Samhain…Halloween…It started in the stars

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Like everything, it started in the stars, and then we started telling stories, mapping the movements of the skies on the walls of the caves, planning our own movements, ensuring provision for our survival, tracking the tilting of the seasons as the Earth went round the sun, and the seas warmed and cooled.

The modern festival of Halloween began as a marker of the darkest of the four so-called cross-quarter days in the Northern Hemisphere. A cross-quarter day marks the half-way point between an equinox and a solstice and in the case of Halloween, obviously this is between the autumn equinox and winter solstice, reversing these if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Halloween began as a Bronze Age festival, Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) Though it may well be far older. The name meant ‘summer’s end’ and its signal was the sighting of The Pleiades seen overhead at midnight.

This midnight zenith of The Pleiades now occurs 21 November owing to the Earth’s tilt and the wobble on its axis, an effect called precession, and in addition, the Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar and further added to the discrepancy in dates.

But this astronomical event did apparently once coincide with the days around 31 October as recorded during the 11th and 12th centuries.

Samhain was a period rather than a single day and marked the start of the winter for Celtic societies, ending one planting cycle and beginning another. Seeds for the next year were often planted at this time.

It began about a week after the modern Halloween or All Hallows Eve, and it was believed that all those who had departed this life the previous year were finally freed from all their earthly ties.

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The Pleiades

The Pleiades or The Seven Sisters is a star cluster in the north-west region of the constellation of Taurus the Bull. Classicists debate the origin of the name  which may derives from πλεῖν (plein -“to sail”) because of the cluster’s importance for the sailing season in the Mediterranean: “the season of navigation began with their heliacal rising” (Wiki)

Here is how to locate them:

The Pleiades feature as prominent stars of winter in the ancient agricultural calendar of the northern hemisphere, and the Greek poet Hesiod wrote:-

And if longing seizes you for sailing the stormy seas,
when the Pleiades flee mighty Orion
and plunge into the misty deep
and all the gusty winds are raging,
then do not keep your ship on the wine-dark sea
but, as I bid you, remember to work the land
.— Works and Days 618–623

Celtic mythology

A bronze disk, 1600 BC, from Nebra, Germany, is one of the oldest known representations of the cosmos. You can see the seven dots of The Pleiades top right.

By Dbachmann, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1500795

For the Bronze Age Celts, and probably going back far earlier the Pleiades were associated with mourning and with funerals. At that time in history, on the cross-quarter day the cluster rose in the eastern sky as the sun’s light faded in the evening and this association has persisted even though The Pleiades no longer mark the festival.

Other Stories

Every culture has had its own names and stories about the Pleiades.

 The Blackfoot called them the Lost Boys and while they rose high, the buffalo were not available, so that the setting of the Pleiades was a signal for the Blackfoot to travel to their hunting grounds culminating in the buffalo slaughters or ‘ jumps’, that sustained their whole way of life.

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In the ancient  Andes the Pleiades were associated, not with death or deprivation, but abundance, returned to the skies of the Southern Hemisphere at harvest time.

But for those of us for whom home is the Isles of Britain, this time of year is Scorpio, and in Tarot, its card is the Death card; Transformation and Resurrection when the veil between realities is at its thinnest.

It is ghosts, memories; those who are gone but will endure as long as memory lasts, and will talk with us there, in that place, and walk with us until it is our own time to become memories, and to leave, returning to the stars, ascending through Capricorn and the Gate of The Gods.

Traces

By P J Whyte

All is lost, in death, they say.

Not all, nor straightaway.

Records of state and memory last a while.

For some, memorials, for others work in word or form,

Sustain their name.

For many, genes still stalk the pool,

Promises of progeny,

If not the immortality

Of Gargantua’s heartfelt plea.

And for all, there’s particle subsistence,

As material laws require.

But if that wasn’t all?

If walls have ears, have they memory too?

If the pendulum distinguishes one

hurled in anger, in a heap of stones,2

And if creatures all had souls, as Pythagoras claimed,

If all we did, or felt, or thought, lived on,  

In cyberspace or noo-sphere

Oblivion wouldn’t quite hold true.

Or is all the good done lost, and evil too?

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Till next time 🙂 Meanwhile I’ll leave you with this from Enya: numinous and timeless; The Humming.

Libra The Celestial Scales- Weighing the Balance in the Stars

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Read on for the story of Libra…

Common Associations

Symbol

Quality: Cardinal

Element: Air

Affirmation: I (seek to) Balance

Ruling planet: Venus

Body: Lower back, buttocks, kidneys

Colour: Indigo Blue

Flower: Rose, Hydrangea

Birthstones: Sapphire- September birthdays. Opal- October birthdays

Lucky Number: 6 (community, childhood)

Tarot card: Justice

Justice from The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

Astronomy

Libra (technically, it is correctly pronounced Ly-bra as in Library) is a small but distinct constellation, 29th in size of the 88 constellations, next door to the constellation Virgo. It’s been described as looking like a lop-sided diamond and is visible in the northern hemisphere between April and July.

Libra used to be regarded, not as a constellation in its own right, but as part of its neighbouring constellations Scorpio and Virgo. The stars representing the scales of Justice are the same stars representing the claws of the Scorpion.

Libra, like Cancer, is faint in comparison with other constellations, and contains no spectacular first magnitude stars, but contains a very old galaxy cluster, possibly around 10 billion years old, the same age as our own galaxy, The Milky Way.

There also is a red dwarf star Gliese 581 with three orbiting planets, two of which may possibly be suitable for life, about 20 light years from Earth.

The brightest star in Libra is a binary star about 77 light years from Earth. α Librae. or Zubenelgenubi, meaning “the Southern Claw” in Arabic.

The second-brightest star in the constellation of Libra is β Librae, or Zubeneschamali, from the Arabic for “The Northern Claw.”

Mercator

Equilibrium and Equinox

Since 2002, the Sun has actually appeared in the constellation of Libra from October 31 to November 22.

This is different to the dates used for this sign in your media horoscope, which is based on modern western or tropical astrology, and says Libra begins around 23rd of September, coinciding with the autumn equinox (in the northern hemisphere).

But astronomy is not astrology, which is a symbolic language, and zodiac signs are not to be confused with the constellations after which they were named.

The Sun did indeed used to be in the sign Libra from the northern autumnal equinox (c. September 23) to on or about October 23, when the hours of night and daylight were the same- hence the Libra’s concept of natural balance.

The zodiac sign of Libra ceased to coincide with the actual placement of the constellation in AD 730 because of the wobble of the Earth, and the resulting effect known as precession – the movement of the equinoxes relative to Earth.

This fact of astronomy does not invalidate your horoscope. The astrological concept still stands, based on the arithmetic model of the zodiac as designed by the mathematician Ptolemy in the 2nd Century.

Mythology and History

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We have the Romans to thank for the name of this constellation, as well as the sun sign or zodiac sign of Libra as we understand it today.

It is a complicated history. Libra began as part of Scorpio, and was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”) but with an alternative name, the Claws of the Scorpion, while in ancient Greece Libra was also seen as the Scorpion’s Claws.

The scales were sacred to the Babylonian sun god Shamash, the patron of truth and justice, and ever since these very early times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility.

Because 3000 years ago, the Sun entering Libra marked the equinox, when days and nights were of equal length, i.e. balanced, Roman astrologers considered that the constellation of Libra represented the principle of natural balance, equality, equilibrium and hence, justice.

It was in ancient Rome that Libra was first recognized as a constellation in its own right, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, or Dike, although in Greek mythology she had always been associated with Virgo.

Eh? Que? Claws, scales. Virgo, Scorpio. Confusing? Join the club.

Typically elusive Libra!

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According to the Roman writer and poet Marcus Manilius, the best Roman judges were born under the sign of Libra.  The Moon, which in astrology governs temperament, was said to be in Libra when Rome was founded, in a historical passage, which states “qua condita Roma.” 

The early born Libra may therefore be expected to have much in common with Virgo and Astraea, but the later born Libra may be expected to have quite a lot of Scorpio going on.

This same principle applies to all the zodiac signs, of course, whether you were born early or late in your sign, but is particularly acute in the case of Libra, on account of its shared/borrowed stars and very particular history as a relative newcomer to the zodiac story in its own right.

The Libra Archetype

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Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, the others being Gemini and Aquarius.

 Libra is the only zodiac sign that is not represented by a human or animal, but the scales signify the collective and enduring human hunger for justice, as well as Libra’s own especially keen personal need for balance, order, and equality.

Many astrologers view Libra as an especially lucky sign because it occurs during the peak of the year when the rewards of hard work are harvested.

Libra is suave, clever and extremely easy to like. The classic Libra subject has charm and can be a great listener with sharp observation skills and acute perception.

Because Venus, the goddess of love, rules Libra, as it also rules Taurus, the Libra subject is especially, even acutely sensitive to beauty in anything, whether it is a person, nature, art, or music.

Libra intensely dislikes loud or sharp noises, cruelty, nastiness, and vulgarity, as they are naturally kindly and civilized people, and also, may we observe, a teensy bit delicate at times.

Born diplomats, but also anything for a quiet life, Libras try to co-operate and compromise with everyone around them. They can sometimes be a little tiring to be with as they are constantly re-assessing and adjusting their thinking, while remaining emotionally distant, or playing Devil’s advocate and this may be infuriating at times, or even seem to call their personal loyalties into question.

They are not averse to keeping secrets and can be more changeable even than Gemini. Those Libran scales are after all, seeking balance, which is not the same as attaining it.

Botticelli: The Birth of Venus, ruler of Libra

Libra may not receive or handle criticism as dispassionately as they dispense it. They can show jealousy when they are not the centre of attention, and may at times be moody; a practitioner of passive aggression, or they may be something of an ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ – smoothly vengeful, or even ruthless.

But lovely Libra, charming, smiling, sophisticated, civilized. Sunny side up, what on earth’s not to like?

Till next time 🙂

The Fool and the Return of Orion

The Fool and the return of Orion...
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Orion The Hunter returns, and in the northern hemisphere can once again be seen bestriding the east at sunrise. So when we say return, where has he been, then? The answer is, he has been invisible, hidden in the glare of the sun since May.

But now he is back and will rise earlier each day until he is visible all evening during the winter months. As a girl I used to like to go out on cold frosty evenings to fill the coal scuttle from the coal bunker in the back garden. Looking up at him. I knew his name. I knew he was The Hunter but wondered about him, and what he was hunting up there.

Those winter evenings still have that same kind of magic.

Orion is only the 26th largest constellation, sitting on the celestial equator, facing the constellation next door, the oncoming, charging, Taurus the Bull. So it’s far from being the biggest, and it’s smaller than another Greek hero, Perseus but Orion’s got more brilliant stars, commanding the impression of its vastness.

(The biggest constellation of all is Hydra, and the biggest constellation of the twelve included in the Zodiac is Virgo.)

Orion’s two brightest stars are the blue-white star Rigel, representing the Hunter’s left foot, and the red supergiant Betelgeuse, Orion’s right shoulder. They’re both thought to be to be about ten million years old, which makes Betelgeuse quite young to be a red supergiant, but it’s evolved faster due to its enormous mass. It is expected to go supernova in the next million years and when it does will be brighter than the Moon and the brightest supernova ever to have been visible from Earth.

Orion’s third brightest star is Bellatrix, his left shoulder, and Orions’s Belt is one of the most easily recognized asterisms with its three stars.

You can read them east to west or left to right; Alnitak (girdle), Alnilam (string of pearls) and Mintaka (area) They have many other names across the world; The Magi, the Three Mary’s, and the Mayans called them The Fire Drill, invoking them in an annual fire ceremony to delay the onset of the end of the world.

‘No other constellation more accurately represents the figure of a man,’ said Germanicus Caesar

Orion is identified as a human figure in every culture at every latitude, with countless variations of different names and legends.

Orion, also called Nimrod, was the son of Poseidon and was the most handsome man ever to walk the earth. He was a great hunting buddy and friend of Artemis.Her twin brother, Apollo glowered, seeing that Artemis fancied Orion something rotten when she had taken a vow of perpetual chastity.

Orion could be a bit of a sex pest, chasing the Pleiades, so that Zeus confiscated them to the sky for their own peace and quiet. And a fat lot of good it did them, because when Orion was killed by a scorpion (THE scorpion) Artemis in her grief, asked Zeus to post Orion upstairs to the heavens, which he did, right next door to the Pleiades, who also represent the celestial bull pen of Taurus. Thanks Zeus. You didn’t think that one through, did you?

Should Taurus ever break free of his pen, said an ancient Arabic legend, it will be the end of all things, so let’s hope he’s happy up there, and that Orion doesn’t chase the Pleiades away.

Orion bravely strides towards the Bull but although he killed the scorpion that also killed him, he still fears it, and dreads its appearance fleeing west as the autumn wears on and Scorpius rises (Scorpio)

Orion in his eternal battle with Scorpius

The stand off between Orion and Taurus the Bull, its red eye, Aldebaran glaring at him, daring him to come nearer, does not fit the Greek legend of Orion, and a question has been raised in some quarters over the identity of Orion, and whether he has become confused with Herakles/Hercules at any time in his identification with this constellation.

The reasons are likely historical. The constellation as recognized by the Greeks originated with the Sumerians, who saw in it their great hero Gilgamesh fighting the Bull of Heaven. The Sumerian name for Orion was URU AN-NA, meaning light of heaven and Taurus was GUD AN-NA, bull of heaven.

Gilgamesh was the Sumerian equivalent of Heracles, the greatest hero of Greek mythology, and one of the labours of Heracles was to catch the Cretan bull, but Orion was never in a fight with a bull. Heracles, it has been suggested, deserves a magnificent constellation such as this one, but has been consigned to a much more obscure area of sky. So has there been a mix-up, or perhaps we could see it as a mash-up, Orion and Heracles in mutual diguise?

Orion and The Tarot

The Golden Tarot by Kat Black

The Tarot card most commonly associated with Orion is The Fool. The most numinous card in the deck, its element is Air and it is ruled by the planet of revolution, Uranus.

It is the portal of the number Zero.

The Fool or as some called him, The Jester, is both beginnings and ending.

In a real life reading it may detect or forecast a birth of a child, or a new offer or a launch or opportunity of some kind. And change happens all the time but this is always major or significant in scope. But although is not associated with Death, unlike the famous Death card, it can mean a death too, representing infinity, the ouroboros.

An ouroboros

The Fool lives in the moment. He may be fun, he may be joy, or he may be frightening. There’s every reason a lot of people are scared of clowns as the living embodiment of The Fool. He represents the wisdom of innocence, or mistakes made through impulsiveness or ignorance rather than stupidity. But he may represent a threat, whether direct or existential, clearly sensed but not as yet clearly identifiable. The fear is visceral, not lightly to be dismissed.

He may be a shamanic, gnostic figure; the stranger, the outcast, the wise Fool or the Fool on the Hill. He dances to his own tune. He takes chances, risks, and sometimes these pay off, but sometimes he steps over the edge of the cliff, heedless of his dog’s most urgent warning.

The dog in the card is not biting the Fool, but desperately trying to get his attention. If someone asks the Tarot’s advice and then I draw this card reversed….someone needs to draw back from the precipice and look again before they leap.

I may bark like the Fool’s dog but will they act on this advice? CAN they? Will they even really hear it, let alone find a way to use it? We are who we are, and we do what we do, based on who we are. It is a rare person who can step back and see things anew once they are committed to Opinion A or B or they are emotionally invested in outcome A or B.

Advice, to be heard, must be sufficiently timely, before the paint dries.

Everywhere the Fool goes, his dog follows, just as Orion is followed in the skies by his two hunting dogs, Canis major and Canis minor. Sirius, the Dog Star is in the constellation of Canis Major and is THE brightest star in Earth’s night sky.

The only objects that outshine Sirius in our skies are the sun, moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury – and Sirius will usually outshine Mercury too.

All Mankind is Orion.

We were hunters at the dawn of man (The Fool) And gatherers too, but we were never gorillas, and never herbivores on our ancestral line.

“We were risen not of fallen angels but risen apes, and they were killer apes besides” – Robert Ardrey, in African Genesis.

Hunting was what brought us together in teams, then communities. Co operation meant compassion.

Fatboy Slim tells a version of that story here (except that we were apes but not on the gorilla branch). See Orion in the final frame of the video.

Until next time 🙂

Salutations, Star Lion Leo

Today we leave the zodiac sign of Cancer, the mysterious and elusive Crab in the Starry zodiac sea, the sign of the zenith of the summer, and we move into the astrological sign of Leo the celestial lion. Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it actually look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it?

It’s time to roll out the red carpet for the star-lion, Leo…

Common Associations

Zodiac Symbol of Leo

Dates: 22-23 July-23 August

Symbol: Lion

Element: Fire

Metal: Gold

Position: Fixed

Ruler: The Sun

Body: Heart and spine

Trees: Palm trees, laurel, walnuts, olive trees, lemon and orange trees.

Plants: Marigolds, sunflowers, dandelions, (dents de lion =lion’s teeth) celandines, passion flowers

Gemstones: Peridot, carnelian, ruby, onyx

Key phrase: I love

Tarot card: Strength

The Gilded Tarot Royale, Ciro Marchetti

The Lady and the Lion. Perhaps it is Una. Or perhaps her name is Leona or Leonora, for the lion is also the lioness. Her hold on the leash could not be lighter. She is controlling the lion, but only because it is allowing it, not fighting her restraint, signifying that the lion is also a part of herself. This is just as one would imagine, a very welcome card of better health, signifying recovery if someone has been ill.

Leo: The Astronomy

Leo is one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and one of the 88 modern constellations recognised by NASA today, between the neighbouring constellations of Cancer to the west and Virgo to the east.

Leo is the 12th largest, and one of the most easily recognizable constellations due to its many bright stars, and a distinctive shape suggesting a crouching lion, apparently facing right.

The bright light in the sky beneath Leo as seen in the photo below is Jupiter.

The best time to see the Lion is Spring in the northern hemisphere, from around the March equinox. In early April, the constellation Leo reaches its high point for the night around 10 p.m. By around May 1, Leo reaches his high point for the night around 8 p.m. local time  In early May, the Lion begins to set in the west around 2 a.m. local time and by June, Leo is descending in the west in the evening, drifting progressively westward.

By this of writing, late July and into early August, the Lion is beginning to fade into the sunset, returning to the eastern sky and visible before dawn around late September or October.

Look out for the Big Dipper, Leo is below it. You are looking for a backwards question mark pattern called the Sickle; and you can see its curve outlines the Lion’s mane.

Leo’s brightest star, Regulus, or Alpha Leonis, ‘The King Star,’ is the heart of the celestial lion, a sparkling blue-white star at the bottom of the backwards question mark pattern. Regulus, means “little king” or “prince” in Latin. The star’s Greek name, Basiliscos, has the same meaning, while the Arabic name is Qalb al-Asad, meaning literally “the heart of the lion.”

It’s mind boggling to consider that Leo’s fifth largest star, Epsilon Leonis, 247 light years from Earth, is 288 times more luminous than the Sun, four times as massive and has 21 times the solar radius.

A triangle of stars in eastern Leo represents the Lion’s hindquarters and tail. The brightest star of the triangle is named Denebola, Arabic, meaning the Lion’s Tail.

Leo has 15 stars with 18 known planets between them, but none have planets in their habitable zones.

The Leonids are meteor showers associated with the constellation of Leo. They peak around November 17-18 every year, and then there are the January Leonids; a minor shower that peaks January 1 – 7.

The Ancient History

Leo the Lion has since ancient times been associated with the sun, ruled by the sun in astrology and is one of the oldest constellations collectively recognized with many ancient civilizations agreeing on perceiving it as a lion.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Mesopotamians recognized a constellation similar to Leo as early as 4000 BC. The Persians knew the constellation as Shir or Ser, Babylonians called it UR.GU.LA (“the great lion”), Syrians knew it as Aryo, and the Turks as Artan.

The story goes that the ancient Egyptians venerated Leo because the appearance overhead of this constellation used to coincide with the annual flooding of the Nile River, the lifeblood of their agriculture and indeed, the nation entire. Marking the end of drought, desert lions would arrive at the river, driven by desperation, and their appearance was welcomed as a certain sign that the floods were shortly on their way. The Egyptians accordingly honoured the lion with festivals, and even today many statues of lions can be found along the course of the Nile River, proof of their reverence.

It’s thought that the lion-headed fountains commonly designed by Greek and Roman architects equally symbolized the life-giving waters released by the sun’s presence in Leo.

Herakles’ first labour was the killing of the Nemean Lion.

The lion lived in a cave in Nemea, a town located to the south-west of Corinth. It was a man-eater, dining on the local folk, not OK, and a few had tried to kill it, only to find to their (terminal) horror, nothing could pierce the lion’s hide, it was so preternaturally tough.

But someone must have survived to tell this tale, for Herakles, being forewarned of this additional teensy problem, managed somehow to sneak up on the lion asleep in its cave, and strangled to death the uber-kitty; poor puddy-tat. He then rather disrespectfully, I can’t help feeling, if undeniably pragmatically, skinned the lion with its own claws, and wore its skin as a cloak, making himself even more ferocious in appearance, as well as presumably, and even more importantly, arrow-proof.

The Astrology of Leo

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This fixed sign is known for its pride, ambition and determination, warmth and a certain generosity of spirit, not to mention, charisma, but above all, Leo is known for bravery; the lionhearted one, the divine expression of physical, mental, and emotional fortitude, which is a very great virtue. Leo parents are typically devoted, but rule their households, no question about it.

Courage takes many forms. There is the courage of initiative, the will to advance, engage and attack. There is moral courage, proceeding in the face of fear, “feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” And there is the courage to endure, and the fortitude that quietly says to itself, “tomorrow I will try again”.

The courage to withstand.

But Leo can be its own worst enemy; hasty, arrogant, reckless, self-centred, headstrong and careless, and for these reasons, unless these subjects learn patience, consideration and self-control, they are not necessarily always as lucky in life as the spirit of Leo deserves.

Dandelion

Dandelion’s

Golden Mane

Prideful

Greying

Casts away

Alight on Chance

To someday seed

And newly golden

Lionize again

Photo by Nita on Pexels.com

Katie-Ellen 2017

The Moon in May 2020

The Full Flower Moon and what it means for you this month

Photo by Vedad Colic on Pexels.com

What is astrology and why do astrologers study The Moon?

Humans have been studying the Moon since at least 25 000 years ago, Luna, the Moon being the closest celestial body to Earth, exerting a physical gravitational effect on the tides, and on every living thing, though the exact nature and extent of that influence is open to debate. The word ‘Astrology’ comes from the early Latin word astrologia, which derives from the Greek ἀστρολογία—from ἄστρον astron (‘star’) and -λογία -logia, (‘study of’—’account of the stars’.)

It’s about the search for meaning on earth as seen in the sky, seeking to understand natural events and human behaviour through observing, the movements relative to Earth of planets and other celestial objects, and making correlations.

Symbolically – because it has no light of its own- The Moon represents our shadowy side, our dreams, hidden health, and the impulses that drive our behaviour whether or not we are consciously aware of them.

The things that we feel ‘in our water.’

More directly and practically, humanity began to measure, record, and predict seasonal changes by paying attention to astronomical cycles. They did this for practical planning purposes.

When would the Auroch arrive and they could organise a hunt?

When would the first lambs or kids arrive?

When would the salmon spawn?

When would the first grapes or berries be ripe enough to eat?

Early people used the skies searching for the first clues, using them as their first calendars and clocks, and nothing remotely laughable or ‘woo-woo’ about it, except for the stories that grew up around all this, and the impact of those stories on the collective psyche of the people making their living in their particular territory…their evolving cultures shaped, or rather driven by their imaginative preoccupation, emotional connection and working relationship with that landscape and its many natural wonders.

Early evidence appears as markings on bones and cave walls  recording the Moon’s influence upon tides and rivers and in time, building a body of knowledge which led in time to the creation of the first calendars.

Progress is not necessarily linear, and perhaps there is a modern tendency to underestimate the intellectual as well as technological prowess of more ancient societies.

There will be a partial solar eclipse on 21 June 2020. The next total solar eclipse will be 14 December 2020, but not viewable in the UK when the next solar eclipse will be August 2026.

The Moon in May: The Headlines

May 07, 2020    6:45 AM               Full Moon in Scorpio
May 14, 2020    10:03 AM             Last Quarter Moon (Waning)
May 22, 2020    1:39 PM               New Moon in Gemini
May 29, 2020    11:30 PM              First Quarter Moon (Waxing)

The New Moon is the first/last lunar phase when the Moon is located between the Earth and the Sun and the moon is largely invisible, hidden in the sun’s glare.

The Full Moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite of the Earth from the Sun on the same celestial longitude and we can see the entire illuminated portion of the Moon.

What do the moon phases mean for you and me, symbolically?

In general terms, folklore suggests that the waxing Moon phase building up to the Full Moon is the optimum time to grow, build, add to, make or get something. It is all about bringing something new in, or bringing something to completion or fruition. Some may perform magical summoning rituals.

A Full Moon is the optimum time to take stock and evaluate, or to gather, collect, harvest or cash in on something.

The Moon from The Gilded Tarot, illustration by Ciro Marchetti. Wolves bark during a Hunter’s moon, and crayfish move and spawn on the changing tides. The Moon card is also the card signifying contagion, disease and epidemics.

A Waning Moon is the optimum time for ending something, clearing out what’s no longer wanted or needed, including unhelpful or unhealthy habits. It may mean releasing something, or even getting rid of something (or someone) 

Some may perform banishing rituals, symbolically clearing out what’s no longer wanted or needed.

What is the Full Flower Moon?

These full Moon names were used during Native American and Colonial times to help track the seasons—and often came from the Algonquin tribes who lived in the same areas as the Colonists. Other such names are the Mother’s Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon.

The May full Moon means spring in high season with rising temperatures, a declining risk of late frosts, and plants and trees in first bloom. 

7 May: The Full Moon in Scorpio

Death card.jpg
Public Domain The Death card from the Rider-Waite Tarot

Scorpio is the sign of death, sex and regeneration and is represented in the Tarot by The Death card. Don’t let this worry you. It’s not saying that you or anyone close to you is going to die this month. But the Tarot covers all aspects of human experience. Death is part of life. Without death, there would be no space for new life. This is potentially a very highly charged sexy, and even baby-making moon.

Scorpio is known as a powerfully psychic sign. A Full Moon in Scorpio can be intense and its card in the Tarot is The Death card. This rarely refers to an actual person’s death, though it may do on occasion, in which case it is generally a peaceful death in old age. But far more often it refers to the end of a chapter in your life.  This may be a job, a business, a location, a relationship, an object or a habit.  It may be time to review a few things, close accounts, complete unfinished tasks, and gather your harvest. It is time to move on. This is not about rejecting others or hurting them in any way. It is simply that it is time to move forward, not allowing nostalgia or outworn loyalties to tie you down, holding yourself back from where you really need to go.

Scorpio is deep, secretive, intense, passionate…even obsessive. A little of what you fancy does you good. But this full moon could be a bit full on for comfort.

Sharp words may be said. Brooding silences may – brood. Conversely, and less quietly, crockery may sprout wings and go flying.

Scorpio has a sting. Secrets may be revealed at this time, or you may make unwelcome discoveries. Should you find yourself dealing with a situation of this kind, the advice for this full moon and the three days surrounding it either side is, do not act in haste. Take plenty of time to think about things. Don’t ignore your own needs and wishes. Listen to them, but be careful how you act on them. Take it easy around this full moon.

22 May: The New Moon in Gemini

Public Domain The Lovers from the Rider-Waite Tarot

The Lovers card is the Tarot card associated with air sign Gemini. This is a very different mood, and now that we have left the zodiac sign of Taurus and entered the zodiac sign of Gemini, we have an astrological double whammy; both the sun and moon are in Gemini.

This is a very different mood; lighter, sparkling, volatile, communicative and social.  Gemini is intellectually agile, curious and sociable like its planetary ruler, Mercury.  That Full Moon is Scorpio has been followed by a Gemini butterfly. Enjoy this lighter mood, but not every acquaintance is actually a friend and social media can become a snake pit if one is not careful how one treads. Gemini is friendly, everyone’s friend, but it keeps its distance.

The Lovers card is about love and romance of course, but above all, it’s about making choices. The problem is that here, the choices probably aren’t equal or straightforward. Will it be the apple or the orange? Or neither or both?

Or you may find yourself at a crossroads. This Tarot card advises you to look beneath the surface and be completely honest with yourself. Is this person or situation really right for you?  Which do you go with, your heart or your head? Is there something niggling at you? Some doubt? Something you don’t really want to believe or you can’t quite nail what it is, or you’ve got your suspicions but you’d rather tell yourself you’re imagining it.

Anything like that, you’ll do better to stay quiet, to watch, to wait, and to go with your head.

Click here to read about what’s coming up in the night sky this May. With all five of the ‘bright’ planets on parade, and with Venus in splendour, and in its closest conjunction with Mercury -there’s a lot to look out for.

Until next time 🙂

Seen by The Light of the April Moon

Photo by Vedad Colic on Pexels.com

Astrology

Astrology is about the search for meaning on earth as seen in the sky; seeking to understand human behaviour through the influence of planets and other celestial objects, Luna, our Moon being the .

Astrology began as humanity made conscious attempts to measure, record, and predict seasonal changes by paying attention to astronomical cycles.

Early evidence appears as markings on bones and cave walls 25,000 years ago; an early step towards recording the Moon’s influence upon tides and rivers, and towards creating the first calendars.

Symbolically, because it has no light of its own, The Moon represents our shadowy side, our dreams, hidden health, and the impulses that drive our behaviour whether or not we are consciously aware of them.

Why do astrologers study The Moon?

Humans have been studying the Moon since at least 25 000 years ago as the closest celestial body to Earth, exerting a physical gravitational effect on the tides, and on every living thing. Our bodies are largely water, subject to the pull of the tides, and we are no exception.

This affects men and women alike, but is more is readily noticeable in women, through their menstrual cycles.

The Moon in April: The Headlines

There is a lot of lunar drama going on this month, just as there is down here right now during this coronavirus pandemic.

 This month’s Full Moon is a Super-moon, a Pink Moon, and it is also the Paschal (Easter) Moon

The Full Moon this month will be in the sign of Libra.

The New Moon this month will be in the sign of Taurus.

The New Moon is the first/last lunar phase when the Moon is located between the Earth and the Sun and the moon is largely invisible, hidden in the sun’s glare.

The Full Moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite of the Earth from the Sun on the same celestial longitude and we can see the entire illuminated portion of the Moon.

Key Moon phases in April:

1 April First Quarter Moon (waxing moon)

7 April Full Moon (in Libra)

13 April Last Quarter (waning moon)

23 April New Moon (in Taurus)

29 April First Quarter Moon (waxing moon)

What is a Supermoon?

A supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that nearly coincides with perigee—the closest that the Moon comes to the Earth in its elliptic orbit—resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size as viewed from Earth.

What Is A Paschal Moon?

Easter is observed on the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full Moon that occurs on or after the March equinox.

This year, the March equinox occurs on Thursday, March 19. The first full Moon to occur after that date is 7 April UK time.

So that Easter this year is the first Sunday after 7 April: Sunday, April 12.

What is a Pink Moon?

Historically, full Moon names were used to track the seasons and, for this reason, often relate closely to nature. The Moon names that we use today stem from Native American and Colonial-era sources and apply to the entire lunar month, not only the full Moon itself.

April’s full Moon coincides with the first appearance of the “moss pink,” or ground creeping phlox …early spring flowers.

ground-phlox pub dom.jpeg

Public Domain

What does this mean for you and me, personally?

In general terms the New Moon and waxing Moon phase building up to the next Full Moon is the optimum time to make a new plan, to initiate or apply for something, or to grow, make or get something.

A Full Moon is in general the optimum time to take stock and evaluate, or to gather, collect, harvest or cash in on something.

A Waning Moon is the optimum time for ending something, releasing something, or clearing out what’s no longer wanted or needed.

7 April: Full Moon in Libra

Justice card.jpg

The Justice card: Rider- Waite Tarot

This full Moon shines a spotlight on the rule of reason, law and order, fair play, give and take, diplomacy

It can suggest romance in personal relationships, or repairing a disagreement. The sign of Libra, ruled by the planet Venus, is all about creating balance, harmony, and keeping the peace.

Libra is associated with The Justice Card in Tarot, which is about respect and fair play, following procedure, and applying logic and reason to problem-solving.

This is an unsettling time but The Justice card says, above all do not panic.

The Justice card suggests there will be added paperwork or other personal administration for most people one way or another in direct consequence of this situation. This paperwork may be legal in nature, or it may be financial, business or personal administration. It may be related to consumerism and provisioning, online shopping etc.

For small businesses and the self employed, the Justice card suggests special  measures put in place in the next few weeks, according to each country’s own national decision-making processes.

The pendulum swings. A degree of disruption and anxiety is natural and inevitable. Uncertainty makes us anxious, but the only real illusion is certainty. Nothing is certain, as the old saying goes, but Death and taxes.

Let’s keep our cool, look out for one another, and pay attention to process, procedure and detail. Dot the i’s and cross the t’s to get the very best we can from this April Full Moon in Libra.

Professor Karol Sikora is Professor of Medicine at the Uni of Buckingham, an oncologist for 50 years, he tweets @ProfKarolSikora:

I can’t tell you how helpful the social distancing is. If we all keep it up, I think a feasible scenario is a return to some normality at the beginning of May. As long as we keep to the rules now, we’ll end up in a much better place after Easter than is feared. Social distancing works. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimate that before the lockdown one positive person would infect 2.6 other people. Now it is 0.62. This means the virus is cornered and will burn out.

23 April: The New Moon in Taurus

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The Hierophant: Rider-Waite Tarot

The Hierophant card is associated with Taurus, a warm, earthy but creative, artistic and highly instinctive sign. It is about tradition, sticking with tried and trusted methods, creature comforts, and for many of us, these may have been in short supply, and there has been an unusual degree of extra stress and strain in recent weeks and months, with fire and flood wreaking havoc in 2019, all before Covid-19 showed its ugly face in December, and through its inexorable spread, reminding humanity that we are inextricably interconnected, and distance is no object.

Perhaps afterwards, when things have returned more to normal, as they will, it will be time to review a few of our global, national and personal practices, habits and expectations in respect of animal husbandry and global travel, and perhaps in time there will be some new normalities.

The Hierophant is the card of hospitals, publishers, universities and schools. Possibly things may enter a new phase, and in some cases, start to ease or start to return to normal in these sectors after this date.

In other news

A New Moon in Taurus suggests taking it easy. Don’t complain of boredom. Make an art out of staying home, making and doing new or quiet things, creating as the alternative to consuming.

For losing a little weight without a lot of effort, try working with the Moon, and limit your calorie intake for a 3-day diet once the New Moon begins.

This is also the card of formal studies, traditional crafts and universities and can signify a good time for starting a new study project or recreational group project, such as joining a choir for instance, or an art class.

Taurus is zodiac the sign of mid-spring, and everything alive and green. It is the ultimate zodiac sign of food and agriculture, matched only by the harvest time of Virgo. Why not discover your green fingers, or even experiment with growing a few of your own foodstuffs. You can always start small says the New Moon. A few seeds in a container, and see what happens.

People have been panicking. The supermarkets have been selling out of dried goods, but there will always other ways of doing things, or new recipes, or new ways of cooking or doing things to try out.

We can adapt. We can improvise. What did the Romans do before toilet paper had been invented? They worshipped Hygeia as the goddess of Health. And they had no loo paper, but still, they had ways….

And if that didn’t spoil your ‘bon appétit’, the April New Moon in Taurus says, ‘Eat your greens.’

Until next time 🙂