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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 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.




March 2015


Dreaming Out of the Cave


Hello, and welcome to the 201st issue of the Universal Festival Calendar. It's been 17 years and 9 months since the first issue appeared in July 1998, at a time when there was little connection between the timing of global meditations and ceremonies of awakening, and the rhythms of Earth and Sky as we have always marked them in mythic time in the solstices and equinoxes, the phases and annual cycle of the Moon, and the timing of festivals and sacred ritual days of our spiritual traditions, all of which are still full of meat and meaning. The "living" ones (Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Taoist, Zoroastrian, Wiccan, Indigenous and others) naturally mark the rites of birth and growth, uniting and dividing, harvest and celebration, death and regeneration in the same sequence and tempo as the "dead" traditions (Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greco-Roman) and the ones that are reviving (Celtic, Druidic).


The oldest among these only seem to be no longer living to those whose measures of time and vitality are limited to clocks, currencies and other material things. To those who perceive time and the world as energy, the fact is that we've always lived in mythic time, and it looms larger in our perception now because it is by nature unitary, shaping and singing our experience through archetypes that are universally vibrant and relevant. It is also intuitive, empathetic, inclusive and thus feminine, as distinct from "factual" and "scientific" perception that is intellectual, analytical, exclusive and therefore masculine, dividing and organizing the world into lines, boxes, shelves and other structures, only to find that nature and the human heart are forever escaping from limits and rules in ways that seem perverse to the defining mind, but are delightful and entertaining to the beating, booming heart.


More of this in a little while. Our purpose here in March 2015 is to chart where the UFC is about to go, to cover the momentous Round 7 of the Uranus-Pluto square that has dominated the celestial dynamics of 2012 to 2015, and to deliver in mythic terms what we've already come to understand: that what has truly changed now in the transition to the Age of Aquarius is not the things and the structures. This is why the rise and fall of governments, religions, currencies and ideologies are over in the half-lit side ring of the circus, with the lion tamers, clowns and dog and pony tricks. In the brilliant center ring, under the swooping, spinning trapeze artists and ringed by fire eaters, is the main event: the transformation of consciousness itself from the narrow range of individual, material sense perception to the unlimited intentional field of communal imagination. We'll soon hear more about this from one of the first great philosophical artists in our history, after we handle some logistics and practical details.


Still on the Road


As of this writing, I have been on the road for seven months, since July 26, 2014, on a journey that has taken me through Chicago, Oregon and California, then Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Hawaii, Boulder CO, Kansas City, Monterey CA, Santa Fe, Houston, New York and Cairo. The last of these is worth the last comment that will appear in these UFC pages about the practical tricks and tradeoffs that an Astrocartography reading can entail. In the Nile Valley, especially in the northern half near Cairo (al-Qahira), I'm under a pink Neptune line pointing to the Nadir at the bottom of the map, so in this slippery area it's no shock that plans drift and dissolve, then reappear in new clothes, and it feels, as Jim Lewis put it, that "life is built on a foundation of sand." On the east coast of Sinai, I'm beyond the Neptune line's 300-mile effective range, but within range of the red Mars on the Nadir line that runs through Jordan and northwest Saudi Arabia. No wonder I encountered some irritable, impatient people when I traveled to Petra, and the radiator in the taxi from Aqaba wasn't the only thing that blew off some steam. Here in Dahab it's safe enough, though it's still useful to check whether a Bedouin has some imagination and a sense of humor before saying anything he hasn't heard before.


This month, for those who are interested in a live or Skype reading, or one of my Egypt events: I'm in Dahab, the magical Golden City on the east coast of Sinai, on break from all online astrology work for the rest of Pisces month, until the Equinox on March 21. My events and readings in Cairo and 6th October City in late March and early April are listed on my Events page, Eventbrite and on Mailchimp notices to my subscriber list.  To get on the list, please email me through my website, or sign up at Aquarian Airlines.


Finally for the month's small news bits, the Universal Festival calendar is about to morph into a hybrid monthly report that will be part video, hosted by Captain Aquarius, shown here as visioned by the polymathic theatre genius Adam Lebow. The reference material in each month's Daily Listings will continue to appear as text, while the Mythic Prelude will go video, delivering in one or more brief 10-minute clips the stuff that seems to go on forever in a text prelude, even when one is not hurtling along at the tempo of dream time. It's been fun doing all this UFC writing. But it's time to smell the zippy, frenetic coffee, and make the move. No one reads anymore, and every year there are more millions for whom communication through paper and ink seems dinosaur technology. The time is coming when actors will have to watch old movies and TV to learn the technique of writing with a quill or a pen. The new writing I'll do in the years ahead will have to go into new channels: Find Your Best Places, due for release in July, and other ebooks about Astrocartography; Intentional Fairy Tales, the Milarepa script and Double Harmonies, about the ancient Egyptian sacred music and sound science -- all of them so image-intensive that they'll work only as ebooks done in tandem with video.


Sacred Seven


And so, for the last time, we proceed with the Mythic Prelude as it's always been. We'll have a look now at the last Uranus-Pluto square in the set of seven that began in June, 2012 and will end on March 16. More precisely, the last of the exact squares comes this month. Early in 2016 Uranus and Pluto will form a near-square, coming within a little over a degree of a 90° angle to each other. This month the last of the seven squares that mark the transition from Pisces to Aquarius, and have formed at intervals of revolution and upheaval in our history -- the early 1790's, the mid-1840's, the end of World War I and the Russian Revolution, and 1968. To see how the planets align this time, we'll look at a chart for March 16 in Athens, Greece. Why Athens? Because fittingly enough, this beacon of freedom and wellspring of creativity in our history has had the audacity to suggest, through Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, that the austerity measures that are allegedly needed to address Europe's fake debt crisis should not have to be borne by the citizenry, who did not create the problem in the first place. Rather, he suggests, it's time for the banks, who did create the problem, to find out how austerity feels.


Astrology Alert! For the last time here. If you'd rather skip the commentary on the chart, please scroll down to Much Too Long in the Cave.


Uranus-Pluto Square of 2012 - 2016

Round 7

March 16, 2015 -- 5:55pm EET

Athens, Greece: 37N58, 23E43 -- Tropical, Placidus, True Node


The most instructive way to look at the planetary dynamics here is to open last month's UFC and compare this chart with the Green Wood Goat Year chart that formed on Feb. 18 - 19. Most of the planet positions are roughly, even closely, the same, but we notice that here the faster "inner" planets have moved in relation to the 90° square formed by Pluto in the 4th house and Uranus (the letter "H") in the 8th. By March 16 Venus will have moved well beyond Uranus, and we can anticipate that on March 11, when Mars will cross Uranus, we will likely see the usual explosive, percussive display that comes when the Warrior and the Magician tackle and tangle with each other. Best not to operate anything more complicated than a spoon on this day, or ride anything faster than your feet. Best bet: exit the electronic grid completely, to a forest, a mountain or a beach like the one I'll walk here in Dahab.


What else does Round 7 of Uranus vs. Pluto bring? Disharmonious, deceptive and implacably obtuse communications by people who respond to this moment of opportunity by refusing to budge or blink, or consider another's point of view (Saturn in Sagittarius in the 3rd house of communications square to Mercury and Neptune in Pisces, in the 6th house of health and service relationships). Great numbers of well-meaning people who view service as a scenario for giving away the store, and finding yet again that nothing is left for them, will start to notice why those who say it's more blessed to give than it is to receive never seem to have anything to give when it really counts. They're also often the ones who have an absolute genius for missing opportunities, and seem determined not to find and utilize their creative gifts; or, if they do know where their talents are, can't seem to find the clarity, resolution and sense of attack to release their light, and thereby attract more of it.


These are some , but not all, of the effects of the energetic barrier that spans the horizontal axis of the chart, where Chiron (the letter "K") in Pisces in the 6th opposes the Ascendant at 18° Virgo 55'. You can trust me on this one, as I'm a Virgo native who knows how this one works, or, more often,  doesn't. Virgos make two things: maps and opinions. We calculate everything that can possibly go wrong before we make our move, and we get so fixated on the details that by the time we see the larger strategic picture, the opportunity is gone. There will be a lot of this Virgo Rising hesitation going on this month, and in the time ahead many will ask themselves, What if I'd spoken my truth? What if I'd defended another from a lie? What if I'd made my move, and done the thing I feared to do? What if I'd seen the world as beautiful, and trusted its bounty? What if I'd seen others as mirrors instead of shadows? What if? Get ready for a bazillion of them, because this is the time when they must come, before the cataclysmic spring of 2015.


The point of this month is not to effect the change, but to herald what is coming from here to June, when it will become even clearer than it has been until now that the critical changes that introduce the Aquarian Age are not in things, rules or structures, but in relationships of consciousness, energy and time. This all in the chart, where Jupiter in the 11th house of community is in a grand trine with Mars-Uranus in the 8th house of changes and the Nadir, the practical weight of life on the Earth plane, in Sagittarius at the bottom center of the chart. There are no fewer than four quintiles of 72° here (Ascendant - Saturn, Pluto - Sun, Moon - Uranus and Mars), all of them bursting with creative possibilities. Far from being a disappointing anticlimax to the wild rip and ride of Uranus and Pluto for nearly four years now, this month offers us the clearest invitation yet, and writes in lightning the theme that the world is not just something we inhabit, suffer and endure. It is now a cosmic grand opera that is ours to script and score, cast and costume, stage and direct. What is coming is What We Will Co-Create.


Much Too Long in the Cave


As we're about to unstick ourselves, who better to greet as our guest star, for some comment on why human beings have had until now a choice between being passively or aggressively ignorant,  than the thinker so seminal that the entire history of philosophy has been called a series of  footnotes to him? We take you now to the Stoa of Attalos, where -- Look, he's already here, walking toward us! Geia sas, Master.


Robed Figure: Hello, Captain. Thanks for inviting me to your last all-text Universal Festival Calendar. And to think I get to follow Galileo and Viola d'Amore. How marvelous the realm of imagination.


Captain Aquarius: You ought to know, as a poet whose medium was philosophy.  Many of you in our celebrance have already recognized our distinguished guest from his face and wrestler's bearing, and the famous scene in the banner image at the top of this page. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Plato, [Applause, cheers]son of Ariston and Perictione, disciple of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, author of The Republic, The Symposium, Apology, Phaedrus and the rest of the first canon of philosophy to stand the test of time intact.


Plato: Thank you, Captain. It's a pleasure to be here, though I have no idea where we are. This is called virtual space?


Captain: Yes. We also call it cyberspace. The physical setting is even more of an illusion than the world itself. Here, touch one of the columns. [Plato does so, and is surprised to see his hand pass through it.]


Plato: Aha. We're a far cry from the Cave, though we're clearly very much still in it.


Captain: True. Will you kindly explain the allegory, for those who are new to it?


Plato: First for ethics' sake, due credit. I wish I 'd had, when I taught this topic, an image like this one by Before It's News. Seated in the Cave are a number of people who are held fast, unable to move, even to look behind them. All they can see is the wall ahead, which is lit only a little by sunlight from outside the Cave because the ground rises upward toward the Sun, as it must. The main light comes from the fire behind the "roadway" in the back. People move slowly along the road, holding above them objects -- a plant, an amphora, a sword, a lyre, a theatrical mask -- whose shadows are projected onto the wall. In time the captives come to recognize the things as they appear again, and agree on what their names are. Their words, and the shadows, are as close as the people can come to knowing the objects themselves.


Eventually, one of the prisoners, we'll call him Eleutheros because he works his way Free, goes outside and sees the actual things that he's seen before only in shadows. He comes back and tells the others what he has seen. Describing three-dimensional things is easy. But color? Impossible. Imagine getting people who've seen only black and gray to picture a red geranium plant with its green leaves and brown roots. Imagine describing birds! The reactions of the people are what we expect from uneducated human beings. Some of them condemn him for getting free. They think he should have just accepted his lot on life, and stayed tied up like everybody else. Others hate him for telling lies. He's lucky they can't move, and use their ropes on him.


Captain: And the meaning of the allegory is?


Plato [Laughs]: What we get for free has no value for us, as you always tell people who want to order gift astrology readings. I wouldn't serve the allegory, or anything else, like a pigeon pie  in a kylix that anyone could reach even without getting off his sofa. Would you like to comment?


Captain: As above, so below, only dimmer. [Plato laughs.] Enough to say for now that those who make the effort to find the truth will come to see themselves, one another and the world very differently from those who remain stuck in the beliefs they've always had. Some will see through the surface and imagine a world of ideas, as you did. Others can imagine the world in motion, evolving, even as energy. One of our great comedians, Bill Hicks, once said that matter is only energy slowed to a lower rate of vibration. But the practical question, as our people and our natural environment are in danger as they never were before, is: what will it take to stir them to action to save their children, their communities and their planet? Granted, some will want to spend their lives watching shadows on a wall, their neighbors out a window, and pictures moving fast on a screen. But can enough of the others be roused to action, and can they be awakened in time?


Plato: That is indeed the question, now that the reptilian archons who control your bankers, death merchants and drug makers are generating a feast of fear such as they've never had before. They've blinded so many of your people with big lies and fake religions, weakened them with poisonous food and medicines, rendered them so mute and passive with toys, games and glamor that one can easily feel for those who see no solution and no hope.


Captain: Do you see reason for optimism?


Plato: Always, and increasingly. We are looking now, as the Age of Aquarius comes, at a very different kind of humanity from what Socrates saw, so unstable and corruptible that he had to advocate taking them from their parents, raising them in state schools, training them in military formations with music in martial modes, anything to bend the wild will of the one into rigid rules for the many. That was necessary in the Age of Aries. But now, in Aquarius, communities form their own rhythms and rituals, and rules of law. Much less control is needed, not more. This is why, as you've said, the essential theme of these years is the awakening of consciousness. It must come now, and faster, for there is shocking news. Jeff Hays' documentary Bought, viewable free only until March 6, has shown just how extensively our families have been harmed by GMO foods, vaccines and toxic pharmaceuticals; and how, if present trends continue unchecked, 50% of American children will be autistic by mid-century. There is increasing suspicion that the heroic physician Rauni-Leena Luukanen Kilde was murdered on Feb. 8 because her pioneering work in parapsychology and mind control was about to culminate in new information about the electronic smog that is forming around our planet as the residue of HAARP frequencies, and will soon cut us off from the Divine Frequency itself.


Captain: Is there any good news?


Plato: Inevitably, as we are beings of light, and our only choice in the end is to simplify, clarify, rise and shine. There will be more good news of the kind that Bill Black has reported, about how Iceland has sentenced four banking executives to prison for their role in  causing  the 2008 financial crisis. If Iceland can do it, then Greece and Ireland, Italy and Spain, Argentina and even the United States can find their ways of telling the megacriminals to go perform a carnal act upon themselves, and giving them a maximum security space in which to do it. In the months ahead, this will all begin to happen more quickly, and build momentum more irresistibly, than anyone could have imagined until now. It will happen telepathically, as an explosion of shared intuition, as fast as a dream.


Captain: Please say a little more about that. It is different from the Dream Time rite that aborigines practice, is it not?


Plato: Yes and no, as the aboriginal Dream Time and the didjeridoo sound aim to bypass the controls and limits of the intellectual mind, by attracting archetypal images from the imagination and the dream world, and thereby invite visions that can guide the community. Guruji Mohan once asked his disciples what was the difference between being awake and dreaming. Most of the answers were that waking perception was conscious, while the dreaming was not. Guruji answered that both were conscious, and the difference between them was really in the perception and experience of time. In the waking world, time is slower and is limited by physical rules about what sequences of events are possible. In the dream realm, we can jump in less than an instant to new beings, places, and conditions that could never ensue so rapidly in what many people still call real life. We are about to accelerate. The Full Moon in the month of Pisces is almost here. And of course we will observe the Equinox. What are your plans?


Captain: Leslie Zehr and I will guide a sound medicine circle for personal and planetary intention at her Centre for Sacred Arts in Cairo. The week before that, Juta Brasch and I will do a a sound circle here in Dahab. Did you ever visit this place during your travels in Egypt?


Plato: Of course. When one hears that Dahab means "gold" in the ancient Suf language, then he rather has to go there. More on this another time. For now, it is time to sing and move the dream at this month's magnificent Full Moon, Black Moon, and Uranus-Pluto square -- and to understand that these are not just airy little treats we make a little time for.  They are huge in their importance now, if  we intend to navigate the wave of the new world, and the tune of time. The moment is here. Let's use it. Keep Holding That Frequency.



March 2015


March 1, Sunday

In the most ancient Roman calendar -- that is, the calendar in use before Julius Caesar -- March 1  is the first day of the New Year, and the festival of Matronalia, in honor of the goddess Juno Lucina. Prayers for successful birth are offered on this day, and it is customary for men to give presents to women.


In Roman Catholic, Methodist  and some other Christian calendars, this is the feast of the Transfiguration, celebrating the occasion when Jesus revealed to his three closest disciples, on Mount Tabor, as much of the splendor of his light body as they could safely bear.


The Order of the Golden Dawn was founded on this day in March, 1888.


The Welsh celebrate this day as Dewi Sant, or the feast of St. David, patron saint of Wales.


This day is also Maslenitsa, the Russian "Butter Woman" Festival that marks the end of winter. The premise of it is that by March 1, the newborn calves have grown big and strong enough that they no longer need every drop of their mothers' milk, so that human beings who've had to get through winter without milk or cheese, sour cream or butter can now start to make butter again, and stacks of feathery, buttery blinis served with strawberry jam. The festival's main event is the burning of the Butter Woman effigy, and along with her, all the stiffness and cold of winter. There is also a ritual ring dance that is related to The Rite of Spring as Stravinsky heard it.


March 1-4, Sunday - Wednesday)

In the later Greco-Roman solar calendar, these days were what the Romans called the Liberalia: the festival of Dionysos or Bacchus, god of wine and the ecstatic experiences that are about to burst forth again weeks from now with the coming of Spring at the Equinox. In the older Greek lunar calendar, the Dionyseia was observed at the same time as the Anthesteria, over the four days culminating at the Pisces Dark Moon (see March 19 below). The Anthesteria honors Dionysos as Plouton, Lord of the Dead. On these days, the virtuous dead may visit from Elysium to witness and sanctify the rite of the New Wine, when the first libations are poured in the god's honor, thus marking the passing away of the old vine and the fruition of the new.


March 2, Monday

First day of an 18-day Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as Ala, loftiness. Fasting and other purifications are practiced now, just as Winter is about to yield to Spring.


Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, is celebrated with joyous rites of light, song and dance, and with butter towers, ritual sculptures and other arts designed to drive out evil and clear the way for abundance and blessing in the coming year.


The Tibetans prefer to time their sacred year a month behind the lunar calendars of most Asian countries, thus to keep their year distinct from that of the Chinese. While Chinese-run "Tibetan" websites like the Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar time Losar a month earlier, in order to assimilate it to the Chinese calendar, most Tibetans will celebrate Losar now. Best to check festival timing with Tibetans in your area.


March 3, Tuesday

In the Japanese solar calendar, this day is Hina-matsuri, the Doll Festival, in honor of each family's daughters. The families display dolls dressed in Heian period court costumes -- often priceless heirlooms that are centuries old -- all arranged in an elaborate hierarchy of tiers that affirms the crucial role of women in the order of the realm. The families visit Shinto shrines and prepare elegant meals, as beautifully presented as the dolls, from time-honored recipes.


March 4, Wednesday

In the Khemitian calendar, the feast of Ra, Neter of the Sun, is held at Heliopolis ("City of the Sun"), the original center of Ra worship. This festival honors in particular the life-giving properties of the Sun, and his role in marking the order of time (Month of Parmuti, day 19).


In the Roman Catholic calendar, this is the feast of St. Casimir (born 1458), king of Poland. Given  a choice between certain death from the austerities in which he sought mortification of the flesh, or a cure by food and marriage, Casimir chose a bony death at 25. His relics have long been especially efficacious; and when his tomb was opened in 1595, his body was incorrupt, and emitted the sweet odor of sanctity.


March 5, Thursday,  5:43 am HT - 3:43 pm UT

Full Moon in Virgo, opposite Sun in Pisces. The aspect of Sun in Pisces, Moon in Virgo entails a kind of role reversal in which the solar intellect is balanced by psychic receptivity and intuition, while lunar emotion is braced by practical mentality.  This alignment is highly favorable, then, for males who seek to develop their female qualities, and vice versa. As we'll soon see, a great many joyous festivals come now.

Astrology Alert! Skip a paragraph if you like. The following celestial density may  make a black hole feel gossamer. This is a tremendous Full Moon. The Virgo Moon is at a 120° trine to Pluto in Capricorn, who's also at a 60° sextile to the Pisces Sun. The Sun is also conjunct Chiron the Wounded Healer. Pluto pulls all these into the energy of his 90° square with Uranus, in Aries, who is conjunct Venus and Mars, so that attraction, sex and creativity are likely to pop and pow now, so is money now that Uranus crackles with brilliance and nerve  now that he's trine to Jupiter in Leo, forming for a month the Golden Harvest aspect that J. P. Morgan got Evangeline Adams, the first famous American astrologer, to teach him to track and calculate for himself. Does this mean we should plow all our money into the state lottery now, or into any crap game as rigged as Las Vegas or Wall Street? No. But it does mean that this is a time when we must be in the game professionally, socially and communally, and alert to opportunities that can come from any direction.

The fact is that this Full Moon is magnificent, filled with challenges, stresses, invitations, inspirations and every other thing that out to light up imaginations like a fiery nightingale who sings our possibilities.  We have the opportunity to see some powerful choices to be made now. And we will do it, if we're willing commit our courage. Not all of it. We don't have to empty the well of Courage completely. But we do have to bring down the Fear level in the other well.

This Full Moon could not possibly be a better overture to the Seventh and last Round of the Uranus-Pluto squares forming exactly on March 16.


In the Celtic/Druidic and Wiccan calendars, this Full Moon is called Seed Moon. Also Budding Moon, Planter’s Moon, Pink Moon and the Green Grass Moon, when Nature revives.


Also on this day, the Butter Lamp Festival, Chunga Choepa in Tibetan, celebrates a demonstration of miracles attributed to the historical Buddha, also called Shakyamuni Buddha. Colorful butter sculptures are displayed, and singing and dancing go on into the night. This intricate, ancient art is performed by monks who prepare with ritual baths and other ceremonies.


March 5, Wednesday

One of the main annual festivals in the Khemitian calendar, honoring Queen Aset (aka "Isis") as the Ocean Star - or Stella Maris, as Mary would later be called in Latin  -- the guide and protector of navigators. As the Khemitians identify Aset with the great star Sopdet (Sirius), she is the main beacon point in the sky for Khemitian sailors. And as in ancient times her heliacal rising - that is, the moment each year when Sopdet can first be seen rising in the east just before the rising of the Sun - always fell each year on July 26, the day that heralded the annual Nile flood, Aset in her star role embodies the boundless and eternal loam and fecundity of the river. On the evening of this festival, there are ceremonies and songs on boats that blaze with lamps and colors. This day is also an important time marker. It is now 140 days, or 14 decans (10-day  "weeks") until a new flow of red water should begin the next Nile flood on July 26.


This day also commemorates the birthday of Lao Tzu (300 BC?).


This is the day of St. Piran, the patron saint of Cornwall and of tin miners. Legend has it that the Cornish flag, featuring a white cross on a field of black, was inspired by Piran's discovery of a purer method of smelting tin.


March 5 – 11 (eight days):

Tibetan counterpart to the New Year festival week that is called Bumjudawa by the Buddhists of Asian countries whose ritual year aligns with the Chinese calendar. This feast was established in Tibet in 1409 by Tsong Khapa, the Gelugpa root guru, and once drew many devotees from all over Tibet to the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. The timing of this feast, as with all Tibetan festivals now, can vary widely by location.


March 6 – 10 (five days):

Over the five days beginning at the Virgo Full Moon, Hindus outdo themselves at Holi, one of the world's lightest, funniest, giddiest festivals, when the music is fast, lights are bright and people get to pelt each other with bright, wild-colored powders in celebration of Shiva's courtship of Parvati. Even by the standards of India, one of Earth's great festival artists, Holi is a delightfully exquisite way to banish the old year's last few blacks, grays and umbers with Saffron! Azure! Scarlet! - all over your clothes, just like that. For lovers of exhilaration, this festival is worth crossing an ocean for.


In the Sikh calendar, this Full Moon begins Hola Mohalla, a three-day festival of warrior training games, mock battles, sacred music and scripture readings. This spring festival, founded by the tenth Sikh guru Gobind Singh, tenth Sikh Guru, is held at Anandpur Sahib.


March 7, Saturday

Honen Memorial Day, honoring the founder of one of Japan's major Buddhist communities.


March 7 has been celebrated since 1887 as Women's World Day of Prayer, encouraging women of all faiths to affirm the core spiritual values that all world religions hold in common.


Also the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (born 1226), the celebrated Angelic Doctor whose Summa Theologiae is the ultimate product of scholastic philosophy, and its effort to construct an intellectual foundation for the Roman Catholic faith.


March 8 - 19, (nine days)

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


March 12 - 16, (five days)

One of the great festival cycles in the Khemitian calendar, marking the cycle of cosmic death and rebirth, and the transition from the Spring season of sowing (Peret) to the summer harvest season (Shemu). The events of the cycle:


3/12  - Admonitory rites supplicating Sekhmet, "the most powerful one", in her terrifying role as the punitive netert who purifies the world by fire (Month of Parmuti, day 27).

3/14 - Feast of Unnefer--that is, Ausar ("Osiris") in his aspect as the Lord of the Underworld and neter of fertility, who drives the vegetable energy up through the Earth and maintains the vitality of all green things (Parmuti, day 29).

3/15 - Day of transition from spring to summer. Ceremonies of renewal and abundance are held in honor of Atum and Ptah, the primeval neters of creation, and also for other important male neters such as Ra, Ausar and Hor, aka Horus (Parmuti, day 30).

3/16 - The summer harvest season, and the month of Pachons, begin with the Festival of Hor and his Companions--that is, the celebration of Light as winter is about to yield to spring.


March 13, Friday

Some Mahayana Buddhists celebrate the birthday of the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion variously known as Tara, Kwan Yin, Kwan Zen, Kannon and many others.


Mercury enters Pisces, until the last day of March. For mercurial people -- not just Gemini and Virgo natives,  but anyone with Mercury positioned adversely, or at points of leverage with other natal planets -- this can be a trying time. Mercury is said to be "in detriment," or "in fall" in Pisces -- or even both, as his quick, airy nature does not move with its usual speed and clarity through the murk and fog of Pisces. Best get the documents done before March 31, while Mercury's still in Aquarius.


March 14, Saturday

In Japan, this is White Day, one of the many commercial spinoffs of Valentine's day here and in western countries. A month after Feb. 14, company "office ladies" give giri choko, obligatory presents of white chocolate, to their bosses and male colleagues, reciprocating the gifts of milk chocolate the men give them on Valentine's Day.


March 4 eve to March 5 eve, Wednesday - Thursday

The fast of Esther and the festival of Purim commemorates Queen Esther's heroism in freeing the Jews of Persia from persecution. It's a time for helping the needy, and is also the closest thing in the Jewish calendar to a universal Feast of Fools, when the mighty are humbled, the lowly are exalted, and the comic spirit rules. As the scenario is inherently comic, with the powerless but clever Queen outwitting the chief prosecutor of the King of Persia, it is not surprising that at Purim comedies abound, and comic talent is noticed. Purim is the spiritual ancestor to everything from Figaro to Yossarian to Charley Chaplin's claim, "Give me a park bench, a cop and a pretty girl, and  I'll make a comedy anywhere." L'Chaim!



March 17, Tuesday

In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Patrick, who is said to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland--yet another symbolic instance of spirit rising into ascendancy over matter -- at least for those who have bought into the fear paradigm, and have forgotten that there must have been a reason why Jesus said, "Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."


This Christian feast largely, but not completely, superseded the old Celtic and Britannic festivals in honor of the Green Man, Green George and many other Osiris counterparts at the other end of Europe from Egypt. This day is important to ancient Europeans because it means that Spring is only a few days away, and now is the time for asking the Green God for his favor and blessing.


Venus enters Taurus, the sign of her rulership as the goddess of love and beauty. All Venus-related activities are favored, and may be smooth and triumphant, and uncommonly magnetic now that she moves ahead beyond the range of Mars' desire, at least for the moment, and gaina huge receptive force from her trine with Uranus in Aries. If we can dream it and are willing to pay the exchange, specially in the currency of community, we can manifest it now. Until April 11, when there is more talking than doing.


In the Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Rain, the eighth of the 20-day Uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (11 Imix, Tzolkin 141). The symbolic bird for this uinal is the Eagle.


March 18, Wednesday

Birthday of the American physician and seer Edgar Cayce (1877).


March 19, Thursday:

In the Roman Catholic calendar, the Feast of St. Joseph, also known for a century now as the feast of "St. Joseph the Worker." While it is more likely that Joseph was something more akin to the president of a construction firm -- as the gospel says he traveled to work in other towns, likely to do jobs local carpenters couldn't handle -- his image as a humble carpenter persists.


One of the year's many Green Man festivals comes now, just before the Spring Equinox, as the Yoruba and Santeria peoples of Africa celebrate Osanyin, the Orisha of the Green Leaves.


March 19 - 24, (five days):

In ancient Athens, the Lesser Panathenaea, the shorter and less solemn and elaborate of two annual festivals honoring Athene as the source of creative inspiration. The crucial importance of the Goddess in city life is evident in the placement of her festival right on the Spring Equinox. Athene's Festival of the Arts includes exhibitions of painting and sculpture, performances of music, dance and theatre, and games and feasts in which the goal is beauty.


The ancient Romans celebrate on these same days the parallel festival of the Quinquatrus of Minerva, honoring the goddess as the source of inspiration and protector of beauty.


March 19 (Thu), 11:37 pm HT; March 20 (Fri), 9:37 pm UT:

Dark Moon conjunct Sun in Pisces, the second Dark Moon of the month of Pisces to come this year after the Black Moon of Feb. 18 - 19. This Black Moon will be similar in some ways to the Moon that began the Green Wood Goat Year, and is fully as intense and powerful as the Full Moon of March 5. Most of the players are in their same positions from two weeks ago, linked with the still-convulsive Uranus-Pluto square, though Venus and Mars have moved ahead and are no longer conjunct Uranus in Aries. But now Moon, Sun, Mercury, Chiron and Neptune are in a five-planet stellium in Pisces, and what is more, This Black Moon has a Total Eclipse of the Sun. Doom Pimps will tell us to fear it. That's how we know it's so loaded with potential for lifting our consciousness and freeing our communities.


In the Celtic/Druidic and Wiccan calendars, the New Moon that ensues after this Dark Moon is the first one following the Spring Equinox, and is called the Planting Moon.


March 20 - 28 (nine days)

This New Moon, for some communities in India, is the New Year according to their traditional lunisolar calendar. Those who most favor this timing are devotees of Rama, as this day begins the nine-day series of ceremonies and performances culminating at Ramanavami on March 28. The festival celebrates Lord Rama, hero of the epic poem, The Ramayana, one of the masterworks of the world's sacred literature. On this day statues of Rama are cleansed, decorated and paraded, and heroic stories from the Rama legends -- notably the famous episode of Rama and Sita's hunt for the Golden Deer -- are enacted in music, song and dance. Other Hindus hold their New Year Vaisakhi celebrations on the fixed solar date of 4/13; the Sikh and Jain New Year also falls on this day. Best check festival schedule with local Hindus, rather than rely on general information.


In the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic tree calendar used by devotees of the faerie path, this fourth New Moon following the Winter Solstice begins Fearn, or alder month. This is the time for meeting and integrating the shadow self who represents one's undiscovered potential. During this month the Spirit World and the Physical World come closest, and communication is easiest, especially through such intuitive channels as dreams, fragrances and stones.


For the Chinese, the New Moon of the third lunar month is Ching Ming (also Qingming), the year's main festival in honor of the ancestors, whose tombs are cleaned and decorated with flowers and beautifully prepared food offerings.


March 20, Thursday (12:46am HT; 10:46 pm UT ):

Spring Equinox, one of the four great cardinal festivals of the solar year. The spring season begins as the Sun enters Aries, and as James Joyce put it, the Ram has power. The festival period that begins now, and lasts for nearly a week, marks the return of Light, and of Mother Earth's vitality, from winter's long darkness and cold. From this point on the solar wheel, the days grow longer until the Summer Solstice and the "white nights" of late June. Spiritual traditions all over the planet celebrate this festival with hunts for eggs, rabbits and other symbols of birth.


In the Southern hemisphere, this is the Autumn Equinox, celebrated by Wiccan communities as Mabon.  The ancient Celtic and other central European peoples called the Spring Equinox Alban Eilir, or Ostara (source of "Easter"). It marks the day when the Earth goddess Bridhe, who marries the sky god at Imbolc time in early February, conceives the Sun Child who will be born nine months later at the Winter Solstice.


Like the Winter Solstice festival cycle that runs from Dec. 21 - 25, the Spring Equinox festival cycle extends over a few days, March 21 to 25. The reason for this is simply that in very ancient times, millennia before the rise of Ur and Egypt, the Spring Equinox could not yet be verified to happen as early as March 20, and so was celebrated on March 25. Thus the closer the equinox festival is to March 20, the newer it is; the closer it is to March 25, the more ancient; or, as in the case of Christian festivals, superseded an older "pagan" festival. Among the many festivals of this season:


In Japan this day is Shubun, the Buddhist day of contemplation on hakanai, the impermanence of things. This day is ideally placed, not long before the start of one of nature's most glorious spectacles of impermanence, the Japanese cherry blossom season.


This day begins the annual Taoist festival honoring the Shen, or deity of Spring, the Water element, and the East, with all that these imply as principles of origin and growth.


The ancient peoples of Mesopotamia, from the time of the ancient proto-city of Ur through Babylon and Nineveh, celebrate the return of Dumuzi -- later Baal -- from the underworld to reunite in marriage with the Goddess Astarte. The Greek counterpart of this rite, the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, also falls during the month when the Sun is in Pisces, balancing the major Mysteries of August - September, when the Sun is across the zodiac wheel, in Virgo.


In many Native American calendars, Month of the Hawk begins.


March 21, Saturday

In both the ancient Persian and modern Baha'i calendars, this day is Naw Ruz, the New Year festival. As the Spring Equinox is the day of renewal in the sacred cycles of so many traditions, it is also, naturally, the day on which several groups of believers expect the Messiah to come and begin a new era of justice and peace on Earth. According to one Shi'a sect, March 21 in some year to come will be the day on which Jesus and the long-awaited 12th Imam arrive together to fulfill the prophecies of the Qur'an by punishing the wicked and exalting the righteous.


March 22 - 25, (four days)

The great spring festival of Cybele and Attis is celebrated in Rome and major cities throughout the eastern Mediterranean. The rites of Attis are from Phrygia (in the south of modern Turkey), and are among the most beloved stories of the passion and resurrection of the god-king, celebrated annually at the Spring Equinox, or on the day that would later be called Easter--the Sunday following the Full Moon after the Spring Equinox.


The rites of the festival are these:


3/22  - A pine tree is cut and on it is fastened an effigy of Attis that is covered with violets, representing Attis' blood.

3/23 - Attis is borne in procession, to the sound of trumpets.

3/24 - Day of mourning.

3/25 - Resurrection of Attis. Day of joy and universal license.


The ancient Mediterranean world celebrates the Adonia, festival of Adonis, the beautiful doomed lover of Aphrodite/Venus, on the same days. Adonis is one of many male deities whose annual passion and resurrection is enacted now. Early Christians called March 25 Mors Christi (the death of Christ), in order to avoid having Jesus, Adonis and Attis all rise again on the same day. Later, when Christianity eradicated ancient Greek religious practices, Easter wound up where  it belonged all along, aligned with the timing of the Spring Equinox.


Norse festival of Summer Finding, marking the point just after the Spring Equinox when the days become longer than the night, and begin to wax toward the maximum light of the Summer Solstice.

The finding of Summer thus marks the resurgence of nature and the reclaiming of spiritual initiative and power by human beings.


March 25, Wednesday

One of the major festival days of the year, because of its proximity to the Spring Equinox and its position nine months prior to the great festival of 12/25.


A few of the many feasts held annually now:


- The ancient Greeks and Romans celebrate this day as the festival of Artemis/Diana, protector of woodlands and animals.


- Among the Yoruba and Santeria peoples, this day is the feast of the Orisha Oshun, principle of sexual vitality and fertility. As the main Santeria feasts are aligned with major Christian feast days, it is appropriate that Oshun's festival should fall on Annunciation Day.


- Among the Christians of ancient Rome, this day is called Mors Christi ("death of Christ"), mourning the martyrdom of Jesus. In later centuries, after Christianity became the state religion of the empire -- thus solving some messy problems of competition among religions -- the passion and resurrection of Jesus were celebrated at the same time as the ancient festival of Adonis. Thus, the festival week began the Sunday before the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox, and climaxed with the rebirth of the god on the following Sunday. This left 3/25 to become what it has been in the Roman Catholic calendar ever since: the Feast of the Annunciation, the moment when the angel revealed to Mary that she was now carrying the Divine Child who was to be born 9 months later, on Dec.


 25. In this astonishing image by Botticelli, we see Mary at the moment when she understands the implications of what the angel has said, and her legs buckle under her.


March 26, Thursday

In the ancient Persian calendar, this day is celebrated as Khordad Sal, the birthday of Zarathushtra (Zoroaster), who is said to have been born to a 15-year old virgin in 660 BCE.


Also the birthday of  the seminal mythologist and "Follow Your Bliss" teacher, Joseph Campbell (1910).


March 28, Saturday

A day of mystery in many ancient calendars. It was widely believed in the Hellenistic and early Christian periods that God created the Sun and the Moon on this day. Third-century Christians therefore chose 3/28 as the day of Christ's nativity, and observed it as such until the December Christmas feast was created in the 4th century.


On this day the ancient Romans hold ceremonies of purification and sacrifice, including, in later Roman times, gladiatorial combats at the tombs of their ancestors.


In ancient Mesopotamian calendars, this is the feast day of Ishtar, goddess of love and war.


In the Zoroastrian calendar, this day is Khordad Sal, commemorating the birthday of the prophet Zarathushtra.


In most Christian calendars, this is Palm Sunday, celebrating the day on which Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophecy that the Messiah would ride an ass into Jerusalem in the days just before Passover, and be welcomed in triumph by adoring crowds waving palm fronds, the symbol of nourishment and new life. This day begins Christian Holy Week, culminating in Easter on April 5.


In the Hindu calendar, this is Ramanavami, the ninth and culminating day of the great New Year festival honoring the heroic deeds of Lord Rama. For more on this, see March 20 - 28.


March 30, Monday, 8:46am HT; 6:46pm UT:

In the six-season calendar of the aboriginal people of Australia, the season of Bang-Gerreng begins about now. This is the shortest of the seasons, lasting only about four weeks, but has the coolest nickname: Knock 'Em Down Storm Season, when the rain and wind, unlike those of the pre-monsoon storm season, are violent enough to blow down trees and almost everything else. No one goes walkabout this month.


March 31, Tuesday

Mercury enters Aries. Over the next two weeks Mercury's energy will be quick, intrepid, direct and decisive, taking on the driving and fiery qualities of Mars.


On the same day, Mars enters Taurus, where he is said to be "in detriment," his assertive fire braked by the Earth element of Taurus, his aggression obvious and ungainly within the slow, elegant  tempo of the sign ruled by Venus. People who have trouble receiving will be in discomfort until April 12.


Want to know how any of these days affects you? A personal 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.