In The Loop
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Welcome to the last In the Loop edition of 2014. Your editor this month is Sue M Farebrother.
In December, many people's thoughts turn inevitably to Christmas, imminently looming. Indeed, we have little choice - we are bombarded (even from August!) with adverts for all aspects of Christmas - through all media. From the internet, TV, radio, posters and social media, Christmas shouts at us to buy presents, seek out new recipes, order Christmas food and alcohol from the supermarkets, and plan our Christmas TV programmes. The article in this edition by Andy Thomas explores the meaning of Christmas in considerable depth.
But of course, all this festival spirit has older roots. Ostensibly to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the dawn of Christianity - who very probably was not born on 25th December 1 AD! - late December brings the darkest time of the year in Northern Hemisphere climes when the Earth is at its furthest from the Sun. Not for nothing did the ancient Romans hold feast days around this time - probably between 17 and 23 December - known as Saturnalia, celebrating the god Saturn. He was an agricultural deity dating back to earlier times, and to mark his powers, the period was a holiday where wild partying took place, and the normal order of things was reversed. Slaves reclined, their masters served them, gifts were exchanged and general enjoyment took place. Sound familiar? (Well, perhaps not the part about slaves..)
Saturnalia was also a festival of light, taking place as the winter solstice approached and a new season began. This was echoed by the feast of Sol Invictus - the Unconquerable Sun - on 25th December, which date was also the birthday of the mythical god Mithras.(See Andy Thomas's article below.) A true period of renewal of the old, of a new beginning. Saturn is of course the ruler of Capricorn, the sign the Sun enters at winter solstice.
The chart has Sun, Mercury, Pluto and Venus in Capricorn, with the Moon moving into Capricorn as well, about two and a half hours later, forming the new Moon of December as it conjoins the Sun. There is also a big focus on the 4th house with all the Capricorn planets falling there.
This date is of course very close to the planet Saturn entering Sagittarius for the first time, after more than two years in Scorpio (since October 2012). Saturn changes signs just two days after the solstice, on 23 December at 16.34 GMT. He will re-enter Scorpio in June, returning fully into Sagittarius in September 2015.
What does this suggest for the coming few months, as solstice charts are good indicators of near times to come? For me there would seem to be an emphasis on house prices issues - continuing issues! - reports on practical family concerns, or the structure of family life. More hidden scandals may come to the surface in the world of business, government, finance or sexuality, with Pluto conjuncting Venus and Mercury in Capricorn and the 4th house. And with Saturn entering Sagittarius, personal freedoms and boundaries could feel more restricted, and limitations may be further imposed onto places of education. On the other hand, solidarity between religions or within the legal system may be strengthened, and public knowledge of previously hidden practises may bring a chance for healing or justice. There is much more to say here, but I invite you to look at this chart for yourself.
Rupert Sheldrake's article on skepticism ( using the American spelling) is not specifically about astrology, but addresses a very relevant attitude prevalent amongst certain sections of the general population towards astrology.
And there is a fascinating interview with the new Astrological Journal editor Victor Olliver, which gives a link to an article about financial astrology - with both favourable and sceptical comments included.
We all at the Astrological Association send all our readers very warm wishes for the festive season, however you celebrate it.
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This month's articles
The Deeper History of Christmas by Andy Thomas
This month's free download To honour the late Dennis Elwell, we are offering his talk from the 1992 AA York Conference: From Symbols to Concepts The Future of Astrology
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Mundane Advice How do you interpret the transits for 2014? What would you recommend to policy makers? Visit the the AA's blog and have your say.
The Astrological Association Reference Library For many years in storage, this amazing resource comprising over 10,000 books and periodicals is now once again available to members and joiners. Located in South East Cornwall, the library can be visited by appointment with our librarian Trudie Charles - or on an open day. For those unable to visit, or to find out when the next Open Day is, enquiries may be made by email or telephone: 01752 852193.
Conference Recordings From 1983 to the present day, the Association has built up a library of over 850 recordings of talks and workshops, given by leading astrologers of the day, including many great minds no longer with us. To browse and order from our easy access listings, go here.