April 3, 2023 | by Daniel Giamario |
The patroness of Ireland is Saint Brigid, who had originally been the Goddess Brigid. As of 2023, Ireland has declared St. Brigid Day a public holiday, generally being celebrated on February 1st. We can commend Ireland in taking this step, linking the past to the present. This is based on Brigid’s long held connection to Imbolc, one of the four sacred cross-quarter days in many Northern Hemisphere calendars.
What does this have to do with the April Full Moon? There is a most fascinating backstory that requires some knowledge of astronomy and the precessional cycle.
The Libra Full Moon happens on Wednesday, April 5, 9:34pm PDT, at 16Libra07. This Full Moon has a significance not usually recognized. In ancient times, the star Spica, in the Priestess constellation, was a stellar stand-in for Venus, as a symbol of the yearly journey of the Sacred Feminine.
5000-6000 years ago, the Full Moon closest to Spica (now at tropical longitude 24Libra) happened at the February 2 Imbolc cross-quarter point, a day even in our times still seen as sacred to the Goddess Brigid who later became Saint Brigitte in Celtic Christianity. This represented the Solar Radiance of the Goddess.
Its antipode was the descent of Spica into the Underworld later in the year. The Catholic Church has this fixed on the secular calendar as the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on August 15, said to celebrate Mary’s ascent to heaven. 5000-6000 years ago, the conjunction of the Sun with Spica happened around that time of year. However, in our times, the journey of Spica into the Underworld begins in early October, her conjunction with the Sun is on October 16, and her rise happens around the time of Samhain (Halloween). The precessional cycle is responsible for this shift, as the modern secular calendar has forgotten about these ancient mysteries.
We can celebrate this Full Moon with dedication to the radiance of the Sacred Feminine. Spica is a bright first magnitude star in the center of the Priestess Constellation (not the sign Virgo). She is pictured as holding corn or shafts of wheat. Christians (and some say ancient Egyptians) show her holding a child. Remarkably, in Bali, there is a goddess known as Devi Sri, with much the same form, but holding a rice paddy!
This region of the Priestess Constellation is filled with stars having ancient connotations with the Sacred Feminine: Porrima as an oracle/prophetess, Vindeamiatrix with connection to intoxicants and altered states, and Zaniah with connections to sacred sexuality – as the hierodule. Of them all, Spica reigns supreme as the primary star of the Sacred Feminine Mysteries.
Adding even more to our theme, is the presence of Ceres, the first and largest asteroid, and now deemed a dwarf planet by the almighty IAU. The Goddess of agriculture and some aspects of motherhood, her story has a connection to the journey to the Underworld for the Sacred Feminine. At Full Moon, Ceres is at 26Virgo57, located just above Zaniah, on the left shoulder of the Priestess.
When you gaze at this Full Moon, and you notice the brightest star near the Moon, that is Spica. And now you know the rest of the story.