Astrology and Christmas: All Posts Midwinter Festival

(Astrology Explored) Our ancestors watched the sun, moon and stars to determine the passing of time. Of particular importance, besides the full moon, were the solstices and equinoxes. The theme of both solstices and equinoxes was the interplay of the light and the dark, both being essential to the balance of the Universe. Winter Solstice stories revolved on the death of the old year, the old sun, and the birth of the new. In the middle to the cold and the dark was the hope that the sun would once again warm the earth. Over the years I’ve written a number of pieces about this time of the year, so I thought I’d share them with you once again.

The Astrology of Christmas Myths–Holiday Sales Will Save Us

The Astrology of Zodiac Ages: Christmas and the Next Two Thousand Years

The Astrology and Astronomy of the Star of Bethlehem

Astrology, History and the Winter Solstice: Our Christmas Traditions

Astrology and Mythology: Saturn’s Story and Saturnalia

The Astrology of Christmas: Winter Solstice Traditions

The Astrology of Christmas: Dickens and Scrooge

The Astrology of Christmas: History, Prophecy and Bad Uses of Astrology

Happy Holidays!

Photo published under a Creative Commons License by User GrizDave as explained on Flickr.


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Celtic Astrology: Spring, Imbolc and Groundhog’s Day

Groundhog

Statue of groundhog Wiarton Willie in Wiarton, Ontario

(Astrology Explored) Halfway between the Winter Equinox and the Spring Equinox is the cross-quarter day which the Celts called Imbolc (eem’ ul). We call it Groundhog’s Day, February 2, though the names are different they come from the same Celtic tradition.

Some ancient traditions marked the change of seasons at cross-quarter days such as Imbolc when daylight first makes significant progress against the night. Other traditions held that spring did not begin until the length of daylight overtook night at the Vernal Equinox. To reconcile the two traditions humans chose the actions of the groundhog prognosticated which date was the first day of spring . Sometimes spring begins at Imbolc, and sometimes winter lasts 6 more weeks until the equinox.

Imbolc marks the day when daylight makes significant progress against the night.

Wikipedia tells us:

“The holiday was, and for many still is, a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Celebrations often involved hearth fires, special foods (butter, milk, and bannocks, for example), divination or watching for omens, candles or a bonfire if the weather permits. Imbolc is traditionally a time of weather prognostication, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is perhaps a precursor to the North American Groundhog Day. A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:

Thig an nathair as an toll
Là donn Brìde,
Ged robh trì troighean dhen t-sneachd
Air leac an làir.



Which translates as:

“The serpent will come from the hole 
on the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.”

Imbolc is the day when the Cailleach — the hag of Gaelic tradition — gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people are generally relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather because that means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.”

Fire and purification are crucial aspects of this festival. Brigid (also known as Brighid, Bríde, Brigit, Brìd) is the Gaelic goddess of poetry, healing and smith craft. As both goddess and saint she is also associated with holy wells, sacred flames, and healing. The lighting of candles and fires represents the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.

Also:

Coming at lambing time, around 31 January, Imbolc (or Oimelc) celebrated the beginning of the end of winter. New lambs were born, and a dish made from their docked tails was eaten. Women met to celebrate the return of the maiden aspect of the Goddess. This survived into Christian times as the Feast of Brigid: the saint was a Christianized version of the pagan goddess who was the daughter of the Dagda (see page 00). In the Outer Hebrides, Celtic Christian celebrations of this festival lasted into the twentieth century, with women dressing a sheaf of oats in female clothes and setting it with a club in a basket called ‘Brid’s Bed’.”

Celtic astrology combined a lunar and solar tradition. The fire festivals, of which Imbolc was the second of the Celtic year, celebrated the cycle of fertility and the joining of the male and female principle. Samhain was the seeding time. It was considered the first day of the new year while Imbolc celebrated the maturation of the eternal feminine principle to a maid of marriageable age. Imbolc anticipates the spring, even as young maids anticipated their future role as wives. At Beltane, the next cross-quarter day between the spring Equinox and the Summer Equinox, Bridget and her lover, the Sun god born at the Winter Solstice, joins on Beltane in the sacred marriage.

In Celtic astrology, solar tradition, with months of roughly thirty days and corresponding the entrance of the sun in certain constellations seems to have been the province of day to day affairs. Every learned man is said “that every educated Irishman knew the names of the signs of the zodiac in order, and the correct day and month when the sun entered the signs.” http://cura.free.fr/xv/14boutet.html

The lunar tradition, similar to the Vedic tradition of 27 lunar mansions was the province of the Druid priests, whose job was to “tame” or reconcile the lunar calendar with the solar calendar.

The combination of the solstices and the Cross-quarter days as a set of ritual festivals is very reminiscent of the Vedic concept of “Yokes in the Wheel of Time”. Since these days always marks a festival in honor of some point in the cycle of fertility they seem to this astrologer to be mediators of the male and female principle, the mundane and the spiritual.

From what symbols and processes the Druids extracted their predictions from their “Science of the Stars” we are still largely ignorant. There is no evidence that they practiced astrology on the personal level that Western and Vedic do. Until we find out more, we are left with the tantalizing clues left in the rituals of the seasons, which for the case of Imbolc has morphed in the American tradition of Groundhog’s Day.

Celtic Dragon

Photo published under a Creative Commons License as listed by Wikipedia.

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Celtic Astrology: Imbolc and the Symbolism of the Cross-Quarter Days

Imbolc(Astrology Explored)

Halfway between the Winter Equinox and the Spring Equinox is the cross-quarter day which the Celts called Imbolc (eem’ ul). We call it Groundhog’s Day, February 2. Though the names are different they come from the same Celtic tradition.

Imbolc marks the day when daylight makes significant progress against the night.

Wikipedia tells us:

The holiday was, and for many still is, a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Celebrations often involved hearthfires, special foods (butter, milk, and bannocks, for example), divination or watching for omens, candles or a bonfire if the weather permits.[1][2] Imbolc is traditionally a time of weather prognostication, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is perhaps a precursor to the North American Groundhog Day. A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is: Continue reading

Astrology, History and the Winter Solstice: Our Christmas Traditions

Santa Mistletoe

Our growth as a species was influenced in part by our observation of the cycles of the Sun and the Moon. Our Christmas traditions, the Christmas Tree, Mistletoe, Santa coming down the chimney go back our ancient roots. Wikipedia reports the Christmas Tree was a tradition tied to the Winter Solistice as far back as the Chaldean culture.

From Wikipedia:

“In the Chaldean custom, Tammuz, son of the sun god Nimrod and the virgin mother Semiramus, was known as Zero-Ashta, “The seed of the woman,” and also Ignigena, or “born of the fire”. At the time of the winter solstice, the past sun god would die, his branches stripped from him – and one piece, the seed, would enter the fire on “Mother-night” as a log. The next morning, the new triumphant sun god was born from the fire as a tree, the “Branch of God”, who was celebrated for bringing divine gifts to men.

In the Bible, Jeremiah the prophet admonishes those who dare to erect such a pagan artifact: “Thus saith the Lord, learn not the way of the heathen…For the customs of the people are vain; for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” (Jeremiah 10:2-6)” Continue reading

Neolithic Mythology, Saturn, & the Winter Solstice

Saturn with the baby New Year

The Saturn Myth

The day that Sun slides into the sign of Capricorn is the day that is celebrated as the Yule, the symbolic rebirth of the sun god. Many myths and legends surround this day, this solstice a rallying point for pagan and Christian beliefs. Digging deep into the lore of Neolithic peoples, our direct ancestors, is the story of Saturn, the planetary ruler of the sign of Capricorn. The primordial god, Uranus, ruled the earth, with the Earth Mother as his consort. Uranus was a god of instinct, his actions ruled by his passions rather than reason and in fear. Though Uranus came every night and covered the earth, mating with her, he hated the children she bore him. He imprisoned his children in the earth where they caused Gaia pain. Gaia fashioned a sickle from flint and begged her sons to attack their father. Only one, Saturn, would agree to help his mother in her plot. This flint sickle was a powerful symbol of the harvest tool utilized by our agrarian ancestors.Saturn attacked his father with the sickle and castrated him, stealing his procreative power thus transferring it to himself.

This coup of Saturn with his sickle represents a shift from living instinctually with the earth, as nomadic hunter-gatherers to working the earth in settled agricultural communities. It also signaled a shift from bicameral awareness, where our early human ancestors perceived their own thoughts as promptings from the gods, to the type of individualized self-awareness that we have now. This complex process necessitated the development of a framework in which society could work. Where before as hunter-gatherers individuals worked for survival as part of groups, as farmers, humans evolved the need to retain the cohesiveness of community while assuring the autonomy of individual action. Thus traditions, how things were always done, became important, as well responsibility and duty to family and community. All of these are Saturn themes.

Celtic Mythology of the Solstice

The entrance of the Sun into the sign rule by Saturn had a special significance to the ancient Celts.

In the Celtic lunar calendar this event happens at the end of the Month of Elder, called Ruis (sounds like “r’ uhish”).

Solar events, signifying the masculine and lunar events corresponding to the feminine principle had equal importance in the complex mythology of the Celts. The day before the ingress signified the death of the old Sun, which then became the prisoner of the King of the Underworld. The New Sun was born on December 22 as the child of the goddess Ceridwen, the goddess of wisdom. The Sun was regarded as the son of Ceridwen, and the God Celi, an incomprehensible spirit from whom all life came.

Another story of Ceridwen runs concurrent with the story of the birth of the Sun, which reveals more of the underlying meaning of the birth of the sacred child at the winter solstice.

Cerwiden by Christopher Williams

Cerwiden by Christopher Williams

Part of Ceridwen’s story goes like this:

“Ceridwen had a magical cauldron that could make a potion granting wisdom. The mixture had to be cooked for a year and a day. Morda, a blind man, tended the fire beneath the cauldron, while Gwion, a young boy, stirred the concoction. The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron gave wisdom; the rest was a fatal poison. Three hot drops spilled onto Gwion’s hand as he stirred, burning him. He instinctively put his hand in his mouth, and instantly gained great wisdom and knowledge.

Ceridwen chased Gwion. He turned himself into a rabbit. She became a dog. He became a fish and jumped into a river. She turned into an otter. He turned into a bird; she became a hawk. Finally, he turned into a single grain of corn. She then became a hen and ate him. When Ceridwen became pregnant, she knew it was Gwion and resolved to kill the child when he was born. However, when he was born, he was so beautiful that she couldn’t do it. She threw him in the ocean instead, sewing him inside a bag of sealskin. The child did not die, but was rescued on a British shore by a Celtic prince named Elffin; the reborn infant grew to became the legendary bard Taliesin.”

Gwion represents the non-initiated soul, one, who in the service of the Goddess of Wisdom, is reborn as a “divine child replete with knowledge”. It suggests that wisdom is ultimately received from an acceptance of feminine knowledge of the divine essence of the cycle of life.

The divine child remains hidden from us, however, until December 24, the first day of the new lunar calendar of the year. The time during the divine child’s birth and this day is known to the Celts as the nameless day. This day that falls outside the thirteen sign, twenty-eight day dichotomy of the lunar calendar. It is sacred to the Queen of the Underworld, Arianhod. It represents the part of feminine wisdom that always remains concealed.

Helena Paterson, author of “The Celtic Lunar Zodiac” says of people born on this day:

People born on this ‘nameless day’ have a cosmic spiritual awareness-time travelers, akin to Australian Aborigines whose dreamtime reflects an evolving creation and creator.

The dark was considered the time of seeding, while the light was time when new growth emerged and matured. For the solar cycle the solstice points and the midpoints of the solstice points were considered important. While each of the midpoints of the solstice was considered part of the cycle of female fertility, the solstice points were celebrations of the cycle of death and rebirth of the male Sun god. The male Sun god carried great responsibility, for it was his light and his vitality that ensured the continuance of the community. At the autumn equinox the sun god symbolically passed into the underworld where he waited until the Celtic New Year, that which we know as Halloween, to couple with goddess of the underworld to seed the New Year. Yule is the triumph of the light over the dark when the male Sun god is reborn as a child of the great goddess to grow, mature and carry on his work of insuring the fertility of human activity upon the earth.

More than the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice marks the time of the revelation of the timeless nature of the cycles of life. It tells the story of rebirth of the human spirit, the archetypal spiritual acolyte in all of us, to seek the lessons and the wisdom of the year to come.

Saturn image published under a Creative Commons license from Flickr.

Image of Cerwiden published under a Creative Commons license from Wikipedia.

Celtic Astrology: The Harvest Moon–Remembering the Future

Harvest MoonThe Celtics were a people that reconciled opposites, day and night, dark and light as the continuum of the same forces that bound the lives of men and gods together. Unlike us, with our 9 to 5 routines, the Celts viewed Time as fluid, as having the ability to flow back on itself. The Druids called prophecy “remembering the future”.

Also, unlike us, the Celts found the seeding of things in the darkness. A Neolithic people of the land, they were keyed to the rhythms of life and death, the fertility of the land and of their tribes, and the phases of the Moon. As the Sun dipped below the horizon, the moon rose, and literally, a new day began. Continue reading

Celtic Astrology: Saint Patrick’s Day, Celtic Zodiac, and the Cauldron of Regeneration

Celtic Dragon

Celtic Dragon

(Astrology Explored) March 17 is the ancient feast day of Saint Patrick, the patron Catholic saint of Ireland, the day when most everyone claims to be Irish, at least to lay dibs on the beer. But for those of us whose lineage runs from the Emerald Isle, it is a day that reminds us of the indomitable spirit born of a people, the ownership of whose land was continuously contested.

Ireland was a land whose was overrun by a variety of invading peoples, the Anglo-Saxons, the Norse, the Romans, and the Britons. Multiple religions existed side by side the moon based beliefs presided over by the Druids, the caste of priest and priestesses that practiced the ancient rituals. Eventually, most of the invaders were absorbed by marriage into the traditional ways of the Celts. Catholicism broke this chain of invasion and absorption, with Saint Patrick’s claim to fame not driving snakes out of Ireland, but by driving the Druids, represented by the serpent, underground. So deeply were the Druids driven underground, that ancient genealogical lines of druidic origin were forgotten or lost and the ancient teachings hidden beyond the reach of most Irish. But one thing about the Irish remain, and that is the love of a good story. The Celtic tales of love, battle, glory and loss remained mostly in oral tradition, but were catalogued by a succession of scribes from the thirteenth century on.

From these works, Helena Patterson reconstructed the Druidic teachings of the lunar/solar calendar in her book The Celtic Lunar Zodiac. Celtic astrology is primarily moon based, though there is a ying/yang element of the Sun and Moon sharing dominion over the earth, and their relative strength to one another according the amount of light and darkness seen during the day. It is an astrology designed to achieve balance between the duality of feminine and masculine forces.

Saint Patrick’s Day falls just about at the spring solstice, when the Celts herald the arrival of the lengthening day and the Moon goddess as a fertile young bride. It was a major celebration, one of the four fire ceremonies, which was, of course, the excuse for revels and feasts.

During these revels, the Irish bards would sing the cautionary tale of British King Bran, brother of the sea God, Manannan, who won the battle but lost the war through the extreme losses of his kin and fighting forces against the Irish king Matholwych. Matholwych had married Bran’s sister, Branwen, but dishonored her, and therefore Bran, by refusing to acknowledge her as his queen. In doing so he denied the traditional matriarchal line of succession.

Matholwych, in marrying Branwen, had obtained from Bran the powerful Cauldron of Regeneration. We see the Cauldron of Regeneration in the Greek myths as well, when Medea used it to kill Jason’s uncle Pelias, so that he could secure his rightful kingdom, Pagasae. In both these tales we see the ill effects of use of power for a solely masculine agenda. In the tale of King Bran, because Branwen was dishonored, the Cauldron of Regeneration failed to produce the desired results. The Irish dead revived in the cauldron were alive but were no better than zombies.

Because Bran lost some of his family, including Branwen, all his army and most of his generals, he was unable to defend his throne against a usurper and was forced into exile.

Since we are culturally divorced from celtic ways, the story does not yield up an alternate solution from which Bran could salvage the situation. However, it is clear through the story that Bran failed to act as a proper protector to his sister’s interests and thereby lost everything.

So when you lift your mug, proclaiming your Irish heritage, real or imagined, remember the story of the British king Bran and the your role in protecting the family and the hearth.

Erin Go Braugh


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Celtic Astrology–The Symbolism of the Winter Solstice

Ceridwen

Ceridwen

The entrance of the Sun into the last of the Cardinal signs had a special significance to the ancient Celts. While this time is the start of the sign of Capricorn for us, in the Celtic lunar calendar this event happens at the end of the Month of Elder, called Ruis (sounds like “r’ uhish”) and marks the birth of the “new king” that will reign over the year.

Solar, signifying the masculine and lunar events corresponding to the feminine principle had equal importance in the complex mythology of the Celts. The day before the ingress signified the death of the old Sun, which then become the prisoner of the King of the Underworld. The New Sun is born on the Winter Solstice as the child of the goddess Ceridwen. The Sun was regarded as the son of Ceridwen, and the God Celi, incomprehensible spirits from whom all life came.

One story of Ceridwen runs concurrent with the story of the birth of the Sun, which reveals more of the underlying meaning of the birth of the masculine principle.

The story goes like this:

Ceridwen bore a child that was so ugly she despaired of his future. She decided to use her magic cauldron that could make a portion that would grant great wisdom so at least her son could have that.

The mixture had to be cooked for a year and a day. Morda, a blind man, tended the fire beneath the cauldron, while Gwion, a young boy, stirred the concoction. The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron gave wisdom; the rest was a fatal poison. Three hot drops spilled onto Gwion’s hand as he stirred, burning him. He instinctively put his hand in his mouth, and instantly gained great wisdom and knowledge.

Ceridwen chased Gwion. He turned himself into a rabbit. She became a dog. He became a fish and jumped into a river. She turned into an otter. He turned into a bird; she became a hawk. Finally, he turned into a single grain of corn. She then became a hen and ate him. When Ceridwen became pregnant, she knew it was Gwion and resolved to kill the child when he was born. However, when he was born, he was so beautiful that she couldn’t do it. She threw him in the ocean instead, sewing him inside a bag of sealskin. The child did not die, but was rescued on a British shore by a Celtic prince named Elffin; the reborn infant grew to became the legendary bard Taliesin.”

Gwion represents the non-initiated soul, one, who in the service of the Goddess of Wisdom, is reborn as a “divine child replete with knowledge”. It suggests that wisdom is ultimately received from an acceptance of feminine knowledge of the divine essence of the cycle of life.

The divine child is born on the day of the Winter Solstice but he remains hidden from us until the first day of the new lunar calendar of the year which is usually around December 24th. The time during the divine child’s birth and this day is known to the Celts as the nameless day. This day that falls outside the thirteen sign, twenty-eight day dichotomy of the lunar calendar. It is sacred to the Queen of the Underworld, Arianhod. It represents the part of feminine wisdom that always remains concealed.

Helena Paterson, author of “The Celtic Lunar Zodiac” says of people born on this day:

People born on this ‘nameless day’ have a cosmic spiritual awareness-time travelers, akin to Australian Aborigines whose dreamtime reflects an evolving creation and creator.

More than the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice marks the time of the revelation of the timeless nature of the cycles of life. It tells the story of rebirth of the human spirit, the archetypal spiritual acolyte in all of us, to seek the lessons and the wisdom of the year to come.


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Celtic Astrology: What Halloween and String Theory Have in Common

Physicists have theorized the existence of up to eleven different dimensions, depending on what brand of string theory you buy, four of them with observable space time references that are similar but not the same as ours. While many us have a hard time wrapping our heads around these theoretical physics, the ancient Celts were well aware of the existence of the “Otherworld.” The Otherworld was the haunt of spirits of the dead, gods and fairies, were time flowed in strange ways. Unfortunate people who happened upon portals to these otherworlds and spending an hour or a few nights adventure there might find themselves returned to their own dimension years ahead or years behind of their original entry point, that is, if they returned at all.

Certain places were considered portals to the Otherworld, such as Glastonbury, England, the portal to the land of Avalon, but other souls might happen upon one that appeared suddenly, what some called “fairy paths”. So concerned about these pathways, Celtic builders of new structures would mark the proposed floor plan in the earth and set stones at the corners overnight. If the stones remained undisturbed in the morning then it was safe to build. Still at other times, such as Samhain (Sow’ uin), as the balance from the light time of the year shifted to the dark, the veil (what physicists call “branes”, short for membranes) between this world and the next thins. At this time inhabitants of the Otherworld could pass more easily into this one. This is time where fairies would act out on their mischief on poor unsuspecting mortals, and the spirits of the ancestors would come to visit their families. The Celtic peoples would appease the fairies by leaving cakes and milk by the door and welcome their ancestors by setting a place at the table. At the end of the night’s festivities, villagers would dress up as ghosts and with torches in hand, singing and laughing, would escort their beloved passed to the outskirts of town.

Though some people have referenced Samhain as the Celtic New Year, my personal belief is that the Celts, the ancient Gaelic peoples did not recognize endings and beginnings in the way that modern man, with a timepiece on every electronic device, does. These were an agricultural people, where repetitive tasks were the order of the day, and one day would seem much like another except for change of tasks according to the season. Life flowed from one activity to the next, from the phases of the brightening and dimming of the sun and the moon, from the birth and death of a human being. Death was not an ending, but a change of circumstance, from dwelling in this world, to dwelling in another.

A year ago, this astrologer began a quest on understanding the astrology of the Celts, and sifting through the information at hand have come to this understanding. If we attempted to construct an astrological dichotomy in parallel with our own, it would be a misunderstanding of how these ancient Neolithic, these “new stone age” peoples perceived the world. As modern humans we consider ourselves more evolved than our ancestors, yet the ancient festivals yield an understanding of how this dimension and other dimensions work that our own physicists have only begun to understand in the last one hundred years. Think on this as hobgoblins, fairies, and ghosts, as well as other strange creatures visit your house and threaten you with a trick if you don’t give them a treat on the feast of Samhain, that which we call Halloween.

Photo titled “Fairy Holding Superstring Model of the Multiverse” created from elements from Creative Commons licensed pieces from Flickr, Wikipedia and public information from NASA’s Photojournal. As such you are free to display the work without alteration with appropriate attribution to this page.

If you would like a single question answered on these pages, please send your birth date, birth place and birth time to starrynightastro@aol.com. Sorry, time limitations prevent answers to anything else than a specific question.


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Celtic Astrology Working the Modern World: The Month of Ivy

fairies-and-moonFor ancient Celtic tribes, October is the Moon of Ivy, the evergreen plant that is said to harbor fairies dancing in its abundant folds. This association with fairies, an immortal race that rides the backs of butterflies, invokes the themes of the timelessness of the soul, physical death and resurrection. It is the time of Samhain, (Sow’ when) when the veil between this world and the next thins and those sensitive enough can communicate with the souls of the departed.

For the astrological significance of this moon we turn to the book the Celtic Lunar Zodiac by Helena Paterson,published in 1992 , a painstaking and rich work that recreates the meaning of the lost Celtic Calendar.

“Astrological rulership is partly designated to the moon, for in esoteric astrology the sun and moon are said to veil or eclipse hidden planets. The moon in the month of the ivy is therefore veiling a hidden planet yet to be discovered, and which, according the ancients, lies on the other side of Pluto. The of name of Persephone has been chosen because of the evidence for this planet . . . This choice of name is not by chance, but fits into the mythological cycle of the planets in our universe. In Greek mythology, Persephone, daughter of Ceres, the great earth mother goddess, was kidnapped by Pluto, god of the underworld, forced to remain with him for six months of the year.”

This planet was discovered in 2003, but not named Persephone. It is now called Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the Sea, who among other things, demands a shaman to visit her from time to time in her watery depths, to tell her stories and comb her long beautiful hair. In return her allows her sea children, the seals and the whales, be hunted for food. Sedna was transmuted into the Goddess of the Sea by the betrayal of her father. He murdered her rather than face the wrath of Sedna’s demon husband. Persephone’s story is that she was forced into marriage to the powerful god of the Underworld who kidnapped, then raped her, to make her his bride.

In the story of Persephone and Sedna the common theme is that they faced the overwhelming force of the male principal as controllers of womens’ destinies, those that will use any means, murder, kidnapping, rape, to secure what they desire.

The Month of Ivy is a time of examination of what had gone before and a time a prophecy to see what it is to come. It is a time to look at the darker places of our soul. Maybe this is why of all months, for us Americans, October, in the natural synchronicity that governs our lives October is designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This month we look at an ugly side for the life of some Americans, the abuse of family members at the hands of their significant others. This hidden side of women’s lives masks a bigger problem, that of a cultural dynamic that is so out of balance that one in four American women are subject to violence at the hands of their partners. However this is a world wide problem. In Afghanistan, one in nine women are abused.

The Celtic peoples strove to maintain balance in their lives with dire consequences if it was not maintained. The story of Branwen, the abused wife of the High King of Ireland, demonstrated the serious consequences of not valuing women. In the end, not just her and her husband’s families but two nations lay in ruin. This is a lesson to bring forward to our time, and something to reflect on during the Month of Ivy.

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