THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
Hello, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for March, 2013. We have just begun the darkest and saddest part of our annual journey by water through Pisces month, about which more in a moment. First a word about new communications and logistics now that I’m in motion through Lima and New York on the way to Sacred Sounds Egypt 2013.
Sacred Sound Egypt 2013 Begins
The plan for the journey, like all Aquarian arrangements that are made now, is solid and fluid at the same time, developing beautifully while still accommodating those who want to join us even at this relatively late date. The main difference between this journey and the traditional Piscean-era tour, which was a kind of hermetically-sealed container in which few others, except for local experts, were allowed to join the group for some days and events, is that we will welcome Egyptians, and others living in and visiting Egypt, whenever we can. Our aim, after all, is to learn from one another and to sing together. If you’d like to tune up those pipes and join us in chanting the actual ancient music that resonated in these chambers so long ago, and is coming back to the planet now, just Contact Us.
The other main news for now is that the old Hermes3 site, which has been hosted so beautifully under the guidance of the great software designer and cybercommunity artist Kevin Hughes, will from now be an archival site that contains the UFC from May, 2000 through last month. All these issues are still available through the UFC index page. Honor and gratitude to Kev. He is one of the founders of the world wide web, and is one of the six charter members of the Web Hall of Fame. I have been blessed by his guidance and friendship over these many years.
Thanks also to Mark Wilcox, with whom I first got to collaborate when we were both in Kyoto in 1988, and he created graphics and music for a production of Yeats’ The Cat and the Moon. Our connection continues to be fruitful, as good Pisces-Virgo complementarities will, recently in “We’re 2012ing” and now in this new website that thrives on his genius. The practical effect of all this, where our communications are effected, is that all mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org now gets routed automatically to email@example.com, to which Contact Us is now linked.
Now to the heart business of the month, and the watercourse from now to May.
The Journey by Water Again, and the Rites of Sorrow
The Sun’s annual journey through the month of Pisces (Feb. 18 – March 20) is never easy, as his crossing over Neptune will put us through a few days of mental mist and fog along with escapist fantasies that we may seek for an illusion of rest and refuge. Each year, as we traverse this trickiest and most depressive of all water signs, we may travel an emotional journey of loss and dislocation like the one we explored in “The Quandary.” Since last year, though, the journey has been more precarious, as Neptune is in Pisces, the sign that he rules, so that his power to teach and trick, to heal and betray, and to play all the rest of an energy spectrum that runs from the mystic and musician at one end to the swindler, energy vampire, addict and victim at the other, have been in full force for weeks now.
The sad effects have been showing up in our own lives, and in the other lives that touch us. Brilliant people who had decades of life in them pass away suddenly, some of them it seems from the sheer exhaustion of working so lovingly and so long to gain the rewards that their effort and spirit of service ought to bring, only to feel that the world, and its Universal Source, do not seem to value or even perceive them. Many have become the figure in the Five of Cups, much too young to be wearing the Hermit’s robe, seeing only the wine and juice of life spilled and lost, and despairing that it can ever be replenished in the other cups standing behind and to come. Friends write to ask why so many, including especially young people navigating that perilous age of 15, are taking their lives now. It is time to look at the planet aspects that are now in effect, if only to affirm that This Too Shall Pass.
Going Under, and Coming Back Up
This month can be seen, in general terms that affect us all, as a long runup to the next 90° “square” of Uranus and Pluto that will be exact in May, and will bring the third in a series of seven spasms that will shake and break structures and systems that can no longer hold. Also relevant here are the unfolding consequences of the great Chiron-Neptune conjunction of 2009 – 2012, now finally fading and exposing wounds and old habits of self-deceit not seen, felt and suffered at their full intensity until now. While these “outer” planetary conditions that affect us all will affect each one, the griefs and shocks we absorb now are mainly in the “inner” planets (from the Moon out to Saturn, plus Chiron now) that are closer to the Earth, and pertain more to personal than to collective events.
!! Astrology Alert! Go to the last paragraph of this section to Skip the Details !!
The planets who have crossed Neptune’s position in Pisces since a month ago are Mars (Feb. 5) and Mercury (Feb. 7), who have also transited across Chiron (Feb. 11 – 12). In the interval, both have passed through a 90° square with Jupiter in Gemini. The practical effect of this, as Jupiter and Mars have a famously inimical, implacable father-son conflict, is frustration in not being able to get done even the simplest things. It’s like this: when Jupiter and Mars align favorably, their alliance represents achievement, accomplishment and completion at high speed. When they are in conflict, as they have been lately, then the opposite results apply, and the more important our goals are to us, then the more aggravating the waste and the wait, especially now that Mercury has been retrograde in Pisces since Feb. 23. And there is much more. Saturn in Scorpio was square to Venus in Aquarius in mid-month, making this last Valentine’s day one of the least affectionate and easy in recent memory, and adding to the woes of already-bummed people somewhat less of the tenderness than is needed to keep life desirable for a longer time.
So – this whole fistful of tough planet aspects, all coming at once, has manifested in predictable ways. Many people have found their life force, creativity, confidence and power of proactive leadership (the Sun) compromised with self-doubt, low self-esteem and depression (afflicted Neptune). The other planet aspects raise questions about our life goals and our capacities to hit them; our ability to feel worthy, loved and connected to the other lives that matter most to us; and a tendency to be very hard and unforgiving to ourselves. And this is to say nothing of the spiritual crises that proliferate now.
One heart very dear to me recently sent a text to her loved ones saying, "Please pray for my Church." Like many other Roman Catholics who have been shaken to the core by the Pope’s abdication – a rare and troubling event that has not happened in six centuries – she wonders what will unfold next. Yesterday on Feb. 23, the Pope was expected to meet with President Giorgio Napolitano to request immunity from prosecution by the Italian government for his role in concealing crimes by pedophile priests. The story will intensify in the weeks ahead, as the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State plans a global campaign of protests and occupations of churches and offices beginning in Easter week, March 24 – 31.
We have known for years that events like these had to transpire now, as the old Piscean hierarchies weaken, contract and implode; and new Aquarian synarchies make bold new moves to free our people from lies and limits to our freedom. We will explore this more concerning issues of masculine belief and power, and its hierarchies of military force, in Aries month (late March-April), and feminine belief and power, and Venus-related hierarchies of money, in Taurus Month (late April – May). When we get to Gemini month (late May – June), we will be right at the next Uranus – Pluto square that climaxes in all its friction, force and fire on May 20 – 21.
It is one thing to see this coming, and to contemplate the once-unthinkable idea that the Roman Catholic church, which has stood in all its majesty, beauty and sanctity, cruelty and corruption and horror for the seventeen centuries since it became the state religion of the Roman empire, will inevitably transmute now in some way. How it will change depends on what it really is. If it is only dogmas, titles and stones, then it will not survive in its present form. If its truth, such as it is, resides in the hearts of its believers, then it will go on, like the other ancient faiths that have lived long since they first appeared millennia ago because they affirm in principle, if not always in practice, the same core values of kindness and service, love, compassion and mercy that are the marks of connective, communal practice among those who are seen as one’s own, and even among those who have not been seen as our own until now. Malcolm X was transmuted at once into a prophet of acceptance the moment he first saw a Muslim with blue eyes. Many of us will have similar insights now, as we see ourselves mirrored for the first time in the crystalline eyes of others.
This moment of spiritual crisis for Catholics, and the other crises of social, political and economic belief that will ensue in the months ahead, will be closely connected with the molting of this Serpent Year, as we attract and form new relationships, and close old ones that no longer serve our highest personal and communal good. Here’s one tip as to how it will go. Those who crow with delight at the fall of the Church of Rome, even when we remind them how painful this is for so many, are too stuck in toxic mockery to hold and heal others. Best cut ‘em loose. The ones who sense the fear and grief of those who feel they’ve lost their anchor, and that their oldest, wisest elder now seems to be passing away, are the holders of sympathetic medicine that we want to bind to our hearts.
We have a choice as to how we’ll play this time of year, when we and many others go under the ocean surface of Pisces, and do our best to re-emerge, and help others come back up too. There is an annual rhythm to this. In the revolutionary urgencies of Aquarius month, as we’ve just seen, new revelations come, new hints about dark secrets still hidden that must now come to light. They remain mostly in the dark for Pisces month, then have a way of bursting suddenly forth when Aries month begins at the Spring Equinox on March 20.
That is when the Sacred Sounds Egypt 2013 group will be in the temples of Karnak and Luxor, halfway through our journey down the Mother of Rivers, and doula of all mercies, the Nile. Perhaps our main water rite will be two days before, when we spend a day at the jewel of mysteries in Abydos. It is best known to most visitors for the magnificent wall reliefs in the New Kingdom funerary temple of Seti I, many with their original colors, as shown in this image of the king himself, wearing what is still called the “red crown of Lower Egypt,” though it is in fact shaped like a birth chair, thus affirming the pharaoh’s role as the Bull of His Mother, and his overarching responsibility to make sure that no matter what else happens, Birth Goes On.
The Seti temple has also long been famous for its catalogue of royal cartouches listing the pharaohs in the supposed order of their reigns. And this place has also been more lately controversial for this piece of a ceiling lintel, showing images that resemble uncannily jet aircraft, a helicopter and a tank, causing some commentators to suppose that this panel is prophetic of what will happen in the pharaoh’s realm in our time. Others point out that these shapes could have come from the multiple layers of overcarving that was commonly done in Egypt as the new ruler ordered his name and deeds superimposed on his predecessors’ glyphs, and that the resemblance to modern weapons is accidental. But then those who indulge in these claims are usually the same people who argue that the pyramids were built by men with ropes, rollers and ramps.
As celebrated as the wonders of the Seti temple are, the myth and the magic are behind it in the Osireion, the far more ancient site which the king placed his temple to adjoin, so that he and others might tap its legendary medicinal energy, and its power to bring eternal life. . The Osireion, and the “valley temple” near the Great Sphinx, are the only two intact sites built with these massive stone blocks and square columns. Students of the Flower of Life will remember that two of the designs were inscribed on these pillars in a manner that appears to have been somehow burned into the stone.
Now that the Aswan Dam has finally stabilized the annual cycle of flood and dust that used to be the rhythm of the Nile, the Osireion sometimes looks as we see it here, though usually the entire floor is covered by water a few centimeters deep. The dark rectangle to the left of the railing, and another hidden to the right, are stairways heading down to . . . what? The Osireion’s lower level has always been one of the most tantalizing of the many mysteries of this place, and some Egyptologists have assumed that the builders of this place had a limited understanding of how water tables work, and they miscalculated here – as though this incomparably skilled race of architects and engineers were likely to have blundered so ineptly.
The fact is, startlingly, as anyone who goes over the stairway railing and enters the water knows, the Osireion was intentionally built this way, so the lower level would be under water. Those who walked down the stairways did so to immerse themselves in it completely, because the Osireion was a water therapy temple that enabled its visitors to renew themselves physically in these powerfully charged waters, and through the symbolic spiritual immersion of going under into the silence and the dark, then coming back up to the music and the Sun. Amazingly, the force of the river in this place can still be very strongly felt. You can experience it yourself if you go there. The trick is to have someone distract the guards, and be ready to slip them a little baksheesh once they notice that you’re walking in the water, and they tell you to come out of there. You don’t need much time. A minute or two will do. And you’ll come out refreshed and buzzing for days, as I do.
That is how the Egyptians worked and played with the energy of the Nile. Their harmony with the River, the Lady who rode and ruled it, and with one another is reflected in this Pisces image from the ceiling zodiac at the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, another site the Sacred Sounds group will visit this month. Back when polarity and duality did not yet mean the conflict, opposition, separation and avoidance that are upon us now at the end of the Kali Yuga and the Piscean Age, the fish didn’t swim away from each other, much less against each other in opposite directions, as we see in so many Pisces symbols. Rather, the fish are separate, but connected and going in the same direction.
They are aware of and available to each other, as it is best for us to be now, when our love for one another must not just be held and assumed, but given and clearly communicated, so that with our help and skilled attention, those who have gone under the water can come back up. We can sing them back to us too, especially at the Global Harmonization by Circle of Sound on March 20. By then Mercury will be direct again, Pisces month will be done, and the new Aries fire, well and consciously used, can burn away the grief and dread we have just come through.
Let us hear the tonalities of love and courage now. Louder and faster, please. Keep Holding That Frequency.
THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
March 1, Friday
In the 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. 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 (Monday - Thursday)
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 3/11 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, Saturday
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.
March 3, Sunday
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, Monday
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, Tuesday
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 7, Thursday
In the Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Light, the ninth of the 20-day Uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (5 Imix, Tzolkin 161). The symbolic bird for this uinal is the Turkey, the energy principles those of Breakthrough and Budding.
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 10, Sunday
This day is Mahashivaratri, the great annual Hindu festival in honor of Lord Shiva in his most beneficent aspect as the universal creator whose drum and dance bring the visible world into being. Shiva and his consort Shakti are honored with music, dance and other works of beauty, and with prayers for abundant vitality.
March 11, Monday
Om Nama Shivaya. 9:52 am HT; 7:52pm UT: Dark Moon conjunct Sun in Pisces. The trickiest Dark Moon and New Moon sequence of all in the sense that while the New Moon normally favors beginnings, it's located this time in the mystical cloud of Pisces, which favors the holding of deep secrets over clarity of expression, and receptivity over assertive action. This is not the time to launch a new enterprise, but more a time for meditation and visualization to attract inspiration about what the new enterprise will be. This Dark Moon is strong, as Venus in Pisces conjoins the Moon and Sun, and all three are in a 120° "trine" to the Moon's North Node in Scorpio and a 90° "square" to Ceres in Gemini, thus promoting now at the inception of Spring a possibility of attracting and launching much-needed new outcomes for the health and restoration of Mother Earth.
In the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic tree calendar used by devotees of the faerie path, this third New Moon following the Winter Solstice begins Nion, or ash month.
In the Celtic/Druidic and Wiccan calendars, this late winter New Moon is called Crow Moon, as food is still so scarce that crows, as well as wolves, are loud and insistent.
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, Ausa r 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, Wednesday
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.
March 14, Thursday
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 17, Sunday
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.
Mercury "goes direct," reveresing the retrograde motion that began on Feb. 23. Recent difficulties and confusions in the Mercury-ruled areas of transportation, communications, commerce and thievery will now begin to lift somewhat, though it will not be until April 6 that the planet clears his "retrograde shadow" -- that is, he reaches the point on the zodiac wheel where his backward movement began.
March 18, Monday
Birthday of the American physician and seer Edgar Cayce (1877).
March 19, Tuesday
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 travelled 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 the city's 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 20, Wednesday (1:03am HT; 11:03am 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, Thursday
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 24, Sunday
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 3/31.
March 25, Monday
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 12/25.
March 25 - June 1, (eight days)
Pesach, the Jewish feast of Passover, begins at sunset this day and continues for the next eight days. These holy days commemorate the night on which the Jews of Egypt painted the door posts of their homes with lamb's blood, as a sign that the Angel of Death was to spare the family from the death of their firstborn. This was the last and most terrible of the seven plagues visited upon Pharaoh, and the one that convinced him to release the Hebrews from bondage.
March 26, Tuesday
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 26 - 27, Tuesday/Wednesday 11:28 pm HT - 9:28 am UT
The Full Moon in Libra, opposite Sun in Aries. This tends to be one of the less harmonious oppositions on the wheel, as it's the time when kings go forth to war at precisely the moment in early spring when queens are most in need of reassurance and affection, and the Aries desire for action outside the home clashes most abruptly with the Libra objective to settle down in marriage. This Full Moon is afflictive, as Venus and Uranus, both in Aries, conjoin the Sun and thus oppose the Moon, while all of these planets are in a 90° square to Pluto in Capricorn, who slowly but surely nears his next exact, explosive alignment with Uranus in May. The Libra Moon does have a powerful ally in Jupiter in Gemini, at a 120° trine to her position. The alignment of planets at this Full Moon is complex and powerful, likely to induce much friction and some change now in the first week of Aries month.
In the Hindu calendar, this Full Moon is Hanuman Jayanti, birthday of the beloved nature guide and trickster Hanuman, the monkey god whose craft helps many heroes who cannot escape danger and win their ends on muscle and heart alone.
In the Jain calendar, this Full Moon is Mahavir Jayanti, celebrating the birthday of Mahavira, founder of the Jain faith.
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.
The Buddhists of many countries call the great festival they hold now Magha Puja because it comes at the Full Moon in the lunar month of Magha. Also called Fourfold Assembly or Sangha Day, it marks a gathering that occurred early in the Buddha's teaching life. Legend has it that almost immediately after the Awakened One left the Deer Park at Sarnath for a journey to Ragajaha, 1250 arhats spontaneously convened around him, without any notice, thus achieving the largest assembly yet held of the Buddha's most devoted disciples. The event is called the Fourfold Assembly because all of the devotees were arhats, all had been initiated by the Buddha himself, their unplanned convening was miraculous, and they all arrived at the Full Moon. In Thailand, Magha Puja is equal in dignity to Wesak, the Buddha's birthday.
March 27, Wednesday
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.
March 27 - 30, (four days)
For the Theravadin Buddhists of Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Laos and Cambodia, the days following the first Full Moon in April are the New Year festival. What may make various Buddhist New Years less bewildering to sort out is that Mahayana Buddhists celebrate the New Year at the first Full Moon in January; for most others it aligns with the Chinese New Year at the New Moon in Aquarius month (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18), while Tibetans prefer to time their New Year a month later than the Chinese calendar.
March 27 - 31, (five days)
Over the five days beginning at the Virgo Full Moon, the 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 the great festival artists of India, Holi is an 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 28, Thursday
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 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 30, Saturday
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, Sunday
In most Christian calendars, this is Easter Sunday, the most joyous of all Christian feasts, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus, and the victory over death that is now available for all of humankind. Ever since Christianity became the state religion of the late Roman empire, the timing of Easter has been reckoned as the Sunday after the first Full Moon following the Spring Equinox. This means that Easter must always fall between March 22 and April 20, while the Sun is in the sign of Aries, here the sacrificial Ram, the Lamb of God whose suffering will bring, in the view of Christian believers, the redemption of all human beings.
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.
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ABOUT THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
The Universal Festival Calendar first appeared in July, 1998 as an e-mail newsletter, and has also been published online since May, 2000. It incorporates data from astronomy and astrology, Moon cycles and the sacred days and festivals of many spiritual traditions, in order to identify monthly and annual power points, when human ascension efforts are well aligned with the celestial dynamics of our galactic stagemachinery, and the life cycles of Mother Earth. The UFC aims to assist the spiritual evolution of Earth and her people by providing information useful for planning global meditations, ceremonies and gatherings that support the aim of awakening enough human beings to bring about the lifting of human consciousness into higher frequencies of mercy, compassion, wisdom and love.
We welcome and are grateful for suggestions by readers whose ideas have improved the Calendar, and made it more accurate and comprehensive.