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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
UNDER THE DRAGON'S TAIL
Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for October, 2014. As you know if you've been reading these pages for a while, our emphasis in October at the beginning of Scorpio month (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21) is often on the endings and burnings, the losses and astringencies in our lives. They are mirrored, at least in the northern hemisphere, in this month's chill air, falling leaves and insistent darkness that drive our hearts deep in the wake of the High Holy Days and other reflective rites. By the end of this month, the harvest of our fields and intentions will have been weighed and stored, and we can reckon what we'll need to sustain us through the cold time.
This time, though, in October 2014 and the months ahead, the celestial dynamics are working powerfully on the axis of Libra and Aries, so that our attention goes to the tensions, the twists and the tradeoffs between our relationships, in everything from marriages and intimate unions to partnerships of all kinds -- that is, Libra -- and our individual Aries desire to project our intentions outward, seek personal results and rewards, and tell the planet who we are, or at least claim to be.
Why is the Libra-Aries polarity crucial in the months ahead? Because the two Moon's Nodes, precessing from the later to the middle degrees of these two signs, are coming into crosswind with our old friend and frying pan, the recurring Uranus - Pluto square that begins this month to start aligning toward its cataclysmic Round 6 in mid-December. More on this in a moment.
MAKING OUR MOVES
A little here about my plans and routes for this month, for the benefit of those who may want to connect online or in person for an astrocartography reading or other events. I'l do An Evening with Rumi in Eugene, Oregon on Oct. 4 with the brilliant music ensemble of nada yoga master Shanti Shivani. I'll be able to accommodate readings in Eugene through Oct. 7, then in California through Oct. 13, when I'll head out of LA for a journey through Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Angkor Wat. So web connections in late October may be about as straight and simple as pad thai until I get to Kyoto, Japan from Hallowe'en until mid-November.
Plans for Sacred Sounds Egypt 2015 are ripening well now, as we head toward the deposit due date of Nov. 1. If you'd like to join us next February 19 - March 7 on this sonic journey through mythic space, please contact me, or subscribe to my Aquarian Airlines blog for regular updates, or see our Egypt Sacred Sounds Facebook page and our Facebook group.
Everything revolves around groups now, and how they magnetize and bounce us, verify and validate us, or at least amplify and fill in the harmonics in our own ways of testing our own truth and temper against the echoes that may come not only from one other at a time, but also from several others who are all in the same kind of relationship with us. This brings us closer to those now crucially important Moon's Nodes.
THE AUTUMN LEAVES
. . . define and drive us now, as they come to their reds, purples and golds in the last wild, whirling passions of the year before winter comes. Where are we now in mythic star time? At moments of deciding and declaring our passion and truth before the planets come to deliver some boots and bills in December and January.
By the end of this month, Uranus and Pluto will be within 2° of forming another explosive, revolutionary 90° "square," like the preceding clashes that have marked turbulent clashes of consciousness since early 2012, will keep serving new shocks and chances through next spring, then will finally recede away to something resembling stillness by 2016.
f you're new to the cataclysmic theme of the ongoing Uranus-Pluto bangup, and would like to understand it a little better before we look at it more closely in the December UFC, you can see "Look at the Giver", about Round 5 of the Uranus-Pluto squares last May. For now, it's enough to note that when the Mad Bomber, Uranus in Aries, is pulling every trick he can play against the harrowing mortality of Pluto in Capricorn, old rules and rituals will flame and crackle away, beliefs that once felt as certain as iron will dissolve, and amid enough flashes in the pan to light the end of Burning Man, many of us will feel under and around us that cold, swirling sensation of having nowhere to stand firm, and nothing that can be trusted to hold.
It would all be much easier if more of us could see that the main changes we are co-creating now -- not merely enduring -- are not in things and physical spaces, or in our structures and institutions. The crucial events that come now are in our own minds and hearts, and the new roles we accept and invent as we rub, rock, jiggle, tease and light each other out of the old boxes of separation mind, and toward the unity consciousness that we will recognize, in time, as having been all along as inevitable as awakening, as unstoppable as love.
BOTH ENDS OF THE DRAGON
While the central theme of unpredictable, upsetting change remains the same from one Uranus-Pluto square, each of the seven exact squares from 2012 to 2015 will be different because the other planets move into new alignments with the two great adversaries, and with each other. What are the keys to the given circumstances of the month? One clue comes from Rumi, whose birthday on Sept 30 is just past us. He said this about the kind of partial solar eclipse coming at the Black Moon on Oct. 23:
"Remember, there are dangerous moments," he says in Coleman Barks' version of Full Moon, Bilal, "like those two points on the Moon's path called the dragon's tail, where an eclipse occurs." An eclipse is sometimes seen as dangerous because we are "cut off from sunlight," so that instead of being able to see our path the easy way in the clear warmth of the Sun, we can only glimpse it briefly the hard way, when "lightning snaps out like a whip," and shocks us into insight. This is the esoteric point of the famous tarot archetype of the Tower Struck by Lightning, which is not just an image of disaster and ruin. What it signifies is the searing pain that must come to one who's held too long and hard to the old straps and pillars of an ego that will not bend to the water or open to the wind.
The dragon's tail does not mean only the darkness of ignorance. It has a musky aroma. In a famous speech about astrology as "the excellent foppery of the world," the joyously bad and irresistibly sexy Edmund the Bastard in King Lear says, "My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and lecherous."
What else do astrologers see in the dragon's tail, and is anything notable going on at the dragon's front end? It's time to look more closely at the two Moon's Nodes, as shown here in Guido Bonatti's Liber Astronomiae (1550), which will move in the months ahead into a tight and potentially tremendous combination with Uranus and Pluto.
WEAVING THE CORD, CUTTING THE CORD
The Moon's Nodes, which are always exactly opposite to each other in the zodiac, are the two points where the Moon's orbit crosses the Sun's path, called the ecliptic. As we see in this unattributed Wikipedia diagram, the Ascending Node or Dragon's Head is called the North Node because it marks the point where the Moon's orbit crosses from south to north of the ecliptic. At the Descending Node or Dragon's Tail, called the South Node, the Moon crosses the ecliptic from north to south.
Unlike the planets, which progress or move "forward" in the sky from west to east against the daily westward motion of the zodiac signs -- so that we imagine the planets moving counterclockwise to the left around the horoscope wheel -- the Nodes precess, moving "backward," or clockwise to the right. The Nodes take a little over a year and a half to cross through each opposing axis of zodiac signs, so they move through the entire wheel in a Nodal or draconic cycle of about 18.6 years.
In our individual lives, the years when we complete each nodal cycle -- at 18, 37, 55 and 74 -- will usually attract new relationships and modify old ones, even bring them to closure. These changes in existing relationships may come in everything from personal connections that are now played out or no longer sustainable, as with dubious "friends" to whom some of us have ceded a habit of putting us down and keeping us small. And, as the Nodes signify alliances and associations with groups of people, our Nodal cycles and other major Nodal aspects can come at times when we change jobs and meet new work teams and client bases, or change friends and communities by relocating, or we join or leave church or temple congregations, clubs or other special interest groups.
Traditional, deterministic astrology long regarded both Nodes as "natural malefics." But in the modern astrology that began a century ago at the time of Reinhold Ebertin and Alice A. Bailey, only the South Node has been viewed as "negative," as a stressing and splitting force that is often linked with relationship ruptures and estrangements. The North Node, on the other hand, is considered more of an attracting and strengthening force that can bring new meetings and the opportunities and achievements that come with them.
For all of us, the skillful watching of the Nodes , and their transits to planet positions in our natal charts, can show us when to tighten or loose the ties that bid, when to get more publicly active and when to retreat from view. Favorable Node aspects encourage new networking and successful events, while dire Node moves can show us why ambition can be risky. So when the Nodes and the Sun are smiling at each other, yes, give that speech or open that exhibit or run that media campaign. But when the Nodes are less advantaged, as they'll be in the months ahead, more modest agendas may well apply.
THE SOUL'S ARROW
How? One answer comes from today's spiritual astrology, especially from those who apply the seminal idea of Martin Schulman's Karmic Astrology: The Moon's Nodes and Reincarnation. In Schulman's view, the South Node represents habit, the familiar comfort zone where we can stay safe for decades, and even for a lifetime, because we may have been stuck there for one or more previous lives. The North Node, on the other hand, is the challenge, the target the soul's arrow aims to hit once we're able to commit to goals that are far more formidable because they require the courage to go into the unknown on a journey that can be solitary, without a map or a mate, and with no clues but the ones we may find within.
The Nodal positions in opposing houses in our charts will often show us the karmic launch point where the karmic bowstring is drawn, and the bullseye where the arrow has to go. If you have, for example, as I do, your South Node in the 11th house of friends, social activity and community, and your North Node in the 5th house of children and creativity, you may form fast friendships that last long, and you may find it much easier to invest energy in social exchanges and community activity than in going for your creative goals. You may also find out why Peter Shaffer never talked about a new play he was writing until it was done, so he wouldn't talk the inspiration out before it had crystallized on the page.
The Nodes' sign positions are relevant too, and this brings us to current conditions. The Nodes have been in the Libra-Aries axis -- the Nodes are always listed in the order of North Node first, even if the sign it is in follows the other in the zodiac sign sequence -- since February 2014, and will be there until November 2015.
The Dragon's Tail is thus in the Mars-ruled sign of the warrior, hunter, explorer and initiator, the one who often races toward individual goals without others, and even against them. At best, this kind of Aries personality is brave, resourceful and determined, at worst so bent on winning at all costs that victory may come only at the price of pain and long enmity. The Dragon' Head is in Libra, the sign said to be ruled by Venus, but really ruled by Juno. At best, this sign of marriage and partnership favors teamwork and cooperation, and knowing when and how to give to others in response to their legitimate needs. At its extreme of self-abnegation, though, the Libra type may be so completely defined by relationship roles that personality all but disappears, and personal desires yield every time even to the least worthy wishes of others, so that the accommodating ones end up giving away the entire store, and having nothing left for themselves.
The showdown of wit and will between the uncompromising one who wants to get his way every time, and the one who always aims to please, starts moving to the point of stretch and snap in the months ahead -- especially in Ukraine, the Mideast and India -- as existing conflicts and agonies get twisted tighter and tenser by controlling forces who want, as always, to stoke fear and ride the rage. The tension builds in the weeks ahead amid the hatestorm and slimebath of a US midterm election coming right at Guy Fawkes Day on Nov. 5. As we saw two months ago in the August, 2014 UFC, there is a very high likelihood that even if the vote is not rigged by the president's enemies, the result will prove so catastrophic for Obama and his party that he will soon be a duck who is not just lame, but all but imaginary.
We may need term much stronger than "leadership vacuum" to describe what is happening as the South Node now approaches Uranus, and both Moon's Nodes come to a 90° square with Pluto. As you already know if astrology interests you at least a little, squares are usually considered "negative," "stressful" or "difficult" by people who talk more astrology than they really know. The more fatalistic one's take on astrology is, the grimmer a square looks. The actuality, though, is that squares come at times when changes that have been resisted too long can't be denied, ducked or deferred any more, and must now be faced as bravely as we can navigate them. In the months ahead, we'll look more closely at the timing and nuances of Node transits to Uranus and Pluto, and their impact on us at the turn of the year into 2015.
For now, some of the things we know for sure now in Libra month of 2014 are that many of us will face our personal issues of self-definition and self-respect, of how we project our intentions and desires into the world, of whether we can agree with others without sacrificing honor, and disagree without sinning against our truth. Many bonds of intimacy and teamwork will be strained to the quitting point in the months ahead. It is absolutely vital that we do whatever is needed to bring our most precious love unions through the months ahead, rather than make bad decisions under terrific planetary stress, and then see by spring that with a little more courage, empathy and laughter, we might have held together what we can regain only with great effort, if indeed we can restore it at all.
What's one good way to hold it together, no matter what? Sing to each other, of course, look into one another's eyes and hearts. We will all get through, and in the end it will all come round right. Keep Holding That Frequency.
THE UNIVERSAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
Oct. 1, Wednesday:
In the ancient Greco-Roman calendar, Oct. 1 is the Dionysia, one of the two great annual festivals of Dionysus/Bacchus, god of ecstatic experiences, including wine. This date marks the time of the grape harvest and blessing of the new wine, and celebrates the phase of the god's youth, as Dionysus goes below the Earth to Elysium and for the next six months becomes Plouton/Pluto, ruler of the underworld, who will be reborn as Dionysus in the spring.
Birthday of Mohandas Kharamchand Gandhi (1869). As we move from the lobby into the opera house where the Aquarius Overture is underway, we get a program note from Gandhi's Non-Violence in Peace and War (1948): "A non-violent revolution is not a program of seizure of power. It is a program of transformation of relationships, ending in a peaceful transfer of power." The transformation of relationships, including our own aims and expectations for them, is everything. It is the essence of the Aquarian opportunity.
In the Khemitian Calendar, Festival of Het-Hor, aka Hathor (month of Hethara, day 18).
On this day Mercury goes retrograde in Scorpio. He'll regress into Libra on Oct. 7, then "go direct" on Oct. 25, and clear the "shadow of Mercury retrograde" -- that is, arrive again at the point where he first began to move backward -- on Nov. 10. For most of this period, when the messenger is retrograde in Libra, the usual issues of delay, confusion, blockage, mechanical malfunction and general human bozosis that apply during any Mercury retrograde interval are compounded by Libra's inability to come to a quick, easy decision. Those who insist on instant decisions and quick outcomes had best have some cooling foods handy, lest they suddenly combust.
In the six-season calendar of the aboriginal people of Australia, the pre-monsoon storm season of Gunumeleng begins about now. This season of nearly three months, one of the year's longest, runs until late December.
The great nine-day Hindu goddess festival cycle of Navaratri (See 9/25 in September 2014 UFC) culminates today in the climactic feast of Dussehra.
For Muslims on Hajj, this 8th day of the lunar month of Dhu al-Hijjah begins the climactic last three days of the pilgrimage. It is called Waqf al Arafa because pilgrims stand together on the plain of Arafa to pray for forgiveness and mercy.
10/4 eve to 10/7 eve (four days):
In the Islamic calendar, this day begins the great annual festival of Eid al-Adha, celebrated from the 10th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah.
The solemn ceremonies culminate four days later at the Full Moon in what may be the most important of all Islamic holy days: Kurbani Bayrami, the Night of Power, honoring the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac without reservation or question in one of history's most famous acts of submission, the literal meaning of "Islam." This act established Abraham among the spiritual heroes most revered by devout Muslims.
There is a wonderful synchronicity in the Middle Eastern calendars this month. In the Jewish Calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sunset on 10/3, and continues until sunset the next day. This is a time of fasting, of righting wrongs committed over the year just past, and of giving and receiving forgiveness.
On this day devotees of the Yoruba and Santeria religions celebrate the festival of Orunmila, the Orisha of Wisdom and Protection from evil.
In the Roman Catholic calendar, this day is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor -- better known as the Franciscans -- and celebrated stigmatic, ascetic, ecologist and animal communicator.
His famous prayer: "Lord, give me the courage to change what I can change, the serenity to accept what I can't change, and the wisdom always to know the difference."
This day honors Bodhidharma, better known to the Japanese as Daruma, the beloved Zen philosopher who taught that Buddhahood is innate in every human being, and can be activated with consistent spiritual practice.
Also on this day, Mahayana Buddhists celebrate the beloved energy of compassion known as Kwan Yin, Kannon, Kwan Sen and Tara, and commemorate the moment at which she became a bodhisattva.
In the ancient Khemitian Calendar, Feast of Ma'at, neter of Truth (Hethara day 21). For pictures of Ma'at, whose feather headdress symbolizes the lightness of truth, see the entry portal to this website, and Ma'at the Merciful. On the same day, by one of the wonderful synchronicities that mark the resonances among ancient calendars, the ancient Athenians celebrate the festival of Pallas Athena, guardian of the city, source of inspiration and goddess of wisdom.
10/8, Wednesday, 00:52am HT, 10:52am UT:
Full Moon in Aries, opposite Sun in Libra. There are currents of disharmony in this opposition, as it sets an impulsive female drive for self-assertion and power on a collision course with male resistance to movement or change. At the same time, the Sun-Moon tension and cohesion in the relationships of individual couples is, for the moment, sublimated in the spiritual act of awakening into deeper awareness within a larger community of friends, so all kinds of brainstorming and other co-creativity are greatly favored. The Sun remains "in fall" in Libra until 10/22. This Full Moon is richly advantageous. The Aries Moon is conjunct with Uranus, and thus squares Pluto in Capricorn. The more highly-charged and creative news here, though, is that this Moon-Uranus conjunction also forms a grand trine in fire with Mars in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Leo. And -- getting more momentous by the week now -- the Moon's Nodes on the Libra-Aries axis align with the Moon-Sun opposition, making this Full Moon a moment for enterprising new moves on both the individual and communal dimensions, and for positive initiatives that can cut through the adversarial abuse and lies of the US election campaign. For more on all this, see the Mythic Prelude above
At this Full Moon there is a total eclipse of the Moon, partially visible in most areas of the world, and visible in totality throughout the Americas, east Asia, Oceania and Australia- New Zealand.
Among the Tewa and Pueblo peoples of the American southwest, this day begins the four-day Deer Dance ritual, enacting the cosmic balance of masculine and feminine energies.
The Navajo people of the American Southwest celebrate this Full Moon in a Sing Festival in praise of Estsanatlehi, the "Changing Woman" who brings the cycle of harvest, decay and rebirth.
Over the same four-day period beginning at what astrologers call the Aries Full Moon in Libra Month, the Iroquois Nations celebrate their annual Thanksgiving Festival for the squash harvest.
Among the Zuni, Pueblo and other Native peoples of the American southwest, the Corn Dance Festival honors Mother Earth and the Corn Maidens for an abundant maize harvest. Like the Iroquois Green Corn Ceremony that comes at the time of the Aquarius New Moon in Leo, this rite of the Full Moon in Aries is one of atonement to clear the fields of human fear and ill will, and of prayer and thanksgiving for the gift of grain.
For the Yoruba and Santeria peoples of Africa and the Americas, this is the feast of Obatala, the Orisha of justice, order and peace, whose festival is celebrated with drumming, trance dancing and spirit channeling.
Finally, as if all this were not enough, this day heralds an important transition in Mayan calendar systems. Oct. 8 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.
10/8 eve to 10/15 eve (seven days):
On the day of the Pisces Full Moon, the Jewish festival of Sukkot, the "Feast of Tabernacles" begins a seven-day festival cycle culminating in Simchat Torah (10/15). Sukkoth is the annual Rite of Ingathering, honoring God for His protection of the Jewish people, and giving thanks for the grape harvest, celebrated in a dance ceremony and wine offering.
One of the great Celtic and Wiccan festivals of the Triple Goddess, this one marking the mature woman's transition from Mother to Wise Woman, from the grower of new life to the source of wisdom.
10/9 - 14 (6 days), Hethara 23 – 28:
In the Khemitian Calendar, the concluding events of the great legend cycle of the Passion of Ausar ("Osiris") are enacted. At this time the dispute between Set, brother and murderer of Ausar, and Hor (Horus), the falcon-headed solar hero, son of Ausar and Aset (Isis), is submitted for judgment by Ra, Neter of the Sun, after a long and inconclusive combat that has scorched and damaged the body of the Earth. Hor's case is argued by Djehuti (Thoth), neter of letters and learning; while Set becomes the first personage in history to act as his own advocate, and have a fool for a client. Ra and the other Neters deliberate and announce their decision in three days. The other events:
10/12 Ra awards the fertile Black Land by the Nile to Hor, and the desert Red Land to Set, thereby establishing a dynamic balance between the forces of creation and destruction, light and darkness.
10/14 Festival of the coronation of Hor as Egypt's spiritual king, who from now on will manifest in the physical kingdom of Egypt in the person of the pharaoh.
The Draconid meteor shower peaks tonight. The Draconids, not the most celebrated meteor shower of the year in any case, will be impaired this time, as the Moon is still nearly Full from two days ago.
10/12 – 16 (five days):
In the Zoroastrian tradition, these days celebrate one of the divine emanations of Ahura Mazda: Ameretat, the green force, creator and driver of vegetable energy.
For Roman Catholics, feast of St. Edward the Confessor, aka King Edward I of England (reigned 1042 - 1066). Edward was known especially for his religious zeal and his kindliness, which moved him to spend hours a day with lepers and beggars who crowded around him for a cure, and got it often enough that "the King's evil" became the term for the illnesses that the King's touch sent away. His reign was marked by honest government, protection and service to the oppressed and the poor, civil decency and courtesy. His successor was less interested in the love and good will of his people -- and his realm fell to William the Conqueror within months after King Edward's death.
In the Roman Catholic Calendar, feast of the stigmata bearer and mystic St. Teresa of Avila. Her spectacular career of self-denial began when she was only seven, and ran away from her home hoping to be martyred by the Moors, who were no longer in Spain, having been forced either to convert or leave the country in 1492 by the same Ferdinand and Isabella who backed Columbus. In her early thirties, having become a Carmelite nun, she had a vision of the place she would occupy in hell if she did not overcome the weaknesses that held her back from complete and perfect devotion. She is portrayed in Bernini's famous sculpture, at the moment when her heart was pierced by a shaft of divine love.
Also on this day: Makahiki, the Hawaiian New Year Festival, commemorating the emergence from Po (Chaos) of Papa the Earth Mother and Wakea the Sky Father, whose union produced the Akua, the Gods and Goddesses of Hawaii.
In the Jewish calendar, this day that follows the week-long Sukkot festival cycle is Shemini Atzeret, that is, the Assembly of the Eighth Day. On this day, which has traditionally marked the beginning of the rainy season, a prayer for rain, called tefilat geshem, is offered as a petition for abundant crops.
In the Jewish calendar, this is Simchat Torah, day of "Rejoicing in the Law." On this day, which immediately follows Shemini Atzeret at the end of Sukkot (see previous) a new annual cycle of Torah reading begins with procession of the scrolls, and other rites that include the blessing of children. For some Jews, the revelation of the Torah is the most important event in the history of their faith, and Simchat Torah thus has for them a dignity equal to that of the autumn high holy days of Rosh Hashana (9/24 - 26) and Yom Kippur (10/3 - 4).
This day is the Baha'i feast honoring the Deity as 'Ilm, Knowledge.
On this day the Khemitian month of Koiak, sacred to the Lion netert Sekhmet, begins with Sekhmet's own Feast, celebrating her aspect as protector of the land and people.
In Japan, this day is the Shukaku Matsuri, one of the year's most important Shinto festivals, offering the first fruits of the rice harvest to the Kami, the divine principles immanent in nature.
In the Roman Catholic and some other Christian calendars, the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist.
In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast -- if it can be called that -- of St. Peter of Alcantara (1599 - 1662), a Spanish monk and one of the outstanding athletes of voluntary suffering and privation in Earth history. Peter's cell is said to have been only 4 1/2 feet long, making it impossible for him to lie down, and he took only one meal every three days. The one indulgence he allowed himself was that in the dead of winter he would leave his door and window wide open, so he might have some slight sensation of warmth on closing them again.
In the Baha'i calendar, this day is celebrated as the birthday of the Bab, who would declare in 1844 that he was to prepare the way for Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha'i faith.
The festival of El Cristo Negro, El Nazareno, also called the "Black Christ," is held on this day in Portobelo, Panama. The festival dates from about 1658, when the town was devastated by plague until the faithful prayed for a sign to show them how to invoke God's help. A large wooden crate mysteriously surfaced near a fishing boat. Inside was an 8-foot-high statue of Jesus, whom the people dressed in robes of purple, white and gold, and paraded through the streets. The plague lifted at once. Portobelo's people have never taken much interest in the question of whether the historical Jesus had a darker complexion than Jimmy Swaggart, or may have been descended from Ethiopian Jews. What matters is to venerate El Cristo Negro. The most devout, dressed in penitential purple, walk 53 miles from Panama City, and go the last mile on their knees. As Your Panama explains, the ship carrying the heavy statue to another destination "met a terrible storm that drove it back into the harbor. The ship attempted to leave five times, but every time a sudden and unexpected storm endangered the ship and everyone aboard. On the final attempt, the crew jettisoned the crated Black Christ to lessen the weight and save their lives."
10/23 (Thu), 1:58am HT; 11:58am UT:
Sun enters Scorpio, symbolized in zodiac maps by the easily recognizable Scorpion, but also symbolized in the hermetic tradition by the Eagle, as in the quartet of Bull, Lion, Eagle and Angel (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius) that represent the four beasts of Ezekiel, the Christian evangelists, and many others who represent the fixed and secure orientation of human beings in mythic space.
As the Scorpion and its next neighbor on the wheel, the Chiron-like archer Sagittarius, are both designed by nature to deliver their most accurate sting while retreating, the energy of the time favors the protection of the harvest and other efforts that are now nearing completion. The teams normally gather now to complete their work of bringing in the corn, rice and wheat.
Venus enters Scorpio along with the Sun, and (see next) at the moment of the Black Moon. She is thought to be "in detriment" here, her powers frayed, even weakened to exhaustion in the perilous territory of Scorpio, where her sexual energy is more desperate and obsessive than playful and sensuous. Love has a certain relentless quality, sex is more force than fun until Nov. 17. This placement involves sexual exhaustion and depletion, even sexual flameouts to the tune of crash, burn and die for the cluelessly adventurous and flamboyantly erotic. The point is elegantly displayed on the zodiac wheel, where the white sexuality of the Virgin and the black sexuality of the Scorpion are positioned on either side of, what else, Libra the Scales, which marks the balance between the potential of life and the passion of love. As Pure Virgo remains untouched and bears no fruit, and Pure Scorpio likes to seek death by orgasm, neither by itself will contribute much to the birth of new life. But if elements of both are balanced in Libra -- the sign that rules marriages -- life can more easily go on.
Note that this time, though, in addition to the usual simplistic Venus-in-Scorpio bets, there is also a strong possibility that serious love commitments may be made in the middle of this month, especially on and around Oct. 17, when Venus transits into conjunction with Saturn.
10/23, Thursday, :
In the ancient Babylonian calendar, the Day of Willows, a festival of the lovers sacred to the god Bel and the love goddess Astarte.
10/23 (Thu), 11:58am HT, 9:58pm 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 not nearly so powerful and complex as this month's Full Moon (see 10/8 above), though Venus in Scorpio forms a triple conjunction with Moon and Sun, thereby amplifying the pronounced sexiness of this moment, making it a time when passionate new beginnings can and will occur.
At this Dark Moon there is a partial eclipse of the Sun, visible through all of North America and closet to totality in easternmost Canada.
One of the world's most spectacular and joyous festivals begins today, and climaxes four days from now. Called Diwali in northern India, Deepawali in the south, this lunar New Year is a Feast of Lights so beloved that it is celebrated not only by Hindus, but by Jains, Sikhs and almost everyone else in India. The days are sacred to Vishnu the Preserver and Lakshmi, beneficent goddess of health and increase.
In the same Hindu calendar, the pitch darkness of this Dark Moon is also Kali Puja, honoring the Maha Devi, in her severe, purifying form as the energy of death, even violent transformation, and renewal. Her four arms, shown here, hold a trident, a bloody sword, a severed head and a bowl symbolizing the blessings she grants to those who her devotees. Her name means "Time," and marks the great cycles of the cosmic wheel, including the current Kali Yuga, or Dark Time, which now comes to its climax before a new cycle begins. While Kali's feast does not always come in the appropriate slot of the Scorpio Dark Moon, it does so this year and coincides with Diwali, so that the mysterious bond of deep darkness and light is celebrated on the same day.
In the Mahayana Buddhist calendar, this festival commemorates the sacred moment at which the divine being variously known as Tara, Kwan Yin, Kannon and Kwanzen attained bodhisattvahood, and became the lady of mercy and compassion.
Om Tara, Tu Tare, Ture Soha.
In a wonderful synchronicity, the Roman Catholic calendar honors St. Raphael, the archangel of healing, on this day.
And in another, the Yoruba people of Africa and the Santeria communities of the Americas, celebrate this day in honor of Erinle, the Orisha who ministers to the sick and injured.
In the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic tree calendar used by devotees of the faerie path, this eleventh New Moon following the Winter Solstice begins Gort, or ivy month. Ivy is emblematic of the feminine power of inner resilience.
Mercury goes direct, reversing his backward motion of the last three weeks. He will remain in the shadow of his retrograde period until Nov. 10. See 10/3 above.
Mars enters Capricorn. He is said to be exalted in this sign -- curiously, as it seems counterintuitive at first that impetuous Mars fire can feel much at home in cold, deliberate Capricorn earth. Yet the ruler of Capricorn, Saturn, is Mars' grandfather, who may be the only one who can teach him some patience and diplomacy, influencing him toward using his strength and drive in the wisest way.
Lutherans and some other Protestant denominations celebrate this day as Reformation Sunday, commemorating Oct. 31, 1517, the day on which Martin Luther nailed to the door of Wittenberg cathedral the famous 95 theses that would launch the Protestant Reformation.
Feast of Ausar ("Osiris") at Abydos, principal temple of the Ausar rite. The neter of vegetation, who drives the plants upward through soil, stump, stone and anything else that is in the way of the Sun, is honored for his gifts of grain and herbs, all leafy life and fruits of the earth and the arts of wise rulership. Ausar waxes in his glory and power now, a few days before he will be eclipsed by his brother Set. See 10/31.
Ceres enters Sagittarius. From now until Jan. 9, we shall be favored by a period of wiser and more enlightened relationship with the Earth, and effective action toward transparent and communal programs of managing food resources.
In the Celtic tree calendar, this day begins the Reed Month, said to be most favorable for communication with ancestral spirits and the strengthening of all family ties.
This is a day of great importance in the mythology of established religion. On this day in 312, the Roman army of Constantinus won the battle of the Milvian bridge, thereby winning the throne of the Augusti for the man who would be called Constantine the Great. It was said that the battle turned in Constantine's favor when his troops saw in the clouds a fiery white banner with the symbol of the cross, and the words In Hoc Signo Vinces -- In this Sign you will Conquer. The rest is controversial, but passes for history. Whether the emperor's belief was Christian or in Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun), the religion popular with soldiers, the outcome was that by the end of Constantine's reign, Christianity had made the leap from a persecuted cult to the state religion of the empire.
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.
10/29 - 31 (three days):
Here, a week after the Sun's entry into Scorpio, these days have long been celebrated throughout the Celtic zone of Europe as Women's Merrymaking Days, a time for festivity and rituals of female spirituality.
10/31 – 11/3 (four days):
In solar calendars throughout the Northern Hemisphere, this is the mid-autumn festival of the dead, directly opposite the new life rituals of greening, leafing out and renewal celebrated in Beltaine, May Day and other mid-spring festivals that are held now in the southern hemisphere. Among the many rites celebrated now:
Oct. 31 is Hallowe'en, of course. This is the last day of the Celtic year, on which it is said that the Sun actually enters the gates of Hell, creating an opening wide enough to allow malicious spirits to fly out and create mayhem on the Earth for the next 48 hours. The spirits of the dead are believed to return to their family homes on the night of 10/31, and the annual children's custom of dressing as ghosts and ghouls and going door to door for treats echoes the ancient practice of placing food and drink offerings near the door to placate wild and hungry spirits that are apt to roam and rumble on this night. The great Celtic rite of Samhain, on the following day, begins the New Year with the feast of the death goddess Cerridwen, whose power waxes now as the Holly King, symbol of the waning sun, grows decrepit with the approach of winter.
Norse festival of the Thin Veil, so named for the belief that on this night, the opaque barrier separating the worlds of the living and the dead became transparent, allowing the two realms to see and interact with each other. This time also marks the annual death of Baldur and his beloved Nanna, the goddess of flowers, both of whom will be born again in the spring.
In the Khemitian calendar, festivals of the sun neter Ra, the cat netert Bastet and the lion-headed netert Sekhmet are all celebrated on this day. The last of these, in her dire aspect as teacher of magic, Lady of Fire and punitive destroyer of evil, is protector of women against rape and all sexual violence, as embodied in Egyptian myth by Set, neter of chaos and destruction, who perpetrates the murder of king Ausar, aka Osiris, on this day (see above 10/27). This feast is the ancient basis of links among Hallowe'en, medicine women and their feline familiars.
This last day of October is also a Goddess festival honoring the art of weaving. "Originally [Hallowe'en] was a celebration honoring our creator goddess. That is why the spider is one of the symbols of Halloween. The Hopis called their creator, Spider Woman." [Mahala Gayle Flenniken]
Among the ancient Sumerian people, one of the world's first festivals of light descending into darkness is held now as Inanna, Goddess of Life, enters the underworld to spend the next six months with Ereshkigal, Lord of Death and Rebirth -- but on condition that she spend the other six in the green places with her summer lover Dumuzi.
Myths of this Scorpionic death and transformation cycle occur among the Canaanites, Greeks, Japanese and many others.
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.