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[Witch Way] Volume #3 Issue #2 -- The Time of Sacrifice
July 13, 2010
|Hi, Happy Lughnasadh!
Here we are at what we call the Dog Days of Summer, in the northern hemisphere. Every weekend seems to be taken up with one activity or another. Where we were at home, wondering what we could do with all the extra time after Yule, now there doesn’t seem to be any time for ourselves.
We have parties, BBQs, events, and rituals, not to mention work. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time for it all. I have always found it interesting how people are never happy with how things are. In the Winter, they complain about not having anything to do, in the Summer, they complain about not having enough time to do everything they want.
It all comes down to choice. We make choices every day that determine what our life will be tomorrow. You have the choice to sit around and do nothing in the winter, or to accept invitations to do things in the summer. The events on your calendar are there by your choice. You choose to do everything you do.
If you look at everything happening in your life closely, you will see the choices you’ve made to bring them about. Some things don’t look like choices at first, but they are. Work, for example, doesn’t always seem like a choice, but you chose to take the job.
You may argue that you need a job to survive, but I would say that the lifestyle you chose is what created the need for a job. You would have no need for a job if you chose to live in a cardboard box, instead of a house or apartment. Then again, if you lived in a cardboard box, you would have other choices to make, that you don’t now.
I point this out because I have found that when I look at life as a series of choices that I must make, I find it much easier to make choices that get me the things that I want. When you know what it is that you want, and you make choices with that in mind, choices are easier to make. You may not always like the choices you must make to get what you seek, but you tend to know what they are.
Looking back on the choices you’ve made also allows you to learn from those choices, and avoid the same or similar mistakes in the future. Learning from your own personal history keeps you from repeating it.
The old question of how to find a teacher has come up again. Several people on My Meetup list have been asking where all the teachers are, and why they can’t find them. That got me thinking about just what a teacher is.
You see, these people are hoping to find someone to not only to teach them how to become a Witch, but because Witchcraft is a way of living your life, they are by extension looking for someone to teach them how to live their life.
The one thing Witchcraft can give you is a sense of how you can make your life better than it is. It doesn’t take any magickal skill, or special training. You just have to pay attention to the choices that come into your life. Once you do that, making the right choices for you becomes much easier, and your life can only become better as a result.
A Monthly Column For Astrological Insight
This month’s column is Part 2 of a two-part series, describing the Cardinal T-Square happening in July and August of this year.
In Part 1 I explained what a t-square is in astrology, how a “cardinal” t-square is different from others, and what happened in 1934 when the last cardinal t-square occurred. If you need a further review, please see last month’s Chiron’s Lyre column in the Witch Way Monthly Archive.
Here in Part 2 I’m going to get down to the specifics of this upcoming Cardinal T-Square, and explain what this is probably going to mean for us here in the United States. As a brief preview, it probably won’t be a time of wounding the way the 1934 t-square was.
This t-square will occur at 2 degrees of Aries, Libra and Capricorn, involve three main Planets and four peripheral ones, and be in full effect from August 13th through the 21st. The three main Planets are Jupiter at 2 degrees Aries, Saturn at 2 degrees Libra, and Pluto at early 2 degrees Capricorn. The four peripheral Planets are Uranus in early Aries, Mars in early Libra, Venus in early Libra, and the Moon in early Libra.
A “main” Planet is one that remains within a single degree of opposing or squaring the other two arms of the t-square (within 1 degree of 2 degrees Aries, Libra or Capricorn) and does so for more than a day or two. A Planet is considered “peripheral” if it briefly conjuncts one of the main Planets or forms an Aspect for an extended time to one of the main Planets while excluding the others.
To make things even more interesting, although the full effect of this transit will only be occurring for about a week (Aug 13th through the 21st), it will be in partial effect from Jul 5th through August 29th or so. I say it will be in partial effect because the main Planets will be forming Aspects to each other without forming the full t-square.
This “partial effect” will probably manifest as a series of miniature versions of the main event—or precursors and aftershocks—from Jul 5th through August 12th, and from Aug 22nd through the 29th.
As an aside, I feel I need to apologize to readers of last month’s column. I had said that there were no major transits happening in mid July through mid August, and implied that the t-square was in full effect for five weeks from late July through late August.
I was mistaken on both counts, and I’m sorry for having misinformed you. I also apologize for not going more in-depth here about which Planets are Aspecting each other when. There simply isn’t room here to go into all the different inter-relationships involved with this transit, and the visual aids that I would need to do so aren’t an option.
If you do want a more in-depth analysis (and what this transit may mean for you personally), use the contact information at the end of the column.
Since I can’t use visual aids in this column, and I would probably need about another thousand words just to compare the astrological differences between January 1934 and August 2010, I figured I would just start explaining what effects I expect this 2010 Cardinal t-square to have. [While images could easily be included here, it would take the work of a Graphic Artist to create them. We don't yet have a Graphic Artist on staff -- Ed.]
So, what does all this cardinal t-square actually mean for us here on Earth in 2010? It means we’re probably going to see some kind of unprecedented legislative change here in the U.S., and the U.S. may act as an example or set a precedent for the rest of the world by making this change.
This change will probably raise our collective expectations of what is possible of our legal system. Most importantly, I expect this change will benefit the many at the expense of the few, and that it will represent a true grassroots movement after 40 years or more of “managed” change. This could mean a repeal of legislation previously thought unassailable, such as a move back to gold-backed currency, or the repeal the Patriot Act or the recently passed health-care reform.
Another possibility is that the banking-reform bill currently (Jul 1st) wending its way through the legislative branch will not gain the relatively easy passage its backers expect without creating actual major change to the banking system, perhaps by dismantling the too-big-to-fail banks or prosecuting those institutions who sold too-complicated-to-succeed derivative contracts as AAA securities.
There will be a great desire for change that many of us will decide to stand up and do something about all at the same time, which will actually have its intended effect. This change will probably involve a great expenditure of resources, maybe even sacrificing some of our collective material security in the name of some greater good.
However this transit manifests, it will give us here in the U.S. the chance to make ourselves over in line with our ideals. There may be a lot of disruption, but there may also be a feeling that we’re in the midst of a nation-wide frat-house party at the same time.
Keeping a sense of proportion may be the hardest thing for many of us. We may want to get lost in merry-making over an apparent victory, use the general confusion forcefully or illegally make others do what we think we need them to do while “no one’s looking,” or just to lose ourselves in the general welter of hysteria.
However dramatic these times seem to be, it will be important to remember that life will go back to some semblance of “normal” by September. Whatever changes are perpetrated during this time, afterwards our neighbors will still be our neighbors, jobs will still have to be done, children and the sick will still have to be cared for, and each of us will have to live with the consequences of our own actions.
During the t-square’s full effect, there are three days when dramatic events appear particularly likely: Aug 13th, 19th and 20th. Events during these three days are most likely to indicate whether or not my analysis of this t-square will turn out to be correct.
Many of us are familiar with the old Chinese curse that wishes “May you live in interesting times.” Well, the astrology says times don’t get much more interesting than the ones we’re in. While “interesting” does indeed often mean difficult and risky, it is these kinds of times that also yield the greatest rewards and opportunities for growth.
If we keep sight of the things in life that really make life worth living —sharing our lives with those we love, the beauty of dawn and dusk, exploring the unknown and finding unexpected treasure —and pursue those, and don’t get distracted by our fears or our greed, then interesting times can indeed be the best times of all.
NOTE: This is not a typical “horoscope” reading, breaking astrological influences down by Sign for a given period of time. The information in this column should apply to most people, most of the time. If you have any questions, or want specific personalized information on how what’s going on in the heavens affects you, contact Jim Trader.
Time of The Season
Lughnasadh is a festival of Celtic origin, named for the God Lugh, who dedicated the festival to his foster mother, Tailiu. Tailiu was the last queen of the Fir Bolg, and died of exhaustion from clearing a forest to make room for cultivation. On her death bed, she told the men gathered to hold funerary games in Her honor.
These games held on August 1st grew over time, and the festival in Ireland became one of the largest gatherings of the year, attended by all including the High King. This was a place where legal agreements were made, political problems discussed, and games that rivaled the Olympic games of Greece, were held.
Farmers, artists, and entertainers sold their wares. Marriages were arranged, and Handfastings were done. The work in the fields tending the crops was for the most part done, but the harvest had yet to start. People had days free to celebrate.
Lughnasadh celebrates the first harvest of fruits and berries. Usually Blueberries or Blackberries. People have gone out at this time of year, since the beginning of time, to pick the ripening berries, and celebrate the bounty of food that they are about to reap.
This is also the time of sacrifice, as the plants that are harvested, give their life in the harvest, or soon after. It is the knowledge of this sacrifice that was the origin of the Corn King. The man who is chosen at this time to live without want for the entire year, and then sacrifice his life at the following Lughnasadh, so that the rest may live.
It seems inconceivable to most modern people, to kill someone in order to appease the Gods. It has become the stuff of bad horror movies, and even comedies, but this was very serious to our ancestors. While the sacrifice was usually symbolic, there were probably times, during drought, or other times of bad harvest, when the sacrifice may have been real.
It wasn’t that our ancestors were particularly blood-thirsty. A true sacrifice is the giving up of something you would rather keep. Something you value highly. What could be more highly valued than life? A symbolic sacrifice of grain, to thank the Gods for a good harvest, and ensure the next harvest, was the norm. In years where the harvest wasn’t as good, an animal might be sacrificed, as the animal was not only food, but might also provide clothing, tools, and other nessecities.
In the worst years, where crops had completely failed, a person might be the sacrifice. Not just any person, but one of high value to the community. This was to show that the people were willing to give up the most precious of things, in exchange for the blessings of the Gods. This is exactly the same purpose behind the crucifiction of Christ.
While Hollywood B-movies show natives capturing the pretty girl, shipwrecked on the island, and throwing her into the volcano, that wouldn’t have happened. She has no value to the community, and therefore is useless as a sacrifice. You can only sacrifice things that you hold dear.
The idea of sacrifice at this time of year is simple. When the harvest is good, you sacrifice a bit of your bountiful harvest as a show of good faith that next year the harvest will be as good. By giving up or sacrificing some of your food, you ensure that there will be more next year. You don’t eat the entire harvest, you give some back to the Earth, to ensure growth next Spring.
In years where the harvest is poor, not only can you not afford to sacrifice some of the little grain you harvested, but a greater sacrifice is called for to ensure the next harvest is good. In this case, a pig, or lamb, or even a cow may be sacrificed – given – to the Gods. A good sized hog would feed a village for several days. A lamb grows fleece which can be sold, or spun into fabric. A cow not only provides food as meat, it gives milk, and plows fields, or grinds grain.
Depending on the severity of the need, the value of the sacrifice increases. You must be willing to give up much, in order to gain more. Any sacrifice must have meaning, otherwise it’s wasted.
Think of the things you have gotten over the past year. What bounties have you attained? Have you given anything up to attain that bounty? What are you wanting in the next year? What is it that you want to achieve? Do you want a raise? A new job? A mate? Perhaps you want something more materialistic. No matter what it is that you want, what are you willing to sacrifice in order to get it?
Nothing worth having comes easy, and nothing is gained for free. There is always a price to be paid. Sometimes the price is easy, and you don’t even think about it as you pay. Other times, the price is high, and you have to really want something for it to be worth the price.
Too often we complain about what we must do on a daily basis. Getting up early to go to work, having to spend 8 hours a day or more at the job, paying the monthly bills, all the things we would rather not do, are the price we pay for the lifestyle we choose. These are all relatively small sacrifices, but they are a sacrifice none the less.
This is the time to be mindful of the sacrifices you make, and to decide the sacrifices you are willing to make in order to attain the things you want in the coming year. Choosing wisely will mean a much better year to come.
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Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,
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