The Cosmological Letter — from Dr. Paracelsus Magnus
Letters such as this are left by an itinerant 16th-century European physician and scholar remembered as Paracelsus Magnus who, breaking the boundaries of time, passes through our valley four times a year to inform us about the season that lies ahead. This letter is the second that the good Doctor left for the readers of the Kenwood Press.
My dear friends: As my erudite contemporary, Thomas à Kempis, wrote, “Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit” — man supposes, while God disposes. Thus, as we ignorant sages consider the engines of the heavens and attempt to comprehend their meanings, our foolishness can sometimes become our teacher if we would simply learn. Your obedient servant finds he must apologize for a misdirected observation of the Moon’s eclipse on the night of May 26th. Due to an unfortunate miscalculation, most probably due to a parallax resulting from my wanderings from time to time, I placed that event two days later. Please excuse my clumsy attempt to remove the Moon from her rightful place in the Heavenly Vault, although of course she did not allow herself to be so rudely abducted and happily held firm.
According to my calculations, the first month of summer, Cancer, begins the evening of June 20th, as our Sun pauses and turns to begin retracing his steps toward next winter. During this time, Jupiter, Mercury, and finally Neptune also pause to turn and move in other directions, each time crossing the threshold of retrogradation; thus, our attention is brought to how the worlds surrounding us reflect the worlds within. Immediately, grand Jupiter is retrograde in trine to the Sun, bringing kindly optimism until he turns direct again next October — although he retains a naive sort of vulnerability where anticipation can become supposition. Gemini Mercury is then direct on the 23rd, so that we may once again become agile in thought and deed, although newfound freedom may cause carelessness — with awkward consequences. The following day, the Moon is full again in the early afternoon; once more she is a Super Moon, looming large in our heavens. She is the Strawberry Moon, named for the fruits ripening in our orchards and fields. She stands apart from the Sun in Capricorn, so she is careful in her caring, and mindful in her ministrations. Soon afterward, on June 26th, Pisces Neptune is retrograde, moving into the shadow of the Sun and opening to a deep, contemplative pool of consciousness within. One should be watchful of indulgences, lest they become habituations that distract. The New Moon that follows on the evening of July 9th is intercepted and tucked away with the Sun in the Seventh House of the Horoscope, and so although she rules Cancer and flourishes as Mother Nature, we must beware of unconscious intrigues and the damage that secrecy can occasion. As if that were not enough, the Sun encounters Cancer Venus a week later on the 15th, with a seductive sweetness as dangerous as it is intriguing.
The second month of summer, Leo, begins as our Sun enters that sign on the morning of July 22nd. Soon thereafter, the Moon will be full in Aquarius on the evening of the 23rd, demanding the emotional freedom to confront autocracies. Leo is the sign the Sun rules, resulting in a feeling of confidence and even cocksure bravado throughout the month, coupled with two meteorite showers filling the nighttime skies with the sort of fireworks often seen this time of year. Stars that have been falling out of the constellation of Aquarius appear most frequently on the night of July 28th and especially after midnight the following morning. In the glare of a still nearly full moon, the faint and sparse shower may not be easy to recognize, but with patience you will witness the constant stirring of our heavens.
The Sun then conjoins with the planet Mars in the Horoscope on July 29th, asking us to have courage in the presence of challenges and to hold our place in a tumultuous environment with stamina and drive. Mutual antipathies may arise, necessitating encounters borne of curiosity rather than mistrust. Soon afterward, transiting Saturn will oppose the Sun for several nights, standing bright and clear in the night sky, closer to us than ever and fully illuminated. Their polarity represents an ancient struggle between what we can be and what we must be. Set as they are in opposite heavens, their position requires us to be alert, heedful but not timid, discerning but not judgmental.
The New Moon is in Leo with the Sun as they rise together in the morning on August 8th, for which the Sabian Symbol reads: “A volunteer church choir is seen during rehearsal, far more interested in social than musical elements of the occasion.” It is good to join voices in song, harmonizing to find the music within one another, rather than insisting upon strict adherence to the score. The stars that began falling out of the constellation Perseus in mid-July reach the peak of their downpour on the night of August 12th and the morning of the 13th in a deluge so splendorous they can be seen falling from anywhere in a glorious exhibition. They remind us of Perseus, son of Zeus, slayer of the Gorgon Medusa and rescuer of Andromeda from a sea monster, whose labors tell of the complex roles that truly heroic men can play in the lives of women.
Just before the Full Moon of August, Aquarian Jupiter transits opposite the Sun and, like Saturn, stands bright and clear in the night sky for several nights, closer to the earth than ever and in full illumination. But where Saturn brought concern and discernment, Jupiter’s presence in the night sky is much more adventurous, wielding a voracious appetite for exploration. Here one cautions gourmands not to become gluttonous. The Full Moon rises at dawn on August 23rd; known as the Fish and Grain Moon, she is a Blue Moon, the second Full Moon occurring in Aquarius, again demanding emotional freedom as people rise against authority. The third month of summer, Virgo, begins as our Sun enters that sign early in the afternoon of that same day. Much less celestial activity takes place in this final month, as the sultry Dog Days set in and little can be done. Indeed, very little seems to happen in our heavens for many days, until the next New Moon occurs on the evening of September 6th in Virgo, for which the Sabian image is: “A handkerchief of the finest linen and oldest lace lies folded near milady’s mirror by a bottle of rare perfume.” Clearly a time to prioritize one’s most gentle repose. Then, a full week later on September 14th, Pisces Neptune stands opposite the Virgo Sun, stirring staid pragmatism and oracular insinuations of what may lie beneath or beyond. One’s balance may seem precarious, with one foot planted on terra firma while the other searches for footing in the deep, dark seas of an unknown cosmos. It’s not until another week passes that the Full Moon, the Harvest Moon, sets in the west with the Sun on the evening of September 20th.
The Sun then prepares himself to cross the equator at his Equinox as autumn arrives early in the afternoon of September 22nd; at that time, I will return to speak about what the coming season holds. As I write these final words, before wending my way back to my time, I wish you the best of seasons and the deepest of satisfactions. —Paracelsus Magnus, Scholar & Doctor of Medicines.