Category Archives: Divine Feminine

April Fools

Photo by Mona Miri
The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.
 ~Will Rogers~

The origin of April Fools is cloudy, like the weather for the month, but the most commonly accepted premise is the problem lies with Pope Gregory XIII and the calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar around the world. This method of timekeeping was named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October of 1582. And like the “spring forward” aspect of Daylight Savings Time, eleven days were lost forever in the transition. When you went to bed on September 2, 1752 you woke up on September 14. That would have been a bad time to plan a vacation.

Although the Gregorian calendar is named after Pope Gregory XIII, it is an adaptation of a calendar designed by Italian doctor, astronomer, and philosopher Luigi Lilio (also known as Aloysius Lilius). He was born around 1510 and died in 1576, six years before his calendar was officially introduced. The Gregorian calendar’s predecessor, the Julian, was replaced because it no longer reflected the actual time it takes the Earth to circle once around the Sun, known as a tropical year. The new calendar was also intended to adjust the date of Easter as the preceding calendar of Julius Caesar had caused Easter to slip from its proximity to March equinox. This is still an issue today as various lunar calendars cause Easter to be celebrated differently with traditional Christians and their Orthodox cousins.

Gregory’s papal bull only had authority in Catholic nations, and European Protestants resisted the change because of its ties to the papacy. Two hundred years passed before most places let go of the Julian calendar, and some locations held out even longer. In the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 as Lady Day, a feast of the Virgin Mary, until 1752. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday that ended on April 1.

And that brings us to April Fools. Caesar’s calendar reform of 46 BCE made January 1 the beginning of the New Year. It’s speculated that those who clung to the old ways were mocked by those who celebrated on January 1. Those who were called April Fools were country folk who resisted the change. It’s speculated that jokes and hoaxes became ways of tricking those who were seen as old-fashioned, or worse.

Happy April 1, wherever that may actually be in any calendar.

Virgo Goddesses

Goddess Sign — the Sheaf of Wheat

  “All things bear fruit according to their nature.” Goddesses for Every Day

The Goddess Sign for Virgo is the Sheaf of Wheat, which appears in depictions of the constellation of Virgo as the bright star Spica that is held like a staff in the hand of the goddess.  The mutable earth sign Virgo relates to the stage of spiritual unfolding which focuses on specialization of forms.  Virgo represents the stage in the cycle when the soul’s experience is focused on assimilation of knowledge.  In this phase matter is organized, purified and refined into specific and recognizable objects.  Here we might say the Grand Plan of the Cosmos is carried out in detail. Metaphysically Virgo is the matrix and represents the womb of the inner spiritual self, containing the seed and eventual fruits of the Spirit.  Seeds germinate in darkness, breaking their way out of their shell casings, and sending roots into the Earth.  Like the abdomen and intestines, which Virgo has dominion over, this phase distills the qualitative pearls from life.   

In every case I have been able to find except Egypt, the Earth is always seen as feminine.  She is a great mother goddess who gives birth to and sustains her children from the substance of her body.  This expresses through the fertility cycles of the seasons.  Virgo goddesses include goddess of agriculture and grain, as well as the harvest, and the annual descent into the underworld while the Earth grows barren for a time.  Icons of these goddesses include generous platters of fruits, overflowing cornucopias and waving fields of grain.  

Virgo is the only female among the zodiacal constellations, and other than the twins, Castor and Pollux (Gemini), she is the only human figure.  Author Richard Hinkley-Allen says, “Those who claim very high antiquity for the zodiacal signs (15,000 years ago), assert that the idea of these titles originated when the Sun was in Virgo at the spring equinox, the time of the Egyptian harvest.”  Australian astrologer Bernadette Brady has remarked that, “Whatever image is chosen across time and cultures, what is contained in Virgo is the archetype of the harvest-bringing goddess, pure and good, independent of the masculine.  She gives the four seasons and is the source of the fertile Earth.”  The more ancient concept of “virgin” described a woman who was independent and free to love whom she chose. 

Demeter was the Great Mother earth goddess of the people who preceded the Greeks.  Her sacred rites, known the Eleusinian Mysteries, were celebrated for nearly two thousand years, as long as Christianity has existed, in what is now mainland Greece.  People came from all over the known world to participate in these secret ceremonies.  We don’t know many details of these activities, as the penalty for revealing their contents was death.   Some aspects are known or suspected however, as the high point of the ritual was said to be a “sheaf of wheat reaped in silence.”  The Eleusinian Mysteries are similar in significance to the annual celebration of the mysteries of Isis and Osiris in Egypt.  I believe the deeper meaning is learning move in resonance with shifting seasons of light and dark in order to harvest blessings in their time.  

Based on and excerpted from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.  Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.