Monthly Archives: April 2012

May – About The Month & Events

May

Hare Moon

May is the fifth month of the year. Its astrological sign is Taurus, the bull (April 20 – May 21), a fixed earth sign ruled by Venus. The month is named for Ma’a, a Roman Goddess an Mother of the God Hermes. May is known as the Queen of Months. It is a month of lushness and beauty. The main holiday is May Day or Beltane. This Sabbat celebrates the sacred union of the Goddess and God. It is a celebration of growth and fertility. A traditional part of this holiday is the Maypole, usually a fir tree with the side branches removed – a symbol of fertility. Since growth is a theme of May, another central figure of the month is the Green Man, a male form covered with leaves and branches. He is an ancient nature spirit, who brings life to the fields and forests after the long winter. Flowers are popular during Beltane rites, which give May’s Full Moon its lovely name – the Flower Moon. Many flowers and trees that bloom this month are associated with magick. Lilacs were originally grown near the home to repel evil. Wild blue violets can be used in love magick. A streaming infusion made with dried dandelion root was used to contact spirits. The hawthorn tree is also associated with May folk magick. To make a wish come true, burn three hawthorn branches in a Beltane fire.

Events in May

  • May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month.
  • April 29 to May 5 in Japan, which includes four different holidays, is called “Golden Week”. Many workers have up to 10 days off. There is also ‘May sickness’, where new students or workers start to be tired of their new routine. (In Japan the school year and fiscal year start on April 1.)
  • In the neopagan Wheel of the Year, May begins on Beltane in the northern hemisphere and Samhain in the southern hemisphere.
  • May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the worker in the Roman Catholic calendar. In the Catholic Church the month of May is dedicated to and honors the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • May 1 in the Irish calendar is Beltane (Bealtaine), the first day of Summer, and a public holiday is held on the first Monday in May.
  • May is the month of Music in New Zealand.
  • May 1 is May Day in many countries. This is also celebrated as Labor Day in many countries.
  • May 1 is May Day in the United Kingdom, however the public holiday is held on the first Monday in May.
  • The night before May 1 in Germany it is an old custom to plant a “Maypole” to honor someone. Often young men set up an adorned birch in front of their girlfriend’s house.
  • May 3 is when the Polish Constitution Day is celebrated in Poland.
  • May 3 is Japanese Constitution Day Japan
  • The first Saturday in May is the date of the annual Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse race in the United States.
  • May 4 is the day of Remembrance of the Dead in the Netherlands, commemorating all the casualties in military conflicts involving the Netherlands.
  • May 4 is Liberation Day in Denmark, celebrating the ending of the German occupation from April 9, 1940, to May 4, 1945.
  • May 5 is when Cinco de Mayo or the Batalla de Puebla is celebrated in Mexico. It is also celebrated widely in the United States.
  • May 5 is the Children’s Day in Japan and Korea
  • May 5 is Liberation Day in the Netherlands, celebrating the ending of the German occupation.
  • May 5 is Europe Day in Europe (uncommon usage, largely replaced by May 9).
  • May 8 is VE Day in Western Europe. In Eastern Europe it is celebrated on May 9.
  • May 9 is Europe Day in the European Union
  • May 10 is Golden Spike Day (1869 – Completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad – Promontory Summit, Utah)
  • May 10 is Mother’s Day in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
  • May 12 is International Nurses Day.
  • May 12 is the day of the Finnish language in Finland.
  • May 12 is International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND). These diseases include Neurofibromatosis, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.
  • May 13 is when the Catholic Church honors the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the three children of Fatima, Portugal – May 13, 1917.
  • May 15 is the beginning of Tourette Syndrome awareness month. It ends on June 15th.
  • May 17 is Norwegian Constitution Day.
  • May 17 is Vesak full moon poya day(Buddhism’s Holiest Day, The day of birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and passing away (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha.
  • May 21 is when the Battle of Iquique (Combate Naval de Iquique) is celebrated in Chile, and it is a national holiday.
  • May 24 is when Eritrea celebrates its Independence Day (Independence from Ethiopia).
  • May 24 is when Molly Stevens was born in America.
  • May 24 is remembered and celebrated in Ecuador as the day of the Battle of Pichincha – May 24, 1823.
  • May 25 is the May Revolution (or Revolución de Mayo), a national holiday in Argentina.
  • May 25 is Towel Day, in tribute to Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
  • May 28 is Armenia’s first independence, from the Ottoman Empire;- May 28, 1918.
  • Under the French Ancien Régime, it was of habit to “plant a May” or a “tree of May” in the honor of somebody. The County of Nice saw girls and boys “turn the May” with the sound of fife and drum, i.e. to dance rounds of May around the tree of May planted on the place of the village.
  • The second Sunday in May is Mother’s Day in the United States.
  • Each year in May, the Eurovision Song Contest is held.
  • The Indianapolis 500 is held on the Sunday before Memorial Day.
  • Labor Day in Queensland, Australia, is celebrated on the first Monday in May.
  • In Canada, Victoria Day is celebrated on the last Monday on or before May 24.
  • The last Monday of May is Memorial Day in the United States, first celebrated on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, New York.

Monthlong events in May

  • May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month. (http://www.MilesForHope.org)
  • South Asian Heritage Month – celebration of Indian/South Asian peoples and peoples of Indian/South Asian descent worldwide
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – celebration of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
  • Jewish American Heritage Month – celebration of Judaism in the United States.
  • Mental Health Awareness Month – raising awareness about mental illness in the United States.
  • National Military Appreciation Month – in the United States to recognize and honor the US Armed Forces.
  • Skin Cancer Awareness Month
  • May is traditionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic traditions. May crowning occurs in some locales at the beginning of the month.
  • In New Zealand, May is the New Zealand Music Month.
  • Older Americans Month in the United States, established by John F. Kennedy in 1963.
  • National Moving Month in the United States – recognizing America’s mobile roots and kicking off the busiest moving season of the year.
  • National Smile Month in the United Kingdom
  • Eurovision Song Contest.
  • May is National amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Awareness Month in the United States.

Weeklong events in May

1st Week of May

  • New Zealand Sign Language Week happens once every year in May, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand organises NZSL Week with over 500 events happening in New Zealand to help promote the language as well as raise awareness about New Zealand’s Deaf community.

2nd Week of May

  • Bike Week (Bicycle Week) is a yearly international event that advocates the importance of bicycling as a means of transportation. Bike Week takes place during the second week of May or June and is typically an entire week of city-wide cycling supplemented with events.

3rd Week in May

  • The League of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 16–20, 2011 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 20, 2011.

Last Week in May

  • ALIA celebrates Library and Information week in May. Events are organised by libraries around Australia to encourage people to use their local libraries. Children’s librarians hold a special event known as National Simultaneous Storytime, where public and school libraries read the same book, at 11 am EST, to children around Australia.

May moving events

  • Eastern Christianity celebrates Easter on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8.
  • On the full moon of May, Vesak is celebrated in many southeast Asian countries; it commemorates Siddhartha Gautama.
  • In Canada, Victoria Day is observed on the Monday on or before May 24. In Quebec, it is known as Patriots Day.

First or second Friday

  • In the United States, Military Spouse Day is observed on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day.

First Saturday

  • In Kentucky, United States, the Kentucky Derby

Second Sunday

  • Is Mother’s Day in Anguilla, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Croatia, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Second Saturday

  • World Fair Trade Day is celebrated.

Third Saturday

  • The Preakness Stakes is run, second jewel in the triple crown of horse racing.
  • Last Monday In the United States, Memorial Day, a public holiday, is on May 30, but observed on the last Monday in May.

Last Sunday

  • Is Mother’s Day in Algeria, Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Mauritius, Morocco, Sweden, Tunisia.
  • Is Children’s Day in Hungary.

May symbols

  • May’s birthstone is the emerald which means love or success.
  • Its birth flower is the Lily of the Valley and the Crataegus monogyna.
  • The Zodiac signs for the month of May are Taurus and Gemini.
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Fertility Deities of Beltane

Fertility Deities of Beltane

By Patti Wigington

Beltane is a time of great fertility — for the earth itself, for animals, and of course for people as well. This season has been celebrated by cultures going back thousands of years, in a variety of ways, but nearly all shared the fertility aspect. Typically, this is a Sabbat to celebrate gods of the hunt or of the forest, and goddesses of passion and motherhood, as well as agricultural deities. Here are a list of gods and goddesses that can be honored as part of your tradition’s Beltane rituals.

  • Artemis (Greek): The moon goddess Artemis was associated with the hunt, and was seen as a goddess of forests and hillsides. This pastoral connection made her a part of spring celebrations in later periods.
  • Bes (Egyptian): Worshipped in later dynasties, Bes was a household protection god, and watched over mothers and young children. He and his wife, Beset, were paired up in rituals to cure problems with infertility.
  • Bacchus (Roman): Considered the equivalent of Greek god Dionysus, Bacchus was the party god — grapes, wine, and general debauchery were his domain. In March each year, Roman women could attend secret ceremonies called the bacchanalia, and he is associated with sexual free-for-alls and fertility.
  • Flora (Roman): This goddess of spring and flowers had her own festival, Floralia, which was celebrated every year between April 28 to May 3. Romans dressed in bright robes and floral wreaths, and attended theater performances and outdoor shows. Offerings of milk and honey were made to the goddess.
  • Hera (Greek): This goddess of marriage was the equivalent of the Roman Juno, and took it upon herself to bestow good tidings to new brides. A maiden about to marry could make offerings to Hera, in the hopes that she would bless the marriage with fertility. In her earliest forms, she appears to have been a nature goddess, who presides over wildlife and nurses the young animals which she holds in her arms.
  • Kokopelli (Hopi): This flute-playing, dancing spring god carries unborn children upon his own back, and then passes them out to fertile women. In the Hopi culture, he is part of rites that relate to marriage and childbearing, as well as the reproductive abilities of animals. Often portrayed with rams and stags, symbolic of his fertility, Kokopelli occasionally is seen with his consort, Kokopelmana.
  • Pan (Greek): This agricultural god watched over shepherds and their flocks. He was a rustic sort of god, spending lots of time roaming the woods and pastures, hunting and playing music on his flute. Pan is typically portrayed as having the hindquarters and horns of a goat, similar to a faun. Because of his connection to fields and the forest, he is often honored as a spring fertility god.
  • Priapus (Greek): This fairly minor rural god has one giant claim to fame — his permanently erect and enormous phallus. The son of Aphrodite by Dionysus (or possibly Zeus, depending on the source), Priapus was mostly worshipped in homes rather than in an organized cult. Despite his constant lust, most stories portray him as sexually frustrated, or even impotent. However, in agricultural areas he was still regarded as a god of fertility, and at one point he was considered a protective god, who threatened sexual violence against anyone — male or female — who transgressed the boundaries he guarded.
  • Shiela-na-Gig (Celtic): Although the Sheela-na-Gig is technically the name applied to the carvings of women with exaggerated vulvas that have been found in Ireland and England, there’s a theory that the carvings are representative of a lost pre-Christian goddess. Typically, the Sheela-na-Gig adorns buildings in areas of Ireland that were part of the Anglo-Norman conquests in the 12th century. She is shown as a homely woman with a giant yoni, which is spread wide to accept the seed of the male. Folkloric evidence indicates that the figures are theory that the figures were part of a fertility rite, similar to “birthing stones”, which were used to bring on conception.
  • Xochiquetzal (Aztec): This fertility goddess was associated with spring, and represented not only flowers but the fruits of life and abundance. She was also the patron goddess of prostitutes and craftsmen
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Setting Up Your Beltane Altar – What To Include on Your Beltane Altar

Setting Up Your Beltane Altar – What To Include on Your Beltane Altar

By Patti Wigington

It’s Beltane, the Sabbat where many Wiccans and Pagans choose to celebrate the fertility of the earth. This Sabbat is about new life, fire, passion and rebirth, so there are all kinds of creative ways you can set up for the season. Depending on how much space you have, you can try some or even all of these ideas — obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most.

Colors of the Season

This is a time when the earth is lush and green as new grass and trees return to life after a winter of dormancy. Use lots of greens, as well as bright spring colors — the yellow of the daffodils, forsythia and dandelions; the purples of the lilac; the blue of a spring sky or a robin’s egg. Decorate your altar with any or all of these colors in your altar cloths, candles, or colored ribbons.

Fertility Symbols

The Beltane holiday is the time when, in some traditions, the male energy of the god is at its most potent. He is often portrayed with a large and erect phallus, and other symbols of his fertility include antlers, sticks, acorns, and seeds. You can include any of these on your altar. Consider adding a small Maypole centerpiece — there are few things more phallic than a pole sticking up out of the ground!

In addition to the lusty attributes of the god, the fertile womb of the goddess is honored at Beltane as well. She is the earth, warm and inviting, waiting for seeds to grow within her. Add a goddess symbol, such as a statue, cauldron, cup, or other feminine items. Any circular item, such as a wreath or ring, can be used to represent the goddess as well.

Flowers and Faeries

Beltane is the time when the earth is greening once again — as new life returns, flowers are abundant everywhere. Add a collection of early spring flowers to your altar — daffodils, hyacinths, forsythia, daisies, tulips — or consider making a floral crown to wear yourself. You may even want to pot some flowers or herbs as part of your Sabbat ritual.

In some cultures, Beltane is sacred to the Fae. If you follow a tradition that honors the Faerie realm, leave offerings on your altar for your household helpers.

Fire Festival

Because Beltane is one of the four fire festivals in modern Pagan traditions, find a way to incorporate fire into your altar setup. Although one popular custom is to hold a bonfire outside, that may not be practical for everyone, so instead it can be in the form of candles (the more the better), or a table-top brazier of some sort. A small cast-iron cauldron placed on a heat-resistant tile makes a great place to build an indoor fire.

Other Symbols of Beltane

  • May baskets
  • Chalices
  • Honey, oats, milk
  • Antlers or horns
  • Fruit such as cherries, mangos, pomegranates, peaches
  • Swords, lances, arrows
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Legends and Lore of Beltane

Legends and Lore of Beltane

By Patti Wigington

In many cultures, there are different legends and lore surrounding Beltane. Here are a few of the stories about this magical spring celebration.

  • Like Samhain, the holiday of Beltane is a time when the veil between the worlds is thin. Some traditions believe that this is a good time to contact the spirits, or to interact with the Fae. Be careful, though — if you visit the Faerie Realm, don’t eat the food, our you’ll be trapped there, much like Thomas the Rhymer was!
  • Some Irish dairy farmers hang a garland of green boughs over their door at Beltane. This will bring them great milk production from their cows during the coming summer. Also, driving your cattle between two Beltane bonfires helps protect your livestock from disease.
  • The pious Puritans were outraged by the debauchery of Beltane celebrations. In fact, they made Maypoles illegal the mid 1600’s, and tried to put a halt to the “greenwood marriages” that frequently took place on May Eve. One pastor wrote that if “tenne maiden went to set (celebrate) May, nine of them came home gotten with childe.”
  • According to a legend in parts of Wales and England, women who are trying to conceive should go out on May Eve — the last night of April — and find a “birthing stone”, which is a large rock formation with a hole in the center. Walk through the hole, and you will conceive a child that night. If there is nothing like this near you, find a small stone with a hole in the center, and drive a branch of oak or other wood through the hole — place this charm under your bed to make you fertile.
  • If you go out at sunrise on Beltane, take a bowl or jar to gather morning dew. Use the dew to wash your face, and you’re guaranteed a perfect complexion. You can also use the dew in ritual as consecrated water, particularly in rituals related to the moon or the goddess Diana or her counterpart, Artemis.
  • In the Irish Book of Invasions, it was on Beltane that Patholan, the first settler, arrived on Ireland’s shores. May Day was also the date of the defeat of the Tuatha de Danaan by Amergin and the Milesians.
  • Babies conceived at Beltane are considered a gift from the gods. They were sometimes referred to as “merry-begots”, because the mothers were impregnated during Beltane’s merrymaking.
  • In Cornwall, it’s traditional to decorate your door on May Day with boughs of hawthorn and sycamore.
  • Eating a special oatcake called a bannock or a Beltane cake ensured Scottish farmers abundance of their crops for the year. The cakes were baked the night before, and roasted in embers on a stone.
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Beltane History – Celebrating May Day

Beltane History – Celebrating May Day

By Patti Wigington

 

The Fires of Tara:

Beltane kicks off the merry month of May, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old fashioned sexual energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the gods with gifts and offerings, sometimes including animal or human sacrifice. Cattle were driven through the smoke of the balefires, and blessed with health and fertility for the coming year. In Ireland, the fires of Tara were the first ones lit every year at Beltane, and all other fires were lit with a flame from Tara.

Roman Influences:

The Romans, always known for celebrating holidays in a big way, spent the first day of May paying tribute to their Lares, the gods of their household. They also celebrated the Floralia, or festival of flowers, which consisted of three days of unbridled sexual activity. Participants wore flowers in their hair (much like May Day celebrants later on), and there were plays, songs, and dances. At the end of the festivities, animals were set loose inside the Circus Maximus, and beans were scattered around to ensure fertility. The fire festival of Bona Dea was also celebrated on May 2nd.

A Pagan Martyr:

May 6 is the day of Eyvind Kelve in Norse celebrations. Eyvind Kelve was a pagan martyr who was tortured and drowned on the orders of King Olaf Tryggvason for refusing to give up his pagan beliefs. A week later, Norwegians celebrate the Festival of the Midnight Sun, which pays tribute to the Norse sun goddess. This festival marks the beginning of ten straight weeks without darkness.

The Greeks and Plynteria:

Also in May, the Greeks celebrated the Plynteria in honor of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle, and the patroness of the city of Athens (which was named after her). The Plynteria includes the ritual cleansing of Athena’s statue, along with feasting and prayers in the Parthenon. On the 24th, homage is paid to the Greek moon-goddess Artemis (goddess of the hunt and of wild animals). Artemis is a lunar goddess, equivalent to the Roman moon-goddess Diana – she is also identified with Luna, and Hecate.

The Green Man Emerges:

A number of pre-Christian figures are associated with the month of May, and subsequently Beltane. The entity known as the Green Man, strongly related to Cernunnos, is often found in the legends and lore of the British Isles, and is a masculine face covered in leaves and shrubbery. In some parts of England, a Green Man is carried through town in a wicker cage as the townsfolk welcome the beginning of summer. Impressions of the Green Man’s face can be found in the ornamentation of many of Europe’s older cathedrals, despite edicts from local bishops forbidding stonemasons from including such pagan imagery.

Jack-in-the-Green:

A related character is Jack-in-the-Green, a spirit of the greenwood. References to Jack appear in British literature back as far as the late sixteenth century. Sir James Frazer associates the figure with mummers and the celebration of the life force of trees. Jack-in-the-Green was seen even in the Victorian era, when he was associated with soot-faced chimney sweeps. At this time, Jack was framed in a structure of wicker and covered with leaves, and surrounded by Morris dancers. Some scholars suggest that Jack may have been a ancestor to the legend of Robin Hood.

Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites:

Today’s Pagans and Wiccans celebrate Beltane much like their ancestors did. A Beltane ritual usually involves lots of fertility symbols, including the obviously-phallic Maypole dance. The Maypole is a tall pole decorated with flowers and hanging ribbons, which are woven into intricate pattern by a group of dancers. Weaving in and out, the ribbons are eventually knotted together by the time the dancers reach the end.

In some Wiccan traditions, Beltane is a day in which the May Queen and the Queen of Winter battle one another for supremacy. In this rite, borrowed from practices on the Isle of Man, each queen has a band of supporters. On the morning of May 1, the two companies battle it out, ultimately trying to win victory for their queen. If the May Queen is captured by her enemies, she must be ransomed before her followers can get her back.

There are some who believe Beltane is a time for the faeries — the appearance of flowers around this time of year heralds the beginning of summer and shows us that the fae are hard at work. In early folklore, to enter the realm of faeries is a dangerous step — and yet the more helpful deeds of the fae should always be acknowledged and appreciated. If you believe in faeries, Beltane is a good time to leave out food and other treats for them in your garden or yard.

For many contemporary Pagans, Beltane is a time for planting and sowing of seeds — again, the fertility theme appears. The buds and flowers of early May bring to mind the endless cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth that we see in the earth. Certain trees are associated with May Day, such as the Ash, Oak and Hawthorn. In Norse legend, the god Odin hung from an Ash tree for nine days, and it later became known as the World Tree, Yggdrasil.

If you’ve been wanting to bring abundance and fertility of any sort into your life — whether you’re looking to concieve a child, enjoy fruitfulness in your career or creative endeavors, or just see your garden bloom — Beltane is the perfect time for magical workings related to any type of prosperity.

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Lessons In Tarot – Lesson 2a (The Fool’s Journey)

The Fool’s Journey

The Fool’s Journey is a metaphor for the journey through life. Each major arcana card stands for a stage on that journey – an experience that a person must incorporate to realize his wholeness. These 22 descriptions are based on the keywords for each major arcana card. The keywords are highlighted in the text. A card’s number is in parentheses.

The Fool

We begin with the Fool (0), a card of beginnings. The Fool stands for each of us as we begin our journey of life. He is a fool because only a simple soul has the innocent faith to undertake such a journey with all its hazards and pain.

At the start of his trip, the Fool is a newborn – fresh, open and spontaneous. The figure on Card 0 has his arms flung wide, and his head held high. He is ready to embrace whatever comes his way, but he is also oblivious to the cliff edge he is about to cross. The Fool is unaware of the hardships he will face as he ventures out to learn the lessons of the world.

The Fool stands somewhat outside the rest of the major arcana. Zero is an unusual number. It rests in the exact middle of the number system – poised between the positive and negative. At birth, the Fool is set in the middle of his own individual universe. He is strangely empty (as is zero), but imbued with a desire to go forth and learn. This undertaking would seem to be folly, but is it?

The Magician and the High Priestess

On setting out, the Fool immediately encounters the Magician (1) and the High Priestess (2) – the great balancing forces that make up the perceived world. It is a feature of the material universe that as soon as we name some aspect of experience, we automatically evoke its opposite.

The Magician is the positive side. He represents the active, masculine power of creative impulse. He is also our conscious awareness. The Magician is the force that allows us to impact the world through a concentration of individual will and power. The High Priestess is the negative side. She is the mysterious unconscious. She provides the fertile ground in which creative events occur. The High Priestess is our unrealized potential waiting for an active principle to bring it to expression.

The terms positive and negativedo not imply “good” and “bad.” These are human distinctions that do not apply in the tarot. The Magician and the High Priestess are absolutely equal in value and importance. Each is necessary for balance. We may view the negative as our Shadow, but without shadows, we cannot see the light, and without a ground of potential, we cannot create.

The Empress

As he grows, the Fool becomes more and more aware of his surroundings. As with most babies, he first recognizes his Mother- the warm, loving woman who nourishes and cares for him. He also comes to know Mother Earth, who nurtures him in a larger sense.

The Empress (3) represents the world of nature and sensation. A baby delights in exploring everything he touches, tastes and smells. He cannot get enough of the sights and sounds that enchant his senses. It is natural to delight in the abundant goodness of Mother Earth who surrounds us with her support.

The Emperor

The next person the Fool encounters is the Father in the figure of the Emperor (4). He is the representative of structure and authority. As a baby leaves his mother’s arms, he learns that there are patterns to his world. Objects respond in predictable ways that can be explored. The child experiences a new kind of pleasure that comes from discovering order.

The Fool also encounters rules. He learns that his will is not always paramount and there are certain behaviors necessary for his well-being. There are people in authority who will enforce such guidelines. These restrictions can be frustrating, but, through the patient direction of the Father, the Fool begins to understand their purpose.

The Hierophant

Eventually, the Fool ventures out of his home into the wider world. He is exposed to the beliefs and traditions of his culture and begins his formal education. The Hierophant (5) represents the organized belief systems that begin to surround and inform the growing child.

A Hierophant is someone who interprets arcane knowledge and mysteries. On Card 5 we see a religious figure blessing two acolytes. Perhaps he is inducting them into church membership. Although this image is religious, it is really a symbol for initiations of all kinds.

The child is trained in all the practices of his society and becomes part of a particular culture and worldview. He learns to identify with a group and discovers a sense of belonging. He enjoys learning the customs of his society and showing how well he can conform to them.

The Lovers

Eventually, the Fool faces two new challenges. He experiences the powerful urge for sexual union with another person. Before, he was mainly self-centered. Now he feels the balancing tendency, pictured in the Lovers (6), to reach out and become half of a loving partnership. He yearns for relationship.

The Fool also needs to decide upon his own beliefs. It is well enough to conform while he learns and grows, but at some point, he must determine his own values if he is to be true to himself. He must start to question received opinion.

The Chariot

By the time the Fool becomes an adult, he has a strong identity and a certain mastery over himself. Through discipline and will-power, he has developed an inner control which allows him to triumph over his environment.

The Chariot (7) represents the vigorous ego that is the Fool’s crowning achievement so far. On Card 7, we see a proud, commanding figure riding victoriously through his world. He is in visible control of himself and all he surveys. For the moment, the Fool’s assertive success is all he might wish, and he feels a certain self-satisfaction. His is the assured confidence of youth.

Strength

Over time, life presents the Fool with new challenges, some that cause suffering and disillusionment. He has many occasions to draw on the quality of Strength(8). He is pressed to develop his courage and resolve and find the heart to keep going despite setbacks.

The Fool also discovers the quiet attributes of patience and tolerance. He realizes the willful command of the Chariot must be tempered by kindliness and the softer power of a loving approach. At times, intense passions surface, just when the Fool thought he had everything, including himself, under control.

Hermit

Sooner or later, the Fool is led to ask himself the age-old question “Why?” He becomes absorbed with the search for answers, not from an idle curiosity, but out of a deeply felt need to find out why people live, if only to suffer and die. The Hermit (9) represents the need to find deeper truth.

The Fool begins to look inward, trying to understand his feelings and motivations. The sensual world holds less attraction for him, and he seeks moments of solitude away from the frantic activity of society. In time he may seek a teacher or guide who can give him advice and direction.

Wheel of Fortune

After much soul-searching, the Fool begins to see how everything connects. He has a vision of the world’s wondrous design; its intricate patterns and cycles. The Wheel of Fortune (10) is a symbol of the mysterious universe whose parts work together in harmony. When the Fool glimpses the beauty and order of the world, if only briefly, he finds some of the answers he is seeking.

Sometimes his experiences seem to be the work of fate. A chance encounter or miraculous occurrence begins the process of change. The Fool may recognize his destiny in the sequence of events that led him to this turning point. Having been solitary, he feels ready for movement and action again. His perspective is wider, and he sees himself within the grander scheme of a universal plan. His sense of purpose is restored.

Justice

The Fool must now decide what this vision means to him personally. He looks back over his life to trace the cause and effect relationships that have brought him to this point. He takes responsibility for his past actions so he can make amends and ensure a more honest course for the future. The demands of Justice(11) must be served so that he can wipe the slate clean.

This is a time of decision for the Fool. He is making important choices. Will he remain true to his insights, or will he slip back into an easier, more unaware existence that closes off further growth?

Hanged Man

Undaunted, the Fool pushes on. He is determined to realize his vision, but he finds life is not so easily tamed. Sooner or later, he encounters his personal cross – an experience that seems too difficult to endure. This overwhelming challenge humbles him until he has no choice but to give up and let go.

At first, the Fool feels defeated and lost. He believes he has sacrificed everything, but from the depths he learns an amazing truth. He finds that when he relinquishes his struggle for control, everything begins to work as it should. By becoming open and vulnerable, the Fool discovers the miraculous support of his Inner Self. He learns to surrender to his experiences, rather than fighting them. He feels a surprising joy and begins to flow with life.

The Fool feels suspended in a timeless moment, free of urgency and pressure. In truth, his world has been turned upside-down. The Fool is the Hanged Man (12), apparently martyred, but actually serene and at peace.

Death

The Fool now begins to eliminate old habits and tired approaches. He cuts out nonessentials because he appreciates the basics of life. He goes through endings as he puts the outgrown aspects of his life behind him. He process may seem like dying because it is the death (13) of his familiar self to allow for the growth of a new one. At times this inexorable change seems to be crushing the Fool, but eventually he rises up to discover that death is not a permanent state. It is simply a transition to a new, more fulfilling way of life.

Temperance

Since embracing the Hermit, the Fool has swung wildly back and forth on an emotional pendulum. Now, he realizes the balancing stability of temperance (14). He discovers true poise and equilibrium. By experiencing the extremes, he has come to appreciate moderation. The Fool has combined all aspects of himself into a centered whole that glows with health and well-being. How graceful and soft is the angel on Card 14 compared to the powerful but rigid ruler in the Chariot (Card 7).  The Fool has come a long way in realizing the harmonious life.

Devil

The Fool has his health, peace of mind and a graceful composure. What more could he need? On everyday terms, not much, but the Fool is courageous and continues to pursue the deepest levels of his being. He soon comes face to face with the Devil (15).

The Devil is not an evil, sinister figure residing outside of us. He is the knot of ignorance and hopelessness lodged within each of us at some level. The seductive attractions of the material bind us so compellingly that we often do not even realize our slavery to them.

We live in a limited range of experience, unaware of the glorious world that is our true heritage. The couple on Card 15 are chained, but acquiescent. They could so easily free themselves, but they do not even apprehend their bondage. They look like the Lovers, but are unaware that their love is circumscribed within a narrow range. The price of this ignorance is an inner core of despair.

Tower

How can the Fool free himself from the Devil? Can he root out his influence? The Fool may only find release through the sudden change represented by the Tower (16). The Tower is the ego fortress each of us has built around his beautiful inner core. Gray, cold and rock-hard, this fortress seems to protect but is really a prison.

Sometimes only a monumental crisis can generate enough power to smash the walls of the Tower. On Card 16 we see an enlightening bolt striking this building. It has ejected the occupants who seem to be tumbling to their deaths. The crown indicates they were once proud rulers; now they are humbled by a force stronger than they.

The Fool may need such a severe shakeup if he is to free himself, but the resulting revelation makes the painful experience worthwhile. The dark despair is blasted away in an instant, and the light of truth is free to shine down.

Star

The Fool is suffused with a serene calm. The beautiful images on the Star (17) attest to this tranquility. The woman pictured on Card 17 is naked, her soul no longer hidden behind any disguise. Radiant stars shine in a cloudless sky serving as a beacon of hope and inspiration.

The Fool is blessed with a trust that completely replaces the negative energies of the Devil. His faith in himself and the future is restored. He is filled with joy and his one wish is to share it generously with the rest of the world. His heart is open, and his love pours out freely. This peace after the storm is a magical moment for the Fool.

Moon

What effect could spoil this perfect calm? Is there another challenge for the Fool? In fact, it is his bliss that makes him vulnerable to the illusions of the Moon (18). The Fool’s joy is a feeling state. His positive emotions are not yet subject to mental clarity. In his dreamy condition, the Fool is susceptible to fantasy, distortion and a false picture of the truth.

The Moon stimulates the creative imagination. It opens the way for bizarre and beautiful thoughts to bubble up from the unconscious, but deep-seated fears and anxieties also arise. These experiences may cause the Fool to feel lost and bewildered.

Sun

It is the lucid clarity of the Sun (19) that directs the Fool’s imagination. The Sun’s illumination shines in all the hidden places. It dispels the clouds of confusion and fear. It enlightens, so the Fool both feels andunderstands the goodness of the world.

Now, he enjoys a vibrant energy and enthusiasm. The Star’s openness has solidified into an expansive assurance. The Fool is the naked babe pictured on Card 19, riding out joyously to face a new day. No challenge is too daunting. The Fool feels a radiant vitality. He becomes involved in grand undertakings as he draws to himself everything he needs. He is able to realize his greatness.

Judgement

The Fool has been reborn. His false, ego-self has been shed, allowing his radiant, true self to manifest. He has discovered that joy, not fear, is at life’s center.

The Fool feels absolved. He forgives himself and others, knowing that his real self is pure and good. He may regret past mistakes, but he knows they were due to his ignorance of his true nature. He feels cleansed and refreshed, ready to start anew.

It is time for the Fool to make a deeper Judgement(20) about his life. His own personal day of reckoning has arrived. Since he now sees himself truly, he can make the necessary decisions about the future. He can choose wisely which values to cherish, and which to discard.

The angel on Card 20 is the Fool’s Higher Self calling him to rise up and fulfill his promise. He discovers his true vocation – his reason for entering this life. Doubts and hesitations vanish, and he is ready to follow his dream.

World

The Fool reenters the World (21), but this time with a more complete understanding. He has integrated all the disparate parts of himself and achieved wholeness. He has reached a new level of happiness and fulfillment.

The Fool experiences life as full and meaningful. The future is filled with infinite promise. In line with his personal calling, he becomes actively involved in the world. He renders service by sharing his unique gifts and talents and finds that he prospers at whatever he attempts. Because he acts from inner certainty, the whole world conspires to see that his efforts are rewarded. His accomplishments are many.

So the Fool’s Journey was not so foolish after all. Through perseverance and honesty, he reestablished the spontaneous courage that first impelled him on his search for Self, but now he is fully aware of his place in the world. This cycle is over, but, the Fool will never stop growing. Soon he will be ready to begin a new journey that will lead him to ever greater levels of understanding.

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This Day In History, April 30th

Today In History. What Happened This Day In History

A Timeline Of Events That Occurred On This Day In History

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.

April 30

313   Licinius unifies the whole of the eastern Roman Empire under his own rule.
1250   King Louis IX of France is ransomed.
1527   Henry VIII of England and King Francis of France sign treaty of Westminster.
1563   All Jews are expelled from France by order of Charles VI.
1725   Spain withdraws from the Quadruple Alliance.
1789   George Washington is inaugurated as the first U.S. president.
1803   The United States doubles in size through the Louisiana Purchase, which was sold by France for $15 million.
1812   Louisiana is admitted into the Union as a state.
1849   Giuseppe Garabaldi, the Italian patriot and guerrilla leader, repulses a French attack on Rome.
1864   Work begins on the Dams along the Red River, which will allow Union General Nathaniel Banks’ troops to sail over the rapids above Alexandria, Louisiana.
1930   The Soviet Union proposes a military alliance with France and Great Britain.
1931   The George Washington Bridge, linking New York City and New Jersey, opens.
1943   The British submarine HMS Seraph drops ‘the man who never was,’ a dead man the British planted with false invasion plans, into the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain.
1945   Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his bunker. Karl Donitz becomes his successor.
1968   U.S. Marines attack a division of North Vietnamese troops in the village of Dai Do.
1970   U.S. troops invade Cambodia to disrupt North Vietnamese Army base areas.
1972   The North Vietnamese launch an invasion of the South.
1973   Nixon announces the resignation of H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and other top aides.
1975   North Vietnamese troops enter the Independence Palace of South Vietnam in Saigon ending the Vietnam War.
1980   Terrorists seize the Iranian Embassy in London.
Born on April 30
1777   Karl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician.
1858   Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, First Lady to President Benjamin Harrison .
1870   Franz Lehár, Hungarian composer (The Merry Widow, The Land of Smiles).
1909   Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands.
1912   Eve Arden (Eunice Quedens), actress.
1933   Willie Nelson, country singer.
1945   Annie Dillard, writer (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek).
1954   Jane Campion, New Zealand film director (The Piano, A Portrait of a Lady).

Historynet.com

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Monday, April 30 is a marvelous day for…….

April 30th


Cut Firewood, Mow to Increase Growth, Dig Holes, Wax Floors

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