Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts

Jonathan Cainer's Astro News
Friday April 30th 2004
May Day by Bernard Fitzwalter

Itís May Day tomorrow. Time to pick spring flowers and dance around the maypole on the village green. Or, if you belong to a coven of witches, itís Beltane tonight, and time to light fires on hilltops.

There are more odd bits of folklore connected with May Day than with any other day. Why is it so important?

The skies have the answer. May Day is one of the four Ďquarter daysí, when the sun is in the middle of one of the four fixed signs -

Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. These days occur more or less halfway between the solstices and equinoxes, dividing the year into eight. This eightfold division formed the basis of several ancient calendars, particularly in Northern Europe.

The constellations of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius have been taken as seasonal markers for at least 4,000 years. In their rising and setting at various stages of the year they act like the hands of a giant clock. At certain times of the year - around the quarter days - there are times when one is on the western horizon at sunset, going down with the sun, one is on the eastern horizon coming up, and one is directly overhead.

Thatís happening now. Have a look at about 10 pm, when itís getting properly dark. Low in the west is Venus, and all around it are the stars of Taurus, gently setting. In the east youíll see the claws of Scorpio coming up. And high in the south is glorious Leo, with Jupiter beneath him. On the next quarter day, at the beginning of August, Leo will be setting, Aquarius rising, and Scorpio will be high in the south. Having three key constellations left, right and at the top is a bit like the little bars on a watch face for nine, three, and twelve: it helps you read the time better. On this clock, however, we read seasons rather than hours.

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