Tag Archive for: #astronomy

SPRING FLING BLOG HOP (1)March 20th ~ The Vernal Equinox is here!

You might not think that’s such a big deal – not like the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year or the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, but the two equinoxes, vernal and autumnal, are just as important.

Maybe I get excited about all this planetary stuff because my protagonist in the Zodiac Mysteries, Julia Bonatti, is an astrologer and she pays a lot of attention to the stars.

X-equinox_full_widthEach equinox and solstice is an astronomical event brought about by the shifting of Earth’s tilt on its axis. On this day the sun will rise exactly due east and set due west. At the moment of the equinox, the hours of the day and night are exactly equal all over the world.  This year the vernal equinox occurs on March 20th at 3:29 a.m. on the west coast.  But here’s an astrological chart of the event set at the Greenwich Meridian.

SunEntersAries2017If you look near the top of the chart, you’ll see the symbol for the Sun  at exactly 0 degrees and 0 minutes Aries.  It looks like a circle with a dot in the middle.  The very beginning of the the zodiac.  A harbinger of the coming spring.

X-Russian eggs

Many cultures and religions through the eons have celebrated this time of the year with festivals and symbols of rebirth and fertility. The egg is a prime symbol, promising new life.  Folklore tells us that eggs balance on their ends most easily at the equinox.  Seeds, like eggs, hold the potential of new growth.  Rabbits, because of their many offspring and constant breeding, are also associated with spring festivals.

X-RabbitPassover takes place in the middle of the Hebrew month of Nisan and although the calendar was constantly being adjusted, the most important factor in deciding the day was the spring equinox. No Ruz (New Day) is celebrated in Iran, a festival rooted in the beliefs of Zoroastrianism.  In Egypt the Festival of Isis was held as a celebration of spring and rebirth.  The ancient Romans observed the Feast of Cybele, a mother goddess at the center of a Phrygian fertility cult.

astarte-1In Poland, a little lamb made of butter or sugar is placed in the center of the Easter table, which is laden with food and decorated with eggs. In Italy, colored eggs are baked in braided loaves of bread at Easter.  In Russia, the celebration of Maslenitsa is observed as a time of the return of light and warmth.  St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th and we’ve all heard that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland .  A double meaning here because the serpent was a metaphor for the early pagan faiths of Ireland.

X-OestreEaster is named for the Saxon goddess, Eostre, a goddess of the dawn. And the date of Easter is determined by a moon cycle – always the first Sunday on or after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.  This year the first full moon will appear on April 9th.  It’s sometimes called the Pink Moon or the Egg Moon or the Sprouting Grass Moon.  So this year Easter will be celebrated on April 16th.

GoddessMany holidays dedicated to the great mother goddesses take place in the month of March: Astarte, Isis, Aphrodite, Cybele and the Virgin Mary. The goddess shows herself in the blossoms, the leaves on the trees, the sprouting of the crops, the mating of birds, and the birth of young animals.  We are reassured that life will continue.

earthWe are bound to our beautiful blue ball and its movements. We depend on the earth, so of course our important festivals are celebrated at the solstices and the equinoxes with symbols that hark back to ancient pagan influences.

How will you celebrate this Vernal Equinox?  Will you do something special to show your gratitude to our planet?   Plant a tree?  Call your representative or senator and ask her or him to protect the EPA?  Start a flower garden?
Happy Spring ~

flowersBut wait ~ don’t go away – Click the links below to follow the Spring Fling Blog Hop with all these other authors:

Allyson Charles: https://www.allysoncharles.com/blog
Gillian Baker: http://gilianbaker.com/blog/
K.B. Owen: http://kbowenmysteries.com/blog
Layla Reyne: https://laylareyne.tumblr.com
Kirsten Weiss: https://kirstenweiss.com/blog
Mona Karel: https://mona-karel.com/blog/
Misterio Press: https://misteriopress.com
Shannon Esposito: http://murderinparadise.com/blog-2/
Victoria De La O: http://www.victoriadelao.com/

And you can visit me at Facebook or Twitter @askzodia too!

All Signs Point to Murder
(Book 2 in the Zodiac Mysteries)
Coming soon:  August 8, 2017

Rob Ramer was the perfect husband until he committed the ultimate family faux pas ~ he shot his sister-in-law to death.  Was this a murder plot or a tragic accident? Julia Bonatti, San Francisco astrologer, vows to find the answer in the stars.

Remember when Pluto was a planet, the ninth from the Sun? I do.

PlutoThat’s why it’s so lamentable that Pluto has been downgraded to a (I really hate to use this word) dwarf planet, even a “plutoid.” I’m shaking my head – a plutoid? Really? Those foolish earthlings at the International Astronomical Union!

SF_Bay_area_USGSSee, Julia Bonatti, my protagonist in the Zodiac Mystery series is a San Francisco astrologer, and she worries about Pluto – a lot. She knows just how important the planet is and she’s rather concerned about this downgrade. Knowing that Pluto rules Scorpio and is the natural ruler of the 8th house, she fears vengeance.

Clyde_W._TombaughPluto was officially discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, a Kansas farmer and amateur astronomer. Astrologically, it is associated with nuclear power, the Cold War, and totalitarian states, as well as the birth of psychoanalysis when Freud and Jung began their exploration of the unconscious mind. Carl Jung was an astrologer, by the way. And believe me, a Pluto transit will definitely bring your own shadow to the fore.

New Image Pluto rules detective work and any effort that involves digging under the surface to bring truth to light. It’s a natural for the mystery and thriller world, for astrologers and detectives, and even amateur sleuths like Julia. Given Julia’s current adventure in The Madness of Mercury, and her upcoming ones, she pretty much lives under Pluto’s sway, even if she isn’t a Scorpio. She’s constantly facing mystery and death but astrological clues save the day for her.

Aqr_bodeThe planet (yes, I’m going to call Pluto a planet) is one-sixth the mass of our Moon with an extremely eccentric orbit. It takes 248 years to make a full circuit of the zodiac and spends between 15 and 26 years in each sign!

Now if you know anything at all about astrology, you’ll know that when a Pluto transit hits a sensitive point in your chart, it’s best to hide under the bed and wait oh . . . about a year . . . maybe longer . . . for it to go away. You might cry a lot.  Astrologers have great respect (if not fear) of Pluto. Like Shiva, the destroyer and creator, it tears down what is no longer needed in your life. You probably won’t agree, but resistance is futile. It transforms and makes way for new growth and renewal and it’s often painful! I repeat, you might cry a lot.

Aquarius_zodiac_sign,_Jantar_Mantar,_Jaipur,_India I’m not alone in missing Pluto. A principal investigator with NASA’s mission to Pluto, stated that “the definition stinks . . .” Online petitions have urged the IAU to consider reinstatement and everyday citizens have also rejected the change, claiming they have always known Pluto as a planet and will continue to do so.

The CaliPlutoCharonfornia State Assembly facetiously called the IAU decision a “scientific heresy.” The New Mexico House of Representatives passed a resolution in honor of Tombaugh, its discoverer, who was a longtime resident of that state and declared that Pluto will always be considered a planet while in New Mexican skies. March 13 has been named Pluto Planet Day there. The Illinois Senate passed a similar resolution in 2009 on the basis that Tombaugh was born in Illinois.

I hope you’ll join me in honoring Pluto. It’s not always a friendly planet, but it’s essential to show your respect for the forces of death, decay and transformation.