As 2013 enters its final 48 hours, shake-ups of all kinds are materializing around the globe. Yesterday brought squares between the Sun and Mercury with Uranus while today reveals Mars square to Pluto. Plus, tomorrow is no slouch in this regard as it will provide a union between Mercury and Pluto while also setting up a stage for Mercury to fight against Mars in another square off that can certainly increase tensions everywhere. The dark-of-the-moon phase also starts making its appearance today and tomorrow since 2014 will — rather amazingly — begin with a Capricorn New Moon uniting with Pluto, creating the closest Sun-Pluto conjunction on a New Year’s Day in approximately 247 years. Therefore, if you are feeling a little out-of-sorts and worried about the present and the future, you are not alone. Of course, it is always an asset to have a Sagittarius Moon presence at your beck and call that can give you encouragement to deal with whatever challenges may be on the horizon. This Sagittarius lunar asset is somewhat compromised today because a void lunar cycle begins at 3:37AM and continues all the way until 10:02AM tomorrow. From a positive standpoint, a supportive, 60-degree alliance between Mercury and Chiron (7:47AM) directs you toward looking into the merits of a wide variety of holistic healing techniques. The key discordant aspect of the day arrives at 5:23PM when Mars in Libra squares Pluto in Capricorn. Any struggle between these two celestial bodies almost always results in earthly battles — often regarding emotional matters — that can leave the combatants angry and exhausted. Do your best to stay away from temperamental individuals or anyone who speaks too rashly and quickly without considering the consequences. [Note to readers: All times are calculated for Pacific Standard Time. Be sure to adjust all times according to your own local time so the alignments noted above will be exact for your location.]
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chri… Yuletide!
Author: Lori Dake
One of the things I truly enjoy doing is decorating for the Holidays, and the Sunday before Thanksgiving is when I start doing my yearly ritual. It was a lot later when I was growing up, sometimes as late as Christmas Eve, because we always had a real tree, and as you all know, real trees tend to dry out and look rather Charlie Brown-ish if it’s left up too long.
I do miss the wonderful pine smell, but I certainly don’t miss the pine needles all over the floor stabbing my toes, or the resin giving me a terrible rash as I string up the lights, nor do I miss the aftermath of what an urban Pagan apartment dweller is to do with a tree that was cut down for our amusement. So, since we use an artificial tree year after year, I get to decorate mine much earlier, as well as lavishly cover our humble abode in twinkly white lights and pretty red ribbons. So, early decorating is a bit of a tradition I have started, and hey – one of the perks of having your own family is to change things up a bit!
And why do I choose to decorate before Thanksgiving? I means seriously! Don’t we always complain about how the holidays are rolling around earlier and earlier, no thanks to the Big Box stores (and all their evilness!) trying to make a few more dollars? Well, quite frankly, I’m going to be busy preparing Thursday’s feast all this week starting on Monday, since I do prep work like a well-founded catering company! Also, since we run a home business predominantly through eBay, the Dakes will be in a retail full swing, trying to compete with those aforementioned Big Box stores and their incredibly low prices! And, Sunday is Clean Up The House! day around these parts, so this is really the only opportunity I have to decorate before Santa starts to pack up his sleigh. That, and well, decorating, for me at least, is a lot of work – an all-day thing actually! – so I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor for just a little bit longer. But I promise, after New Year’s Day, they really do come down! I swear! Really! No ornaments will be discovered with decorated eggs!
So, with this being the Saturday before, I’ve already started straightening up the living room / warehouse to make room for all the decorations, and I’ve even bought a couple new items for this year’s Yule Diorama, which is my version of the Nativity Scene; I have a wolf and a moose to add! I have such fond memories of playing with the cast of characters as a kid, so I restructured the scene to more accurately reflect my Pagan beliefs.
My husband said if I keep adding onto it, that by the time our son has his own kids, my little “manger scene” is going to take up a whole wall! And since almost all of the pieces in my Yule Diorama were originally intended to be children’s playthings, as opposed to being delicate, hand painted porcelain religious icons to be admired and not touched, I happily welcome the thought of having that wall of critters and magickal creatures readily available for my future grandchildren.
We also break another tradition of throwing ourselves into bankruptcy over buying the biggest and best gifts for extended family and ourselves. My husband’s family is huge, and their tradition is that everyone buys everyone a gift. When his sisters, their husbands, their children and now, their children’s husbands and children are factored in, even token five dollar gifts can easily jack up to over a thousand dollars!
So, in order to still manage to give something to everyone, I also invest a full day of cookie baking, with at least four varieties and a dozen cookies per gift bag. (Yes, that’s a LOT of flour and sugar, but soooo good!) Okay, so we end up looking like cheapskates to some of our wealthier family members, especially when the gifts we get in exchange are pretty darn sweet, but I am at least trying to convey the message we do care and hopefully one day, someone will do the math and realize just how much work and love was put into them all. If anything, I got to make my home smell delicious and was able to sprinkle a little magick into their tummies!
Now, one tradition I have retained intact from childhood is to add at least one new ornament for the tree. For at least the last decade, I’ve been desperately searching for a blue Santa, more like a Father Christmas than the Coca-Cola image people are mostly familiar with, because somehow, it just feel ‘right’, for lack of a better term. Our tree is very Pagan-ish, but without being blatant or tacky about it, and I feel it reflects our faith as a whole. So, to find that special Santa would be such a wonderful addition to all the birds, bells, stars, icicles, snowflakes and winter woodland creatures that currently adorn our happy little tree, and it would just plain make me happy.
Here’s the way I see it:
Yes, we’re Pagan, yes we celebrate Yule, but yes, we also open presents on Christmas and have no problem calling them Christmas presents. Sure, we also open a special gift at Yule, but just like any religiously blended family, that’s another perk: more presents for the holidays! But no, we do not send out cards that say “Merry Christmas!” on them, unless we specifically know the recipients celebrate the holiday as such.
Oh, and no – I wouldn’t be offended if you or anyone else were to wish me a “Merry Christmas”. I know a couple times, people have tap-danced around that term, and it always came off as rather awkward, even in email form. I was able to just sense that fumbling around with a half-hearted, generic “Happy Holidays”, and to me, it just took away from the gesture.
Now, while I honestly do appreciate that extra effort, the sentiment is all the same to me, so I kindly ask my friends and family to just say whatever comes to mind. It’s not necessary with us. We always appreciate the sincere wishes, in all its guises. I’m a vegetarian too; as just the same, I’m not out to inconvenience anyone when what he or she gives me is out of love (I’ll just stick with the sides!)
So in closing, I wish a Merry Christmas to you, a Blessed Solstice, a Happy Yuletide, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, a Happy Boxing Day and a thousand other ways to wish you a wonderful holiday, however you wish to call and celebrate it!
PS. Pssst! So hey – if anyone comes across a blue Santa ornament, would you kindly let me know where to find it? 🙂 I’d really like to start a new quest!
Yule Diorama: http://pagan-wiccan-practice.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_pagan_nativity_scene
SUPERSTITIONS & BELIEFS
Superstitious beliefs and customs are very much a part of Filipino culture. We
have a whole panoply of pamahiin ranging from beliefs in supernatural beings
(spirits, engkantos, witches, talismans, amulets); beliefs connected to
marriage, conception, birth, & child rearing; and beliefs linked to death &
afterlife. Many of these beliefs are considered ridiculous and silly but many
people believe it to be symbolic. For instance many of the beliefs that could be
categorized under human actions or activities are important to the lives of
people such as sleeping, eating & gift-giving. These actions feature highly in
the imagination of our people and much symbolism has been attached to them.
If you bite your tongue accidentally, someone is talking about you or thinking
It is not good to take a bath right after eating for this will cause the stomach
After bathing at night, do not sleep while your hair is wet for you will become
blind or insane.
If you dream that one of your teeth is being pulled, it means death to one
member of your family.
Have a new car blessed to avoid accidents & for greater car longevity.
Boiling egg while saying the Lord’s prayer assures a soft-boiled egg. (This is
because saying the Lord’s prayer takes about 15 sec thus assuring a soft-boiled
A broken mirror given by a beloved presages a broken engagement.
In building stairs, be sure to count the steps with oro (gold), plata (silver),
and mata (death). The last step must fall on oro or plata to insure good luck to
the house dwellers.
When building a house, the door and stairs must face the East where the sun
rises to insure good luck.
Children should not be allowed to play in the afternoon for they might bump into
unseen beings. (Of course this probably came about because parents just want
their children to take naps in the afternoon.)
When you bury dead animals under fruit trees, the fruits of these trees will be
Buying anything on New Year’s Day results in extravagance throughout the whole year.
Clearing the table while others are still eating will cause the diners not to
ever get married.
A mole on the forehead or nose means luck in business.
A lady singing while cooking will marry a widower.
A girl sitting at the head of the table becomes a spinster.
Stepping over a person while he/she is lying down removes the person’s chances
to marry. Another variation is it will cause the person not to grow. To reverse
the curse, the person who stepped over the person lying down must retrace his
If the younger sister or brother gets married before the older siblings, the
older siblings will never get married.
Getting married the day before a full moon brings prosperity to your marriage.
It is considered bad luck for siblings to marry within the same year.
During the wedding ceremony, the groom must be the first to arrive at the church
and wait for the bride, but not vice versa, otherwise it is a bad omen.
It is bad luck to see the bride in her wedding gown before the wedding.
Putting money directly on the family dining room table is bad luck.
When there’s a spider or any other insects (except roaches…eeew!) don’t kill
it because it could be re-incarnations of past relatives and is present to watch
over you and/or your family.
When you give someone a pair of shoes as a gift, ask the recipient to give the
you money (penny, nickel, dime, quarters, or anything higher) so that they can
say that they bought it off you. If that person doesn’t give you money, he’ll
step all over you. You will be taken advantage.
When you’re driving and a black cat runs across your path, spit out the window
to avoid bad luck.
On New Year’s Eve, jump up when the clock strikes midnight so that you will
On New Year’s Day, you should wear or have something around you that is either
linear or circular so that you will have a prolonged life.
Don’t sit on tables in a business office. Bad luck will come over the business.
It’s both my birthday and the start of the Chinese New Year, so you know there’s going to be a celebration tonight! Part of that party will be a traditional grand New Year’s feast including salmon (for longevity and intelligence), cabbage (for financial fortune and riches) and mandarin oranges (for good health) eaten to bring good luck all the next year! No meat is eaten on New Year’s Day out of respect for animals and knives or sharp instrument are not used lest we cut our good fortunes in half. Wishes (birthday or New Year) are always made on this day as well. Write your wish on a piece of paper with a red pen and place it inside a red envelope. Burn the envelope to seal your resolution and make it permanent. These special day smoke signals bring big and rewarding results! So if you got ’em, light ’em, and Happy New Year!
By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com
6 Ways to Make Resolutions that Stick
January is a complicated month. At first blush, it’s like new love. There’s that wonderful, wind-beneath-your-wings feeling, that promise of a fresh start, a whole new you, an open door to the possibility that everything will be different (perfect) this time. But faster than you can say, “I’m going to renew my gym membership and go every single day!” along comes the other side of January: the bully.
This is the part that shows you the failure, the anticipated crash, the thud, the utter disappointment with yourself as all those good intentions that got your engines started in the first place run out of steam in unglorious and predictable ways. It’s the part that says, make a resolution; I dare you.
Fortunately, January is not the problem. It’s us. Well, our perfectionism, to be specific. Our all-or-none thinking frames our life so that if we’re not succeeding every second, we’re failing. Nobody wants that. But nobody can be that “perfect” person either. Many of us decide that because we break most of our resolutions, we will take the hall pass this year and skip any resolution making at all.
But let’s be clear about what we are missing when we don’t set goals. We aren’t preventing ourselves from failing. We’re keeping ourselves from growing.
Setting goals raises us up from our ground level vantage point and gives us access to a privileged view of ourselves. Rather than being a passive participant reacting to life on autopilot, by setting goals we can imagine different paths, question if where we are headed is where we want to go, and in general take charge of our lives. This may be big questions about the direction we’re taking or, on a smaller scale, fine-tuning the details, or looking for more balance, fulfillment and health in daily life.
So, set some goals, take the opportunity to run your life instead of having your life run you. But to stay in the game and on your feet, don’t let perfectionism be your referee. You call the shots. Aim for sustainable change, not perfection. Lasting change takes time, and you are worth the investment. Your goals and aspirations are worth your persistence. Perfectionism doesn’t understand this, but you can.
Here are six ideas to give your resolutions more staying power.
1. No job is too small.
Lofty are we when making New Years’ resolutions — the bigger, the better. We want the big-splash resolutions, but those life-altering plans are often impossibly impractical, at least in one go. Think smaller. Do you want to have one more meal each week with your family? Do you want to have a gratitude-sharing with your family each week? Do you want to apologize faster, be more kind to strangers — or people you know? We don’t need the goals that would make our lives discontinuous or unrecognizable to our current selves — we want the actions that will make our lives better.
2. Work with your natural laziness: Set up your supplies in advance.
Failure and procrastination happen most often when the supplies we need to get the job done require us to actually stand up and do something (think about how we’ll suffer through a bad movie because the remote is across the room). Improve your chances of success by making things easier on yourself: Get your supplies ready in advance (e.g., grab the remote before you sit down). Prevent that last-minute avoidance/apathy phenomenon from getting in your way. Want to start going to the gym in the next couple of weeks? Get your bag together and put it in your car. Want to start bringing lunch to work? Make it the night before. Want to save money each month? Set up auto-withdrawal.
3. Think short-term.
Why don’t you plan your menus for the next 12 months? Or your outfits? So why are we planning our other goals for such a big chunk of time and then get upset when we can’t sustain it? Try to make a goal for each month, rather than for the year. This way you can make modifications in response to how you’re actually performing on the goal.
4. Give it time.
It takes a good three weeks to establish a new habit or pattern. That’s what researchers tell us. So, especially in the early weeks of a goal, expect that your adherence will experience some ups and downs. Hang in. Habit strength awaits you on the other side of that first launching phase. Build in room for slips, hiccups, and setbacks. If you expect that this is part of the process, you won’t misinterpret your slip ups and invent reasons to give up. You’ll think instead: Right, Momma said there’d be days like this; and try again tomorrow.
5. Think community.
Me, me, me, me. We all get sick of the focus on ourselves — our appearance, our eating habits, our weight. All good things, but expanding the focus beyond ourselves is likely to garner a much more appreciative audience than we can be for ourselves. Community may mean volunteering your time, but it also may be something that requires no planning — being patient and kind in your interactions at work, challenging yourself to see the best in others, doing something each week “just because.” Imagine if we all resolved to do this at the same time.
6. Raise the barn, together.
We are isolated in our desire to change ourselves. And when we fail, resolutions tend to be a source of private humiliation. Hey if we’re all in the same boat, let’s support each other in staying afloat. You can find a gym buddy or a job-hunting buddy if someone is going through similar challenges, but you don’t have to be working toward the same goal. Find a buddy who you’ll write to each week to update on your progress, and they’ll do the same. This will also be the person who will give you the pep talk when you slip up and say no big deal, keep going. (We all need that person).
One last thought. This year, as you approach the question of resolutions, rather than feeling like you’re starting from scratch and that you’re nothing without those changes, see that the better you that you’re looking for is already there. Make the bold move to see resolutions not so much as ways to overhaul your life, but rather as opportunities to free yourself up to locate the best version of who you already are. Cheers to overcoming the obstacles that get in the way of seeing and being that best self. Happy New Year, all!
©Tamar Chansky, Ph.D. 2012 A version of this was previously published on Huffington Post