Equinoxes & Solstices: Sacred Dance of the Sun and Moon
We are approaching the March equinox this 20th/21st of March when the sun crosses the celestial equator and enters Aries at 9:24 pm on the 20th and the new moon in Aries will occur on the 21st of March when the sun will first rise in Aries at dawn. This equinox is full of fire, spring is making itself known this year! The sun, Mercury, Chiron, Jupiter and the asteroid Manwë will all be in Aries, joined by the moon on the 21st at 16:02 pm.
Manwë - an Elven God
Manwë was the king of the gods (Valar) in Tolkien's mythopoeia and was humble with his power, true to the divine's plans and loyal - it could be said that he is at one with an enlightened Jupiter (Dius Fidius) and remembers the original codes of balance and harmony for the earth. Manwë can help us remember these uncorrupted codes in our DNA, before the corruption happened of the discordant force, or separation. In Tolkien's stories, when the elves were first created and awoke at the waterside their eyes first saw the stars before anything else, even each other. It is a beautiful image of the wisdom of understanding the stars first (macrocosm) before we try and understand another being (microcosm.)
With so much fire, we may find it stabilising to meditate and be in nature, around sheep and see the lambs skipping with joy. Sheep are the symbol for the first sign of Aries which in the human zodiac rules the head of the body (the first and top part.) This is interesting since rams and ewes are known to headbutt each other - their strength is in the head. It is also important to remember to not give our power away to these day markers and celebrations; this can lead to anxiety, separation or worrying about our performance at a ceremony, which can 'head into' an egoic direction. The divine is within. Everyday is sacred when we move with the rhythm of the cosmos.
At the spring and autumn equinoxes the sun always rises at around 6 am and sets at around 6 pm (naturally, without clock changes.) Yet what is this dance and why does it touch us so deeply?
Sophia - Ancient Wisdom
As we continue through this purging of Pluto in Capricorn (systems and government) and facing dynamics such as power abuse, control or messy agendas regarding the planet which do not serve us, we may be feeling the need to connect with empowered and balanced systems where the divine yin wisdom is restored in balance with the yang. This ancient yin wisdom (sophia was the Greek word for wisdom) teaches about the ancient cycles and rhythms which we are part of and the great changes of the astrological ages due to the precession of the equinoxes - we are feeling this change now as we shift into the Age of Aquarius. In this blogpost, I will share about this beautiful solar dance at the equinoxes since it is vital to understand how the movement of the sun and moon affects all life. The ecliptic is the pathway of the sun which moves as a sine wave. This sine wave of light determines the way life unfolds on earth giving us the seasons and our rhythms in day and night - it permeates everything - every land and every culture. Currently our government systems at public levels have not been empowering people with this wisdom of the solar and lunar cycles and astrological ages and this is due to a lack of trust and fear in these darkest of astrological ages. For when we are in tune with the cosmos we are powerful and can bring balance and divine harmony in order to evolve forwards.
I've included a lot in this blog, but it's such a vital theme that it seemed pertinent to expand on the symbols, myths and science of the ecliptic.
There has been a tremendous psychological need to understand the dance of the sun and moon for humans – firstly the eclipses may have been frightening for our ancestors and would have plunged their world into an unexplainable darkness.
A total solar eclipse, 1999
The moon perfectly covers the sun during an eclipse and they appear as exactly the same size to us. This is quite miraculous and the odds are huge. The moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, yet incredibly, it is 1/400th of the distance from the earth and sun, making it appear as an equal disc during an eclipse.
On top of this, the moon mimics the annual movements of the sun each month, creating a divine dance - when the sun is at his weakest and lowest at the winter solstice in December, the moon is drawing to fullness and at her highest and the opposite is true at the summer solstice in June. They mirror each other in inverted ways with their arcs at each solstice.
The Sacred Dance of Christ and Mary Magdalene
Images of the arcs of the moon (magnetic principle) and sun (electric principle) mirroring each other (like Christ and Mary) every Solstice in June and December - image from earthsky.org
During an equinox, the sun passes along the ecliptic (the pathway of the sun as seen from earth) and crosses the celestial equator in Aries at 6 am and sets in the evening of that day at around 6 pm - the Latin word equinox meant 'equal night' due to the equal 12 hours of daylight and night.
Sine wave or ecliptic (pathway) of the sun and the 12 astrological signs, starting with Aries on the left for the March equinox heading up to the June Solstice in Cancer at the top, before heading back down again to the September equinox in Libra and December Solstice.
In March this means that on the equinox, the sun crosses at 0° Tropical Aries and then gradually heads up towards the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5° above the equator - the sun reaches this highest point at the June Solstice in Cancer before heading back down to the equator again and reaching 0° Tropical Libra for the September Equinox; it then descends south to the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5° below the equator - the sun reaches its lowest point here at the December Solstice where it is reborn and shifts direction again ('tropic' comes from the Ancient Greek word trópos meaning 'turn.') In the Northern Hemisphere, the March equinox represents the arrival of spring and the return of a fire sign (Aries) symbolised by the ram and lamb - in Hebrew astronomy, Aries was called Taleh meaning lamb or 'lamb of the world.' These symbols are apt for the fiery energy of spring and its fresh energy as we see the lambs skipping in the fields and warmer days. In this video made a couple of years ago I talk about symbols such as the lamb and the holy grail - these can be understood astrologically.
The September equinox in Libra is the 'fall' of autumn and fall of the sun below the equator as the leaves begin to fall from the trees. Every deciduous leaf has to fall - they cannot be 'saved' and reused for another year - the focus is on the need to survive the winter and differing frequencies of light. Here the sun passes through the scales of balanced Libra who will judge the path and karma of each of us with compassion as we prepare for our winters and the underworld of Scorpio ruled by Pluto and Sagittarius ruled by Jupiter - here any false or limiting patterns are seen by the scorpion or centaur's arrow with good intentions for growth. It is at the compassionate equinox of Libra that our hearts are weighed on the scales before we make our journey through the cold 'underworld' of winter and uncover the depths of our yearly lessons, growth, karma or reflection of our harvest - it is also a time to release limitations.
The sun passes towards its eventual rebirth at the winter solstice in Capricorn where it germinates as it makes its way through purifying Aquarius and receives new visions in dreamy Pisces until it is born again in March at the spring equinox and makes its presence known and felt as it moves through the uplifting summer months. This is the 'essence' of the sine wave (the pathway of the sun each year) - this is the story it plays out in nature on a grand scale but also for us as individuals on our own personal journeys. Our lives are reflections of the sine wave - this story reflects the varying frequencies of the sun's light and our particular latitude on the earth.
The opposite is true in the Southern Hemisphere and this March equinox will mark the arrival of autumn and the Aries-Libra polarity.
Diagram showing the polarity of the seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres caused by the earth's tilt and the different frequencies of light received across the latitudes.
Who Built the Moon?
There are other extraordinary patterns in this dance and in their book Who Built the Moon? Alan Butler and Christopher Knight discovered that ancient Stone Age measurements of geometry revealed a connection with the maths of the moon. Their blurb encapsulates these discoveries:
"On further investigation, they found a consistent sequence of beautiful integer numbers when looking at every major aspect of the Moon - no pattern emerges for any other planet or moon in the solar system. For example, the Moon revolves at exactly one hundredth of the speed that the Earth turns on its axis; the Moon is exactly 400 times smaller than the Sun and is precisely 400 times closer to the Earth. They also discovered that the Moon possesses little or no heavy metals and has no core, in fact many specialists suspect that the Moon is hollow...When all of the facts are dispassionately reviewed, it becomes unreasonable to cling to the idea that the Moon is a natural object. The only question that remains is who built it?"
Butler and Knight were so puzzled by the exactness that they concluded that a highly advanced intelligence created the moon - they were reluctant to see this as the divine at work but hypothesised that this could have been our human intelligence working from a different realm of space-time - from the 'future.' Either way, it would be high intelligence at work. The book is a fascinating read and I will leave it to you what you make of the mysterious moon and its creation.
The Electrical Sun and Magnetising Moon - a Yin Yang Dance
In Greek and Roman mythology the sun was known as Helios in Greek mythology and Sol in Roman religion; in Rome, Apollo was also considered to be a deity of the sun and assimilated with the Greek deity Helios. Apollo was one of the most famous Greek and Roman deities – a god of truth, the sun, light, poetry, archery, prophecy, healing, music and dance.
In one famous Greek story, it was said that the son of Helios, Phaethon, asked to steer his father’s four-horse fiery chariot across the skies for one day – Helios warned him that it was too dangerous for anyone but himself to undertake such a task, yet undeterred, Phaethon took the reigns and was struck down by Zeus with a lightning bolt in order to protect the earth from burning up or freezing. The sun can remind us that we alone can hold the reigns of our own chariot and when we align with that power, we flow with the cosmic intelligence of the whole universe.
Sol - Soul
The Roman God Sol was not revered significantly and fell away in an early period. It is thought that in the late Roman empire, Sol reappeared as Sol Invictus ('the unconquered sun') and he was also referred to as Helios. Many English words are derived from Sol - the Latin word sollus meant 'whole' or 'entire.' Solitary is therefore connected with feeling 'whole' rather than lonely. The Proto-Indo-European root sawel meant 'the sun' and was connected with the Latin word sol and also the English word soul. The true meaning of solemn is to be 'deeply sincere' and the Latin word sollemnis was connected with an annual religious ceremony from sollus (whole) and annus (year.) Other words include solar, solicit, solo, solace and soliloquy. It could be said that until we know ourselves as whole and complete, as sol or soul, we will never be fulfilled by any earthly experience.
A Roman coin depicting Sol with the crescent moon and seven stars.
The festival of the birthday of the sun (Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) happened on the 25th December - this is interesting since the sun reaches its lowest point at the Tropic of Capricorn on the 21st or 22nd of December and seems to remain still in that position as it curves round at the end of the ecliptic before making its way up towards the equator again on the 24th or 25th of December! The Romans understood this movement and the word solstice comes from Latin sol ('sun') and sistere ('to stand still.') It would perhaps be more correct to say that this day represents the 'germination' or seed of the new sun, rising and ready to give birth in Aries in March springtime at the equinox and the start of a new year.
Leo - The Lion
In astrology, the sun rules the sign of Leo in July and August at the height of summer when the days are often at their hottest. Leo is the Latin word for lion and it has Greek roots – the lion of this constellation features in mythology and was associated with the Nemean Lion, a magical golden lion who could not be killed by the weapons of mortals and was eventually strangled to death by Hercules – there is a wildness to the lion which should never be forgotten. The Dendera Egyptian zodiac also featured a lion.
8 and the Ecliptic
The Tarot card for strength is associated with Leo and in the Rider-Waite Tarot card a goddess is depicted lovingly holding the head of a lion – she has an infinity symbol over her head or the number 8. The number 8 could signify the infinite pathway of the sun moving through the ecliptic - crossing the equator at the centre. The sine wave is the nature of infinity and when we align with it, we find our strength.
The Cross and The Sun's Path
The sun has also been connected with Christ - at the Last Supper he was depicted as sitting with 12 disciples. These have been thought to depict the 12 astrological signs. Christ consciousness could therefore represent being aware of the signs but transcending any of their limitations and being aware of the interconnectedness. Christ could represent the sine wave (the ecliptic) which is the pathway of the sun moving through every sign. The sine wave is in everything and the recognition of that within ourselves is to recognise our awareness - the Christ within - the wholeness of sol or soul. This is the pathway of self-realisation, liberation from separation, giving our power away to others and egoic suffering.
Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper, c. 1495–1498
The Sine Wave and The Cross
On this path, the sun dies each year and is reborn again (resurrected) - it must meet the underworld of Scorpio ruled by Pluto where it faces its judgement, lessons and karma every year as it moves into the depths of winter - it is a time of reflection of the past year and diving deeply into the subconscious. In the bible story, the sign of Scorpio was represented as Judas. At a symbolical level, it was on the cross that all sheds of ego died away - this cross is represented as the four cardinal signs of Aries (equinox,) Cancer (solstice,) Libra (equinox,) and Capricorn (solstice.) The sine wave moves through everything and it could be said that Jesus represents the force of awakening and being aligned at one with these archetypal forces and the ecliptic of the sun - mirrored outwardly in such a poignant and clear way.
We can see this imagery in the symbology of King Arthur and the Round Table as the zodiac wheel:
"Thither so many came from all parts of the world that no one could name them all, until the day of Pentecost it happened that King Arthur went to the Round Table. And he had Mass sung in the presence of all the people who were there. And when the Mass was sung the king brought his twelve peers and seated them in the twelve places, and the thirteenth remained empty, for it signified the place where Judas sat when he withdrew himself." From Didot Perceval
Our reality is not made up of solid matter - everything is waveform energy; atoms are made up of a nucleus (formed of protons and neutrons) at the centre which is surrounded by one or more electrons bound to the nucleus. Every atom contains negative electrons bound by an electromagnetic force to the nucleus at the centre which is made up of positive protons. Note the word 'electromagnetic.' Here we see the dual nature of the universe clearly – the principles of positive and negative, the yin and the yang, the male and the female, the giver and the receiver, the electric and the magnetic.
Radha Krishna in ardhanarishvara form (half male, half female and split in the middle.) This could be said to represent the very different right and left hemispheres of the brain with the right hemisphere ruling the left side of the body and vice versa.
The Magnetic Moon - Yin Principle
It is also vital to acknowledge how important the moon has been for life to develop in the way it has. It is thought that at least 20,000 years ago they had an understanding of the link between female fertility and the moon and in 1911, a limestone carving known as 'Venus of Laussel' was discovered in France of a 33 cm female figure holding a horn in the shape of a crescent moon with 13 lines on it. This may have represented the 13 moon cycles of a year (the moon orbits the earth 13 times in one year) or it could have represented the number of days from menstruation to ovulation.
Venus of Laussel
Although we have 12 months in a solar year (and 12 full moons,) as mentioned the moon goes around the earth every 28 days, meaning 13 times in a year. The number 13 is therefore very much connected with the moon and the divine feminine, but has been inverted in society and associated as being unlucky by some, yet lucky to others. 13 is the 6th prime number and is also part of the Fibonacci sequence. Its significance is very apparent in many cultures.
The word month derives from the Proto-Indo-European word mḗh₁n̥s meaning 'moon' or 'month.' The Latin word for month was mensis from which we get the word menstruation which is connected with the cycles of the moon. 'Monday' is named after the moon and 'Sunday' after the sun.
A carving known at as the 'calendar stone' at Knowth in Ireland thought to be 5,200 years old is believed to depict the face of the moon. Prehistoric Megalithic sites have been discovered with both solar and lunar alignments. Other lunar calendars have also been discovered – it is thought that a bone was engraved 25,000 years ago in France with markings of a two-month lunar calendar and cave paintings have been found with dots representing days of the lunar cycle.
The Megaloceros (extinct species of deer) above a line of 12 dots and a square - found at the Lascaux caves, France. The art is estimated to be around 17,000 years old. These dots could represent the 12 full moons of a year with the square representing one year.
Deer and the Moon
In Greek mythology, Artemis was a goddess of the wild, hunting, wild animals, children, chastity and also the moon; she also drove a chariot led by golden-horned deer. It’s thought that they could have been reindeer since these Ceryneian hind were described as bigger than a bull and were female with antlers like a stag – in fact, female reindeer have antlers. Cancer is ruled by the moon, so here we see another connection – deer are also highly aware and sensitive beings – they are often on high alert in their surroundings. The deer suit the psychic abilities of the Cancer (moon) energy which is highly attuned to the waters surrounding it.
Artemis steers a chariot pulled by deer as Actaeon lies dying, killed by his hounds. A Greek Attic red-figure volute crater (vase,) ca. 450–440 BCE.
Diana - Moon Goddess
In Roman mythology, Artemis was known as Diana; they both had many stories connecting them with deer which were sacred animals to the goddess which she fell in love with after seeing a deer larger than a bull. In one myth, Artemis turned the hunter Actaeon into a deer after he had seen her bathing naked, yet he was killed by his own hunting dogs who did not recognise him. This goddess was associated with chastity so this myth could represent the ability to 'kill' or transform unwanted lust.
Diana of Versailles, a 2nd-century Roman copy of a Greek statue by Leochares of the goddess Artemis
Artemis with two deer presented on a Greek Boeotian red-figure kylix (drinking cup), 450–425 BCE
Moon - the divine Mother
In Greek mythology, Selene was the name of the main goddess and personification of the moon; she was the daughter of the Titans Theia and Hyperion and the grand-daughter of the earth goddess Gaia (feminine principle or yin) and the sky god Uranus (masculine principle or yang.) Selene had two siblings, a brother, who was the sun, known as Helios and a sister called Eos who was the goddess of the dawn. In Roman mythology, Selene was known as Luna and her siblings were Sol, the sun, and Aurora, the dawn. Both Selene and Luna were associated with the crescent symbol and the chariot.
A statue of Selene/Luna at a museum in Rome - early imperial copy of an original from the early 4th century BC. Note the torch and crescent moon.
In Tarot, the Chariot card is connected with Cancer, a water sign ruled by the moon. As mentioned in both Greek and Roman mythology the goddess of the moon steered a chariot across the sky. The sun, Helios, usually had four white horses with his chariot, yet the moon goddess had just two which were described as “snow-white steeds” by Ovid in the Fasti. In some later accounts, the chariot was pulled by oxen or bulls and in one Roman Mithraic temple, a wall painting depicted Luna with two horses, one light in colour and one dark. The Chariot card, which can represent movement and willpower, can also signify these forces which cause the astrological bodies to spiral and move through the cosmos - for the sun, this is the pathway of the ecliptic, the sine wave. When we align with these natural rhythms, we return to the driving seat and things can start moving.
Figure of Selene from "Flora, seu florum...", by Giovanni Battista Ferrari, 1646
The Tibetan Buddhism goddess White Tara was connected with the moon and motherly energy. She was known as the ‘Mother of Mercy and Compassion’ and represented the feminine or yin aspects of consciousness including her ability to nurture and heal through her knowledge of plants as a forest goddess and her ability to offer warmth and compassion to those suffering in karma – her titles included ‘loving mother,’ ‘universal mother,’ ‘mother of liberation’ and ‘mother of the world.’ She was often depicted with a blue lotus or night lotus (which opens at night) demonstrating her connection with the moon and her name literally meant ‘star’ or ‘planet.’ In the 108 Names of Tara, she was given the names ‘Mother,’ ‘Night Time’ and ‘Face like the Moon.’ In one story, it was said that she incarnated as a princess in a different world system millions of years in the past and was known as Jnanachandraor ‘Moon of Primordial Awareness.’
Mary Magdalene can represent the yin, moon principles of magnetism with Christ representing the electric yang sun. It is also interesting to note that Mary Magdalene’s feast day takes place in the season of Cancer (ruled by the moon) on the 22nd of July – the name Mary is thought to derive from the Hebrew word mar meaning sea. The sea is associated with both Cancer (water sign) and the moon.
Penitent Magdalene, by Domenico Tintoretto, between 1598 and 1602. The term 'penitent whore' was given in Homily 33 by Pope Gregory I, delivered in the year 591. Only in 1969 did the Catholic Church officially repeal Gregory's labeling of Mary as a whore, thereby admitting their error. Quite an error!
Priestess - the Divine Feminine Moon
The moon is associated with the High Priestess card in Tarot. On the Rider-Waite Tarot card, the image portrays a lady wearing a white full moon-like crown. At her feet is a lunar crescent moon and her robes are blue and watery. The High Priestess Tarot card is ruled by the moon and here we see the strong connection between intuition and Luna energy and the ability to ‘read the waters.’ Yet these gifts associated with the moon and Cancer come with a price and if this intuition is not kept in balance with a grounded connection to the earth through the opposite sign of Capricorn, the energy of Cancer may become ‘loony.’ There is the danger that one may become a ‘lunatic’ and abuse this power in emotional, manipulative or arrogant ways as we have seen in society regarding so much mental programming and conditioning in recent times. The Latin word mens meant mind and it's where we get our word 'mental.' The moon governs the realm of mind, intuition and emotion and it is important to be grounded with these gifts - this is the motherly aspect of Cancer, ruled by the moon - she can empower others to develop their psychological and emotional capacities.
It is also important to remember that in these times that so much focus can get put on the 'goddess revival movement' of the moon as an aspect of the divine feminine that the ancient goddess, grandmother Gaia, can become forgotten. Gaia is the one who creates life, whereas the moon can only reflect the life or light of the sun and has magnetism. It is important to study the moon and the cycles and rhythms she drives on the earth as a key for unlocking more troves of feminine wisdom, yet a shadow can grow when this Luna feminine wisdom is misused or given too much power and put on a pedestal. When we idealise or project onto others, we also give energy away and give our power away - we give them qualities that we do not acknowledge in ourselves or allow ourselves to cultivate. This leads to a weakening of identity for both involved - we give away energy or take energy which is not ours and it distorts us. It is vital on the journey to connect with our own inner yin and yang and to feel whole and sol-itary - to be present with self and the sacredness all around.
An Ardhanarisvara painting by an unknown painter, c. 1800
As mentioned before, there is a danger of becoming a ‘lunatic’ when we give our power away to the moon (or that magnetic quality in a person) on our astrological path and forget about the power of the other astrological bodies within us. In the same way, we may mistakenly put the sun or Christ on a pedestal and cause a separation. It is vital to bring the yang and yin in balance - to honour the electrical sun and the magnetic moon in everything and everyone and the beautiful dance of the sine wave from which it all emanates.
I wish you a beautiful equinox.
Christ and Mary Magdalene consciousness (yin and yang, sun and moon) -
Mosaic found at the 6th century Monastery of Lady Mary in Beit She’an, Israel.