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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.





July 2013



Greetings and blessings, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for July, 2013. With this issue the UFC begins its 16th year since it first appeared in July 1998.


My other main news now, at the Full Moon of June 23, is that the transition from my original  hermes3.net website to danfurst.com is now nearly done, thanks to the superb graphic skills and general ingenuity of my creative partner Mark Wilcox. It has taken much longer than we intended, because of thorny technical issues and my severe illness and exhaustion, brought on by three months of headlong travel in Egypt and Europe. I appreciate the kindness of those who’ve written recently to find out in discreet and subtle ways if I’m still among the living . . . or if I’ve checked out of our planet. Not yet, as they keep saying in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. Not Yet. I’m happily alive in the Edenic garden and medicine pot of Pisac.


If you’d like to subscribe to the UFC or my Aquarian Airlines blog, you can send an email or sign up at www.aquarianairlines.com. I suggest this because MacMail no longer allows me to send new UFC notices to my old master list of thousands, and this is why UFC emails now go out only to a permission-based list via AWeber.


Hermes3 continues as an archival site, housing UFC issues through Feb., 2013 and Play of Freedom and Sacred Sounds pages. It will house When It Rained in Egypt until the play is revamped and the music is complete. Thanks again to the brilliant hermes3 webmaster Kevin Hughes for many years of smooth hosting and patient coaching.



We’re still in a phase of détente now – a relaxing of tension, like the slackening of a bowstring, after Round 3 of the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square. For the basic jolt and jostle of this tremendous planetary alignment, you can see Leslie Oliver’s interview with me, now up on YouTube along with a  shorter interview on Astrocartography.


The terrific stress between Uranus and Pluto, who were at an exact angle of 90° on May 20, lessens as both planets will be retrograde as of July 17, moving to a 3° “orb” – the distance in degrees from an exact alignment -- over high summer in the Northern hemisphere. So even with Ramadan coming this month in the MidEast (see July 9 below) and tempers likely aboil in other hot places too, and despite some violent events that may come as the least awakened fight most fiercely for their perceived “rights” and their narrowest beliefs, it’s unlikely that the cataclysms that doom pimps predict will come in the months ahead.


They are much likelier to come in October-November, specifically at Uranus-Pluto Round 4, on and around Nov. 1. Why are we in a time of relative relief now? It’s partly summer’s enervating heat, at least north of the equator. Partly the exhaustion so many of us feel as the vibration of the Field accelerates, and we catch up with it. Partly it’s that we’re in an interval of inhalation between moments of extreme exertion, with all that this implies in catching our breath, centering ourselves and slowing the tempo. If you practice yoga, you know how this goes: relax the tension of the asana on the inbreath, deepen the stretch again on the outbreath, as we did in May and will do again from September.



If this month feels very energetically charged, yet still somehow lighter and easier than others we’ve come through lately, it’s because July brings the most powerful lunations of the year, with the possible exception of the Scorpio Black Moon on Nov. 3, right in the climactic days of the next Uranus-Pluto square. While the Super Moon of June 23 was so beautiful that she could almost make Ava Gardner look plain, and she had at perigee the kind of intense emotional impact we expect on this fractious world and her volatile people, she and the Sun aspected only one other planet: Jupiter, opposite the Moon and at a 60° sextile to the Sun.


But the July lunations, especially the Cancer Black Moon of July 7 – 8, as though on celestial cue after weeks of what Yeats called “the fury and the mire of human veins,” are not only extremely complex and potent. They are also extremely good. They are medicinal and generous, gracious and mighty, full of wisdom and wonder. If there will be moments this year to feel and forgive, to go beneath the veils and plumb the mysteries not yet seen, to celebrate and cohere, to drop the old armor and melt it down for kitchenware and jewelry, to remember the best we’ve been and rejoice that we’re within reach of being even better, and to see why The Mahabharata says happiness is inevitable, then the Black and Full Moons of July are the deal. This is why July is a crucial month for soul activism and heart performance like the Love Songs for Pachamama evening coming in Pisac on July 7. We won’t explore both the July lunations – though they’re so rich that one could almost build an entire astrology course from them – but it will be worth our while to take a look at the Black Moon, so we can see clearly how superb this month’s opportunities are.




If you’d prefer to skip the numbers and nuances, please scroll down to On a Roll.




Cancer Black Moon

July 8, 2013   2:14am BZT4

Cusco, Peru   13S21 / 71W 59





The chart above is cast for Cusco, Peru, and applies also to the Sacred Valley where I live because, as we’ll see here and below, July 2013 is a marvelous opportunity for those who live in this region to move now from the limited and outmoded consciousness of scarcity mind to the abundance consciousness that we can and must realize now if we are to live in community with one another and live with Mother Earth in the harmony that the Quechua people call ayni: literally “reciprocity,” but also to be understood as doing what Pachamama wants, with the understanding that she will return the favor by blessing us with an abundance of pure food, air and water.


The most obvious feature of this chart is the alignment of five planets in the second house of money: (left to right) Mars in Gemini, and Jupiter, Sun, Moon and Mercury in Cancer. While these and other planets in the chart will fall in other houses if the chart is cast for other locations – in Beijing, China, for example, all five Gemini and Cancer planets fall in the eighth house of changes – their zodiac sign positions at the exact moment of the Cancer Black Moon remain the same, so the planetary aspects (i.e., angles of relationship) we’ll explore here remain the same worldwide.


The magic and the power of this chart are in the linkages that the Cancer planets form with their brothers and sisters, allies and adversaries in the other water signs of Scorpio and Pisces. The Moon and Sun, always in exactly the same position at a Black Moon, are in a triple conjunction with Mercury, and in the triangle formation called a Grand Trine with the Moon’s North Node in Scorpio and Chiron the Healer in Pisces, thus creating superb opportunities for the clearing and healing of personal and communal wounds, especially in the emotional (Moon) and mental (Sun and Mercury) bodies. This is also necessarily a moment when individuals and couples can address their Chironic wounds of the undiscovered purpose and the unutilized gift, at a time when so many people we know are looking to find their creative path and purpose; or, if they have found them, are longing to get themselves unstuck by finding the courage and resolve to make their move.


As if this very “positive” Grand Trine were not enough – it is only one of the two in this chart. Jupiter in Cancer forms the same 120° angles with Saturn in Scorpio in the 6th house (health and service relationships) and Neptune in the 10th (career and profession). So this moment favors successful accomplishment and achievement (Jupiter +Saturn), illuminating journeys in both the physical and psychic realms (Jupiter + Neptune) and deep, committed caring for others (Saturn + Neptune). This is clearly a moment when we will get our best results through emotional action and communication, as seven of the ten planets in this chart are not only in water signs, but are in alliances as harmonious and generous as they can get.


And that’s not all. Our friend the Uranus-Pluto square is in the 8th and 11th houses, its hard and stressful leverage toward change softened somewhat by Uranus’ trine to Venus in Leo in the 3rd – though note that Venus is in a T-cross with the Moon’s Nodes on the Scorpio-Taurus axis in the 6th and 12th houses. This represents, beyond the predictable flashes of erotic excitement, a heady spike in our Venusian power to attract what we intend, though it may come at a price of tension with family, friends and community, and may compel us to curtail or close our connections with any negaters, dream-killers, weenies and energy vampires we may still be carrying. Where other localities in the Peru time zone are concerned (notably North American Central Time), the implications of this T-cross may prove urgent in some personal relationships, with the Moon’s Nodes in the houses of physical (6th) and mental (12th) health. Some of us will feel we’re really in the barrel this time, having no choice but to state conditions, draw boundaries and cut cords with those who will not align lovingly with us, and refuse to practice the correct economy of equitable exchanges, whether in coin or honor.



Economy is one of the natural and inevitable concerns of Cancer month, which will continue until July 22. This mid-year point, like the end-year point that comes at the December solstice, is a time for counting stock and taking measure. The Moon-ruled water sign of Cancer relates to the sacred feminine in the most grounded, practical terms, because Cancer rules the Home and all its numbers, for “house measurement” is literally what economy means. Pachamama sure understands all of this, as we’ll soon see, and would likely favor the creative, courageous new approaches that are being tried now to the ways we, and others, meet our most basic needs.


One of them is Rolling Jubilee, a Strike Debt project that “buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it.” Relying on effective teamwork among donors, and the efforts of an unpaid board of directors and a network of volunteers, Rolling Jubilee has so far run two successful campaigns to retire medical debt totaling $100,145 (Nov., 2012) and $1,119,209 (Jan., 2013), and is now working on the most ambitious goal yet, of $11,897,789 of medical debt. While this American effort and its UK counterpart, the Jubilee Debt Campaign have both borrowed the title and spirit of the Biblical jubilee – “ . . . if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.” (Leviticus 25:35), the point here is not just an occasional relief of debt at intervals of fifty years, but an ongoing, cumulative process that rolls in the way a boulder or avalanche rolls: unstoppably, until all usurious debt is gone, and those who collect it reincarnate in some less elegant sector of the food chain, or better, awaken to honest work.


The same goal of compassionate liberation drives Bitcoin, the digital currency that operates through the Aquarian values of synarchy, in peer-to-peer transactions; transparency, in its open source codes and protocols; and communality in its issuance of bitcoins collectively by the network of “miners,” not through the central, hierarchic authority of governments and banks who, naturally, are skeptical in their view of Bitcoin. And not just for the usual gouty, graspy reasons, for like all currencies, Bitcoin may be subject to wild currency fluctuations in the months and years ahead, as the chit hits the fan and covers bankster and beggar alike in so much paper snow that they’re hard to tell apart. In the end, for all we know, Bitcoin may be the safest route because it’s built on a centripetal network of communal-minded peers, rather than the “enlightened” self-interest that drives capitalists, or the street schemes of the poor, both of them centrifugal, isolating and anything but magnanimous, literally great-souled. More on this in another prelude, as I test my new Bitcoin account and see if moving money without pinstripes or PayPal isn’t just romantic fantasy, but really works.


One player of national stature who has little interest in currency at all is the UFC Public Official of the Month: Jose Mujica, President of Uruguay, who donates 90% of his $12,500 annual salary to charity, lives with his wife in a farmhouse off a dirt road and works the land himself. One sign that the Piscean Age is not yet out the door, the Aquarian Age not yet fully moved in and unpacked, is that media invariably describe Mujica as “the world’s poorest president.” He sees it differently: “This is a matter of freedom. “If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself.” His picture, with the old blue Volkswagen he drives in lieu of a black limousine, is in the same evolving, invaluable Facebook photo gallery cited here last month.


As one of the South American leaders keenly interested in protecting his country from GMO seeds, Presidente Mujica would appreciate a small but momentous bit of technology that is about to arrive: a smartphone app that can identify GMO foods when it scans the barcodes on their packaging, at least until the Corporation That Must Not Be Named can devise and implement fake pseudo-organic bar codes. As one who’s also well aware of the growing threat to bee populations worldwide, El Jefe might also like the winner of this month’s UFC Art Award: The Beauty of Pollination, a short video by Louie Schwartzberg that shows the incredible delicacy and intricacy of the dance insects and birds do to sustain life for us all.




 Pachamama might approve, unless, like many great performers, she shies away from watching herself onscreen. It is to be hoped that many events in celebration of Mother Earth’s abundance will come at both lunations in July – for the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune Grand Trine noted above is in fact closer and stronger at the Full Moon of July 22 – and the entire period of July 7 – 22 is ideal for communal events that sing the Mother’s beauty too. July 7 – 8 is the more active opportunity. Not only are planet alignments then more powerful, but the Black or Dark Moon is the time when our psychic receptivity is greatest, our imagination, intuition and gift for dreams is most vivid, and our power to drive personal and communal intentions with strong currents of feeling is strongest.


However you observe July 7 – it’s a chance that should not be missed, to sing the Moon down from heaven even if we can’t see her, to summon the love and courage to raise and send our sound to the limitlessly abundant Mother. Here in Pisac, we’ll sing Love Songs for Pachamama at the Trattoria Escondida at 7:00pm, so 7/7 at 7. You can hold the space for our songs if you like. But resonating your own songs is more empowering for you and the other lives you touch. It is time to embrace them.


Keep Holding That Frequency!





July 2013


July 1, Monday

The Romans called this month September ("seventh") until it was named July in honor of the famous statesman Julius Caesar by his adoptive son Octavian, who would claim the title Augustus and name the eighth month for himself, thereby pushing September to its present position as the ninth month. Caesar, who is usually said to have been born on July 12 or 13 in 100 BC, may be the most celebrated Cancerian in history, though he was clearly atypical, likely having a formidable fornax of Leo fire in him too.


Among the many acts that made Caesar one of history's most acclaimed artists of power was his reform of the Greek (originally Egyptian) solar calendar into the Julian calendar that was to be the timekeeping standard for the ancient Mediterranean and Christian world for the next 1600 years.


From ancient times, when the Romans called July 1 the Kalends of July and through the middle ages as well, it was said that if rain came on the first of July, the next four weeks would be rainy too.


This date has gained additional importance in modern times as the anniversary of the day (1968) when the nations of the world committed themselves to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons.


July 2, Tuesday

Roman Catholic feast of the Visitation. This holy day commemorates the moment when Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, perceived the mission accepted by the Virgin Mary in bearing divinity into the world, and catalyzed one of the great feats of poetic inspiration in history. It is said that when Elizabeth grasped the nature of Mary's future and praised her as exalted among all women, Mary fell into a silence of humility and bliss, then joyously chanted for the first time the words of the divine love poem known in Latin as the Magnificat.


July 3, Wednesday

The dog days, in which the Sun aligns with the position of the Dog Star Sirius, traditionally the hottest time of the year, begin today.


This day is Rosa Mundi (Rose of the World) day in the Palestinian Calendar.


July 5, Friday

In Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Watering, the third of the 20-day uinals in the cycle (2 Imix, Tzolkin 41). This uinal, symbolized by the Falcon, marks the growth of new life after the Uinals of Fire and the Earth at the beginning of the Tzolkin cycle.


July 6, Saturday

Birthday (332 CE) of the Roman emperor, military genius and stoic philosopher Flavius Claudius Julianus, who was also a prolific author said to exceed all the Augusti except Marcus Aurelius in beauty of writing. He is best known to history as Julian the Apostate for his having attempted to restore the old Olympian religion some 40 years after Constantine named Christianity the state religion of the Roman empire. From the day he died at 29, in battle outside the Persian capital of Ctesiphon, it has been unclear whether the fatal blow came from the enemy cavalry, or from a Christian soldier in Julian's own ranks.


Also the birthday of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (1935), living incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion.


July 7, Sunday

In Japan, this day is Tanabata, festival of the lovers, sacred to the kami of the stars. For more on this myth, see Crossing the Water.


In the Celtic tree calendar, 7/7 begins Holly Month, said to be favorable for balancing the polarity of male and female.


July 7 - 8, (Sun), 9:15pm HT; 7/8 (Mon), 7:15am UT

Dark Moon conjunct sun in Cancer. Intense, but joyous, useful blending of female and male energies, especially in domestic relationships. In European countries influenced by Greco-Roman customs, this was traditionally the time of housewarming after marriage and the honeymoon in June. Women are in their element, men unusually flexible and receptive, at this Dark Moon and the New Moon that soon follows.


This Dark Moon is without a doubt the most powerful and auspicious of the year, followed in importance by the Scorpio Dark Moon of Nov. 3, aligned with the next round of the Uranus-Pluto square that is the dominant planetary alignment of the years 2012 – 2015. This month’s Cancer Black Moon comes empowered with not just one, but two momentous Grand Trines in Water. For more on this, see the Mythic Prelude above.


In the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic tree calendar used by devotees of the faerie path, the New Moon following this Dark Moon is the eighth New Moon following the Winter Solstice. It begins Tinne, or holly month, considered auspicious for direct, mystical contact with Divinity, especially for the male warrior's vision quest of the sacred feminine.


July 9, Tuesday

In the Baha'i calendar, this date commemorates the martyrdom of the Bab.


In the Islamic calendar, sunset on this day will probably begin the holy month of Ramadan, which should continue until Aug. 7. Timing can only be estimated here because like most Muslim holy days, Ramadan becomes official only when the New Moon is sighted and verified. The holy month is a time of purification through fasting during the daylight hours, alms giving and forgiveness, and the repair of broken heart cords. For more on Ramadan, see What’ll You Have?


July 10, Wednesday

On this day (1057), Lady Godiva pulled off, in more ways than one, an act of civil disobedience that remains among the most celebrated in history. Determined to persuade her husband Leofric to lift heavy taxes and other oppressive burdens from his people, the Lady rode skyclad through the town square, to the amazement and admiration of all. Leofric got the message. Tax cuts ensued.


July 11, Thursday

In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Benedict (born 480), the most influential founder abbot in the early monastic movement, whose order was invaluable in keeping the flame of learning and spirit alive during the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire. Benedict is said to have passed away on this day in 543.


As David Elkington notes, however, in In the Name of the Gods, Benedict may not have actually existed. His name may derive from the late Roman deity Apollo Benedictus -- blessed Apollo -- and the monastic rule ascribed to him may have been compiled by a body of monks who founded the Benedictine order.


July 12, Friday

In the Tibetan Buddhist calendar, this is the 4th day of the 6th lunar month, and is one of the four great sacred days of the Tibetan lunar year. This summer festival is called Chokhor Duchen, the Turning of the Wheel, marking the moment when the Buddha spoke of the dharma for the first time to his five core disciples. This moment, on whatever day it is celebrated in various countries, is of cardinal importance because it represents the beginning of the Buddhist faith and the first actual formation of a sangha, or community of believers.


Henry David Thoreau was born on this day in 1817.


July 13, Saturday

Mars enters Cancer. In this sign he is said to be "in fall", so that the most fear-driven and destructive elements in his nature are prominent now. As the warrior must endure for almost seven weeks more the intense discomfort of being cooped up in a feminine, domestic environment, this is decidedly a season of random male rage. Women looking to escape from scenarios of domestic violence had best make their move while Venus is in Leo, through July 21.


Reed Dance Day in some of the African tribal Calendars.


In the Baha'i calendar, this day honors the Deity as Kalimat, or Sacred Words.


July 13 - 16, (Saturday - Tuesday)

Many Japanese Buddhists, especially those living outside Japan, now celebrate the annual festival of Obon, when the families of departed ones set lanterns afloat in river, lake and sea, to affirm the soul's unquenchable light and help redirect lost souls on their way to Amida's Pure Land, the Western Paradise. See also Japan's solar Obon festival on 8/15. It's best to check local schedules, as Obon may be celebrated on various dates in July.


July 13 - 19, (1 week, Saturday - Friday)

In ancient Khemt, one of the most sacred weeks in the Calendar, having the birthdays of Ra and the five neters who form the myths of Aset ("Isis") and Ausar ("Osiris"), and climaxing in the New Year Festival. The birth of the five "epagonal" neters is an epoch-making cosmic event that forces a sharing and realignment of Ra's power by expanding the Earth year from 360 to 365 days. This is the critical time shift that makes possible the later Greek, Julian and Gregorian solar calendars. The birthdays of the neters:


7/13  - Birth of Ra (Month of Mesore, day 30)

7/14 - Birth of Ausar, aka Osiris, neter of vegetation, the male creative force

7/15 - Birth of Hor ("Horus") as Light Being. He will later be born in a physical body as the son of Aset and Ausar, and will grow into the falcon-headed solar hero who saves Khemt from the next neter.

7/16 - Birth of Set, lord of the red desert land, and force of chaos and destruction, brother and murderer of Ausar

7/17 - Birthday of Aset, better-know to us by her Greek name of Isis, neter of female fertility, most widely revered and beloved of all ancient mother goddesses. Sister and wife of Ausar, she restores him to life through her powers as healer, lover and magician, and bears him the solar child Hor on Dec. 25.

7/18 - Birthday of Nebt-Het ("Nephthys"), sister of these four neters, also wife of Set and lover of Ausar, to whom she bears Anup, aka Anubis. Nebt-Het is revered as the keeper of secrets, and also as the Khemitian counterpart of Venus/Aphrodite

7/19 - New Year begins with festivals of Djehuti ("Thoth") and the Marriage of Aset and Ausar, parallel to the Greco-Roman feasts of Aphrodite/Venus and Adonis, held on the same day. This day begins the season of inundation, sacred to Hapi, neter of the Nile. Month of Thuthi, ruled by Djehuti, begins. It is now seven days to the annual Nile flood.


July 14, Sunday

On this day in 1789, the people of Paris stormed the city prison in an act of liberation that the French have celebrated as Bastille Day ever since. And on July 14 in 1988, the first crop circle appeared near Silbury Hill in England.


New Year's day in the Olympian calendar of the ancient Greeks.


This day is also St. Swithin's Day, the most celebrated — and long considered the most reliable — of all west European weather markers. For centuries people in Brittany and the British Isles chanted that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day, it will rain for forty days more; but if it's fair, we'll have forty days of sunshine.


July 15 evening - 16 evening

In the Jewish calendar, this sunset-to-sunset interval is Tishah B'Av, the Dark Time, one of the year's more somber days of ceremony and fasting, commemorating the suffering of the Jews from the time of the destruction of Solomon's temple in Jerusalem, and other calamities of ancient Jewish history.


July 15 - 22 (8 days)

Among Mahayana Buddhists, one of the year's great festivals of Tara/Kwan Yin/Kannon, honoring her qualities of compassion, mercy and healing. During these days, which culminate at the Full Moon of the 6th lunar month, devotees focus on their commitment to live in service and carry the principles of Tara into practice. Om Tara Tu Tare Ture Soha.


July 16, Tuesday

On this day in 1251, Our Lady of Carmel was reported to have first appeared on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land.


July 17, Wednesday

In the Japanese solar Calendar, this day marks the re-emergence of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu-O-Mikuni, who had plunged the world into darkness by retreating into her cave in fury after she was ridiculed by her brother, the trickster Susanoo-O-Mikuni. Her retreat and reappearance are the Japanese version of the universal myth of the departure and return of the Light, and along with it, the life force of the Earth.


July 18, Thursday

Birthday of astrologer, alchemist and mathematician John Dee (1527), the most celebrated of all occult and magical adepts in the England of Elizabeth the Great and Shakespeare.


In the Tibetan Buddhist calendar, this 10th day of the 6th lunar month is the birthday of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), the great teacher who founded the Old Sect (Nyingma-pa) lineage, revealed the Bardo Thodol, or Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the "direct path" method of enlightenment by intuitive realization. It’s best to check the timing of this feast, and other Tibetan holy days, with your local Buddhist community, as celebration dates can vary widely among Tibetans, and can be affected by Chinese disinformation.


July 18 - 24, (Thursday - Sunday)

For the Iroquois of the American Northeast, the Cancer New Moon begins the Green Bean Ceremony, celebrated in dance, rituals of atonement and thanksgiving for the maize harvest.


Over these same four days, the Pueblo and Zuni peoples of the American Southwest celebrate the Corn Dance, when the fields are blessed with prayers for an abundant summer harvest.


July 19, Friday

This day marks the central summer of Adonis' annual appearance on Earth during the warm months. His marriage to Aphrodite / Venus is celebrated on this day.


July 20, Saturday

On this day Mercury “goes direct,” reversing his backward movement of the last three weeks, so that from now recent blockage, delay, confusion and general weirdness in the Mercury-ruled areas of transportation, commerce and communications will lift somewhat. But not entirely. Mercury will clear his retrograde shadow – that is, return to the zodiac point where he first went retrograde – on Aug. 4. Until then, it’s still best to double-check the nuances and numbers, rather than assume anything.


July 21, Sunday

Roman Catholic feast of St. Victor, hero of a spectacular martyr scenario from the early history of Christianity. Victor was an army officer whose legion was stationed at Marsilia (Marseilles) when the emperor Maximian himself came to eradicate the Christian virus from the army of southern Gaul. On refusing to renounce his faith, Victor was dragged through the city streets, whipped and beaten by the mob, then tortured on the rack and thrown into prison, where he was visited by angels who sang so majestically and filled his cell with such a blaze of light that by morning, the three guards on the night watch had converted to the worship of the Christ. Maximian had the guards beheaded, handed Victor once again to the fury of the mob, then gave him another chance to spurn the "dead Jew" and honor Jupiter. Victor replied by kicking the god's image down the altar stairs, whereupon the emperor had the offending foot cut off. When Victor burst into a joyous song of gratitude, Maximian ordered him to be crushed under a mill stone, which cracked and broke apart as soon as it touched Victor's flesh. Then the order was given to behead what was left of Victor -- one can well appreciate the trepidation the executioner must have felt by now as he stepped toward his task -- but God evidently decided to waive further agony. The bodies of Victor and his guards were weighted and thrown into the depths of the sea, to prevent any veneration of their resting place, but the four saints washed ashore anyway and were enshrined in a grotto.


In the ancient Greek calendar, this day was sacred to the prophet and teacher Damo, who was said to have received all the secret wisdom of her father, Pythagoras.


July 22, Monday (8:17am HT; 6:17pm UT

Full Moon in Aquarius, opposite Sun in Leo. Complementary fire and air relationships, especially favorable for creative teamwork with friends. This Full Moon may appear relatively uneventful at first, with neither of the great lights forming aspects of relationship to other planets. But the brilliant grand trine in water among Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn (direct since July 8) in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces is still very strongly in effect, so that the possibilities for constructive accomplishment and communal celebration we noted above in the Mythic Prelude and the July 8 Black Moon come to fruition now. This Full Moon is always one of the most actively observed in Earth's festival cycle. Some of the many feasts held now:


In the Hindu calendar, this Full Moon in the month of Ashadh is called Guru Moon, and is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima. Also know as Vyas Purnima, the day commemorates and venerates the great sage Ved Vyasa. He is the Adi Guru -- that is, the root teacher, the original master -- of the Hindu Dharma, who classified the Vedas and wrote the eithteen Puranas. He is also the author of The Mahabharata.


Among the Norse peoples, this day is sacred to Rowana, goddess of the Rowan tree and keeper of the sacred knowledge of the runes.


For many Buddhists in India, this is Asalha Puja. Strictly speaking, the "Asalha Rite," is in September at the Full Moon in the 8th lunar month of Asalha. It is a conflation of two famous events: Siddartha Gautama's awakening into Buddhahood under the bo tree at Bodh Gaya -- this actually happened at the Full Moon of the 6th month of Vaisakhi -- and the Buddha's first discourse two months later to his five disciples at the Deer Park in Sarnath. This latter is said to be the first "turning of the wheel" of dharma, and is thus the beginning of the Buddhist faith.


For Theravadin Buddhists, this Full Moon is observed very much like Asalha Puja. Devotees of Theravada celebrate Dhammachakka, the Buddha's first public teaching; and Wessana, the first day of a three-month retreat during which the Buddha realized the teaching of the eightfold path.


In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Mary Magdalen, one of the most devoted disciples of Jesus. According to some ancient legends, Mary Magdalen was the bride of Jesus and mother of his children, and after Jesus' departure for India, was said to have sailed with her children and St. Joseph of Arimathea to Marsilia (now Marseilles), where devotion to the Madeleine has always been especially fervent.


July 22, Monday

Sun enters Leo, the Lion, sign of his own rulership and source of his greatest strength. The ensuing month has long been sacred to Helios/Apollo and other solar deities. Bold, forward movement is favored now as water yields to fire. The thrust of action shifts from introversion, and emphasis on domestic matters, to outer-directed aggression, considered in the most literal sense of the Latin root word: a determined movement toward the goal, an impulse to attack in the way that committed musicians, and all who pour their full passion into the creative moment, play with attack.


On this day the Maya celebrate their annual feast of the Sun, in honor of the god Ah Kin, on this day, and ritually enact in an elaborate circular procession the Sun's annual progress through the four quarters of the zodiac.


Venus enters Virgo. While she is said to be "in fall" in this sign, her placement here is not so much oppressive for her as just dull. The owl-and-the-pussycat scenario of Venus in Virgo may intrigue the Goddess for a while, as Marilyn Monroe was drawn to Arthur Miller and Einstein – but it is only a matter of time before she longs for Joe Dimaggio and JFK again. When in fall she is not so much weakened as inclined to be perverse, misusing her sexuality and beauty in the pursuit of mere glamour and pleasure until August 16, when she enters Libra, sign of her rulership, the arena of her wiser action as mother and teacher. The Venus power of attraction should be seen as applying to both men and women, both of whom can burn the copper of superficiality and vanity in the crucible of the heart, and begin turning it to gold. This is easier from Aug. 5, after Venus clears oppositions with Neptune (July 25 - 29) and Chiron (July 31 - Aug. 4).


On this date the Greek Festival of Poseidon and the Roman Neptunalia are held to honor and placate the sea, and pray for protection from earthquakes.


In the Jewish calendar, this Full Moon on the 15th day of the month of Av is Hag Haahava, the festival of love. In ancient times, young women wearing white dresses performed ritual dances in vineyards, where the young men waited for the moment when they were allowed to approach and propose to their beloveds. In Israel today, and in Jewish communities worldwide, this day and the coming weekend will be a time to declare love, propose marriage and offer gifts.


In some Native American calendars, the month of the Sturgeon begins on this day.


July 22 - 28 (one week)

The ancient Greeks celebrate this week as the Panatheneia, or "All Athenes", honoring the beloved Goddess of Athens in her roles as giver of wisdom and sender of inspiration. Various cultural and academic competitions are held now, along with offerings and prayers for the Goddess's continued favor.


July 25, Thursday

In the Roman Catholic Calendar, Feast of St. James the Greater, brother of Jesus, considered by some to be the leader designated by Jesus to carry on the work of the Christian movement until James' position was later overshadowed by the more assertive evangelism of St. Paul.

James has also been identified as the Essene Teacher of Righteousness cited in the Dead Sea Scrolls.


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


July 26, Friday

Among the Norse peoples, the festival of Asatru is celebrated on this day. It commemorates Odin's ride on the shamanic horse Sleipnir, with whose help Odin is able to enter the three worlds of the gods, living mortals and the dead. This feast thus evokes and symbolizes the experience of shamanic, transhuman states of consciousness.


Among the ancient Khemitians, this is the most important day of the year because it begins with the Heliacal Rising of Sirius (Sothis) -- that is, the rising of the Sirius above the eastern horizon just before dawn -- and is therefore the day that normally begins the annual Nile flood. Curiously, the Khemitians know that the flood will begin with three days of rust-red water, as the river washes away the red dust of the dry season, then flows blue-green as the riverbed clears and is ready for new teeming life. Thus it happens every year, not only at the time when Pharaoh suffers the seven plagues heralded by Moses, that the river runs red as blood for a few days.


In the Roman Catholic Calendar, feast of St. Anna, mother of the Virgin Mary.


Carl Gustav Jung, seminal psychologist and master mythographer who articulated the importance of universal archetypes in the human collective unconscious, was born on this day in 1875.



July 31, Wednesday

Birthday (1831) of Madame Helena Blavatsky, author of Isis Unveiled and co-founder with Henry Steele Olcott of the Theosophical Society.


In the Norse calendar, feast of the trickster and fire god Loki and his consort Sigyn.


In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea, guardian of the Holy Grail.


Finally, in calendars throughout the Earth, this day begins the season of midsummer festivals in the Northern hemisphere, midwinter festivals below the equator. These days have been celebrated in Europe since ancient times as the Celtic feast of Lughnasad and the Christian Lammastide cycle of the new bread and the first fruits of the harvest. As the Sun is now in high Summer, in the middle of the sign of Leo which the Sun rules, this time is sacred to solar and fire deities and energies of all kinds. In the southern hemisphere, this is the season of Imbolc.



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.