|© Kira Bodensted 3745 posts||
I wanted to do a Zodiac but I also wanted to include other elements about each month rather than just the star signs so my work has many elements in it… Each one is a combination of many elements that combine the month’s name origins with the zodiac sign that dominates that month and usually a celestial meaning is seen.
February is so named after the Roman purification ritual Februa which they partook of during this month, the girl represents this as she is about to bathe naked…her cross also stands for purification through salvation, the work has been kept free of clutter…
I have shown a goddess that combines the elements of the beautiful Aphrodite/Venus in honour of her festival and name association with the nature and meaning of Easter as Eostre the Spring Maiden who sits with the fertile rabbit and new eggs hidden away like little treasures waiting for someone to find them…there is 4 of them representing April as the fourth month on the Year.
The rabbit being a sign of the fertility of Spring and the eggs being the new life and natures abundance in this month with the meanings all based in the North of the World. The wood is there because the Finnish celebrate the time of April as Burnwood Month, as they clear and collect wood to stockpile for when Winter comes.
Then we have the meanings of Aries in there too…it all starts way back with Jason and the Argonauts, back when they travelled to the land of Colchis on the Eastern side of the Black Sea where the mighty King Aeetes held the Golden Fleece in the grove of Ares, guarded by Ladon the dragon. The Ram that had given the Golden Fleece was given a place in the Heavens and is known as the constellation of Aries, in Greek myth he is known as the God of bloodlust and war.
Mars rules the fiery sign, that is red by nature too, a favourite colour of many Aries rams, the sign of Mars is also the sign for male, a masculine sign in the realm of astrology. Look in the sky and you will see the constellation of Aries, only 3 stars make it up but what an important part of history and myth those 3 stars are. The story of Jason and Medea flows over into real history according to many ancient writers and the families of both are major players, in timeless stories, tales, religions and myths that still excite the imaginations of many today, like me…
Lastly, but not least, the pretty daisies are the flower of April – lots of meanings all collaborated together to create the magical month of nature, Spring, Easter and the story of Jason and his Argonauts sailing off to steal the incredible Golden Fleece eventually named the Greek God Aries….April.
Let me take you on a journey back in time to ancient Greece and the land of Arcadia, the place we find Maia, the goddess who lent her name to the month of May.
Arcadia, an untouched rustic paradise, where shepherds gathered and Maia held sway over them…Maia, the eldest of the Pleiades, the 7 daughters of Atlas and Pleione, she was born on Mt Cyllene in Arcadia. Maia caught the eye of Zeus and in her mountain cave she conceived with the powerful ruling God the famous bringer of knowledge, Hermes. Maia, the mother of Hermes, protectors and gods of shepherds in Arcadia.
Arcadia lives on as an enigmatic place, of secrets and Gods, of an eternal paradise, untouched by the immorality and evil of other cultures as it hid in the Western mountain lands of Greece. The famous painting by Poussin is also included, named the Shepherds of Arcadia, they point to a tomb with a famous inscription…“et in Arcadia ego”. Link
Maia also raised Arcas to protect him from Hera, who turned his mother into a bear that has her name in the constellations, Callisto. She is also connected to the end of Spring as the warmer months come on in Arcadia and the North. The lamb is a symbol of Spring and also the reference of the shepherds.
The lovely valley that she overlooks has signs of Taurus everywhere, a bull grazes near the waters edge while Maia’s earthy coloured cave for Taurus Earth sign blends with the lucky colour of Emerald throughout. The Taurean glyph can be seen in the cave and in the sky is the large bright red star named Aldebaran, of the constellation of Taurus the Bull, seen as the bull’s eye while in the distance can be seen the accompanying Pleiades, coming full circle back to Maia, the ‘oldest, most beautiful and shyest of the Pleiades.’
May, in memory of the beautiful earthy goddess Maia, a mountain nymph of legendary Arcadia and protector of the countryside’s sheep herders, lover of Zeus, in her cave where she gave birth to Hermes the learn’d, surrounded by the Taurean symbols of the bull, the constellations and Venus looming overhead representing her rebirth into Roman mythology associating her with the powerful feminine planet Venus that rules the Bull, itself venerated as a powerful God for as long as time itself…
The lovely, earthy, intelligent, powerful, magical month of May.
The month of June is generally known to be named after the great Roman Goddess Juno, her equal in Greek myth being Hera, a mother Goddess signifying relationships and especially marriage.
Juno holds a special pink Pearl token, the pearl being associated with Gemini as she watches the Twins, known as Castor and Pollux, or collectively as The Dioscuri, part of the Gemini constellation and the stars they bear in their position as they appear on the night sky.
The Dioscuri are often portrayed as flying angel type Gods, their famous sister is Helen of Troy. The planet Mercury rules Gemini and like the messenger, Mercury is a quick moving celestial body. Gemini is a masculine air sign, both elements seen here in the male figures of the Dioscuri and the airy sky they inhabit most of the time.
Juno watches over the Twins heralding in the Summer Solstice of Midsummer as Mercury rises low in the sky in the starry month of June..
Caesar was born into a family which claimed descent from Iulus, son of the legendary Trojan prince Aeneas, supposedly the son of the goddess Venus. Aeneas left Troy with his family making his way to Italy to found what became Rome.
Many countries celebrate Independence Day in July. July is summertime in the Northern Hemisphere while in the South it it often the coldest time of the year. Extreme weather dominates nature in July. The waterlillies are the flower for those born under the sign of the crab.
The constellation of the Lion shines in the sky and in Greek mythology it is the Nemean Lion, killed by Heracles and often seen draped around him as a symbol of his conquest. Zeus placed the Nemean Lion in the night sky for us to remember the heroic deed of Heracles.
The Sun is the ruler of Leo, a fiery sign, and here the Sun is also moving through the Zodiac constellation and in August it has it’s stay in the fiery Lion’s realm of Leo.
A corn dolly rises from the Earth, her spirit guides the time of the Harvest and a bounty of the Earth is collected and stored for the following colder months.
The name of September comes from the word seven and is from the days before our modern calendar when it was the 7th month in the year but we keep it’s name and it now sits in line as the 9th month.
Virgo holds sway over most of September and the Virgin watches the sky for change, as the sign of Libra will appear later in the month. The ruling planet of Virgo is Mercury and she watches as it rises over the moon in the evening sky.
A bat, her lucky animal flies past to let her know of this special time when the Sun passes into her sign, which of old, showed a maiden holding the wheat sheaf in her hand.
A time of change, as Virgo holds sway in the Sky and the flowers of Spring poke through the warm ground while the Northerners feel the cold winds approaching, we enter the month of September.
October is now the tenth month but has the word octo meaning eight because it was once the 8th month in the old Roman calendar and we kept the name. In Southern Hemispheres it is mid-Spring and in the North the middle of Fall, where they called it Winterfylleth by the Anglo-Saxons of old. It was at the full moon of this time that Winter was soon to be heralded in.
The month of October is ruled by the precious opal. The opal is thought to have the power to predict illness because the opal responds to heat. Sickness increases body temperature before signs of illness appear and the increased body heat causes the opal to lose its shine, leaving it dull and lacking color and is said to break if anyone other than a Libra holds one. The Libran scales are as ancient a sign as their is and is in unison with Virgo and the scales actually belong to Astraea, known as the Maiden of Virgo.
Astraea , which means ‘star maiden’, the daughter of Themis, who also represents Justice with Astraea also being shown as purity and innocence sometimes clashes with Venus, who rules the heart. Associated with the Greek Goddess Dike, who like Astraea left the Earth fleeing from the new wickedness of humanity, she ascended to heaven to become the constellation Virgo, the scales of justice she carried became the nearby constellation of Libra, here she looks at them, where she placed them, in the night sky many thousands of years ago.
The planet Venus rules the children of Justice and harmony, balance, diplomacy meet with love and partnerships as well as an edge of the Scorpion entering October to bring everything into line. The colours of love and opals are lucky, green, purple, pink and emerald green, Emeralds are also lucky for Libras.
The Scales and the Scorpion, waiting to take his turn after the balance of Justice has passed through the Heavens, giving us a sense of hope that Astræa’s return of the Golden Age of which she was the ambassador, will return when man lived in harmony and balance, with the Gods, the Earth and with each other.
The weather gets colder at the end of Fall/Autumn in the North as the Southern Hemisphere warms up even more at the end of Spring as the constellation of Scorpio reigns in the sky, a little reminder for mortals to curb their boastful pride…
When the Sun passes through the scorpion in November the message sent is from an ancient era of Orion, also seen in the night sky here. Orion boasted to Artemis and Leto he could kill every animal on Earth. Artemis, although a hunter herself practised and stood for the protection of the animals. The Goddesses were upset at his excessive boast and decided to punish Orion, they sent a Scorpion to deal with him and it was quite a battle, Orion was killed by the Scorpion, and Zeus raised both Orion and the Scorpion to the Heavens.
Another story gives Taurus as a friend of Scorpio and as Orion killed the bull, Scorpio attacked Orion, killing him but also being killed himself under the foot of the Hunter. Both myths give the same message loud and clear.
As we follow the path of the celestial sphere to Scorpio the Sun moves into Sagittarius and the hunter appears again.
November is a season for control while pushing boundaries, for regeneration, magic and change. Mars is the old ruling planet and now Pluto takes that position. Mars is always looking for trouble.
All Saint’s Day is held on the 1st November and remember’s all the Saint’s who have tried to save us from ourselves, while the Topaz and Chrysanthemum bring luck to anyone born at this time of year. The 11th month, the hazy, crazy month of November.
It’s hard to escape Christmas during the month of December, so had to include some holly and it has had an impact on this time of the year for thousands of years. Originally a time to greet the Solstice and light the Yule Log it became the time of Jesus’ birthday, a time of celebration and gift giving.
December, a time of the Archer, a Centaur archer, in the Heavens, guiding us with his arrows to the new year. Sagittarius is said to be Chiron, the wisest of the Centaurs. Like the satyrs, centaurs were notorious for being wild and lusty, overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents.
Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind. He was known for his knowledge and skill with medicine. According to an archaic myth he was sired by Kronos (Cronus) when he had taken the form of a horse and impregnated the nymph Philyra, Chiron’s lineage was different from other centaurs, who were born of sun and raincloud, rendered by Greeks of the Classic period as from the union of the king Ixion, consigned to a fiery wheel, and Nephele (“cloud”), which in the Olympian telling Zeus invented to look like Hera. Myths in the Olympian tradition attributed Chiron’s uniquely peaceful character and intelligence to teaching by Apollo and Artemis in his younger days.
Chiron’s haunts were on Mount Pelion; there he married the nymph Chariclo who bore him three daughters, Hippe (with a daughter Melanippe, the “Black Mare” or Euippe, “truly a mare”), Endeis, and Ocyrhoe, and one son Carystus.
A great healer, astrologer, and respected oracle, Chiron was said to be the first among centaurs and highly revered as a teacher and tutor. Among his pupils were many culture heroes: Asclepius, Aristaeus, Ajax, Aeneas, Actaeon, Caeneus, Theseus, Achilles, Jason, Peleus, Telamon, sometimes Heracles, Oileus, Phoenix, and in one Byzantine tradition, even Dionysus: according to Ptolemaeus Chennus of Alexandria, “Dionysius was loved by Chiron, from whom he learned chants and dances, the bacchic rites and initiations.”
The 2012 Calendar is available HERE
|Vanessa Barklay 917 posts||
Wow Kira, I’m absolutely thrilled to bits you have recognised my work on this calendar. It took me ages to complete and each month is filled with symbolism to seek out. To read all the information again reminded me how much I enjoyed creating these. THANK YOU so much for the honour of this wonderful Photo Storybook Feature, I’m lost for words!! xo :O)
|eoconnor 2467 posts||
WELL CHOSEN KIRA , VANESSA THIS IS APASSIONATE AND CREATIVE GROUP[ING OF FABULOUIS WORKS WELL DONE LOVE IT ALL lIZ))
|Evita 15633 posts||
Congratulations Vanessa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
|Vanessa Barklay 917 posts||
Thank you! :O)