The Dance of Earth and Venus

The Cosmic Story: The Wheel of the Year: Imbolc: Fire Festival of Light Returning

The Cosmic Story: The Wheel of the Year
Imbolc: Fire Festival of Light Returning

After writing New and Full Moon newsletters since 2007, I've decided to take a break from that monthly task. Instead, I'm going to write an astrological newsletter for each of the 8 seasons of the Wheel of the Year. The bonus is that I also get to write about different seasonal energies and goddesses we can turn to for inspiration and to find what archetypal patterns can contain the new life we're engendering.

Just as I'm in transition (most people I know are), we are all living in transitional times -- not only from one astrological age to another, but also a transition out of a social system that has dominated most societies for the past 5,000 years. Patriarchy is a system of the 'rule of the fathers', where a male/father's rule is law over his children, his wife, his goods, the laws. Patriarchy has certainly created good as well as evil. But the truth is, its day is over.

Patriarchy is in its death-throes and we are experiencing its last attempt to regain power. But just as the Sun inevitably sets in the sky, patriarchy's sun is setting.

We are entering into a new social order where first and foremost, men and women are equal. Where the gifts of the sacred feminine and sacred masculine are valued and it is understood that women's voices add something vitally different and important to the collective story. There have been partnership societies before. We will do it again.

This new partnership society is a society that gives equal value to women and men and our separate, unique gifts. A society in which all genders, all races, all beliefs are equal and free. If you've been living in that paradigm already, then you have the consciousness and tools to make it so in the world. Look around. Lots of people are responding and going out into the world to stand up for this truth. And people are waking up from our collective patriarchal dream.
Are we the change we've been waiting foryet? I think we are!

This change in consciousness is the Light we need to exhibit now to calm the fearful, stand up to tyranny, and recreate the world. Let's live conscious, compassionate, creative lives.

Speaking of transitions, January is really a transitional time between last year's ending and this year's beginning. Like the two-faced Roman god Janus who faced in two directions, January is a time to look back at where we've been and within for the new Light that was born at Winter Solstice. In reality, as in astrology, the new year begins on the Aries point of Spring Equinox, when the Sun rises North over the equator. (Those of you in the southern hemisphere, I'd love to hear how you experience our calendar, which forces you to make believe it's Winter when it's really Summer for you. It doesn't seem quite fair to you.)

In terms of the cosmic timing, things haven't quite begun -- things are in transition in January and February. Perhaps that's why so many of us can't keep our new year's resolutions. It just isn't time yet! It would serve us better to get back on track with cosmic timing, which we begin to learn from Mother Earth and then look to the Heavens for Father Sky's cosmic input. 
Mother Earth says it's time to withdraw from the surface cold and conserve life in the death time of Winter. It's a time to introvert, to go inside yourself, your home, your cave and be with yourself. During the dark months, it's a great time to read, watch and tell stories that inspire you to grow this year. It's a great time to meditate, dream and journey to find out what that spark of Light conceived on Winter Solstice is growing into. What are you going to do with the promise of this new year? What are you going to do with the present -- the NOW?

As we align ourselves with Mother Earth's seasons and the energies of these times, we will find ourselves really living our lives, enjoying the changes rather than fearing them and in the end, being more aligned with our Higher Self.

We're moving out of the deepest darkness (in the north) and into the time of year when we notice the days getting longer. Think Groundhog's Day -- a tradition of looking for the light's return as a promise of Spring's return.

We're entering the Gateway of the Wheel of the Year called Imbolc.

Imbolc: February 2-5, 2019

On February 2nd- 5th,wecelebrate Imbolc, the second gateway of the Wheel of the Year. At this 2ndgateway, we begin to envision what the new Light and energy born at Winter Solstice might become. We are still in the beginning times, so go gently. It's not a time of doing;rather it is a time of visioning.

Imbolc is the Celtic word for 'ewe's milk' because this is the time when spring lambs are born and the mother ewe's milk comes in. The lamb's birth promises returning life and light to the world, despite the snow and frost that still linger in the land. Spring finally arrives at Spring Equinox around March 20th- 21st, when the Light and Dark are equal and the Earth begins to warm up and then fully blossom at Beltane on May 1st.

Since it is still dark and cold outside, Imbolc is a season of introversion, silence and vision. The unknown spark born at Winter Solstice is beginning to take shape and form. If we envision what this new life is growing to be, we can hold it in our intention and nurture it into being in the spring. This is our Ground Hog's Day ritual—the ancient prophetic signs in nature were seen and understood. Weather magic and prophecy are just a few treasures of this season to be relearned and remembered.

At Imbolc, Spirit lights us up so we can see the possibilities of our future. It is a fire festival, a time to light candles and make wishes and set intentions, visualizing what you intend to manifest this coming year. The vision is the foundation/intention of what you want to manifest. Honor this gift and grace that Mother Earth shares with us by re-dedicating yourself to your new purpose. Don't waste these cosmic energies. Put in the time and effort to seek your vision or watch the energy get dissipated and lost in the collective chaos of our times.

Since Imbolc is such an introvert festival, it's associated with women's mysteries, although it speaks to the feminine spirit within both women and men. It's a time to go down to the well of our inspiration and renew our creative spirit. It is the Divine Feminine Spirit that calls us to seek our vision in the imaginal world/quantum field so it can manifest.

Imbolc's Astrological Energies

Instead of talking about specific New and Full Moons in the next two months, I'm going to give a general outlook for the times, which you can then use in nurturing you vision. You can find many good astrologers writing about the New and Full Moons to get the finer details of the times.

I cast this chart for when the Sun arrived at exactly 15* Aquarius, the power gate of Aquarius, which is the astrological signature of Imbolc. It's just a few hours before the Aquarius New Moon on February 4th, the Chinese New Year of the Boar. (Boar is the animal energy of the ancient Great Mother.)

The Sabian symbol for the Sun at 15* Aquarius is: Two lovebirds sitting on a fence and singing happily. What's better than lovebirds singing? This seems to be a symbol of joy and inner happiness. And since it's in the collective, humanitarian sign of Aquarius, perhaps this happiness comes from helping our fellow humans and our animal/plant relations.

The Sun hits 15* Aquarius hours before the Aquarius New Moon. So the Moon hasn't quite caught up with the Sun. The Sabian symbol for the Moon at 7* Aquarius is: A child is seen being born out of an egg. This is a symbol of a primordial birth, an original birth, a mythic birth. Perhaps it implies that a new universe can be born now. If you're born out of an egg, you're not born of 'ancestors' -- so you're free of their karma. It's a great time to look at our shadow beliefs and prejudices bequeathed on us by our ancestors. Let's leave the fear behind and embrace the unknown. Perhaps it isn't as bad as we've been led to believe.

This symbol speaks of a new evolutionary pattern arising in the world. Perhaps souls from other planets and dimensions are incarnating here on Earth now. Perhaps these are the aliens who have come to help humanity. Perhaps we are the aliens. Either way, something new is being born in the imaginal world. How is it manifesting in you?

At the Aquarian power gate, new ideals and archetypes can be seeded in the collective mind/consciousness. The Cancer north node asks that new archetypes based on inner happiness and connection, contentment and commitment be energized. As we let go of old stereotypical beliefs, we replace them with new energy patterns that renew the archetypes that govern life. This is the objective Aquarian Mind, the Cosmic Mind that knows the ways of the universe.

We can channel this new archetypal energy, but it has to be filtered through our hearts. We don't own the energies. We are channels for their manifestation.

With Jupiter's expansive energy in his own home sign of Sagittarius, he's going to give us what we need this year. Plenty of hope and faith in the future. Embrace it fully.

Most of the planetary energies in this Imbolc chart lie in the last 4 signs of the zodiac: Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. These are the social, collective signs -- energies that form our communities and societies. This is the time, in the dark of winter, when we look at our collective life and see if it is sustaining us or not. If so we honor and support it. If not, what will we do about it?

The lunar nodes have just entered Cancer and Capricorn, focusing our collective attention on timing and rhythm as well as conception and birth. It's a great time to take some movement classes and find your own rhythm. The question is, do we continue to hurry along at society's breakneck speed, or do we slow down and get entrained with Earth's rhythms? When a woman conceives a child, she has to allow it to grow at its own pace. We have to learn that lesson if we're to prosper in the new partnership society. North Node Cancer asks us to experience spiritual pregnancy and learn this uniquely feminine wisdom that is patient, enduring, nurturing and creative.

Both Saturn and Pluto are conjunct the south node in the sign of Capricorn, helping us release old karma, old rules, old forms of control and conformity. This death and rebirth of our social system is our karma, what we've collectively created together. And together we have to transform it. The old paradigms won't want to budge, but as we're seeing in the news, being stubborn and standing up for what's right can get big results. Now, everyone can see the man (men/women) behind the curtain. So take back your power of intention and imagination and realize that it's always been in your control. Just go home.

Venus enters Capricorn the day before this New Moon and will travel through it until March 1stwhen she enters Aquarius. Venus is the archetypal energy of feminine wisdom -- the wisdom of the body, of the Earth, of the soul. Astrologically, She represents love and relationships, sexuality, beauty, value and worth, money and pleasure. For myself, I see her as Aphrodite, the divine teacher of Psyche, the human soul. She awakens us through love, through connection, through being fully embodied.

Aphrodite, the blessing of the union of Heaven and Earth.

What a great gift we've been given and look at how hard we find it tojust love, just connect. Last year's north node eclipses in Leo gave us an initiation into our hearts. Did we learn to open our hearts and love and trust? Can we find our heart's truth and hope? If so, now we can nurture that love while the Moon's north node is in Cancer, standing opposite and daringthe Capricorn south node, Pluto and Saturn to ignore Her. Mama Cancer has our backs. We can learn a lot about how to love and take care of ourselves and others in this next year and a half. Don't miss your opportunities.

Venus always asks us, what does your soul desire? What do you value enough to go after it? While Venus transits Capricorn, she'll connect to the values that can sustain society (and those that don't) and then go into Aquarius to renew those ideals to inspire us again. Freedom, equality, compassion, connectedness (the U.S.'s e pluribus unum - out of many, one) have to be meaningful and alive if we're going to have a peaceful revolution -- a revolution of values and objectives rather than one of warfare and chaos. And that goes for the whole world -- we are all one. And we all need freedom and peace and security.

Venus joins Saturn in Capricorn on February 18th, the day the Sun enters Pisces and the day before the Virgo/Pisces SuperMoon Full Moon and then joins Pluto on February 22nd. With Venus' retrograde in Scorpio last year and the MeToo# movement, I think she can stand up to the old patriarchs Pluto and Saturn. And maybe even soften their cold, hard hearts.

If Venus symbolizes connection and values, then Mars is the desire that gives us the passion to go after what we want. Mars is traveling in his home sign of Aries, along with Uranus, the great Awakener. Last year Mars went retrograde in Aquarius, renewing his idealism and his will to work for the good of all. He's free to create in Aries, the primal fire of life. And with his side-kick Uranus, he'll create things his own way. They know what their hero's journey entails. Cultural renewal and peaceful revolution.

While Mars and Uranus remain in Aries, they square the nodal axis of Cancer/ Capricorn, challenging us to do what's needed to leave patriarchy behind. We are reminded that we have to work for what we really want and need. Not for the job or the money, but for the family, for the community and for our own soul's life. Mars and Uranus urge us to be uniquely ourselves as we come up against both the old rules which have to go, and the new rules of Cancer, that we can be nourished for ourselves. What really nurtures us will enhance us -- we just have to desire the right things for ourselves.

Both Mars and Uranus soon move into Taurus: Mars on February 14th, making for a sensuous Valentine's Day, and Uranus on the Pisces New Moon on March 6th -- which is conjunct Neptune, so make a really big wish! Both planets in Taurus will rock our world and help change our ways as they travel through the most earthy of earth signs. Expect to see new growth.

All the planets are moving in direct motion since January 6th, and after last year's cascade of planets going retrograde, the energies feel very light and refined. Mercury starts this Imbolc season in Aquarius, conjunct the Aquarius New Moon, making for lots of communication with the archetypal planes. Then on February 10th, Mercury dives into Pisces and goes retrograde there on March 5thuntil March 28th. This is Mercury's first retrograde of three in water signs this year. Mercury will be honing our emotional intelligence and imagination during these watery retrograde (unlike Mercury's fiery, intuitive retrogrades last year).

So this Imbolc season, work on the imaginal/quantum plane to imagine what it is you want to create, not only for yourself but for the world.

And now I'd like to introduce Brigid, this Gateway's Goddess Guardian.

Imbolc and Brigid: Goddess of Fire and Water

 Brigid ~ Emily Balivet

Imbolc is one of the four main Celtic Fire Festivals, sacred to Brigid, the Goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. She is a triple goddess of Vision, Fire and Water. As Rumi says, “Love is the Water of Life. And a Lover is a Soul of Fire. The Universe turns differently when Fire Loves Water.” Brigid brings this passion to her creativity.

Brigid is the Celtic goddess of the fires of the forge and the hearth, of poetry, healing, childbirth, and unity. The name Brigid means either ‘Fiery Arrow’, ‘Bright One’, or ‘High One’ in the ancient Celtic language, referring to her solar aspect, as she is a solar goddess of Light and Flame. 
Brigid, Brigit or Brighid (pronounced Breed) is an important Celtic Triple goddess, appearing as 3 sister aspects rather than Maiden, Mother, Crone. She is the patroness of poetry, healing and smithcraft, all different forms of using the creative fires of life with practical and inspired wisdom. As a solar deity Her attributes are light, inspiration and all skills associated with fire. Although She is no longer identified with the physical Sun, She is the benefactress of inner healing and vital energy.

3 Brigids

Brigid's shrine near Kildare was located near an ancient Oak that was considered to be sacred by the Druids, so sacred in fact that no one was allowed to bring a weapon there. The shrine is believed to have been an ancient college of priestesses who were committed to thirty years of service, after which they were free to leave and marry. During their first ten years they received training, the next ten were spent tending the sacred wells, groves and hills of the goddess Brigid, and the last decade was spent in teaching others. Nineteen priestesses were assigned to tend the perpetual flame of the sacred fire of Brigid. Each was assigned to keep the flames alive for one day. On the twentieth day, the goddess Brigid herself kept the fire burning brightly.

Robert Graves calls her 'the White Goddess' but she's not all sweetness and light—she has her dark side, especially if we don't hold up our part of the bargain. She is a Muse that inspires, but can also be fickle if we prove unworthy of her gift. We must do something with that gift of creativity or we will lose it.

Brigid is a goddess of natural springs, those magical places on the Earth where sacred and life-giving waters suddenly flow out of the Earth. A gift of Life from Mother Earth. As Water deity, Brigid is the patroness of healers, with many healing springs and wells dedicated to Her throughout the British Isles. Symbolically, water is a portal to the Otherworld and a source of wisdom and healing. Water is also associated with psychic ability, music, and poetry. Natural bodies of water were also sacred to Brigid, particularly where three streams join together. 


Water and Fire are both associated with divination. Celtic Seers divine by both looking deeply into water or into the flames. Now is the time to practice this skill.

The goddess Brigid was also revered as the Irish goddess of poetry and song, the Muse who inspires. Brigid's fire and water nurtures our inspiration, our ability to 'breathe in spirit' which helps us create poetry as well as healing. She is the Muse who inspires our soul, providing the ‘fire in the head’ of poetic inspiration. The Bards are the surviving class of the Druids, keeping the ancient traditions alive until the present day. Poets are inspired by the Other World, and have the gift of prophecy. As the patroness of poetry and bardic lore, Brigid is the primal retainer of culture and learning. 
As patroness of Smiths, Brigid blessed the smith with creativity and vision. Smiths in any tribe were seen as holding a sacred trust and were associated with magical powers since smithcrafting involved mastering the primal element of Fire, molding the metal (from Earth) through skill, knowledge and strength. Concepts of smithcraft are connected to stories concerning the creation of the world, utilizing all of the Elements to create and fuse a new shape. This new creation is also within Brigid's power, for she inspires us to create our life anew each year by opening our vision to our soul's possibilities.

In many ways, Brigid carries the whole blessing of the Celtic psyche—its creativity, vision, memory and power. She has never been an abstraction but remains inseparable from daily life. The fires of inspiration, as demonstrated in poetry, and the fires of the home and the forge are seen as identical. There is no separation between the inner and the outer worlds. 

Brigid -- Goddess of Inspiration
Brigid can serve as a Muse and a Guide to us this season. Light the fires of inspiration and get creative. It's a great time to create a ritual around fire and its many blessings. Get your tribe together and celebrate this powerful Aquarian Gate.

That's all for Imbolc. I'll be back for the 3rdgateway of the Wheel of the Year: Spring Equinox on March 20, 2019 -- the day of the 1st Libra Full Moon. This year, the Moon cycle flips back to its New Moon/Full Moon rhythm, creating a true Blue Moon, when there are two Full Moons in an astrological sign. More in the next newsletter.

Blessings of the Light Returning,

Please Like and Share. Thank you.

Copyright 2019 ~ Cathy Pagano.