PRELUDE  TO

THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR

May 2013

 

ON THE ROPES AND IN VENUS' NET

 

Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for May, 2013.

 

This is it. Round 3 is here – exact on May 20 -- in the series of seven clashes between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, from June, 2012 – see this prelude for the basic themes and exact timing – to March 2015. As these two mighty, implacable adversaries glare and grind against each other for months at a time when they come into a “square” of 90°, they trigger world-shaking events that have in them an odor of finality, even mortality, and that metallic, electric smell that the wind carries when a storm is about to hit.

 

The aromas match the actors. Pluto is the Lord of Death and Regeneration, the psychic miner who destroys the castle by undermining it, so that no one notices anything amiss until the walls collapse, while Uranus is the Innovator, trickster and magician whose Cirque de Lumiere is easy to notice, and easy to discount as mere entertainment until his ensemble suddenly takes the Bastille. When these two planets align in “angular” positions of conjunction (0°), opposition (180°) or a 90° square, waves of new perception and emotion can smash through the dams of custom, tradition and control.

 

They flood the mindscape and deposit a rich layer of new soil in which anything and everything can grow.  Much of the new growth flourishes fast and dies soon. But some of it lasts and spreads, so mass movements ignite, and institutions fall, as they did in 1789, 1848 and 1917. The questions that really matter when these tremors come through the intentional field are basic and unavoidable: Which empty shells and dead ideas will blow away? And when? And what, if anything, replaces them?

 

Among the three irresistible angles of cosmic leverage, the 90° square may be the “hardest.” Conjunctions carry chances of combination and uneasy alliance, even within linkages that have more heat than harmony. Oppositions, between planets whose signs are in complementary elements, have a “harmonious tension” that can generate that useful chemistry that helps lovers and other creative partners cook some good, if not always easy, results. But a square entails disharmonious tension because the planets are in signs whose elements are not complementary, so that air and earth make dust, air and water make mist, fire and water make steam, and fire and earth bake the soil so arid that nothing will grow, when what we want is water and earth combining to create the new crops, and fire and air mixing in new creative alchemies.

 

While all seven rounds in this ongoing Uranus-Pluto opposition will have some similar features, because the same two planets are aligned at the same angle, each one will also be different because other planets form new relationships with the main players and each another. Thus, in each round the given circumstances of the play can change radically, and alter the friction between Uranus and Pluto. How to bring this all “down to earth“ -- would our planet be healthier if we started living Up to Earth? –- in terms that will fit the faster, snazzier, more entertaining Aquarian Age we’re entering now? Look at it this way

 

 

IN THIS CORNER

Imagine the series of Uranus-Pluto squares as a seven-round title bout between two heavyweights. As these two slow-moving planets have respective orbits of 84 and 248 years, the term is apt. In each round the dimensions and materials of the ring and the posts are the same. The fighters are positioned at 90° to each other, so their home corners are not opposite, but adjoining. In Uranus’ corner is Mars, ruler of Aries, who wishes he could be in the fight himself. In Pluto’s corner is Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, who looks too old and severe to be anywhere near this crowded, buzzing building, least of all for an event as loud as this. But don’t let that white beard and black monk’s robe fool you. Saturn is the Artist of Agony – literally, in its Greek sense, the pain the athlete endures at the moment of peak exertion – and was teaching every trick he knows to sleek Olympians and chunky palookas long before Hercules belted the Nemean Lion.

 

So what's the betting line in Vega – not Las Vegas, but the crown star in Lyra? It would be 8 to 5 on Pluto if the sideshows and intangibles of other planets are not factored in, as it’s easier for Pluto to scoop up what’s weak and rotting, and drop it in the Dumpster of Doom, than it is for Uranus to light up a new movement, write its name in lightning, and make it stick for more than a season. Uranus’ tempo is fast and brilliant, but has limited staying power. More on this in Surfing Aquarius.

 

While all of these conditions remain the same from one round to the next, other things change. The referee is different in each round, as are the lighting and sound systems, the media teams, and the faces in the crowd. The ropes can be made of cotton or nylon cable, or rubber or taffy or steel – as they will be in Round 4, on Nov. 1 – or of language, as they are this time, with three planets in Gemini, where the Sun will be too a few hours after the Uranus-Pluto square is exact. There’s a new celebrity ring announcer each time, and this month’s could hardly be a more stunning, yet fitting surprise. Let’s welcome him now, ladies and gentlemen: the Buenos Aires Bomber, the Pontiff from the Plata . . . our new Pope Francis! (Cheers, applause, indignant murmurs.)

 

Pope Francis (in white tuxedo, on ring microphone): Benvenuti amici, privyet, bienvenidos amigos, salaam, howzit, wilkommen, konnichi wa, namaste and welcome, everyone, to today’s title fight for tutti gli marmori, or at least all the marbles of the moment, and bragging rights to all the riot, ruin, rhythm, rules and roughage of este mundo peligroso, this bouncy, bumpy, brittle world. In this corner, in the black trunks and even meaner mood, is the Duke of Da Dark, the Heavy from Hades, Paaaaaaalutoooh! (Boos, cheers, grunts, stamps, whistles. Black stockings and frillies fly into the ring.) And in this corner, in the silver trunks, dayglo gloves and those gigawatt teeth, it’s Mr. Cataclysm, the Wizard of Now You See It, Now You Wish You Had, Kiiiiiid Uranus! (Screams, moans, bozo horns, slide whistles, joy buzzers. Confetti flies and bubbles float and pop.)

 

Why is this new pope a perfect fit for this month, and the years ahead? We’ll see in a chart cast for Rome, Italy at the moment when Uranus and Pluto come into an exact 90° angle to each other at 11° 14 minutes of their respective signs. Why does this detail matter? We’ll see when we look at Francis’ chart too.

 

ASTROLOGY ALERT! If you’d like to skip the charts and numbers, scroll down to Come Here. I Want You.

 

 

Uranus – Pluto Square, Round 3

May 20, 2013, 5:28 pm CET

Rome, Italy (41N54 / 12E29), Tropical, Placidus, True Node

 

We won’t focus here on the house positions of planets because they differ from one location to another. A few notes on planet positions only. Uranus and Pluto are in the 5th and 3rd houses of this Rome chart. Uranus is in a 60° sextile to Venus and Mercury, conjunct in Gemini in the 8th, so even by the standards of high spring in the lusty month of May, this is a time when much of our energy goes to our pleasures, or at least to talking about them. Jupiter is in Gemini too, and at a 72° quintile to Uranus, so that under this classic “lucky” aspect some will get windfalls and make hay while the Sun shines. Others will long for good news, any good news, and will be easy prey for those who can create the illusion of it.

 

Besides his square to Uranus, Pluto forms only one other aspect, to Chiron in Pisces in the 4th, who is in a 120° trine to the North Moon’s Node in Scorpio in the 1st, suggesting that we have here an important opportunity to address and heal collective and karmic wounds – if we are able to bring to this task the focus and concentration it requires. This won’t be easy, because the most powerful planet aspects are all outside the ring, with powerful trines between the Taurus Sun and the Virgo Moon, and between Saturn in Scorpio and Chiron in Pisces.

 

The practical effect of all this is that Round 3 of the Uranus-Pluto square will be like a dull match for a high-wattage crowd, so the cameras cut away whenever they can from the plodding polemics in the ring to the dazzling music and movie stars and other fluffsters who have never stolen the show so easily. Round 3 is likely to be the least “eventful” of the seven squares, not nearly as intense and explosive as Round 4 in November, and Round 5 in April, 2014 as an engine of changes so obvious they can’t be missed by anybody.

 

There will be the usual sneering among glib opinionaries about how the so-called “Aquarian revolution” is a dud, not at all what it was cracked up to be. There is more about these postures and expectations in Surfing Aquarius, and the crucial difference that only some of us can yet see between Revolution (with a capital R for “real”) in the realm of things that any dog, duck or denialist can notice, and an Evolution (with a capital E for Energy) of consciousness that is perceptible only to those who have, at least some of the time, a mystical vision of forces at work and in motion through the Intentional Field that we can see until now only in the mind’s eye, and feel in the currents of intuition and heart, and tones that sound only in the silences of the soul.

 

In the subtler currents that flow beneath the more obvious, violent events that doom-pimping media pound relentlessly to stoke fear and drive sales, the most important event in the spring of 2013 is the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as  the first pope ever from the western and southern hemispheres, and, thrillingly to many, the first pontiff to embrace the name and the spiritual principles of the famous religious reformer, ascetic, poet and animal communicator, St. Francis of Assisi. What, for those who’d like to see a progressive Church that walks the talk of social justice and compassion, could be better than a pope who rode a public bus instead of a limousine when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires? And still lives in the same Rome hotel he was in during the papal conclave, and refuses to move into the baroque splendor of the Vatican and the stifling control of the Roman curia? And, for the annual Holy Week re-enactment of Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples, chose not the usual plump, rich cardinals, but some scrawny inmates of a youth prison, two of them women, another two Muslims?

 

Is it all too good to be true? Perhaps not, if Francis isn’t murdered like John Paul I by those who want to keep the Church’s smelliest financial crimes well hidden. It’s time to look briefly at his chart, which, as we’ll soon see, is a provocative match for this month’s Round 3 of the Uranus-Pluto square.

 

 

Pope Francis (Jorge Maria Bergoglio)

Dec. 17, 1936, 9:00 pm ADT (estimated)

Buenos Aires, Argentina (34S36 / 58W27), Tropical, Placidus, True Node

 

His birth time is unknown, but estimated at 9:00pm by some astrology websites, and we can see why. His Sagittarius Sun is conjunct the Moon’s North Node in the 6th house of health and service relationships, suggesting that he is a more affable and available personality than his predecessor, and more interested in cohering a wide community of believers than in preserving dogma and custom. His Jupiter in Capricorn, also in the 6th, is the most powerfully and positively-linked player in his chart. This lord of institutional authority, strategic effort and religion is in a 120° trine to Francis’ natal Uranus in Taurus, in the 10th house of his profession, and in 72° quintiles to Mars in Libra, in his 3rd house of communications, and Saturn in Pisces in his 8th house of changes.

 

What does all of this mean? That with Uranus the Revolutionary in the 10th he is likely to be an innovator and systems buster in some areas, and with this planet trine to Jupiter, he will seem a “lucky” figure who has an uncanny sense of what risks to take and how to make them play to his advantage, and who, even when he makes a less than brilliant move, will land on his feet like a cat, and suffer no deep damage, and least for a time. Mars in Libra can makes him a courageous communicator and intuitive consensus-builder, while Saturn in Pisces in the 8th will place him, as we’ll see, in the double bind of bringing overdue change where it is fiercely resisted, while being compelled to face, and come to whatever terms he can now, with changes that he cannot bring himself to accept.

 

For a few weeks, the honeymoon will be giddy, as Venus conjunct the Moon in his 7th house of marriage and partnership, and in fizzy Aquarius to boot, brings an engaging humor and common touch that can make this man, at 76, the world’s oldest, oddest rock star. So what’s not to like? What can possibly go wrong?

 

FRANK AND BEANS

Francis will be tested early, and severely. Chiron the Healer is in the 12th house of spirituality, shadows and secrets, and opposes his Sun-Node conjunction, so the pope will have to manage a delicate balancing act between what he embraces in public, and what he will have to keep well behind the curtain until he is ready to reveal it, if he ever does. How does his chart resonate with Round 3 of the Pluto-Uranus square? It’s in the horizontal axis of Francis’ chart. His Mercury in the 7th is opposite his Cancer Ascendant (ASC), so that Pluto will cross his Mercury this month while Uranus squares it. Pluto will oppose his ASC while Uranus squares that too. The terrific tension between what the pope has to say within the official strictures of his role (afflicted Mercury, unaspected by any other planet) and the desire to escape the pressure and temporize in the sideways moves of the Crab (afflicted ASC) is tough enough.

 

What is even bumpier is that Francis’ rising sign is in Cancer, ruled by the Moon, the most feminine and matriarchal of planets, and that he has become pope at a time when women in the Roman Church, in Jerusalem and India and all over the Middle East, are challenging male-supremacist religious hierarchies more defiantly than they ever have before, and are pitching the question of how the world’s “great” religions can hope to survive when the currents of community, history and awakened consciousness itself are running so strongly against their beliefs in the inferiority and unworthiness of women?

 

The pope blew a big decision early on when he reaffirmed his predecessors’ iron refusals to consider proposals by the Leadership Council of Women Religious, to which 80% of US Catholic nuns belong, on matters of Church reform, including the inescapable enchilada sacra, the ordination of female priests. Francis may not be ready for this one. After all, not even the original St. Francis, radical as he was, granted women the right to say mass, to absolve sins, to baptize the newly born, to anoint the dying. We don't know if St. Clare and her sisters ever imagined that they too might administer the eucharist and other sacraments. They likely envisioned and expected nothing more than receiving the rites from male priests. But now 800 years have passed.

 

Francis’ handling of women’s rights will in the end, and maybe much sooner, tell us if he’ll be the first of several pontiffs to bear the name and convictions of the great canticle singer and teacher, or people impatient for dignity and equality delayed much too long will call him Frank, who frankly doesn’t understand Beans about what matters now. How long will women of all faiths continue to bear misogynist bigotry and the other cumulated, crushing sins of their fathers? Not long, if they get the nature of feminine power, the vital importance of learning to use it, and the costs of not using it.

 

COME HERE. I WANT YOU

It’s simple, and we can all see it. Masculine power is intellectual, linear, literally aggressive (in directly going toward what it wants), exclusive and competitive, seeking to eliminate rivals and achieve victory and supremacy, at least until a challenger comes to knock off the man on top and take away his gold hat. And that is how it has been in the patriarchal Age of Aries (c. 2,308 – 148 BC) and the hierarchal Age of Pisces (c. 148 BC – now), for so long that many people believe this is how it is, and has to stay.

 

Feminine power is intuitive, circular, receptive, inclusive and communal, seeking to resolve differences and achieve stability in harmony with the will of Heaven and the weave of the Earth. It seeks ever-expanding family unified by food, faith and story, and will find a place in the quilt and the kiva for everyone who can see and reverence the values of continuity, harmony and acceptance. These were our core practices, among women and men alike, in the matriarchal age of Taura (aka Taurus), and will be so now in the Age of Aquarius, as we learn synarchy – power shared among equals – in time to get ready for the Capricornian Age of metarchy (that is, living beyond any claiming or conceding of power, when all are so activated in their co-creatvity that they can live in the practice of all that really matters to us: love, friendship, health, and the making and enjoyment of beauty).

 

Until we get there, one essential text of the month is James Carroll’s, “Women of Many Faiths Press for Change,”. “Education of girls,” he writes, “defines the heart of development, because the benefit is exponential. ‘To teach a man is to teach one person,’ said a Qatari researcher studying education among Muslim women in China. ‘To teach a woman is to teach everyone’.

 

In the end, underneath all the letters and numbers and dates and the ways things work, we’ll be getting somewhere when enough of us perceive that the essence of feminine power is in the force of attraction, and this is why Venus and her counterparts have always been so dangerous, and so methodically suppressed. Under her superficial identity as the goddess of love and sex, art and beauty, jewelry and money, Venus is without peer in manifesting what she intends by drawing it to herself. Every planet has a way of getting what he or she wants. The Sun commands it, Jupiter buys it, Saturn earns it, Mercury steals it. But Venus looks it in the eye and says,  “Come here. I want you.” And it comes.

 

How is she so sure that she’ll get it every time? It’s not just in her looks. She has a focus so single-minded that it need not work for long. And above all, she has never a flicker of doubt that she absolutely deserves what she wants. For her, a lack of self-worth is never an issue, as it is for women whose sense of inferiority is rooted in sex roles and religious beliefs enforced by men who aim to appear bigger than they really are by making women look smaller than they really are.

 

When will women get to say mass? When the mass of women do not just design it or demand it – for these are male power moves -- but attract it with a loving intention for the benefit of all. How to attract it? By practicing not just the master mind that helps groups refine and realize individual attentions, but by practicing the master heart that helps all align for the same goals, and spreads its energy out to other like-hearted ones united in the same frequencies of heart and voice.  This is why singing has always been essential to feminine ritual and celebration, and becomes so again now. I hear the voices coming this way, as Rumi put it. It’s time to join them.

 

Keep Holding That Frequency.

 

 

THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR

May 2013

 

May 1-3 (Wednesday - Friday)

Beltaine, the great Mid-Spring Festival. It comes midway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, and is therefore observed throughout the northern hemisphere as one of the eight great festivals of the year. The word "Beltaine" itself consists of the name of the god known as Bel (Mesopotamian), Baldur (Norse) and other cognate names. The phallic implications of the maypole surmounted with streamers (see next) are obvious in this month that celebrates the burgeoning of fresh green leaves. At this time plants reach maximum growth; thus the end of April to the top of May on the year wheel is directly opposite the festivals of the dead on Hallowe'en and November 1. In Sweden this festival is celebrated as the annual victory of summer over winter.

 

In the southern hemisphere, the great Autumn Festival of Samhain is celebrated now. See last November’s UFC.

 

May 1, Wednesday

Happy May Day. This may be the year's best example of a joyous and extremely sexy holiday that has been watered down over the centuries by religion, commerce, ideology and other flavor killers into a wraith of what it used to be. In Egypt, it's Neighbors' Day, though no one seems to know why. Ask Americans and West Europeans what May Day is, and they usually associate it with Stalin and other Russians in bad hats watching the Red Army parade through Red Square. The Soviets co-opted -- many people came to believe they'd even created -- what had started millennia ago as a very sensual rite of spring, but in Europe shrank by the 19th century into an annual secular holiday honoring the hard work and dignity of farm and industrial workers.

 

The powers that be in the United States would have nothing to do with a labor holiday at which people waved red flags, sang the Internationale and compared Morgan, Rockefeller and the rest of the robber barons to wolves and other fanged beings. That's why the US government placed Labor Day on the first Monday in September, where it has no mythic charge at all, but it does obediently lead off the back-to-work, back-to-school week that follows the end of summer. What to do with May 1 in America? Dwight D. Eisenhower declared it Law Day in 1955. But law, as Mae West might have laughed from the bottom of her very deep throat, once had nothing to do with it.

 

For people all over the northern hemisphere, especially in Europe, the original May Day was the year's most thrilling festival. On this day, people would go into the meadows and forests and make love in the wild thyme and red clover. It was understood that unless you were hand-in-hand with your beloved, or otherwise clearly taken for the night, you had to say yes to anyone who asked you. This is why so many little Aquarii were born on and around the following Feb. 1. Some of the mid-winter mothers who bore these children had been so caught up in the joys of May Night that they had no idea who the fathers of their babies were, so the little ones were said to be the children of the fun-loving wood sprite Robin Goodfellow, better known to us as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Robin was always happily busy on May Night, and that is why we still have today so many people named Robinson.

 

In Hawaii, May 1 is Lei Day -- as though every day in the islands were not already a festival of flowers.

 

In the annual Roman Catholic calendar of saints' days, May 1 is the feast of Sts. Philip and James "the Less," Apostles. One index of the immense importance that the peoples of the Northern hemisphere have always assigned to May Day is the decision by the Roman Catholic Church to change the traditional meaning of the day by designating it as the feast day of not one, but two of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus himself. While Philip was noted for his faith and his ability to stir the faith of others, the choice of St. James is especially intriguing because the purity of this lifelong virgin, who prized chastity above all other virtues, is directly opposite to the ancient meaning of this day in celebrating the sexual vitality of nature. James, also called James the Just, was the first Christian bishop of Jerusalem, so treasured for his sanctity that the devout would stop to touch the hem of his robe, and show other signs of reverence that were rarely, if ever, accorded to other apostles.

 

May 1 is the birthday of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881), author of The Phenomenon of Man, whose seminal ideas on the unity of natural and human consciousness have influenced nearly every Gaian and holographic thinker of the last half-century. Teilhard said, "Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of divinity."

Mercury enters Taurus. This placement is traditionally considered neither advantageous nor "difficult," though Mercury can get uncomfortable with the slow tempo and predictable, even stolid qualities of the Taurus character. As Mercury is not going to get things to pop as flexibly as he wants while he's here, his best strategy for the interim is patient, careful adherence to the well-laid plans until he gets back up to speed in Gemini, the sign he rules, from May 15.

 

May 2-3 (Thursday  - Friday)

The ancient Roman festival of Floralia, celebrated in ancient times and still observed in Europe with displays of flowers.

 

May 2-4 (Thursday  - Saturday)

The comune of Assisi, Italy stages one of the world's great May festivals, called the Calendimaggio, because kalends were the first days of each month in the ancient Roman calendar. On one level, the Calendimaggio is a gorgeous parade by Assisi residents in 14th and 15th century costumes. On another, it's a commemoration of the annual spring peacemaking rite in which the Guelf and Ghibelline factions staged a mock battle which, it was hoped, would drain away some of the desire to fight for real in the hot months to come. And, as shown here in this image by Connie Bennett, the Calendimaggio also honors the great god Pan in all his horned, hairy majesty.

 

 

May 3 (Friday)

In Japan, 5/3 is the day of Ta Ue, the Shinto rice-planting festival, marking the resurgent vitality of nature and the beginning of the "Month of Fresh Green Leaves."

 

May 3-6 (Friday - Monday)

The annual Dolphin Convocation in Indonesia. Every year on these days, huge numbers of dolphins, totaling perhaps in the millions, are said to gather in the treacherous, eddying waters between Bali and Lombok islands, and to swim for a few days in a gigantic wheel or spiral pattern. The reason for this gathering, and its timing, remain a matter of speculation. As yet there have been no human diplomatic expeditions to the area between Bali and Lombok at Dolphin Convocation time. It is only a matter of time before one or more boats of humans and other animals sail to the periphery of the conference and ask the dolphins' permission to participate as observers.

 

May 3-5 (Friday - Sunday)

In the Orthodox Christian calendar, these three days are the climax of holy week, from Good Friday on May 3 to Easter Sunday on May 5.

 

May 3-4 (Friday  - Saturday)

In the Roman tradition, the festival of the Good Goddess, Bona Dea, begins on the evening of May 3 and is celebrated through the next day. It was customary -- still is in places where women's mysteries are practiced -- to decorate hawthorn trees, which flower at this time, particularly those located at sacred places.

 

The timing of this Roman festival is closely related to the sacred calendar of Rome's ancient Celtic rivals. In the Celtic tree calendar, Hawthorn Month begins now. This month is especially favorable for contract with fairies and other nature spirits.

 

May 4, Saturday

Among adherents of the Sufi tradition, this day is sacred to the memory of Rabi'a al-'Adawiya (d. 801), one of the earliest of the great Sufi mystics, who preached realization through the triple path of love, wisdom and action.

 

May 4-5 (Saturday  - Sunday)

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on the night of 5/4 and morning of the following day. This meteor storm, with a faint average magnitude of 2.9 and a frequency of only some 20 per hour, is best observed in the southern hemisphere. Viewing is good this time, as the Moon has waned nearly to darkness now.

 

May 5, Sunday

In the ancient calendar of Khemit, the "Black Land" that the ancient people of the Nile called their country, this is the Day of the Children of Nut, honoring the direct and indirect offspring of the primordial mother netert (not "goddess"). As Nut was the most ancient of all feminine deities - her name, cognate with neter itself, means "the divine feminine" and the mother of the Sun (Ra), the Moon, called Djehuti (Thoth) and the five "epagomenal" neters Ausar (Osiris), Aset (Isis), Set, Hor (Horus) and Nebt-het (Nephthys), Nut embodies universal feminine fertility, the eternal limitless abundance of the womb (Month of Payni, day 21).

 

May 6, Monday

In Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Duality, sacred to the creator couple Ometeotl and Omecinatl, the most exalted deities in the Aztec/Mayan cosmos. The period that now begins is the thirteenth and last of the 20-day Uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (7 Imix, Tzolkin 241), and marks the point at which the cycle dissolves in a duality from which the next uinal will be born in Fire. The symbolic bird for this uinal is the Parrot, the principle that of Completion.

 

May 7-9 (Tuesday  - Thursday)

In the Roman Catholic calendar, the Rogation ("Petition") Days fall on the three days culminating on the feast of the Ascension (see 5/9 below). Prayers are offered for bountiful crops and the health and peace of the natural world. Like the Ambarvalia, the ancient Roman feast it supplanted (see 5/24), this purification rite is based on the premise that love, atonement and forgiveness among human beings will be reflected in the abundance and quality of the harvest.

 

May 9, Thursday

Venus enters Gemini. Though it is not exactly true that in Gemini Venus is more talker than lover -- spending herself in everything from elegant conversation to the silliest gossip, depending on who's playing Venus at the time -- it is true that words from and to her will be persuasive now. She is likelier to enter short, frenetic love unions that are more mouth than heart.

 

For Roman Catholics and some other Christians, this day is the feast of the Ascension, always reckoned as 40 days after Easter Sunday. On this day Jesus is said to have ascended in glory to Heaven, as shown here by Pietro Perugino. The cherubs are arranged around Jesus in the shape of the vesica piscis, symbolizing the union of spirit and matter in the divine and human natures of the Christ.

 

May 9, Thursday

Dark Moon conjunct Sun in Taurus. The New Moon that immediately follows this Dark Moon normally favors the prosperity of joint enterprises pursued with tenacity and determination, though this may be overdone with heavy Taurus one-pointedness in pursuit of the primary goal without regard to the finer nuances. This Black Moon is enhanced by a 120° trine with Mars in Virgo and a 60° sextile with Neptune in Pisces, so that our potential for forming intentions that are solidly rooted on the Earth plane, yet aimed at metaphysical goals, is high now, and there is promise in initiatives launched when the New Moon appears two days from now.

 

While this initial phase of the Moon’s new cycle may at first appear uneventful, without “aspects” of relationship with other planets, it is noteworthy that at this time the Moon-Sun pair are on the Moon’s South Node (Dragon’s Tail) in Taurus, making this a time of adjustment, even dissolution and closure, in relationships. For those who must come to this decision, it is better made proactively now than suffered reactively a week and a half later under the less amicable conditions of the Uranus-Pluto square (see Mythic Prelude above) that dominates this month, and this entire season.

 

There is an annular eclipse of the Sun at this Dark Moon, visible from northern Australia eastward across the south Pacific.

 

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

 

May 9-13 (Thursday  - Monday)

On May 9, 11 and 13 the ancient Romans celebrate the Lemuria, the annual festival honoring their departed ancestors, the lemures, whose spirits were said to visit the family home on these days.

 

May 10-11 (Friday  - Saturday)

In the Jewish calendar, this is the festive holiday of Lag B'Omer. It celebrates the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar -- the core teaching of the Kabbalah -- and the day when a plague afflicting the disciples of the sage Rabbi Akiva ended.

 

May 12, Sunday

In the ancient Khemitian (aka "Egyptian") calendar (see 5/5 above), Day of the Purification of all Things (Month of Payni, day 28).

 

This day is also the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820).

 

This second Sunday in May is observed in the United States as Mothers' Day, one of countless May celebrations of the fecundity of the Mother Goddess. The first Mothers' Day in the USA was created by Julia Ward Howe, whose career was a notable example of how the actual experience of suffering, including the ravages of war, may stir compassion from those people in whom it is, as Buckminster Fuller put it, arousable.

 

In the middle of 1861, as naive armies marched in romantic color into the American civil war, Howe wrote the poem that would become the famous Union martial anthem The Battle Hymn of the Republic. A few years after the war, disgusted with the misery that self-righteous men can inflict on their peoples, she organized Mothers' Day as a global peace demonstration designed to unite mothers everywhere in affirming the maternal values that nurture and enrich civilization. Mothers' Day has since faded into a commercial holiday, but it has never lost its true activist identity, and has been a focus of women's peace efforts in recent times. In 1982, women were arrested at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, one of the USA's top nuclear weapons research sites, for blocking the gates to the facility and daring to proclaim that life is more precious than profit or power.

 

May 14, Tuesday

In the ancient Khemitian calendar (see 5/5), this was observed as the day on which Shu, neter of the air, persuaded his twin sister, the solar netert Tefnut, to return from the land south of Khemit to the country of the Nile. The legend relates that Tefnut was so incensed at the arrogance of Ra, the male principle of the Sun, that she withdrew from her customary role until Shu gained help from the eloquence of Djehuti (Thoth), who induced Tefnut to return. This story is thus the Khemitian version of the universal solar regeneration myth in which the female principle of fire withdraws her light and warmth from the Earth until she is treated with the respect she deserves (Payni, day 30).

 

May 14 - 16 (Tuesday -Thursday

In the Jewish calendar, the feast of Shavuot. While celebrated in early Jewish history as a festival of the first fruits, observed with offerings of bread, Shavuot has since come to serve the more profound purpose of commemorating the revealing of the Torah, and the moment when Moses received the tablets of the Law on Mt. Sinai. Among some Jews, the revelation of the Torah is the most important event in the history of the Jewish people, and thereby gives Shavuot a dignity equal to that of the High Holy Days of the autumn.

 

May 15, Wednesday

In the ancient Roman calendar, this is the Ides of May. This day is sacred to Maia, the Goddess for whom May is named, and also to Vesta, goddess of the hearth and all sacred fires. On this day, Vesta's devotees, the Vestal Virgins, offer prayers in the Goddess's temple to ask the blessing of an abundant supply of water for the coming summer months. The festival of Maia is always observed a week before the entry of the Sun into Gemini, ruled by Maia's son Mercury (Hermes).

Among the Yoruba and Santeria peoples of Africa, 5/15 is the feast of Ochossi, the Orisha of animals, one of the emanations of the one divinity Olodumare.

 

On this day Mercury enters Gemini, clearly the more appropriate of the two signs he has traditionally been said to rule (the other being Virgo). The voluble currents of Mercury's repartee, trickery and charm may work wonders while he is in Gemini, provided that mercurial types on your team are given specific targets and deadlines to hit, so they'll be less likely to dissipate all the inspiration in chatter, the likeliest outcome when an unfocused, unmotivated Gemini remains in, or lapses into, monkey mind.

 

 

May 15-21 (Wednesday  - Tuesday)

In the ancient Khemitian calendar, the month of Epipi, sacred to the protective cobra netert Wadjet, begins with festivals of Het-Heru (Hathor) and Bastet. In contrast to the preceding month of Payni, Epipi is a markedly feminine-centered month which celebrates above all the female forces of latent vitality and continuity in nature; and the critical importance of Truth, embodied by Ma'at, in all universal order. Some of the May events in the dramatic month-long festival cycle that now begins:

 

5/61  - Feminine neters honored in their temples throughout Khemit (Epipi, day 2). It is now 70 days until the annual Nile flood, usually on July 26.

5/19 - Het-Heru (Hathor) returns to her home in Punt, south and east of Khemit (perhaps present-day Somalia). The Neters mourn her absence. (Epipi, day 5).

5/21 - The Neters sail after Het-Heru (Epipi, day 7). The festival cycle culminates on June 16 with the transcendence of Het-Heru as the star Sothis (Sirius).

 

May 16, Thursday

In the Celtic tree calendar, Hawthorn Month begins. This month is favorable for contact with fairies and other nature spirits.

 

May 17, Friday

This day is the Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as 'Azamat, or Grandeur.

 

Also the Roman festival of Dea Dia, honoring the goddess in her role as cosmic mother.

 

Among South Korean Buddhists, this day begins their most important annual festival of Seokga Tansinil, commemorating the Buddha’s birthday, and culminating a week later at the Full Moon. See Visakha Puja, at the May 24 – 25 Full Moon.

 

May 18, Saturday

In the Greco-Roman calendar, this day is sacred to Apollo, god of the Sun, of divination, poetry, music and all intellectual activities. Curiously, the Greeks and Romans honor Apollo's opposite at this time too, as 5/18 is also the first day of a week-long feast of Faunus, or Pan, the primeval, riotous God of male sexuality and vitality. The emphasis during this festival is on healthy masculine relationships of brotherhood, parenthood and mentorship

 

May 19, Sunday

Celtic and Irish festival of the Sacred Spring, on which wells and springs are adorned with flowers and greenery in honor of the goddess Brigid, who embodies the feminine principle of the latency of new life.

 

In most Christian calendars this is Pentecost Sunday, commemorating one of the first recorded trance channeling events in history: the miracle by which the Holy Spirit inspired disciples of Jesus to "speak in tongues," thereby communicating in languages not consciously known to them, to a multitude of listeners from many nations.

 

Among Christians Pentecost replaced Whitsunday, which was sacred to the Norse goddess Frigg, who was wife to Odin and honored among ancient Germanic peoples as Queen of Heaven. It was customary on this day to celebrate the power of feminine love by decorating love nests and mazes.

 

In the southern hemisphere, Pentecost is a late autumn or early winter feast, and has a different quality from the northern festival. As shown here in Urubamba, Peru at the fiesta of Senor de Torrechayoc -- the Lord of the town is Jesus now, but used to be the creator Wiracocha -- is actually a classic example of how the southern hemisphere does in late May and June the rites that northern peoples do in December. Like the Japanese On Matsuri -- see Dec. 15 - 18  -- Peruvians stage a ceremony of purification and renewal in which they escort the sacred image from its home to a temporary shrine from which it will return en el octavo, eight days later, in a procession that is anything but solemn. Imagine thousands of masked dancers and clowns costumed as cops, bishops, lawyers and almost everything else that is ripe for a lampoon, and hundreds of devils with suggestive noses, and you get the general idea of Pentecost in South America.

 

 

May 20, Monday (11:11am HT; 9:11pm UT)

Sun enters Gemini, sign of the Twins. The next 30 days, under the influence of Mercury, ruler of Gemini, are especially favorable for learning and studies of all kinds; this is why for many centuries spring final exams have been held in late May and early June in Western countries. This time favors plans and organizations, communications, and all enterprises that are opportunistic and flexible in nature. It also favors partnerships based on equality, which is why so many marriages are made now, most auspiciously on or near the Gemini New Moon, on June 8. See next month’s UFC.

 

May 23, Thursday

Among the Baha'i community, this is one of the year's holiest days, marking the Declaration of the Bab: the day in 1844 when Ali Muhammed announced that he is the anticipated "Coming One" of all religions. Work is suspended; focus and concentration go within for clearing, forgiveness and atonement

 

May 24, Friday

This day is celebrated throughout the ancient Mediterranean world as the feast of Hermes Trismegistos ("thrice-great"), derived from the Egyptian neter Djehuti (aka Thoth), and honored as the patron of letters, wisdom, magic, alchemy and other occult sciences. The famous saying "As Above, So Below" is but one of the Hermetic principles attributed to Hermes Trismegistos. 5/24 is perfectly appropriate as his feast because it comes just after the Sun enters Gemini. The communication-related properties of this sign were evident even in very ancient times.

 

May 24, Friday (6:26pm; 5/25 (Sat), 4:26am UT)

Full Moon in Sagittarius opposite Sun in Gemini. This Full Moon is usually favorable for domestic activities sacred to Juno, and for the setting up of a home -- another reason why marriages occur so often in the Gemini month of late May through June 20. The usual conditions are complicated this time by Neptune in Pisces at 90° to the two great lights, forming with them a T-cross that opens up all the possibilities, from a creative and spirit-based three-planet alliance to scams and frauds, especially by those who are skilled at playing to the dreams and expectations of others.

 

In the Wiccan calendar, this is the Strong Sun Moon, when the days begin to grow longest and nature's vitality is at its peak.

 

Buddhists in Thailand and the Theravadin Buddhists of most other East Asian countries celebrate now a brilliant and festive counterpart to what many other Buddhists celebrate on the Full Moon of April 25 (see last month’s UFC) as Visakha Puja, or Buddha Day, commemorating the birth, life and teachings of the Awakened One.

 

In the Celtic tree calendar, this lunation is Oak Moon, said to be the halfway point of the lunar year that begins in December. On this day awakened and reverent human beings renew commitments to their gods, their guides and the path of their work.

 

In the ancient Greco-Roman solar calendar, this day is the purification festival of Ambarvalia, so-called because it was customary to circumambulate the fields and pray for the continued blessing of Demeter/Ceres on the growing plants.

 

Finally, at this Full Moon there is an annular eclipse of the Moon.

 

May 25, Saturday

Birthday of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803), the American pantheistic philosopher who taught the immanence of divinity in humanity and nature.

 

Tibetan Buddhists, like most others (see previous), hold major festivities now. This day is the 15th day of the month of Saga Dawa. Tibetans observe the seventh day of this month (May 17 this year) as the date of the Buddha’s birth, while his birth, enlightenment and passing into parinirvana are all celebrated at this Full Moon, one of the year’s most auspicious times for pilgrimages.

 

May 25, Saturday

Tibetan Buddhists celebrate their feast of Saga Dawa Duchen, the great annual spring festival commemorating the birth, enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha.

 

May 26, Sunday

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

 

Feast of St. Philip Neri (1516 - 1595), one of the most beloved of all Roman Catholic saints. Philip was said to live in continuous elation and ecstasy, to have performed countless miracles of healing by touch, and to have been able to read the inmost thoughts and destinies of others. One person who encountered him in the street reported that Philip would "leave me so full of joy that I could not tell which way I was going."

 

In the Roman Catholic Calendar, this is Trinity Sunday, which is celebrated eight weeks after Easter. It often falls, as it does this year, near the Triple Goddess spring festival on May 31 - June 2: yet another fascinating example of the ways in which ancient "pagan" feasts transmuted, even if strangely, into Christian counterparts. In this case the festival of three divine women -- Maiden, Mother, Wise Woman -- became a Sunday in honor of an all-male trio of Father, Sun and Holy Spirit.

 

May 27, Monday

The United States observes its Memorial Day holiday, honoring the country's war dead and commemorating the sacrifices and the horrors of war, on this day.

 

May 29, Wednesday

For the Baha'i community, this day commemorates the Ascension of the Baha'ullah, founder of the faith, who passed over on this day in 1844.

 

May 30, Thursday

In the ancient Khemitian calendar, a 16-day festival cycle in honor of Ma'at, neter of Truth, begins on this day. The image of Ma'at is carried in procession to the temple of Ra in Heliopolis, symbolizing the power of Truth as equal even to the majesty of the Sun (Epipi, day 16). Ceremonies of purification are held now, and prayers are offered to Ma'at and her consort, Lord Djehuti (Thoth), for knowledge and wisdom, in what has been for thousands of years the academic season of completion and graduation.

 

In the Roman Catholic calendar, this day is the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ, honoring the mystery of the Eucharist and, behind it, celebrated universally since very ancient times, the core myth of divinity immanent in the vitality of the grain. Corpus Christi comes 60 days after Easter.

 

May 31, Friday

Mercury enters Cancer. Astrologers consider this placement neutral -- but quick, restless Mercury is never completely comfortable in the watery, Moon-ruled sign of the home, though gossip does tend to spike while he's in the house.

 

May 31, Friday

Mars enters Gemini. This is one of the "neutral" placements in which Mars is not totally comfortable, as he is mostly action and Gemini is mostly talk -- but for Mars it beats being in the Moon-ruled water sign of Cancer (7/13), where he is said to be "in fall," and feels like a jock who has to watch soap operas and learn macrame until the cast on his leg comes off.

 

May 31 - June 2 (Friday - Sunday)

One of the year's three great festivals in honor of the Triple Goddess, marking her transition from virgin to mother. The rites of love that are celebrated now are invocations of abundance and fertility for mothers, and good health for all. (The two other main Triple Goddess rites mark the transition from Mother to Wise Woman around Sept. 31, while the Sun is in Libra, the sign of marriage; and the transition from Wise Woman to Virgin again around Jan. 31, at Imbolc, the great Mid-Winter Festival.)

 

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.