Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Dec 29th, 2006 - Jan 4th, 2007

Happy New Year

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  Around the globe, different people celebrate New Year's at different times.

Shofar, part of the Jewish New Year

The Shofar is blown as
part of the Jewish New Year

  Long ago the Egyptians celebrated it in September when the Nile flooded. In this same month, Rosh Hashana marks the start of the Jewish New Year. The Babylonians began their New Year with the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox (Spring). The Celts split their year in half and have two New Year's, with both May Day and Halloween marking the start of their year(s). The Chinese start their New Year with the New Moon in February. Each of these dates have been chosen for different reasons.

  The Romans had started their year in March, but after years of political corruption the calendar no longer coincided with the seasons. The priests who monitored the calendar had been bought off, giving longer years to the highest bidder, who could therefore rule (have power) longer.

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

  Julius Caesar sought to end problem by taking the calendar out of the hands of the priests. In 46 BC he set up this new calendar. The start of the year would be January 1st, rather than in March. The month was named after the two faced Roman God, Janus. After the church took over, there was a secular resistance to making January 1st the start of the year because of its pagan association to the god.

  For thousands of years, the calendar had been tied to the growing year, and it's traditions ran deep. Agarian areas tend not to change time honored notions too quickly. By the early medieval period most of Christian Europe regarded Annunication Day (March 25) as the beginning of the year.

  When William the Conqueror became King of England on December 25th, 1066, he decreed that January 1st should be brought back as the start of the year, helping to root Christ's birth on top of his own coronation, mustering all the political and spiritual leverage which went along with it. Even so, after a time England returned to celebrating New Year's Day on March 25.

William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror

  Astrologically speaking, whatever calendar you use, the moment it comes into play, say, at midnight on January 1st, there's a celestial imprint on what the personality of that year is going to be like. Is there much promise, or are there hard times ahead?

  For the country and for the eastern seaboard, using the midnight location for Washington DC shows us it will be a tempestous year, both politically and weather wise. Mercury is in a tight square to the Ascendant/Descendant axis. We need to be adaptable, and cope with the many challenges as they arise. Many will be forced to take back what they said. The public mood is uncertain.

  Some of the good news is there are some socially based services that are being put back into place. Connections are being made. Community spirit is again being felt. Doorways that had been closed are beginning to be reopened.

  On a more mundane note, the Gemini Moon will make for a wonderfully witty evening. The mood will be festive, but this also make conditions on the road more tentative; especially for those who are on cell phones. Be careful folks; have fun, but know that not everybody is stopping at the stop signs, etc. The celestial imprint is that you will WANT to be on the phone. The celestial advice is that you don't be on the phone.

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