Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Dec 23rd - Dec 29th, 2005

The Gates of Time

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  We now approach the hard, cold gates of winter and the New Year. Pausing momentarily, we peer intently down the path before us. It's difficult to see what lies beyond this shrouded milestone, for here is where the streams of time merge, their pervasive mists obscuring our vision. Beneath the twilight shadows of these Earthly gates the worn and faded fabric of the old year is carefully being stitched to the new.

Gates of Winter

Gates of Winter

  Like many New Year festivals, this is a ritual when glimpses of the future may be seen; where the seams may be pulled back, the veil lifted and destiny perceived. Folk traditions are full of traditions of how to read these shadowy visions of the future, whether through dreams, the crackling of the holiday fire, or the discovery of bean, ring or coin. Even today, psychics and astrologers are known to make predictions for the year ahead at this time. But in addition to focusing on the future, these end of time holidays are also meant for contemplation and review of what we have done.

  The Sun is the Lord of Creation. Astrologically, he represents life itself. It is the planet of being and focus. As the Sun passes through Capricorn, our focus is on time and the New Year; of buying new calendars and day timers, of making resolutions and endeavoring to make a new start. Out with the old, in with the new. Capricorn is the sign of time, and it is ruled by Saturn, the Time Lord.

  Because the entry of the Sun into Capricorn marks the shortest day of the year, things ruled by the Sun are at a lower ebb. This is a difficult time of the year of be born. The elements are harsh, conditions cold. The power of the Sun is diminished. Although it will take weeks for the Earth to feel this increase in warmth and light, the turning point is here.

The New Year

Here's the New Year
lookin' at you!

  This return of the light was seen as the birth of the New Year. Astrologically the Sun represents both life and the child. This New Sun (son) is the birth of a new child, a brand new year wrapped in swaddling clothes. It is the year, but it is also our part of that year, and what we will wind up doing with it.

  Because astrology contends that the magic moment of time is birth or the new beginning, this same philosophy applies to the year. The first twelve days following Christmas are reflective of the twelve months of the year. If you can keep these days sacred, doing good things for others and yourself, you plant the seeds of the Golden Rule for the year ahead, with each blessing being returned in the appropriate month. Do unto others, mud washes back to its own shores, what you sow is what you reap, etc.; these are all different adages which essentially reflect the same thing. All of our actions are monitored, and we will receive as we have given; no more, no less. This ritual was hammered into tradition to give people the opportunity to shape their futures, and the futures of those around them, by taking these magical seeds of time, and planting them where they would be sure to most impact our year.

      So, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, but also have a Cool Yule, Chanukah, Hogmanay, Children's Day, Zartusht-No-Diso, Kwanzaa, St. Stephen's Day, Twelfth Night, Dia de los Reyes Magos, Boxing Day and Bank Holiday!

  So much to do, so little time.

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