Karina Lafayette – September 2021
There’s nothing like a holiday to bring people together, and with Halloween around the corner, what better way to do the countdown, than by learning about how some of the most popular times of the year sync up with astrology. Whether you believe in it or not, there’s no doubt whoever came up with the celebrations we know and love, put a lot of thought into them. Read on to find out the astrology behind some of your favorites!
And who am I kidding? Everyone knows Halloween really begins in September.
Having Easter coincide with Aries season, simply makes sense. Aries being the first sign of the zodiac, means it’s the baby. This sign is known for having a me-first mentality, wants to try everything at least once, and demands to be heard at all costs. For Christians, Easter takes place to honor the ressurection of Jesus after being crucified. On a spiritual level, this reflects the theme of life, death and rebirth, and the fact that everything lost is gained again. But before Easter became mainstream, there were fertility celebrations that often involved egg-hunts and rabbit symbolism, and this mostly was a time to honor sacred sexuality. And despite the internet, Easter is not derived from Ishtar. It’s mainly derived from the Germanic celebration of Ostara.
In the Western Hemisphere, the first day of Aries season also takes place on the first day of spring, a time of year where animals mate, humans begin to emerge from their homes to socialize more, and where plants, trees, flowers and gardens start to bloom again. All this reflects the hope and newness that comes with Aries. Even though this sign can fail many times over, it’ll simply get up again, just like a child taking its first steps. In the Southern Hemisphere, however, the opposite is true. The start of Aries marks the beginning of autumn. Being Canadian myself, I don’t know too much about weather on the opposite side of the planet, but from an esoteric perspective, Aries does make sense as an autumn sign as well, since if we think of newborns for example, even though though they might be curious and vocal, they also spend much of the time sleeping, eating, and being introverted. A lot of people don’t realize that despite being quite outgoing, it isn’t uncommon for Aries to actually be introverted. Their take-no-prisoners attitude often makes them a lone wolf, which means even though they’re rarely shy about their feelings, they still cheerish their alone time, just like a baby.
2. Earth Day
While it may not be the kind of holiday people have many celebrations over, given climate change, it still needs recognition. Earth Day, which is on April 22nd, falls at the start of Taurus season. Taurus as an earth sign represents everything that is lush, beautiful, sensual, comforting, and sees value in the little things. This is the sign of creature conforts such as sex, money, home, and food. On the surface, it can come across as quite basic, but make no mistake, Taurus works hard for what they have. They work as much as they play, but will always honor their roots, ancestors, and what makes them unique. Even though they do enjoy wearing the best outfits and eating at the best restaurants, they can be quite stingy and often opt for secondhand clothing, thrift stores and antiques, over modern consumerism, which makes Taurus the perfect season to celebrate our Mother Earth. You can often find this sign being socially consious, fighting for equality, and ensuring that everyone around is well protected and well fed. In fact, many political activists such as Malcolm X celebrate their birthday under the sign of Taurus, while Martin Luther King Jr. had this as his rising sign.
3. Pride Month
Sure Pride isn’t necessarily a holiday, but it still counts. In most parts of the world, Pride Month is celebrated all throughout June, which happens during a good part of Gemini season. The sun being in Gemini is a good choice for Pride Month, simply because it reflects the dualistic nature of this sign. In mythology, Gemini is represented by Hermes, the messenger god known for his quick wit, intelligence, androgyny, and fast-paced persona. As a mutable air sign, Gemini values critical thinking, questions, and can often come across as being multiple people at once. The reason for this is because their personality is much more flexible than other signs, making them want to explore various identities, fashion styles, and ways of doing things. They tend to have more than one career, and be a jack-of-all-trades. On the surface, it’s easy to judge Gemini as flaky or unstable, when really they just want to learn about themselves as much as possible, and that’s what Pride Month is all about. It’s about acknowledging the many layers of identity that people express themselves as, rather than being confined to a one-size-fits-all mentality.
4. St. Jean-Baptiste, Canada Day and the Fourth of July
While there can be some tension around these celebrations, due to a history often linked with colonialism, it’s still can’t be overlooked that several national holidays take place during Cancer season. St. Jean-Baptiste is on June 24th in the province of Quebec, to celebrate Franco-Canadian culture and history, and originated from Pagan celebrations of the Summer Solstice. Canada Day is on July 1st, while Americans celebrate the Fourth of July to honor their own. Cancer is the sign associated with family, nationalism, motherhood and tradition. It values nurturing, protection, leadership and commitment. During this time of year, more people on vacation means that more of us get the chance to reminisce, reflect, and come together with friends and loved ones. Cancer season is devoted to appreciating what we already have, contrary to its opposite Capricorn, which teaches us to appreciate what we work towards. People with Cancer placements tend to have very strong opinions about politics and conservation, and regardless of where they are on the spectrum, they always aim to make sure those they care about are honored. That includes their culture and the place in which they grew up.
5. Halloween, Dia de Los Muertos and Diwali
Perhaps the most popular celebration on this list, Halloween is loved by many, whether for its costumes, spookiness, or simply the fact that it has the most perfect weather- not too hot or too cold- you can’t help but notice the parrarel to Scorpio. Scorpio has for its modern ruler Pluto, which represents destruction, secrets, fear, sexuality, death, and transformation. So naturally, this is when spooky season takes place. Beyond just horror movies and candy, in many cutures around the world, this is a time to remember loved ones who have crossed over into the spiritual realm. In Mexico, this is known as Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which takes place on November 2. It’s common to have altars filled with food, flowers, candles and pictures of loved ones, as seen in the wonderful animated movie Coco. In the story, we follow Miguel on a journey to the spirit world where he learns about his great-grandfather, who was a legendary singer. And regardless of beauty Youtubers, it should be added that Dia de Los Muertos is NOT the Mexican Halloween, and traditional makeup associated aren’t meant to be incorporated as a Halloween costume. The purpose of this celebration is after all, to commemorate ancestors and remember the impact they had.
In India, people celebrate Diwali (the Festival of Lights), a five-day festival typically taking place somewhere during mid-October and mid-November. People prepare by cleaning their homes of what no longer serves them, and decorate their spaces with lights and floral decals. The celebration is in honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, which is no coincidence, since Scorpio rules the eighth house of finances. While for the Pagan community, there is Samhain, taking place on October 31st to November 1st in the Western Hemisphere, and April 30th to May 1st in the Southern Hemipshere. Traditionally, Samhain marks the end of harvest season. Here, we honour letting go of resentments, the past, heartbreak, and take a pause to focus on soul-searching.
When it comes to the early origins of Halloween, many of its influence originate from Samhain and various Celtic traditions. The concept of trick-or-treating first started around the 16th century, where people in Scotland and Ireland would get dressed up and sing door-to-door in exchange for food from strangers. Some say this was to emulate the Aos Si, a.k.a. the souls of the dead, and the act of accepting offerings on their behalf. In modern times, these traditions were integrated by the Church, so Christian holidays would coincide with Pagan holidays, as a way to get more people on board with the new religion.
6. Yule, Christmas and Saturnalia
The fact that the biggest celebration of the year also happens during the sign most associated with capitalism, isn’t much of a shock. Capricorn marks the start of the Winter season in the West, and is ruled by Saturn, the planet of karma, hard work, and responsibility. But did know you Saturn actually has many similarities to Santa Claus? Often in astrology, Saturn is spoken about as evil and vengeful, since in mythology he’s known for eating his children after finding out they wanted to take his place. One child, Jupiter, managed to escape the hands of Saturn after his wife fed him a rock, making him believe it was Jupiter. Wherever you have Saturn in your chart, this shows the area of life that requires the most effort. What often gets overlooked are the rewards, hence the similarities to Santa Claus. Like Santa, Saturn “sees you when you’re sleeping/He knows when you’re awake/He knows when you’ve been bad or good”- and he delivers accordingly. It’s not to say every bad thing that happens is our fault, but the emphasis of karma and receiving what you put out, is the most valuable lesson he will ever teach you.
So when it comes to Capricorn placements, people who have this sign as their sun, moon or rising, tend to learn that lesson at a very young age. Capricorn relates to leadership, honor, business, and patriarchy. They’re known as much for their stoicism as they are for their generosity, and see providing for their family as a love language, which is why we love exchanging gifts during the holidays! Many traditions associated with Christmas also tie into Yule, which starts on December 21st and lasts until January 1st, as in “the twelve days of Christmas”. The tradition of having a tree in your home began as a way to incorporate nature indoors during the colder months, while lights were a way to make up for the lack of sunlight seen in the daytime. Then there is Saturnalia, the feast of Saturn, which is held from December 17th to 23rd. During this time, folks would party, get drunk, and exchange gifts. Because the early part of this holiday begins at the tail end of Sagittarius season, we catch a glimpse of the Sagittarian essence of optimism and hedonism. And funny enough, Sagittarius is ruled by escapist Jupiter. Nevertheless, the fact that gifts are only exchanged once the sun enters Capricorn, still suggests the importance of earning your keep.
7. Valentine’s Day
While Aquarius might not come across as the most romantic zodiac sign, they are the ones who look out for everyone and are often known for showing acceptance to people of all walks of life.This makes it only natural to have the most lovy day of the year fall during Aquarius season. Many believe the Church (once again) set the feast of St. Valentine on February 14th to coincide with the Pagan festival of Lupercalia. Held February 15th, Lupercalia’s focus was to honor Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. Women of Rome would place their name in a jar and the city’s most elligible bachelors each chose a name to be paired with for the year, as a way to prepare for marriage. Valentine love letters date as far back as the Middle Ages.
Associated with the eleventh house of friendship, social circles and networking, Aquarius value humanitarian work, equality, making people feel seen and heard, and will fight for anyone who is mistreated. Despite their detached behavior, Aquarius are known for their loyalty once they’ve established a strong friendship with someone, and prefer meeting through the mind first. Hence why so many Aquarian celebrities have had some of the longest marriages in entertainment. Paul Newman was married to Joanne Woodward for fifty years before passing away in 2008. Meanwhile, rockstar Alice Cooper has been married to Sheryl Gooddard since 1976. Beyond that, a lot of people have skewed perspectives of relationships, where it’s assumed to only be about hearts and candy, only to wonder where it failed once both people start showing their true colors. So in a way, our perspective of Valentine’s Day is also a bit skewed, since it should really be about celebrating everyone we love, friends and family included, not just a partner.
8. St. Patrick’s Day
Even though St. Patrick’s Day is meant to honor the Irish culture, it’s mostly known for overconsumption of alcohol, parades, and the color green. But given that this holiday happens during Pisces season, why wouldn’t it be about all that? Ruled by mystical Neptune, Pisces is the eldest sign of the zodiac. It transcends the physical realm and is often associated with spirituality, higher consciousness, and the dream world. Since Pisces is a mutable sign, its shadow fish represents drugs, alcohol, escapism, and delusion, making St. Patrick’s Day the most Pisces holiday ever. It shouldn’t be a wonder why there is so much confusion and clashing stories surrounding the origins of St. Patrick’s Day either. The earliest known celebrations go as far as the 17th century, on March 17th. Many people think that the story of St. Patrick had to do with him driving snakes out of Ireland, but modern historians suggest that the snakes were used as a metaphor for the Druids. Because of this, he’s credited as being the person to bring Christianity to the Irish people.
Before colonialism, Ireland was a place with its own culture and language, and in a lot of ways, it still is. So much mythology, such as the Thuatha De Dannan, have been erased in large part due to religious conversion as well as colonialism. St. Brigid is even said to be somewhat associated with Brigid, the Celtic goddess of poetry, childbirth and inspiration. And to be honest, as someone who both loves the Irish culture and spirituality, and who took a course on Irish Film Studies, I can’t say St. Patrick’s is a holiday I don’t really enjoy, but that’s a matter of oppinion.
However we see fit, like everything, traditions change with the times and maybe one day, we’ll learn to honor where traditions came from, and put the focus back on the stars rather than just making the holiday season(s) about partying and commercialism.
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This article was originally published on Medium.