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The Universal Festival Calendar first appeared in July, 1998 as an e-mail newsletter, and has also been published online since May, 2000. It incorporates data from astronomy and astrology, Moon cycles and the sacred days and festivals of many spiritual traditions, in order to identify monthly and annual power points, when human ascension efforts are well aligned with the celestial dynamics of our galactic stage machinery, and the life cycles of Mother Earth. The UFC aims to assist the spiritual evolution of Earth and her people by providing information useful for planning global meditations, ceremonies and gatherings that support the aim of awakening enough human beings to bring about the lifting of human consciousness into higher frequencies of mercy, compassion, wisdom and love.


We welcome and are grateful for suggestions by readers whose ideas have improved the Calendar, and made it more accurate and comprehensive.





July 2016


In the Fire Again


Hail, and Welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for July, 2016. This month's lunations -- the Black Moon of July 4 and the Full Moon of July 18 -- are of high importance to us, as the powerful Grand Crosses of June now transmute into a long-lasting, friction-intensive T-Cross. This design of Saturn, Neptune and the two Moon's Nodes will certainly make up in duration what it loses in complexity when compared to a Grand Cross. It will span the next four months, from now until October, so we'll have ample time and opportunity to see what happens when severe Saturn  and dour Neptune, both formidable enough under the best of conditions, are implacably set against each other at an afflictive angle of 90°.


We won't go into it much here. The details are better covered in the blog posts and videos listed just below, though you'll find a summary of the Black Moon and Full Moon in this month's UFC  Daily Listings for June 4 and 18. Throughout the four months of the T-cross, we can certainly expect more self-righteous opinion and refusal to get along, more lying, deception and obfuscation, more addiction, victimhood and energy vampire behavior, as people who lose their hope and their nerve will tax the patience and strength of those who act to hold the center as keepers of frequency. We are just past the beginning of a trend that will build to its greatest intensity in September, so those who are already fed up with the US election and all the rest of it had best practice patience, pranayama and unpredictable goofiness, and remember that This Too Shall Pass.


There's more about this month's lunations in new video and blog posts:


"July4,2016BlackMoon," 10-minute video on YouTube. New videos in this series will be posted every two weeks on the Dan Furst channel.


"Fireworks: the T-Cross of July 4, 2016" is now on my Aquarian Airlines blog. New posts will go up every two weeks.


Finally, for those who'd like live or online astrology and astrocartography readings this month. I'll be in Mexico City July 3 - 7, then in Guatemala City and Lake Atitlan July 7 - 20, then in Lima and the central highlands of Peru until I head back to Pisac and the Sacred Valley at the end of the month.


Our main topic in this July UFC is another chapter from Maps of Power: The Astrocartography of the Great, the Beautiful and the Terrible, the new book I aim to finish and publish on Amazon CreateSpace and Kindle by October. It covers the maps of 28 extraordinary people -- political and military figures, spiritual teachers, writers and artists, athletes, saints and appalling criminals -- and shows how their astrocartography maps are an uncanny match for their experiences in the places that shaped their lives, and cooked their possibilities into being.


And now -- for this month's artist of spirit, who will turn 81 on July 6, whose life has been a light source of devoted service and heroic wisdom.


The Dalai Lama


Of all the illustrious personages in Maps of Power, the boy who was born Lhamo Döndrub, and would be confirmed at the age of five as the next Dalai Lama, had perhaps the humblest birth of all. The conditions were mythic, really, of the kind we often see in the stories of great avatars whose lowly, unremarkable birth gives no sign at all that this child will become a figure of very high spiritual attainment and renown, rich in the gifts of the soul.


Lhamo was born into a farming family in the village of Taktser in what was culturally the Amdo region of Tibet, but politically and administratively within the province of Qinghai, China. His mother gave birth to him on a straw mat in the cowshed behind a house so nondescript that two years after the Thirteenth Dalai Lama passed over, and the lamas who would seek his reincarnation began to divine where to look for him, they had only two clues. One was that the head of the previous Dalai Lama’s embalmed body had somehow turned from facing southeast to northeast, as though to point in the direction the search teams would have to go. The other was that Reting Rinpoche, acting as regent until the new Dalai Lama would be found, had a vision at the sacred lake of Lhamo Latso, confirming that Amdo was the area, and that to find the boy, the lamas would have to start at a large monastery with a gilded roof and turquoise tiles, then follow a winding path to a hill near a house with unusual-looking eaves. They soon found him. He passed the traditional tests by not just identifying his predecessor’s possessions, but grabbing them and crying “They’re mine!” Soon he was on his way from the northeastern corner of his first map to Lhasa in the southwest.


Before we begin to explore his maps and see how fitting they are, a word on how they were drawn. The Dalai Lama’s birth time is unknown, and this is why astrologers either accept the split-the-difference birth time of 12:00 noon, or use techniques of rectifying the subject’s chart to determine the most appropriate house placements for his planets, and the angular positions that match the planet positions at important events of his life. Here, as with other lives in Maps of Power, we are using his maps too, to test the premise that if his astrocartography map lines are a close match for the important places in his life, then the birth time that yielded his maps may also produce a birth chart that describes him well. His estimated birth chart, cast for  2:21 am, will be an appendix to his chapter in the book.


His Holiness’s first map fits his experience in Tibet because the two red lines of Pluto and Mars, considered in some ways the toughest and most challenging of all in our ACG maps, are both in proximity to important places in his early life. To the west of Xining, the capital of Qinghai, and thus near the Dalai Lama’s birthplace in Taktser, is a dark red Pluto on the MC line. It carries, as do the Pluto lines of so many figures of power, the Plutonian theme of death and regeneration – if not by war and and other violent mortality, then the surety that this man in his life may endure painful losses and be compelled to cope with other changes in location and status. Jim Lewis, the inventor of astrocartography, commented on this Pluto on the MC line so brilliantly that his summary is worth quoting here:


“In this location you could become famous, murdered, notorious, a fugitive or great leader; you will be talked about, seen as unique, almost a social mutation, and total change can occur in status and position. Your image, perhaps in the press, comes to stand for some popular ideal, or its antithesis, and the ultimate battle of life is fought in a social context, with mortally high stakes.”


We’ll soon get a better sense of how precarious the Dalai Lama’s position really was, and of how he was compelled as a young man to flee his beloved ancestral homeland – represented in this first map by the gray Moon’s Node on the Nadir line pointing down to the dimension of the home -- from which he would soon be separated, perhaps forever. The third line in this map is also significant. The red Mars on the ASC line marks a place where conflict and danger, or at the very least determined opposition, evokes our inner fighter and requires even a 23 year-old Buddhist monk to become the warrior on the attack, making the courageous move when he must because all will be lost if he fails to act.


This was the crisis that faced the Dalai Lama in 1959, when the revolt that began brewing in 1950, when the Chinese first invaded Tibet, then escalated in 1956 into armed struggle in Kham and Amdo, finally exploded into the 1959 Tibetan Uprising that began in Lhasa and spread to other areas until the Chinese army finally suppressed it in 1962.



By that time the Dalai Lama was long gone, having fled an obvious Chinese plot to capture him as soon as the 1959 Uprising began. He moved west from Lhasa, then south through Nepal, passing west of Katmandu and then into India on March 30, 1959. By mid-April he had reached what would soon be called “Little Lhasa,” the town of Dharamsala, seat of the Tibetan government in exile and the new repository of Tibetan culture and learning.


We can see how uncannily accurate our ACG maps can be when we compare the above map of the Dalai Lama’s escape route from Lhasa to Dharamsala with his map of west Tibet, Nepal and northeast India. The escape route could not have been better designed to align with His Holiness’ “Fame Line”: the yellow Sun on the MC line that marks, in the route of his daring flight from captivity, his sudden new status as a world spiritual figure.


Compared to his very assertive Tibet lines, the absence of any lines in his new home of Dharamsala, north of Delhi, marks this area as neutral. Nothing here either propels our interests forward, or pushes back against us. Such a place has the quality of a refuge, a rest and recharge zone that can be a safe, medicinal base from which we build relations with other areas arenas of achievement. We’ll look at one of the most famous ones in the Dalai Lama’s last map.


But for now, a brief flashback to 1959, at the moment when the Chinese have learned that the Saffron Bird has just flown, and they won’t get him back without risking a severe diplomatic incident, or worse, with India. The would-be captors may have wished they’d detained the 19 year-old Dalai Lama when he visited Beijing in 1954 to meet Mao Zedong and serve as a delegate to China’s National People’s Congress. Little did anyone know that a few years later he would choose Freedom in Exile, the title of one of his many books, over the role of the obedient puppet. His China map shows how his relationship with the People’s Republic would not be one of overt opposition. Rather – as we naturally expect from the Central Nation, ancient and subtle even if temporarily Red – the easiest strategy for neutralizing a dangerous opponent is to buy him rather than beat or bury him.


In the western half of this map are the lines we’ve already seen, spanning the region of westernmost China through Nepal and northeast India. To the east are the two lines that represent the tension that was present in China even in Mao’s time between old-line communist ideology centered in Beijing, and commercial interest scanning the sea for opportunity at Shanghai. Slanting upward in His Holiness’s China map, from Nanning in the south to Beijing in the north, is the purple Uranus on the DSC line that can be exciting or unnerving or both, depending on whether one is the initiator of change that he wants, or is reacting against change that he doesn’t want. This line of Uranus the Revolutionary, the bringer of change and innovator, points west to relationships, and thus implies that one may catalyze change in the lives of others. That’s why this line appears constantly in places where healers, teachers, inventors and other agents of the New can effect changes in patients, students and others who are on their game and ready to do what is needed to learn, heal, mutate and grow.


The Uranus line also implies that here one is going to rock the boat, sooner or later, and cause some discomfort. It is easy to wonder whether Mao Zedong, or more likely the deeper geopolitician Chou En-lai, ever looked at the young Dalai Lama and saw in this gentle, bespectacled monk in maroon a formidable adversary who would have to flee his country, but would play the Great Game of planetary perception and political mythology like a master: not of chess, but of the Asian board game of Go, which one wins by taking “eyes” of territory. The Dalai Lama has done this, in the 57 years since his exile began, by planting hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist temples, statues, study centers and cultural projects all over the world, and attracting millions of supporters, thus making Tibetan Buddhism a world religion in a way it had never been before.


The blue Jupiter line on the ASC line near Shanghai represents the alternative to the fight him or jail him option that ideological repression normally chooses. Like all great empires, China has always known how to control its own minorities, and its vassal territories, by corrupting their leaders with well-placed titles and bribes. It worked with the Panchen Lama, and could have worked with a Tibetan leader less fiercely ethical than the Dalai Lama. Are there other countries who know how to win their way by buying the right stooges? Yes, as the next map shows.


If Carl von Clausewitz was correct in saying that war is an extension of politics by other means, then we could also suppose that strategic bribery is a refinement of war that enables the skillful spender to avoid the effort and expense of bombing the many by bribing the few. It is fascinating to see how, in the Dalai Lama’s map of Washington, DC, two of his important China lines are in their “bookend” positions, with their directional arrows reversed. The dark red Pluto on the MC line that the Dalai Lama has near Xining, China is now west of Washington, but pointing down to the Nadir. The blue Jupiter on the ASC line that is near Shanghai in His Holiness’ China map points the other way, west to relationship, near the capital of the United States. And significantly, the purple Uranus line near Beijing that is so potentially irritating, even threatening in his China map has no counterpart  anywhere near the US capital.


The implications are plain enough. The American archons who sit opposite the Chinese in the Cold War game, brooding on when and how the loss of domination and control may happen on their watch, see the world as full of threats. His Holiness isn’t a threat. But he can be a marvelously effective instrument for doing deep damage to an enemy through subliminal imagery and propaganda – which Pluto rules – and also by using political and financial influence (Jupiter) to promote and honor His Holiness’s speeches and books. The Americans, with the active and happy effort by their government, have helped build the Dalai Lama into the closest thing to a rock star that any spiritual leader, even Paramahansa Yogananda, has ever become. Top-level US players love it when the Dalai Lama does a grand media event or wins an award. Like the Big One in Sweden:


His last map, of north central Europe, clearly highlights Stockholm as the perfect place for the Dalai Lama to be enriched, honored and publicized, as he was when he received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989. The purple Uranus on the MC line through eastern Germany – one of the world’s most active countries in supporting the Tibetans – insures that electronic media coverage of the Nobel Prize ceremony will win immense acclaim for His Holiness, and raise consciousness about the plight of his people. The royal blue Jupiter on the Nadir line to the east, the richest line in the map for material wealth, brings in a metric ton of money for the support of Tibetan people and projects. And the light blue Venus on the ASC line amps his charisma to the max, making him as hot as a celibate character can get.


Thus the Chinese must have decided some years ago that the last thing they need is another loose cannon Dalai Lama sizzling their hot pot in the way the present one has. When His Holiness turned 79 and the question of his reincarnation got more timely, the Chinese government enacted an unimaginably bizarre law empowering themselves to decide who the next Dalai Lama is. This is unlikely, to say the least, and not only because, as His Holiness has often said, the Tibetan people will decide, as always, whether the institution of the Dalai Lama is useful to them, and if so, where his next incarnation will appear. Even the “his” in this last phrase is now in doubt, as the present Dalai Lama has speculated on whether his next incarnation will be female, or will be born into multiple bodies. He has thus been one of the distinguished Buddhist teachers who have wondered if their next incarnation will not be an individual, but a community.


The implications of this are naturally intriguing to those who resonate with the communal themes of the Age of Aquarius that now begins. The scenario is less thrilling to those who want to hold on to the old Piscean values of hierarchy and control. Imagine a new version of the famous scene near the end of Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, when the victorious Roman general Crassus offers to spare the lives of the defeated slaves if they will identify their leader. Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) rises and says, “I’m Spartacus.” But then another man, then three more, then dozens stand all at once and say they’re Spartacus, until thousands of men are shouting it.


Now imagine the same thing playing out as the Chinese try to find the Dalai Lama in a great crowd of suspects. One, then hundreds, then thousands of people could all be shouting, “I’m the Dalai Lama!” And all of them could be telling the truth. The new Mandarins in Beijing may wind up wishing they’d worked a simpler accommodation with the Ocean of Wisdom when the time was right. It is possible that the game of Go played for the stake of freedom between the Tibetan people and their oppressors may continue after the present Dalai Lama has left his physical body. As the manifestation on Earth of Avalokiteshvara, the Lord of Compassion, the Dalai Lama is in fact timeless spirit. “For as long as space endures,” according to the banner quote from Shantideva on His Holiness’s website, “and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world.”


How Do We Proceed?


All right. Yes, truly admirable. But how do we proceed if we haven't got the serenity of the Dalai Lama, and how do we endure, even prevail, at a time when many of the loudest and hottest seem to have left their higher selves back in the Second Bardo before they rode the wheel of birth and death into life again? Assuming, as is likely, that the Brexit turmoil keeps stoking a tide of economic dislocation that will peak in September and break in October; assuming, as is also likely, that those who fill the world with lies will have to tell more of them just to get their fakery fix; assuming, as is also likely, that archons who feed on fear will continue to pull murderous false flag events like those in Orlando, and Istanbul, and even worse -- what can we do to get through more of what is already unbearable?


There is nothing for it to accept that each of us wrote our individual life scripts within the frame of our Sacred Contracts, and all of us wrote the collective script that we have come to play now. Before we can get to the water, we shall have to endure the fire, like the souls in the banner image on this page. Several of the churches here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, have painted sculptures like this one, showing some half a dozen souls inside a fire. This is emphatically not "Hell," as we can see in the calm faces of the fire dwellers, and the absence of rabid, ugly devils tormenting anyone with pitchforks, whips or weedwhackers. This fire is clearly Purgatory, which the souls can brave in the certainty that it will not last forever.


Why does San Miguel de Allende have so many sculptures like this, when I've seen so few in the thousands of other churches I've seen by now? Is it because this town went through Purgatory once, when Ignacio Allende and other fighters for independence from Spain were executed for staging from 1810 a rebellion so heroic that one of the town's main streets is still called Los Insurgentes? Whatever the story, whether we contemplate the Christian theme of Purgatory or meditate on Tibetan wrathful deities like Mahakala, one way or other, there is no escaping the fire that engulfs us until we release the rage that comes from imagining that the world is full of what we don't want, there is nothing we can do to heal it, and all we can do is find ourselves in our own favor by blaming everyone else, until we accept that we chose it, all of it.


Is Purgatory real as a physical place? No. But is it an apt symbol for the voluntary suffering we accept until we break through into bliss and freedom? No doubt. There is a purposeful wave form to the alternating rhythm of the challenges and opportunities we create, so that the blockages and reversals we seem to suffer against our will are in fact intervals of agony that we've chosen, and written into our life scripts as a way to purify ourselves and for the next break that comes when we are ready. In ways that most human beings could not have imagined until they lately began to awaken, the cascading horrors of this year are not just inescapable, but are a sign that the crisis of freedom has come. The closer we come to awakening, the more dark, bloody tricks the reptilian controllers will plan and pull to keep us in fear, and shore up their illusion of control.


But it can't last, and this is why 2016 is so crucial to our evolution. As impossible as it may seem to many now, we can and will sing our way through it, adding sobs and smoke as needed to amp the degree of difficulty. Our sound is necessary, to vibrate into being the new world of love and mercy, kindness and compassion, forgiveness and joy.


Keep Holding That Frequency.




July 2016


July 1, Friday

The Romans called this month September ("seventh") until it was named July in honor of the famous statesman Julius Caesar by his adoptive son Octavian, who would claim the title Augustus and name the eighth month for himself, thereby pushing September to its present position as the ninth month. Caesar, who is usually said to have been born on July 12 or 13 in 100 BC, may be the most celebrated Cancerian in history, though he was clearly atypical, likely having a formidable fornax of Leo fire in him too. Among the many acts that made Caesar one of history's most acclaimed artists of power was his reform of the Greek (originally Egyptian) solar calendar into the Julian calendar that was to be the timekeeping standard for the ancient Mediterranean and Christian world for the next 1600 years.


From ancient times, when the Romans called July 1 the Kalends of July and through the middle ages as well, it was said that if rain came on the first of July, the next four weeks would be rainy too.


This date has gained additional importance in modern times as the anniversary of the day (1968) when the nations of the world committed themselves to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons.


July 2, Saturday:

Roman Catholic feast of the Visitation. This holy day commemorates the moment when Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, perceived the mission accepted by the Virgin Mary in bearing divinity into the world, and catalyzed one of the great feats of poetic inspiration in history.


It is said that when Elizabeth grasped the nature of Mary's future and praised her as exalted among all women, Mary fell into a silence of humility and bliss, then joyously chanted for the first time the words of the divine love poem known in Latin as the Magnificat.


July 3 (Sunday) sunset - 4 (Monday) sunset, depending on actual sighting of the New Moon:

In the Islamic calendar, this day 27th day of Ramadan is Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of the Opening or Imparting. It commemorates the night before the end of Ramadan when Allah revealed the entire Qur'an to the angel Jibril (Gabriel), who then dictated the verses to Mohamed, Peace be Upon Him. On this night angels are said to descend to Earth and bestow blessings. Old copies of the holy book are restored, and beautiful new copies are made ready, in time for this day. Special readings of the sacred text, in addition to the readings regularly done at worship, are held at mosques, at other public places, everywhere. This feast begins a holy festival week culminating in the last day of Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan. This day is said to be more efficacious for prayer than a thousand ordinary months, and thus many devout Muslims spend the entire night and the next day in prayer.


July 3, Sunday

The dog days, in which the Sun aligns with the position of the Dog Star Sirius, traditionally the hottest time of the year, begin today.


This day is Rosa Mundi (Rose of the World) day in the Palestinian Calendar.


July 4, Monday, 1:02am HT;  11:02am UT:

Dark Moon conjunct sun in Cancer. Intense, but joyous, useful blending of female and male energies, especially in domestic relationships. In European countries influenced by Greco-Roman customs, this was traditionally the time of housewarming after marriage and the honeymoon in June. Women are in their element, men unusually flexible and receptive, at this Dark Moon and the New Moon that soon follows.


This Black Moon is one of the most complex and powerful of the year. While Jupiter has moved ahead past the middle of Virgo, and thus is no longer in the afflictive T-cross that he formed from April to June with Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, a new T-cross has arrived among the Moon's North Node in Virgo and the  South  Node conjunct  Neptune in Pisces, both in a 90° "square" with Saturn. This much can be seen by anyone, with all its possibilities of propaganda, deceit and victimhood (Neptune) coming into collision with the practical force of experience and  truth (Saturn), manifesting as cohesive new relationships and brave objectives (North Node) and the stressing and splitting og relationships, most notably among people who will not budge from their comfort zones of habit and belief.


Yet this lunation has enormous positive possibilities for those who will see and use them. Pluto and the Capricorn Moon are conjunct, both in a 120° trine with Jupiter in Virgo, who also conjoins the North Node in Virgo, so that the South Node in Pisces is in trine to the Sun in Cancer. This serves a huge opportunity for ambitious, large visions (Jupiter) that affect smooth, necessary passages of death and regeneration (Pluto) with the help of our creativity (the Sun) and our most  compassionate action (the Moon), all affected by those pivotal Moon's Nodes, which represent our postures in relationships, and our transition from familiar ease and comfort (South Node) to the inescapable challenges (North Node) that we may now have the daring and the love to attempt. Naturally, in a wonderful affirmation of our collective creative brilliance in designing all of this, all of the chances and obstacles, long before we got here, this superb opportunity falls where it may go unnoticed, on the US bomb and rocket holiday of July 4.


In the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic tree calendar used by devotees of the faerie path, the New Moon Following this Black Moon is the seventh following the Winter Solstice. It begins Duir, or Oak Month, and favors visions, shamanic journeys and all communications between worlds.


Probably July 5 - 8 (four days) -- depending on the actual sighting of the New Moon:

In the Islamic calendar, the sighting of the New Moon following the Dark Moon of July 26 is the first day of the lunar month of Shawwal. It begins Eid al-Fitr, one of the year's holiest times, which comes now just after the end of the holy month of Ramadan, by which time both body and soul have been purified by fasting, and the devoted ones achieve high energy and clarity. That's why Shawwal means "Light and Vigorous."


July 6, Wednesday

Birthday (332 CE) of the Roman emperor, military genius and stoic philosopher Flavius Claudius Julianus, who was also a prolific author said to exceed all the Augusti except Marcus Aurelius in beauty of writing. He is best known to history as Julian the Apostate for his having attempted to restore the old Olympian religion some 40 years after Constantine allegedly named Christianity the state religion of the Roman empire. From the day Julian died at 29, in battle outside the Persian capital of Ctesiphon, it has been unclear whether the fatal blow came from the enemy cavalry, or from a Christian soldier in Julian's own ranks.


Also the birthday of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (1935), living incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion.


In the Chinese Taoist calendar, the great annual Festival of the Ancestors will soon be celebrated, on the New Moon of the eighth lunar month.


July 6 - 9, four days

For the Iroquois of the American Northeast, the Cancer New Moon that probably appears on this day begins the Green Bean Ceremony, celebrated in dance, rituals of atonement and thanksgiving for the maize harvest.


Over these same four days, the Pueblo and Zuni peoples of the American Southwest celebrate the Corn Dance, when the fields are blessed with prayers for an abundant summer harvest.


July 7, Thursday

In Japan, this day is Tanabata, festival of the lovers, sacred to the kami of the stars. For more on this myth, see Crossing the Water.


In the Celtic tree calendar, 7/7 begins Holly Month, said to be favorable for balancing the polarity of male and female.


July 8, Friday

In the Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Death, the sixth of the 20-day Uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (10 Imix, Tzolkin 101). This Uinal is ruled by Mictantecuhtli, the Lord of darkness from which new life must proliferate in the next uinal. The Owl is the symbolic bird.


July 9, Saturday

In the Baha'i calendar, this date commemorates the martyrdom of the Bab.


July 10, Sunday

On this day (1057), Lady Godiva pulled off, in more ways than one, an act of civil disobedience that remains among the most celebrated in history. Determined to persuade her husband Leofric to lift heavy taxes and other oppressive burdens from his people, the Lady rode skyclad through the town square, to the amazement and admiration of all. Leofric got the message. Tax cuts ensued.


July 11, Monday

In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Benedict (born 480), the most influential founder abbot in the early monastic movement, whose order was invaluable in keeping the flame of learning and spirit alive during the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire. Benedict is said to have passed away on this day in 543.


As David Elkington notes, however, in In the Name of the Gods, Benedict may not have actually existed. His name may derive from the late Roman deity Apollo Benedictus -- blessed Apollo -- and the monastic rule ascribed to him may have been compiled by a body of monks who founded the Benedictine order.


July 12, Tuesday

Venus enters Leo. Compared to the signs that precede and follow it, Leo , is like the five-star hotel of the Sun, and Venus enjoys her time her before she has to be "in fall" in Virgo. She will form auspicious 120° trines with Saturn in Sagittarius (July 18 - 23) and Uranus in Aries (July 30 - Aug. 4). Venus remains in Leo until August 5.


Henry David Thoreau was born on this day in 1817.


Reed Dance Day in some of the African tribal Calendars.


In the Baha'i calendar, this day honors the Deity as Kalimat, or Sacred Words.


July 12 - 19 (8 days):

Among Mahayana Buddhists, one of the year's great festivals of Tara/Kwan Yin/Kannon, honoring her qualities of compassion, mercy and healing. During these days, which culminate at the Full Moon of the 6th lunar month (on July 19), devotees focus on their commitment to live in service and carry the principles of Tara into practice. Om Tara Tu Tare Ture Soha.


July 13 - 16 (three days):

Many Japanese Buddhists, especially those living outside Japan, now celebrate the annual festival of Obon, when the families of departed ones set lanterns afloat in river, lake and sea, to affirm the soul's unquenchable light and help redirect lost souls on their way to Amida's Pure Land, the Western Paradise.


See also Japan's solar Obon festival on 8/15. It's best to check local schedules, as Obon will likely be most celebrated on and around the weekend of 15 - 17 July.


July 13 - 19 (one week)

In ancient Khemt, one of the most sacred weeks in the Calendar, having the birthdays of Ra and the five neters who form the myths of Aset ("Isis") and Ausar ("Osiris"), and climaxing in the New Year Festival. The birth of the five "epagonal" neters is an epoch-making cosmic event that forces a sharing and realignment of Ra's power by expanding the Earth year from 360 to 365 days. For  more about this crucial cosmic event, see "The Game of Chance" in When It Rained in Egypt. This  critical time shift makes possible the later Greek, Julian and Gregorian solar calendars.


 Shown here L - R: Horus, Nephthys, Osiris, Isis and Thoth. Set, too chaotic for this tableau, is not shown. The birthdays of the neters:


7/13  - Birth of Ra (Month of Mesore, day 30)

7/14 - Birth of Ausar, aka Osiris, neter of vegetation, the male creative force

7/15 - Birth of Hor ("Horus") as Light Being. He will later be born in a physical body as the son of Aset and Ausar, and will grow into the falcon-headed solar hero who saves Khemt from the next neter.

7/16 - Birth of Set, lord of the red desert land, and force of chaos and destruction, brother and murderer of Ausar

7/17 - Birthday of Aset, better-know to us by her Greek name of Isis, neter of female fertility, most widely revered and beloved of all ancient mother goddesses. Sister and wife of Ausar, she restores him to life through her powers as healer, lover and magician, and bears him the solar child Hor on Dec. 25.

7/18 - Birthday of Nebt-Het ("Nephthys"), sister of these four neters, also wife of Set and lover of Ausar, to whom she bears Anup, aka Anubis. Nebt-Het is revered as the keeper of secrets, and also as the Khemitian counterpart of Venus/Aphrodite

7/19 - New Year begins with festivals of Djehuti ("Thoth") and the Marriage of Aset and Ausar, parallel to the Greco-Roman feasts of Aphrodite/Venus and Adonis, held on the same day. This day begins the season of inundation, sacred to Hapi, neter of the Nile. Month of Thuthi, ruled by Djehuti, begins. It is now seven days to the annual Nile flood.


July 14, Thursday

Mercury enters Leo. Here he is said to be "in fall," his energy so overwhelmed by the glare of the Sun that he may have to resort to tricky business to get what he wants. A planet in fall is not merely blocked or temporarily inept, as he or she would be when "in detriment," but is effectively reversed and corrupted. When Mercury is in fall, and resentful of the Sun's easy authority, he can be an appallingly good example of the adage that dishonesty is invariably the product of fear.


On this day in 1789, the people of Paris stormed the city prison in an act of liberation that the French have celebrated as Bastille Day ever since.


And on July 14 in 1988, the first crop circle appeared near Silbury Hill in England.


July 14 - 18, (five days):

The ancient Lithuanian people, who once lived throughout central Europe, celebrate the Binding of the Wreaths in the days just before the first Full Moon following the Summer Solstice (7/1-2). In this rite, couples who are about to marry at the Full Moon dance within wreaths made out of greenery and flowers, and wear flower crowns symbolizing the fertility of the God and Goddess newly united in marriage.


July 15, Friday

For many Buddhists in India, this is Asalha Puja. Strictly speaking, the "Asalha Rite," is in September at the Full Moon in the 8th lunar month of Asalha. It is a conflation of two famous events: Siddartha Gautama's awakening into Buddhahood under the bo tree at Bodh Gaya -- this actually happened at the Full Moon of the 6th month of Vaisakhi -- and the Buddha's first discourse two months later to his five disciples at the Deer Park in Sarnath. This latter is said to be the first "turning of the wheel" of dharma, and is thus the beginning of the Buddhist faith. Note that Asalha Puja dates may vary from one Buddhist community to another, and it will be celebrated this year on July 17 and 19, as well as July 15.


New Year's day in the Olympian calendar of the ancient Greeks.


This day is also St. Swithin's Day, the most celebrated — and long considered the most reliable — of all west European weather markers. For centuries people in Brittany and the British Isles chanted that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day, it will rain for forty days more; but if it's fair, we'll have forty days of sunshine.


July 16, Saturday:

On this day in 1251, Our Lady of Carmel was reported to have first appeared on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land.


July 17, Sunday

In the Japanese solar Calendar, this day marks the re-emergence of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu-O-Mikuni, who had plunged the world into darkness by retreating into her cave in fury after she was ridiculed by her brother, the trickster Susanoo-O-Mikuni. Her retreat and reappearance are the Japanese version of the universal myth of the departure and return of the Light, and along with it, the life force of the Earth.


July 18, Monday

Birthday of astrologer, alchemist and mathematician John Dee (1527), the most celebrated of all occult and magical adepts in the England of Elizabeth the Great and Shakespeare.


July 19, Tuesday, 12:57 pm HT;  10:57 pm UT;

Full Moon in Capricorn, moving opposite Sun in Cancer, the first of the two Full Moons in this Blue Moon month. Creative, dynamic, complementary opposition between female and male energies, more favorable for professional and service relationships than for marriages. Role reversals apply now, as masculine solar energy is most advantageous now in domestic work, and feminine lunar energy is in the domain of the spiritual master. Teaching activities by Wise Women are favored, in the season of the High Priestess.


This Full Moon comes at ths moment as though timed by the Divine Dramaturg Himself/Herself, because it comes during the nominating convention of the US Republicans (July 18 - 21), when the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, George Norris, Dwight Eisenhower and other towering figures will become a glaring reality TV show, or a theft-and-switch that makes those old smoke-filled rooms look earnest and transparent, or the kind of schism that broke the old Whig party into Know Nothings and Republicans in the 1850's, or some other bizarre outcome that can't be imagined or named until it occurs.


The astral dynamics are a perfect fit. Two disharmonious T-crosses are in effect. Still in play from the Black Moon of July 4 (see above) is the T-cross of the Moon's Nodes in Virgo and Pisces vs. Saturn in Sagittarius at a 90° angle to them all. Shorter in duration, only a few days, but full of sharp tricks, explosions and surprises, is the Capricorn Moon opposite Sun in Cancer, with Uranus in Aries at a 90° square to both. Nothing is predictable here except sleight of hand and mouth, magic of every color, and ephemeral stage effects that look like  lightning bolts and rainbows seen through th smoke of a battlefield. Are there positive possibilities here too? Yes, of course. Always. Mercury and Venus are conjunct in Leo, trine to Saturn, so that enlightened voices may be heard, if only in the private arenas of personal space, as public space is dominated by the loud and the lurid, the vulgar and the profane. This month's theme of the Purifying Fire climaxes at this Full Moon.


In the Hindu calendar, this Full Moon in the month of Ashadh is called Guru Moon, and is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima. Also known as Vyas Purnima, the day commemorates and venerates the great sage Ved Vyasa. He is the Adi Guru -- that is, the root teacher, the original master -- of the Hindu Dharma, who classified the Vedas and wrote the eithteen Puranas. He is also the author of The Mahabharata.


For Theravadin Buddhists, this Full Moon is observed very much like Asalha Puja. Devotees of Theravada celebrate Dhammachakka, the Buddha's first public teaching; and Wessana, the first day of a three-month retreat during which the Buddha realized the teaching of the eightfold path.


July 19 also marks the central summer of Adonis' annual appearance on Earth during the warm months. His marriage to Aphrodite/Venus is celebrated on this day.


July 21, Thursday

Roman Catholic feast of St. Victor, hero of a spectacular martyr scenario from the early history of Christianity. Victor was an army officer whose legion was stationed at Marsilia (Marseilles) when the emperor Maximian himself came to eradicate the Christian virus from the army of southern Gaul. On refusing to renounce his faith, Victor was dragged through the city streets, whipped and beaten by the mob, then tortured on the rack and thrown into prison, where he was visited by angels who sang so majestically and filled his cell with such a blaze of light that by morning, the three guards on the night watch had converted to the worship of the Christ. Maximian had the guards beheaded, handed Victor once again to the fury of the mob, then gave him another chance to spurn the "dead Jew" and honor Jupiter. Victor replied by kicking the god's image down the altar stairs, whereupon the emperor had the offending foot cut off. When Victor burst into a joyous song of gratitude, Maximian ordered him to be crushed under a mill stone, which cracked and broke apart as soon as it touched Victor's flesh. Then the order was given to behead what was left of Victor -- one can well appreciate the trepidation the executioner must have felt by now as he stepped toward his task -- but God evidently decided to waive further agony. The bodies of Victor and his guards were weighted and thrown into the depths of the sea, to prevent any veneration of their resting place, but the four saints washed ashore anyway and were enshrined in a grotto.


In the ancient Greek calendar, this day was sacred to the prophet and teacher Damo, who was said to have received all the secret wisdom of her father, Pythagoras.


July 21, Thursday, 11:30pm HT; July 22 (Friday), 9:30 am UT:

Sun enters Leo, the Lion, sign of his own rulership and source of his greatest strength. The ensuing month has long been sacred to Helios/Apollo and other solar deities. Bold, forward movement is favored now as water yields to fire. The thrust of action shifts from introversion, and emphasis on domestic matters, to outer-directed aggression, considered in the most literal sense of the Latin root word: a determined movement toward the goal, an impulse to attack in the way that committed musicians, and all who pour their full passion into the creative moment, play with attack.


July 22, Friday

In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Mary Magdalen, one of the most devoted disciples of Jesus. According to some ancient legends, Mary Magdalen was the bride of Jesus and mother of his children, and after Jesus' departure for India, was said to have sailed with her children and St. Joseph of Arimathea to Marsilia (now Marseilles), where devotion to the Madeleine has always been especially fervent.


On this day the Maya celebrate their annual feast of the Sun, in honor of the god Ah Kin, on this day, and ritually enact in an elaborate circular procession the Sun's annual progress through the four quarters of the zodiac.


On this date the Greek Festival of Poseidon and the Roman Neptunalia are held to honor and placate the sea, and pray for protection from earthquakes.


In some Native American calendars, the month of the Sturgeon begins on this day.


July 22 - 28 (one week)

The ancient Greeks celebrate this week as the Panatheneia, or "All Athenes", honoring the beloved Goddess of Athens in her roles as giver of wisdom and sender of inspiration. Various cultural and academic competitions are held now, along with offerings and prayers for the Goddess's continued favor.


July 25, Monday

In the Roman Catholic Calendar, Feast of St. James the Greater, brother of Jesus, considered by some to be the leader designated by Jesus to carry on the work of the Christian movement until James' position was later overshadowed by the more assertive evangelism of St. Paul.

James has also been identified as the Essene Teacher of Righteousness cited in the Dead Sea Scrolls.


July 26, Tuesday

Among the Norse peoples, the festival of Asatru is celebrated on this day. It commemorates Odin's ride on the shamanic horse Sleipnir, with whose help Odin is able to enter the three worlds of the gods, living mortals and the dead. This feast thus evokes and symbolizes the experience of shamanic, transhuman states of consciousness.


Among the ancient Khemitians, better known to us by the Greek word "Egyptians," this is the most important day of the year because it begins with the Heliacal Rising of Sirius (Sothis) -- that is, the rising of the Sirius above the eastern horizon just before dawn -- and is therefore the day that normally begins the annual Nile flood. Curiously, the Khemitians know that the flood will begin with three days of rust-red water, as the river washes away the red dust of the dry season, then flows blue-green as the riverbed clears and is ready for new teeming life. Thus it happens every year, not only at the time when Pharaoh suffers the seven plagues heralded by Moses, that the river runs red as blood for a few days.


In the Roman Catholic Calendar, feast of St. Anna, mother of the Virgin Mary.


Carl Gustav Jung, seminal psychologist and master mythographer who articulated the importance of universal archetypes in the human collective unconscious, was born on this day in 1875.


July 28, Thursday:

In the Mayan calendar systems, this day begins the Uinal of Maize, the seventh of the 20-day Uinals in the current cycle of the Tzolkin, or 260-day calendar (4 Imix, Tzolkin 121). The principle that rules this Uinal is Proliferation. This uinal is advantageous for medicine, birthing and prophecy. Its winged symbol is the Butterfly.


July 31, Sunday

Birthday (1831) of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, author of Isis Unveiled and co-founder with Henry Steele Olcott of the Theosophical Society.


In the Norse calendar, feast of the trickster and fire god Loki and his consort Sigyn.


In the Roman Catholic calendar, feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea, guardian of the Holy Grail.


Finally, in calendars throughout the Earth, this day begins the season of midsummer festivals in the Northern hemisphere, midwinter festivals below the equator. These days have been celebrated in Europe since ancient times as the Celtic feast of Lughnasad and the Christian Lammastide cycle of the new bread and the first fruits of the harvest. As the Sun is now in high Summer, in the middle of the sign of Leo which the Sun rules, this time is sacred to solar and fire deities and energies of all kinds. In the southern hemisphere, this is the season of Imbolc.



Want to know how any of these days affects you? An Astrocartography reading covers not only your unique, personal planet energy lines and crossings, but the conditions of timing that are in effect for you now, and in the months and years ahead.