Sunday, March 27, 2011

Looking forward to April 1st and the first Sunday, April 3rd

Looking forward to April Fools Day, it is believed to have originated in France, which was the first country to adopt the Gregorian calendar. The games and jokery came to fill the celebrational void that was left when the calendar change resulted in the date of New Years being moved from April 1st to January 1st, (which used to be the winter solstice). Imagine how disoriented you would feel on the eve and day of January 1st if, for some reason, they made another calendar change and moved New Year to some other day! Back then, the April Fools jokes also poked fun at backward people who insisted on celebrating New Year the old way on April 1st. In France and Italy, the fish is the symbol of April Fools Day, and a popular April Fools joke is tacking a fish to other peoples’ clothes without their knowing it. Shops feature baked goods and candies in the shape of fish, and fish are also featured on greeting cards. The idea was that in April, young fish are naïve and easily caught. Coincidentally however, the fish is also sacred to Aphrodite (who rules April), as well as the symbol of Pisces. (Although the precession of the equinoxes has put the calendar days out of sync, April 1st used to be both the Spring Equinox and the day the sun entered Aries, leaving Pisces, the sign of the fishes and of the old year.)

In some previous years, for the first Sunday in April, I demonstrated tarot readings focused on the Fool card. Also in line with the theme of April fishes, we sometimes also did a card search for the Page of Cups. (Because, in the RWS deck, the Page is gaping with surprise at a fish that emerges from his cup, the idea is, where in your life does it seem like the Universe is playing some cosmic joke on you, yet where, at the same time, can you find unexpected rewards?) Last year, we did a card search for Judgment, phrasing the request, “Please show me where I can find new life,” with the idea that the card to the left of Judgment denotes a potential source of renewal, and the card to the right shows where or how you can express energies that reinvigorate you. All of the afore-mentioned cards are harmonious with April’s theme of awakening, opening, and emergence, because the Fool is going forth on a new adventure, the Page of Cups is opening to new emotional experience and growth, and Judgment graphically portrays emergence as rebirth.

This year, I’m thinking of broadening the card search by having us ask the cards a general question about which areas of life are opening up for us. This will take more than the usual amount of consideration as people go through their decks, trying to identify themes of awakening, opening, and emergence in their cards, so we will allow time for plenty of questions and discussion. There are actually a great many possibilities, not just in the traditional meanings of certain cards, but in certain graphic elements. Of course, different decks may also bring in different graphic elements. I have just purchased a copy of Corrine Kenner’s “Wizard’s Tarot” (illustrated by John J. Blumen), which is my favorite new deck, so I am excited to explore ways that we can magically interact with this deck, and—for Sunday’s session--how we might be able to relate the new images to the magic of opening. The card normally titled the Fool is now “the Initiate,” so it seems appropriate to that idea of new experiences.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


We are now well into that emerging, opening-out stage of spring. The crocuses have already bloomed, and daffodils are starting to poke their spear-like leaves out of the earth; at the same time, flocks of robins, blackbirds, grackles, sandhill cranes, and killdeer are flowing over the northlands like a flood. In less than a week it will be April, and of course on April 3rd, the first Sunday, I will be back to resume another year of teaching magic and tarot tips at The Triple Goddess.

Because my fist session typically falls close to April Fools Day, I sometimes build my theme around the Fool card and ideas about the Cosmic Trickster, but the first of April has another association worth exploring. The month of April is said to take its name from the Latin word “aperio,” “I open,” because, before a number of historical calendar changes, April 1st was the New Year, and also the date of the Spring Equinox, so it “opened up” the year. (Just as in springtime, we also see the world of Nature opening up.) However, there is an alternative theory that April takes its name from Aphrilis, referencing the goddess Aphrodite/Venus. In fact, the ancients also celebrated April 1st as the day in honor of Aphrodite Virilis (or Fortuna Virilis for manly fortune). Before they identified their goddess Venus with the Greek Aphrodite, the Romans honored her as a goddess of agriculture, associated with the force that drives the growth of plants, (similar, also, to their original view of the god Mars). We can see that Aphrodite as love goddess is also a force of nature, among whose golden gifts are life and growth.

Because there is a vast field of lore associated with “the magic of opening,” I will try to discuss some of the ways we can incorporate that in our lives, while also exploring how the mysteries of Aphrodite are associated.