Every 18 months or so, the planet Venus appears to move backwards from our Earthly perspective for a period of roughly 40 days. This transit, known as a Venus Retrograde, has a deep impact upon us because it’s one of our solar system’s three personal planets (along with Mercury and Mars), so the effects are more greatly felt in our day-to-day emotions and experiences, unlike the effects of the slower-moving outer planets’ Retrograde periods (e.g., Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto). Astronomically and esoterically, Venus will transform during this period from being the Evening Star that’s been seen on the Western Horizon at sunset to the Morning Star in the East. In order to do that, She (I speak of the planet and the goddess with equal reverence, so I capitalize the pronoun) will undergo Her period of retreat, taking us all into a symbolic Underworld journey to reevaluate our relationships and finances; what we value, including our own sense of self-worth; and what we find beautiful/aesthetically pleasing. Continue reading
If you live in the U.S. and you’re awake and facing the soon-to-be-setting full moon in the western pre-dawn skies, you’ll more than likely see tomorrow morning’s penumbral lunar eclipse in 3° Libra. It reaches its apex at 6:48 a.m. Central Daylight Time. Unlike the more visibly dramatic partial and total lunar eclipses, the visual effects will be subtle–a perceptible darkening of the moon’s surface. But the lack of visual appeal doesn’t in any way detract from the astrological intensity. Continue reading
Stormy Seas: Navigating Next Week’s Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces with Challenging Planetary Aspects
Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.–Victor Hugo
So we’re immersed in a bit of a cosmic paradox, eh? Here we are, just out of the starting gate of a brand new year, eager to implement all the grand plans we’ve resolved to weave into the tapestries of our life stories in 2016…and along comes a series of astrological events that are the equivalent of STOP signs: a Mercury Retrograde (first in Aquarius for all of two days, then backtracking into Capricorn–in fact, all four Mercury Retrograde periods this year will occur in Earth Signs), starting today; also starting today, the Capricorn Sun conjuncts powerful Pluto, and this aspect seeks to destroy and rebuild foundational structures in our lives, individually and at the collective level (a legacy of the messiness that we’ve inherited in the past four years of the potent and painful Uranus-Pluto square, which I’ve written about here); and this coming Thursday, the 7th of January, will have benevolent and bulbous Jupiter, our Daddy Warbucks of the Zodiac, going Retrograde until the 9th of May (but not leaving the Retrograde shadow period until early August), making us feel as though our personal development is being curtailed, ill luck is prevalent, and cosmic resources are that much more difficult to access. (The opposite, of course, holds true if you were born during a Jupiter Retrograde: this is one of your luckiest times of the year!)
MITHRAS, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the wall!
“Rome is above the nations, but Thou art over all!”
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!
–Rudyard Kipling, “Song to Mithras” (1922)
During my lunch break yesterday I went to the Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza, Chicago’s annual Yuletide celebration of Teutonic culture and the contributions of German immigrants to the city’s rich, culturally woven tapestry of history. Amidst the cheerful booths showcasing Bavarian woodcarvers’ wares such as nutcrackers and cuckoo clocks, and the food vendors with their mouthwatering apfelstrudels and warm and spicy glüwein to ward away winter’s chill, you’ll find a Nativity scene, the subject of many a tourist’s photograph. In front of it, stretched out on a fence, stands a banner from the Freedom from Religion Foundation brazenly wishing passers-by a “Happy Winter Solstice!” There’s a message below the headline, the first sentence of which reads: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, we celebrate the Birth of the Unconquered Sun–the TRUE reason for the season!” I smiled and applauded, then took the obligatory photo for my Instagram account. I thought warmly of the first Winter Solstice public ritual I’d ever participated in, way back in 1999, which honored the Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus) as the god Mithras. I was obsessed with researching everything I could about the cult of Mithras, and I took it upon myself to write a research paper that I presented to the Gardnerian coven I belonged to at the time. I’d like to share the fruits of my research here, as Winter Solstice is imminent, and I like to muse on how this Persian import of a cult provided serious competition for a nascent Christianity in the Late Roman Empire. Oh, if only history could have turned out differently… Continue reading
Blood Moon Rising: The Dynamic Dance of Self & Other Orchestrated by the Upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse in Aries Opposed the Libra Sun
“I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten thousand shields and spears.”
–William Blake, “The Angel” (1794)
I think of my body like a harp sometimes, one with finely tuned strings that get plucked days in advance of certain cosmic phenomena happening. For me, no cosmic phenomena register so viscerally like the energies surrounding eclipses. To quote T.S. Eliot’s magnum opus of Modernism, The Wasteland (1922), “My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad” (line 111). Continue reading
Calling all Kemetic polytheists, Pagans, Tameran Wiccans, ceremonial magicians, FOI members worldwide, devotees of the Neteru of the Two Lands, and friends! All are welcome to the 22nd annual Fellowship of Isis (FOI) Goddess Convention in Chicago! It takes place Saturday, September 26, 2015, at the ManKind Project Building, 1900 W. Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (On-site registration begins at 9 a.m.) Mercifully, parking is free and abundant outside the ManKind Project Building–a rarity in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood! Huzzah!
Sponsored by the members and friends of the Chicago-based FOI Lyceums of Eleusis and Alexandria Mishigami; and the Iseums of Hathor-Neith-MahaLakshmi and the Rekhet Akhu; and the Dunsmuir, California-based Lyceum of Karnak; as well as by Chicago’s Life Force Arts Center, this year’s Goddess Convention is dedicated to the Great Ennead of Holy Powers. The Main Liturgy to be performed is the Priesthood Alchemical Drama of “Uranus, Coming Forth by Day”–the sixth ritual in the late Lady Olivia Robertson’s FOI clergy publication, Sphinx: Goddess Myths and Mysteries.
It was deliberately selected not only for its themes of redemption and rebirth–ones that are very relevant in a strife-ridden world where many people are coming to consciousness about stepping up their service to their Powers and the planet as the latter continues to undergo great upheavals–but because it is solely oriented towards the Neteru of Egypt. The performance of this Main Liturgy is a sacred reclamation of “Isis” as a Holy Name of a Great, Ever-Living Goddess–not a besmirched, degraded, and hated name inaccurately assigned as an acronym to depict the egregiously evil deeds of terrorists fueled by a vicious Abrahamic zealotry. There is an urgency behind this reclamation; we love our Goddess in Whose Name our Fellowship is derived and anchored, as we love and adore all the Children of Shu and Tefnut. At this time of the Autumnal Equinox in North America, when energies are focused on giving thanks for a successful harvest and on preparing for the darkness to come, we honor the Powers from Whom manifold blessings flow. The Powers that sustain us. The Powers that light our way through the Duat.