On April 9th, 2021, Buckingham Palace announced the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, at their home in Windsor Castle, just two months shy of his 100th birthday. Prince Philip and the Queen were married 73 years, and he was the longest-serving consort in British history. The couple have four children, eight grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren, with another on the way, due this summer.
Asteroid Astrology: Page 6
Although, as a pagan, I don’t celebrate Easter per se, Christianity’s secular arm has appropriated so many pagan symbols of the season that if you look around the house, it appears that I do. Even the English name for the holiday itself derives from Eostre, a Teutonic deity, goddess of spring, who could transform herself into a rabbit and was fond of handing out colored birds’ eggs to her devotees. That probably sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
AAA kicks off a new department this month with “Garden Glimpses”, a photographic memoir of life here at what I affectionately term “Pokeberry Farm”, after our most prolific vegetative output (the pokeberry, AKA pokeweed, is a large native plant, sometimes up to 6 feet tall, with spreading branches bearing pendulous, almost grapelike bunches of purple-black fruits; birds prize these, and their droppings proliferate this invasive species all over the yard). Over the past year I’ve chronicled each sabbat, or pagan festival, and have integrated my horticultural adventures within that seasonal framework. But I have only so much to say about pagan holidays, whereas the garden is the gift that keeps on giving, so we’ll be morphing the original “House Diary” column into a more flora-focused one. After all, with asteroid Gardner just a degree off my natal Sun, I’m only an “e” away from being the real thing!
Let’s stipulate up front that I am not Irish! I’m Pennsylvania Dutch through-and-through, all the way back to emigration from the Palatinate in Germany in 1751. But for some odd reason, the very Protestant PA Dutch have embraced St Patrick’s, a day to honor a medieval Catholic saint. At least, that’s how it was in my youth. The “wearing of the green” was de rigueur at school on St Pat’s, and if you were caught not so attired, you were legally subject to all sorts of petty physical reprisals, most typically pinching. I had one green shirt in my wardrobe, which was duly trotted out every March 17th, to avoid falling subject to infraction of the rule.
The shockwaves are still reverberating among royalty watchers worldwide from an explosive new interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, given to Oprah Winfrey on March 7th, which ranged from accusations of Palace racism to revelations of thoughts of suicide. Shades of Princess Diana! When I first profiled Meghan at the announcement of their engagement, I noted that her birth occurred within a week of Harry’s parents’ marriage, and mirrored much of the challenges of that union, as though the cosmos wanted a re-do, but the danger was that history might repeat itself.
[Cover Photo: a late January ice storm sets the birch branches sparkling in the early morning light]
Imbolc, commonly celebrated on February 2nd, marks the halfway point of the winter season. The light begins to grow and faint stirrings of life can be detected in the bleak landscape. Imbolc is a Cross-Quarter Day, one of four Major Sabbats in paganism, and is also a Fire Festival, noted for the use of light, typically candles or bonfires, in its rituals. As with most pagan celebrations, the early Christians coopted the holiday, terming it “Candlemas”, a day to honor the purification or “churching” of the Virgin Mary after giving birth. Candles are still brought to Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and Episcopal churches on this date to be blessed for use in the coming year.