New Year of the Trees (Palestine)
Lichtenstein Foundation Day
National Pie Day
One-Tooth Rhee Landing Day
Goddess Month of Bridhe begins
St. Ildephonsus’ Day
Grandmother’s Day (Bulgaria)
Measure Your Feet Day
Birthday of the Grand Duchess (Luxembourg)
Ragwort Dance (Pixies only)
Quebec International Bonspiel (Curling Tournament)
St. Emerentiana’s Day (patron against stomachaches)
National Rhubarb Pie Day
Chinese New Year, Year of the Water Dragon
The Goddess Kali
Kālī, also known as Kālikā is the Hindu goddess associated with power, shakti. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali means “the black one”. Since Shiva is called Kāla—the eternal time—Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in time has come). Hence, Kāli is considered the goddess of time and change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally “redeemer of the universe”). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess.
Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. She is associated with many other Hindu goddesses like Durga, Bhadrakali, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati and Chamunda. She is the foremost among the Dasa Mahavidyas, ten fierce Tantric goddesses.
Kali is portrayed mostly in two forms: the popular four-armed form and the ten-armed Mahakali form. In both of her forms, she is described as being black in color but is most often depicted as blue in popular Indian art. Her eyes are described as red with intoxication, and in absolute rage, her hair is shown disheveled, small fangs sometimes protrude out of her mouth, and her tongue is lolling. She is often shown naked or just wearing a skirt made of human arms and a garland of human heads. She is also accompanied by serpents and a jackal while standing on a seemingly dead Shiva, usually right foot forward to symbolize the more popular Dakshinamarga or right-handed path, as opposed to the more infamous and transgressive Vamamarga or left-handed path.
In the ten-armed form of Mahakali she is depicted as shining like a blue stone. She has ten faces and ten feet and three eyes. She has ornaments decked on all her limbs. There is no association with Shiva.
The Kalika Purana describes Kali as possessing a soothing dark complexion, as perfectly beautiful, riding a lion, four-armed, holding a sword and blue lotuses, her hair unrestrained, body firm and youthful.
In spite of her seemingly terrible form, Kali Ma is often considered the kindest and most loving of all the Hindu goddesses, as she is regarded by her devotees as the Mother of the whole Universe. And, because of her terrible form she is also often seen as a great protector. When the Bengali saint Ramakrishna once asked a devotee why one would prefer to worship Mother over him, this devotee rhetorically replied, “Maharaj, when they are in trouble your devotees come running to you. But, where do you run when you are in trouble?”
According to Ramakrishna, darkness is the Ultimate Mother, or Kali:
My Mother is the principle of consciousness. She is Akhanda Satchidananda; indivisible Reality, Awareness, and Bliss. The night sky between the stars is perfectly black. The waters of the ocean depths are the same; The infinite is always mysteriously dark. This inebriating darkness is my beloved Kali.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
Explanation: Which attracts your eye more — the sky or the ground? On the ground are rocky peaks in Teide National Park on Tenerife Island of the Spanish Canary Islands off the northwestern coast of Africa. The volcanic landscape features old island summits and is sometimes used as a testbed for instruments on future Martian rovers. The lights of a nearby hotel shine on the far left. Storm clouds are visible on the horizon, artificially strutted from multiple exposures. Dividing the sky, across the middle of the above deep image, is the vertical band of the Milky Way Galaxy. The red circle on the right is Barnard’s Loop, near the center of which are the famous belt stars of the constellation Orion. Soon after the above image was taken, during an evening earlier this year, storm clouds rolled across, and indoor locations began to attract eyes the most.
The Chinese New Year is now popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from the Beginning of Spring (the first of the twenty-four terms in coordination with the changes of Nature). Its origin is too old to be traced. Several explanations are hanging around. All agree, however, that the word Nian, which in modern Chinese solely means “year”, was originally the name of a monster beast that started to prey on people the night before the beginning of a new year (Do not lose track here: we are talking about the new year in terms of the Chinese calendar).
One legend goes that the beast Nian had a very big mouth that would swallow a great many people with one bite. People were very scared. One day, an old man came to their rescue, offering to subdue Nian. To Nian he said, “I hear say that you are very capable, but can you swallow the other beasts of prey on earth instead of people who are by no means of your worthy opponents?” So, swallow it did many of the beasts of prey on earth that also harassed people and their domestic animals from time to time.
After that, the old man disappeared riding the beast Nian. He turned out to be an immortal god. Now that Nian is gone and other beasts of prey are also scared into forests, people begin to enjoy their peaceful life. Before the old man left, he had told people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at each year’s end to scare away Nian in case it sneaked back again, because red is the color the beast feared the most.
From then on, the tradition of observing the conquest of Nian is carried on from generation to generation. The term “Guo Nian”, which may mean “Survive the Nian” becomes today “Celebrate the (New) Year” as the word “guo” in Chinese having both the meaning of “pass-over” and “observe”. The custom of putting up red paper and firing fire-crackers to scare away Nian should it have a chance to run loose is still around. However, people today have long forgotten why they are doing all this, except that they feel the color and the sound add to the excitement of the celebration.
The Chinese New Year has a great history. In our past, people lived in an agricultural society and worked all year long. They only took a break after the harvest and before the planting of seeds. This happens to coincide with the beginning of the lunar New Year.
The Chinese New Year is very similar to the Western one, rich in traditions, folklores and rituals. It has been said that it is a combination of the Western Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. This is hardly an exaggeration!
The origin of the Chinese New Year itself is centuries old – in fact, too old to actually be traced. It is popularly recognized as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days.
Preparations tend to begin a month before the date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas). During this time people start buying presents, decoration materials, food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom. This ritual is supposed to sweep away all traces of bad luck. Doors and windowpanes are often given a new coat of paint, usually red, then decorated with paper cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them.
The eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part of the holiday, due to the anticipation. Here, traditions and rituals are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing. Dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying different good wishes. Delicacies include prawns, for liveliness and happiness, dried oysters ( ho xi), for all things good, fish dishes or Yau-Yu to bring good luck and prosperity, Fai-chai (Angel Hair), an edible hair-like seaweed to bring prosperity, and dumplings boiled in water (Jiaozi) signifying a long-lasting good wish for a family. It is customary to wear something red as this colour is meant to ward off evil spirits. But black and white are frowned upon, as these are associated with mourning. After dinner, families sit up for the night playing cards, board games or watching television programmes dedicated to the occasion. At midnight, fireworks light up the sky.
On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then to their neighbours. Like the Western saying “let bygones be bygones,” at Chinese New Year, grudges are very easily cast aside.
Tributes are made to ancestors by burning incense and the symbolic offering of foods. As firecrackers burst in the air, evil spirits are scared away by the sound of the explosions.
The end of the New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns, which is a celebration with singing, dancing and lantern shows.
At the Festival, all traditions are honored. The predominant colors are red and gold. “Good Wish” banners are hung from the ceilings and walls. The “God of Fortune” is there to give Hong Baos. Lion dancers perform on stage continuously. Visitors take home plants and flowers symbolizing good luck. An array of New Years specialty food is available in the Food Market. Visitors purchase new clothing, shoes and pottery at the Market Fair. Bargaining for the best deal is commonplace!
New Moon Report for Monday, January 23
By Jeff Jawer
Monday, January 23
Aggressive Mars, already restrained by its presence in refined Virgo, goes into hibernation during this retrograde period that ends on April 13. Yet tying up loose ends, perfecting skills and streamlining systems are constructive ways to use this transit. Re-establishing healthier routines of diet and exercise makes this an excellent time to get in shape. Delays and complications in completing projects can produce irritation and increase criticism, yet focusing on one task at a time enhances efficiency.
With last night’s New Moon in Aquarius in your hip pocket, it may seem as if it is clear sailing ahead – as each solar-lunar union offers a forward push for the next 29+ days. However, even though Mercury and Mars form a flowing trine of 120-degrees in earth signs this morning (3:17AM PST) – potentially bolstering communications and construction projects across the board – everyone is about to deal with a possibly volatile Mars station at 24 degrees of Virgo (4:55PM PST) where the red planet shifts from direct to reverse until April 13. While our very accurate, scientifically-calculated ephemerides give us the exact timing of the Mars shift, this entire day (not to mention the last few days and the next 48+ hours ahead) is under the aegis of the red planet gone wild. Stations or the apparent stopping points of celestial bodies are tremendously significant because the planetary archetypes are then thrust upon us – often in an unrelenting manner. Thus, Mars motionless equates with a vast increase in themes such as courage, leadership, passion, sensuality, desire, athletic prowess, independence, but also selfishness, egocentricity, rash acts, immature and adolescent attitudes, as well as violence, anger, aggression and volatility. Accidents, fevers, burns and inflammations are much more common when Mars is singled out via the cosmic players who throw their weight around in our solar system. Do all in your power to steer clear of temperamental individuals, avoid dealing with legal matters and signings, and remember to drive defensively. The good news about Mars retrograde is that you can review and re-evaluate many of your behavior patterns – on the personality level – over the next 80 days.
during light of moon.
– “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” circa 1745
who loved the sleeping Endymion.
Endymion: moonlight on a bank, field, or garden.
Phoebe: the moon as the sister of the sun.
With their own lanterns traversing around
The mighty, the revolving vault, have taught
Unto mankind that seasons of the years
Calendar of the Moon
Day of Boannan
Altar: On a white cloth set a blue bowl filled with water and small polished stones.
Offerings: Small paper boats set afloat on a river.
Daily Meal: River fish.
Invocation to Boannan
Lady of the River
Wash us clean in your rippling waves.
Lady of the Onward Flow
Carry us into our future
And safely home to our lives.
Lady of the Fishes
Nourish and provide for us.
Lady who lay with the Oak Tree
And bore him the newborn Sun,
River mother, mountain mother,
Lady of clear springs and cold water
Wherein lies sacred talking fishes,
Lady whose cool hands stroke us
And whose blood flows cold
Out to the unforgiving sea,
With each sip of water we take
We will remember your name.
River go on, river go on forever
River run through my heart
(Let one who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual bring the bowl of water to each person in turn, and let them drink from it, and then pour the rest out as a libation to Boannan.)
Calendar of the Sun
Colors: White and brown
Altar: Upon a bare table lay a large pot shaped like a human figure, reclining, filled with earth. All should enter bearing two white cloths, one on each arm.
Offerings: Silence and meditation.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian
Earth, you lie sleeping in silence,
And we can do nothing but wait.
We have breathed upon your first seeds,
We have sung your first green shoots
Up from the bare brown soil,
We have watered you with tears and sweat
And fed you with the remains of our meals,
We have cut down your bounty and saved it,
Yet this is not the time for seeds, or green,
But simply the long cold wait in the dark
Until the light waxes and the time comes again.
You are silent, and will not speak to us,
No matter how we cry out.
You are dormant, and will not sing to us,
No matter how we raise our voices,
For all things come in their own time,
And this is not the time for movement.
So we will sit with you, Earth,
We will watch over you as you sleep
And take part in your dreams
In silence, and wait for your awakening.
We will wait for you.
(After the chant has been sung five times, all come forth to the altar. Each lays one white cloth gently over the pot, saying, “Blessed be the Earth in the time of winter.” Then each sits on the floor and places the other white cloth over their heads, and meditates on all that is sleeping and cannot be awoken. Silence in the House until Akte.)
Good morning, dearies! Happy Chinese New Year to All! I tried to find a graphic that fit the occasion, but……there was none to be found. I hope everyone is having a fantastic Monday. I am feeling pretty good. The Sun is shining in all of its majestic glory. I think everyone feels better when the Sun shines. We had some bad storms come through here last night. I think I was up half the night holding my pup and wildcat (Razzy). Razzy hasn’t experienced a thunderstorm and high winds before. It was something else trying to keep her calm during the storm. But I finally managed it this morning around 4:00. I think she was too tired to care anymore. Of course, I was propped up against a file cabinet going, “cat are you ever going to sleep, Good Grief!” All I know is I woke up still propped up on the cabinet and she was asleep beside me. Considering all that I feel pretty good. I haven’t asked Razzy yet how she feels, lol!
You have a fantastic Monday and Happy Year of the Water Dragon!
Today’s Affirmation for Jan. 23rd
“I have a wealth of knowledge and talents. Each day I spend some time in quiet contemplation to allow these riches to emerge.”
Today’s Thought for Jan. 23rd
Your Special Gifts
We all have gifts that we may not fully appreciate – unique talents that enrich our esperiences and help us to face the challenges in our lives. Spend time reflecting on them. What personal qualities and creative talents do you have? Perhaps you are empathetic, funny or eloquent, a talented singer or a beautiful dancer. Acknowledge and cherish these unique gifts. Recognize them as blessings bequeathed to you for the benefit and enjoyment of yourself and others.
Correspondences for Monday, Jan. 23rd
Magickal Intentions: Psychic Sensitivity, Women’s Mysteries, Tides, Waters, Emotional Issues, Agriculture, Animals, Female Fertility, Messages, Theft, Reconcilliations, Voyages, Dreams and Merchandise
Incense: African Violet, Honeysuckle, Myrtle, Willow, Wormwood
Colors: Silver, White and Gray
Herbs/Plants: Night Flowers, Willow Root, Orris Root, Birch, Motherwort, Vervain, White Rose and White Iris
Stones: Carnelian, Moonstone, Aquamarine, Pearl, Clear Quartz, Flourite, Geodes
Oil: (Moon) Jasmine, Lemon, Sandalwood
Monday belongs to the Moon. Monday’s energy best aligns itself with efforts that deal with women, home and hearth, the family, the garden, travel, and medicine. It also boosts rituals involving psychic development and prophetic dreaming.
Spellcrafting for Monday, Jan. 23rd
SPELL TO INCREASE HEALTH AND VITALITY
You will need: quartz crystal
If you have a piece of quartz, first wash it in warm soapy water and rinse it with running water.
Then hold the crystal in both hands. Close your eyes and imagine being bathed in white light.
Visualize the area of your illness and point the crystal to that site. Imagine a stream
of light flowing from the crystal and bathing the area in its pure rays.
Place your crystal under your pillow while you sleep.