Happy New Chinese Year of the Metal Ox

12 February 2021 to 31 January 2022

2021 is symbolised by the Ox, the second of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac. There are also five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) which create a 60 year cycle. This is a Metal year.

The date for the Chinese New Year is not the same every year; it begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. At this time, starting on New Years Eve (yesterday), the Spring Festival, as it is known as, is celebrated for 16 days. On the 15th day in the evening it is traditionally celebrated by families gathering together, eating a meal and lighting lanterns and watching fireworks displays.

Previous Ox Years : 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, and 2021.

CHINESE ASTROLOGY

Twelve Chinese Years

On his last New Year on earth, Buddha called all the animals to his side. Only twelve came and as a reward Buddha is said to have given each one a year that would reflect its personality. The ox was the second to arrive so was given the second year in the cycle.

Each person is born under one of the twelve years and the year itself bears the characteristics of the animal. Because the date of the Chinese New Year can vary from late January to mid-February, people born around this period can find that they may belong to the year before.

For example in 1994, the year of the Dog, the New Year occurred on February 10th so anyone born on February  9th is a Rooster. In 1995 the Year of the Pig began on January 31st so anyone born on January 30th is a Dog. To compensate for this difficulty, people born on or around the Chinese New Year are said to be very psychic and open to new ideas.

While Chinese astrology is extremely complex, in folk tradition Chinese people identify themselves with one of the twelve animals, much as in the Western tradition, people think of themselves as Librans or Aquarians without worrying too much about ascendants and trines.

The Years run in twelve year cycles, so if your birth year is not listed below, add 12 or subtract multiples of 12 to bring you to the nearest birth year listed. For example if you were born in 1912, add twelve and that brings you to 1924, the Year of the Rat. So you too are a Rat. The order of the animals never varies.

Secondary Animal Characteristics

We all have another side to our nature. This may be especially strong if you were born close to the Chinese New Year. The secondary animal can explain your conflicting feelings and alert you to hidden strengths. According to the time of the day or night you were born, your secondary animal can be found.

The animals of the birth times are very stable since they are not affected by the date of the Chinese New Year. However, if you are born at a cusp time, you may find that you share characteristics of the adjoining animal. If your birth year and birth time animals are the same you may have a very strong personality, but should beware inflexible attitudes.

The General Pattern

Each year is ruled by its animal and you may find that all over the world, similar economic and political trends are feeding from the same energies. If the New Year is a year that is the same as your birth animal, then it will be a significant year for you. If it is the year of your secondary animal, it may be a time for your hidden strengths to come to the fore.

The Twelve Animals

Rat years are good for new schemes, ambitious plans and because theirs are years of plenty, for money-making, storing money or investments for the future. Beware of taking unnecessary risks or over-extending yourself especially in financial matters.

Rat people are hard-working, ambitious, friendly, assertive, devoted to those they love but can be mean, quick-tempered and less than truthful to further their ambitions. They include William Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Marlon Brando.

Ox Years are marked by stability and steady growth, where hard work will be rewarded. It is a good year for domestic affairs. Beware of clashing with authority or not keeping your paperwork up to date.

Ox people are responsible, stable, hard-working, patient and reliable but they can be unimaginative and materialistic. They include Walt Disney, Vincent Van Gogh and Charlie Chaplin.

Tiger years are times of great change and strides forward especially in fields of exploration. Beware of restlessness, accidents through carelessness and violent outbursts.

Tiger people are dynamic, noble in aim, enthusiastic, born leaders and competitive but can be selfish, domineering and easily angered. They include Beethoven, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Marilyn Monroe.

Rabbit years are calm, happy, good for diplomacy, international relations and enjoyment but beware of over-indulgence and putting off until tomorrow what needs to be done today.

Rabbit people are sensitive, well-mannered, joyous and quietly observant but can be superficial and self-centred. They include Albert Einstein, Queen Victoria and Jomo Kenyatta.

Dragon years are good for creative and artistic ventures and ventures involving risk. But beware of health hazards and emotional stresses.

Dragon people are successful, independent, highly creative and inspire others, but can be arrogant and unable to keep to a routine. They include Joan of Arc, Salvador Dali and Che Guevara.

Snake years are good for secret negotiations and undercover investigations but beware of double-dealing and scandal.

Snake people are investigative, persuasive and good at keeping secrets but can be devious and very jealous. They include Pablo  Picasso, Abraham Lincoln and John F.Kennedy.

Horse years are marked by positive action, rapid change in both business and the personal worlds and plenty of travel but beware of over-exhaustion and being carried along by change not of your making.

Horse people are active, sociable, hard-workers and outgoing but can be unreliable in one-to-one relationships. They include Rembrandt, Theodore Roosevelt and Nikita Krushchev.

Sheep years are for humanitarian issues, peace-making, introspection and for family matters. But beware of pessimism and over-sensitivity.

Sheep people are gentle, peace-loving, kind, tactful and reflective but can be vulnerable to criticism and easily depressed. They include Michelangelo, Andrew Carnegie and Rudolph Valentino.

Monkey years are good for enterprise, speculation, finding ways round obstacles and achieving the impossible. Beware of instability in business and personal matters and the breaking of promises.

Monkey people are quick-witted, inventive, versatile, humorous and with an excellent memory but can be unscrupulous and fickle with friends and colleagues alike. They include: Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens and Nelson Rockefeller.

Rooster years are good for politics and money, for overcoming inertia and injustice and for self-sufficiency, especially in smaller money matters. Beware of extremism and perfectionism.

Rooster people are honest, efficient, good organizers, especially of money and high profile, being successful in either the media or the Law. But can be abrasive and dogmatic. They include: Prince Philip and Pope Paul VI.

Dog years are good for matters of defense, whether at home, work or in international affairs and for integrity. Beware of Rigid attitudes and cynicism towards the intentions of others.

Dog people are crusading, protective, loyal and honest but can be obstinate and suspicious. They include Voltaire, Sir Winston Churchill and Elvis Presley.

Pig Years are good for bringing long-term projects to a successful conclusion and for the welfare of those less fortunate. Beware of Giving more than you can afford and falling prey to cheats, especially in money.

Pig people are generous, altruistic, home-loving, diligent and chivalrous but can be extravagant and over-indulgent. They include: Al Capone, Alfred Hitchcock and Humphrey Bogart.

IMBOLC or OIMELC The first festival of spring

Imbolc means ‘In the belly of the Mother ‘and refers to the potential for growth in whatever way is most relevant in your life. Welcome to February the month of Rowan, the tree of protection, magical power and creativity. Imbolc is the first festival of spring traditionally held at the beginning of February, when the Celtic Brighid as the maiden goddess melts with her wand of fire the winter snows (if global warming has left any!)

In the northern hemisphere Imbolc is January 31 to February 2; in the southern hemisphere it is July 31 to August 2.

The first festival of spring often when the land is still frozen is a reminder that new life stirs within the Earth and within people long before the effects are seen or felt externally. 

This was the all important time when sheep and cattle give birth to their young and so fresh milk and dairy products were first available to the community after the long winter in early agricultural societies.

This was in a number of pre Christian traditions the festival of the young maiden goddess. But it is also linked with the story of the newly delivered mother of the sun king whose milk is mirrored by the milk of the ewes who gave this festival its name of Oimelc or Ewe’s milk. 

The Dark twin is still powerful as reflected in the cold weather and dark days but the young God of light is growing in power as he is nursed by the Goddess.

The Christian Candlemas, the festival of candles, took place on February 2, the day of the Purification of the Virgin Mary on which she took baby Jesus to the temple for the first time.

Associations with Imbolc and the whole of February
Animal: Serpent, black cat
Tree: Willow
Incenses, flowers and herbs: Angelica, basil, benzoin, celandine, crocus, heather, myrrh, snowdrops and violets.
Candle colours: Pale pink, green, blue and white.
Crystals: Dark gemstones such as garnet and bloodstone/heliotrope, also amethyst, rose quartz and moonstone.

In the Northern hemisphere, at dusk on January 31 in the pagan calendar according to Celtic tradition fiery torches and bonfires were lit to attract back the sun. A procession around the frozen fields with blazing torches was led it was said in pre-Christian times, by the maiden Goddess herself and in later periods by a huge Grain maiden pulled on a cart made from the last sheaf cut from the previous harvest.

This festival of early spring is celebrated when traditionally the land is still frozen, though now the spring flowers bloom earlier each year and on the Isle of Wight the first daffodils, primroses and crocus are already coming through in late January. Imbolc is a reminder that new life stirs within Mother Earth and within us. This was the all important time when sheep and cattle had their young and so fresh milk and dairy products were available to the community once more.

Though it is the time of the Maiden the other aspects of the Goddess also overshadow her, the newly delivered mother of the Sun King whose milk is mirrored by the milk of the ewes who gave this festival its alternative name of Oimelc or ewes’ milk. The Dark brother who rules the dark part of the year still holds sway but the young God of light is growing in power as he is nursed by the Goddess and according to myth will fight and defeat his brother at the Spring Equinox around March 21 in the ongoing between light and darkness

One of the Celtic names for the pagan festival was Brigantia, after Brighid, the Celtic Triple Goddess, here in her maiden aspect replacing the Old Hag of Winter’s rule. She was Christianised as St Bridget, Brigid or Brigit of Kildare or St Bride in Wales and Scotland and her feast day is February 1. Brigantia was also the name of a Gallic earth goddess.

Right through medieval times in folk custom a girl representing the young maiden of spring (the former goddess) arrived at the door of the main house or farmstead of a village on January 31 eve with cows and a cauldron, symbols of abundance. Here a straw bride bed would be created close to the fire, adorned with ribbons and blessed with honey and milk by the women of the household.
The local men would enter the circle of firelight and ask for help with their craft or agriculture and make a wish on the Bride Bed and claim a kiss from the maiden.

Bridget crosses, none of whose three or four arms are parallel, were woven from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection. They are still a feature in Irish homes today.

The Anglo-Saxon Offering of Cakes ceremony to the deities at this time asked for a thaw in the weather so that the first ploughing might take place early.  In Scandinavia Disting, the festival of the family ancestors around this period was associated with future prosperity because it was a time the cattle and resources remaining after the winter’s forced inactivity were counted. In Iceland, Thorrablót was dedicated to Thor the thunder deity as god of winter. He was asked to drive back the Jotuns, the frost giants so that spring would come.

In the Christian tradition, on Candlemas Day, February 2 or the Sunday between January 28 and February 3, all the church candles that would be used for the coming liturgical year were blessed at High Mass. Blessed candles were also distributed to the congregation. Each person was given a blessed candle that acted as protector of the home against storms, fire and flood and protected cattle and crops against evil.

Traditionally a lighted candle was placed at each window of houses on January 31 (dating from Celtic times) or on Candlemas Eve, February 1 and left to burn through. On the following day, the feast of St Blaise, the newly sanctified church candles were used by priests to bless the throats of parishioners, so that they would be free from all respiratory illness in the coming months.

In the Christian calendar the anniversary of the Purification of the Virgin Mary occurred forty days after the birth of Jesus, the occasion also when he was taken to the Temple on February 2 and was hailed as the light of the world.

Candlemas was also the day for predicting the weather for the coming weeks and the arrival of spring weather. The US Groundhog Day, February 2 follows this tradition.

In Ancient Rome, at the rites of Juno Februa, animals were brought out of their winter hibernation, candles were lit in homes to drive away evil spirits and blazing torches cast into the River Tiber.

Ways of marking the festival in the modern world

  • Personal and home purification, by burning smudge sticks in sagebrush or cedar and spiralling the, smudge around your home, your possession and yourself before taking the smoke stick outdoors to burn away or go out.
  • Personal detoxing and the beginning of a fitness and healthy eating regime to maximise your energy and increases your resistance to winter ills and chills
  • Candle meditations or just quiet times sitting by candlelight talking to your family or friends. If you are alone hold a clear crystal between your hands and ask your guardian angel and spirit guides if they have any messages for you. These may be expressed through words that come into your mind or images and sudden good ideas. 
  • Create a candle web with friends or relatives for healing or peace. Choose an evening when you are all at home and pre-agree a time when you can light a white or beeswax candle and all focus on the same person, animal or place and send healing through the candle. You can adapt the web for people who live in nearby time zones. Leave the candle to burn through.
  • Unless you live in a warm land, plant seeds indoors or under glass, naming for each handful of seeds what you wish to bring into your life in the months ahead. You can plant the germinated seeds outdoors on the Spring Equinox if it is warm enough
  • In age old tradition, pour a little fresh milk on to the earth as a tribute to the Earth Mother and as you do so, ask for fertility in any aspect of your life you need it. Drink the rest or use it in cooking
  • On the night of February 1 (or August 1 in the southern hemisphere), place nightlights safely at every window of your home to welcome the new energies into your home. Once candles were lit to welcome Brighid the maiden goddess on her day February 1 and later St Bridget on the Christian festival of Candlemas, February 2 , the blessing of the candles for the year ahead in a special church service
  • Take a ceramic heat proof bowl of milk and in it drop ice cubes to represent the cold of winter; gently melt the ice with a small candle or burner beneath the bowl, stirring it and naming the energies you wish to move in or through your life or any quarrels or coldness you wish to resolve or melt 
  • A time for career renewal. In the old tradition a local girl dressed in white as the maiden goddess and later to saint would appear at the door of important houses and farms. Indoors would be a straw bed by the fire where she would be given milk, seed bread and honey and would bless the local workers.
  • To focus on the way you wish your career to develop, on the evening of January 31 (or July 31st in the southern hemisphere) make a tiny straw bed or one of dried rose petals and in it place a small doll dressed in white. Surround it with the first greenery or buds of spring. Place in the straw symbols of the blessings you would like in your life, whether tiny charms related to your craft or job applications of ideal careers .Drink a little milk sweetened with honey and put three drops on the head of the doll. Keep the doll and bed in position until dusk on February 2 and then scatter the straw or petals to the wind, give the doll to a child and carry any charms in a small drawstring bag to bring you luck. Send off an application, start learning some new skill that will further your career or apply for a course or extra training
  • Give packets of seeds to friends or friends’ children to plant indoors and take along a green plant or two to refresh the workplace and as a reminder of the coming spring. 

Full Moon on January 28

Welcome from Debi, Caity and Cassandra to the Full Moon on January 28 at 19.16 UTC, called the Wolf Moon. The Seneca nation believed a wolf gave birth to the moon by singing her into the sky; in the northern hemisphere at the darkest coldest time (for the time of the full moon-rise in your own location see timeanddate.com) we seek her light now more eagerly than ever.

She is a reminder that each month that passes we move step by step closer to a world very changed, for many filled with loss, yet a wiser, better world when we will be more willing to listen than talk, to extend the hand of friendship than to push away others not our kin, in the dash for what really it’s hard to remember was so very important to attain.

Each full moon that passes in these sad times, the cosmos seems to offer a special extra treasure as consolation; for as the full moon rises in Leo we have the fusion of moon and sun, inner and outer, silver and gold, the ultimate alchemical mix of Queen Luna and King Sol to create the elusive Philosopher’s stone, elixir of life, the way out, through science, caution and more than a hint of faith, even for those of us who once thought we knew all the answers,; this solar moon fuses glorious as the unquenchable spirit of humanity,

At the same time is stirring in the northern hemisphere the tentative promise of the early Celtic Spring festival of Imbolc on January 31 to February 2 when the Maiden Goddess Brighid, it is told, melted the winter snows with her willow wand. She promised life would grow again from the frozen land and hearts. In the southern hemisphere it is Lughnassadh, the first harvest, the willing sacrifice of the Grain king that the people might be fed. And the pandemic has revealed many willing sacrifices among health and key workers who have taken huge risks on behalf of others, worked punishing hours, to mitigate these harsh times and save lives.

The flaming torches of Imbolc carried around the fields were reminder light was oh so slowly returning. Today at this time we can recall the old festival that became Candlemas, the festival of candles, to send light wherever we live in the world, as one with our ancestors spiritual and actual, by lighting our Brigid circle of eight white candles, with white or yellow flowers floating in a bowl of water in the centre

For each candle we can make a blessing, for ourselves certainly, for those we love that they may survive healthy until these times are past and those living without proper health care in parts of the world still gripped by the virus.

Of course, even in lockdown there is much we all can and should do to help those less fortunate, but we should not dismiss the collective power of sending energies through our candle lighting. For in the words often attributed to St Francis of Assisi among other sources, There is not enough darkness in the world that can put out the light of single candle.

The moon of light then shines in the nights around this full moon, Leo the sun welcoming Mother Moon. Sun and Moon powers combining to link us all around the world in the shared human bond that can persist in days of joy as well as sorrow. For those of us who are allowed to walk free won’t forget the bad, but hopefully will recall the good lessons and continue to extend that hand of friendship, to all, realising that those vain strivings really didn’t matter after all.

Happy Cold Moon or Full Long Nights moon in Cancer…and a very happy New Year

Happy New Year from Cassandra, Debi, Caity. May all your New Year wishes come true and may you remain safe …towards the end of this post are a few rituals/spells for the New Year.

Happy approaching Cold Moon or Full Long Nights moon in Cancer on December 30 at  03.28 UTC and so visible in some time zones on the night of 29th (for your own time zone see  www.moongiant.com).  

Heralding in the New Year, the Cancerian full moon that blesses home and family, has seen many of us spending far longer than usual in our homes because of pandemic restrictions. If we are lucky, we have shared these months of restrictions with family, secure in their love. If alone, our home has perhaps offered sanctuary against what has been a dangerous time. 

But at this time too Mother Moon highlights the plight also of those for whom home has become a prison. For some during the lockdowns have been trapped in extreme isolation, dire poverty or shut indoors with an abuser. Once the pandemic is over, this suffering must not go back into the shadows, but must be resolved by us all once we are free again. 

The dual energies pulsate as the New Year heralds in fresh power for new beginnings, new determination and new hope for 2021 even though the new strains of the virus, threaten to overwhelm.  

The Full Moon in Cancer is ruled by Muriel angel of dreams. With New Year beginnings combining with those dreams still to be fulfilled, we can pursue them even in limited ways right now. We know now life is too short, too fragile for, maybe tomorrows, next year or if only I had. 

As the Full Moon illuminates approaching New Year we can tap into that surge of power from the rising earth and the moonlit skies. 

You can carry the following ritual on December 30, full moon, as New Year approaches or on New Year’s Eve when Cancerian moon power is still coursing through the sky Better still cast the ritual on both December 30 and New Year’s Eve to reinforce that determination to win through to the better future. You can carry this out with friends, family or alone 

You will need 

A drinking glass never before used for each person, half-filled with water from a bubbling tap. 

A large red candle. 

A cypress, cedar or pine incense stick. 

Dried sage or rosemary. 

The Spell: 

  • Light the candle saying This is the time of the year for new fires to be kindled from the old, that life may blaze anew, reaching for future moments made of gold.. 
  • Either alone or with family members or close friends, sit or kneel close to the candle you/each of you sprinkling just a few grains of herbs into the flame saying, I/we let go of the old, let it fade from sight, for the new year light will blaze glorious and hope once more burn bright. 
  • Name a sorrow or regret from 2020 you are consigning to the flame.  
  • Extinguish the fire or candle and then relight it, saying From the old comes new, joy after sorrow, healing after pain, dreams to pursue. 
  • Tip any remaining herbs outdoors saying, At the year’s turning, on this full moon, I name my dreams and vow I will attain them soon. 
  • Name (each of you), your dreams for 2021. 
  • Now face the moon(she will rise later on 31 but still be bright) or if cloudy face where the moon should be. 
  • Each lift a glass of water to the moonlight repeating those dreams. Leave the water out all night (if raining in a sheltered place). 
  • In the morning, splash the water on your brow, to your throat and your inner wrist points saying, Moon power, at this hour, rising of the new year’s light, be glorious in my sight, may those good times come again, joy from sorrow, hope from pain 
  • Tip the rest of the water on plants  

    May the Cancerian full moon and the New Year blaze glorious in your life.. 

A New Year’s Eve calendar ritual to bring a good year ahead

You will need   

A large dark-colored candle. 

A white candle. 

A pot of soil or sand.  

A single sheet calendar of the current year with large squares marking the days. 

A red pen. 

A ball of red wool. 

Timing 

Fifteen minutes before midnight. 

The Spell: 

  • If alone write in any square a disaster you would sooner forget. 
  • If family/friends are joining in, they can choose a square, sharing all the spell words and actions. 
  • Light the dark candle and tie up the calendar using nine knots.
  • Tear a corner off the calendar, burning it in the dark candle flame.
  • Drop the burned paper into the pot, saying nine times Old year turn, Old year burn, Bad luck, do not return. 
  • Rip up the calendar, throwing it unburned in the pot and put the pot outside the door before midnight. 
  • At two minutes to midnight light the white candle from the dark one. 
  • On the first stroke of midnight, blow out the black candle and shout,
    Come in New Year. You are welcome
     

A First Footing ritual to bring good new year luck and prosperity into your home

You will need 

A copper, silver and gold-coloured coin. 

Wrapped sweets, dried fruits and nuts. 

Dried basil, juniper berries, sage or thyme. 

Coal or wood. 

A large bowl of water. 

A drawstring bag. 

Small crystals or glass nuggets. 

Timing 

Before midnight. 

The Spell: 

  • Five minutes before midnight send the person chosen as First Footer outside the front door with the items except the crystals in the bag.
  • At midnight all shout, Come in, New Year. New Year, you are welcome, rattlingpans etc.
  • The First Footer enters, shuts the door and goes out of the back door (if there is one) or out of the front door again, saying: Out you go, Old Year. Your time is past. 
  • The First Footer comes back in, slams the door, walks upstairs to the top of the house and down again, shouting Happy New Year.  
  • She/he deposits the bag on the hearth or in front of a burning white candle.  
  • All toast the new year and drop crystals into the bowl making new year wishes

We wish you a joyous Yule and look forward to a happier 2021.

Debi, Cassandra and the newest member of our team Caitlin wish you a joyous Yule and look forward to a happier 2021.

For many people around the world, this Christmas is bitter-sweet, especially in those lands where new pandemic restrictions mean even more people than usual will be alone on Christmas Day or can’t be with loved ones. 

However, even in the pre-pandemic world many spend Christmas alone and seeing the world carolling can be painful when everyone withdraws behind their tinselled front doors of togetherness, doubly so now in this time of vulnerability.

If you are alone or feel alone this approaching Christmas if you are with people who are less than loving or can’t be with the person you want to share the Yule, when the house is quiet and dark, light a single white candle. Say, I light this flame that my own radiance will burn bright in the darkness with the love for myself as I am, who I am and without self- judgment, bitterness or blame as why I feel or am alone. 

Light from your flame in a circle around your candle of self, smaller white candles to recall those who can’t be with you this Christmas because of pandemic restrictions, are far from you across the world or if the situation you find yourselves means you can’t be together. 

Remember also in the candlelight deceased loved ones whose physical presence we miss at the celebrations and finally family and lovers estranged or those you must let go because they never were or can no longer be yours.  

Light and name a candle for each of these absences and afterwards say What cannot be restored or resolved now be at peace. I send you love, blessings and joy wherever you are within these flames.. 

Sit in the light for a while recalling happy memories and future plans when the world is light and free again. 

Only when you are ready, extinguish each of the circle of candles in reverse order, offering each person,  a specific blessing as the candle flame ceases to glow. 

If there are some you cannot and maybe should not forgive, send a blessing anyway, so moving from their shadow and freeing yourself from living or deceased who wronged us or we them, who still cast shadows on our brightness. 

Leave the central candle of yourself still burning  and from it light a single  green candle of hope in the centre of the candle circle and relight from the green candle of future promise each white circle candle.

Leave the candles burning as symbol that you are never alone as long as you walk in the light of your own self. For ultimately however much we are or will be loved, we are and must be our own flame in the darkness, our own inspiration and hope and so we share the light with others whether near this Yule or far away 

We will meet again around the Christmas tree. 

Happy Solstice on Monday December 21, 2020

Illustration by @cw_art_works

Happy Solstice on Monday December 21 at 10.02 UTC and the closest Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in 397 years, also on December 21 at 18.20 UTC . At this point the cosmic giants will be only 0. 1 degrees apart (see http://www.timeanddate.com for the times in your region of both the Solstice and the Jupiter/Saturn Great Conjunction)

It has been suggested that this greatest of Great Conjunction of the two planets which will appear like a single shimmering star, may have been the original Star of Bethlehem which it is said the Wise Men followed.

This then is a special Solstice, Mid- Winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the height of the Summer Sun in the Southern world, illuminated as evening falls by that starry promise in the sky – and we can tap into this incredibly dynamic cosmic and seasonal energy burst of light and life. It brings hope for those who can’t see the point of going on and an assurance that life is more than a random turn of fate’s dice.

If our personal stars have been dimmed in the previous months, yet they still wait to be followed as the Solstice light returns; our latter- day Star of Bethlehem as we look up in wonder, can guide us maybe on new pathways that because delayed will be more precious when the journey begins again.

Never more needed, the majestic giants of the cosmos, Saturn and Jupiter uniting, balancing wise caution with promises of future expansion at a time when much of the western world is still gripped by the spectres of the pandemic. Our inner gold, our as yet to be unfolded sun of frankincense and consoling myrrh of the waxing moon, are long awaited. For we have those gifts within to develop through our newly acquired wisdom, experience and compassion we have acquired in the preceding months.

Never more needed too the return of the Solstice light in the Northern world or the golden defiant glow of unquenchable Midsummer on the other side of the world, cascading to join power at the centre of the turning world to reassure and warm and promise better times ahead we can create and share

Following that Star of hope that by the next Solstice in June 2021 when the seasonal dancers change places in the eternal solar dance, we can believe we shall feel safe again and walk in the light of freedom.

The loss of life and livelihoods can’t be undone, the pain and sorrow still goes on. Yet our Yuletide tinsel stars shimmering on the tree on what will be for many a very different Christmas, are a reminder to keep following our own star, revealing even in dark times that path of destiny we still can make.

And we have discovered many previously undervalued human stars this year, dedicated health workers, service providers, those who have given food to the hungry and offered support for the lonely. We have seen the best of humanity as well as the worst- and so on 21st we look up at the Solstice star, knowing the light of humanity will never be dimmed.

The Baltic sun Goddess, Saule dressed and crowned with gold who drove her chariot across the skies, as she returned to restore light to the world, dances joyously with her daughters, the planets. Stepping in a second across the world the Sun Mother brushes the snow from her hair, adds a bit of lippy and scatters golden sunbeams as she passes.  Fear not the sun will cease to shine even in what have been for some their darkest days. Just as people in times past lit fires and hung torches from evergreen trees to call back the sun  so we who have been spared grievous loss or worries about future livelihoods,  celebrate with gratitude and crossed fingers the blessings of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers whose goodness has shone through the darkest of days.  For light is stronger than darkness. The Sun Mother in her many names and guises never fails to light the pathway of her children even through tears, doubt and uncertainty. She has warmed the hearts of her children at this time of year down the ages, others who sometimes also feared the bleakness of life; she rekindles our inner sun as kindness and goodness, unselfishness and sharing, as caring words, thoughtful deeds and smiles that grow in light as they pass from one to the other, even if sometimes through tears. And so the Solstice sun will shine once more and light return.

October 31, November 1 and November 2

October 31, November 1 and November 2 are wherever you live in the world the days when we remember our departed family members with joy and blessings. If we cannot forgive old wrongs(and sometimes to forgive is to say what certain relatives did to us especially in childhood was excusable, which it is not) a time to let the ancestors who hurt us go in peace and so set ourselves free.
Whether it is the coming of winter or summer in your land, we welcome deceased as well as living family members to our family table and ask for their blessings as a continuing part of the family.
Only in the modern world is the idea of family ghosts celebrating the turning of the year with us regarded as strange. Yet even in today’s world a number of people recall how a friend or newcomer at a family christening or wedding has asked about an older man or woman who was peeping into the infant’s cradle or watching the bride throw her bouquet, with a proud smile. Then the figure seemed to disappear into nowhere. Invariably the description of the older person matches a deceased relative who has returned to share the occasion.
Indeed societies where departed ancestors still play a significant role are those where the living elderly are well cared for and respected by younger members of the family.
During these three days, set up a small table covered by a white cloth near the centre of your home where you can keep mementoes of loved ones who have passed on to the Afterlife. For example, you could display a piece of jewellery or watch, medals and photographs of your family ancestors. Start a memory box of old certificates, ration books, reminiscences about the idiosyncrasies of those who may be just a name to the new generation. Keep fresh fragrant flowers there and on each of the three days and afterwards once a week on a Friday or Saturday light a white candle..
· As you light the candle send your deceased relatives blessings, perhaps read aloud their favourite poem or prayer or play their favourite music and ask for their blessings on your life and family.
· On Halloween, whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere, cook traditional family recipes, get out the old family photos(and maybe post one on Facebook with a memory of an eccentric relative), tell the old legends. For it is said so long as our name is spoken so shall we live.
In those lands, too many, where we still can’t see our relatives except on Skype or Facetime because of pandemic restrictions where there seems for some no end, contact an older relative who may be alone or sad, even if they are difficult. Leave flowers on a lonely neighbour’s doorstep
These hard times have made us realise how important family is and how each of has a place and a responsibility in the ongoing story- and how we can’t bear grudges through the years however justifiable. The words too late or if only are scant consolation and often innocent children can be caught up in family quarrels by the adults especially where divorce is involved and lose contact with grandparents or cousins.
So, at the time of the ancestors, let’s strengthen our family tree even via computer or phone so it will blossom in our own lives and flourish strong in those of our descendants.

2020 HALLOWEEN Samhain

A very special bitter-sweet Halloween time approaches, spanning Samhain heralding in the old Celtic New Year and colder days in the Northern hemisphere and demanding its place also in the Beltane celebrations, the coming of the summer in the Southern world, both lasting from the evening of October 31, until sunset on November 2, All Souls’ Day.

Even more magical this year October 31 also marks a Full Blue Hunter’s Moon in Taurus at 14.49 UTC(seehttps://www.timeanddate.com/moon/phases/for the time in your region)
The Blue Moon is so called because it is the second full moon in the month (there are 13 full moons this year) and so it is said to grant wishes.

Although there are Halloween full moons every 19 years, this is the first since 1944 that can be seen in nearly all the world’s time zones and so Mother Moon this month shines her light on all. Significant perhaps the previous almost global full moon occurred at a time when many parts of the world were still reeling from the destructive effects of the Second World War, bringing her promise that war would end and life return through in a very different form.

Now in these times of a worldwide pandemic, Lady Moon embraces the world once again on All Hallows Eve, the night of the ancestors, when the dimensions open and we celebrate our loved ones by cooking their recipes, buy their favourite flowers to set next to their photos, getting out the old photo albums and embellishing the family legends.

Though this Halloween moon is especially poignant, when as in 1944, death is ever-present in the world, Mother Moon tells us we cannot cower in the shadows but must rejoice in every day our loved ones are granted health and safety, a blessing and a bonus. Though other Halloween full moons will wheel though the skies, hundreds of years hence our descendants will still make wishes upon the blue moon and hopefully rejoice in a freer better world at the seasons’ turning as they look upwards at the fires of the ancestors in the stars.

Jack, recalled in Halloween and Samhain, in the Jack o’ lantern, was asked three times during his life by the loveliest of the Morrigu Fate sisters to go with her across the river of death to immortality. But he was too afraid to take her hand even in his last moments on earth; so it is told he walks between worlds with his small light, now recalled in the Halloween pumpkin. But all was not lost -it never is- six months later he is reborn as the wild Beltane Jack ‘o’ Green, who seizes life, free as the burgeoning woodland greenery and crowns the maiden goddess with wildflowers. Both Jacks are one, are within us and the choice is not always easy; with the buffets of seemingly sometimes unfair fate; but even in the darker times we can make decisions based on the resources and the knowledge we have right now, using the past to weave the garland of the future and when that garland breaks, repairing it again and again.

If we can live authentically, beautifully and eternally in bad times as well as good, in our words, our kindnesses, in those we try to influence for the better, in our unique foot and blueprint we can still rejoice and build upon small pleasures that are our treasures in this most bittersweet of moons

May you be safe and your wishes fulfilled.