The Holly and the Ivy

This is an Olde English Christmas carol

The holly and the ivy,

now they are both full grown,

Of all the trees that are in the woods,

the holly bears the crown.

Traditionally we sing about holly and ivy at this time of the year. We decorate our homes in December when the holly berries are red against the green of the foliage used to adorn houses in the dead of winter.

Red and green are the old fashioned colors of Christmas.

These traditions originate in the north. Obviously in the south it is summer.

The Sun in Capricorn

On December 21 the Sun enters Capricorn and we celebrate the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Saturn is the planet that rules the coldest time of the year.

The two Saturn signs of Capricorn and Aquarius are directly opposite the Sun and Moon’s signs of Leo and Cancer which the Sun is enters in the warmth of summer.

Winter plants

During winter only a few plants are in color. Two of which are the holly with its red berries and deep green leaves pointy leaves and the soft ivy in two-tone greens.

Holly is a symbol of the masculine and ivy of the feminine. Resolution comes through kissing under the mistletoe which is another winter plant. Any excuse for a smooch.

Saturn

Every planet has lots of plants and trees associated with it. Saturn rules cold and dry things like winter.

It has an affinity with Holly and Ivy because they are winter-flowering and still hold their color in the bleakness of the coldest time of the year.

 


What Astrologers need to know about the Mayan Long Count calendar

 

by Alison Price

Astrologers are frequently being questioned about the end of the Mayan calendar which finished on December 21, 2012.

I would like to shed some light on this particular date and why it has come into such prominence by suggesting some ways for astrologers to allay fears of the end of the world which seem to be rampant in the public domain.

I participated in a video interview on the Ask Your Angels talk show about the Mayan Calendar and related subjects in August 2011.


Solstice coincidence

The winter solstice this year falls on December 21. This is a common date for the solstice and is nothing new. From an astrological point of view it is the date when the Sun makes its Capricorn ingress as it reaches the most northern point of the solar annual journey through the signs of the zodiac at about 23.26N.

Long count

The Mayan long count calendar spans over 5100 years. The current cycle began on what is known as the Creation Date of August 11, 3114 BCE and will end on December 21, 2012. Why does it end on that day? Well, it all has to do with how the Mayans measure time.

Mayan time periods

In the current western measurements of time we have the day (one revolution of the Earth), the month (one orbit of the Moon around the Earth) and the year (one orbit of the Earth around the Sun. The Maya devised five time periods:

The kin = 1 day

The winal = 20 days (a sort of month)

The tun = 18 x winal = 18 x 20 = 360 days (a sort of year)

The k’atun = 20 x tun (20 x 360 = 7200 days) nearly two decades (19.7 years)

The b’aktun = 20 x k’atun (20 x 7200 = 144000 days) nearly 394 years

144000 x 13 = 1872000 = +/- 5128 years

With these five time units the Maya were able to record important dates. Dates are usually listed vertically on the stele. The b’aktun at the top working down to the shorter time periods.

We express the Mayan time units with five arabic numbers from left to right the b’aktun, k’atun, tun, winan and kin.

The numbers are expressed as follows:

12.19.19.17.19 = December 20, 2012

13.20.20.18.20 = December 21, 2012

There are apparently 13 b’aktuns in each long count. Where the counter will revert to zero.

0.0.0.0.1 = December 22, 2012.

Sun ingresses

Let’s look at how the Mayan calendar looks between now and December 21, 2012.

Mayan Date – Sun ingress date

12.19.19.7.6 – SU GE May 21, 2012

12.19.19.8.17 – SU CA June 21, 2012

12.19.19.10.8 – SU LE July 22, 2012

12.19.19.12.20 – SU VI Aug 23, 2012

12.19.19.13.11 – SU LI Sep 23, 2012

12.19.19.15.2 – SU SC Oct 24, 2012

12.19.19.16.11 – SU SG Nov 22, 2012

13. 0. 0. 0. 0 – SU CP Dec 21, 2012  

13. 0. 0. 1.11 – SU AQ Jan 22, 2013

Note the winal rolls over at 18 and not 20.

The start of the current long count date.

0.0.0.0.1 = August 11, 3114 BCE


The last B’aktun 1618AD

As stated above one b’aktun equals 14400 days or 394 years. At the last increment of the b’aktun, from 11 to 12, it was on September 18, 1618AD. This is historically around the time when the Maya finally acquiesced to the Spanish. Apparently the Maya accepted change at the rollover from one b’aktun to the next b’aktun and this is somewhat confirmed by looking deeper into their history. Change is a theme for b’aktun changes.

A new dawn

Our years are based on the Earth’s annual journey around the Sun. The way we count in our western calendar is that at the end of our year we simply add another one to the date and start at January again. When we reach December 31st we start again at January 1st in the new year. So do the Maya.

Stele – carved in stone

We know so much about the Egyptians because they carved in stone and so it is with the Maya. Any culture that leaves an imprint in stone has a recorded history that is kept through the ages.

Pictographs

A pictograph is a pictorial symbol for a word, phrase or number. There are 19 pictographs used in the Mayan carvings on the stele and pyramid records. This is in line with the vegisimal number system they use.


Two schools of thought

There are two schools of thought about how the Mayan calendar progresses into the future.

Only 13 b’aktuns?

That the b’aktun only goes up to 13 and then reverts to zero is debated by scholars. The question being why there should only be 13 b’aktuns and not 20 as with the other units with the exception of the winan.

Further time periods?

Some evidence appears to support the idea that further time periods are accepted as follows.

20 x B’aktun = 1 Pictun

20 x Pictuns = 1 Kalabtun

20 x Kalabtun = 1 Kinichiltun

This would indicate that time is measured progressively on by just adding another 20 base unit of time at the front.

The Maya live on 

In the area known as the Mayan Riviera live the descendants of the original Maya.

These rich cultural people have adopted a modern way of living but they are still Mayan in their DNA. This can be seen in their strong facial features.

Conclusion

As astrologers we are used to working with time periods.

Not only the basic yearly calendars but also planetary cycles such as the Saturn cycle of twenty nine years or the Jupiter twelve year cycle which loosely correlates with chinese astrology periods.

Knowing a little about how the Mayan calendar works will arm astrologers with practical answers to the question of 2012.

Appreciating that the Mayan calendar is just another example of how humans measure time places the hype of 2012 and the end-of-the-world theories into perspective.


 

The Modes in Astrology

 

by Alison Price

The Naming of the Modes goes In and Out of Fashion

Back in the seventies, they were referred to as the quadruplicities or qualities and yet nowadays simply as the modes.

Our modern classification is based on ancient ideas for categorization.

It all begins with the sign’s natural relationship with the angles (Ascendant, IC, Descendant and MC) and the seasons (spring, summer, autumn, and winter).

Even today the seasons officially begin when the Sun enters the four cardinal signs.

Astrology has its roots in the northern hemisphere and references to spring and autumn are northern-centric terminology. South of the equator spring and autumn are reversed as are summer and winter.

Cardinal Signs

The cardinal signs were originally divided into subsets of tropical and equinoctal containing two signs each.

Tropical Signs

Cancer and Capricorn are the signs which begin directly after the solstices.

Where the Sun seemingly turns back towards the equator at the latitude limits of the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

These herald the start of summer and winter.

Equinoctal Signs

The two equinoctal signs are Aries and Libra. For these are the signs that begin at the two equinoxes.

When the Sun crosses the celestial equator going north or south. It is also the point of the solar nodes.

The sign Aries starts at the vernal equinox and Libra begins at the autumnal equinox (where day and night are in balance).

Fixed Signs

The fixed signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius follow after the tropical and equinoctial signs.

These are the signs during the mid-season period of the year.

Here the weather is milder, stable, agreeable and less prone to extremes of heat or cold.

Bicorporeal Signs

Bicorporeal is the old name for mutable signs. Bi means two and corporeal means of the body.

These signs are depicted by symbols of two animals they are known as the dual signs.

Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces are the bicorporeal signs.

The symbol for Gemini is the pair of twins.

For Virgo, it is the image of the maiden (who may be pregnant? Hmm, I’ll have to think about this).

The representation for Sagittarius is the centaur shown with the body of a horse and the head and torso of a man.

The last sign Pisces is the two fish tethered and swimming in opposite directions.

If you are a Mercurial type you may find it interesting to know these older terms but in contemporary astrology, they are probably relegated to the tricky words found in an astrology crossword puzzle.