Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under the tree. Charlotte Carpenter
I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping. Steven Wright
Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts, for the only [true] gift is a portion of thyself. Ralph Waldo Emerson
And every gift, though it be small, is in reality great if given with affection. Pindar
A good conscience is a continual Christmas. Benjamin Franklin
Adults who [hang] gifts of a ready-made education on the Christmas tree of a child waiting outside the door to life do not realize how unreceptive they are making the children to everything that constitutes the true surprise of life. Karl Kraus
Occurring on April 29, the new Moon in Taurus is a annular solar eclipse. It is not a total eclipse, but it does have a similar feeling about it. From timeanddate.com: An annular solar eclipse can be observed when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, but it is so far away from Earth that it appears smaller in the sky and cannot cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges are then still visible and form a “ring of fire” around the Moon. Check out that timeanddate.com link as there is some interesting information there, including where the eclipse is visible and at what time around the world.
Happening during this incredibly powerful time of the grand cardinal cross, this is an especially testing eclipse season and one in which a lot of people will be making some major changes. In some cases, the changes happening now may seem to come from out of the blue, but in many cases, they have been a long time coming. The following interpretations are taken from my book The Sabian Oracle: 360 Degrees Of Wisdom:
The Sabian Symbol for this solar eclipse (solar eclipses always happen on a new moon, lunar eclipses on a full moon) is Taurus 9: A Christmas Tree Is Decorated And Shines In The Darkness. This Symbol is a bit like this annular solar eclipse - it is 'decorated and shines in the darkness' as the eclipse will be seen with a 'ring of fire' around it. Although we hardly think of Christmas in April, this is a Symbol that asks that we embody the idea of Christmas - caring about our family and friends and bringing a sense of community, peace and togetherness into our lives. As this is a solar eclipse, that can be a rather challenging thing as we may have found ourselves closed off from others, or feeling a lack of peace and love or connection to family or loved ones. One of the messages of this eclipse is to open your heart and let love and light in, even in the midst of all the challenges and exaggerated feelings that can be in the air with Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto all in the grand cross aspect that we are experiencing now. Some will find a reunion with old friends, lovers or acquaintances, while others may be cutting some out of their lives.
‘A Christmas Tree is Decorated’ is a Symbol that brings feelings of family, celebration and happiness. When the ‘Tree is Decorated’ it represents a sign of unity and that many of our family and celebrational needs are, or will be, met. The star placed on top of the ‘Tree’ represents the star that led the wise men, the Magi astrologers, to the stable in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. As long as the spirit of Christmas is celebrated with thankfulness and joy, people will be happy and share both their love and their time. Often at Christmas time it is cold outside. There is the sensation of snow on the ground and everything being rather bleak outside whilst inside there is love, shelter, food and warmth. There is also the beauty of the Christmas lights – the ‘Tree is Decorated and Shines in the Darkness’. The presents glint and a feeling of anticipation hangs in the air of what fun and rewards are yet to come. Giving and receiving whilst enjoying family and friends are the main elements behind the spirit of Christmas. The presents don’t have to be big and expensive, it’s the warmth and spirit of sharing that matters.
This is an opportunity for enjoying or accepting family, for celebrations and appreciating cultural ties, and for taking time out to remember and honor these things. Activities with the group will bring joy to all those who are close enough to partake. Even if you don’t know the people you are celebrating with, joy will be spread and celebrated-unless there are feelings of alienation, loneliness or loss. Do some elements of your situation shine more brightly in the cloak of the night than the clear night of day? Even if you arrive empty handed, the true gift is in the giving of yourself, not in the actual gift itself. Hopefully everybody realizes this. If there are gifts you want to give, are you worried about how they will be received? One of our gifts to others is to be able to receive our gifts and each other joyfully without worry or judgment.
Keywords: Enjoying the fruits of one’s culture. Warmth within whilst it may be cold outside. The rebirth of the spirit. Faith and the hope of happiness and goodwill of people to one another. Celebrations bringing people together that once were parted. Decorations. Things done with loving intent. The promise of good things. Colored lights. Gifts. Stars and angels.
The Caution: The pretense of happiness or success in a decorative show. Not allowing others from different religions or social classes. Being excluded and left in the cold. Family cohesion on display belying the real situation. Commercialism. Family disappointments.
The Quest degree of this solar eclipse is Taurus 10: A Red Cross Nurse With Warm Sympathy.
‘A Red Cross Nurse’ is someone who can be called upon to help in an emergency. She is receptive to the emotional and physical needs of others. Reliable and caring, she brings healing and relief as she patches up what needs to be fixed. Making things better is her quest and her duty. Mostly, she carries out her duties without fuss or fanfare. That she does this ‘With Warm Sympathy’ implies that the ‘Red Cross Nurse’ is a kindly person, someone who can be relied upon for doing the right thing with care, attention to detail and the intention of healing. She needs to be attentive every time she is called upon, regardless of whether she is tired or has chores of her own to attend to.
It seems that there is a lot you have to do, but first you will probably have to provide help to others. There is a great deal of inner healing achieved when helping others. Through empathy and sympathy we often learn about aspects of ourselves. How willing and able are you to give your time to help another, either physically or emotionally? How can you be expected to cope if you have too much to do? Perhaps you are in need of some help yourself. Things may not be easy or enjoyable and you may have to cross over into the “dark side” in order to bring light and love to the situation. Things may call for a more personal touch; approaching matters sympathetically rather than just clinically may be appropriate. Look at what’s occurring, and take into consideration people’s shortcomings. Sometimes others need care because they can’t cope with even the smallest things. There may not be many apparent rewards but the sense of care and healing that is invoked is its own reward. Through showing ‘Warm Sympathy’ to those involved, a solution and a healing can be attained.
Keywords: Unconditional and compassionate understanding and caring. Breaking down the borders between self and others. Always having to find reserves of energy. Looking after people’s physical, emotional, spiritual welfare. Giving and also receiving. Volunteer work. First aid kits. Bedside manners. Having a mission to fulfill. Having a shoulder to cry on.
The Caution: ‘Fussing’ around and doing more than one needs to. Always butting in, even when it’s not necessary or wanted. Being a doormat and doing more than your share. Not caring how others are coping, even when it’s really necessary. Being officious and bossy. Feeling used.
The Karmic Condition (the degree before) of this solar eclipse is Taurus 8: A Sleigh Without Snow.
‘A Sleigh Without Snow’ is a Symbol of something that has difficulty finding the means to get to its destination. A ‘Sleigh’ can’t go anywhere without ‘Snow’, as it is the medium which supports the ‘Sleigh’ in its movement, and without it the ‘Sleigh’ isn’t going anywhere. It may have been useful at other times, but now it is either ahead of its time or useless, redundant.
It may seem that right now there isn’t much that can be done with the fuel that is available. Regardless of the amount of desire or the need for progress or a forward push, this ‘Sleigh’ without ‘Snow’ may not be going anywhere in a big hurry. This can symbolize a situation where someone is ahead of their time, but it can also show that someone has missed their time to go forward and they have to wait for future opportunities to show themselves. They may also have to wait for a healing, or for financial situations to resolve. Regardless of which is true, there is a sense here of having to wait until conditions and situations change to be able to achieve what it is that you want or to get where you want to go. Are you using up a lot of energy trying to make things work in very difficult conditions? You may have part of the problem solved (you at least have a vehicle for moving forward), but now you must have the patience to wait for the rest of the elements to fall into place. This Symbol is often about timing. You can often fuel your situation by really tapping into your imagination. The question is, what adjustments or improvisations can be made? You need to wait until the time is right, then you will have exactly what you need – the “fuel” and the right conditions which allow you to complete your mission.
Keywords: Independence from outer circumstances. Using the creative mind to work through momentary shortages or problems. Anticipating future conditions. Having the “vehicle”, but not the time, energy or the “fuel”. Improvising things so that they work better or ahead of their time. Gas, oil, fuel. Snow. The value of timing. Lack of resources. "Tyres" that are missing or don't work. Being ahead or behind one's time. Renewable energy.
The Caution: Forcing your ideas or feelings even though the time is not right. Lack of support from the environment. Missing connections. Running out of energy. Having the right thing in the wrong place. Ideas without the capital to make them reality. A lack of impetus or propulsion. Feeling stuck, unmoving. Traffic jams. Empty tanks.
Venus, the ruler of this Taurus solar eclipse (which, obviously, is a new moon) is on a degree that talks about the new moon = Pisces 26: A New Moon Reveals That It's Time For People To Go Ahead With Their Different Projects.
There’s an image here of the emergence of new possibilities and new horizons, as ‘It’s Time For People to Go Ahead With Their Different Projects’. This Symbol can imply a moving away from or a splitting up of people, however this may not always be the case. There could be a call for a couple to split off from the rest of the family, or somebody might need some space to be alone or get on with something they want or need to do. Hence it doesn’t always mean a split or separation, although it certainly can. People have their own responses to situations, so it is important not to expect everyone to react in the same way when something unexpected, or new, comes up. Periodically, there is a need to let things go from the past. Relationships, jobs, friendships; in fact any situation at all might be coming to completion, or needing a break for a while. There can be the feeling of a dividing wall coming up between you and others. This situation may have been brewing for some time and now the consequences of it are coming to light. However, if people are given their own measure of freedom, they may come back together when the time and the energy is right. Perhaps it’s a good idea to direct some energy into a new project at the time of the next ‘New Moon’. Light a candle and state your intentions with honesty and feel the effects of the rewards that can come flooding in with this new beginning. Remember to honor “the other”, the other person who may have their own ‘Project’ or path to follow.
Keywords: Diversifying. Applying talents in a different direction. People splitting up and splitting off. New opportunities and potentials. The beginning of a new age. Letting go of the old and outworn. Separations. Embracing one’s future without the need for others. Coming to a fork in the road. Divorces. New jobs, directions and destinies. The dawning of a new era.
The Caution: Not giving, or receiving emotional support. Feeling split off and alone, even when one is with others. The fear and loathing of possible separation. Overthrowing the old too quickly. Changing direction unexpectedly. The fear of old age. Relationships that fail again and again.
The Karmic Condition of Venus shows that some people, relationships or situations may be 'falling from grace'. The Symbol is Pisces 25: The Purging Of The Priesthood.
Keywords: Revealing the truth people for who and what they truly are. Cutting people off. Throwing out things that don’t measure up. Forced retirement and redundancies. Payouts at the end of employment. Dismissals. Opting out for moral reasons. Being fired. Holes left where someone took up a lot of space.
The Caution: Stressful battle over who’s in charge of spiritual needs and direction. Blackmail. The threat of being thrown out. Something being revealed. Evicting people because they deceive, lie or mislead or just because they’re not liked. Bringing somebody down. Scapegoating others. Corruption and scandal that threaten collapse. Wanting to appear to be doing the right thing. Cover ups. The burning of books. Perversion.
Mercury is on Taurus 13: A Porter Carrying A Mountain Of Heavy Baggage. What burdens are you, or others, carrying? Are you bearing up under the weight of responsibilities or things you have to do or shoulder? Along with Venus on the 'getting rid of things' Symbol, is there something you could, or should, jettison? What can you do to lighten your load? Perhaps there's a need to lighten up ones attitude towards life?
Everyone thinks his own burden heavy. French Proverb
The burden which is well borne becomes light. Ovid
Keywords: Self-reliance. Owning other people’s ‘garbage’. Shouldering baggage or weight. Being weighed-down. Feeling responsible for everything. Bad backs and posture. Carrying others. Counseling people, taking on their emotions. Bad backs, shoulders, knees, etc. Strain and wear. Bearing the family guilt. Luggage, trolleys. Looking for tips or handouts.
The Caution: Being busy with other peoples’ problems. Unable to work for your own benefit. Carrying other peoples’ responsibilities. Being indispensable until the energy is all worn out. Not knowing when to say “no” to other’s demands. The burden of debts. Being useful but feeling unimportant.
Mars is retrograde on Libra 12: Miners Are Emerging From A Deep Coal Mine. Mars is slowing down and will go forward again on May 20. So, we are going to get to see Mars on this degree not only now, but also at the beginning of June. This degree speaks of bringing things up from the depths, bringing things to the surface so you can get a good look at them. Of course, some things need to stay buried, to be subterranean, and it may be a good idea not to bring everything up as Mars can elicit a feeling of anger from previously submerged thoughts, memories or realities coming to light. Sometimes we think we have a 'lump of coal' in our hands when really it is a precious diamond and all it can take is a change of perspective and we realise the beauty inherent in things, situations, people, outcomes, etc.
Keywords: Release from arduous labor. Stopping work. Coming into the light. Deep subconscious healing. Hypnotherapy. Going into dark places. Claustrophobia. Memories from the past or out of nowhere. Things dark and “gothic”. Lung and breathing problems. Persephone emerging. The labyrinth of the mind. The mind flooding. Tunnel vision. Caves. Mines. Digging for answers. Relief and time off. Ghost stories. Being the "canary in the coal mine". Work.
The Caution: Gloomy outlooks. Not seeing potentials. Emerging with a “blackened face”. Difficulty breathing. Earning a living being a life and death situation. Working hard for small rewards. Emotional loops. Things hard to escape. Fear of confinement or capture.
Jupiter is on Cancer 15: A Group Of People Who Have Overeaten And Enjoyed It. For many, there may be a feeling that one has overindulged in some way, especially with Jupiter on this Symbol and in Cancer. It can be like a double whammy. It can bring up issues to do with overspending, overeating, over doing things in some way. It can show a situation where we could benefit from being on a diet, pulling in the spending or taking some time out to be by ourselves.
Keywords: Consumerism. Communal cohesion through indulging in the senses. Satisfied hunger. Commercialism and longing to own things. Eating disorders. The right of everyone to enjoy food and nourishment. Big business. Success. Enjoying “the good life”. Having plenty. Abundance. Temporary fulfillment.
The Caution: Self-indulgence through the senses. The “haves” and the “have-nots”. People going without so that others can have more. Monopolization. Bloating. Feeling that one deserves everything on a platter. Overweight. Bad nourishment. Eating binges. Indigestion. Obsession with ownership. Deprivation. Exploiting resources. Overspending. Gluttony.
Saturn is on Scorpio 21: Obeying His Conscience, A Soldier Resists Orders. Here, again, there can be the feeling of having to let go of something, to walk away from something or someone. Sometimes with this degree around, especially with Saturn on it, there can be a sense that someone is not living up to their responsibilities, not turning up when they are meant to, or, going against the dictates of society. It can feel like a time of having to say no when many other factors seem to be pointing to saying yes.
Keywords: Personal morality. Doing what one’s conscience dictates. Going against the status quo. Doing the unexpected. Going by the promptings of the inner voice. The consequences of having a conscience. Not coming home. People clinging to each other. Love that restrains.
The Caution: Displaying cowardice or a lack of courage to act. Not doing what one is expected to do. ‘Going over the top’ in a wild and crazy way. Going AWOL. Being the one who lets everyone down. Court-martials. Antisocial behavior. Anarchists. Being “uncommitted” or “unavailable”. Choosing play instead of duty. Goofing off.
Uranus is on Aries 14: A Serpent Coiling Between A Man And A Woman. This is a very strong degree of archetypal energies that can imply that one is not 'good enough'; young enough, strong enough, smart enough or issues to do with co dependence versus the desire to be alone.
Keywords: Enticement. Allurement. Revealing archetypal knowledge that may not be ‘socially acceptable’. Temptations. The Adam and Eve story. Jealousy. Sexual instincts. Life and death issues. Relating based on control. Kundalini energy. Realizing polarity. Individuation. Eating the Apple. The “knowledge of good and evil”. Having one’s eyes opened. Marking one’s territory.
The Caution: Feeling guilty. Being afraid to express one’s feelings. Basic instincts and sexual energy. The fear of knowledge, secret or otherwise. Using sexuality as a control device. Disgust or distrust of the body. Sexually transmitted diseases. Hiding nudity or sexuality. Being thrown out of paradise.
Neptune is on Pisces 8: A Girl Blowing A Bugle. What messages need to be broadcast? Are things being said clearly or loudly enough? Are you sure about what you're saying or hearing? Do you feel you have a voice? Has someone perhaps said too much?
Keywords: Sounding the call. Awakening all to action. Going on and on about something. Loudspeakers, telephones, announcements. Being prepared to state one’s case. Calling attention to one’s self. Blowing your own trumpet. Whistle blowers. Heralding and proclaiming the dawn. Rise and shine! Girls in a man’s world. Leading the charge. Resurrection. Mass announcements. Advertising campaigns. Alarm clocks. Ear plugs. Blind folds. Proclamations.
The Caution: Making unwarranted and disturbing noise. Showing off. Unbalanced messages. Evangelists and politicians. Sounding the call but not making the grade. Being annoying. Trumpeting about one’s achievements. Not listening to people.
The Karmic Condition of Neptune (the degree that Neptune has been on for some time before this new Moon) is Pisces 7: Illuminated By A Shaft Of Light, A Cross Lies On Rocks Surrounded By Sea And Mist. This degree can bring up all kinds of difficulties, especially around misplaced faith or trust. That Neptune is now on the Girl Blowing A Bugle is a message that we should now feel that it's ok to say what we've been feeling or experiencing.
Keywords: Renewed dedication after loss. Looking for signs of hope and recovery. Coming to terms with loss or failure. Rocks, mist, howling winds on coasts. Crosses of faith. Important and substantial sacrifices. Being devastated by events. Being in the “spotlight” in difficult times. Finding the way through the dark. The need for sacrifice. Alternative religions. Stepping outside religious boundaries.
The Caution: Lost faith. Hopes dashed. Giving up. Being shattered by the constraints of life. Depression. Feeling like one is being sacrificed, sometimes for nothing. Unable to see through the fog. Scorn, persecution and attack because of religious or social reasons. Hopelessness. Things grim, dark and foreboding.
Pluto is on Capricorn 14: An Ancient Bas-Relief Carved In Granite Remains A Witness To A Long-Forgotten Culture. So many 'forgotten cultures' are coming to light now, it is a very interesting time. It may also speak of the dredging up of our past in some way... whether it is your past, or the past of the planet, or the feeling of past lives, there can be a feeling of looking back to previous realities.
Keywords: Anonymous immortality. Things written or carved in stone, or concrete. Permanent records. Clues from the past. Things that should be shaped and changed with the times. Pieces of art or sculpture. Things that belong in a museum. Inscriptions and carvings. Ancient civilizations and their relics. History.
The Caution: Limitations that don’t allow for changes. Old and outworn situations. Things carved in stone that cannot, or will not, ever change. Memories out of the past that keep one frozen in time. Feeling stuck, like no growth is possible. Frigidity of feelings because of things that have happened.
The Moon's north node is on Libra 29: Mankind's Vast Enduring Effort To Reach For Knowledge Transferable From Generation To Generation. This Symbol is very much about teaching and learning and the passing on of information and knowledge.
Keywords: Interpreting and conveying beliefs and ideas. The desire to pass on something to others. Handing down possessions or knowledge. Knowledge being changed, modified or updated. Teaching by example. The wisdom of the ancestors. Research into history. Striving for answers. Books and the spoken word. Encyclopedias and reference books. The gift of knowledge.
The Caution: A belief that one knows it all. Information, knowledge or riches inherited by only the select few. Reliance on tradition. Fundamentalism. Doing what’s always been done, regardless of why.
The Moon's south node is on Aries 29: The Music Of The Spheres. This is a favourite Symbol - it is a beautiful image of being in tune and resonance.
Keywords: Voices bringing messages. Attuning to the messages inherent in astrology. Harmonies, chords, keys, octaves. Things heard. Natural harmony of life. The beauty of the planets. The measurement of time. Circadian rhythms. Dancing to the wind. The humming of bees. Days of the week. The sound of water over rocks or crystals. The planets speaking through or to you. Sending love. The Atomic Clock. Harmonics. Musical ratios. Numbers. Numerology. Sound healing.
The Caution: Inflating rational ideas. Delusion or enlightenment? Getting lost in abstractions. Rejecting what’s obvious on an intuitive level in favor of more intellectual answers. Loving the sound of your own voice. Not listening to obvious messages.
Chiron, the Wounded Healer and The Stories We Tell Ourselves (I made that up ;) ) is on Pisces 17: An Easter Promenade. It is really wonderful and curious that Venus and Chiron were conjunct (together on the same degree) at Easter this year. One of those amazing synchronicities and a part of the 'Music Of The Spheres'. What is it in your life that needs resurrection? What needs to have a renewed injection of faith and belief in the goodness of life?
Keywords: Renewed faith in one’s life’s circumstances. Rising from fear and loss. Public holidays and their celebrations. Dressing up. Easter bonnets. Easter eggs, chickens and the fertility rites of spring. Rebirth. Forgiveness. Joy. Spiritual unity. Religious holidays. Worship. Renewal. Parades. Transformation.
The Caution: Superficial communal shows of unity. Craving for attention. Always needing an excuse to get together and unite. Empty displays of faith or joy. Doing things only because everyone else is doing them. Feeling lost, alone and forsaken in the crowd. Guilt trips. Exclusion of other faiths. Religious domination.
Whatever this time brings into your life, this is definitely, as always, a very meaningful time.
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