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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.
THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
THROUGH THE WATER
Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for November, 2014, the hinge point into one of the pivotal periods amid the years of revolution, transformation and redirection that define the end of the Piscean era and the onset of the Aquarian Age in all its challenges and possibilities. More in a moment on the features of this window in spiritual and mythic space. First a look at current progress toward Sacred Sounds Egypt 2015:
Master of the Ways of the Heart
The sonic journey through mythic space that Leslie Zehr and I will guide through the Nile Valley and Sinai is now four months away. We have two new items to pass along:
One is good news for those who'd love to join us, and are bending every resource of creativity and will to do it. Vantage Travels in Cairo has agreed to extend our deposit payment due date to Dec. 15. Those who commit by mid-December will be assured of the tour rates listed on our Registration page. We can still accommodate those who sign up after Dec. 15, but our rates may go slightly higher by next year because domestic airfares in Egypt, like those everywhere, will go up as we get closer to our flight dates in February and March.
The other new piece is that Mark Wilcox and I have now recorded one of the actual ancient Egyptian chants that the Sacred Sounds group will sing in the holy places that are sacred to Aset, the mother, healer and birth giver better known to us by her Greek name, Isis. Links to the Aset Werwer Ibrahim chant are now on our main Egypt portal page, in the page text and the orange Soundcloud logo at the left. The music is scored for authentic instruments -- harp, flute and rattles -- as well as voices, and honors Lady Isis as Master of the Ways of the Heart.
She is among the Netert -- the feminine emanations of divinity in Nature -- honored today along with her husband Ausar (aka Osiris) on the eleventh day of the ancient Egyptian month of Koiak, better known to us here and now as Oct. 27. In the ancient Egyptian sacred year, this date celebrates Osiris at the beginning of his story of betrayal, murder, healing and redemption that can only begin now, in the Scorpionic month of death and regeneration. Before we track this, and see its uncanny resemblances to the passage we're navigating now in our collective soul journey, it will be useful to get our bearings and see where we're headed now and in the months just ahead.
The Runup to Round 6
As you know if you've read some UFC pages in the last two years, we're on our way to the next exact forming of the master planet aspect that rules the years from 2012 to 2016. This turbulent, explosive 90° "square" brings Uranus, the Revolutionary, Trickster and Bringer of Change, in the fire sign of Aries, into conflict with Pluto, the Black Lord of the Underworld who rules the sign of Scorpio, and along with it all that must wither and fall in the Dead Moon of November, in the home of Saturn the Reaper, the earth sign of Capricorn. The adversarial relationship of a square is not so much the "difficult," "negative" or "stressful" combination seen when astrology is moving too fast and thin. It is, rather, a relationship of disharmonious tension -- as distinct from the harmonious tension of a 180° opposition -- and appears in our personal and collective lives when we must make or at least move toward changes that can no longer be avoided.
This is why, as we've seen the first five times this aspect has formed exactly between June, 2012 and April of this year, a square, opposition or conjunction between Uranus and Pluto has formed at such intervals of cataclysmic change as the French Revolution of the 1790's, the European revolutions of the 1840's, the Russian revolution of 1917 and the troubles of 1968. For more on the themes and overarching symbols of these Uranus-Pluto events, see Under Siege, the Mythic Prelude covering Round 5. As Round 6 is forming now, and we'll look at it more closely next month, we need not give it much space yet here, except for two items. One is that Round 6 is unusually long. It is really a prolonged two-month process, unfolding in December and January, because the two Moon's Nodes are slowly precessing (moving backward) to align exactly with Uranus on the Libra-Aries axis, so that both Nodes will also square Pluto.
There is more about what this means in last month's prelude, Under the Dragon's Tail. For now, the essential thing to remember moment to moment, as the Nodes concern relationships and karmic attachments and targets, is that the links that matter most to us, especially our intimate love unions, must be conserved at all costs, their preciousness clearly perceived and bravely honored, at a time when our relationships are under such pressure and panic that even despair and discard can seem positively alluring. It is time to remember that a slight man or woman is easily upset by petty annoyances, while a great soul is disturbed only by great tribulations, if indeed it can be knocked off center at all. We hold close the ones we love, and we recall, in this season of harvest and reckoning, ancient wisdoms that speak to our hearts. "Do not make a woman cry," the Talmud says. "God numbers her tears." And "Do not let the Sun go down on your wrath," as Paul wrote (Ephesians 4.26) -- especially toward the one lying next to you as sleep comes.
The other touchstone of the time that we'll explore next month has run like a red thread through all five Rounds of Uranus-Pluto so far: that we are not just witnessing or enduring the changes now at hand. We are co-creating them. And not merely in the realm of things and structures, where we've long been accustomed to perceive change in the rise and eclipse of governments and leaders, the growth and decay of economies, the roar and rumble of earth and sea, the scythe of famine and plague. The changes are in our individual minds and the intentional field of collective consciousness. And as the agony increases in hopelessly inept and corrupt politics, in intransigent beliefs and tribal bigotries, addictive violence and now the little-understood scourge of Ebola, we feel its impact not just in our bodies, but in our consciousness, as shown here, drawn by the great Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee on Oct. 7. We are being not just asked or invited, we are being compelled and dared to decide whether we will live in fear, or in love. As fear is relentlessly stoked by reptilian controllers who feed on it, so must love now increase to counterbalance the fear, and ultimately, when we are worthy and ready, to prevail.
So we go now to one of the great love stories in our planet's history, the master myth that can be called the origin or counterpart of so many other stories in our religions and literatures that there is almost no great scenario that is neither seeded nor mirrored in the story of Aset and Ausar, better known to us under their Greek names of Isis and Osiris. It is easy to follow their story in these pages because, even though the four-season calendar of European and west Asian astrology has a radically different timing and rhythm from the Egyptian three-season calendar of inundation (akhet), growth (peret) and harvest ending in a dry season (shemu), the events of the Egyptian sacred year mirror the astrological year in ways that are absolutely uncanny. And this was true long before Alexander and his Macedonians acquired Egypt, and the influence of Greek astrology got obvious and strong in artifacts like the zodiac ceiling at Dendera, created during the Ptolemaic dynasty that ended with Cleopatra.
We'd expect, for example, that the month most closely linked with "westing" -- for the Egyptians had no word for death -- would be from late June to late July, when the harvest is in and the soil is exhausted into red dust that waits for the return of life with the new flood coming on July 26. But no. The darkest, deadliest part of the Isis and Osiris story comes right where European mythographers would have placed it, with Hallowe'en and Mourning Moon in the month of Scorpio. We're about to see how this phase of the Egyptian ritual theatre cycle tells us much about the events and personalities who get much of our public attention now.
Getting Caught In the Box
The story begins on Oct. 27 with the Festival of Osiris at his main center of worship at Aptju, better known by its Greek name of Abydos. He is shown here at the zenith of his happiness, power and renown as the teacher of farming, of pottery, and other arts worked in the Earth element, of baking, brewing and animal husbandry, and the rule of law. Behind him are Isis, always identifiable by the birth chair (not a “throne”), above her head, and Nebt-het ("Nephthys"), crowned by a column. These three are brother and sister. Osiris is husband to Isis, and has also been, with consequences soon to prove disastrous, Nephthys' lover too. The figures at right, though smaller, are important too. They are both Lady Seshat. She is crowned with flowers of the wisdom plant, papyrus, and is the divine chironomid, or conductor, who marks with her arm gestures the tempo and rhythm of a realm living in sacred time. All is in perfect harmony. But not for long.
Set, Lord of the desert Red Land and agent of chaos and destruction. is the brother of all three of the principal figures in this tableau, and is also the husband of Nephthys. He knows that she has not only had a happy tumble with the King in the melilot garden, but has secretly borne his son, Anup ("Anubis"). Furious, Set has publicly defied Osiris' authority, and now prepares a deadly peace offering. He has had a magnificent coffin-shaped box made to the exact proportions of Osiris' body, and at a feast in the King's honor, has the box paraded in and offers it as the prize in a party game: whoever lies down in the box and fits it exactly will win it, and get to take it home. As soon as Osiris lies in the box, Set and his fellow Redlanders slam and nail it shut, then take it out and throw it in the River. They are sure Osiris will suffocate in there. The realm is in chaos, and Isis, now searching for her husband, sings Have You Seen Osiris? These events take place in the heart of Scorpio month, on what we call Nov. 9, and are enacted in the Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys.
So far . . . hmmm. So strange. We're in the domain of religious fable, all right. We are not even halfway through Act 1, and we have already seen enough unlikely occurrences to help us see why Coleridge had to coin the term "willing suspension of disbelief" to describe our readiness to stay with bizarre plots in theatre and other story lines. For openers, Nephthys was able to seduce Osiris by dressing as Isis and impersonating her voice. Yes, the two are sisters, and it was pitch dark that night in the garden. Yet the thing that really irks Isis when she finds out, and gets her almost as mad as Set, is that Osiris could not recognize the scent of a woman other than his wife. Isis is too patient and forgiving to remark, as Set does, that Osiris has a nose of stone. Yet she does wonder. As do we.
The main puzzle in what we've seen so far is, of course, the box trick. How, we wonder , can it possibly work? How does Osiris not see that a murderous rival who hates him and wants to harm him has laid a trap for him? How is it that a civilization as deep and mighty as Egypt does not have, ahhhh, a more grounded individual in the seat of power? To explore these and other questions and get a whiff of the answers, you can visit When It Rained in Egypt, my holistic theatre piece for the Second Renaissance.
It may be best for now to see it all in context, and to wonder whether you or I have ever seen it happen that good-hearted and well-meaning people are as clueless as lambs, unable to sense the danger until it strikes, to see the opportunity before it vanishes and to spot potential allies, much less form useful teams with them. Have we ever noticed too how the craftiest merchants of death and fear, the masters of domination, manipulation and control, seem to perceive the task and terrain instantly, to act at once and to build organizations of irresistible size and strength?
How to start making something that resembles sense out of all this? You can visit Abydos, the holiest of all the places sacred to Osiris. Its ancient name of Abdju in the Suf language means "the hill of the reliquary" because the head of Osiris was said to have been buried here after he was revived by Isis and murdered for the second time by Set, who scattered the fourteen pieces of his body all along the Nile Valley. Even by the standards of a place as steeped in mystery as Egypt, Abydos is off the scale of wonder and intrigue. It is the site of two adjoining temples. The more recent, in the sense that is is "only" some 3,300 years old, is the funerary temple of Seti I, father of Ramses II, who was either really "the Great" or more like the Donald Trump of his time, building things too big to be moved or replaced.
Seti's temple has on one ceiling lintel this famous and controversial set of images that resemble a helicopter, a tank and two jet aircraft. It also has a gallery bearing a king list of all the pharaohs whose names were considered fit to print when the temple was built -- excluding, that is, the female monarch Hatshepsut and the "heretic" Akhnaton. Seti's temple has the most exquisitely carved wall reliefs to be found anywhere in Egypt. Many of them still have their original brilliant colors. Others, like the banner image on this page, have lost all color and been smudged because, like so many of the holiest icons everywhere, it has been touched by countless devotees in the places we would expect to be blackened and worn: the throat, seat of the giving of Truth, and the phallus, surmounted by Isis in kite form, conceiving at this moment the solar hero Horus.
Seti's temple also has, and this is the whole point of its having been built here, proximity to one of Egypt's most ancient sacred sites, the Osireion, the Hall of Osiris. Along with the structures built in front of the Sphinx at Giza, and usually mis-identified as a "Valley Temple" built by Tuthmosis IV, the Osireion is one of only two surviving sites built with immense rectangular stones, and pillars like the ones shown here, so massive that they dwarf even most of the granite blocks in the pyramids at Giza. It is no wonder that like other sites that are called Cyclopean because they were said to have been built by giants, Abydos appears to have been constructible only by beings superhuman in intellect and skill as well as size. You can descend close to the floor on the stairway shown at left, which is normally blocked by a barrier at the bottom to keep visitors from slipping and falling on the algae-slick floor. On a column out of frame to the right of this picture are two black Flower of Life images that appear to have been neither carved nor painted, but somehow to have been burned into the stone. Fascinating as these are, though, curiosity keeps going to that floor, and the inevitable question: Why is the lower floor of this two-storey temple usually under water? Did the ancient builders, so masterful in the design and execution of almost everything else they built, somehow jiggle their Nilometer so weirdly that they completely miscalculated the water table and flooded the lower floor by mistake? The plan of the Osireion poses some even stranger questions. The two rows of blue squares are those great pillars. The small rooms around the perimeter look at first like chapels of niches designed to hold sculptures or walls inscribed with devotional texts. Yet there is nothing in any of these rooms, apparently never was. A close look at the longer stairways to the right and left of the center perhaps shows us why. The stairs do not go all the way down to the lower floor, so that anyone descending them would have had to jump or climb off the bottom step to get down there. Why is this? Who would build stairs that are designed to get us only part of the way down before we come back up? This drawing of how the Osireion might look when dry, as it can be at the end of the Shemu harvest season, provides another view and perhaps a clue. Were the two longer stairways, and the shorter ones in the center, intended all along just to get visitors into the water and back out, like the steps in the corner of a swimming pool? My way to test this was to visit the Osireion in the early morning or end of the day, when there would be no other visitors who'd see me in the water and want to go in there too.
Every time I go to the Osireion, I go deeper into the water, algae and all. The only practical difficulty in this is that the wetter I get, the more baksheesh has to go to the guards. But it's worth every Egyptian pound (13¢), because for the next day I buzz and tingle, not just in parts of me that got wet, but in my whole body. If my experience is anything to go by, then one way to explain the strange features of the Osireion is to imagine that it was in fact a water therapy temple that was built to infuse vibrant health and energy into the bodies of those who went there in sincere faith and a firm intention of their best health. This would have made perfect sense to the Egyptians, for the water in the Osireion was in fact the living body of Isis herself, Lady of the River. As she brought Osiris back to life not once but twice, then could her healing force, channeled through her husband's most powerful shrine, work the same medicine on us? It was always worth a try. Still is.
For more on Abydos and the other sacred sites we'll visit in Sacred Sounds Egypt 2015, please see our Itinerary. If you have questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, see our Facebook page and join our Facebook group.
Playing with Thunder
A little more in closing, for the benefit of those who might like to arrange a reading or other time in person, or by Skype. I'm in Kyoto, Japan through Nov. 12, then in Hawaii until Dec. 1. I lived for some years in both these places. The aim of my visits to them is to pay respects and refresh heart cords, especially with my former wife Kimie's mother, Chieko, who turned 85 this year. It is time to see her and thank her for her many kindnesses to me -- though for all I know, she may outlive me. "God, she's fast!" my late father kept saying when he met her. He called her The Bird.
Others I want to see are the brilliant actors from whom I got to learn the classical Japanese kyogen comedy. My master, Shigeyama Sennojo, who may have been the finest man I have met, made his final exit two years ago at 87. "Theatre is fiction," he said, "but it is truth if it tells honestly the stories of the heart." When he taught me Kaminari, The Thunder God, he made the unusual choice of having me play him without a mask because he said my face was more kowai (scary). In a summer theatre and dance moriawase, variety show, he had me dance Kaminari, and at the climactic moment, when the god stamps and roars just before he leaps into the clouds, thunder boomed out of a clear sky. I was told that Sennojo, seated behind me on stage, rocked with laughter when he heard this. Others in the family were less thrilled. The last of the Shigeyamas to get an answer from the thunder when he did Kaminari in Kyoto was Sennojo's grandfather, a comic shaman so mighty that in his dance, a lightning bolt hit the ancient gnarled pine tree next to the Noh hall at Nishi Honganji temple, blasting it into two pieces and setting it on fire. This happened in 1912. Some of Sennojo's family were less than ecstatic to know that the first actor in 84 years to call the thunder and get him to show up was, of all things, a gaijin.
We persevere. It helps if we do that we love with the ones we love, and hold fast to their hearts no matter what, most of all in times like these. If the voice is clear, its power comes from that. Keep Holding That Frequency.
THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
Oct. 31 - Nov. 3 (4 days):
One of the year's four great "midseason" festivals, this one at the midpoint between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. These days have been a critical weather marker from ancient times, as this is the week, called Hallowmas in Christian Europe, when the birds fly south, the animals migrate and hibernate for the winter, and the crops flame out in glory, yielding new food and the seeds to grow anew in the spring just before they die and decay into winter. As this moment in nature marks the onset of mortality, it has always been, in the imagination of human beings everywhere, a time of meeting between the living and the dead.
These red days of autumn pass like maple leaves in the stream, and are among the most passionate times of the year for people whose emotional bodies are engaged. Among the other festivals held all over the planet at this point in the year:
The Celtic New Year feast of Samhain, which actually begins Oct. 31, continues until Nov. 27. The time of increasing darkness from now until February is under the protection of Cailleach (the "veiled woman"). Note the resemblance to "Kali": the Witch at her most severe, the dark side of the Wise Woman aspect of the Triple Goddess.
In the Khemitian calendar, these three days are the Isia, the Feast of Aset (Isis), which commemorates the dismemberment of Ausar (Osiris) by his brother and murderer Set, and the healing and love skills of Aset in collecting and reintegrating the King's body, bringing Ausar back to life a second time -- after having already revived him once after Set first killed Ausar by apparently suffocating him inside a wooden box. The love union of Aset and Ausar after this second resurrection produces the solar hero Hor (Horus), who will seek to kill his father's murderer -- the Hamlet plot first appears on Earth -- and to restore balance in the Realm between order and chaos, life and death.
In the Norse calendar, these days are sacred to Baldur, the handsome young Adonis/Attis counterpart in Teutonic myth, as his annual moment for death and disappearance into the Earth approaches.
In the southern hemisphere, the first days of November are the spring festival of Beltaine. As Robin Mutoid writes from Australia, from early October "I clearly see the whites and pinks of plum and cherry blossom petals scattering and shining in the bright Spring light and as the birdsong, raucous with new growth and energy, caresses the Air." The year may be entering the season of death and decay up north, but Down Under, and all over the southern hemisphere, life is surging now.
In the Wiccan calendar, sunset on this day begins Hecate Night, celebrating the most formidable aspect of the Triple Goddess.
In Haiti, Nov. 1 is the Feast of Ghede, Loa of the Dead. Days of the Dead and ancestor festivals are held in many other Native American traditions on this day.
11/1 - 2, Saturday - Sunday:
In Roman Catholic and some other Christian calendars, All Saints' Day on Nov. 1 is followed by All Souls' Day, a time of prayer for departed souls who have not yet achieved sainthood.
11/1 – 4 (four days):
Among the Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest, the annual Tewa Buffalo Dances give thanks for the abundance of the harvest and pray for correct alignment of the people with the four directions and elemental energies. This rite normally comes each year in the days before the Full Moon in Scorpio (see 11/6), though the timing of the Buffalo Dances can vary among the native communities
In the annual ritual play at the temple of Ra at Heliopolis, the crew of the boat that carries the Sun through the heavens speak on the principles of cosmic and earthly order, thereby reaffirming divine law in a speech contest judged by gods and men. As a teaching piece, this is one of the most important ritual plays in the year.
On the same day at the temple of Hetheru (Hathor) in Dendera, devotees of the netert of love and beauty celebrate one of her great annual festivals (month of Koiak, day 17).
Rastafarians observe the Coronation of Ras Tafari as Emperor Haile Selassie I, King of Ethiopia in 1930. The priests mark the advent of the messiah with Biblical reading and hymns.
In Mexico, where Nov. 2 is the old Aztec Day of the Dead, this is the Dia de los Muertos, celebrated with raucous festivities honoring the dead. Millions of people wear skull hats and skeleton suits, and gather to sing, dance and play the Comedy of the Dead.
In the USA, daylight saving time ends at 2:00am on this first Sunday in November. Set clocks back one hour.
11/2 - 3, Sunday - Monday:
Southern Taurid meteor shower peaks in the evening of 11/2 Hawaii Time, in the morning of 11/3 UT. The Moon is dark now, so viewing will be optimal.
In the Celtic calendar, Nov. 3 is said to be an especially favorable day for new journeys and enterprises. Hunters often utilized it.
The Irish celebrate this day as the feast of the great prophet and visionary St. Malachy, the "Irish Nostradamus".
11/3, Monday: eve - 11/4, Tuesday eve:
In the Islamic calendar, this 10th day of the month of Muharram is Ashura (literally "ten"), a day that commemorates the martyrdom of Hoseyn, son of the Prophet's daughter Fatima, along with 72 of his family members and followers, including his sister Zeinab. This, as Azin Izadifar has kindly explained it, is one of those Muslim holy days that can differ widely in meaning and practice, depending on whether one is on the Sunni or Shia side of the faith. For Sunnis, whose ancestors carried out the bloody deed, this is an auspicious day on which believers fast and do other rites of purification. But for the Shiites, who are Hoseyn's spiritual descendents, this is a day of mourning on which fasting is strictly forbidden, and some believers bruise and bloody themselves in wild rituals of self-flagellation.
This day is the Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as Qudrat -- Divine Power.
Remember, remember the fifth of November / Gunpowder, treason and plot. / We know no reason why gunpowder treason / Should ever be forgot.
Nov. 5 is best known in English-speaking countries as Guy Fawkes Day, which commemorates the arrest and execution of the man who in 1605 led the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the British Parliament. This event, marked with fireworks and the burning of "the old Guy" in effigy, superseded an earlier Celtic Samhain rite in which images of the sufferings and evil spirits of the old year were burned to purify the new year. While officially seen as a mentally unfastened incendiary, Fawkes has always been beloved by those who favor increased freedom at almost any cost. Best new retelling of his story: the Wachowski brothers' film V for Vendetta.
11/6, Thursday, 12:24pm HT, 10:24pm UT:
Full Moon in Taurus opposite Sun in Scorpio. In this alignment the feminine is strengthened, as the Moon is "exalted" in the Venus-ruled sign of Taurus. This Full Moon is positively aspected, with the Taurus Moon forming a 120° trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and the Scorpio Sun completing a grand trine with Venus in Scorpio and Chiron in Pisces. While Venus is "in detriment" in Scorpio, the dynamics of this moment are favorable, especially for the healing of relationships, and the empowerment of individuals who are ready to claim and use their creativity.
In Tanta, between Cairo and Alexandria, and for Sufis who come from all over the Middle East and Europe, this Full Moon is the climactic night of one of the year's great moulids, or folk festivals. The heady chant Essayed elimen shibak madidu / Gabel yser men bilad u Rom bahadidu sings the spectacular miracle by which the 18th-century saint Sayed Badawen is said to have used his power of intention like a very long arm to pluck his friend through the ceiling of a prison in Rome and bring him back through the air to Egypt.
In the Celtic/Druidic calendar, this Full Moon in Scorpio month is called Mourning Moon, as befits the fading vitality of the year. Also Dark Moon, Fog Moon and Mad Moon, as many come unhinged now in this season of the witch.
Among the Hopi and Zuni peoples, this Full Moon is Ancestors' Day, when families place food offerings in lakes and streams in honor of their departed ones.
This day is Nanak Jayanti, celebrating the birthday (1469) of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib, founder of the Sikh religion. He articulated the key doctrine that divinity is to be found within oneself, and that the devotee may merge the human soul with the Divine Spirit by invoking Akal Purakh, one of the sacred names of God. While the feast of Guru Nanak is movable within the Sikh lunisolar calendar, it almost always falls in the month of Kartik (October-November).
An important day in modern spiritual history, as it was on this day in 1993 that the Re-Imagining Conference emphasized the importance of the feminine principles of Holy Wisdom (Sophia) and the sacredness of female spirituality within the mainstream Christian tradition.
In the Jain calendar, the day after the Taurus Full Moon is Jnana (or Gyan) Panchami, also called Laabh Paacham. This festival honors learning, especially the spiritual knowledge contained in sacred books. The emphasis here is on the Jnana, transcendent wisdom, that is the fruit of pure spiritual study.
Mercury enters Scorpio, not one of his favorite places, as Mercury's communicativeness can't operate at its freest comfort amid the secrecy of the Scorpion, and his Gemini directness and ebullience in communication is muted and controlled within Scorpio's secretiveness and dread of being seen to have made a mistake. His mentality will be apt to turn self-critical and negating in the week following the Black Moon of Nov. 22, especially on the 26th, when he'll conjoin Saturn in Scorpio. The best recourse: focus on the value of precise, devoted Saturnian effort.
In the Celtic tradition, this is the day each year when Gwynn ap Nudd, god of light born of darkness and king of the fairies, opens the door to his kingdom. This day is observed especially at the psychic portal of Glastonbury Tor, one of Britain's most important sacred sites.
In the Roman Catholic calendar, this is the feast of St. Theodore Tyro, hero of one of the most celebrated martyrdom stories from the persecutions of Diocletian in the early 4th century. Theodore, a Christian officer in the Roman army decades before it was healthy to be one, used the leniency of his commander -- who gave Theodore several chances to renounce his faith -- as the vehicle for glowing speeches that inspired new martyrs in the decades before Constantine the Great made Christianity the state religion of the empire (336). It was reported that when Theodore was finally burned, his soul shot up into the sky in a flash of white light.
In the sacred solar calendar of the ancient Khemitians (aka Egyptians), Nov. 9 is a day of fearful, sad remembrance, as are many days in the depth of the dying season in the month of Scorpio. According to the ancient legends, it is on the 17th day of Hethara month, sacred to Het-Hor, aka Hathor, that Set pulls the murderous box trick on Ausar (Osiris), sealing and apparently suffocating the king in a gorgeously decorated casket presented as the prize in a party game. Set and his henchmen throw the box in the Nile, who carries it to the sea. Queen Aset (Isis) must now go in search of it, and her journey begins on this day with the canticle of Lamentations of Aset and Nebt-het (aka Nepththys) for Ausar. The whole story is at Hermes3 in When It Rained in Egypt.
Manly P. Hall writes in The Secret Teachings of All Ages that the day Osiris got into the box and began a journey by water – in the water month of Scorpio – was the same day that Noah and his family boarded the ark as the rain began to fall.
Birthday of Martin Luther (1483), whose action of dispute against the Church of Rome in 1517 launched the Protestant Reformation. He was a typical Scorpio character in many respects, from his generic black Scorpio garb to the avid, eager sexuality and the decisiveness to the point of finality. The last of these is naturally associated with the 8th house of the astral wheel, home of Pluto, lord of Scorpio. This is the house of death and transformation, most comfortable for those who aim to sweep away the old and bring the new.
Born on the same day, in 1463, was another authentic genius of the 16th century. Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus (born Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) was physician, alchemist, and tireless champion of a new medicine that would be based on practical experiment, not blind acceptance of traditional authorities. His name means "beyond Celsus," the ancient Roman physician. Paracelsus' public burning of Galen's works in Basel was as revolutionary as, and likely much more theatrical than, Luther's posting of his 95 theses at Wittenberg.
In the Norse calendar, 11/11 is Einherjar, commemorating fallen heroes and honoring the 432,000 spirit warriors who guard Valhalla. This was the date chosen as Armistice Day at the end of World War I, and is celebrated annually as Veterans' Day in the United States.
Birthday (1922) of the admired American novelist, satirist and wry teacher of compassion Kurt Vonnegut, whose often dark, stinging view of humanity is typical in some ways of other artists (notably Voltaire, born Nov. 21) who arrived on the planet in Scorpio month.
Also born on this day (1821): Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky, whose stories of the dark night of the soul and deep, turbulent psychic states carry the Scorpionic themes of death and regeneration.
11/11 - 17 (one week):
This Scorpionic day of the dead coincides with another Teutonic rite of remembrance. On this day Hod, the lord of darkness, was said to have tossed a holly wand -- out of playful carelessness, not malice -- that pierced and killed Baldur, the beautiful young god of beauty and light. He is mourned now by his beloved Nanna, goddess of flowers, with whom he will be reunited in spring after he is born again, along with many other deities of light, on Dec. 25.
Birthday (1817) of Mirza Husayn Ali Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha'i faith, the first world religion to recognize officially the equality of all genders and peoples.
In ancient Greece and Rome, the festivals of Zeus and Jupiter are celebrated on this day.
11/12 - 14 (3 days):
In the Khemitian calendar, re-enactment of one of the most poignant parts of the story of Aset and Ausar (Isis and Osiris), as Aset seeks the body of the murdered Ausar, only to find that he and the box he's in are both inside a massive tree trunk that is holding up the royal palace of Byblos. How Aset grieves for her husband, finally gets him back, and begins the process of healing and reviving him, is the ritual play for this climactic festival of the month of Koiak (days 27 - 29).
In the Khemitian calendar, first day of Peret, the spring sowing season and the month of Tybi, sacred to Min, neter of love. On the same day, festival of Bastet, the cat netert, the watcher and protector.
In the Persian Calendar, this day marks the feast of Ardvi Sura, also called Anahita, the primeval Iranian goddess associated with "the waters," and thus linked also with wisdom, and the lunar forces of healing and fertility. Like many other goddesses whose rites have been suppressed by patriarchal authorities, in this case the Sasanian dynasty and then Islam, she remains beloved by her people.
On this day Venus enters Sagittarius. Unlike Mars, who chafes at his father's authority when he is in this sign, Venus will feel regally at ease and at home, and, as Winston Churchill put it, easily satisfied with the very best, until she crosses into more serious territory in Capricorn on Dec. 10.
In Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Earth, the second of the 20-day uinals in the cycle (8 Imix, Tzolkin 21). This uinal, symbolized by the Green Hummingbird, marks the growth of new life after the purifying Uinal of Fire at the beginning of the Tzolkin cycle.
11/17 - 18 (two days):
The Leonid meteor shower peaks today. The Leonids are the most highly variable of all the notable meteor showers, ranging from spectacular displays to little or no action from one year to another. This year's will be impaired, coming as it does right in the days before the Full Moon on Nov. 22.
This day is sacred to the memory, and now marks the widening influence, of the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1327), whose spiritual exercises emphasized the soul's responsibility for self-perfecting through a fourfold process of Creation, Affirmation, Negation and Transformation. He bears a stalk of lilies not only as an emblem of purity, but because he was a notable exception to the usual truth that "it is not in the nature of the intellect to display kindness" (Omraam Mikhael Aivhanov). He was, it is reported, a rare combination of gentleness and formidable intelligence.
In the Khemitian calendar, 11/20 is the ceremony of Sekhmet and the purifying flame, starting a four-day cycle honoring the lioness netert in her aspect as the purifying fire (Month of Tybi, day 5).
11/21 - 22, Friday - Saturday:
The Sun enters Sagittarius, and the month of the Archer begins. Now that the harvest is gathered and secured, the time of looking farther ahead commences in the drawing of strategic plans. As Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, matters of mundane government and law, and also higher laws of metaphysics are emphasized now.
The identity and role of Sagittarius hinge on the question of what he has on the point of the arrow he's aiming at the Scorpion's heart. If it's a poison, then the Archer threatens to kill the Scorpion. But as the Archer is actually the celebrated healer Chiron, placed in the sky by Zeus to honor his wisdom and compassion, the Archer is in fact firing a medicine arrow that can deliver the Scorpion from the sting of its own self-biting energy of excess, sexual flameout, death and transformation.
This day is important as a weather marker, as it comes a month before the Winter Solstice, and also gives the farmers one more warning to get the crop in at once. This is why many harvest festivals are celebrated now.
11/22, Saturday, 2:33am HT, 12:33pm UT:
Dark Moon conjunct Sun in Scorpio. Nowhere in the zodiac does the Moon go through such a reversal of energy and power as she does while the Sun is in Scorpio. At the Full Moon of Scorpio month (11/17), the Moon is advantageously placed in the Venus-ruled sign of Taurus, but at the Dark Moon she is in Scorpio, where she is "in fall", her powers weakened. This is one reason why our emphasis shifts off the emotional plane now to the simple practical business of storing the fuel, getting the harvest in, getting repairs made before the snows come.
This Dark Moon is tricky, as are all lunations in which the main planet who aspects the Moon-Sun pair is dreamy, misty, dualistic Neptune, now in his home sign of Pisces, in a 90° square to the two great lights. Here the less thrilling features of the Neptunian energy spectrum -- off-the-wall fantasy, deception and delusion (by oneself and others), victimhood and low self-esteem, energy vampirism and addictive behavior, depression, vivid and disturbing dreams and other sleep disorders. Not that you will necessarily be prone to these things -- but you may need to handle these behaviors in others, and to draw the line with those who'll attempt to manipulate you through guilt.
In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Cecilia, mythic patron saint of music, an imaginary saint whose fabricated story was this: For the Christians of Rome in the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161 - 180), the beautiful and brilliant Cecilia was an inestimable prize. Daughter of the Caecilii, one of Rome's wealthy and prestigious patrician clans, Cecilia was among the first, if not the first, Christian convert to come from the ancient nobility. Her connection with music is unclear, though it is known that, with a sure sense of drama and evangelical nerve, Cecilia chose the moment of the prothalamium -- the solemn hymn at the beginning of her wedding ceremony -- to announce to her would-be husband Valerian and a stunned crowd of gowns and togas that she was consecrating her virginity to "a spouse you know not of." She was beheaded after a hot air bath that was heated to seven times its normal temperature failed to cook so much as a light sweat out of her miraculously cool body.
In some Native American calendars, the Month of the Elk begins.
The famous Hopi and Zuni festival of Shalako is usually held at this Black Moon, amid the pitch darkness that is needed for the opening of these rites. Shalako, like the Japanese On-Matsuri and many other early winter festivals, begins as sacred images -- here the kachinas -- are removed from their shrines under cover of deep darkness, to be cleaned and restored to their places in the kiva just before the next Full Moon on Dec. 6.
11/22 - 24 (3 days):
These harvest days of November are celebrated as well as a time when hunting is good. 11/22 - 24 are sacred in the Greek and Roman calendar to the goddess Artemis-Diana in her aspect as divine huntress and destroyer.
In the Celtic/Druidic and Wiccan calendars, the November New Moon that follows the Dark Moon of Nov. 22 is called Dead Moon, as it falls in the Scorpio month of death and renewal, and is often close to the festivals of the dead in late October and early November. This New Moon is also called the Falling Leaf Moon.
For the Pueblo, Hopi and Zuni peoples, this New Moon is the Ancestors Festival. Food offerings are placed in lakes, streams and rivers, with prayers of thanksgiving and petition to the waters that bring life and bear away the souls of the departed.
In the Khemitian calendar, 9th day of the month of Tybi. Day of offerings to Sekhmet, and also of a feast of lights honoring Aset and Asar (Isis and Osiris).
This day is also the Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as Quwl, Sacred Speech.
In the Tibetan Buddhist calendar, this eighth day after the Taurus Full Moon is Lha Bab Duchen, the autumn festival that celebrates Buddha Shakyamuni's descent from the Tushita Heaven, where he had gone for three months, in a gesture of gratitude to his mother, to teach her, and other gods and goddesses, the secrets of release from samsara, the seemingly endless round of birth and death. This festival climaxes on the 22nd day of the 9th lunar month, when the Buddha finally descended from Heaven, after having first agreed -- in response to entreaties for his return to Earth -- to descend on the 15th day. As this feast honors the Buddha's mother, it has the status of Mother's Day in the Tibetan tradition.
Among the Yoruba and Santeria peoples, this day is one of the year's holiest and most solemn festivals, honoring Oya, Orisha of death and rebirth.
This fourth Thursday in November is American Thanksgiving Day.
On this day Mercury enters Sagittarius, possibly his least happy and advantageous placement. Here he is said to be "in detriment", dominated by the far more powerful energy of Jupiter, who rules this sign. While in Sagittarius, Mercury plays what could be called the Dilbert aspect of doing one's best to survive the ineptitude and indifference of a boss who did not exactly invent people skills in an earlier life.
In the Khemitian calendar, Nov. 28 is one of the year's major days for festivals of the netert (fem. of neter, the "divine" forces that manifest in nature, a word that comes from neter). On this day the feasts of Het-heru (Hathor) and Sekhmet are held, along with ceremonies to preserve the purity of truth, embodied as Ma'at, the netert of Truth (Tybi day 13).
In the ancient Greco-Roman calendar, this day is sacred to Astraea, the "star goddess", daughter of Zeus and Themis, who lived on earth during the Golden Age, then went to live in the heavens when life among humankind turned coarser. Like the day of Persephone (Nov. 25), this day represents the retreat of light and warmth from the Earth at the onset of winter. Astraea is often identified with the constellation Virgo, as shown here, and with Libra, whose scales she bears as the symbol of justice.
This day is also the birthday (1757) of the English mystical artist and poet William Blake. His is one of the significant Sagittarian dates that mark a change in emphasis from Scorpio month, with its artists of transformation (Luther, Paracelsus) dark psychological states (Dostoyevsky) and satire (Voltaire, Vonnegut) to the broad optimistic, sweeping vision of Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, as reflected in Blake’s all-encompassing view of Heaven, Hell and Earth.
In the Baha’i calendar, this day marks the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, son of the founder of the faith, in 1921. This day, following the Day of the Covenant on Nov. 26, is the second of the two holy days that complete the annual sacred year of the Baha’i
In the Christian cycle of saints' days, this day is celebrated as the feast of St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, Russia and Greece. The saint's name is a variant on the Greek Andros, "the man," an aspect of Dionysus who personified male virility.
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.