. The rites begin with a celebration of Djehuti's arrival in the physical realm; honor his gifts of mathematics, geometry, literature and magic; and culminate in the ceremony of gratitude for the most profound of all Djehuti's secrets: the khu, or light body, which the devoted adept generates through continued spiritual practice. (Month of Pamenot, days 10 - 13).
In Christian calendars, Jan. 24 is St. Paul's Day, commemorating the dramatic Conversion of St. Paul, who gave up being Saul, scourge of Christians, when he was knocked off his horse by a bolt of light that hit him right in the third eye -- this may help explain the frontal baldness with which he is almost always depicted. Jan. 25 is not the saint's actual feast day, which is celebrated on June 30, in honor of Paul as the prolific writer and marketing genius of early Christianity. In Britain this day is a notable weather marker, as it is said that rain on St. Paul's Day is a sign of a poor harvest to come in the autumn.
On this day Mercury "goes direct," reversing his retrograde motion of the last nineteen days, since Jan. 5. The technical and mechanical troubles that beset Mercury retrograde, the mental lapses and sheer human weirdness, should begin to abate now, though we will remain in Mercury's "retrograde shadow" until Feb. 18, when Mercury returns to the zodiac point where his backward movement began.
Jan. 26, Tuesday :
In the ancient Britannic calendar, this is one of the year's most solemn festivals of initiation. It is sacred to Cernunnos, the deer- horned God who is considered the master of all communications with animals, and the threshold keeper who tests the worthiness of all who seek knowledge of the secrets of nature.
In the Roman Catholic calendar, this is the feast of St. Francois de Sales, who gave up the promise of a spectacular career in the King's service to dedicate himself to missionary work, and went to Geneva in the late 16th century to convert Calvinists, a task at which he is said to have achieved the huge success of bringing some 72,000 of Europe's most dismal Protestants back to the fold, largely through methods that were mild and joyous rather than stern. He reportedly coined the saying that "You can catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrel of vinegar."
Jan. 27, Wednesday:
Birthday, in 1756, of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He had this to say on the topic of universal genius:
"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence, nor imagination, nor both together make genius.
Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius."
Jan. 28, Thursday:
Ceres enter Pisces, where she will remain until April 14. The ingress of this planet who represents the health and abundance of the fields, and who has been much connected with important events concerning food purity and safety during her months in activist Aquarius -- notably the suit brought recently against Voldemort Inc. for crimes against humanity -- may go deeper now in all-embracing Pisces into a more open and spiritual understanding of our sacred relationship with Mother Earth.
Jan. 30, Saturday:
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. The timing here could not be more appropriate, for the last near-90° square in the Uranus-Pluto series of 2012 to 20146 falls on the day. For more on this, see the Mythic Prelude above.
Jan. 30 - Feb. 1 (three days):
In the Greco-Roman calendar, these days are sacred to Artemis/Diana in her guardian role as midwife and protector of children.
Jan. 31, Sunday:
On this day, just before the annual Midwinter Festival, peoples all over the ancient world pray and sacrifice to Hecate, the Goddess of the Moon in her darkest and most formidable aspect. She is also Kali, and embodies as well the fiercest energies of Scorpio. Like her opposite number Shiva, she destroys in order to create anew. She is linked to Sekhmet, Inanna, Pele and other goddesses who purify through the fire of love.
Also the centennial birthday (1915) of Father Thomas Merton, the Catholic mystical poet who sought God above all in concentrated silence.
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.