PREVIOUS THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY|
June 16th to June 21st 2003
MONDAY JUNE 16
On Friday, I said the Earth has a baby second Moon called Cruithne. Several readers have since referred me to a scientific website that says otherwise. But I got my information, in the first place, from a scientific website. Aarghh!
Meanwhile, Merewyn writes “Careful what you say about the number 13 representing a break in the cycle. Those who practice The Craft, working in covens or circles of 13, find it powerful and perfect.”
My kids have a comment too. They say “It all probably comes from the curse, put on the Sleeping Beauty, by the 13th fairy!”
TUESDAY JUNE 17
Thirteenth Zodiac Sign
Some readers suspect there may be a ‘sexist’ reason why 13 is considered unlucky. The Moon, they point out, is a female symbol. There are 13 moons in a lunar year. The Sun is a “male” symbol and gives you a 12-month year. Centuries ago, when a patriarchy started stamping out the power of women, they replaced the old lunar calendar with a solar year, arguing that 13 was inauspicious. It’s an interesting theory but it oversimplifies the astronomy of the situation. As does the idea that there is (or once was) a thirteenth zodiac sign.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 18
Thirteenth Zodiac Sign - Part Two
Yesterday, I glibly dismissed the idea of a ‘13th zodiac sign.’ I have since had many outraged e-mails, some demanding an explanation, some offering an explanation... and some insisting that I am part of a patriarchal conspiracy. But I remember, back in the seventies, much excitement about a ‘newly rediscovered’ sign called Arachne. It turned out to be a hoax. I’m not saying that Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer, falls into this category but nor am I satisfied that it has ever been part of a 13-sign zodiac. If I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know.
THURSDAY JUNE 19
Lucky and Unlucky numbers
I am married to an Italian. When our first son was born, a relative gave him a charm bracelet with 13 engraved on it. I was surprised till they explained that in Italy, 13 is considered lucky. 17 is the unlucky number and Friday 17th, the unlucky day.”
Dear Constance, Thank you for that, although it conflicts with the next letter.
You might like to know that in Latin cultures like Spain, Italy, France and South America, Tuesday 13th is equivalent to Friday 13th.”
Best wishes, ‘Bass’
I await further letters on this topic with interest.
FRIDAY JUNE 20
Each year, around June 21, the Sun reaches a turning point in its journey through the sky. We get our longest day and our shortest night. The latest crop of Cancerians start being born. And, for those who still remember the old ways of our land, it becomes time to celebrate Summer Solstice. In the minds of many, this ancient festival is inextricably linked with Stonehenge, a mysterious circle of ancient rocks in deepest Wiltshire.
Once, only a handful of robed druids gathered to greet the dawn. Now, people flock there by the tens of thousands. They stay up partying all night long till it is time to dance, drum, stamp, shout, cheer and chant a welcome to the first rising Sun of the new celestial season. This is thanks to a change of heart at “English Heritage”. During the Nineties, they took a very different attitude, getting police in enormous numbers to set up roadblocks on all the approaches. They were determined to keep out the nation’s hippies, astrologers, wanderers, travellers, poets and pagans - all of whom were equally determined to gather beneath their beloved stones. Ugly conflicts sometimes ensued. Recently, though, a truce was declared.
On June 21, 2000, Stonehenge was opened for a few hours in the early morning. Each year since then has passed without incident. This year, though, there are fears that old tensions will resurface. Some in the new age movement feel that, as the Sun won’t rise in the sign of Cancer till Sunday morning, the Stones have been made available on the wrong day. But though the Sun won’t enter Cancer till 8.10pm on Saturday evening, it remains right to celebrate the Sunrise on Saturday morning. Solstice has been celebrated with the Sun still in Gemini on many occasions in the past. The crucial question for our forefathers, was never ‘which sign is the Sun in?’ but ‘On which day will it reach its highest position of the year in the midday sky?”
At Noon tomorrow, the Sun is due to reach 23.4382 degrees of northern latitude above the celestial equator. At noon on Sunday, it will have started to fall once more... and will only get as high as 23.4373 degrees. So if you want to celebrate the Solstice in the true spirit of the ancients... get up early on Saturday, Sunrise above Stonehenge will be at around 5am!
Note: Stonehenge car park opens at midnight tonight. Entrance to the Stones is from 2am - noon, Saturday morning. Car park will be cleared by 2pm.
SATURDAY JUNE 21
Summer Solstice sunrise
Late last night thousands flocked to Stonehenge to greet the Summer Solstice sunrise. Technically speaking, they were a little premature. The sun does not leave Gemini until 8.10pm tonight. Tomorrow morning’s dawn will be the first of the year in the sign of Cancer.
BACK TO INDEX
Prince William (Cancer born June 21, 1982) Many people wonder what relevance the Royal Family can possibly have to British people in the 21st century. I am quite sure that William Windsor, who turns 21 today, privately wonders much the same thing. But, like all sensitive Cancerians, he knows when to keep his mouth shut!
Others who celebrate their birthdays this week are: Today June 21; Ray Davies (61) and Juliette Lewis (30), Tomorrow June 22; Kris Kristofferson (67), Meryl Streep (54) and Lindsay Wagner (54), Monday June 23; Frances McDormand (46),Tuesday June 24; Mick Fleetwood (61) and Jeff Beck (59), Wednesday June 25; Carly Simon (58), George Michael (40) and Lucy Benjamin (33), Thursday June 26; Chris Isaak (47) and Mick Jones (48), Friday June 27; Isabelle Adjani (48).