JANUARY, 2011

January 1 - 8:

12/31 - 1/4 (5 days):

Zoroastrians celebrate the creator Vohu Manah, maker and protector of all animal life, and one of the seven male -- parallel to seven female -- emanations of the deity Ahura Mazda.

Jan. 1 (Sat):

In the Greco-Roman calendar, 1/1 is the birthday of the lord of time: Chronos/Uranus, father of Zeus/Jupiter. This is why the Saturnian figure of Father Time, with his hourglass and scythe, is associated with this day. The New Year Baby who supplants Father Time is a version of the Solar Child who is born everywhere in the northern hemisphere in the Winter Solstice week of Dec. 21 - 25. As the Ruler of Capricorn, Saturn has traditionally embodied the limiting forces of age, illness, death, separation and estrangement -- but he is also the bearer of wisdom, as represented in the Hermit card of the Tarot as a black-robed, hooded figure whose lantern bears hidden wisdom for those who can see. Saturn is also the teacher of karmic lessons that are painful if the student resists, and noticeably astringent even for those who have learned to love Saturn. One way or the other, the effect of his instruction is always bracing, the stroke of his sickle in cutting away old illusions is always swift and exact. The placement of his birthday on Jan. 1 is yet another reminder that this is the day to discard what is unneeded, and seek new wisdom, at the turning of the New Year.

January 1 is also the birthday (1854) of J. G. Frazer, author of the seminal work of mythology and anthropology, The Golden Bough.

In the Shinto calendar, this is Gantan-sai, New Year's Day.

 

At the same time, the three-day transition period of Dec. 31 through Jan. 2 also represents the Triple Goddess in the severest of her Wise Woman aspects. Among the many "crone" goddesses honored at this time are the Greek Hecate, the Roman Fata (i.e., Fate), the Celtic Etain and the Norse Wyrd.

1/1 - 6 (six days):

The Japanese celebrate the Shinto New Year festival -- now keyed to the Western rather than the Asian lunar calendar -- beginning with Shogatsu, the first day of the first month. The respective kami or divine principles of the four directions are especially honored now, and their harmonious cooperation in bringing good health, prosperity and happiness to those who live in divine order.

1/2 (Sun):

In the Sumerian calendar, birthday of Inanna, the formidable double-aspected Goddess of love and war.

The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks tonight, and is expected to be most intense at 6:00pm UT on 1/3. This very active shower (100 or more meteors per minute) is best viewed in a clear, unlighted place where the relatively faint Quadrantid meteors (average magnitude 2.8) can be seen to best advantage. The Moon is dark now, just before the Black Moon of Jan. 3 - 4, so viewing will be optimal.

1/3 (Mon):

In the Roman Catholic calendar, 1/3 is the feast of St. Genevieve, the first female saint to appear in the annual cycle of saints' days. She was born in 423 in Nanterre, and is said to have made a vow of perpetual chastity at the age of seven. (Where but in France, one wonders, could a child of 7 understand the implications of chastity?) Her charisma and dignity were so persuasive that she reportedly saved Paris twice, once from starvation during a siege by King Childeric of the Franks, and then from sack by Attila and the Huns. Early in the 12th century, the people of Paris prayed for relief from plague by bearing the saint's shrine in procession through the city, and the pestilence lifted at once. St. Genevieve has been regarded ever since as the special protector of the city of Paris.

1/3 (Mon), 11:04pm HT; 1/4 (Tue), 9:04 am UT: Dark Moon conjunct Sun in Capricorn. This is normally the most reflective and contemplative Dark Moon of the year, as both Sun and Moon are under restraint by the ruler of Capricorn: Saturn, teacher of the spiritual and karmic lessons that are deepest, and can be most painful when resisted. As the New Moon always favors beginnings, the ensuing New Moon in Capricorn is naturally a time for trying new approaches to old problems and weaknesses. Long before the Julian calendar made early January the beginning of the Year, the Dark Moon in Capricorn was the moment for "New Year's Resolutions."
At this Dark Moon Saturn in Libra is at a 90° "square" to the Moon-Sun combination, so the energy of new beginning at always comes at the New Moon carries a pronpounced nuance of necessary and not always welcome changes that must now be made. It is best to accept Saturn's stark questions now about what we are prepared to expend, and to sacrifice, for the sake of the principles we claim to hold sacred.
On this Dark Moon there is also a partial eclipse of the Sun.
In the ancient Greek calendar, this longest and most profound Dark Moon of the year is sacred to Hekate, formidable protectress and guide through all turmoil and chaos.

1/5 (Wed):

An alternate Christian version of the 12-day Yuletide cycle, running from Christmas to Jan. 5 -- rather than the traditional Dec. 20 - 31 -- ends today with the feast of the old Roman goddess Befana. The "Great Grandmother" rides her broomstick through the world on this night, or comes on a donkey, as shown here in the town of Barga, delivering gifts to good children. During the Christian middle ages, Befana's toyride was reassigned to a large male elfin figure who made his gift trip just before the start of Yuletide, on the night before Christmas. Befana mutated over the centuries, in other countries, into one of the old, hooknosed, scary cartoon witches who have survived in the popular imagination ever since -- except in Italy, that is, where she remains beloved.

This day is the famous Twelfth Night, the last of the 12 days of Christmas, numbering from Christmas day through Jan. 5. Twelfth Night was -- still is -- believed to be the end of the Christianized yuletide season, the night of one more celebration before Christmas decorations come down, and the Christmas tree and other holiday greenery are removed from the home, on the next day. Local customs differ on whether the greenery must or must not be burned, though it is usually agreed that each household must keep a sprig of holly, ivy or mistletoe for good luck until the next Christmas season. Other Twelfth Night practices abound in the British isles, including the ceremonial sacrifice of the wren and the distribution of its feathers for the protection of Welsh sailors.

In the Roman Catholic calendar, this day is the feast of St. Simeon Stylites, so called because, after having prepared himself in youth with the practice of severe austerities, he made his way from his native Cilicia to Egypt and spent the last 37 years of his life standing atop a stylus-shaped pillar, sheltered only by his faith from the blazing heat and desolate cold of the desert. So determined was Simeon never to give himself the relief of sitting or lying down that in the end his death was apparent when he was seen not to have moved from a kneeling position for three days. The remnant of St. Simeon's pillar is preserved in a basilica erected by the Byzantine emperor Zeno in the 5th century. The Luis Bunuel film Simon of the Desert offers a profound and controversial version of the story.

Birthday (1666) of Gobindh Singh, the tenth Sikh guru.

1/6 (Thu):

In the Khemitian calendar, feast of Ptah, the neter who created the world by first speaking the word of creation, thus launching one of the many mythic cycles that began with the divine creative act of speech. This day was also sacred to Hor, aka "Horus," the neter of light and falcon-headed solar hero who preserves the world from the attack of Set, neter of destruction. (month of Mechir, day 22).

The skullcap in which Ptah is always depicted identifies him as an air being and peerlessly powerful creator who manifested new life "out of the blue" -- one of many expressions that came from ancient Khemt.

In Christian calendars, this day is the feast of the Epiphany, which follows the Christianized 12-day Yuletide cycle (12/25 to 1/5) and commemorates the day when the Three Magi from the East came to offer their gifts to the infant Jesus, and thereby symbolically spread the Good News of Christ's coming beyond the Jews to the wider world of all humanity.

For the Armenian Orthodox community, this is Christmas day.

 

In the Faroe islands, this day features prominently in legends about silkies, seals that take human form, especially as women, in order to love human males or gain revenge for human crimes against seal families. Jan. 6 is said to be one day on which it is especially common for silkies to appear as humans.

1/7 (Fri):

In the Greek and Russian Orthodox, and Coptic years, all of which are timed by the Julian calendar, Christmas is celebrated on this day. Ethiopian and Rastafarian Christians celebrate Christmas on this day as well.

Also for the Rastafarian community, who regard the African people of Ethiopia as the Jews of the Bible, this is Christmas day. The feast is celebrated with vegetarian or vegan food, readings from scripture and prophecies for the year to come. Orthodox Christians also observe Christmas on this day, while for many European and American Christians, this day marks the baptism of Jesus.

In the traditional Shinto calendar of Japan, this day is Koshogatsu (literally "Little New Year's Day"), sacred to the Goddess Izanami- no-Mikoto. She and her brother-consort, Izanagi-no-Mikoto, were the primordial creators who fashioned the natural world and its kami, or nature spirits. This day is exactly opposite on the year wheel to Tanabata (7/7), the Japanese Feast of the Lovers.

Venus enters Sagittarius. Unlike Mars, who chafes at the authority of his father Jupiter, who rules this sign, Venus feels regally at ease and at home in the domain of her generous, fun-loving Uncle Jove. She'll be here until Feb. 4.

1/7 - 8 (2 days):

In the ancient Khemitian calendar, one of the year's great festivals in honor of Aset ("Isis") as the Mother netert, protector of female fertility and the health of children. (Month of Mechir, days 23 and 24). As shown here in this famous image from the mammisi, or birth chapel of her temple at Pilak, aka Philae, she is flanked by Djehuti (Thoth) at left and Amun, hiding her son Hor (Horus) from the murderous intent of his uncle Set, neter of chaos and destruction. Other celebrated spiritual stories, notably that of Moses, would borrow the motif of concealing the sacred child in the river reeds.

1/8 (Sat): For the Japanese, this day is both a religious and national holiday, Seijin-no-hi, Coming of Age Day. Young men and women who are now 20 years old dress in traditional kimono and visit Shinto shrines with their parents, who announce to the kami that their children have now attained adulthood and pray for the spirits' blessings of health and long life.

 

The Chiron - Neptune Conjunction of 2009 - 2012:
Prelude (2008) and Acts 1 - 5 (April, 2009 - Nov., 2010), see UFC Index
2012: The End of . . . What?
Copyright 2010 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.