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
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
Stroll down Memory Lane a bit with me, won’t you? Here are some sensory details to swell the scene:
Act I, scene i: June, 2003. A cheerfully sunlit but uncomfortably cramped metaphysical store in Honolulu’s quirky Kaimuki neighborhood, with crystals and towering bamboo plants cramming the windows and mounds of paperback books spilling out of their cases, stacked horizontally on the floor. A gentle ginger tomcat named Toby, who more than slightly resembled my own beach cat rescue, welcomed a hearty scratch under the chin. I sigh nervously and paw my way through storefront flyers announcing the meeting times of Reiki groups inviting the public to join them in their full moon meditations on the “Violet Flame of Saint Germain.” I giggle as I mentally devise doggerel verse on the fly using that rhyming couplet (“the Violet Flame of Saint Germain / Makes New Agers go INSANE”!)…cheap entertainment while I wait. Toby meows as if he’s accusing me of insolence by walking away from him and focusing my attention elsewhere.
It’s a return visit, as I’d stumbled upon the store for the first time only the week prior to give the store’s owner–a Midwestern Mainlander transplant like myself–my birth details so she could construct my natal chart.
“Well, well!” Cheryl the proprietor/resident astrologer, after adjusting her reading glasses upon the bridge of her nose, greets me by waving all 30-plus pages of my detailed natal chart printout in the air. “Come and sit down, Ana. This is gonna be fun! Would you like a cup of tea before we begin?”
I thank her for her hospitality and say, even though it’s over 90 degrees outside (the trade winds weren’t blowing that day; I remember how the air felt oppressive, hanging with a leaden weight), that I would love a cup of jasmine tea if she’s got any. Organized Cheryl (she has a Capricorn Ascendant, I find out later) pulls out a wooden tea chest and extracts two jasmine tea bags, as she was fancying a cup herself.
“Soooooo, yes. Virgo Sun and both Moon and Ascendant in Aquarius,” she begins with no preliminary remarks. “Very cerebral, intellectual. You live a lot in your head, don’t you?”
I nod, sipping my tea.
Cheryl flips a few pages into my report where my natal chart, in wheel form, explodes in an array of zig-zagging, interwoven colored fonts, showcasing the various conjunctions, trines, squares, and oppositions of the planets at the moment of my birth in Chicago. She traces her ridiculously long, fuschia-painted right index fingernail across the “pie slices” of my chart and starts tapping once she reaches the fifth one–my fifth house. “Yeah, I actually want to start talking about this first,” she says. “Saturn in your fifth house. This is a heavy placement,” she announces brusquely. She adjusts her eyeglasses, studying my face. And then: “Do you and your fiancé plan on having any kids?”
“Footloose and fancy free” didn’t describe my young adulthood
Saturn sternly stationed me under the shadow of his scythe
I was dour
Unpreoccupied with love’s sweet bower
A scholar for the ages
Ever waxing in her analytic powers Continue reading
(C) A. Applegate 2013. None may reproduce any portion of this ritual without my written consent.
RITE OF HADES
ERECTING THE TEMPLE
(Light the altar candles and incense. Ring the bell three times, then say:)
“Let it be known that the circle is about to be cast.” Continue reading