Holidays

The magic of Samhain and the journey to Hallowe’en

Art by Wendy Andrews

I just returned from a trip to Ireland, where the holiday of Hallowe’en is said to have originated with the ancient Celts who called this holiday Samhain, or “summer’s end”.  Traditionally the holiday was celebrated on November 1st, but some sources say that the festival lasted seven days, or even nine days.  In Ireland there was a huge assembly at Tara where the kings met to craft their laws and the common people held celebration.

In medieval Europe the pagan (country) people celebrated the the midpoint of the fixed signs as periods of power.  These times correspond to the fixed signs of Aquarius (Brigid in February), Taurus (Beltane in May), Leo (Lugh in July) and Samhain (pronounced Sow’en) in October for Scorpio.  These times exactly between the solstices and equinoxes, and are called the “cross-quarter” days.  Early Catholic leaders adopted the festival of Samhain as All Saints Day and christianized the holiday to encourage praying for the souls of the departed.

While Samhain has been adopted by Wiccans and other followers of witchcraft, I think we have finally come past the equating of ancient holy holidays with witches and demons.  These are nature festivals of spirituality which we can use to honor the holy cycles of nature and the ebb and flow of life.

At Samhain it is said that the veils between the worlds grow thin, and it becomes easier to communicate with the souls of loved ones who have passed on.  They are also more easily able to offer advice, and divination is a key part of Samhain festivals even today.  Samhain marks the beginning of the dark half of the year, after the balance of light and dark at […]

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By |2019-10-31T08:15:45-05:00October 30th, 2019|Holidays|0 Comments

How the Christ surpassed Yahweh at the dawn of the Piscean age

yahweh I posted this a few years ago but it’s still my favorite post for this time of year.  Because the earth orbits at a slight tilt, and the tilt of the orbit changes over time, the celestial equator is always moving and the vernal equinox is always moving along the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth from our perspective.  We call this the “Precession of the Equinoxes,” and that is what we mean when we talk about the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Pisces, etc.

There is no accepted timeline for the transition from one Great Age to another.  The Great Year is approximately 26,000 years and each Age spans approximately 2160 years. However, because cultural changes mark the shift between ages it becomes somewhat easier to define these transitions.

Yahweh, the god of the ancient Hebrews, was a warrior god- Moses says so right in Exodus in the Bible:  “The Lord is a warrior/man of war.”  In Isaiah 42:13 we find this exclamation: “The LORD will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”

There is a great deal of confusion in the Bible over the name of God – both El and YHWH (Yahweh) are used interchangeably.  However, archaeological evidence suggests that El was a senior god in Canaan: a beneficent god who presided over creation and ruled over the more junior warrior gods such as Baal and Astarte.  The use of the plural for god in the Bible – “Elohim” – could refer to the family of Canaanite gods that included not only Baal and Astarte but also […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:26:52-05:00December 22nd, 2018|Favorite posts, Holidays|5 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving to my readers, I give thanks to you ❤️

thanksgiving gratitudeToday is not only Thanksgiving in the US, but it’s also the thirteenth Blogiversary of Astrological Musings.  In 2005 my sister, already a blogger, helped me get started on the Thanksgiving holiday and the rest is history.  I cherish the fact that many of you have been with me practically from the beginning, and grateful for all of you who have found me over the years.

Not too many of us in the United States are left with the illusion that the first Thanksgiving was a romantic feast where native Americans and white folks forged a beautiful friendship that lasted hundreds of years.  Most of us know the tragedy and devastation that European settlement of the US brought.  And lots of people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as a result.
But if we forget about the Pilgrims and gorging on the traditional 10-course meal from which it takes weeks to recover, we end up with a day to give thanks.  Finding something to be grateful for, even in the midst of a miserable time in our lives, is one of the most healing things we can do.  Back in 1910 metaphysician Wallace Wattles wrote, “Gratitude brings your whole mind into closer harmony with the creative energies of the universe,” and since then this idea has really taken hold and become a part of daily rituals for many of us.

When we experience gratitude we open our hearts and minds and counteract the contraction of fear and doubt.  A gratitude practice is a very useful tool.  It is human nature not to pay attention to the good things in our life and to take them for granted; a daily review of the […]

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By |2018-11-22T09:22:48-05:00November 22nd, 2018|Holidays|5 Comments

Happy Yule and Christmas to my dear readers!

Father Winter

A portion of this article was originally posted in 2011. Anyone who has read this blog for more than five minutes will know that I am rather skeptical not only of Christianity but of any organized religion.  Still, I love the Christmas season, with its pagan-derived trappings of pine trees decorated with colorful balls and lights, songs of celebration, and the sharing of food and sweets with family and friends.  After all, the week of the Winter Solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years as Yule.  And even if it’s only for a week, it’s lovely to hear people of all religions talk about peace on earth and goodwill to men.

The timing of the celebration of the birth of the Christ on December 25th likely comes from the pre-Christian Roman holiday Sol Invictus celebrating the invincible Sun and the patron saint of Rome and her soldiers which was established in 274 ce.  Christianity was established  as the official religion in Rome in the mid 300s.

Around this time of year people always ask about the astrological meaning of the Star of Bethlehem, and an MSNBC article presents a compelling case for the actual birthdate of Jesus based upon the astronomical Star of Bethlehem:
Historical records and modern-day computer simulations indicate that there was a rare series of planetary groupings, also known as conjunctions, during the years 3 B.C. and 2 B.C.
The show started on the morning of June 12 in 3 B.C., when Venus could be sighted very close to Saturn in the eastern sky. Then there was a spectacular pairing of Venus and Jupiter on Aug. 12 in the constellation Leo, which ancient astrologers associated with the destiny of the Jews.
Between September of 3 B.C. […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:26:52-05:00December 25th, 2017|Holidays|1 Comment

The Winter Solstice and the return of the light: today!!

Winter Solstice astrology Deviant Art

The Winter Solstice is upon us: the day when the Sun enters Capricorn in the tropical zodiac. We have already talked about Saturn having just entered Capricorn, and Saturn and the Sun align today as well.

The chart for the Winter Solstice is often used to forecast the energies of the coming season (until the Spring Equinox at zero Aries).  The conjunction of the Sun to Saturn at the Winter Solstice embeds this energy into the energy of the season, bringing our attention away from relaxation and pleasure to a more disciplined and focused approach. While the primary focus is on that which is real, a harmonious trine between Jupiter (expansion) and Neptune (creativity and inspiration) helps us to continue to grow our dreams while setting and realizing our concrete goals.  Mars is tied in there too, in Scorpio where it is quite powerful, helping to fuel and energize our thoughts to action.

We also have the asteroids speaking out quite loudly in this chart, with Ceres (nurturing) aligned with the North Node to help support us on the journey to the future.  Vesta, encouraging us to allow our own creativity to emerge from our heart’s fires, is aligned with Jupiter and tied into that lovely trine described above.  Pallas, goddess of creative intelligence, aligns with Uranus, representing intuition and multidimensional awareness. Juno, bestower of marriage and keeper of the nuclear family, aligns with the Moon to strengthen the bonds of those we live with and love. And last but not least, the Black Moon Lilith – the primal feminine power – aligns with Pluto, planet of empowerment and transformation, forcing us to face any darkness in order to transform it into light.

This […]

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By |2017-12-21T08:27:40-05:00December 21st, 2017|Holidays|1 Comment
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