Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ante Diem XIX Kalendas January

Modern Date : December 14th

Ante Diem XIX Kalendas January
Ninteenth Day to the Kalends of January

This is one of the dies fasti on which legal actions are permitted.

On the 29th of Tybi, Thoth sent Bast and Sekhmet to guide Egypt.

Decima, the middle Fate in charge of the present, presides over December, but the month may have received its name as the tenth month of the Roman calendar. Vesta, patroness of fire also laid claim to the month of December.

Halcyon Days
Alycone, whose name means Queen Who Wards Off Evil [Storms], was the daughter of Aeolus, the god of winds. She was so happy in her marriage with Ceyx, son of the Morning Star, that they called themselves Zeus and Hera (surely not the couple that comes to mind when searching Greek mythology for an example of a happy marriage). At any rate, this made Zeus mad and he struck down the ship on which Ceyx was sailing with a thunderbolt. When her husband's ghost appeared before her, Alcyone threw herself into the sea and drowned. Some pitying god transformed them both into kingfishers.

The legend goes that every winter during the Halcyon Days, seven days before the Winter Solstice and seven days after, the female kingfisher carries her dead mate to his burial, then builds a nest, launches it onto the sea, lays her eggs and hatches her chicks. While she is brooding over them, the sea is unusually calm since Aeolus sees to it that no winds blow. Aristotle refers to a poem about this time written by Simonides of Ceos: "when in the winter month Zeus brings calm to fourteen days that earthlings call the time when the wind is forgotten, the holy breeding-season of the many-colored alcyon."

Actually kingfishers do not nest on water, but lay eggs in holes by the waterside. Robert Graves(The Greek Myths) suggests that the myth refers to the birth of the new sacred king at winter solstice, after the Queen, who represents his mother, has conveyed the old king's corpse to a sepulchral island. The Mediterranean is typically calm around the time of the Winter Solstice.

There was another Alcyone in Greek myth, the daughter of Pleione ("sailing queen") and leader of the seven Pleiades. The rising of the Pleiades in May signalled the beginning of the navigational year, which ended when they set. Thus the legend seems to speak of a goddess who protects sailors from storms. The dried body of a kingfisher is used as a talisman against lightning.

Shakespeare refers to this legend in this passage from Hamlet:

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
- Hamlet, I, i 157

Nostradamus, (December 14, 1503 – July 1, 1566) born Michel de Nostredame, is the world's most famous Judicial astrologer and author of prophecies. He is most famous for his book Les Propheties, called today - "The Centuries" - which consists of rhymed quatrains (4‑line poems) grouped into sets of 100, called Centuries.

Nostradamus predicted a copious number of events in world history, including the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution; World War I and World War II; the creation and use of the atom bomb, the rise of Napoleon and Adolf Hitler and the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Nostradamus' prophecies cover the full range of world history and forecasted the 2003 invasion of Iraq as well as the coming of the Third and last Anti-Christ.

The prophecies are strictly astrological in nature; requiring that the reader/interpreter be fully versed in the practice of "judicial astrology" - by which Nostradamus claimed was the science he used to predict the world's future from his era of the 16th Century. To accurately read and thus break the codes which his prophecies are based upon and locked against the uneducated, one must be learned in the celestial science of judicial astrology, according to Nostradamus.

St. John of the Cross
This is also the feast of St. John of the Cross, the mystic poet who was curiously canonized after his death by the same church that persecuted, imprisoned and tortured him, thus causing the suffering that apparently produced some of the greatest mystical poetry in the Christian tradition.

St. John of the Cross stands as one of the most important mystical philosophers in Christian history. The son of a rich merchant, John was born Juan de Yepes y Alvarez in Fontiveros, Spain in 1542. John's father died when the boy was quite young, leaving his mother, a member of a lower social class, to raise him alone. After gaining employment in a plague hospital, John, at age 18, began to study with the Jesuits. He entered the Carmelite Order in 1563, continuing his studies at the University of Salamanca, where he began to teach while still a student. After being ordained in 1567, John met St. Teresa of Avila, another of the great mystics of the Christian tradition.

Following Teresa's lead in attempting to reform his Order, John, in 1568, initiated a very severe form of monasticism in a tiny farmhouse. These monks went so far as to go barefoot, indicating their commitment to poverty, lending to them the appellation of "Discalced" or "shoeless." Over time, a rift arose between the traditional Carmelites and John's Discalced Carmelites, leading in 1576 to John's arrest and imprisonment. During this period of imprisonment, John wrote much of the poetry that would provide his greatest contribution to later generations.

Eventually, the rights of the Discalceds were recognized, and John took on various roles of leadership within the order. After some fifteen years of leadership, he died in 1591, leaving behind a number of remarkable works of Christian mysticism: Ascent of Mount Carmel, Dark Night of the Soul, and the Spiritual Canticle of the Soul.

Ember Day
The Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after December 13th are Ember Days, when Catholics say special prayers for the clergy.

The Hopi celebration of the return of life, Soyal, is a month long ceremony which begins with the new moon before the shortest day of the year. The major rights which occur approximately seven days before the solstice include a celebration of creation and rebirth dedicated to the Spider Woman and Hawk Maiden. A failed mock attack is made against the holder of the sun shield. This represents the sun's victory over winter's darkness.

Mevlana Festival
In the festival calendars of Turkey and some other Islamic countries, the Mevlana Festival, honoring the Sufi poet Jelaluddin Rumi, is held within these days. This anniversary day of Rumi's death is called an Urs, which literally means marriage, because it is the day on which the saint left his physical body to enter into union with Allah, the Friend, the Beloved.

"Enter the thicket of lions unafraid of any wounds. The shadows you fear are just a child's fantasy. There is no wound, and nothing to be wounded. All is mercy and love." (Version by Coleman Barks.)


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