Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts

Jonathan Cainer's Astro News
Friday April 9th 2004
The Seasons are Changing... by Bernard Fitzwalter

You can tell that the seasons are changing because the winter constellations are disappearing and the summer ones are becoming visible. About an hour after sunset you can see the sphinx shape of Leo, with Jupiter exactly underneath him, high in the South; while further down, quite near to the horizon and a little to the east, is Spica. This star is supposed to be the stalk of corn which Virgo holds in her right hand. Spica is therefore considered a star of good fortune and plenty. When it rises at sunset, which it started to do a couple of days ago, it marks the end of winter and the start of the real growing season for the crops - a message which the grass and weeds in my garden seem already to have taken to heart. When Spica sets at sunset, which is around the end of September, then the harvest should be over, and we have harvest festivals. Of course, the warm weather starts sooner, and lasts longer, the further south you are; but one of the neat things about Spica's position, close to the sun's path, is that its rising and setting at sunset still correspond to the beginning and ending of the warm seasons whether you are in Britain, France, or anywhere else in the Mediterranean - a fact which helped the old farmer's calendars in medieval Europe no end.

Virgo herself is a very old constellation. She is a corn goddess, a mother goddess, a goddess of justice, and much else besides. She occurs in almost every culture and in every era. At some stages in history she has been equated with Mary, holding Jesus rather than corn, but thousands of years before that she was the Egyptian goddess Isis holding her son Horus. It is quite likely that Virgo goes right back to the time when the first farmers learned to plant by the seasons - and used the stars as markers to remind them.

Easter bunnies are actually hares rather than rabbits, and the hare was thought sacred to the moon goddess. The first full moon following the spring equinox defines the date of Easter - hence the bunnies. Or is it just a symbol of the way the date of Easter jumps about?

The calendar we use today was devised to correct errors in the previous system, which had begun to slip when compared to the stars. The Orthodox churches in Eastern Europe still use the older calendar, which makes Easter fall on a different date. About one year in four, however, the calendars coincide, and this year is one of them. We're all celebrating together. Happy Easter, everybody.

If you missed any Astronews articles, click here for Astronews Archives