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From Beltane to Solstice
by Eric Francis

Dear Friends Around the World:

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May Queen

Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.

-- Jimmy Page & Robert Plant

May 5 is Beltane, the Pagan holiday that celebrates the birth of spring. Of course this applies to the Northern Hemisphere, since autumn is beginning in the southern regions. At the time of Beltane's creation, the southern hemisphere had not quite been 'discovered' by Europeans. Still, wherever one is in the world, and whatever tradition one follows, this is a power point, celebrated many places in the Latin world (for example) as Cinco de Mayo, May Day and other holidays.

Most of us are familiar with the equinoxes and solstices, when the Sun makes a 90-degree angle to either the tropics (Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn) or the equator. Those are the changes of the season, called the 'quarter days'. What is less known is that midway between each of the seasons is another holiday or Sabbat dedicated to a special purpose, called the 'cross quarter days'. These eight points make up one version of the cycle of the year, which "is celebrated as the natural cycle of the seasons, commemorated by the eight Sabbats," according to Wikipedia's excellent article on the Wheel of the Year. "In Paganism all of nature is cyclical, the passing of time is a cycle, represented by a circle or wheel. The course of birth, life, decline, and death that we see in our human lives is echoed in the seasons."

There are many, many myths devoted to telling this story. You can probably find several in every culture you look at, from ancient Egypt to Native American. Here is a list of the holidays or Sabbats, with their proper names, using the Northern Hemisphere seasons. See Wiki article above for reasonable discussion of their application in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Yule, on the winter solstice (Christmas)
  • Imbolc, on Feb. 2 (Candlemas or Ground Hog Day)
  • Ostara, on the spring equinox (Easter)
  • Beltane/May Day on May 1 or May 5 (The May)
  • Litha, on the summer solstice
  • Lughnasadh or Lammas, Aug. 1 and sometimes Aug. 5
  • Mabon, the autumnal equinox
  • Samhain, Nov. 1, and Halloween on October 31
  • Isn't it cool that the equinoxes and solstices have names? You may notice that some of these have Christian names, as Christianity is essentially a repackaging of Paganism, given a local flavor and authority from Rome, with taxes paid to the Holy See. Locations of old worship spots were used to site the newer, bigger ones. Even Notre Dame Cathedral is built on the location of a previous Pagan temple.

    This is why so many of the holidays are the same in the old religion and the new one. For example, Yule is also Christmas (celebrated about three days after the exact solstice), which is the birth of the "son" and also the time when the Sun is "reborn" and the days begin to get longer. (This is a very old story and is pilfered from other religious traditions long predating Christianity.) Easter is celebrated near the spring equinox, often in late March (it is held the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after March 20). Candlemas, the early February holiday, is also the Christian renaming of an earlier holiday; Lammas, the early August holiday (though rarely acknowledged), is the same situation.

    In today's shortest ever edition of Astrology Secrets Revealed, I'd like to look at the charts for two of these Sabbats, the one where we are today (Beltane), as well as for the Cancer ingress of the Sun or summer solstice (Litha). This covers a span of one-eighth of the year, a little over six weeks or about 46 days. I will do less interpreting and more pointing out salient features. Let's remember that in the background of these charts is the (northern hemisphere) spring equinox chart as well as the 3/29 eclipse, which is still fully in effect (see archive, the 3/29 cluster).

    I've calculated the chart for Beltane using the standard astrological formula of the Sun at the midpoint of Taurus. Note that when festivals happen that formula is not always used, but at least from the standpoint of celestial measurement, that is the moment, which this year falls on Friday, May 5.

    Here is the chart, set for London:


    This is an exceptionally rich chart. Leaving out for a moment the local angles, and looking only at the aspects, we find:

    1. A grand water trine. Mars in Cancer, Jupiter in Scorpio and Uranus in Pisces form a tight grand trine. Note how close the degree numbers are between Mars, Jupiter and Uranus and that tells you how exact the trine is. The fastest moving of the three is Mars, which is applying to both Jupiter and Uranus. You can tell it's the fastest moving because of those three planets, it's the closest to the Sun, and it's not anywhere near a retrograde.

    2. The Sun makes a 'kite' pattern. Notice that Mars, Jupiter and Uranus form a triangle in the watery signs, and then the Sun in Taurus is close to the midpoint of Mars and Uranus. If you print the chart and draw lines making the connection, you'll see this is in the shape of a kite. Without interrupting the constructive effects of the grand trine, this tends to lessen the more sinister ones (in particular, getting stuck in patterns).

    3. There is a grand cross aspect, too. Lo and behold. But these days the sky is a grand cross waiting to happen, and it does keep happening. The reason for this is that two slow movers, Jupiter and Neptune, are in a long square (in mid-Scorpio and Aquarius, respectively), and when you have one slow moving square, you're halfway to a grand cross. In this chart, the Sun shows up in mid-Taurus, you get a T-square and then Beltane happens at the first quarter Moon. Poof, there is your grand square. We saw other expressions of this earlier this year and late last year, which were covered in a few different editions, including the Fixed French Cross. Note, the French did not invent the Fixed Cross, but should have. Here is another article on a similar topic.

    4. The Saturn-Chiron opposition is still brewing. This has been existing as Saturn has gone through both Cancer and Leo and we are approaching what I think is part seven of this aspect. In other words, when all is said and done, Saturn and Chiron will have opposed one another seven times, which finally wraps up at the end of this year, spanning a long and sordid phase of history.

    5. Mercury is in the first degree of Taurus. Mercury is also applying in a square aspect to Saturn.

    6. Venus is on the North Node and is quite close to the Aries Point. As we have discovered somewhat unexpectedly in the course of this column's 92 editions, the Aries Point is a very big factor in current history. Here is more on the Aries Point for those who are curious, or who like reading it over and over again.

    7. Pluto is still very close to the Galactic Core. And there are of course dozens of other interesting bits and bobs you can name in this chart -- these are the big ones.

    The Solstice Chart
    Again this chart is set for Washington, DC. I just got curious to take a look and the chart came up as being extra-specially interesting set for that location, which does happen to be one of the more intriguing places on the planet at the moment.

    Some of the themes that exist in the Beltane chart repeat six weeks later at the solstice chart, but it's a bit more fiery and explosive of a horoscope. Note that the Cancer Solstice is the solar return of a potent total solar eclipse that happened the first day of summer 2001 and preceded the Sept. 11 attacks. This also links to many other charts in the past four years that have drawn some power or influence from the Aries Point. Here is the chart for the Cancer ingress of the Sun, also known as the summer solstice:


    1. Fixed grand cross, new version. We have seen this cross light up several times in the past six months, going back to November 2005. The four fixed signs are again covered, and the center of the action is now in Leo. Chiron is involved. Note the grand conjunction in Leo -- which is in the 1st house, very close to the ascendant. The fixed cross now involves the Moon in Taurus, Mars and Saturn in Leo, Jupiter in Scorpio and Chiron in Aquarius. This is an impressive fixed cross, particularly given how tight everything is and that it involves a Mars-Saturn conjunction in Leo. We might say that because the Moon is involved and it's just there for a few hours, it's not such an important fixed cross. However, this is the chart for the moment of the solstice, the Moon is very strong in Taurus, and the Moon has the earliest degree of all the planets involved, applying to the rest of the [major] planets. It feels like it's leaning into the rest of the cross.

    2. Something big and fiery and somewhat complicated is 'rising' literally in this chart. The Leo stellium rises over London at the moment of the solstice. The Leo stellium involves two well-established asteroids, Juno and Vesta. I think this is a pretty good candidate for a 'cosmic trigger' kind of chart. However, we may see a response on Earth from the opposition of the Sun to the Galactic Core and Pluto about four days prior to this chart. So, make a note, about four days prior to the solstice, we are very likely to see some highly unusual developments (but what on Earth does that mean these days? I hope not so much.)

    3. The Saturn Chiron opposition is extremely tight, and in the Washington chart it happens to be angular. See next entry for discussion of Mars.

    4. Mars is in a close conjunction to Saturn and happens to be opposite Chiron. We are seeing some exact manifestation of Saturn opposite Chiron that has followed us since the summer of 2003, when the Iraq war began.

    5. The lunar nodes are extremely close to the Aries Point. Notice, they are four arc minutes from being at exactly 00 Aries and 00 Libra. The Sun squares them at the same time. The Lunar Nodes reach these degrees once every nine years, but it's extremely rare to have an equinox or solstice that exactly squares the nodes. Looking at this chart, I cannot help but be reminded of all the numerous Aries Point charts stacked beneath this one. One thing we need to remember is that working in the background of both these charts is the 3/29 total solar eclipse, which was just over five weeks ago, which was an Aries Point event to the max.

    6. Leo stellium makes a bunch of sesquiquadrates to Pluto. I don't know if I've used the word 'sesquiquadrate' in this column before. It's a 135 degree aspect, which is essentially three semi-squares (3 x 45 degrees) or a square plus a semisquare (90 + 45). It's sometimes called a 'sesquisquare', and as you can see is closely related to the square aspect, which has keywords like tension, action, and internal integration. Technicalities aside, this is not an aspect that gets a lot of airplay in mainstream astrology, though many astrologers use it. However, it's very highly regarded by Uranian astrology (the Witte School or Hamburg School), and while I am not a Uranian astrologer, I have great respect for their work, their attention to technical detail, and their predictive abilities. In that system, the sesquiquadrate is considered a trigger aspect. Notice that the Leo stellium (including Mars) is making several rather tight sesquiquads to Pluto of all things, at the same time it's opposing Chiron. This to me is the aspect in the chart that says something comes open; that says there is an actual point of release, movement or expression on a fairly large scale. How this works for each of us personally is putting Pluto to work in our lives -- a big theme with Pluto currently having its relationship to the Galactic Core.

    I would like to conclude with a little note on fixed signs -- Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. They are symbolized by the bull, the lion, the eagle and a person. These are symbols that keep popping up everywhere. For example, have a look at this ordinary tarot card:


    These critters also appear in the Book of Revelation, which is a treasure trove of occult symbolism (but following the advice of Kabbala teachers, I don't suggest you read it at night).

    The Fixed Cross is also the home of the four 'cross quarter days' or High Sabbats of which we are now visiting the first: Beltane takes place in Taurus; Lughnasadh in Leo; Samhain in Scorpio and Imbolc in Aquarius.

    The fixed cross made a stunning appearance in 1999, with a grand cross and total solar eclipse on Aug. 11, covered in my article Thinking of You on Judgment Day. This is still remembered in Europe as "the eclipse." There was a potentially apocalyptic event: the Cassini Space Probe, which has long since reached Saturn, was being lofted past the Earth with its cargo of 72 pounds of plutonium. How quaint that seems in comparison to the current global situation. How nice to risk the end of the world, and at least get back some beautiful pictures of Saturn and data from Titan.

    And wot have we got these days? I guess we shall soon enough see.

    Eric Francis

    Forgiveness and Friends: Reader Responses to Eloisa

    Dear Eric
    Regarding the reader Eloisa: I've been through similar situations with friends and what it comes down to for me is not so much the forgiveness part, because I can eventually do that, although it may take awhile, but for me it comes down to trust. It's very hard for me to trust someone again, so the relationship is never the same.

    Dear Eric
    I wanted to respond to the reader Eloisa from Miami regarding forgiveness. People might say that I have more reasons then most to not be forgiving. I have been a victim of a couple of violent crimes and have lost three friends and a cousin to murder (all separate events) but I also have come to a unique understanding about the nature of forgiveness. I believe you can forgive anyone anything.

    Controversial? Yes, very. But let me explain. I believe that when you can't forgive someone you carry with you the hurt, pain or evil that they have inflicted upon you. Whether it anger regurgitating inside or pain adding a lead weight to your soul that has physical, emotional and spiritual ramifications. When I say you can forgive anyone anything, I don't mean that you forget because you will never forget but you can let the baggage go and say "No" to further victimization.

    It doesn't happen overnight. It can be a very long process but you can forgive even the worst act if you realize that carrying it with you will do more harm then good. You are essentially saying "I allow you to continually hurt me." Who wants to carry a little bit of evil with you? When saying "I forgive you", you are really just saying "I let you go so I have more room for joy in my life." I like to think of it as pushing it out of my DNA. Anyway, it is a very personal topic and I am sure more readers will have more to say on the subject.
    Belflower, Ca

    Dear Eloisa
    Congratulations on getting through your Saturn Return! You sound like someone who is extremely conscious of their own actions and takes responsibility for them as well. It's unfortunate that sometimes people perceive a willingness to bend to life's lessons as a weakness or vulnerability. It may, in fact, be a vulnerability of sorts but ironically, it is a great strength, not a weakness. I have tended to be a bit "overly responsible", which is a nice way of saying that sometimes I am a doormat for people.

    As I've gotten older (I'm the ripe old age of 40), I've gotten much more comfortable with the idea that my only job is to be the best person I can be (thank God - and one of the perks of the years passing by). With that, the realization has come that I not only am not obligated to be responsible for other people's behavior, it's really not possible. It's delaying the inevitable for both parties - we all have our own lessons to learn, paths to follow, etc. You need to be responsible for your own personal, healthy boundaries, which I think you have done in an exemplary way, AND others need to be responsible for their own behavior. That doesn't make you a "bad" human being or someone who is unforgiving.

    Quite the contrary. If every person on this planet took responsibility for themselves, can you imagine how peaceful this place would be? Your friend is trying to pass the buck. If you still aren't sure, reverse the situation. Would you behave that way toward a friend, or a stranger for that matter? I don't know you personally, but I suspect not. All of us are blind to our faults, at least to a certain degree. And hopefully we can have empathy and find forgiveness for the people who hurt us, just as we would want the same. But finding forgiveness and putting ourselves in a situation to be treated unfairly (repeatedly) are two very different things.

    I think your response to her was completely appropriate and what any emotionally responsible, healthy person would say. So stop doubting yourself and good for you! I was watching a biography on Cher once (who I think is one of the most honest, cool people on the planet) and the interviewer asked her about her relationship with Sonny, and why she ultimately left their marriage. Her response made so much sense to me, and I hope it helps you. She said, "It's sad and it hurts, but sometimes we just have to leave people behind." Thanks for letting me share, and good luck.

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