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Steve Nelson, “Mythic Astrologer” and good friend of “The Shift Doctors” (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.), returns to share his wisdom. Steve is an astrologer who follows a Jungian mythological tradition. He was raised by a part Cherokee shaman Aunt Maude who learned much of her lore from Molly Runningwolf, the mother of Amanita Sequoyah, the last Cherokee medicine man officially recognized by the Eastern Tribe. Steve’s Indian name is Steven Red Wolf, his lineage is of the wolf clan, one of the 7 tribal groups of the Cherokee. Steve follows many of the Cherokee traditions especially as these relate to celebrations, the use of ritual fire and star lore. For more information about Steve Nelson see www.GaiaAstrology.com
The New Year seeded at Winter Solstice comes to consciousness during Candlemas (Feb 1-4), the Winter Cross-Quarter. The New Year time spirit quickens to awareness through Candlemas fire, Lunar New Year (Feb 10-25) and Carnival (until Feb 3-13) celebrations. We begin to turn outward again as the spirit of Winter Carnival rises within. It’s time to dance and become as a child again, each of us is a child of the New Year awakening.
Carnival is the season to awaken the dragon that will be tamed during Lent. The bigger the dragon awakened and trained to purpose the more creative energy is available for the New Year. Traditionally lovers are chosen on Valentine’s Day because it’s easier to awaken and tame dragons in twos. While this may or may not be true, the techniques for awakening and taming dragons are pretty much the same for individuals as for twos.
Many celebrate Carnival and avoid Lent, others observe Lent but ignore Carnival. In general, those who ignore Carnival are more likely to be repressed emotionally while those who celebrate Carnival but avoid Lent are more apt to be dominated by their own passions. When both Carnival and Lent are given their due the vital force (symbolized by serpent or dragon) is stirred to life and integrated to power our new creation.
Carnival and Lent are important pagan fertility rites partially adapted by the Catholics. Placing ashes on the forehead was originally an Anglo-Saxon shamanic practice performed in the weeks before Spring Equinox. The purpose of ash (think carbon rings charged with solar energy) is to stimulate the brow chakra and draw up the spine the primal energy awakened in winter carnival.
Every year is a new creation, a new Genesis. The New Year time spirit takes form in the womb of Winter and the world is born anew in Spring. This is a dyad creation, the double helix is the source of all life. God moves through equal partnerships, two lasers create a hologram. As yin and yang agree it will be, this is how the new world is born.
2013 is the Year of the Lovers Tarot Key VI. This card illustrates the new creation with its archetypal New Woman and New Man. Here Eve/Venus stands before her mythic apple tree which bears abundant fruit as the primal serpent is trained upward. The way of training primal energy to soul purpose is being remembered now and will be restored in this Year of Snake 2013. Paradise is regained as we learn what to do with the snake in the garden.
The Chinese New Year, beginning on Feb 10 also signals an awakening of vital forces, it is celebrated by dragons dancing in the street. The dragon appears to be chasing (or is led by) a bouncing ball suggestive of dragon training or focusing on a goal.
When does a year really begin? Different cultures celebrate New Year at different times because the year begins on several levels. The Lunar New Year celebrated in China adds the vital emotional dimension. Each lunar year is symbolized by an animal, element and color. 2013 is a yin, water, or Silver Snake Year. The Chinese New Year celebration culminates with the Lantern Festival on the Feb 25 Full Moon.
The Lunar Year of the Snake happens once every 12 years and this is a special year when many millions of people gather in India for the great Khumba Mela. Now it is believed a giant serpent churns the ocean to bring up a giant pot filled with the nectar of immortality, the essence of all that was and is to be. But first, before the healing elixir can be received, the accumulated poison of the era has to be transmuted. The great god Shiva swallows the toxic liquid which turns his throat blue. What this means is a puzzle but it’s curious the throat is ruled by Taurus which is ruled by Venus whose color is blue. However this may be, it is true in the natural scheme of things that whenever a great transformation is happening whatever needs transforming is churned up before. Now the shadow of the passing Age is transformed and what follows is a mystery. Perhaps these next few weeks will bring the real activation, ascension or avataric awakening forecast for 2012. (Zodiacal year 2012 began 20 Mar 2012, it ends on 20 Mar 2013).
Morning Star Venus rises now blessing this new world. Rising before the Sun awakens us to the magic of this time. Venus rising in Aquarius bridges the way to a new more artful age. A planet long shrouded in mystery, Venus reveals many of her secrets this year. Insights channel through the arts in signs and symbols by way of Venus, the ruler of the Libra part of Aquarius we enter now in the great cycle of the age. New symbols are energized to bridge our way to the new high culture for which the world is so ready. What better emissary to lead us there than the goddess of Love…
Imbolc / White Rabbit Day, Feb 1 – Beginning Anew
Say White Rabbit first thing today for luck throughout the month. Number 1 days are like the Magician Tarot Key I. It’s time for a new magic rabbit to come out of the hat. The Celtic celebration Imbolc (Gaelic for “in the belly”) marks the first stirrings of Spring in the womb of Mother Earth. The vital forces of Nature are quickening now for a new cycle of creation to be.
Ground Hog Day, Feb 2 – Forecasting
This Imbolc holiday tradition grows out of an old Celtic custom of scrying the future through animal signs. Birds and burrowing animals are the special messengers in this time. What was conceived in the unconscious at Winter Solstice becomes illuminated as we, like the groundhog, come out of our winter homes to stand in the light of a new creation. All the world comes round right as the shadows of winter night give way to this new light.
Candlemas, Feb 2-4 – Illumination
By the light of candles three
Golden flames reveal to me
A path, a sign, an omen fair,
To guide me to my destiny.
The New Year quickens to life in the fires of Candlemas, the cross-quarter day that honors Celtic fire goddess Brigid. The Irish summon her to chase away winter. In Christian tradition Candlemas marks the purification of Mary. Candlemas also honors Demeter the goddess who carries a torch into the underworld in search of her daughter Persephone. The exact Candlemas cross-quarter (midpoint of Winter) is 11:15 am est Feb 3.
The lights of Candlemas symbolize Ceres torch lit search for her daughter Persephone. The rediscovery of Persephone is the first glimmer of conscious light in the dark of winter. Now the nature of the new cycle can be gleaned, visions of the future can be seen.
The Mysteries of Persephone are celebrated now in the Greek mystery tradition. Persephone returns from the underworld with her torch bearing mother Demeter (America’s Liberty). Demeter and Persephone reunited bring blessings to the world. Cairleach, the Celtic crone of winter now gives way to Bride/Persephone, the rejuvenated/rejuvenating goddess of the new cycle. Persephone presides over the death, rebirth and healing of the king – and the coming forth of the true king – in this cycle. The feeling need for a true king, avatar or champion is a collective invocation in this time. In her quiet and solitude woman invokes the divine return.
The Candlemas Purification of Mary is the clearing of Earthly consciousness for reception of Divine light. Candles are blessed to protect from lightning and other natural disasters. Mary mediates the forces of Nature including lightning. In her Magdalene form, she is Mary of the Tower. Psychic lightning bolts are invoked to clear psychic shadows from the astral world.
In ancient Greece the Mysteries of Persephone celebrated at this cross-quarter were preparatory for the autumn Mysteries of Eleusis. Persephone is accompanied by serpents and their appearance in nature (or in dream) portends her emergence. Long before the groundhog came to represent this time the Celtic people looked for serpent signs.
The snake emerging in the natural world parallels a force rising within which, when trained and focused to purpose, can work miracles. The serpent is the kundalini which raised rejuvenates life. The stirring of new life is the rising of primal energy for a new creation. Training this energy is the purpose of the season’s ritual celebrations.
Candlemas Ritual for Scrying the Future, Forecasting the Year
The future doesn’t just happen, we create the future given the energetic resources and understanding we have available. What will become is partly set by destiny defined by laws and cycles of nature and is partly determined by free will. The better we know and live in concert with natural cycles the more free we are to express our self and shape the future. In the words of pioneering scientist Francis Bacon, “Nature is commanded by obeying her.”
Every cycle has 8 pivotal times or turning points when what is to unfold can more readily be determined. During these times free will is augmented. Particularly effective for initiating change are the midpoints of the fixed signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. These fixed sign midpoints focus elemental energies and shape what will be in the following season.
This Candlemas/Imbolc ritual can effectively be done any time between Feb 2 and Feb 18 when the Candlemas Hora ends. It might be repeated in this time until the future forecast is clear and what is to be is envisioned satisfactorily. Forecasting is both passive predicting of influences and active envisioning and shaping what is to be. This is our time to scry and shape the future of our dreams.
The set up for the Candlemas ritual is simple: First place a small (ideally silver) bowl filled with water in the middle of your celebration space. Put in the bowl 3 round stones perhaps from a creek or beach or gem shop, round is key. Then arrange 3 candles to form an equilateral triangle around the bowl. Optionally, small vines or other greenery may be placed about the bowl. Use vervain if available, this is the traditional herb for the celebration. It’s purpose is purify and protect against astral influences. Dance and merry making will do this too.
The celebration: Light the 3 candles moving clockwise (Sunwise) and then just walk or dance clockwise around the center. Chanting or singing simple songs can quicken the energy and help synchronize breath with movement. Dancing 3 times around sets and clears the circle. Circling clockwise 7 times will dispel illusions and break all shadow spells. You might invoke the presence of spiritual forces and then put intentions on the air. Some may spontaneously speak in rhyme after setting the circle.
When the dance movement feels complete sit and gaze into the water pool between the candles to gain insight regarding the future year and the role you may play. Remember that the water element connects us with our unconscious and the collective unconscious of the astral world. It is here we find the shape of what’s to be. In focusing on the glimmering water, remember the Genesis quote “and the spirit of God moved on the face of the water.” Here at the edge of water and air the future is seen.
This scrying ritual is best done at night preferably in the hour beginning at sunset or at midevening (halfway between sunset and true midnight). The hour half way between true m and sunrise is also good if you’re an early riser or just happen to wake up then. This hour resonates with the Candlemas hora (15 day period Feb 2-18) in the year.
Another tradition is to wet the right forefinger in the bowl of water then hold it up high and draw a circle in the air above. This is to open a window into the future. You might also put water on the brow center to help open the inner eye. Candlemas is all about clearing and seeing the way forward. This is magic time, a time to create anew.
“Held to mark the ‘quickening of the year,’ the theme of lighting fires to call back the Sun from its winter retreat has been consistent in all incarnations of this festival. Imbolc falls in the Druid tree month Rowan, or ‘quickbeam.’ … On Candlemas, candles are lighted and bonfires burn outside, echoing the great ritual fires lit by Druids on this night. In wooing back the Sun we are also starting fresh both outwardly and inwardly. As fire illuminates the darkness and the Sun brings back warmth and richness of the Earth, we lighten the load of external burdens and inner attachments, looking deep into our own darkness to discover the new light.” ~ Victoria Williams, Ritual Fire and Feasting
3rd Quarter Moon, Feb 3-5 (exact 11 pm Jan 4 est) – Realizing Dreams
This Moon cuts away all that distracts from putting our dreams into action. 3rd Quarter Moon integrates ideas into creative expression; it’s time to follow our bliss and do what feels good in concert with the whole.
Balsamic Moon, Feb 6-8 – Make a Wish!
This is the Wishing Moon, the best time to put wishes on the air. It is also called the Witches Moon, a time to bring to mind those who need healing. Feeling invokes healing, the deeper we feel, the deeper we heal. The deeper we feel, the more Moon magic comes through the new lunar cycle. Shadows before New Moon can be cleared through deep breathing with attention to the light of the crown. See the wee crescent rising before the Sun with bright Venus, the goddess of Love.
Gate of Inspiration, Feb 8-9 (9:40 am 2/8 – 9:40 am 2/9) – Open to Receive
A Muse Gate opens every 40 days, 9 each year. Whatever blocks our energy flow comes before the Gate to be let go. This is a time to release tensions that hold outmoded ways of thinking and feeling. Breathe deeply and move freely (yoga, tai chi, Pilates, dance) to shed the old and open to the new light with new possibilities, new inspiration, and new creative energies. The Muse Urania brings new knowledge of the celestial bodies and cycles of heaven. (To find out more about the Nine Gates of Inspiration see our post http://shiftyourlife.com/2010/the-nine-gates-of-inspiration-access-to-interdimensional-portals/ )
Dark of the Moon/New Moon, Feb 9-11 – Following the Light Within
The day before New Moon until Sunset a day after is ideal for inner work to seed the new cycle; outer activity is favored after the new crescent appears. Old Year/ Old Moon shadows give way as we connect with the light within, and breathe. The New Moon (2:20 am est 2/10) is a cosmic spring that flows freely as we slow down. Nostradamus calls New Moon “the day of Diana, a time for silent rest.” It is like a psychic black hole, Alice’s rabbit hole. Many great wonders await our following the Moon Hare within. Here we can know what is and how to shape what’s to be. This Lunar New Year Moon (2/10-3/11) brings our dreams to life.
Chinese New Year, Feb 10-25 – Awakening, New Life Energy (Chi/Qi)
A year has several beginning times on different levels of being. The Year conceived at Winter Solstice / New Year comes to life on the emotional level at this Lunar New Year and becomes physically manifest in Spring. 2013 is a Year of the Snake. In Chinese astrology, the snake is associated with wisdom, esoteric knowledge and spiritual discovery. Snakes are sacred in many ancient cultures and are often seen as a sign of healing. “Mine is the wisdom of the ages. I hold the key to the mysteries of life. Casting my seeds on fertile ground, I nurture them with constancy and purpose. My sights are fixed, my gaze unchanging. Unyielding, inexorable and deep I advance with steady, unslackened gait, the solid earth beneath me. I am the snake.” -Theodora Lau
Crescent New Moon, Feb 11-16 – A Time to Sow
It’s time to bring forward what we wish to be realized. Farmers plant seeds when the crescent appears, seeds become fertile on every level, all new beginnings are favored now. Meditation opens doorways, wishes take wing, prayers bring blessings for this Moon and the New Year to be. Moon with Mercury and Mars brings bold new discoveries to light.
Valentine’s Day, Feb 14 – Celebrate Love
Birds choose their mates on this day and so do we. Valentine’s Day began as a pagan festival when lovers were chosen in games of chance. On Lupercalia Eve (the evening of Feb 13) the names of girls were written on pieces of paper and put in a jar from which each young man would draw a name. This would be his “girl-friend” for the year. This is the origin of Valentines. Number 14 reduces to 5, the number of Venus, goddess of Love.
1st Quarter Moon, Feb 17-19 (exact 3:31 pm 2/17) – Time to Choose
This Moon is like a scythe cutting across the sky, it’s time to cut free from the trappings of the past and affirm our purpose moving forward. Sacred to the Druids, this Moon is pivotal in the cycle of creation. Choices made are likely the right ones. Breathing deeply through the light of the crown frees energy flow up and down the spine to clear shadows and power our dreams.
Full Moon Lantern Festival, Feb 23-27 (3:26 pm 2/25) – Celebrate!
Strange things can happen at the Full Moon when the lunar orb passes through the Earth’s magnetotail. Then, for 5 days, solar plasma flows strongly through the Earth-Moon connection and the Moon becomes so charged electrically that Moon dust floats over the lunar surface. Solar prana and consciousness is drawn most strongly through the Earth – and through our bodies – when the Moon is Full.
At this Full Moon, Chinese New Year festivities culminate with the lighting of lanterns for health and good fortune. Each Full Moon is an opportunity for revelation and for healing – body, mind and soul. This Aquarius lunar cycle Full Moon is a pitcher that pours out healing elixir. Meditation, music making and dancing help open to receive; physical movement is key. Cosmic energies flow for 3 days following the Full Moon. Revelations come in dreams, chance encounters and flashes of inspiration. Stay tuned.
Bright Blessings to you all as you tame your dragons!
Steve Nelson (Mythic Astrologer) along with The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.)
***Steve Nelson is a professional astrologer who uses Tarot, name analysis, and traditional astrology to help clients understand personal myths and realize natural abilities. Find out more about him at www.GaiaAstrology.com
**The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on Energy Medicine personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about their books, DVD’s, CD’s and tools for personal transformation at www.shiftyourlife.com.